Thursday, July 29, 2010

COMIC-CON 2010 (part 2)

John Henry said to his captain,
"Well a man ain't nothin but a man,
But before I let that steam drill beat me down,
Lawd, Lawd, I'll die with that hammer in my hand."

Tim Lewis 2000

We have had several discussions on this blog about the expanding role of software in the creation of art. I have argued that programs such as Painter and Photoshop allow people to purchase a level of talent that previous generations had to struggle for years to master. Others have responded that you can't hide bad digital painting/drawing in Corel Painter or bad character animation in Maya any more than you can hide bad oil painting.

Our discussions have ranged across a wide variety of theoretical scenarios. But in the words of the great Yogi Berra,
In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.
One of the great things about Comic-Con is the opportunity to watch experts perform live demonstrations of the latest art software. After watching the current software in action, I have no question that it artificially provides a user with a remarkable level of technical skill to draw and paint.

I was particularly impressed with a demonstration of Z Brush. I watched the demonstrator use a scanned photograph to establish the topology of a face and then choose from seemingly endless options to customize the face into the image she wanted, selecting not just the skin tone, but how shiny or textured the skin would be, or even how conspicuous the pores would be. When it came to creating the hair, she pulled up a hair cap from a sphere, selected whether she wanted the "hair" or "fur" option, and then simply pulled the hair down to the desired length and cut and combed it the way she wanted. The computer placed her at a level that it would have taken a traditional artist many years to master.

I later looked at the demonstrator's drawings created without the benefit of a computer. They were not nearly as sophisticated or technically skilled.

The benefits of the computer were truly amazing, but I'll tell you something else that I found even more impressive. The demonstrator shyly revealed that she had just resigned from a plum position with the acclaimed computer animation and graphics studio Blur to take classes at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art. The audience gasped. But she said, "I go home at night and I draw and paint, and I feel so happy!"

47 Comments:

Blogger Kagan M. said...

EXACTLY!!!

7/29/2010 1:44 PM  
Blogger jade said...

I agree (in theory!) but dont make a mistake -- that level of expertise with zbrush and maya takes years of full time work to accomplish. maybe less than the lifetime task of learning to draw. imho, the tools, once learned, are easy, but learning them is not really as easy as it looks.

7/29/2010 3:01 PM  
Blogger ARMAND CABRERA said...

I have to respectfully disagree with Jade. In my 20 years experience as an artist in the games industry. I could teach most artists with no digital skills how to use maya or max to a production level in three months and did it quite often while I was working.

If you are an artist, the software gives you an advantage beyond your normal skillset. Especially with things that are easily programmable like lighting, proportion and texture, not so much with composition and design.

7/29/2010 3:31 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

This is a subject about which I have had long debates. While i disagree with you, David, that software gives them talent they didn't have, I can say that it gives them skills they haven't developed.
So what? Really, what's wrong with getting past the months or years of learning to properly render with pencil and paint. Those are just surface skills...mere finishing effects.
Well yeah, you could think of it that way but from my experience, there are some big changes that happen to your entire approach to seeing and making art that happen when dealing with what we think of as largely mechanical challenges. Learning to make a figure properly proportioned is largely mechanical and rote learning, but during the process certain observational abilities are developed. Develop a few hundred of those and you’re on your way to developing taste, and that is what is so obviously lacking in most of today’s popular art.
Why that taste in not developed in the atelier artists is something of a mystery. They certainly are spending the long and dogged hours on the mechanics. So why is their stuff just as tasteless as that stuff we se at ComicCon, and those website devoted to faux Frazettas? Evidently there’s something about the way the mechanics are taught at those places with the detritus of defunct empires held as goals.
It’s all about balance. Just as you have to be able to draw well to use a projector well, I think it would be good to have a deep understanding of how, if locked in a room with nothing other than art materials, you could cook up a convincing crowd scene in an exotic location and include Pyle’s famous bulldog wearing a red necktie. It’s unlikely that many of the digital-only guys can do that, but there are some who can. In fact, some of the young guys are damned good…probably the same percentage of guys using traditional materials. Most aren’t that good, but I maintain there’s as much raw talent in Cleveland as there was in Renaissance Florence. The operative word is raw.

