"Then you better start swimmin' Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'"
Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A-changin'
I love playing with the latest technologies and discovering future trends in the CGI industry. It is a fast moving field and you have to keep up if you want to be on top of your game. But it is easy to get carried away with the new 'super powers' these tools give you. With software getting easier to use more interior designers and architects are willing to try there hand at creating renders with good results. Is this bad news for the Visualisation Artist?
In a recent interview with the University of Creative Arts, I was asked my views on the future of the 3D Visualisation. This got me thinking about the future of the industry in terms of the artist and not the technology. I remember Lon Grohs of Choas Group saying at last years End User Event in Utrecht
"The last 10% is art, that matters, 90% is the tools"
I then started pondering the idea that we could be reaching a new era of art. Just like we did at the beginnings of the impressionism era. During this time we saw the invention and then the wide spread use of cameras. This made the need for highly realistic paintings less in demand, pushing artists to develop unique and creative styles rather than strive for realism. With talent and patience many extraordinary 3D artists are proving photorealism can be achieved. Meaning it is only a matter of time before more will follow in their footsteps. Once something has been proved possible many will then have the belief that it can be accomplished. In the same way the The Four-minute mile running barrier was broken, "It was first achieved in 1954 by Roger Bannister in 3:59.4. The "four-minute barrier" has since been broken by many male athletes, and is now the standard of all male professional middle distance runners."
Software is developing so rapidly that most interior designers and architects without much prior 3D knowledge will easily be able to turn their ideas into realistic renders. This could mark a turning point from photorealism to a more unique style like companies such as Mir and Luxigon have developed.
If we take Disney for example the have the skills to create highly realistic renders but in recent shorts such as Paperman and Feast they have opted to go for more stylised looks.
When cameras first arrived there were professionals with expensive equipment and a vast understanding of the equipment to take pictures. Then it become a lot more accessible for the majority of people to take pictures. But there was still room for professional, uniquely skilled cameramen and there still is today. So what does this mean for the professional cameramen of the virtual world? We need to develop unique styles, a photographer does more than aim and click a button and so should we. If you fear that anyone being able to create realistic 3D renders is going to be detrimental to your profession you are looking at it all wrong. Everyone being able to create 3D renders is going to push you to get better, create better images and as a whole will benefit you as a creative and the industry.
I bet you spend considerably less time now setting up lighting and modeling furniture than a few years ago. The time freed up will enable us to be more inventive in how we use our individual creative uniqueness.
Anything that enables us to work less like machines and enable us to think more creatively is a pro in my eyes.
The future is good and is looking better because technology is becoming easier to use. This opens up visualisation to a wider audience and rather than fearing software that enables more people to create high quality images we should be happy. This will mean less monotonous work for us and in turn our work will improve because we will have to develop our artistic uniqueness rather than our skills with the software.