Myth of the ‘Make a dinosaur button’.

Myth of the ‘Make a dinosaur button’.

Does anyone remember the ground breaking series called walking with dinosaurs aired on British TV in 1999. This is where the title comes from, as is about the time I started seriously in 3d. When talking to friends and family about the series the amount of people that made the comment ‘yeh, very clever, but its done with computers’ really surprised me. Computers are a great tool, but they still need an operator, and the content created on them is only as good as the operator. It takes a lot of time and effort to develop the skills needed to produce high quality models, and quite often these operators have some sort of traditional art/design training behind them, instead of using a pencil, paint or clay, they use a computer as a tool to generate the finished product. Its now thirteen years since that series was initially aired and nothing has really changed, yes, software is better, computers are faster, and monitors are bigger, but you will still only get good results from a good operator.

Vertices, edges, polygons, and quads, tris, ngons and extrude, slice, connect, uvmap, unwrap, texture space and texture, bitmap, base2, just a tiny amount of the terms used in 3d modelling that the modeller needs to get his head round. If its a human character model you are developing then chances are you are going to need some knowledge of human anatomy, muscles, bones, fat, they all help build a believable character. If its a building, then some practical building construction knowledge will prove very useful. So, along with artistic/design skills the operator needs to be able use the software package, (usually multiple packages), he/she also needs a high level of technical know-how  and general computer skills and to top it off he/she also needs a keen eye on how things work in the real world in order to construct them in the virtual one.

The model also has to conform to certain technical rules so that it can be used in other applications in the pipeline, have you ever tried using a sketchup model in 3d studiomax! These things take time, knowledge and skill to do correctly.  Using a model that has been created for film with many points and polygons will generally not work too well in a game for the mobile market, in this case the creator would have to be very economical in the construction of the model.

So don’t be fooled into thinking there is a ‘make a dinosaur button’ it does not exist. It takes a lot of time, effort and skill 🙂

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