Then came the proper training, polishing and the occasional cuffed ear and broken nose (like Michelangelo’s). Demanding training makes for much better artists. That’s why I believe there’s more concentrated talent in LA in the movie industry than was ever assembled in one place. Future generations will realize it. Just like the average Giovannis in Renaissance Italy. We won’t realize what were living through until we’ve been dead for a few centuries. Then we’ll have some creative excuse making in this blog.

7/29/2010 6:10 PM  
Anonymous Barry Sachs said...

Thats an interesting concept. Can a programmed robot create a piece of work that is full of emotion and style with the right parameters or is it merely a sophisticated paint by numbers concept? Very interesting.

7/29/2010 6:11 PM  
Blogger Jesse Hamm said...

I'm glad technology is making it so much easier to mimic appearances. I'm hoping that will free artists up to pay more attention to composition. Composition is where art's strength is at, but the craft of mimicking appearances is so difficult that it tends to distract us from that more important task. I look forward to seeing more books on how to compose a painting, and less on how to "Paint Convincing Skin!," etc.

7/29/2010 6:22 PM  
Anonymous raphael said...

im with rob.
maybe 3d programs save you painting perspective and choosing the right colors for different areas, but it wont instill you with the knowledge of how to produce anything worthwhile with it.

maybe its business of a few seconds to make a brush in photoshop that sprays leaf shapes with a certain amount of randomization and color variance. how does that teach me anything about what makes a convincing tree? a tree with character? a tree that serves a certain role in a larger scheme?

heck, the painter development guys went all artsy once and included the ability to superimpose that golden-ratio nautilus onto your image. (with options, too: upright or landscape format and clockwise/counterclockwise!) whats your guess this kind of "service" helped the resultant images?

if computers imbued people with talent, how comes tons of flash-produced animation you can see on cartoon network is nowhere near disney? how comes that tons of 3d animation doesnt stand up to the standards pixar sets?

id say IF you can paint, you can paint with pretty much everything, even the remains of a cheap pizza.
after all, the fenners quote frazetta to have painted his watercolors with (literally) a mickey mouse set of childrens paints.
IF you only know how to push pixels or place pigment on canvas to evoke form, then its rather likely, the resultant pictures wont be much more than this form. at least, i dont see digital tools increasing the chance of stumbling upon a great composition while fumbling in the dark.

7/29/2010 6:36 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

"Why that taste in not developed in the atelier artists is something of a mystery. They certainly are spending the long and dogged hours on the mechanics. So why is their stuff just as tasteless as that stuff we se at ComicCon, and those website devoted to faux Frazettas? Evidently there’s something about the way the mechanics are taught at those places with the detritus of defunct empires held as goals."

Its probably not the learning of the mechanics then, but instead the fact that being around so many people learning mechanics also puts you around a lot of people interested in great art.

If the people interested in working in oils were all looking at trash, and the people working digitally were all looking at great art we might then take it for granted that the digital is more inherently advanced.

The way I see it, the fact of the matter is that if you look at great art and try to accomplish something similar you will be effected by that great art. If you look at trash art and try to replicate it you will be stunted.


"That’s why I believe there’s more concentrated talent in LA in the movie industry than was ever assembled in one place. Future generations will realize it. Just like the average Giovannis in Renaissance Italy. We won’t realize what were living through until we’ve been dead for a few centuries."

I agree with you so very strongly -- although I would increase the sphere of talent to film, animation and video games -- essentially most of what we think of as pop-media.

7/29/2010 7:52 PM  
Blogger kev ferrara said...

Well told, interesting story.

