Saturday, 9 June 2007

Day156 Dr Who

Dr Who
So this weekend UKTV (http://www.uktv.com.au/home/) gifts us with a marathon of both the new seasons. There are little snippets of CG work throughout the series which help the whole thing hang together. Some of the episodes are very moody, scary and no small amount of disturbing - great stuff - or should that be "Fantastic" :-)
Loved the series1 marathon - so many good moments packed into a looong day. There is actually a fair amount of CG and other kinds of special effects work throughout the series. The whole thing manages to deal with serious issues without them coming across in the same way American shows often do. The ride is always exciting, thought provoking and with the depth of history behind hte show full of dimension and character.

[dalek image from the UKTV site from Dr Who]

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Noah's 3D
This little site (http://www.noah3d.com/) shows off the work of Noah Brewer who has done some work in bringing the traditional anime of Bubblegum Crisis into 3D. Some pretty amazing work for a single guy - showing off the full box 'n' dice.

[images from Noah's site og his CG work]

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Also came across 3Dcreative (http://www.3dcreativemag.com/) which I will have to have a closer look at...

Friday, 8 June 2007

Day155 More Surface and Presentation Ideas

Microsoft Surface
In their recent piece of spam Microsoft again was pushing the Surface technology - this is certainly looking like no small piece of whimsy on their part. The email links to this (http://on10.net/Blogs/larry/first-look-microsoft-surfacing-computing/) presentation. In this presentation we get to see the apps that show up in others in more depth, though they mention Vista being at the core - all the applications are essentially free standing apps. It would be great if the same 'hardware' could just load up Vista to run as-is.

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Sony Flexi Screen
This link (http://www.akihabaranews.com/en/news-13940-The+Flexible+Sony+TV+Screen.html) also came through the Microsoft spam. This sort ot technology could have a profound impact on the integration of computers in a way that means the screens can fit the area or usage rather than the other way around. Have a look at the image - how sexy is that!!
some utube vid links:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7QbQugXy1A
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoxaMAA1jjM&NR=1

[image of a sony test flexible screen from the Akihabara News site]

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mid-sized Architecture student exhibitions were tonight and though we had 4 projectors running through student work imagery - it still doesnt have the impact that we are aiming at with a digital-centric studio and exhibition setup.

maybe huge touch screens like these:

[image of large format touch screen from the electroboard site]

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Day154 MacBookPro etc

New MacBook Pros
My thinking on whether to get myself a MacBook Pro took another turn today with the release of the new models (http://www.apple.com/au/macbookpro/graphics.html). Still the same slick form-factor but now with a boost to performance that make it more tempting. The main upgrade of note is the change from the X1600 to the nice new 6800M GT (256MB) for the graphics. This changes the whole ballgame - now wandering around with a 15" macbookpro that can boot to either the MacOS or to XP is viable.
I havent worked out whether this is a sane plan yet - does dual booting really work in reality? Is there enough of a reason to go down this road? Will I end up carrying an M90 and a MacbookPro on my back - scary? Maybe working with 2 machines at once will have its advantages - one could render away while I work on the other for example...

[image of the new macbookpros from the Apple site]

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More Tomb Raiding and bunch of discussions around digital presetation tech round out today. The way the water effects work in TRA is very nice, she makes nice splashes and is all dripping wet for a while after she gets wet.

[screenshot of my playing TRA]

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Day153 TRA and sketchup to UT3

Tomb Raider: Anniversary (TRA) Playing
Started the main campaign today and was really enjoying myself. It leads you in slowly, showing the various moves that can be done and having never played with the grappling iron before that was nifty. There are several bits already that bring back long lost memories of the original - kinda like Jeja-vu than a clear memory. I still get shocked by things and cringe it when Lara falls to her death or drowns etc - eek.

[screenshot of me ingame - this is shrunken and jpeged through a screengrab]

Sketchup to Roboblitz/UT3 via ruby plugin
Tag teaming with Russell we got a plugin (thanks Belgabor for this gem) for Sketchup which let us export to .ASE and then import into the Roboblotz Enreal Editor as a static mesh (line collision) with no texture yet. But this then bring in geometry just like that into the new engine. There is still some way to go with things like smoothing groups, textures and more complex collision mesh importing - but this is still progress.
The logic should work fine with the older UT2004 engine and editor as well which gives us different capabilities.
Will these logics ever get us to HL2 or Crysis etc is a good question??

