The Workflow Scale: Why 5x Faster Might Not Be Enough
This essay discusses qualitative versus quantitative accelerations of user tasks, in the context of computer animation production. A workflow regime is defined as a range of system response times in which the artist's relationship to the task is qualitatively similar. Radical new technology is much more likely to succeed when it brings an artist's workflow into a new regime, providing a discontinuous improvement in efficiency and final image quality. More modest technology revisions can supply smaller speed-ups, but these are merely consumed by Blinn's Law, i.e., the tendency for system response times to remain constant as technology improves, due to increased input complexity. We propose a list of workflow regimes and their ranges of response time.