Craptastic

Warlord has some musings on the tensions between ‘fun’ and what might be called ‘aspiring professionalism’, in the world of affordable desktop film-making. I suspect it may be a familiar refrain to those in any hobby where there are also emerging ways of getting paid for what you do, or of developing commercial transferable skill-sets that you can take to a bigger industry.

The latest 3D World magazine (#140) had a column that said something similar to Warlord, although it was fearful of the near-term consequences of the ‘fun’ factor…

“I know I should be overjoyed of the advent of automatic rigging programs, low-cost mocap, real-time previews and ultra-fast rendering. But the consequences are almost too awful to contemplate. At the moment, CG is a slow, painful process, but pretty soon there’ll be nothing left to stop the great unwashed and untalented from unleashing a tsunami of second-rate animation. The internet will become host to almost as much duff [US: cheesy, fourth-rate] homegrown CG footage as it is to duff homegrown video.”

But if it can’t be stopped, then why worry about it? It’s an inevitable consequence of digital allowing a one percent increase in the population of creative producers. Prior to 1995 it was probably around 1% of the population that made creative stuff which actually escaped from the back bedroom. Maybe less. Now it’s about 2%. Which means that 98% of the population are still popcorn munching consumers, even now. But that small one percent uptick in content creators is enough to unleash daily tidal-waves of content. And the Internet carries it to anyone who wants to look at it, without any gatekeepers of any kind. Now I grew up in the 1980s in a world where access to the tools of production, and access to audiences, were nailed down tighter than the beta of iClone 5 — so the “let it all loose” approach of the Web is wholly refreshing. It’s a whole new folk culture.

But the daily wash of crap may get worse. There’s a major baby boom going on, it seems, at least in the English-speaking world. Many of the first wave are starting nursery about now, or in their first years of primary school. In ten years time that new generation will be exploding onto the web, many wielding their copies of iClone 10 with all the talent of a wet dog. Crap is here to stay. Long live crap. Long live the people who call it crap. Long live the people who shrug off the criticism, and just have fun with making even more crap. Who knows, some of them may actually get good at it after a year or two.