Discussion about Computers and Animation

On the upper floor of the former Reuter barracks stands a high-quality render farm, a computer network for the production of 3D computer graphics and computer animation. As the WZ reported, the Ministry of Science had awarded the summer academy the contract for a network worth 46,000 euros. However, the technical equipment has no consequences for teaching operations. No one was appointed, no new positions created. Now, of course, one could ask whether the art academy lives behind the moon.

Universities in other cities don’t want to miss this development.

The Academy of Media Arts in Cologne is currently announcing a professorship for artistic animation. She is hoping for a personality who seeks an interdisciplinary approach to the media arts. She is not only interested in technical and theoretical skills in the media, but also in “artistic practice”.

The Animation companies in Singapore and the Städel-Hochschule have professorships for “digital and time-based media”. In Düsseldorf, however, not so long ago Thomas Ruff had to have his huge photograms with the enormous amounts of data processed at Forschungszentrum Jülich.

In the construction boom, it goes without saying that investors have their prosaic animations, determined by profit maximization, produced via 3D programs, in order to make potential customers think of the beautiful world in warm colours in good weather and without shadows.

Fortunately, there are also artists who work with 3D, such as the young Englishwoman Helen Marten, who received the Turner Prize in 2016. The US American Jordan Wolfson, who exhibits at Zwirner in New York, is also known for his exploration of the medium.

Manuel Graf is the pioneer of artistic animation at the Düsseldorf Academy.

He is only employed from semester to semester as a lecturer, at hourly rates. He has been doing this for eight semesters. An upgrading of his subject is not planned yet, the creation of a professorship certainly not. Because there are clear statements in the NRW cultural development plan. According to the plan, the Cologne Academy of Media Arts, the Essener (Folkwang) is responsible for design and the Düsseldorfer for art.

But what does animation do from an artistic point of view?

For Manuel Graf, it is an image production that will gain more and more importance at the expense of photography. He says: “Already today, 70 percent of photorealistic images in car, pharmaceutical and food advertising have been generated manually on the computer. In other words, they are assembled by hand.

He draws the conclusion from this by seeing “two sides of a reality” rather than opposites between the conventional material of an artist such as plaster, clay, paint and canvas and the objects and surfaces of the 3D software.

Graf does not want the animation to be undervalued in comparison to photography.

Rather, he turns the tables by quoting the media theorist Lev Manovich, who claims: “Filming physical reality through a lens will become an exception”. Cinema once emerged from the painted images. Now it returns in the computer-generated images. But not only (Hollywood) cinema, but also photography would have had its day in animation.

Even now, Graf explains, half of all apples and cars on television have not been photographed. They would look like this, but they would be virtually produced. For an artist, however, the software is only interesting if he skips the conventional standards.

As a lecturer, Graf will be showing the students’ first results in the Christian Nagel Gallery at the end of 2018. Susanne Titz from Museum Abteiberg has her house virtualized by Manuel Graf so that she can better plan the exhibitions.

Graf sums up the discussion about computer animation as follows: “It makes perfect sense to work with 3D tools at such a traditional academy as the one here. They offer a painterly or model-like result in fractions of a second. There are many forms of reality.”

3D animation / CGI

Computer-generated film images add to the 3D visualization. To see the product in moving pictures is of course a completely different experience. Interesting camera movements, unusual viewing angles and perspectives make the viewer enthusiastic.

With the right music and a coordinated cut, you create a user experience with the product. You create positive emotions. And it is well known: No purchase decision without emotions.

CGI productions can therefore be used very well for image films, product films, trade fair films and commercials. But CGI can do even more. Computer Generated Imagery is also very suitable for films and short videos to convey information. Complex processes and technical backgrounds can be conveyed very well with it. Sectional, exploded or schematic representations can also be integrated here.

It makes it possible to create operating instructions or assembly instructions, some of which do not require text. This also means that you can use them internationally without using translation services. If one should not get along completely without it, then at least only to a minimal extent.

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