Interview with Niels de Koning / GFXZone
[WildMag] The "GFXZone" seems to be the largest archive of pixel graphics, dedicated to the demoscene. Whats your opinion about this point? Are there any "concurrency" picture archives in the world wide web?
[NdK] There are a few websites that also supply the visitor with scene-graphics, but none of the ones I know are as complete as the GFXZone I think. As far as I am concerned they are just trying to achieve the same goals as the GFXZone.
[WildMag] Could you tell us shortly the history of the GFXZone? Who was and are the people behind?
[NdK] GFXZone started back around 1996 as a small personal project from 3D Addict. In fact, at that time it was only a small section of his personal homepage. He started this out of personal interest in scene-graphics. At first he only had a small collection of scene-graphics but slowly his collection grew bigger.
Until 1998 the GFXZone was mainly a solo-project from 3D Addict. In 1998 I helped him a bit on the site and that is how I become involved. One or two years later our other two crew members, MrEd and Wishbone joined the ranks. So in total we are with four at the moment and we all have our seperate tasks to keep the GFXZone running. MrEd and me are from The Netherlands, Wishbone lives in France and 3D Addict is currently living in the United States.
In the summer of 2000 3D Addict told us that he no longer wanted to be the main editor because this job was taking up too much of his spare time. That is when I offered to take over his position as the main editor and 3DA now does various background tasks for the GFXZone.
[WildMag] How is your philosophy?
[NdK] In a few words our philosophy as GFXZone is to be the best place we can be when you are looking for scene graphics. We try to be as complete as possible and we try to give plenty of attention to the quality and talent out there. This is our way of giving something back to the demo-scene.
[WildMag] What should and what shouldn't be hosted at GFXZone?
[NdK] There are different fields where this question applies to. There is the question about traced and pixelled graphics and ofcourse there is also the question of showing copied/scanned art.
First about the trace/pixel issue. There are notably less trace graphics available on the GFXZone compared to the pixel collection. The GFXZone tries to be a place for all scene graphics and a logical result of this is that all scene graphics should get their place on the GFXZone. This includes traced graphics and we do not intend to avoid showing traced graphics. If you look on the GFXZone there are also quite a few traced images available on the GFXZone. You'll just have to search a bit harder to find those. For example: we have some party galleries, which show all the graphics that are released at a certain party. If this party has a competition where traced images are allowed we will definately show those if they are good enough. There is also a theme gallery with traced images and a few personal galleries from trace graphicians.
Then about the copy/no-copy discussion. As I told earlier in the interview the GFXZone tries to be as complete as possible when it comes to supplying scene-graphics to its visitors. This ofcourse means that we will show a lot of copied pictures. The opinion of the GFXZone is that graphicians should not copy at all, but we will not ban copied imagery from the GFXZone.
And the last issue about what should be hosted on the GFXZone is the contents of an image. There are always some images that contain strong pornographic scenes. The GFXZone will not show such images in their online galleries. With the amount of nudity scene-graphics contain, it is ofcourse a matter of opinion where a person draws the line in regards to pornography. :-) We will also avoid showing discriminating and hatefull images.
[WildMag] What are you doing here at MS2001? Do you contribute to any compo?
[NdK] I am having a good time here at MS2001! :-) I did not have enough time to create something that I could have entered in the competitions, but judging from the quality I have seen so far I probably wouldn't even have passed the pre-selection. :-) If you haven't seen the graphics from this years M&S party then you should visit the GFXZone, the quality is very high.
[WildMag] Both graphic competitions are shown already. What's your opinion about the changes in this "graphics scene"? (In the past there was "raytracing", today it is a huge "alternative" compo.)
[NdK] There are three graphics compos at Mekka & Symposium 2001. They are "pixel", "alternative" and "C64-graphics". The C64 compo is pretty clear - if the image can be displayed on a C64 it can compete in this compo. ;^) This competition just ended and again I am very impressed by those graphics. I think it is really amazing to see what is graphically possible on this machine with limited resources. This machine only has 16 predefined colors, you know!
For the other two compos the line is a bit less obvious. Pixel includes all non-traced images that are pixelled. This includes 8bit and 24bit. Also, it should not include scanned elements. And the Alternative compo is basically where all the graphics that do not belong in another compo compete. This means traced images, but also photoshop collages (if you know what I mean) and wallpapers.
By introducing this "alternative" graphics compo the organizers of M&S added a difficulty for the party-people who have to judge the images. They have to compare the traced images to the other images in this compo. This is difficult because the amount of work involved in the different types of images is also very different. That is why I personally think it is unfair towards the graphicians who entered with raytraced graphics that their images are in the same competition as the non-traced images.
But on the other hand I also understand the organizers of the party that it would add to the confusion to add yet another graphics competition.
[WildMag] What about the future of the GFXZone?
[NdK] We plan to continue doing the GFXZone for as long as we enjoy doing it. The GFXZone is our way of doing something back for the demoscene that has given us so much that we enjoy (and I don't mean only graphics). So as long as there will be an interesting demoscene, we will enjoy doing the GFXZone.
For the near future we have some other interesting plans that you might like to hear about because it is not yet widely spread news :-) Towards the end of this year or maybe next year the GFXZone is planning to release a DVD with everything the graphics scene has to offer. This planned DVD will ofcourse hold the entire GFXZone so that you can browse it offline, but it will also hold our private collection of scene graphics. Our private collection of graphics is probably the largest collection of scene-graphics available on this planet! It holds many, many more images than what is available on the GFXZone. All graphics are nicely sorted which means that you will have all available graphics from your favourite graphicians available to you. At the moment we are working hard on these plans.
[WildMag] Sounds great. Any last words?
[NdK] Respect to all graphicians out there. Thanks to the GFXZone crew and thanks to all our visitors.
Because we want to have a high quality collection, everybody can help us out. If you are visiting the GFXZone and you notice that there is something important missing (like a certain picture of a graphician or a certain party archive or something like that) or you see some errors, you could help us out by letting us know. We appreciate that.