It’s becoming a bit of a trend, artists dropping out of the digital grind. The pressure isn't just coming from deadlines and ballooning cyber-cult type workdays, but the nature of the activity is itself pressurized. One thing that often goes unspoken about these programs is just how claustrophobic they are, yet how distancing. The user’s headspace is contained in a box, nothing is real, stuck in a chair for eras, chained to the box and anti-ergonomically gawking in a dim room. Often health problems have resulted.

I think the great problem of these programs is the lack of association between the artist and the way his materials, once mastered, record his humanity.

Equally, the constant appreciation of the figure in terms of graphics feeds directly into the way the imagination suggests form and emotion and intuits depth, eventually flowering out into an organic understanding of composition.

I agree with Armand. And zbrush is even easier (and a lot more fun) to use than the maya/studio max type programs. There's a free demo download of zbrush available for anybody to try.

7/29/2010 8:08 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

>>> the fenners quote frazetta to have painted his watercolors with (literally) a mickey mouse set of childrens paints.<<<

Until recently, I used a kid's set of Niji watercolors because I never paid much attention to the medium, although I'd always done wash drawings for reproduction.
http://tiny.cc/two_horses is watercolor and wax crayon used as a textural resist. That may be my fourth watercolor. I know that my third watercolor is http://tiny.cc/living_room

I did my best to hide the fact that I'm an insensitive hack

7/29/2010 9:19 PM  
Blogger Finnian Beazlie said...

Computers are just tools. To argue against them is the same as arguing that an artist who uses brushes to apply paint is using too much technology. Every time something new comes along there is someone who does not like it. I see a lot of "fine art" that makes me wish paint was never invented. Fortunately, there are people who are dedicated to the craft and techniques of art as much as the concept. As an art student myself, I strive to do so, anyway.

7/29/2010 10:04 PM  
Blogger Donald Pittenger said...

Never tried the computer stuff because I'm learning to paint in order to discover how mediocre I might have become had my university art school teachers actually taught me anything.

On the other hand, if I had to make a living in one field or another of commercial art, I'm pretty sure I'd go computer just to churn out salable material fairly quickly. Sort of like illustrators of the 40s and 50s using "lucy" as a crutch to speed the process.

Nevertheless, whenever I thumb through a Spectrum, I always check to see which illustrators used paints rather than pixels. Give 'em a thumbs-up, I do.

7/29/2010 11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kev, as you probably know, working digitally in, for example, the game environment can become a grind like few others. I worked for Sony on a popular online game doing textures (the photoshop files that are added to 3d models to give them their surface appearances...skin, etc). In the beginning, I liked it and did well. I did pretty well throughout, but was let go when I did not learn modeling quickly enough (a skill I was not hired for in the first place). I am still bitter about the whole thing, to be honest. Royalties were due to me on an expansion for which I worked every single day of the week (except 9/11) for about four months straight. Not worth it.

I'm with Donald...although I truly marvel at some of the work that is created digitally, when I look at books like Spectrum, it's the Manchesses, the Giancolas, etc, that I really gawk with awe at.

Can digital programs substitute for imagination? No. Can they substitute for skills it takes years to learn, such as anatomy, perspective, etc? No. Can it speed work up? Sometimes it does the opposite. Can it allow for easy and quick fixes and endless variations? Yup, that it can do.

I am sort in the middle between Jade and Armand...it definitely depends on who is doing the learning when it comes to mastering a tool such as Maya or Max.

Ken Meyer Jr.

7/29/2010 11:19 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Jade, the woman who gave the zbrush demonstration (and who I found very impressive) said that it took her years to pick up all the shortcuts and develop the ability to move back and forth between platforms with facility, but I think she learned the basics far more quickly.

Armand: thanks! The best thing about blogging is when people with genuine experience write in and share their knowledge.

Rob Howard said, "i disagree with you, David, that software gives them talent they didn't have, I can say that it gives them skills they haven't developed."

You're right, "skill" is a better word. And I do recall (and was persuaded by) your description in earlier comments of the era when photoshop first enabled every amateur to put a dazzling technical finish on their work. (I think you called them "highly polished turds" or something equally poetic.) But it seems to me that there is another moving part to this contraption. Over the past few decades magazines and newspapers have become awfully comfortable using illustrations that manifest little more than the skill you describe. How much "talent" or "taste" are necessary to create those spot illustrations with photo-montaged heads on stick figures with flat color backgrounds? You're telling me that the crutch provided by computers aren't enough by themselves to get an artist across the finish line, but are you sure the finish line hasn't moved when you weren't looking?

As for your point that "there’s as much raw talent in Cleveland as there was in Renaissance Florence," that's the craziest damn thing I've ever heard, but it will have to await a fuller response.

7/30/2010 12:28 AM  
Blogger kev ferrara said...

Ken, I really think a "Glengarry Glen Ross" is needed about the games industry. I'm sure a lot of guys out there are taking notes. And I know about 50 people who could use the catharsis.

Donald, you probably know this already, but Schmid's Alla Prima and Leffel's Painting Secrets of the Masters are really wonderful books for learning. Did you go through a whole curriculum at your art school? If they didn't teach anything, then what did they teach?

Finnian, its guys like you who are bound and determined to learn both traditional and new media that will make the most of new media. The reason this is so, I believe, is for the reasons many have outlined above. Human beings have made direct markings on flat surfaces for probably tens of thousands of years. There is something important about that fact regarding the feedback loop of experience... a loop which is disjuncted in the digital realm.

Rob, impressive watercolors, especially for being new to the medium.

7/30/2010 12:34 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Barry-- that's the $64,000 question. Watch this space for answers.

Jesse-- you are assuming that 1.) artists will take advantage of their new freedom; and 2.) clients will care about the difference. I hope you are correct.

Raphael-- generally I agree with you. I think there is an important distinction to be drawn. I just hope it is not obsolete. That's a great story about Frazetta's water colors.

7/30/2010 12:40 AM  
Blogger Jesse Hamm said...

David -- more of a hope than an assumption!

I'll agree with Rob that raw talent isn't bound to a time or place. I'd guess that the same percentage of potential artists exists in any population, genetically speaking. The deciding factors are economic incentive and access to knowledge.

"I really think a 'Glengarry Glen Ross' is needed about the games industry."

I recommend this minicomic. A fun satirical look at that dog-eat-dog world.

7/30/2010 12:55 AM  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

Hmmm, I wonder if they had this argument when they changed from bows to muskets. Those that mastered the bow could do amazing things with them, could shoot of a lot more arrows in the time it took to fire, reload and fire a musket. In massed warfare, firing massive amounts of missles at the enemy was incredibly important, and archers could do this quite effectively with cheap easy to make bows, while muskets cost a lot more to produce, and every shot was at the cost of metal and powder. Yet Bows took a lifetime to master, while you could be fairly competent with a musket in about 6 weeks (you could also use a musket in the rain, but not bows). Eventually armies accepted muskets over and above bows, and eventually the flaws that muskets had compared to bows were ironed out. Muskets became automatic rifles, sub-machine guns etc. They became more powerful, we learnt how to muffle the noise for when stealth was appropiate, and they can put out more bullets in a second than a bow could put out arrows in a minute. And now the idea of arming an army with bows is just plain pointless and suicidal. We can admire an archer for their particular skill but ultimately we are left wondering why someone would devote so much time to an outdated weapon. And there are those whose skill and talent with the gun put them above the rest of the gun toting herd, whose skill almost amounts to artistry.

I suspect we are starting to see the same devolopement in illustration.

If the computer can provide an artist with skills they have not developed otherwise, well, this is absolutely brilliant.

7/30/2010 2:24 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

I'd like to note that a piece being technically in order but compositionally retarded will lead to bad art whether you are using oil paint or corel painter as this Donato Giancola proves quite clearly --

Terrible!

