“Synthetics: The Electronically Generated Image in Australia” presented by Jones


Session Title:

  • History of New Media

Presentation Title:

  • Synthetics: The Electronically Generated Image in Australia



  • I am going to explore the evolution of electronically generated images in video and animation leading to the now ubiquitous use of computer generated imagery in feature film production. I am intending to cover the period from the early developments of computer graphics in the 60’s through to the ascendancy of the Quantel video graphics systems and SGI based systems in the 90’s. This is effectively the first two generations of development. This is a tale of two pathways, the analog and the digital, winding their ways through the forest of technology, sometimes crossing each other, sometimes running together for a moment, often influencing each other and finally the one almost consumed by the other but for the interest of a new generation in the ways of the old. The two pathways are those of analog representations and digital representations. Analog representations reflect the actual value or amount of a voltage or a brightness while digital representations reflect some number in the range of possible values that the voltage might have, say from 0 to 255. For example, in video the analog of the brightness of a scene is the voltage of the video signal at that point of the image whereas the digital representation of it will be a number where say 0 represents black and 255 represents white. Obviously the difference in style is reflected in the different technologies that carry these representations.

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