Editorial: The Current State of Stagnation 3D CG in Film and Video Tools

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  06 June 2013
Editorial: The Current State of Stagnation 3D CG in Film and Video Tools

Bill Buxton is a veteran researcher in the human-computer interaction discipline, a pioneer of some of the most interesting and influential user interface work. As a chief scientist at Alias Wavefront (previous developers of what is now Autodesk Maya), he has had a front row seat to the developments in the computer graphics industry. In 2005, he wrote an article in IEEE Computer Graphics & Application summarizing his thoughts on where computer graphics was going, and whether or not the developments at the time were promising.

Difficult and stagnant

Even in 2005, computer graphics as an industry seemed to be waning. Buxton notes that, whether in business or in research, development has stagnated and interest had diminished. As he predicts,
Unless there is a fundamental change in how we think about things, the industry will continue to stagnate, with the key players (Avid, Alias, Discreet, and so on) just fighting for market share, rather than building and participating in healthy market growth.

Almost a decade later, this prediction has been borne out. All the listed vendors have since left the market, selling off their 3D divisions or being acquired by larger companies. One assumes that the "fundamental change" in how the industry thinks about itself has yet to happen."

:Daily Sketch Forum:HCR Modeling
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  06 June 2013
Sad, but I don't think the technology is the problem. Every year, for many years now, I would see demonstrations of realtime, in camera stuff at NAB. They would shoot on a green screen with markers and on the big monitors around the booth, you would see the actor inside the virtual set, casting shadows, interacting with virtual characters and everything. It look fairly cartoonish, but that was then.

I think the problem is the mentality. The entrenched don't want it to change. The perception, however flawed, might be if content libraries and all this realtime interactive stuff meant that the director could do more by himself, then jobs would be in danger.
Terrence Walker
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  06 June 2013
I'm not so sure. If there was a magic "do what i want UI" that would become the Mcdonald's of 3d graphic software that developer might make a killing.

I myself wonder if its the Monopolies in the Market.
There is hardly anyone left to break the status quo and try something 'new'.
Also having the funding to take that risk is hard to come by as well these days.

Maybe Toyota needs to get into 3d animation.
  06 June 2013
I didn't really read any offerings from the guy. Just that things havent progressed. The only thing he mentioned was seeing things realtime. After reading that pixar post where it takes a trip through a renderfarm to see you frame with their new lighting setup, it sounds like technology is still a bottleneck.

As for the UI in the big apps, it would be a nightmare to rework those things. Think of the effort it would take to convert max or xsi to use Qt. Im still shocked maya did it. I'm not saying Qt is the answer, just illustrating what re-implementing a UI entails. The point is that trying to overhaul a UI to do new cool UI stuff is a big gamble at the cost of stability and new features.

However if it were taken up by autodesk to overhaul their UIs, what would you like to see? Skys the limit, what is it about your package that's holding you back? Not minor tool tweaks, im interested to hear some real creative solutions.
"When sales determine status, I hold no faith in the majority" -El P

  06 June 2013
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