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I'm Martin, and I'm Back

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An Open Letter to Animation:Master Users;

 

It's been a long time since I've been around the Animation:Master forum, but I'm back. After recently Facebook-Friending a bunch of old-time users, Elm from SoulCage, asked where I'd been, and rather than write all this just to him, I thought I'd tell the entire Animation:Master userbase what transpired.

 

I started Hash in my mid-20s while I was still at Hewlett Packard in the late 1980s. 3D was my passion: I spent weekends & every lunch working on the progenitor program, Animation:Apprentice, using a technology I'd developed called voxels. The big breakthrough of spline modeling came in my hotel room at SIGGRAPH in 1990, with the first rendered “Hash Patch,” and Animation:Journeyman was born. It was a roller-coaster ride after that: first with Playmation being used at Will Vinton's studios, then a purchase of the technology by Microsoft, and subsequently the development of Animation:Master as you know it today by myself and a handful of other guys who hitched onto my star. It was awesome & it was awful, ending after two decades in betrayal, disappointment & self-doubt.

 

I always wanted to make movies, that's why I started writing software in the first place, and during my career at Hash Inc., I made 3 feature-length movies & several Shorts, so goal achieved, though it was a Pyrrhic victory because the financial failure of the movies meant I could not fool myself into thinking success was just around the corner. I lost my naive optimism, which is essential for anybody trying to do the impossible.

 

I never wanted to write software as a profession but the people I hired did, and I lost sight of my goals. It was especially brutal that the people who prevented me from doing what I wanted then stole the opportunity I had created, including my reputation. In the beginning, people thought I was brilliant, but by the end I was the goat, made worse by the fact that I never made any money from two decades of 24/7 programming. Thank god, my wife, Gwynne, was supportive by working to pay the bills at home. She saw what was going on before I did, and suggested I get out, but I thought I owed it to my supposed friends/employees, and I still had the dream of making movies.

 

Basically, what happened is our “professional” customers intentionally torpedoed us. Dale Carmen, of RealFX, literally told me that he was behind a giant online attack. Avalanche Studios, specifically Jeff Bunker, who we worked for as free programmers for years, were purchased by Disney then they secretly hired the programmers who had gotten all their credibility from my efforts. People who I had trusted for years stabbed me in the back, and cast doubt on my abilities. There was absolutely nothing left to work for.

 

Having lost faith in myself, I separated from the situation, left programming forever, and tested my meddle & intelligence in other fields. Turns out, I'm still brilliant: one of only 20 people in the world with doctorates in science, medicine & law; traveled to 100+ countries on 7 continents; wrote books & magazine articles, produced podcasts, developed a philosophy, and showed that it was always me who was the special one, everybody else was a hanger-on. And you know what? I also gained wisdom enough to not care. So what if I lost back-in-the-day? It was still a good ride: achieved my big goal of making-movies, got recognized by newspapers & magazines; and did something noteworthy with my youth. So now, after a decade away & regained self-confidence, I can look at Hash & Animation:Master, and see how excellent they are. I want to get back acquainted with tradeshows, customer art, and the forum community.

 

Thanks during the past 10 years of my absence go to the only programmer, Stefen Gross, who works tirelessly & without any sort of remuneration to keep the software up-to-date & fix bugs. And thank you to Jason Simonds for keeping day-to-day operations going all that time without any sort of pay except my gratitude. Thanks to my son, Heath, who still demonstrates at tradeshows. And, most importantly, a special THANK YOU to all of you who have supported Animation:Master through thick & thin.

 

I'll just sit in the background for now. I'll never write another line of code, and I won't have anything to do with all the stuff that made me leave in the first place, like the constant request for features, complaints about bugs, questioning my motives & business acumen, disrespectfully asking me to work for free or give money, none of the truly odious things that made things such a drag in the past. My mantra will be “it's for fun.” I will talk animation on this forum, and if you want to talk politics, my other forum at MartinHash.com is open to you. In fact, I invite anyone who thinks they can hold their own in a debate, or just wants the entertainment of lurking.

 

Sincerely, good to be back. I missed you.

 

Martin Hash

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Welcome back, Martin!

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Welcome back Martin!

