You know how it is. As life goes on, and things change, opportunities arise and one finds new things on which to focus.
I am back in Shanghai and getting more deeply involved in the work I am doing here in China, and also my family, especially my 3 year old daughter. These occupy the vast majority of my time. Combine that with constantly rising web hosting and domain registration prices, and I feel the time has come to put to rest my web store and video training. What does that mean for you?
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I recently got into a discussion about anime production budgets and CGI versus 2D hand drawn. Because of the BLAME! animated film, which I wrote about earlier, I had been thinking about digital paperless animation. Here in Asia, be it China, Korea or Japan, many studios still draw on paper. They are feeling the economic crunch that affects everyone these days, and in a bid to save money, many are turning to low budget CGI. It looks absolutely horrible and audiences hate it. (I don't mean BLAME! I am thinking Berserk) I think that only because of the prevalence of video games, younger audiences are getting more and more used to it.
One would think to ask the question, wouldn’t digital paperless be cheaper? On the one hand I DO understand why many don’t do it. Many of the veteran animators, the guys you hire when you really need to get things done, work on paper. That’s where their skill is. Because they work in large teams, they always know there is someone to scan that stuff into the computer, clean it up, color it and work with it from there. The artist doesn’t need to be able to do it himself.
The problem with this line of thinking is that when these guys are gone, 2D goes with them. Their skills aren’t being passed on and younger people are mostly into learning 3D, and going into games, because it pays better.
There is also the expense of equipment. Getting every artist a workstation and a Cintiq can be expensive, and then there’s the downtime that would come with retraining them. Most studios work on such thin margins that they are always a hair away from going out of business. They couldn’t afford the process to switch over.
Most TV animation in Japan is done at around $150,000 per episode. The CGI shows are supposedly coming it at $90,000 to $100,000 per episode. They still look horrible though. Also, in the case of CGI, you can’t just do anything. You can draw anything you can think of, but in CGI, you have to build the 3D models, texture them, put bones in them for animation etc. You are limited in what you can do. This shows in some of these programs, because when they come across something they can't do, it is drawn in 2D. The transition is so jarring it completely ruins the viewing experience and makes the show unwatchable. (To me at least, but I read similar feelings from a lot of people on the internet)
There might be some upfront pain associated with making the switch to digital paperless, but I believe in the long term, good quality shows could be made cheaper than, or in the same price range as, the CGI shows.
I may try to develop some courses along these lines and push this idea to studios around here.
Hopefully, coupled with that, I’ll be able to spend my off time working on some longer form animation projects of my own… And PROVE it!
Looking at the available trailers, it seems that both the titles, and the graphic quality of said titles, for the Xbox are lagging extremely far behind that of the Playstation 4. I have not been seriously into games for some time now, except for the promise held by game engines to help indie creators realize their dreams, but I always thought the Xbox and the PS4 were in the same league when it comes to processing power and graphics abilities. If the trailers from the most recent E3 are any indication, this is not the case.
It certainly appears, at least, that the PS4 is showcasing games pushing a lot more polygons and with much more in depth rendering and shading technology. I would think that a lot of games, these days, would be using Unreal Engine 4, or CryEngine, if they're still in business, both of which can produce stunningly realistic images at high resolutions. What appears in the actual games on Xbox, though, looks nothing like what I have been seeing in demos.
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