Some time ago, our glowing rectangles used to provide very low-resolution images. Pong. Space invaders. You know what I'm describing. From a neuroscience perspective, these extremely simple graphics forced us to use our imagination. Using your imagination develops your creativity.
Technology moved on to 32x16 and 40x25 text screens. The medium is the message; any technology is a medium and innately affects the message it carries. (You can verify this yourself: write the same thought on a primitive technology like paper, as a social media message, and then as a unrestricted-length text document on a computer. Compare and contrast.) How did the message change?
As technology improved, so did our desire for less blocky screens. More pixel density and more colors, we shouted! Along the way, something unnoticeable happened: our devices became more and more addicting. It should be noted, of course, that many other factors play into a digital addiction. (A company unrelated to Shift Sight has connected the dots between digital addictions and sharp images / bright colors.) But there is one clear conclusion: our imaginations are not as engaged.
There is still a nostalgia for old video games, and I personally suspect that there is an imaginative, mysterious factor that continues to allure us. When you think back to the original NES, those pixelly graphics left a lot to the imagination: is that an eyeball or a bush? (Okay, so it was not that bad.)
A small palette and a bad resolution made the experience uniquely personal. It captured your imagination.
This went unnoticed, as the trend for the last few decades is resolution for the sake of resolution. At a typical viewing distance, our eyes cannot distinguish the difference between 720p and 1080p. We are told that more pixels means a better experience with more realism, but the neuroscience seems to suggest it will be more sterile. Everyone will see exactly the same thing. And everyone will get bored with it, and the e-waste circle goes round and round.
The post up to this point has been a bit of a tangent. I wanted to share some of the visual work going on inside Shift Sight at the moment.
I posted the original Jade reveal knowing that there was still a tremendous amount of work to do. A sneak peak is always a gambit, since it can pique the interest of some and sour the interest of others. As many people following Shift Sight have a technical background and the reveal is missing bells and whistles, I thought it would be worthwhile.
In hindsight, perhaps I should have released 8-bit-esque renderings! Maybe your imagination has been craving some exercise.
Jade is my first brush with renderings and computer graphics. I have past experience constructing 3D geometry of product, but never in specifying individual material properties for a presentable final image. For example, creating the appearance of metal by numerically applying reflections, refractions, transmittance properties, bump mapping, caustics etc. to a material that will be subjected to the rendering software. Yikes.
I have newfound respect for people that do this for a living.
The sneak peak of Jade at the end of June was based on preliminary materials. A few updated renderings are below; some images have finalized materials and others were intermediate. They are more developed than the June reveal.
Ty is a Founder of Shift Sight, LLC.