 

This is going to be a great year. :)

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Martin glad to see you back! Some of the mentors have taken upon themselves to help and teach and coach. This forum is an awesome place to learn about AM and animation in general. There are alot of very talented people here! I am very thankful for the forum and I have made some wonderful friendships through collaboration of some fun projects. So my thanks for all your hard work and efforts in the past. I am sorry you had to go through what you listed. I think those of us here are here to have fun. So welcome back!!!

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Oops, i also wanted to say Martin, I had a blast at the Hash bash 10 years ago and I dont know if I ever thanked you for everything, so Thank You!

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It's like Old Home Week, good to hear from you guys!

 

Last month I was visiting Dylan Perry in Australia, the creator of the "Petey & Jaydee" animations. He also was away from A:M for a long time, but coincidently, he had just done a small project the month before I visited, and he plans on doing a bunch more for his "Super Happy Drifting" videos. Dylan had stayed with me several times in the past, twice for over a month, but I hadn't really heard from him for the decade, however, when we met up, it was just like old times.

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That is surely a disappointing series of events have to endure. I had no idea the stakes were so high that people would do such things.

 

None-the-less, it is good to hear from you again!

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Glad to hear that the Hash is back In Animation Master.

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Welcome back, Martin!

 

(Quick, guys, tidy up the place!) :-)

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Hey Martin!

 

Good to have you on the forum again! And thanks for your detailed post, a very interesting read.

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Martin,

It's seems more than fitting the creator of A:M be here as the A:M Forum approaches its 15th anniversary.

I have questions... none very well thought out... but all relating to splines, patches and the production of animation.

I'll see if I can dust those off.

 

I'm also more than a little curious to know if there will be much adjustment required on your part to reorient to the world of A:M after diving so deeply into the realms of politics, philosophy, etc. I'll guess not.

And will the return meet and exceed your expectations? I certainly hope so.

 

I'm looking forward to lively discussion on animation thought, theory and practice with the mind that created Animation:Master.

Even after all these years A:M is still the best thing going.

 

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Welcome back, Martin Hash! I honestly did not think this day would ever come! Thank-you for the update, your writing has always been worthy and memorable reads (Martins Minutes)

 

I remember you saying in about 2004 that 3D production had matured- well, it sure had-where do you see it now? I will look forward to seeing you around here, and hope you settle into a comfortable role...

 

Q- Have you kept a current version of A:M and used it over the past decade?

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​You've probably all seen this before but here's an easy link.

Animation:Master History

 

I don't know what my role in A:M will be? Most of those 10 years I didn't even go to 3D animated movies. Maybe you know that Ed Catmull was on my PhD Dissertation Committee, and he was aware of the Avalanche betrayal at the time. I want to think he didn't participate but he never responded to any contact during or after that, so watching Pixar movies is too reminiscent.

 

I'm okay with it now, only a tinge of regret remains, so I plan to watch all the Pixar movies I missed (not yet though). Truthfully, I'd like to make another movie in the future but that would have to materialize gracefully.

 

BTW, Robert Taylor tried to contact me just before he died but I couldn't respond at the time. I feel bad about that. One of the reasons I came back now.

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Martin! Great to see your post! I miss the old days of our e-mail community, before the forums. It was like a big user family back then: Jeff Lew, Zero Dean, Armando Afre... We had a lot of good times and looked forward to the weekly banter of Martin's Minutes!!! I remember working so closely with Ken as he was developing the Mac Platform as I just did not want to conform to the PC platform...

 

Anyway, great to see you!

 

TommyDAQ

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Martin! Great to see your post! I miss the old days of our e-mail community, before the forums. It was like a big user family back then: Jeff Lew, Zero Dean, Armando Afre... We had a lot of good times and looked forward to the weekly banter of Martin's Minutes!!! I remember working so closely with Ken as he was developing the Mac Platform as I just did not want to conform to the PC platform...

 

Anyway, great to see you!

 

TommyDAQ

 

I compiled "Martin's Minutes" into a couple volumes. Here's the ones from your era:

Memoirs of an Old Cyber-Cowboy

 

And here're the new ones: New Martin's Minutes

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Thank you for the wonderful years of your pleasure!


From Russia with love, Martin!

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Martin,

 

Very glad to have you back.

 

Sorry to hear that things were so difficult. I guess I don't see what they had to gain by trashing AM? Although it also sounds like others were trying to pass your work off as theirs?

 

BTW I bought the Kindle version of your book on Amazon, it was an interesting read.

 

Anyway, good to see you around again.

 

Still slogging away on my project, which reminds me I need to update my WIP thread.

