Saturday, 14 June 2008

2 More courses Done

Finishing up two more courses was very satisfying, they take up a heap of time, but really are worth it. I think more people should do courses while they work - though it would still be better if the uni ran 4 sessions in the year and I could do a course in each one (10 week versions perhaps)...

Wordl Tag Clouds

I had fun looking at Tag Clouds a while back, so I was keen to have a look at what Wordle was about. The clouds created online by Wordle are really pretty actually - have a look at what this blog generated (just copy'n'pasting the text in - for the front page as it was on this day):

Then the interface lets you remove words (took out 'comments' and a few others) then change fonts and layouts as well - which lets you get to things like these:

Oh and it builds the tag before your eyes as well which is very cool to watch!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

UNSW on iTunesU and Youtube

It is great to have mighty UNSW on both Youtube as a full channel (or two) and brand new on iTunesU. These are great steps forward for the uni in a host of media areas and we will have to step up and get more things captured into the services.
I am keen to get into the video side more - find a way to wield video as second nature for us.

UNSW Youtube also the Community Channel and the eLearning Channel
UNSW on iTunesU

Make sure you check out some of Richard Buckland's CSE lectures, super stuff. I hope to replicate the capture and edit on the fly video work particularly for guest lectures here in FBE for session 2.

[quick screengrabs of UNSW on youtube and UNSW on iTunesU]

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Apple Thinking

With news from WWDC and other places I can see our new Apple store will open on June 19th and the mighty new iPhone 3G will burst onto the scene here on July 11th. So far only Optus and Vodaphone have announced they will deliver the new iPhone here in Oz - but it is possible that Telstra is still in the hunt, but I am not sure about 3.

[iPhone 3G from Apple site]

Steve Jobs Keynote (on the Apple site) showed off a host of companies who had been using the iPhone SDK - all presented without a tie in sight. Some of the neatest ones were from Sega Monkeyball is sooo clever), Loopt, Netter's Anatomy and MIMvista then Krull (awesome for a single guy in 2 weeks - ported)
MobileME looks like a super replacement for .Mac - though it costs $99 per year, it does deliver some nice storage and push email/calendar etc and a sweet web interface to boot.

Apple are now starting to talk about Snow Leopard (next release of OS X due next year sometime). I am sure we will see a host of features and enhancements, but so far they are concentrating on things like speed, cores and APIs etc.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Narnia - Prince Caspian

The second film of the Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian is here and is a visual feast of special effects and fantasy ideas. Though the CG isnt at the level of integration and refinement of the Golden Compass, it is still very accomplished and a joy to see. Once again I am struck by the importance of the soundtrack and audio in general. It has me all the more excited about next sessions Sound Construction 1 course at COFA.

It is good to see the cast back and growing in the Harry Potter series way. The IMDB page gets us to a nice series of links where we see that Ben Barnes was also in Stardust as well as the young Dunstan. I liked the mice - they remind me of the Redwall books by Brian Jacques.

Looking more closely at the CG work - there are some lovely sequences. The flying creatures are great and there are extended battle and creature rich scenes full of action and dramatic camera work. The dream sequence with the petals is beautiful and sometimes these more subtle pieces are the nicest. There is a heap of camera match 3D work, for things like the centaurs and integration with miniatures and more - awesome. All up the sheer level and integration of the CG is on an immense scale, a mammoth undertaking.

There is a short article by Jack Egan on CGSociety on the CG work for the film.

[image of the CG Aslan with Lucy from the CGSociety article] has an article and a series of clips that explore the production of the film for us all. Below is an image of some of the heroes showing that there was alot of creation of the world outside of the CG endeavour as well.

[image from Narnia 2 showing the cast and supporting folk in full reglia from]

Sunday, 8 June 2008


Watched some DVDs with critical levels of CG integration on a spectrum over the last day or so - here they are in order...
Stardust: very fun little film that I am happy to have on DVD now with some effects sequences that are fun to see. I like the witch powers and such - plus its a fun story.
Unbreakable: This was actually on TV, I had forgotten how wonderful this film is. The sequence with Mr Glass chasing the man at the stadium - truly inspired. As is the weights sequence and the final revelation - whats not to love about this movie. (not sure if there is much CG in here - but it is just so ekelent - have to mention it).
Transformers: Got this on DVD finally, and how stunning is ILM's effects work here. It is all so explosive, with every frame a visual feast. WOW.
Evan Almighty: Ignoring the preachiness, there are lots of cute effects pieces, esp with all the animals, CG and real all over the place.