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A Design Story: Part 2

In the previous episode of this memoir, I wrote about how I got started with Design . Another interesting story came to my mind today- an event that contributed a lot to my love for sophisticated design technology. This happened soon after we got our first multimedia PC at home.

My brother and I, with absolutely no idea what to do with it, started using it as an entertainment unit. We would play VCDs (Video Compact Discs) on it but since the processor didn't allow full-screen video playback on 16-bit, we had to either view it in a small window (on an already tiny 14” monitor) or change the color-mode to 256 colors before every film. It was a horrible experience to watch films, but we still remember watching “The Exorcist”, moving the chairs as far away from this teeny tiny window to avoid jump-scare reactions (That was how scary the film was).

Moving on, we started buying tech-magazines which were popular during those times - PC Quest, Chip and the likes. Our need were the CD-ROMs which came with it that had bundled game demos, music, and trailers. One of those CDs had a pretty neat demo of q software that can create beautiful 3-dimensional objects and animations. 3D Studio Max. The demo started with a pre-recorded demonstration explaining each tool and its application. My brother and I looked at each other, nodding our heads! As like, we had cracked the secret of how Jurassic Park was made and we were going to make the sequel next Wednesday! (Click here to watch that Demo)

The next couple of days, I kept playing with 3D Studio Max (owned by Kinetix at that time.) All I could do by myself was to create a sphere and move the camera around it which made my parents and guests very happy for some unknown reason. But I knew that there was much more to it than a stupid sphere. Unfortunately, there was no YouTube. Forget Youtube, there wasn't even proper internet! So I went to my school-buddy, Sanju -who is a popular genius. He could figure out anything. He wasn't into any of this stuff, but he took this as a challenge and took the CD home. A week later, he showed up with an evil grin at my doorstep. He cracked it. He sat at my computer and modelled an airplane in 3D Studio Max— with the whole lighting, texturing, rendering, and whatnot! We went on a modelling spree from there — cars, dinosaurs, bikes, you name it! Every single thing we made, gave us new challenges and we solved them with our fundamental knowledge of the tool. But, the computer couldn't keep up with us with it’s 16MB of RAM. (yes, MB not GB).

Kintix 3D Studio Max | Software UI

So I went to my dad, convinced him that certain applications for studying -like the Encarta- would require more RAM. There we were with a 32MB RAM bar. The system booted up faster and thats when we got greedy. What if we put the old 16MB of RAM in the empty slot near the new 32MB RAM, Would that make it,aahhh, (32+16)mbs of RAM? We did it and the system was dead because of the conflicting speed on the RAMs. We learned another lesson there! With the new 32MB, we were able to reduce our rendering time from 2 hours to 1 hour (per frame). Trust me, this was pretty cool for the time! I started with 3D Typography in Max and used it in study projects. Laymen and teachers were like— “Wow, this looks like a movie title”.

3D Studio Max render of type with Skylight and Radium (2001)

Read the previous chapter to this series here.


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