7/30/2010 9:40 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

This kind of art is unforgivable

7/30/2010 9:41 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

To me it's clear that this asshole spent all his time learning how to make realistic art, and no time truly appreciating aesthetics.

It's as if he has a big vocabulary but doesn't know what half of the words mean.

It is a shame I see this problem as often as I do, people who spend their time learning and appreciating technique -- but blind to composition and general aesthetics.

Why look at art if you aren't going to feel it?

That's for fools.

7/30/2010 9:48 AM  
Blogger अर्जुन said...

Kev-"The user’s headspace is contained in a box, nothing is real, stuck in a chair for eras, chained to the box and anti-ergonomically gawking in a dim room. Often health problems have resulted."
~ It'll mess one up worse than Lucille!

D.A.-"But it seems to me that there is another moving part to this contraption."
~ Super animation, turning on a nation, all moving parts stand still.

Matt A.-"I wonder if they had this argument when they changed from bows to muskets."
~ Rock paper scissors; cat trumps bow!

Robz- "So why is their stuff just as tasteless as that stuff we see at ComicCon… …That’s why I believe there’s more concentrated talent in LA in the movie industry than was ever assembled in one place."
~ Hasn't the LA movie biz practically taken over Comic-Con?

7/30/2010 10:06 AM  
Blogger kev ferrara said...

Richard... pulling out lesser works from a highly regarded artist and then calling him names based on those works is immature comment. Stand toe to toe with his best works.

Thanks Jesse. Looks funny.

7/30/2010 10:32 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Richard wrote, "I would increase the sphere of talent to film, animation and video games -- essentially most of what we think of as pop-media."

I agree. My own personal preference is for still images but the digitization of pictures, sound and words enables us to slip back and forth between them, or to blend them, more effortlessly. Going forward, I think it will be increasingly difficult to avoid considering the "whole sphere" of talent.

Kev Ferrara wrote: "It’s becoming a bit of a trend, artists dropping out of the digital grind."

Kev, I am very interested in your take on this. I think I understand how the digital world is a grind for the artists. Do you think that will subside somewhat as the medium becomes more use friendly (the equivalent of evolving from writing everything out in html to using rich text)? And more importantly, do you think that the experience of the viewer, as opposed to the artist, will keep the jobs coming in the digital world (as opposed to the analog world)?

7/30/2010 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Adam Brill said...

Thanks, Matthew Adams, for your comment re. bows & muskets. My observations, as a graphic arts professional, and a sometime-musician, are that non-professionals frequently equate difficulty with quality: "Look how hard that guy's working! What great stuff." This seems to be an on-going thread in David's thoughtful posts, that he is so generous to share with us, and the responses to them.

Most people I know, who create commercial art for a living are trying to be as efficient as possible, so as to get good results within their deadline, and therefore, repeat business. It can be a grind, like any other business. A friend of mine spent a couple of years in a studio doing storyboards and marker comps. He used every trick he had to keep up with his schedule. He was good at it, and learned a lot as he went along. You lose sleep, your back hurts, your eyes get blurry, get the coffee jitters, and those old markers fumes aren't doing your lungs any good. It was "get 'er done, and move on".

I don't understand the persistence in romanticizing what is, ultimately, a trade. I have developed these marketable skills in order to have them pay my bills. Along the way I've dropped some old things, and picked up some new things. I take pleasure and pride in my skills, just as any other professional in any other field does. Sometimes I get to produce something really fabulous. A lot of the times I'm filling an order.

Tracing paper, opaque projectors, light boxes, cameras, transfer paper, retouch paint, copy machines, swipe files, opaque white, camera obsuras, and PhotoShop: these are some of the tools that professionals use, or have used, to make their jobs easier and more efficient. In my experience, t's mostly non-professionals who quibble about these things, and they have all the time in the world, while professionals are watching the clock and trying to get the job done. "Work smarter, not harder" - if I had a motto, that's a good one.

Do any of you think that Mr. Adams' archers thought that the musketeers were "cheating"? Maybe the folks watching the battle did, but I suspect the archers thought, "Damn! Where can I get me one of them!".

