New movies

This evening at the SIGGRAPH conference I watched the Electronic Theater. That’s the big two hour film show at which the very best of the current year’s computer graphics is shown on a huge screen for an extremely appreciative audience of fellow CG practitioners.

The show was exceptionally good this year, not only on a technical level (it’s always technically excellent), but on the level of great storytelling. It’s a sign of the maturity of our field that the makers of CG films are well beyond focusing merely on the “gee whiz” factor of their medium.

Technical excellence has become a given, but it is now being used more and more in support of truly inventive stories, with compelling characters. Still, it takes an immense amount of effort to produce a high quality computer graphic film.

It is possible that one day, decades from now, the process will have become transformed far beyond the level of today’s production tools. Perhaps some future variety of machine-learning enhanced direct-brain interface will become the preferred means of production.

Maybe a future CG artist will merely need to form a clear mental image of the film she wishes to create. Fully automated neurologically attuned software will do the rest.

Imagine what those future artists would think of the cumbersome methods we currently use to realize our computer animated visions. They may well ask each other “What do you think motivated them to go through all that trouble?”

I wonder if they will understand when somebody tells them the reason: Because that was the easiest way to do it.

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