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Day152 Tomb Raider, Ruby in Sketchup and more

Tomb Raider Anniversary
Purchased Tomb Raider Anniversary (http://www.tombraider.com/anniversary/) straight out steam today. I last covered this baby back on Day95 (http://3doinkfrog.blogspot.com/2007/04/day95-wow-and-more.html) and the lure is too great now that it is here. I have fond memories of the game from many many moons ago and the graphic splendour of the new engine bring Lara and her expliots into the new era. Things have come a long way since 1996 and the new game shows off these advances - even the delivery method (through a STEAM download for me) shows how far we have come.


[screenshots from tombraiderchronicles.com - I think they weren't all from here]
I played for a few hours already but am still trying to work my way through the Manor. The puzzles are tough - wish I knew where the sneaky grappling hook was hiding. The live graphics arent bad - some very nice bits and a few bits where her interaction with things could be nicer. I would still like to have a 'walk backwards' ability - but that doesnt stop me. She is a very athletic creature and leaps all over the place with ease. I am going to have many hours of fun and frustration ahead...
oh and for the modding has begun (of outfits at least): http://forums.eidosgames.com/showthread.php?t=68346
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Ruby on Rails and Sketchup
Sketchup scripting is done with Ruby (http://www.ruby-lang.org/en/) which I dont know alot about - but it does seem to be quite nifty. I ran through the Try Ruby in-browser (http://tryruby.hobix.com/) and not only is Ruby sane enough (with a few quirks) but the browser tute is very nicely made and a great way to get your feet wet.

[ruby logo from the Ruby site]
Ruby on Rails (rails being the library extension) is something I hear around the traps - and these vids show off some of its power while inspiring at the same time(http://rubyonrails.org/screencasts). The Flickr on Rails vid shows off some very sexy interactions between applications in the browser using Ruby and her friend Rails. I certainly dont get all that was done - but in 5 mins it is very nifty and all on the Mac with Ajax. The blog vid is even more beyond me - particularly as there is alot of library work going on behind the scenes - but the power is obvious.

The more I look, the more I like about Ruby, it surely is more than just a basic scripting language - it is capable of writing full applications and doing all manner of wonders. No doubt the perl and python folk (let alone the 'real' language users) think their language of choice has advantages - but it looks like they all have merit = minefield. Maya has just introduced Python as their scripting language - and with Sketchup going Ruby - the market is wide and varied as always.
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3D App Comparisons
In looking around I found this (http://wiki.cgsociety.org/index.php/Comparison_of_3d_tools) handy comparison of many of the 3D apps we know and love on CGSociety. It has pricing and feature sets and gets into some nice detail in some areas plus links off to more info for each.
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Lydia's Game Site and some Crysis fun

[Lydia's site banner]
I liked this little site (http://www.funkylydia.com/) - It provided info on a bunch of games of serious interest to me. There is good depth to the info and a real enthusiasm for finding new stuff and letting us all know.
There is plenty of Crysis info and pics here to look through as well - good stuff Lydia - check out the concept art (http://www.funkylydia.com/crysis/concept.html) gorgeous:

[just a concept art teaser of what awaits on Lydias site for Crysis]

I am not sure where she found it - but this image showing real life photos in comparison with the Crysis versions of similar things really does drive home just how good the CryEngine2 stuff is. I (along with many many others) just cant wait to experience Crysis in all its imersive glory. Her screenshots page (http://www.funkylydia.com/crysis/screenshots.html) is stuffed with amazing visuals.

[image from Lydia's site of Crysis vs real life imagery - amazing]
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Spore Vids
Spore (http://www.spore.com/) is one of those games that nobody should be able to wait for - the scope and ingenuity is beyond the scope of pretty much anything we have today. I last looked at this on Day70 (http://3doinkfrog.blogspot.com/2007/03/day70-presentations-and-wow.html) and things havent really come that far since - but there are some youtube vids that show things off and just make the wait ever so much harder - check the link below.

