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Tobias Richter, ein Pionier der 3D Branche in Deutschland. Angefangen mit dem Amiga, über SGI mit Poweranimator bis heute wo er sein eigenes Studio besitzt. Er erzählt seine Geschichte und die Geschichte der 3D Animation in Deutschlend. Von Anfang an….

CGheute: Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

Tobias Richter: Hi – my name is Tobias Richter. I´m a CG artist for almost 20 years now, although back then that job didn´t even had a name 🙂

It all started then our highschool got one of the first computer accesses (1985 I think) – which were Apple2e machines. Pretty easy machines, and easy to program. That´s when I made my first pictures and programs – very crude at the time, but very inspiring. Ultimately that lead to studying Computer science at my local university.

That´s when I bought my first own computer around 1988, an Amiga 1000, with 256Kb (!) of Ram – rather unusable – the 256Kb extension cost almost as much as the Amiga itself, but made it usable. On the Amiga I made my first experiences with the world of 2D – with DeluxePaint – and 3D – namely videoscape (editing models and animations in a text editor with the maximum of 1000 points per model learned me to do some planning ahead 🙂 ) and later Reflections – a german raytrace program. It took a whole night to render a short animation clip in videoscape – or for one small raytrace picture. That with almost no textures, one light, crappy antialiasing and so on. Today our usual HD frame with dozens of lights and 4K textures takes 5-10 minutes. But it was sort of the „golden age“, where everything was new and exciting – and I wouldn´t miss it for the world.

After graduation I moved to Cologne, where I had the chance to work as an artist for TV and games. That was the time when I bought my first Silicon Graphics machine with Alias Wavefront Poweranimator – for an enormous amount of money. But it was worth it. Today I have my own studio with 6 employees, we´re working with Maya on all sorts of projects, mostly in the entertainment area.

CGheute: We understand from your previous Projects that you take a great part in the 3D-Games, especially the Sc-Fi industry today.

Oil Imperium Amiga 1989

Oil Imperium Amiga 1989

Tobias Richter: I´ve been a SciFi Fan for as long as I can think of -starting with the old classic Star Trek series, Space 1999 and what else was available on the small screen. I was always fascinated by creating whole new worlds – and the computer gave me the perfect environment to create such worlds. And I´ve always loved gaming – not only on the computer, but all sorts of games (as long as they don´t involve sports 🙂 ).During my study, a group of four friends – all students – developed a very successful game for the Amiga – „Oil Imperium“ in 1989. I was responsible for the whole graphics (all 2D – painted in Deluxe Paint), while the other guys did the programming. I even designed and programmed my own Star Trek game, which was pretty successful in the very popular public domain scene (around 1990). Since then, I´ve always enjoyed working for games – because you have a lot of freedom to do what you do and always new interesting tasks ahead. Today the need for very advanced 3D realtime models is growing very strong. Models that were „high poly“ a couple of years ago are now normal „real time“ models, requiring a much more highres model for the normal map.

When I moved to Cologne, I met the guys of Factor 5 – who were working on some pretty cool games. My first own office was a room in their office as a subtenant. Aside from a lot of fun with these guys, it also led to a lot of projects that I´ve worked on for them – including Super Turrican 2 and a large number of titles for Lucas Arts, e.g. the Rebel Assault / Rogue Squadron series. They worked very closely with Lucas Arts, so Factor 5 decided to relocate to California. Since their move I visited them from time to time and helped them with their projects when required. During that time we also went a couple of times to the Skywalker Ranch, but not to actually work there. It´s a very nice place, that´s for sure. Hey, I even saw George Lucas at the neighbor table during lunch 🙂

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