Friday, 11 January 2008

Day357 3Dfun, Machinima and iCinema

3Dfun via 3DBuzz
In looking through some of the threads on 3DBuzz I can across a few fun little pieces of 3D.

This little demo reel from the Vancouver Film School shows a very short bit and then breaks it down a bit for us.


There are plenty of other fun things going on there as usual.

[2 images from the 3DBuzz Gallery Forums]

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Machinima Work
I and a bunch of fellow 'actors' helped Russ with the machinima component of the art project he is working on. It was certainly great fun for us running around in gmod, and though it eas decidedly more work and stress for our director, I think it was fun for all - cant wait to see the cut on Monday now.

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iCinema
The iCinema folk here at UNSW are open for one and all as part of the Sydney Festival - which is great. Everyone should check it out, I will pop in there at some point in Jan to see it again for sure.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Day356 Mac Pro & Vids

Apple's Mac Pro Beast
I heard Apple referred to as a lifestyle company yesterday, despite this their latest upgrade to their Mac Pro puts a pretty hefty piece of hardware on the desk. They are marketing things like the standard 8 cores - whew and targeting the graphics world in which we play everyday.

[the silver look continues, image from the Apple site of the Mac Pro]

Apart from a choice of 3 graphics options, drive space to burn and all manner of other juicy technical pieces to the puzzle, it is all packaged nicely and with the new Leopard and the new Vista to drive things it should be a joy.
Speaking of Joy, wouldnt it be great to run 8 screens like this - drool.

[8 screens running from a Mac Pro from the Apple site]

Add to this Microsoft/Apple have now got Office2008 for the Mac - neat.
I am feeling a little behind now, I will have to get upgrades to Leopard, iLife, Office, Maya and the list goes on.

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Vids
Looking at doing the music video with the screens, the mighty youtube has heaps and heaps of such things of varying quality of course. Lots of people seem to like to take a set of stills of the artist (or even a single one) and then upload their song their as if they have created something. Others go to more effort, zuy9's clip for Innocence cuts together lots of bits of her other videos to construct one which is better. A search for an unreleased track like One of those Girls gives you some 319 hits. Some of these links are at least trying as well, Ninjakitty16 uses clips form Teen Titans, gisellebebegirl and queenofamerica used Final Fantasy to great effect, some use the Sims and many use clips or stills from all manner of shows, boy are there alot.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Day355 Alienware, 3DWorld100 and Vids

Alienware's Wares
With Dell and Alienware teaming up in some fashion, taking a closer look at their kit seems sane, even if for the moment the warranty is still return to base which isnt really good enough for here at work, for a home it would be acceptable. So what do they have to offer, particularly in differentiation with Dell's XPS range?
Looking at the desktops, they have a mixture of Intel and AMB offerings, and on the graphics from have both ATI and NVIDIA in dual configs for us to drool over. It is pretty easy to spec these beast well into the $10K range which is pretty frightening for a single machine.
The laptops are perhaps more interesting, with the 17" and mighty 19" Aurora mALX. But these things arent brand spanking new or anything. The reviews from Cnet, ZDNet and PC Perspective are from late '06 and early '07. Perhaps the most notable feature of the machine is the incredible weight of it all and I guess the grunt that comes with that.


[images from the PC Perspective review of the Alienware Aurora mALX]

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3D World issue 100
Congrats to 3DWorld for hitting the big 100. The Top 100 3D movies (influentially speaking) article is fun and prompted some good discussions and trips down memory_lane over lunch. And I couldnt help but hip out 300 (number 3 on the list) and watch it in the evening - love the film.

Orangina Ad
The Projects round-up section included one of the new commercials by The Mill. The Orangina advert used Motionbuilder, XSI and Maya to create Naturally Juicy. It is a cheeky, sexy little ad with lots of detail and no shortage of 3d technical skill on display. As with all such things we have it on youtube here, or the nice hi-res version is on the Mill's site.

The piece is a little like the Cascade Laga advert, but fully CG - lots of fun!

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The mag has some other nice articles and some tutes that I am actually looking at doing rather than just glancing at. I am really glad I grabbed the subscription of it that's for sure.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Day354 SWPMTCG, Dell Gear Coming

Star Wars Pocketmodel TCG - House Rule: Blockade
One thing we havent liked with the Star Wars Pocketmodel TCG is that it can degenerate into a race to destroy objectives where there is little or no ship-to-ship combat at all. It is just a race to get your +3 ships or ground units up the other end and then to target and destroy defenceless objectives. We have introduced a single rule to help this, though it perhaps needs some further thought.
Blockade:
Over the course of the conflict a player may move upto 5 build stars of units into blockade positions, doing so is done in a movement phase just like any other. A unit moved into a blockade position is closely guarding an objective and must be defeated before a full strike on that objective can be attempted. The blockade unit is placed upon the objective in question whether face up or down. Once in position that card cannot be swapped out for other objectives from the players hand until the ships are removed or destroyed.
Blockade ships cannot initiate combats and cannot use combat cards, but are affected by any relevant objectives in play.
The rule as it stands does give a player a defensive option as they can now draw out a combat somewhat. There are enough variables in the game to warrant plenty more experimentation and it would be nicer to not need a special rule like this to make it work - but hey.

