“Effective Application of Computer Graphics” by Tressel

  • ©George W. Tressel




    Effective Application of Computer Graphics

Session/Category Title: Current State of the Art in Computer Animation




    Several years ago, Battelle’s Seattle Research Center hosted a conference entitled “Computer Graphics–Why Is It Always a Year Away?” The consensus at that time seemed to be that the state of hardware and programming capability had not yet reached maturity as a working tool. Since then, the progress has been impressive. But we are still a year away, and I suggest that we are passing into a new phase of development. While itis both intriguing and necessary to continue refining the hardware and logic, an increasingly important consideration must be the application of computer animation to practical problems, and this will prove far more difficult than is generally recognized.

    Although the strengths of animation are formidable, they are an art rather than a science, and they are severely limited by the ingenuity and imagination of the user. Until now, most computer animation inevitably has been self-centered …that is to say, the applications have generally been chosen to display the hardware performance rather than in response to an external problem. In short, like many other sophisticated tools, computer animation is a solution in search of a problem.

    When faced with “real world” tasks, practical exercises in illustration and exposition, the strengths and weaknesses will be pain-fully apparent. It may be helpful at this point to examine the characteristics of expository animation, so as to anticipate, to some extent, areas where computer animation will prove powerful …areas where it is doomed to failure…and most importantly, areas where it can be merged with other techniques to provide a truly formidable tool.


    1. Hales, John, and Roger Marvell, The Technique of Film Animation, Hastings House; 1968.
    2. Heath, Robert P., Animation in Twelve Hard Lessons, Robert P. Heath Productions, Inc., 1627 Scott Avenue, West Islip, Long Island, New York 11795; 1972.
    3. Madsen, Roy, Animated Film, Interland Publishing; 1969.
    4. Herdeg, Walter, and John Hales, Film and TV Graphics, Graphic Press; 1967.

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