Saturday, 31 May 2008

Norman Foster's Office Digification

Just a quick snippet from one of Norman Foster's TED talks. In his 2007 DLD Conference talk he covered a range of projects with a perspective of the 'green agenda'.
Architect Norman Foster discusses his own work to show how computers can help architects design buildings that are green, beautiful and "basically pollution-free." He shares projects from throughout his career, from the pioneering roof-gardened Willis Building (1975) to the London Gherkin (2004). He also comments on two upcoming megaprojects: a pipe to bring water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, and the new Beijing airport.
One of the fascinating asides he covered was the change in his office with the coming of computers, he shows an image from 1990 and then from 2007 where the large open desks with models and drawings have been completely overtaken by a stunning array of screens and various types of IT infrastructure:

[shots of Foster's office from 1990 and 2007 showing the impact of computers on their practice - from his 2007 TED talk]


One of the great joys with my iPod is being able to keep up with a series of podcasts, which I do via iTunes. The regulars on my plate are the Science Show from ABC Radio National, The Sceptics Guide to the Universe, Science Talk (Scientific American), The Naked Scientists and the Nature Podcast. There are a handful of others (esp video ones) that I only get to catch up with in bursts like The TED Talks, Good Game, The Philosophers Zone and a few gaming/vfx ones here and there.

This concept of being able to listen to information as well as music is a nice step forward that is empowered by being able to subscribe to your weekly dose of something that tickles your fancy.


Oh and having the ability to just popp over and buy an album is all too tempting...

Photoshop Express

Reading through my ImagineFX there is a nice little review of Photoshop Express. This is Adobe's fully online image manipulation tool. To be honest it is nothing like photoshop at all really, but it does deliver some nice image editing features ove the web to people for zip.

I had a play with the test drive and there are a few nice bits, like basic full image colour/saturation/etc effects and a few special effects like colour pop. It is easy to dive onto the site and have a play without signing up which is neat - in fact when you first get there you can play with the great flash interface at the front.
It now talks to flickr and such, but without layers and other creation tools it is really just a nice thing to see out there for people who need something to help with their online library.

[screengrab of the neato flash interface front to Photoshop Express]


The fun in my COFA courses continues, thinking through reconstructions and interpretations of historical data. I enjoyed doing my last assignment where I was looking at a 3D video reconstruction taking place in ancient Rome around one of the city gates. I was looking specifically at how they may have used banners, flags, even awnings around their stone and brick architecture and then blending that with the pomp of a returning military force and the celebration of the citizens.


The Collaboration Studio is proving fascinating, my group is starting to pull the Unreal3 environment pieces together now and as each week goes by things get more exciting. (pics to come)

Monday, 26 May 2008

Motorcycle design and CG

I have just come across two different but equally neat motor-cycle-ish articles.

Nitin Khosha's Dacoit Street Cycle CG
In this great little article on CGSociety, Nitin gives us a breakdown of his creation process from design to final rendering. We get to see some initial sketches and some polished 3D work - another great example of just how cool motorcycles are as pieces of our mechanised culture. Nitin might not want these reproduced here, but here is a quick sample at lower qualty to get you over to his article.

[images of Nitin Khosha's Dacoit Cycle from his CGSociety page]


Yamaha Wearable Cycle Student Design
This radical design was one of many that students looking at more revolutionary design ideas relating to the motorcycle and environmental sustainability. Hannah Macmurray's article on GreenCardDesign shows us the wearable motorcycle design by Jake Loniak one of the students at the Art Center Pasadena in California. As you can see below it is spindley and fast - check the article for more on this and other designs. (and the CG work is quite decent as well)

[image of Jake Loniak's wearable motorcycle design from the greencarddesign site]

Sunday, 25 May 2008

More Iron Man and CG

CGSociety have a great article by Renee Dunlop which explores the production and CG of the film. There are some great images which show off just how CG reliant the movie is - and how beautifully ILM pulled off the whole thing.

[image of Iron Man from the CGSociety article]

The involvement of the ILM crew looks to have been better integrated than in many productions which may have been why they were able to do things like"
Marvel wanted the torso elongated, and the waist shrunk down, unlike true human proportions. “We had to make something that looked photoreal and be able to intercut with the live action suit, sometimes within the same shot, have part of the suit be real and another part be CG while making it look clean with nice motion and shape of the character.

There was also the issue that Downey found the practical suit restrictive to his acting, as explained by Hickel. “Winston’s guys made these beautiful suits that were faithful to the Iron Man design, but they were hard to move in. We told Robert Downey Jr. if he couldn’t get into the pose or move the way he wanted to, we could add the suit digitally. When he saw that, he didn’t want to wear the practical suit at all, to the point where there were times when we almost wanted to bribe him to put the practical suit on.
The more I read about the film, the more inspiring it becomes, we know that there is lotsa awesome CG, but to appreciate all its glory it is great to have it broken down for us.

Since I have been looking at SIGGRAPH, I like this quote best from Doug Smythe
“That required a lot of words you find in Siggraph journals. We are fully buzz word compliant with all of our technologies.”

Also it seems that getting a view on youtube of Nick Fury at the end of the film isnt possible anymore - so lets let gametrailers do it for us:

Saadiyat Island architectural wonders cometh

Abu Dhabi has been pulling out all the stops in its development and its calling upon a suite of architectural heavyweights to create some amazing places.
One such concentration is the cultural centre on Saadiyat Island, which will feature signature buildings from Zaha Hadid, rank Gehry, Frank Nouvel and Tadao Ando. The DeZeen article by Marcus Fairs gives us a glimpse at the 4 works bot visually and conceptually, plus some background of the project.

[imagery of all 4 works from Ando, Gehry, Hadid and Nouvel for the Saadiyat Cultural District from the DeZeen site]

In CAinDA I have been looking quite a bit at signature aesthetics and what it might mean for architecture in general. These 4 projects are the kind of buildings that have always attracted a showcase design, but they do fuel a desire across the board to upstage in all projects...

SL and AI

We have been looking briefly at Second Life in one of my COFA courses, what role such places have in developing the Digital/Architectural relationship. With my interest in fleshing out digital models with AI, it is fun to see the work of folk like those at Digital Urban.
They have been experimenting with "3D Agent Based Modelling in Second Life" which looks like they have little bots navigating around their test spaces, much like they have been looking at with cities and landscapes in other software.
This is the youtube vid they have on their site: