Thomas Haase
Computer-generated Audio-visual Media
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Bad Developments

The top priority of digital media development must always be functionality. It is always more important to make a product work under different conditions than to integrate non-essential features that will limit the product's range of compatibility or usability.
The only acceptable exception are cases where the product is to run exclusively on certain machines/devices that are individually known in detail.

It is always a symptom of incompetence if someone integrates a design feature into an application software causing it to require certain versions of the operating system or even some new piece of hardware.
In practice, it is often the case that even the development environment used is producing software that is limited to be used exclusively on certain versions of an operating system family. It gets even worse if you realize that a fully equal product could have been produced without such a limitation if the right development software had been chosen before, which is typically available in any case.
A result is the appearance of awkward product notes such as "runs on operating system versions E and F", actually meaning "does not run on operating system versions A, B, C, and D", or "optimized for X Technology", typically meaning "completely useless without obtaining a new machine with X Technology".

One also has to take into account that a development machine typically has all hardware and software components installed that are required to make the product work, and that these components may be missing on customer machines. And the note "click here to download component X" will only increase the extent of embarrassment - aside from the fact that trying to saddle the customer with saved development efforts is actually an impertinence.

A special subject are the computer operating systems. The purpose of an operating system is to enable a machine to run application software.
A new version of an operating system must first guarantee the usability of the pool of former suitable software. It must be capable of running on both older and new hardware. Any limitation of these basic functions can only be accepted when targeting exclusively at special systems. Otherwise, you are dealing with trash. And any awkward attempts to obscure the operating system's garbled usability with additional features - rottenly copied from real application software - make things even worse. If one finally adds some completely superfluous childish (but machine-loading) visual effects, you will easily get an overpriced fourth-class computer game, being worlds apart from an operating system...

Unfortunately, in today's real world, the digital market with its continuous bad technological developments and design trends - being occasionally quite lucrative for the developler - is increasingly becoming a pain for the customer. (In the hardware branch, it is already even the case that the customer has to do one of the most expensive production processes belated and unpaid - the final testing of the product.)

In order to escape this trend, the developer's side requires only a few thoughts more and a few coins less - and that's quite feasible...

Thomas Haase


Depicting the real world is not digital art

The electronic revolution has significantly increased the potentialities of artistic designing.
Creative individuals who are able to understand this new world are already extensively using its almost unlimited potentials of developing and designing.

An outsider may think the most striking difference between classic print media and the new digital media is that the latter ones can be animated and interactive.
In fact, the main difference is the following: The basic elements of classic print media (as well as of films and audio recordings) are depictions of the real world, in most cases photographs of real persons, objects, buildings, or landscapes. The classic cartoon films are also depictions of real drawings, and even many of the modern "computer-generated" films are basing on digitally scanned plaster models.

Click to view an example.

However, the basic elements of the new digital media are typically depictions of a purely virtual world as it was unthinkable at times before the electronic revolution.

Click to view an example.

A today's web designer does not walk around with a camera. Instead, he is sitting in front of his computer, focused on calculating the properties of a virtual world that only exists in his brain and in his machine which will then compute the desired depictions of that virtual world. Video and audio are no longer captured, but created out of nothing by means of mental imagination and technological knowledge.

Therefore, extensive high-level skills are a must for any digitally creative individual. In order to create something "new", it is no longer sufficient to simply assemble depictions of the real world.
Today, one has to develop everything from scratch. But this requires an essentially higher level of creativity, much greater powers of imagination as well as extensive knowledge of mathematics, physics, programming, and further disciplines such as music composition.

If one does not meet these requirements, his digital products will actually be something like animated, interactive print media, in the worst case e.g. a web site assembled from tuned photographs and texts.

Thomas Haase



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