Issue: Volume: 23 Issue: 8 (August 2000)

Opportunities Instead of Obsolescence

I also have a couple of more general questions. How do you think Maya's character animation compares to Softimage XSI's, and finally, which aspect of 3D human animation skill do you think will be the most difficult to replace with the technology of the future?

Jack Ye
Taipei, Taiwan

For a number of films with 3D characters, many of the characters and creatures are created by first sculpting maquettes-clay models-that are then scanned. The scan data is converted to a NURBS or polygonal model that is used by modelers, but only as a starting point-sometimes only as reference material. Skilled modelers are in great demand for their ability not only to create characters and creatures but also because they know how to organize the polygons, NURBS, and/or subdivision surfaces in ways that make it easy for the models to be animated.

In terms of comparing Softimage XSI and Maya, we haven't done a comparison, but I expect that reviewers will be looking at the latest versions of both those products in future issues. Stay tuned.

In answer to your last question about which part of 3D animation skill will be least likely to be replaced by new technology, it is my impression that as new technology is developed, new skills are needed to take advantage of it. For example, characters can have behaviors now that give them some "automatic" movement, but it takes a skilled animator to create the original behaviors and a skilled technical director to organize the behaviors. Motion capture can reproduce human movement, but it has many limitations. I don't think of technology as replacing the skills of people, but rather as offering skilled people new opportunities.

Barbara Robertson
Senior Editor, West Coast

I have been involved in computer graphics for more than 10 years. In that time I have worked with other programmers to develop a real-time visualization system, and am currently working on an application that is more broadcast-oriented. Over the years, I have subscribed to several trade magazines and have attended a few industry shows, and I believe that your magazine serves my purposes far better than other magazines.

Compelling imagery and effective presentation are a large part of what the computer graphics business is about, and your magazine supplies the necessary visual punch to be a valuable asset. At my company, we have been interested in image quality and photorealism (whatever that means these days) for quite some time. Your magazine seems to have a good balance of illustration and text-weighted toward illustration-toward addressing those needs. For example, I cannot determine whether I am interested in a new technique for rendering unless I see adequate visual evidence of that technique in action. Other magazines are lacking in this department. They also lack the clean, crisp, friendly presentation style of Computer Graphics World.

What you may find more interesting is that of all the magazines our company subscribes to, the hard-core programmers are more interested in the articles in your magazine than they are in those of other magazines. This particularly impresses me because I believe your publication is geared more toward my interests than those of the programmers.

Geoff Fleissner
Software Engineer
Enterprise Broad casting Corp.
Scotts Valley, CA

Neil Eskuri is the correct spelling of the name of the digital effects supervisor working on Disney's Dinosaur, who was cited on pg. 30 of the May 2000 issue.

We welcome any insights you have to offer that would further our readers' understanding of topics discussed in this issue, or that concern the computer graphics industry in general. We may edit your comments to conform to our style and space requirements.

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