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Hey Martin,

 

very nice to hear from you and I'm sorry to hear that it was such a hard time for you.

I wish you all the best and I hope to hear from you here :). Maybe a new Martin's Minutes or something could be established.

I always enjoyed reading those :).

 

See you

*Fuchur*

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It is good to hear from you! The pictures that you shared on Facebook of your travels are great--I imagine that the opportunity to travel the world gives you a new perspective.

 

I appreciate all that you have done to help the A:m user community, and for inviting us to the Hash Bash, and sharing your dream with us. If you have ever felt that I was ungrateful for what you have done to help me personally, I apologize. I value your friendship.

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Welcome back Grand PoohBah ! I'm glad to see you here again...

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Great to see ya back. Really missed your minutes/stories you used to post.

 

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Thanks, guys. Hopefully, we'll do something again. Movies need to be made.

 

My wife, Gwynne & I, hit the 100 countries mark:

Myanmar (Burma) Zoo

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Is that counting USA or no... if so- I am on THREE!

Hawaii & Alaska both count as 1 too for Travelers Century Club, so don't short yourself.

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I would never short myself- too many other people willing to do it better than I could!

 

My excuse is... a lack of wanderlust... last 7 vacations were spent visiting parents across the country... and I live in a beautiful state that I can't get enough of exploring and revisiting. It is interesting seeing what United Airlines is going thru right now- on the travel front.

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Movies need to be made.

 

This is awesone....

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100? That are many different countries... ;)
I've been to... I think 9? (at least if we are not counting Bavaria as one too... ;))
Don't know exactly but I am way behind...

 

See you

*Fuchur*

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Welcome Back.

Hawaii is part of the USA? Thought for the previous 8 years it was part of Kenya or something.

 

I joined the AM bandwagon just as you departed on your journeys. I remember seeing Hash in 3d magazines back in the mid 90's and at that time I was interested and a friend who taught 3d Studio and worked for Autodesk always had high marks for your software but at that time it wasn't applicable to the work i was doing. Mostly large converted poly files and industrial animation with EIAS and some in first version of Max.

 

I had done limited character work and always wanted to make a few flicks. Hopefully I can get back into AM and get some my ideas out. I always enjoyed working in AM far more than just about any program out there 2d or 3d.

 

Your software truly inspires people. I know it has for me.

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Well, thanx Ken, can't wait to see what you do with it.

 

p.s. For Traveler's Century Club, points are given not just for U.N. recognized countries, but also places that are distinctly different, like Alaska & Hawaii. For example: Bali, Sumatra, Borneo & Java are all part of Indonesia but worth a point each.

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Glad to see you back, Martin.

 

I enjoyed chatting at the shows and attending the Siggraph after parties. Martin's Minutes was always a good read.

 

Sorry to hear about all of the issues in the past. Money and fame really bring out the worst in people, even from family and friends.

 

Thanks for making such inspirational software over the years. I'm still a happy user since 1994. People like you demystified the 3D landscape and made it more fun and approachable, not elitist.

Travel is the best, but animation/film-making and creating music are a close second. :-)

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Just reading further on this ...a lot of traveling I've made 49 states (not Hawaii yet), parts of Europe,Russia, and a few Caribean islands and Mexico next is Cuba ...Maybe I bump into you somewhere besides the Hash office...glad your checking in

 

oops almost forgot Vietnam

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I won't be going back to Vietnam. I suppose you won't be either.

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Not on my list but apparently it is possible

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Hi Martin!

 

In 1992 - 1993 i got started with povray, and then discovered Playmation, which fueled my interest in the wonders of raytracing and digital cinematography.

 

(My parents phonebills got huge because of my constant Raytech-BBS sessions. I Guess i was reading 'Martins Minutes' there.. ?).

- - -

(BTW, was Animation:Journeyman the origins of 'pixar Renderman'?).

- - -

I've since come in contact with Softimage 3D, Lightvawe and other such ilk through a previous employer, but splines over polygons is the way to go.

- - -

Have been away from work a couple of years due to illnes, but plan to get the latest A:M as soon as i am affluent again, so i can start building characters and sets, telling storys and making visual fables, if only for my own amusement. It's great theraphy.

 

And great fun!

 

 

Thank You Martin for all your hours of coding and hard work!

