Character from the Cartoon Design Disk
New Cyber product releases peaked in the Summer of 1988, but the overall computer software market was growing and offering new opportunities. The Cyber graphics software did not go unnoticed outside the Atari world, garnering write-ups in publications such as Computer Graphics World and BYTE and attracting attention at trade shows. One particular trade show encounter was fateful. Tom relates:
Gary and I were demonstrating Stereo CAD-3D 2.0. We had a monitor set up inside this black plywood shroud so there wouldn't be a lot of ambient light problems when using the [15hz-per-eye] 3D glasses. A couple of guys come up and one tells the other, “This is what I wanted you to see!” He has the other guy put on the 3D glasses and we ran through some of the animated 3D stuff, and he loves it. He takes off the glasses, turns to us, hands us his card and says “Do you guys want a job?” He was Eric Lyons, who I believe at that time was Director of New Technology for Autodesk. I politely turned him down, saying that I was self-employed and really liked what I was doing!
A year or two later, in early 1988, Gary left Antic to pursue a development deal with Eric Lyons and David Kalish at Autodesk that would take all this momentum to the next level. Gary contracted Tom to begin work on Autodesk 3D Studio, and Jim to work on Autodesk Animator. Naturally, Gary brought Jack Powell along, too, as “the human on the team.” Thus was born Yost Group, Inc.
Graphics on the Atari didn't just grind to a halt with the formation of Yost Group. In fact, the largest actual release of Cyber products took place in the Summer of 1988, shortly after Gary had left. Jack Powell stayed behind at Antic just long enough to see the summer products out the door, then handed the reins to his friend, Charles Cherry, who had himself become an Antic technical editor. The last “Cyber” product was released in February 1989: Cyber Print, by Larry Bergan, was a printing program for color output of images files, including Spectrum 512 and CAD-3D renderings to the color Okimate 20 thermal printer.
In the meantime, people continued to use the Cyber software to make animation. Most users stopped there, but some followed Yost Group on to the PC, once their first products became available. But that’s a story for another day.
The next several pages go into more detail about each major Cyber product...