3D Animation Workshop: Lesson 90: The Pulse of Web 3D Entertainment | WebReference

3D Animation Workshop: Lesson 90: The Pulse of Web 3D Entertainment

Lesson 90 - The Pulse of Web 3D Entertainment - Part 1

After a respite in the last couple of columns, I'm refreshed and ready to leap back into the excitement and chaos of Web 3D. Hope you are, too.

Given the rapidly evolving state of the subject, it's easy to focus on the technological issues in Web 3D. But I'm convinced that the primary issues are the creative and commercial ones. What is Web 3D actually good for? How can it be used effectively and profitably? Technological solutions and directions emerge from such decisions.


Most of today's emerging Web 3D technology leaders are working from the primary assumption that 3D will first find its place on the Internet as a vehicle for displaying and demonstrating consumer products. The tools developed by MetaStream, Cycore (Cult3D) and Superscape promise (and have begun to deliver) the virtual storefront. All of these technologies offer wider possibilities, but they clearly intend to address the issue of consumer shopping as a first priority.

Pulse Entertainment, headquartered in San Francisco, is working from a different assumption—one that is extremely important for the community of 3D artists and developers. Pulse has focused its efforts on developing tools to deliver 3D animated entertainment over the Internet. This means true character animation instead of rotating gadgets. In a world in which AOL buys Time Warner, it hardly takes a genius to see that the Web is fast becoming a vehicle for media and entertainment delivery. But what role could 3D animation carve for itself in this new order?

Pulse has been driving the concept of short, episodic pieces—something halfway between the daily comics in the newspaper (or rather the color Sunday versions) and Saturday morning cartoons. The idea is rough and undeveloped, but undoubtedly important. The pieces are short—from 30 seconds to about two minutes--an entertaining diversion or a quick laugh. Just like newspaper comics, they can be episodes in a continuing storyline or completely independent units. Unlike newspaper comics, the viewer is free to run through previous episodes, to catch up with the story or just get more yucks.

Are the current examples of this genre crude and somewhat weak? Absolutely. Most of the writing is just not funny and the graphical production values are (let's be honest) unsatisfying. But the possibilities here are enormous because this kind of entertainment makes fundamental sense. As people turn more and more to the Internet, both at home and at work, for news and information, so will they look for entertainment in a format suitable to the "eat-and-run" mentality of Web use. But the significance to artists and other creative people is even greater. Individual artists and those working in small groups will become capable of launching their own ventures at minimal costs. The animation world has come to require large, complex organizations. Now, just as with publishing, the Web can become a vehicle for the independent artist with an original vision. A single person can actually write, produce and broadcast a piece of 3D character-animated entertainment. This is important stuff, and represents a critical opportunity for the 3D community.

To Continue to Parts 2 and 3, Use Arrow Buttons

Created: Apr. 10, 2000
Revised: Apr. 10, 2000

URL: http://webreference.com/3d/lesson90/