The long video shows all the phases of the entire game, from the cellular lifeforms to sandboxing in the entire galaxy - epic in scope. The fluidity of the variations and the clever interplay when decisions are made are a joy to watch in a way that feels like the Sims, SimCity, Civilisation, Populous, Majesty, Google Earth and a Nature Doco all munged together would be like. My favourite bit was when he made some nice flying machines for his peaceful civ - they took to the sky and flew away to leave their city at the mercy of the tanky things approaching.
I love the way that DESIGN will be integral to playing the game for yourself and others.
Watch! - that is an order:
(note that in the demos they are using Dell XPS laptops - groovy)

Oh and just a screenshot to remind us all what Spore is all about or check out SporeWiki (http://www.sporewiki.com/Main_Page):

[screenshot from Sporewiki of Spore]

Monday, 4 June 2007

Day151 Zootfly and docs

Zootfly
The folk at Zootfly (http://www.zootfly.com/tect.html) have created Xubl which perports to be a full plugin for Maya that extends the functionality to realtime gaming in a big way. The site lists a set of features that any current/future game engine would be proud of and all built inside the Maya front-end. The site states that for non-commercial use the download of Xubl will be free, and teamed up with the Maya PLE edition one could Mod at will for free.

So what can this baby do? Well since it is still coming it is a little hard to tell yet - but the videos on the site are nifty. Some of the vids are of Panzer Elite which looks like it has some nice graphical moments, but the best stuff seems to be from Time0 (http://www.timeogame.com/) which is built using Xubl and looks pretty darn sexy - some links to youtube versions of the teaser trailers (bigger ones on their site):
and some screenshots:

[screenshots of Time0 from their site]
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Journey Docs and Macs
I did some wok on my Google Docs record keeping for all my expenses on this grand journey - now that it is 150 days old. Even though Google Docs in not everything to everyone it is very clever for a free online app of this type. My expenses arent too out of control yet either, I guess that will change when my uni fees kick in. Well when I say not out of control the total is over $780 bucks - so not just a few dinners :-)

Plus, should I get a Mac for my MDM program at COFA - shock horror...
More on this in days to come as I try and work out how I might study using the M90 in the Mac environment that awaits me for the next 4 sessions (minimum). Should it dual boot Windows? Should I wait for Leopard? Is something better than parallels coming? etc???
I havent been the biggest supporter of the Mac - mostly because there are just too many sexy applications that were lost to the Mac users. Now they are slightly more available - perhaps having access to both worlds could work??? I certainly like many things about the OS and the hardware is gorgeous (if limited).

[images of those lovely Macbooks from the Apple site]

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Day150 Sketchup

A look at some of the sketchup capabilities, plugins, modelling vids and more:

Vray Sketchup
The introduction of rendering firepower of the likes of Vray right into sketchup as a plugin (http://www.asgvis.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=40&Itemid=138) brings another level of capability to the mighty sketchup. Jeremy has played with the trial already and seemed very enthusiastic that his favourite modeller is now teamed up with his renderer of choise as well.

[images from the asgvis site showing what vray for sketchup can do]

Podium Sketchup
There are more renderers for Sketchup than the famous Vray. The Podium plugin (http://www.suplugins.com/) shows what can be achieved with a smaller outlay. Their gallery has some more nice things to inspire experimentation in this area (http://www.suplugins.com/Gallery/index.html)

[images from the suplugins site of Podium for sketchup]

IRender Sketchup
Why stop there, IRender (http://www.renderplus.com/pdf/index.htm) is another renderer that slots right into Sketchup. The idea again is introduce capabilities allowing us all to dish out photrealistic images straight from the geometry and functionality of Sketchup. The pro version adds a library and a few more features - here are some images:

[images from the renderplus site of rendering from sketchup]

GiantMonster Sketchup
The guys at GiantMonster (http://www.giantmonster.tv/) are doing some interesting sketchup modelling. These images show off the character modelling side, plus I love the big image on their homepage (the 4th one).


[images from giantmonster.tv showing off their sketchup work]

Youtube Sketchups
There are plenty of vids on Youtube showing off sketchup work like:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1Zqdedxr0o
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQLBjsTQZnE
and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEnOqI2GnC8

Sketchup Bits
The Bonus Packs (http://sketchup.google.com/bonuspacks.html) from Google gives us a host of library bits without going to 3D Warehouse. I installed a bunch of these and it makes life easier - I thought it would be nice to include here a pic or 2 of the styles that come along for the ride in Sketchup:

[2 of the built-in visual styles we can play with]
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It was fun to see the admiration that this little application has about the traps. It is certainly more than a quirky newcomer - it is taking over everywhere due to the sheer beauty of the interface, the support and pricing. I have fond memories of my first play with Sketchup and it is nice to see new user share the same delight. The interface is something that the big-guns of cad and modelling should really take notice of - it makes the complexity we see in other apps now feel crazy.
I enjoyed watching a stack of the video tutes - some very nice functionality that shows off just how much can be done with the seemingly simple toolset.
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Oh and YAY for Day150 :-)