 

 

Best Regards

 

Robert Andersson from Sweden

 

P.S. I think I still have the H.A.S.H. t-shirt i got with one of my A:M-upgrades somewhere. Let me know if You want it back.. ;)

 

E.O.F

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A H*A*S*H t-shirt. Wow, you would have had to get that while we were at a show in Sweden, mid-to-late 90s.

 

Who has a "Still Smokin' After All These Years" baseball cap?

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"Having lost faith in myself, I separated from the situation, left programming forever, and tested my meddle & intelligence in other fields. Turns out, I'm still brilliant: one of only 20 people in the world with doctorates in science, medicine & law; traveled to 100+ countries on 7 continents; wrote books & magazine articles, produced podcasts, developed a philosophy, and showed that it was always me who was the special one, everybody else was a hanger-on. And you know what? I also gained wisdom enough to not care. So what if I lost back-in-the-day? It was still a good ride: achieved my big goal of making-movies, got recognized by newspapers & magazines; and did something noteworthy with my youth. So now, after a decade away & regained self-confidence, I can look at Hash & Animation:Master, and see how excellent they are. I want to get back acquainted with tradeshows, customer art, and the forum community."

 

A lot of personal intimate information in there. I really appreciate you sharing that with us. I believe without question that you are brilliant. I say this with respect, love and appreciation for all that you have done for us. For me particularly I have used your software in multiple commercials. I can't help but feel after reading the above that there is still some mental emotional cancer ailing you. Perhaps I'm wrong but if not I highly recommend going to an UPW event. I bet my life it will clean out whatever is left. Despite any preconceived notions, you might have it has the effect of a je ne sais quoi. Being as brilliant as you are I suspect you may believe there is a possibility of something new and great in yourself you have yet to discover.

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Jason Hess said:

 

Welcome back Martin!

 

Welcome back Jason!

You've been missed too!

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A H*A*S*H t-shirt. Wow, you would have had to get that while we were at a show in Sweden, mid-to-late 90s.

 

Who has a "Still Smokin' After All These Years" baseball cap?

Very amusing ;)

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Thanks, guys. Hope to see you around on the forum.

 

Had the first Hash Inc. meeting in 10 years on Sunday. Jason, Heath, myself, and Steve were in attendance. We discussed which shows we would like to do, and what we expect to get while we're doing them. I suggested we contact the guest artists and invite them to hangout in our booth, maybe sign autographs. I know when we go to a show, it's nice to talk to people like us. Customers are always welcome, especially when most of you are more than customers, you're part of the family.

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Had the first Hash Inc. meeting in 10 years on Sunday. Jason, Heath, myself, and Steve were in attendance.

 

That's exciting news.

 

Like a phoenix from the ashes!

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Martin-

 

Great to hear from you!

 

You planted a wondrous seed and although one can't always predict what shape the fruit will take, it has turned out magnificently. Your software has been a blessing to many, many artists who would have been otherwise strangled by corporate greed. Remember when Softimage cost thousands of dollars to license one seat!!! yikes.....

 

Thank you!!!

 

As far as the unseemly stuff.....yes, unfortunately when egos and money are at stake, and the reptile brain (R-Complex) does it slithery thing...the only consolation is that the weasels often get whats coming to them quickly. I know of a situation where a guy apprenticed with a craftsman and learned all his tricks. He then went out on his own and siphoned off the old craftsman's customers. Two years later the weasel had another guy learn his tricks and siphon off his customers......instant karma

 

Anyway,

Are you going to Comic Con? would love to touch base...

 

Tom C.

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Hey, Tom, great to hear from you, and thanks.

 

Comicon is out of our budget this year but I'll be going to ECC up in Seattle; it's like Comicon used to be 25 years ago.

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Welcome back, Martin!

Having grown up in Hollywood , I know many betrayal sagas,,,,,, and

Many Karma Sagas.

Cheers

Bruce

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Jason Hess said:

 

Welcome back Martin!

 

Welcome back Jason!

You've been missed too!

 

I have always been here lurking in the background. training new skills :)

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Holy cow!!! Welcome back Martin! I always loved your spirit and and also reading your Martin's Minutes columns. I got Animation Master back when the commercial software was super-expensive and I could afford it. I also enjoy watching Scarecrow of Oz and Tin Woodman of Oz even to this day, even getting to help out a bit on them. If you want to make another animated movie, count me in!

 

:D

 

-Sean Wall

 

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Good to hear from you, Sean!

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