SANDDE – which stands for Stereoscopic ANimation Drawing DEvice – bills itself as “the world’s first freehand stereoscopic 3D animation software”. What that boils down to is you sit in front of a sensor, moving a stylus in the air while you view a screen through 3D glasses, and watch as a three-dimensional drawing takes shape.
Munro Ferguson, who demoed the system, walked me through some very basic line drawing. (One fun aspect to all of this: the controller for this insanely sophisticated device is the stylus for a Wacom Bamboo, their consumer-grade drawing tablet.) Between rotating the pen to alter the line width, and moving it forward and backward to achieve depth as well as my usual 2D drawing, I found myself concentrating harder than I have in ages.
But I was also more thoroughly absorbed in the sheer process of drawing than I have been in a long time, too. This feels like a completely new medium, and not one where I feel nearly as sure of myself as I do with a piece of paper and a Pigma Micron.
I’m not just talking about technical skill which I gather starts to gel after about a week of using it. I mean the graphic language of 3D compared to 2D, and the way you tell a joke or a story in pictures. Can a gag cartoon – which relies so heavily on that sudden spark of realization and unexpected connection – work as well in a 3D world, which seems to lend itself more to exploration and unfolding?
If you’re in Vancouver for SIGGRAPH, then drop by the Emily Carr booth and see what you think.