TV-BAY December 2012
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Character generation today means real-time 3D graphics by Miguel Churruca I n the constantly evolving World of television, graphics departments could be the ones facing the most complicated challenges. Designers have changed from 2D stills to 3D real- time animations and many sections of the department, such as news graphics or CG specialists, had to cope with the most radical changes, both because new technologies and the evolution of other departments such as newsrooms. The days of the dedicated hardware islands are long gone and today’s broadcast graphics require designers with multiple abilities and flexible hardware and software solutions. And on top of that we find, as always, the need and capability to deliver quality graphics in daily close- to-air situations. One of the most visible changes happened in character generation (CG). What started as a simple island that delivered quick text is now an essential part of the graphics department that no longer uses only text generators but delivers advanced animations including text, stills, bumpers, lower-thirds and even 3D animations. Today, channels require complex branding elements that force designers to give the best of their creativity and the most of their equipment, making graphics creation a collaborative task. also journalists and other players. The graphics department could deliver finished graphics or just templates for the journalists to fill in depending on their daily needs. So the end result will be that designers are seamlessly integrated in the newsroom workflow, and also have the ability to create stand-alone graphics and animations for other related requirements. Therefore, flexible graphics solutions are required, and CGs now need to offer many more features, a wider toolset and further graphics possibilities to cope with any broadcast requirement. Character generation now needs an advanced graphics toolset to become the centre of the graphics department. Aston is a brand which has been deeply linked to the television industry for more than 30 years, as it has been an industry-leading real-time character generator brand renowned for its simplicity and reliability. When Brainstorm acquired the Aston brand in 2009, the power and flexibility of Brainstorm’s eStudio merged with the Aston 7’s traditional user interface and feature set, resulting in stunning 3D graphics, but with the advantages of fast, page-based graphics recall using the Aston 7’s customised keyboard layout. This is the foundation of a new development that takes advantage of all the power of the eStudio engine to deliver the most powerful real-time 3D graphics creation, CG and playout solution for any broadcast need. With Aston 3D Brainstorm has condensed 20 years of development of real-time 3D graphics into a comprehensive solution that brings the heritage of the Aston brand to a wider customer base. A newly developed GUI (Graphic User Interface) blends the Aston user experience with eStudio’s vast power and extense toolset to deliver the ultimate broadcast graphics solution. The new Aston 3D will transcend the boundaries of character generation expanding its capabilities to become the centre of the graphics department, where all the power of Brainstorm real-time graphics is embedded into this new product, that blends the best of two Worlds: the raw power of the Brainstorm engine and the usability of more than 30 years of experience in the demanding environment of the broadcast on-air operation. Aston 3D allows operators to create, manipulate, animate and perform last-minute changes, even in on-air operation, of any kind of videographics, plus fully integrating its output into any broadcasters’s workflow. This implies that not only designers are involved in graphics creation, but 44 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE TV-BAY072DEC12.indd 44 07/12/2012 15:14