Dreadful old 3D

Ow. ow ow ow ow. Good God, the Heart of the Party video.

3D animation was once a dog that walked on hind legs. Didn’t matter if it it was done well, just that it could be done at all. My first render – 1987 – was the infamous reflective sphere on a checker board. Fuck you, it was amazing to see that take shape over 6 hours or something.

Not mine. Somebody made this in 2010.

Heart of the Party 1994. Rendered on an Amiga running Imagine. Was it two Amigas? I think so. One went at 24MHz I recall, which makes the average current PC about 92 times faster – wait – with hyper threading about double that.

Oh look, reflective sphere. Pity you didn’t actually have a damn sky so half the thing is pitch black. So make a wedge shaped box and tile the artwork over it. Then roll the ball around. Brilliant. I think I had about a month before a show to do this… oh yeah that’s right – I played the passes onto SuperVHS and then we edited it on Mic Gruchy’s AVID system, which had a 2 Gigabyte hard drive or something. 64 colours on screen all at once. There are analogue tape drop outs all the way through this horror which adds injury to insult to mockery to satire.

Heart of the Party 2003. Somebody has bought a copy of Poser! Even the Poser guy looks crestfallen.

What is this ... skullcap?!

I recall this had a hell of lot of work involved. The background, the lady, the gent and titles were all animated layers that had to be passed through a composite before being placed on the back plane. Oh yeah and those score wheels are all separate cylinders with modeled numbers. It’s not the amount of work it’s the lack of art direction. And really huge cocktail glasses.

Some attempt at a story line, which was a serious waste of time given it was for the Big Day Out. Anyway – nice to see Posette getting a cameo although they’re still using her in Scientific American today, so I’m not that crap.

Got to love the way the textured stars are bleeding down the front of the skirting. And that algorithmic wood grain. Woo-wee that’s a sweetie! By far the worst thing here is the single infinite light source, washing it all out. So OK, maybe multiple lights were computationally expensive, but surely I could have used two lights? And some shadows? Look there’s motion blur, that’s something. Again this is the impossible gig deadline at work, I can’t excuse but I can explain it might take 12 hours a scene.

This is the sort of thing you just walk away from and deny you ever did. Too bad that I have to make another one for this upcoming show.

Top half of Heart of the Party Will Not Die 2011 although this is not quite the finished version. This time I paid money for someone else’s basic model and found it was really horribly basic. I mean my pop bumpers were better in 1994. Spent about a week replacing almost everything or adding detail, laying out the decals and painting the wood. As you can see it’s got more than one light source. Now I have to set up the animated materials to make the lights flash.

It’s funny that there are now pinball games that look as good in real time, it’s just that I can’t freely animate the camera on those. Probably would end up taking just as long.

This is the tragedy of autodidacticism. When I were a lad, I went to university to learn computer art and they gave me punched cards. Art on computers was your own problem. Couple that with having to do it in public and I have a trail of very bad art that I will never live down. Now we have an art college filled with this stuff … but I wonder what some kid out there is now figuring out on their own?

Anyway just had a retrospective video showing confirmed – 8th of March in New York City. So many bad old videos to sort through to find the decent bits, while accepting that I have to show at least something from the 90’s! So get your bus tickets and get along! I better get back to finishing this bloody pinball machine.