7/30/2010 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Myron said...

I’m not opposed to an artist using digital tools for their work. I use a variety of digitals myself. I think the method be damned. Judge the work on it’s own merits, the most prized in my eyes being some emotional connection with the viewer. No matter how subtle, there should be some resonance in the viewer. Otherwise, what is the point of mastering tools, be them analogue or digital.

The problem I have with the current generation of artists being raised on digital tools or only using photoshop is that their work seems to have no history to it. When I look at a well-done painting or drawing, there always have a sense of struggle. The artist has to make decisions on the paper or canvas and leave them or try hard to correct them. There are choices made. I get to see how they’ve thought about anatomy or perspective; how they’ve built form from color and value. All of this plays in concert to make some kind of music of emotion in me. This is where the soul is. This is what I’m after in my own work, pass or fail.

Digital artists work seems derivative of other digital artists in a tutorial-by-tutorial kind of way, overly concerned with perfecting images. Where is the patience learned from making mistakes?

Peanuts & Calvin and Hobbes prove that it’s not really about hyper-realism or perfection.

7/30/2010 11:21 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

"Richard... pulling out lesser works from a highly regarded artist and then calling him names based on those works is immature comment. Stand toe to toe with his best works."

Sure, you're right, he has much better work than this, but 99% of what he produces is garbage -- and when his art gets it close to right he seriously screws the pooch on something major.

E.g. The boys face in the bottom right.

Or here, where he had the opportunity to make a really moody look out into space, a man face to face with destiny -- but he made f*cking space blue and lit the inside of the ship like it's an office building! has he never seen Alien or Bladerunner? High neon chroma is emotionless, lets get some real mood up in here!

And I'll show this picture just because I think he is a wanker.

7/30/2010 11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonyrat said...

I agree that Giancola is awful despite all his skill but damn Richard, you sound like you have something personal against him.

7/30/2010 1:06 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/30/2010 1:41 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

It's not so much him, as that whole area of illustration -- the high chroma sf/fantasy art. It's gross.

Some people unreasonably hate Rap a lot, I unreasonably hate that stuff a lot.

7/30/2010 1:43 PM  
Blogger ARMAND CABRERA said...

Kev has some great points that I would like to add to; the environment cultivates a disposable work ethic more than any other genre I'm aware of. Artists now don't even have a tangible piece of art for their endeavors. This affects the work in everyone working digitally. Digital also allows everyone in management to change their mind endlessly at the artists expense. This also ads to the effect of worthlessness as an artist.

I would like to offer a personal experience about the games environment. When I was lead artist on XWing Alliance at the end of the project I worked 18 hour days for 45 days straight. I was living with a woman in Napa at the time commuting to San Rafael. I would leave in the morning and come home at 2AM; one day I came home after staying at work for a couple of days because I was too tired to make the 20 mile drive and I walked into an empty house, she had moved out. Now I'm not the easiest guy to be around but games consume people, our bosses regularly fired people for only putting in forty hour weeks. Those schedules were normal and still are. I just did an Iphone game and put in the same kind of hours remotely for the client to finish at the deadline. Being at home working until 3am is slightly better than leaving to do it, so my current partner is a little more understanding, but not much. If you get married and have a family it takes its toll.

7/30/2010 1:48 PM  
Blogger kev ferrara said...

"Do you think that will subside somewhat as the medium becomes more use friendly (the equivalent of evolving from writing everything out in html to using rich text)?

I think further evolutions of the touch-tech of the ipod and the increasing transparency of all digital products will definitely help the ergonomics. The increasing sophistication of drag and drop for symbolic assignments and automated shape recognition will significantly increase the ability to assign symbolic qualities to everything onscreen (whether it is a rendered object or the photographic image of a human being walking in real time in the background of Rick's Place in Casablanca) for the purposes of building functional gameplay (which will increase the speed of the game builds).

