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This Is What Computer Animation Looked Like In 2001 [Stuff to Watch]

By Tim Brookes on 16th September, 2013 | The Internet |  No Comments

In 1974, SIGGRAPH was formed by a small group of professionals who shared a common interest in an emerging trend: computer graphics. Since its conception, conferences, events, and award ceremonies are actually held to market the generation and dissemination on this relatively new artform, and because of the Internet Archive the entries from 2001 are actually preserved over time for all to see.

This is often a snapshot for some 13 in the past, when Wikipedia first graced the Web and Apple released an odd-looking white box of tricks called the iPod. That year Microsoft put the final touches to Windows XP, and the PlayStation 2 continued to dominate video game system markets. For many, cartoon was pretty impressive in 2001, though the films you’re about to determine were truly astounding to the time.

Step back and admire a few of the finest computer art with the early 2000s, because of SIGGRAPH along with the Internet Archive.


SIGGRAPH is often a group that exists as part of the Associate for Computing Machinery, the world’s first and largest society committed to computing technology. They hold annual conferences, support instruction program emphasizing computer graphics and animation. They are not responsible for creating these films, but rather documenting and celebrating their existence and awarding the creators the praise and honours they deserve.

For computer artists, inclusion in the SIGGRAPH awards list is a big deal, so when you’re about to determine, it will require vision, skill, and patience to drag it off.

Directed and manufactured by Wayne Lytle and credited to the musical animation company Animusic, Pipe Dream is a rather complex marriage of sound and visuals which still manages to impress today. The most impressive feat is virtually no traditional animation keyframing is utilized. Instead the project relies on proprietary software to analyse the background music and use this data to generate the sound and animation fit together virtually perfectly.

This is a part in the whole collection, that is now available in BluRay (after initially as being a DVD release) using the Animusic website.

Le Processus is often a rather surreal and haunting white and black animation where one man finds himself an outcast to be different. The film’s production company is listed as Supinfocom, considered by some being the world’s finest computer graphics university, with credits given to Philippe Grammaticopoulos and Xavier de L’Hermuzière.

The art style this is really quite special, which has a woodcut effect not simply looking great but adding towards the film’s subtext about alienation, uniformity, and individuality.

Thankfully, cartoon involving animals has improved considerably since early 2000s, thanks in part on the huge number of feature-length animations that have used them. Say Cheese looks a little dated now, though the art style that requires anthropomorphising mice with human teeth and facial expressions is a little unsettling too.

That said, look into the fur effect (and how far we’ve come) in addition to the reflections and lighting. Pixar, we salute you!

A short that thrives on its weirdness, Harvey tells the tale of a man who has been cut by 50 % directly on the center of his body from go to groin but who mysteriously remains alive. It’s a weird and wonderful short horror film fusing cartoon, brooding cinematography, graphic gore, and undertones similar to Eraserhead.

Everyone with his fantastic dog posseses an opinion about what it is the filmmaker was saying with this, as is evidenced with the comments section. Earns a “viewer discretion” and NSFW tag for gore plus some nudity. You are already warned!

A tiny bit Matrix and a little Ghost In The Shell, Freeware is often a short action film in which some rather blocky-looking heroes infiltrate an effective IT company in order to “download” and free an assistant referred to as Maia. This is one film that typifies the art style in the time, with characters that seem to be like they’ve fallen straight out out of SiN.

Old PC gamers should listen out to the original Half-Life “healing” sound which makes an appearance at around the four minute mark; it is bound to make you feel old.

The Oddworld series of games emerged in 1997 with the debut title Abe’s Oddyssee casting the gamer as Abe, a loveable yet simple life-form referred to as a mudokon. If you missed it initially, developers are working on a new HD version of Abe’s Oddyssey due being released in 2010. Till then, check out this 2001 promotional video shown at SIGGRAPH for another with the series titles, Munch’s Oddyssey (which has also since been re-released).

The art and feeling of humour closely mirror the games, which vary in style but settle somewhere between platformer and puzzler. You can find out a little more about the Oddworld games for the Oddworld Inhabitants website.

Even More

There certainly are a total of 94 items in the SIGGRAPH collection in the Internet Archive, even though that by itself is an impressive number it really is really a shame that there aren’t more instances of classic computer animation to trawl through. One day, maybe those archives will expand for your rest of us to take pleasure from, but for now you’ll have to stick using the hundred or so films currently around from the 2001 conference.

Visit: SIGGRAPH at the Internet Archive

Let us know what you think of those classics, as well as any of your favourite examples inside the comments below.

More about this topic: cartoon, geek history, STW

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