Yarc Man in The Net
Multimedia Reporter, June 1993
There he is again on the screen,
sporting an elfish grin, a silky goatee, and probably a
stocking cap. Thanking you for thinking. Or introducing
the legendary Media Man, the star of his soon-to-be-an-epic
cartoon action-adventure serial, Media Man in the Net.
You get the feeling
there's a lot of Nathan Vogel in Media Man, who is an animated
Guardian of the Communications Net.
It's 2025, and all broadcasting and information
systems are finally fully integrated into one huge network.
We're all on-line and digging it. A renaissance of learning
and communication is underway.
When the Net is threatened by government
subversion, a mild mannered A.I. help system is upgraded
to Media Man, and turned loose to ferret out viruses in
far-flung corners of the web. Like all good heroes he moves
fast, thinks on his feet, and out smarts the sinister Terebot.
His head is a television monitor. A collage of images on
the screen reflects his interactions and emotions, and the
nature of the information transfer underway.
We're watching Nate's action adventure
in a tower in Park Merced where he lives with his Grandmother.
Computer and video equipment take up at least half of his
bedroom. There is a collage on the wall behind his computer.
Pages from magazines and comic books. Some of the images
turning yellow. Over them he has tacked up a brochure of
InfiniD, and other product literature from tools he uses
in his work. These days the images in his head are reflected
in the images he creates in his desktop production studio.
Nate Vogel is a Cybernaught too, a 20
year old Multi-Media Man, you should pardon the expression,
who has his own take on saving the world with art and high
tech toys. Better living through Cyberspace. Integrating
new power tools that take desktop DigVid to new levels:
Software art packages and digital effects. Accelerator boards
to make rendering time acceptable for the rest of us. And
dreams of the future. The Net is the new frontier. Nate
is a pioneer.
The concept of his cartoon is still
developing, and it's definitely still a work in progress.
The action moves very quickly, and it's a little hard to
follow without a scorecard. Plugging in more dialogue and
narration will make it easier. But there's no mistaking
the fact that Nate is onto something interesting. Combining
characters and elements created in 3D modeling, animation,
and rendering programs with some startling digital video
effects, he is demonstrating a new genre of Quicktime cartoon
art: Free-form many-layered animation done right on his
Mac CI in a Quicktime format. Talk about a desktop production
studio. This is not your Father's media technology.
He edits his movies with Adobe Premiere,
adding punch to his images with Video Fusion and CoSa After
Effects, which offer digital video effects only available
on workstations until last year. "Video Fusion offers Yarc
support and is more creative," he explains. "It fuses images
together. After Effects is better for compositing and layering."
"No longer is there is a line between
digital video and three-D animation, he adds, "Now it is
all just computer imaging."
Of course, creating your own vision
of Cyberspace in the late/early hours is much more fun when
you're not constantly waiting for images to render. Waiting
can be tortuous. Nate had to find an accelerator to speed
The Yarc NewSprint board that has now taken up
residence in his computer utilizes a RISC chip that gives
it the punch of a Power PC when it comes to compiling and
rendering. 4 times faster than the Radius Rocket, it kicks
a CI into the workstation realm where rendering is concerned.
"You can get your ideas out much faster,
"says Nate. It's $3000, but the cost of the board equals
a lot of freedom."
The Yarc is really a self-contained
add-on computer on one board. It will work quietly in the
background like Specular's software accelerator Backburner.
The two can also work together harmoniously, and do so on
Nate's system. There is also a PC version available.
Yarc's New Sprint is currently
only compatible with a few programs, and Nate uses nearly
all of them. His bedroom desktop production studio is a
beta site for the Yarc, and Backburner as well as Video
Fusion, Macromedia 3D, Macromodel, and Macromedia 3D: The
toys of Multi-Media man; The tools he uses to give birth
to his whimsical, prophetic visions of the future.