W for… Wireframe

What we call wireframe objects are indeed  3D objects that are displayed in a very peculiar way : they are not filled, nor wrapped in mapping (or even bumpmapping) but are sort of transparent. Only their edges or outlines are displayed to create what we can call « skeleton 3D » or « wireframe » of course. Basically the object is made of lines. Not as impressive as full (or mapped) 3D of course yet quite stylish and an effect that I’ve been in love with ever since it appeared in the early 90s (or maybe even late 80s).

Will you dare say you don’t like it ? Taken from 1993 Flip-O démo.

The nice thing with that effect is that since objects are not very complex they can move smoothly. Then, up to you to think about more sophisticated shapes of course. Everything can be done ! Besides this kind of effect usually comes with additional motion blur. You can easily see what I mean with the screenshot below where each line appears four times. Last but not least wireframe objects usually morph after a while and turn into another shape.

I am undoubtedly in love with  wireframe objects. Note that the mirror effect is a major plus. Taken from the Brace demo (1993).

Once very fashionable, mostly in the 90s, I still believe that this effect could be used in modern demos. Yet you have to find new ways of showing it otherwise what’s the point doing what has already been done and seen so many times before ? By the way have you noticed that the two screenshots shown above are almost similar ? Spot the differences if you want but you’ll mostly see that the shape is identical.

Design still matters a lot and I won’t complain about that ! Taken from the Colorz demo by Hemoroids (1993).

Like most « oldschool » effects, in other words effects from the 90s, wireframe objects reached a peak. We had plenty of them and even tho most of them were beautiful they now lack originality apart from a few examples such as those in 1992 E605 demo by Light.

Here’s a combination between wireframe and vectorballs.

Even tho they tended to recycle that effect a bit too much, demo crew Legacy clearly showed that they mastered it among others in 1992 Froggies Over the Fence advert that you will be able to watch down this page. The right choice of colors and shapes truly helps make this effect something I sincerely love !

Panorama
A few yummy screenshots. They remind me of the introduction to a famous French TV program called « Thalassa » 🙂

Alas, this wireframe effect hardly made it beyond 2000 except for a few appearances here and there as can be seen in the Two in One demo by Dead Hackers Society, a demo whose goal was indeed to combine « oldschool » and « new school » effects.

Don’t get wrong, this demo isn’t all about oldschool effects.

I am afraid I cannot think, or better said find, any other recent example… Truth is that the latest 3D efforts seen in demos are really advanced and awesome. Yet wireframe objects still hold a special place in my heart.

The only modern production that comes to my mind featuring this effect is 2014 Nebenprodukt by Checkpoint. I see it both as a tribute and update to this oldschool 3D effect and that’s really a stunning tribute ! But to make things clearer you will have to read my article about 4Kb prods ! 🙂

It may not look impressive but the true interest for this production lies somewhere else. Stay tuned for more !

Let’s show you the beauty of this effect with two demos : first the Froggies Over the Frence advert by Legacy and then with the Brace demo by Diamond Design. Both are very nice demonstrations so I hope you’ll enjoy the show !

Already time to close this article with the E605 demo and its mesmerizing combination of wireframe objects and vectorballs, all of this wrapped up into a cozy musical atmosphere. Another moment of pure bliss. 🙂

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