(We can all imagine many ways that technology will improve, so I'll skip further elaboration of the point.)

The end result will be massive speed increases at the ground level of game creation. Which means this work will be farmed out to the lowest bidder worldwide. I would be very surprised if a global digital artists union doesn't become a serious issue in the near future. It's going to be dicey because digital artists are like herding cats.

The increase in interactive ease will also mean that the art directors and game directors will be much more able to make hands-on changes to the games themselves (Imagine a control room filled with touch screens... footage of Toy Story 7 is beaming in from Indonesia onto the screens and the movie director is able to pause the action by touch and then change woody's action in the scene by touch-altering one key frame himself... the rendering of the surrounding frames happens instantaneously and then he rewinds and replays the scene with the slightly altered motion to check his work.... He then pushes the scene onto another screen where the game director at Pixar Interactive is working. The game director pauses the scene and touches each item in the room onscreen one at a time, speaking some symbolic value which the computer acknowledges for each item... related to its eventual game play function, etc..)

Which is to say, I see the technology creating a more vertical heirarchy which will eventually mean it will be centered beneath a single "game auteur" (just as multi-track music studio technology gave Brian Wilson an opportunity to be a musical auteur.)

7/30/2010 2:01 PM  
Blogger Jesse Hamm said...

Armand,

"Digital also allows everyone in management to change their mind endlessly at the artists expense."

I wouldn't blame digital for that. Back when I was working entirely analog, I had plenty of clients who changed their minds endlessly.

And it needn't be at the artist's expense, if he charges by the hour, or charges extra for revisions.

7/30/2010 2:17 PM  
Blogger kev ferrara said...

And more importantly, do you think that the experience of the viewer, as opposed to the artist, will keep the jobs coming in the digital world (as opposed to the analog world)?

The reason the drug war is such a failure is because of demand. A meth lab will be opening up in a theater near you.

;0

Let me restate: I think the more auteur driven video games become, the more immersive they will become. The more immersive they become the more people will be lost to them. I could be wrong, but I have a sense that hard core video game players lose valuable career time and cultural time and will tend to neither have the money nor the inclination to become consumers of analog art as they age.

Then again, even though I always advocated for it, I didn't forsee how many artists would be suddenly be looking for serious classical art training. I used to make jokes about the existence of Luddite.com, but now we have etsy.com. The very evolution of computers toward transparency is telling of this great unspoken value we all have for a real life in the most natural environment we can preserve, a value which is shouted by the ever burgeoning green movement.

Are video games even compatible with the human value of authentic existence which is ever reasserting itself? Frankly, I think the eloi have the better argument, and more and more morlockians are getting hip to the jive.

7/30/2010 2:24 PM  
Blogger ARMAND CABRERA said...

And it needn't be at the artist's expense, if he charges by the hour, or charges extra for revisions.

But Jesse the games industry is work for hire and salaried. So you get paid for forty but you work whatever they want. In the old analog days(which I worked in too) the changes were held in check by the skilled labor needed to do them. Computers allow the task to be broken into smaller assembly line pieces and it pays accordingly with people now getting a quarter of what I was hired in at in 1990 when I started. Add to that any profit sharing goes mostly to management over creative teams, exactly the opposite of when I started.

7/30/2010 3:20 PM  
Blogger Donald Pittenger said...

Kev - I wrote about this years ago on the recently-defunct 2Blowhards blog. It's still possible to access old posts on it, so use the search tool, perhaps using "University of Washington" as a means to zero in.

I'll probably revisit this subject on my new "Art Contrarian" blog at some point.

Short answer: I was a commercial art major but took a lot of studio classes in drawing, watercolor and oil.

7/30/2010 4:55 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

"the movie director is able to pause the action by touch and then change woody's action in the scene by touch-altering one key frame himself... the rendering of the surrounding frames happens instantaneously and then he rewinds and replays the scene with the slightly altered motion to check his work.... He then pushes the scene onto another screen where the game director at Pixar Interactive is working. The game director pauses the scene and touches each item in the room onscreen one at a time, speaking some symbolic value which the computer acknowledges for each item... related to its eventual game play function, etc..)

