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Exclusive Interview: The Re-emergence of Electric Image Animation System

In this special interview Tomas Egger–the owner and leader of the renowned Electric Image Animation System and well-regarded VFX supervisor and film director–speaks to Architosh about the re-emergence of EIAS, it’s latest version 9 features, its influential past and its promising future with EIAS 3D.

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TE: Generally there are two big categories of requests and it’s always difficult to find a balance between them. The first category is new features. To address this in EIAS 9 you see multi-threaded and 64 bits rendering, Global Illumination that is faster and easier to use than ever, Bullet built-in dynamics, smart IBL presets, and the new import system.

The other category is workflow improvements, optimizations and polishing. Those are just as important as the new features to our customers. In EIAS 9 we have improved the preview system in Animator, added locked Camera maps, greatly enhanced the speed and stability of our network rendering system, added new plugins and shaders, improved our OpenGL rendering, and made numerous UI changes to improve the overall workflow.

AFR:  Your user interface is independent of the operating system UI functions–much like CINEMA 4D, is that correct? Does this make it easier for you to support both Mac and Windows at the same time and with the same speed?

TE: Yes, but we have just about out-grown our cross-platform [development] framework. We are studying new technologies to allow users to have an improved and more modern customizable interface.

AFR:  Electric Image has been famous for a very long time for its rendering speed and quality. Your latest rendering samples on your site show some incredible imagery. Why has Electric Image been so fast through the years?

TE: Camera, our own rendering engine, is state-of-the-art technology. Camera 9 is the fastest yet and the combination of increased speed and new features makes it a fantastic tool. It has a new Global Illumination engine, new sampling system, is multi-threaded and 64-bit compatible. This allows it to render huge frame sizes with tons of geometry.

Electric Image: Today and the Future

AFR:  What is your company doing to grow Electric Image again? How do you see expanding beyond your loyal customers?

TE: Our first step is complete with the release of EIAS 9 by showing we really care about the software and its development.  We are working to make EIAS more and more modern, easier, and faster, with great built-in solutions.

The world is changing really fast and our customers need to deliver work faster, with a high-end quality, but they don’t have more resources than they had a few years ago. Our focus is to bring them an affordable product with amazing features and support.

05 - EIAS was used on the hit-movie Austin Powers and its sequel. (© Newline Cinema. All rights reserved. Image courtesy of EIAS 3D. )

06 - Electric Image Animation System 9 has many UI improvements but the company will be modernizing in future releases. (images courtesy of EIAS 3D)

07 - Another image of the user-interface of Electric Image Animation Systems 9 (EIAS 9).

AFR: What things do you guys have to do to make Electric Image fit into more sophisticated production pipelines in the future releases? What is your general strategy?

TE: Upgrades like we did with EIAS 9, new technology features, lots of workflow improvements and huge optimizations. We are connecting EIAS via model and scene importation to other applications.

AFR:  What is exciting about Electric Image for you in the future?

TE: We dreamed to own EIAS and to do professional development with it…and we did!!  So now our next steps are to work harder and deliver even better upgrades!

AFR: Tomas, sounds like Electric Image Animation System (EIAS) is in very good hands and has a good roadmap ahead of it. The many images you have provided us for this article are amazing! We look forward to learning more and seeing more great updates come out of this legendary 3D software application. Thanks for talking to us.

TE: You are very welcome, it is always a pleasure to talk with your publication.

Learning More About Electric Image Animation System 9

Electric Image Animation System version 9 (EIAS 9) retails for 895.USD and runs on Mac and Windows operating systems. Upgrades start 395.USD. The product comes with a dongle option. To learn more about Electric Image Animation System version 9, go to their main home page here.

A really good place to see some of the latest animation reels is at their company Vimeo page here. And you must check out the EIAS 9 official company introduction reel here. Great stuff!

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