Friday, December 10, 2004

Miss Digital World 2004

Another frivolous post. Have you noticed the quantity of posts I've been making these days? Quality sure goes down when quantity goes up... I'd implement a TQM system, but I wouldn't be able to afford the consulting fee.

Miss Digital World 2004 has apparently been crowned. The artist actually did a pretty good job, but most of the entries were really bad. But I suppose when you're not a corporation like Square, you can't spend the big bucks to make a quality Yuna, Riku, Rinoa, or Aki Ross. Did you know that one quarter of the budget for the movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was spent on Aki's hair? Hehe, I can imagine the annual report to the board of directors at Sony.

"Um, well, Final Fantasy the movie would have turned a profit if only they had spent less money on the main character's hair...."

But do the math, I guess; even if the hair budget had been cut down to zero, the movie would still have made a loss of $28.35 million.

But as Kristina noted after we stepped out of the theatre, the hair was amazing.

I remember when the trailers for Final Fantasy VIII first came out and I was blown away. Final Fantasy VII had amazing graphics. VIII was out of this world, especially the CG sequences. I would play those trailers day after day, drooling at the detailed renderings of churning water, smooth animations of human movement, and textures of the wind-blown grass. To date, I still think that the grass in Final Fantasy VIII has the best CG-animated grass I've ever seen (Shrek would be #2, but a distant #2). Square set the standard for a lot of things, and every one of us wanted to work at Square. It took years for any company to even come close to catching up; of course, the competition does eventually, and Blizzard released a trailer for Warcraft III that again blew my mind away. That trailer had the most realistic CG crow I've ever seen; at first, I thought it was real. It was the crow's eye that really fooled me. And the field had some really good grass too (maybe that would actually be the #2). But their CG humans are still sub-par when compared to Square's work.

So let's suppose that computer technology eventually becomes sufficient for perfectly and exactly rendering 3D reality on a 2D screen. How will that change the future course of entertainment? More importantly, what about the value of traditional artists? When you can map textures and model reality with mathematical precision, are we sacrificing creative talent for quality efficiency? Of course any computer animator still needs to have artistic talent, just as any professional photographer does. But the big question is whether traditional artists will become obsolete. The photograph did not make them so, but perhaps all that is needed is the push of one more medium. I'm one to disagree with Marshall McLuhan, the medium is not the message. But I cannot deny that the medium affects the message, and one day older messages can become forgotten.

I have no clue what the future holds, but Leonardo da Vinci, eat your heart out.

This post sure said a whole lot of nothing....

1 comment:

  1. I agree - increased quantity (of posts) equals decreased quality. :P But hey, I learned something about your post: a Miss Digital World 2004 exists! Crazy! And you're making me want to watch the Final Fantasy movie. All because of the hair.