Tuesday, April 11, 2006

An Ode to my Frienemy

Computers can be friends or enemies, depending on personal experience. I personally love my computer, and the access it provides me to the wonderful world wide web. After all, without it, how would I have ever learned about blogging, experienced Napster in the hey-day of downloading music with wild abandon, and of course, my favorite…instant-messaging people far and wide, rather than paying for phone calls.

However, in a world where product is sometimes more important than process, your computer can take on ultimate frienemy status. An insane, two-faced magician, the computer provides you the tools to create amazing things while simultaneously becoming the reason why you can’t create them.

I am currently waiting for an animation to render. Or a test animation, as it were. See, horror of all horrors has occurred, and I find myself each day teaching myself one new part of this crazy program that has a “3” and a “D” in its name. Take a wild guess which one I am using.

Anyways, as many people familiar with program already know, the primary reason you opt for this program is for its rendering abilities. So, as I wait for each frame of my test animation to render, I am left stuck, unable to progress much more with the model itself, or setting up a new animation. I guess I could look at this positively; I have built in breaks each time I try something new.

In a wonderful world of no-cost-constraints, I would have two computers. The first, a powerhouse desktop, would be set up with two flat-screens linked together, so I might model on one screen, maybe have my emails or a website up on the other. And, when it came to rendering any movies or animations, I’d just load it up, hit the “render” button, and turn to my second computer, a laptop, to do some other work. The laptop would, of course, be powerful but light, so I could work away from home, or show my work to others at studio crits.

But, seeing that I am a poor student, engulfed in debt, I can afford one computer, my laptop, which travels to and fro wherever I go, and has probably permanently lowered the resting height of my left shoulder. ‘Cause, where my laptop goes, so does the battery pack, outlet adapter and mouse. Along with my sketchbook, some pencils and pens, maybe my London A-Z. Oh, and an umbrella. Hey, it is London.

So, my beef with my dear frienemy is that, while I love it for putting out lovely images of my precisely built computer model, I am a bit frustrated with it for being so narrow-minded. Once I ask it to render, well, that’s all it wants to do. It doesn’t feel like opening up Photoshop to allow me to play with some other work. And god forbid I try and open up Rhino to model some more. Do that and it just gets mad, spinning its hard drive louder and louder, shooting out heat from its vents that could burn your fingers, until ultimately, it does what I have come to fear, simply stalling in the middle of the process, pouting for being asked to work so hard. And with the pouting, the high possibility that it has decided not to save anything I have just tried to do.

To be fair, my new baby might be able to do more than I am currently asking it to do. And as newer, stronger, models come out in the future, the frienemy relationship between me and my computer might cease to be an issue. But, for now, I only have past experience. And past experience has seen much too much work disappear, dematerializing into the digital expanse of my hard drive, scattered amongst its other millions of bytes. So I am teaching myself patience, and planning. But, today, I didn’t plan that well. So, with nothing else to do, I sit here and type away in Microsoft word. And, I have to say, I am pretty grateful. My last laptop wouldn’t even allow that.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home