Which is to say, I see the technology creating a more vertical heirarchy which will eventually mean it will be centered beneath a single "game auteur""


Bs. If changes are that easy to make then what is stopping everyone from producing their own cartoons -- thus creating a culture of communal animation?

7/31/2010 1:29 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

(in that hypothetically advanced future)

7/31/2010 1:29 AM  
Blogger kev ferrara said...

For the level of technology I am talking about and in the time frame I've implied... the hinderance would be Capital investment. For those with proven records helming successful games, to the suits, the investment could be well-rewarded and would be worth the risk.

Over time, just as with multi-track studios, the technology becomes so advanced and refined that it becomes widely available and affordable to everyone. This usually heralds the end of the era in which technology itself made a difference in the marketplace.

This has happened in music, graphic design, marketing, publishing, it's happening now in film, and it will eventually happen in video games, special effects and industrial design. I don't think I am going out on a limb in predicting this.

7/31/2010 2:42 AM  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

thanks अर्जुन, a true artist would forget the bow and musket, and throw cats.

7/31/2010 4:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard, I also wonder if you have something personal against Donato...your comments not only seem way too extreme in general, but the pieces you show don't seem anywhere near as bad as you seem to think they are.

Maybe I am going out on a limb to say that Donato produces an incredible amount of gorgeous and intelligent work, and has been doing so for many years now. You are the first person I have seen to assert that he is a hack of some sort. He seems to have the respect of artists such as Gregory Manchess, and if I didn't love most of Donato's work anyway, that opinion would hold a lot of water for me.

What the hell is up with you anyway? Is this a case of someone wanting to elevate themselves by tearing down someone else...in this case someone who is successful and highly regarded?

Ken Meyer Jr.

7/31/2010 11:54 PM  
Blogger etc, etc said...

Richard said...
"he seriously screws the pooch on something major...E.g. The boys face in the bottom right."

What exactly do you see wrong with the boy's face in the bottom right?

8/01/2010 9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Traditional, digital... Who cares! In the end, it should be about the end result. It shouldn't be about how a artist decides to create a painting or what medium they use.

As for how to get good at something, it all comes down to the basic fundamentals. It doesn't matter if you learn it traditionally or digitally. If you don't learn the fundamentals, it's going to show in your art.

Sure, digital makes it easier and faster to learn and you can do some photo manipulation to really hasten things. But to be able to pull it off successfully, you have to know what you're doing. Learning the basics helps with that.

8/02/2010 1:32 PM  
Blogger Joshua armstrong said...

I dreamed and my imagination soared. In the gym I use all sorts of machines, exercises and weights to develop my muscles. The more tools we have to flex our creative muscles the better chance one of us has to break that hither-to-unknown barrier. I haven't used any yet but, Golly Gee Wiz, Gosh Darn-it!! Go Software!!!

8/02/2010 2:29 PM  
Blogger Tavo said...

my opinion is that , is just a tool , painter o photoshop , u need to know how to use it and in my way of working , i use traditional art skills and learnings in my digital software .

8/04/2010 3:45 AM  
Anonymous JR said...

It occurs tome that this can be viewed as a synecdoche of our technologically developed societies. Our use of sophisticated tools changes the way we think and hugely improves the results of our efforts. But in the process we are left without experiences and awareness of details that seem irrelevant in the short-term, but are in fact essential for us in the long term. (In addition to the fact that they enrich our sense of living.)

I completely understand the demonstrator interviewed at the Comic-con. Only now I seem to realise how Richard Sennett's emphasis on craftsmanship is in fact really profound.

8/07/2010 3:00 PM  
Anonymous JR said...

Progress isn't in the increasing quality of tools but in the freedom - like the freedom to choose between tools; or between work and meditation.

8/07/2010 3:09 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home