goldkin: A goldkin squishie? By Jirlae? Here? Surely, you jest! (goldkin squishie awake)
[personal profile] goldkin
When I am done with my current commission, I will be divesting of my time in 3D art and design. It's as simple as that. Its reasoning, less so.


For the longest time, I had wished for a future where graphical representations of self would reign supreme. By this, I mean the full monty, augmented reality, rawr-I'm-a-dragon sort or existence in which we'd blend ourselves with our technology and discover just how far the rabbit hole goes. I call this an embracing of "complex media": anything that primarily and actively requires user immersion to understand the message. Videogames fall into this category, for example.

In hindsight, I don't see that as anything approaching unrealistic, and certainly not by modern technology... but it's just not what was ultimately successful and practical as the primary mode of expression for ideas and the culture of the Internet. That view would learn to understand and embrace human laziness, and, slowly, I've come to respect that.

A large part of this is the pain of specification. The idea of defining a world exactly, right down to its dimensions, behaviors, and microscopic layers, is simply tedious to do in complex graphical form. Spoken and written language, and to a lesser extent image and video content, seem to be much faster methods of conveyance for a much larger audience of people. This is precisely because of the lossy and simulative qualities available to the human mind, which enables it to grasp concepts quickly and easily from asynchronous, targeted culture than something that's always on and just sort of running in the background.

What works for complex media, then, is repeatability. Complex media is much better at capturing a certain shared qualia of the setting, packaging it up, and repeat-broadcasting it memetically throughout society. This is why videogames and Pixar-like immersive animations are as popular as they are -- they're able to document large swathes of culture and share them quickly, effectively, and in elegant ways that text media, graphical slide shows, and YouTube poop can only offer glimpses of. They can be unabashedly and knowingly epic. That has value.

But, at the same time, they're difficult to prototype in and outright expensive to work with. While complex media makes polished, organic use of the brain's spatial cortex when presented, their creation and delivery is often ploddingly slow. And, almost bitingly ironically, it just seems that the written word and these small bits of culture strewn about are better at conveying abstract concepts and elements of expression than simulations and ARGs, which I'd originally tinkered with. Well enough, I suppose.

Over time, I've sort of migrated from the repeatability camp over to the prototyping one. I like new experiences. I like sharing my ideas quickly, then flitting off on a whim to new ones. And I find it more healthy for me to try believing in six impossible ideas before breakfast than focusing on just the one and getting it perfect.


So, I dropped the stale vision that complex media would rule our world. Interestingly, it marked the end of a longstanding ambition for me. That ambition began with a conversation I had in what was then Horizons: Empire of Istaria, with Narse (yes, that Narse) when he was just beginning to futz around with his earliest illustrations.

In that conversation, we hashed out our two separate paths. Argued about, really. His view was that he didn't really know what he'd be doing with his illustrations, but he enjoyed them and his then-abilities, so he continued making them. My position was that I believed these crazy videogames and all-embracing visions of self would slowly become our world, so I would make 3D in order to embrace them. Then, as we slowly fell out of touch with one another (we had many more conversations in the meantime), we went our separate ways.

I became a sensation in Second Life and, slowly, faded into obscurity. He, well... you probably know by now, if you're reading here. Suffice it that one of these things was more popular and more expressive, and I don't believe it was just the porn that did it.*


Rather, I believe it's a simple matter of expressiveness and prior expression. So, I'll be giving up the 3D to see where text and basic drawing take me for a while. As far as hobbies go, I hope it works out.

---
* And I still wish him well, especially in light of recent events, though we haven't talked in nearly 8 years now. I kind of wish I could get ahold of him again in a bizarre showing of camaraderie and friendship. Not because he's become such a spectacularly popular porn artist now, but because he was one of those interesting people I liked to talk to all those years ago.
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