Ending weeks of speculation, China announced today it will formally relax polygon count restrictions on all CG models, part of an effort to improve human rights as well as animation industry opportunities to actually sell work for money.
General Wei Zhang, head of the PRC’s Center for Geometric Shape Control and Prevention, told a packed press conference that, “Effective May 1, 2014, all independent and studio-based animators and vfx artists may use 90,000 polys in 2K pipelines and 150,000 polys in 4K pipelines, up from 15,000 and 30,000 respectively. Game designers may now use 25,000 polys, up from 11,000. However, modelers who still cannot abide by these restrictions will face fines or ‘re-education’ on how to properly use ZBrush and other modeling tools.”
Though the current decades old restrictions have long been applauded by the global animation industry as an important step in precluding Chinese animation studios from having the slightest chance of competing internationally, the policy has come under increasing domestic scrutiny as animation producers and artists alike have become more vocal in their opposition. One Shanghai animation veteran, speaking on the condition of anonymity, claimed the polygon restrictions have “severely hindered our ability to make high quality knock-offs of Western animated films, TV shows and games. Changing the policy will increase industry opportunities to create much more visually dynamic and professional looking rip-offs.”
The current policy will remain in place, however, for all models of rabbits, monkeys, cats, pandas and any animal that transforms into a robot. According to General Zhang, the decision to modify the law was necessary to persuade Chinese game and animated cartoon creators to come up with something new for a change. “If I see another kids’ TV cartoon about a plucky brat and his obnoxious monkey whose scooter morphs into a missile-wielding star cruiser, I’m going to gouge out my eyes with a bayonet.”