LOS ANGELES., Aug. 6, 1997 — At a news conference during the SIGGRAPH ’97 show, leading industry watchers John Latta of 4th Wave Inc. and Robi Roncarelli of Pixel Inc. said today that the Microsoft® Windows® operating system has become the undisputed platform of choice for professionals in virtually every area of digital media creation. Market categories that are being transformed by the mass industry adoption of the Windows platform include 2-D animation, 3-D animation, graphics, video, games development and multimedia for the Internet. The migration to Windows as a platform for digital media production began to accelerate at last year’s SIGGRAPH show, when several high-end 3-D animation applications, formerly available only on proprietary workstation platforms, were ported to the Windows NT® operating system for the first time. Since then, these and other applications have been tested in real-world production environments and have proved to be a highly effective alternative to expensive, proprietary solutions.
“At last year’s SIGGRAPH ’96, Windows promised to revolutionize the graphics industry by making high-end graphics production available on industry-standard PC hardware running affordable Windows-based software,” said Jonathan Roberts, director of Windows marketing at Microsoft Corp. “At SIGGRAPH ’97, Windows delivers on that promise with a range of high-profile, production-proven, robust applications for all areas of graphics production.”
Microsoft has demonstrated its commitment to software developers and hardware vendors in the graphics industry through its DirectX® set of multimedia APIs and support for new multimedia developments such as Intel’s MMX technology. Windows NT offers robust features for high-end graphics production, such as multiprocessor support and seamless connectivity in multiplatform production environments.
“Windows with advanced DirectX technology is the new digital media creation platform. At Siggraph ’97, Microsoft will showcase how high-profile productions were done on the Windows platform,” said Kevin Dallas, group product manager of DirectX at Microsoft. “With DirectX, Windows delivers transparent access to hardware acceleration and the integrated media services for 3D animation, imaging, video editing and audio tools.”
According to the Roncarelli Report, an annual report that has analyzed trends in the computer animation industry for the past 12 years, a full 75 percent of all commercial-grade computer animation systems are PC-based, most running the Windows 95 or Windows NT operating system. The migration to the Windows platform has been so pronounced that even manufacturers of proprietary hardware platforms are planning to offer Windows-compatible versions of their products. At the same time, large, traditionally UNIX-based production houses are integrating affordable Windows-based systems into their existing workstation lineups, using the cross-platform connectivity of Windows NT.
Industry Analysts Confirm Trend
The accelerated migration to the Windows platform is confirmed by leading analysts of the computer graphics industry:
John Latta, 4th Wave. “The Windows trend is not just the migration of applications from one platform to another. Windows has provided the foundation to move the graphics industry into new markets and opportunities. The availability of powerful, affordable PC-based systems and extensive Windows-based applications has enabled the graphics industry to realize rapid and continued growth. At the same time, Windows has created significant business opportunities for both hardware and software developers and the end users of these systems and applications.”
Robi Roncarelli, Pixel. “The Windows platform has become an industry standard for the production of computer animation, and the exportability of PC-based systems has made it a worldwide standard. In terms of software, the highest-selling computer animation software for Windows last year issued more than seven times the number of licenses than the highest-selling workstation-based software. Given those numbers, it should be no surprise that today’s software developers want to develop for the Windows platform.”
Graphics Industry Leaders Applaud Windows Migration
Leaders in the graphics industry applauded the continued momentum of Windows as a platform for graphics production:
Cat Chapman, executive producer and co-owner, Blur Studios. “Before the move to Windows, the graphics industry was a very exclusive club and the price of admission was very high. In such an environment, it would have been much harder for a company like Blur to survive and prosper as we have. Windows has made it possible to maintain a top-quality studio on sheer talent and a modest financial investment.”
Keith McCurdy, director of technology Electronics Arts Inc. “DirectX APIs truly move the Windows-based PC into a solid platform for game developers that allows us to focus on building great product and not managing the hardware. This is a very positive and necessary step for the consumer that helps move the PC to a mass-market entertainment experience.
Jimmy Giliberti, director of product development, Kinetix. “The graphics industry’s migration to Windows has further broadened the possibilities for customers of 3D Studio MAX and other Kinetix products. In addition to the extreme affordability of PC-based hardware, the broad installed base of Windows creates a powerful incentive for developers of plug-ins and interoperable applications.”
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