Saturday, 16 February 2008

Stage6 and Onimusha

Youtube is without any doubt the king of online video, but there are scores of others, many of which have features that make them appealing for various reasons. In looking around at reviews/comparisons of other offerings I came across stage6. Stage6 is one of the sites that gives us larger and higher quality vids (at the expense of being able to watch them instantly in most cases). For showing off quality this sort of things will become essential and the Googleheads are working on an update for Youtube which will throw videos at us of an appropriate quality to match our connections (or something to that effect).

Speaking of stage6 - There are a bunch of videos of game intros for us to drool over. Onimusha is a console fighter that excels in this regard. Below is an embed for Onimusha: Demon Seige (3) (which will hopefully work for people - though their embed plugin should at least give us a preview still - silly) plus check out Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams (4) and Onimusha: Samurai's Destiny (2). They are also AWESOME - beautiful effects, modelling, choreography, editing and style.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Annie Awards

The annual animation awards called the Annies was held in LA on the 10th of February and it was definitively Pixar's Ratatouille that scampered away with things. The winners in all the categories show a healthy industry and CGSociety's article by Renee Dunlop covers all the fun that was had on the day.

I noted that Robot Chicken's Star Wars parodies were nominated in the Best Animated Television Production category. I really have to find this on DVD or something along with Blue Harvest. Just check out vids like these - for the Star Wars fans:
Asteroid Worms
Ice Dancing
The Emperor (see second part)
Trailer:

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Autodesk 2009

After a meeting with Autodesk M&E today there was obviously lots of news and change in the wings for the software juggernaut. We had organised the meeting to get a feel from them on the products in their growing lineup that might suit us in the compositing and video editing arena.

We have a growing desire for this in FBE and several requests for a ramp up on the Adobe apps in this space (After Effects, Premiere etc). On the Autodesk side it seems that Combustion might be a neato app with its integration with Max and its handling of 3D for compositing colour and texture into a rendered space. I will have to look into this more closely! As for editing, Autodesk only operate at the HIGH level here and arent what we are after. Toxic sounds like in a version or two it will support 3D compositing (rather than faked 3D) which could be exciting as well.

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3ds Max 2009
The press release from Autodesk not only announces a new version of 3ds Max hot on the heels of the previous one, but also introduces a split in the product. We will now have the Entertainment version and the Design one. Though there is obvious rationale in building apps that cater more closely to the two markets in which Max is so dominant (Arch Vis and Gaming) it does make the software a bit weird and for what we do I can just see us wanting both in FBE - one for the modelling to game engine pipeline and the other for more traditional visualisation.

Tools like the daylight simulation and analysis set in the Design version look like obvious things to delve into (though if Revit can do the deed...??... time will tell). The interoperability of each release improves and the importance of FBX increases. Hopefully this will see people able to move between applications without building things - though how this will work with things like Sketchup and our game engines of choice is yet to be seen.

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Revit 2009
The press release for Revit and their related packages shows continuing dedication to BIM. With Mental Ray now to be part of Revit Architecture this puts many cats amongst the pigeons with relation to how Architectural modelling & visualisation could/should be done. I am wondering if the material and lighting defs in Revit will now translate over to Mental Ray materials - that will make life just sooo nice. There isnt alot more info yet - but this is an emerging tech area and things are evolving very quickly. The Revit OpEd blog has a few extra bits about interface enhancements like the View Cube.

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Sustainability is another baby getting attention - check this vid with not just some sweet software, but a nice big touch screen to boot.

[screenshot from the vid - this is quite amazing stuff if it all really works this well]

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With all these products (except the film ones - including Maya) now going for yearly updates in March we shoudnt have too long to wait before we can get our hands on these apps for real. That said we have been having a little trouble working through licensing with mighty Autodesk - though they have a press release covering their commitment to education...

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Macs and Gelaskins

The number of people I run into with Apple hardware these days (esp at uni) seems far higher of late. I can be in a meeting where multiple people will whip there MacbookPro's out onto the desk - outnumbering the HPs and Dells of the world. This change I can see around the place is proving most entertaining to watch. The article in 3D World 101 by Mark Ramshaw called Macs in 3D - The Myths Debunked explores the idea of running a mac based 3D shop. This is just one more signal of the inroads in thinking that Apple are making. This is of course atop their dominance in the world of the iPod, iPhone and such and indeed their beautiful laptop and desktop hardware combined with the critically acclaimed OSX.

Gelaskins
anyhow, one of the many nice additions one can dive into for our Apple kit is the gorgeous stuff from Gelaskins. Though I am yet to see these things in the flesh - check out how simply stunning they look in the images - drooool. Though our pure and simple Apple hardware looks pretty nice all naked just the same - hmmmm.



[images of some of the Gelaskins from their site]

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EDIT
I have now seen the Blowfish version on a MacbookPro - very nice it is too, and it completely obscures the glowing logo for those interested.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Terminator TV

Ep 1 of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles today. The kickoff was right on the mark for delivering the feel of the films - right down to the dream. Things keep going from there with plenty of previous TV acting talent on display.

For me the show feels just like Buffy, it has the youth in conflict with the older and wiser character battling the one-dimensional bad guys. Indeed it will be interesting to see if the slow purposeful bad guys can continue to hold our interest. It is quite like fighting zombies actually - they have flesh falling off, dont feel pain, move slowly, make dumb mistakes and more. We will have to see if the new plot elements will stand the test of time...


[one of many promo posters for the T4 series]

The Fox website for the series - is nice and creepy and IMDb as usual has plenty of data.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Beijing Architecture

After looking at the amazing things happening in Dubai, it seems obvious that we should check out Beijing ahead of their tackling of the Olympic Games later this year. There are the signature buildings of course, and the huge scope of building works across the city have much in common with Dubai.
Some of the inspired Architecture include the CCTV tower from the mind of Rem Koolhaas (OMA); Arup/PTW's Water Cube; Herzog & de Meuron's (& Arups) National Stadium; Foster's Airport Terminal and even the great wheel.

To get a good feel for all of this - how about we turn to Youtube and this report from the Discovery Channel in 5 parts (plus there is some great CG work in here:




Sunday, 10 February 2008

NVArt Competitions

Over at CGSociety there is a nice coverage of their competition with mighty NVIDIA. The NVArt : Amazing Creations comp had a host of digital artists asked to submit pieces created that could only exist in a virtual imaginary world. The winning entry is very neat and for me looks even better really close up. Like most of the entries it is very organic in feel, rather abstract as well.
Here is the winner and 2 of my other favourites, check the article for more:


[entries for the NVArt comp on the CGSociety site]

The next in this series of Competitions is titled artspace and has people tasked with creating the most awe-isnpiring architecture and landscape. What more can we ask for. We only have until March 10th if anyone around here is keen. There are 32 entries already, but most seem to be either WIP or just very standard fair architectural renderings.
The INSPIRATION section is a whole other world of wow, in perhaps multiple media they are good examples of imaginative landscape and architecture (I love the first one here) - check these:




[inspiration images for the artspace NVArt comp on the CGSociety site]