The Forums on BoardGameGeek have people playing with other rule variations and all manner of other chat of course.

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Dell Gadgetry, Alienware & Benchmarks

Following the look at the sexy Dell monitor coming, it is worth checking out the other things the Dell juggernaut is delivering. The CES site for Dell showcases some of the fun they have in store - including the beautiful 22" Display.

The Dell US Site has some nice new things that will hopefully come our way soon enough. The XPS All-In-One is riding the new trend of building computers into screens that the iMac dominates for style. The XPS One Desktop doesnt seem to have the config options that the other models do, but does sport a Radeon HD 2400 graphics card in there.

Checking out NotebookCheck's graphics card grunt chart this card really doesnt set the world on fire and with no upgrade option this machine doesnt spark enough of my interest yet.

Dont forget their XPS 720HC which has grunt and liquid cooling to 'burn' - that is pretty neat for a tier one vendor like Dell. These machines can sport those dual GTX 8800's which is waay up there on say TomsHardware's Graphics benchmark list.

One of the holes in Dell's arsenal previously was the tablet pc, well no more. They now have the Latitude XT. I dont know too much about tablets, but this does seem pretty good in this field.

To highlight the vibe that Dell is showing, they have the Dell Lounge which covers gaming, community and their hardware. This site also shows us the new link with Alienware - it will be interesting to see if this means a chnage for the XPS range. Will Dell's ownership of Alienware mean we will get this kit with the Dell warranty here in Oz in times to come perhaps - that would be cool.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Day353 CGinspiration - details details details

CG Inspiration, Worth Enough?
I am still inspired by the work people create in the software tools we have at our disposal these days. Below is a little piece by Radoslav Zilinsky who with 3ds Max, photoshop, Vray and Zbrush has created a superbly detailed environment in a single image he titled Worth Enough? The depth of detail just seems to go deeper and deeper in the image, what might be little flecks of paint in an illustration are actually detailed little birds here - awesome. The detail level is so extreme that he provided us with zoomed in versions of some of the areas. I have included a few below to get you started.

[Radoslav Zilinksy's Worth Enough? images from his CGSociety gallery]

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TV people and soundtracks
Continued to work on the sketches for the TV people video idea. I had a thought that this could be a neato way to do a video clip for a track from a movie, that way the screens could also show footage from the film. This is such a sane idea that I will investigate further :-)

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Day352 Last HoliDay & Crymod docs and tutes

Holiday Bits
Last day of the hols, so this blog should dive back into more daily fun from now. I have been reading a little more of the Dark Tower, watching things like "Genesis of the Daleks", playing Star Wars Pocketmodels TCG, grabbing an HP Laser Printer and other fun.

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TV characters
I have been doing more sketches of TV Avrils, animals and other characters, some or all of which could form part of a music vid. I collected a bucket-load of Avril images some of which have sequences from the same shoot. These could allow me to use them in a semi-animated, semi-static kinda anime way on the screens. Once the idea of having the full video world populated with video-screen-head creatures it all starts to have an internal logic of some strange sort.
The idea is still full of life for a go at an animation where the screens communicate with quotes from films - but perhaps that can be next.
Sticking with the Avril video idea, if I go with Hot then I could use some of the footage quite easily on the screen. If I instead use a track like Innocence, then I could perhaps try and get snippets from several clips that almost sync enough to be believable...

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Crysis Video Tutes and Documentation
The Crysis folk have released a video tutorial on Crymod - hopefully the first of a great swarm of them. The tute is short and sweet, fairly racing through the process - I hope there are longer more involved and detailed ones to come, that said it is good to have this one! The same page that links to and covers this tutorial for the creation of a Powerstruggle level, has info on an expansion for the online manual.

Just to keep the inspiration level up, heres an images from the Planet Crysis Picture of the Day - simply stunning!

[Picture of the Day from Planet Crysis site]

Plus, I havent tested this yet, but it could be handy. The CryMod-Launcher.
Speaking of Mods, just check out the huge list of them already on sites like Mod DB.