Written by Robert Appleton, Chair of New York Film Academy’s Animation School.

As a classically trained artist whose development as a painter and graphic artist began long before the advent of the personal computer I am often debating where we stand in the realm the 3D computer art in relation to the development of painting (at least from 1400 through to 1900), and specifically in this article that of 3D organic modeling.

You can make just about anything come alive with 3-D, but that’s not to say everything warrants the 3-D treatment. Can the pace of a chess game make as good a use of the technology than, say, a bouncing ball or chase scene? The answer is limited only by the imagination.

Are we at the border of being freed from the constraints of tempera and the tracing and filling in of outlines on a wall, and moving into the relative freedom of oil based mediums? Or is our situation more akin to the evolution of the paint tube from the confines of a pig skin or glass tube? One might be a little ambivalent to this advance as it resulted in the saccharine daubes of Renoir who claimed that the event of the paint tube was a huge boon to his decent into impressionism. Of course many others such as Cezanne and Monet benefited as well so all in all it should be considered a plus.

What’s most arresting: the character, the colors or the movement? Newer 3-D technologies allow the animator to get past the gee-wow of 3-D and make intrinsic to character development.

I was just looking at the newly released ZBrush 4R4 the latest and greatest release from Pixologic and I must say that we are (as far as organic modeling goes) quickly approaching the advent of the oil paint tube. The ability to automatically retopologize via the Qremesher is quite phenomenal, and although I somewhat quite enjoyed the therapeutic monotony of retopologizing by hand I’m sure that in the future I’ll be able find many other ways of using the time saved after I delegate to the task to Qremesher.

Game design technologies in particular are finding increased distribution on mobile devices — and pressing for evermore sophisticated graphics on smaller screens.

At this point with event of Dynamesh and other innovations I am wondering if using the more traditional approach of creating a base mesh in Maya or Max etc and exporting to ZBrush is viable anymore. As the chair of the animation school at New York Film Academy this is an important point to consider as so many depend on my judgment in this area. I will be trying 4R4 within the coming weeks and will make a decision at that point as my new classes are due to begin in September and I am writing an updated syllabus quite soon.