Thursday, April 28, 2011

Websites Helpful for Extra Credit Papers

SIGGRAPH:

- siggraph.org - pretty much all the info you need
- some info about past awards in our book, look up "SIGGRAPH" in index

History of 3D Animation:

Fulle, J. (2010, November). The world of VFX, animation, and stereo 3D production. Computer Graphics World, 33(11), 8-9. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database. (56492664)

Hoagland, J. C. (n.d.). History of computer animation in the movies. Retrieved from JCH Digital Designs website: http://www.cocs.com/poser/movies.htm

Moltenbrey, K., & Donelan, J. (2002, March). Gaming retrospective. Computer Graphics World, 25(3), 20-22. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database. (6371453)

Yosub, G. (2011). The history of 3D computer animation. Retrieved from eHow website: http://www.ehow.com/facts_5070359_history-computer-animation.html

Zeske, M. (2010, May 23). Brief history of computer animation. Retrieved from eHow website: http://www.ehow.com/about_6545054_brief-history-computer-animation.html


Chess Game Example


For anyone else lacking a knowledge in the game of chess, this video and the poster's other videos are great simplistic examples of chess strategies and the way a chess game unfolds move by move to help in composing our hand and chess set animations.

VRML

For all of you writing papers to raise your grades, here is a link to a very extensive document on the history of VMRL. I found another page that hasn't been updated since 2000, and still presents VRML as cutting edge technology. So for some perspective and content on the VRML paper, try these links.

Unreal Engine 3


Check it out! this is a features demo for the next unreal engine for video games. This will be the graphic standard for the next generation of consoles. These are real time graphics! The smoke, the lights, the hair, the clothing, it's all incredible

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Maya Keyboard Shortcuts

Shortcuts

here's a link to a site that outlines a lot of the important Maya shortcuts. Most of these we probably already know but it's still worth looking over to see some that you maybe haven't memorized yet!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Animated 3D Hand Example


This 3D hand example has a skin material on it that looks extremely realistic. At points parts of the skin look a little too shiny, but the nails, the veins, and the folds in the palm and the knuckles are convincing. It shows the polygons underneath the skin which are surprisingly simple. I couldn't find what program the model was made in. The fingers look a little too bulgy from the final view, and when the fingers move they don't realistically bring other fingers slightly with them, but the material and texture of the model is worth noting.

Phone Wars



I found this as a nice little parody since I love Star Wars. I thought this was really cool turning an inanimate object into something animated like this. All smart phones showed off their differences, the iPhone shooting out the apps, the BlackBerry shooting the keys, overall a nice parody of inanimate objects.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Up Wake


There are so many different uses for 3D work and this is just another example of how your imagination is truly the only limiting factor. Natashah Tsakos has created a theatrical performance entitled "Up Wake," based entirely around 3D animation to put on what looks to be an amazing show. The stage is simply four surfaces in which animation is projected using HD projectors. There is only one character (Zero), played by Natashah, who interacts with the animated projections. Through the use of not only 3D animation, but also incredible sound design and choreography it seems as if Zero is truly a part of the 3D environment. I'm sure watching this performance in person is even more impressive than the video!


This is a link to some clips from her show "Up Wake."


Check out www.upwake.com for more information.


Modeling 3D from Video?!



You can learn more about videotrace here.

I found the video and that one site, but I haven't been able to find any recent updates post 2008. I wonder what is happening with the project/software.

It looks pretty cool though.


Has anybody seen this trailer for Mass Effect 3? I think it shows potentially the best videogame graphics ever. I can't tell how true to the actual game the trailer is, but considering ME2 has the best videogame graphics I've seen so far, I think this trailer might be pretty accurate. I can't even imagine how many polygons it took to create Shepard's face. Let alone that whole 3D environment.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

Cartoon by my good friend and amazing artist Rich Powell. You can also check his blog which shows great current work in progress and his shop where he sells prints and originals of his artwork. He also publishes a hilarious weekly cartoon call Dixie Drive, talk about a productive artist:-)!

Watch this only if you want to ruin your childhood


Mary-Kate and I were talking about movies with bad CGI like Free Willy and Aliens 3 that you thought were really cool at the time because you were a kid so everything looked awesome. Last night I decided to relive my childhood and watch Jumanji. It's still a great movie but the CGI reflects the height of technology in 1995. I recommend dusting off your VHS tapes and enjoying this classic.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cat Rigging, meow


This video teaches how to rig a simple model of a cat. It is in an older version of Maya, but shows a simple joint structure as well as how to mirror joint construction. It also shows the use of the Inverse Kinematics Handle tool. He uses a smooth bind and shows how it lets the cat move. Suggested related videos include tutorials on rigging a human face and a horse.

the Pixar Story


Yesterday on Netflix (watch instantly) I saw that under documentary they had added, "The Pixar Story." An 88 minute documentary on how pixar began. I have always been a huge fan of Pixar ever since Toy Sory (the first feature length CGI film) and they are one of my career goals. I highly recomend this movie, it shows you the struggles that many of us as animators will probably see, and how pixar was doomed to fail over and over but didn't! Great movie, watch it now, it will inspire you to keep working.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

HDR illumination

Thanks to Travis for the link. This is an HDR photo by dacoach89_89 which I find pretty cool. I like the entropy that wrestles everything to dust again!

So, if I wanted to insert a 3D object or character into this background I could use the picture itself as an illuminating source, so that the 3d character would perfectly fit in that environment as if it had been actually there.


I quote from the Maya documentation: With image-based lighting, you use an environment texture (an image file) to illuminate the scene. Typically, the image is a photograph of a real environment, either a panoramic image or a photograph produced by taking pictures of a chrome ball (to capture the surrounding environment).

This is a technology developed by Paul Devebec, a USC researcher who is best known for his work in high dynamic range imaging and image-based modelling and rendering. He was awarded (along with Tim Hawkins, John Monos and Mark Sagar) a 2009 Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the design and engineering of the Light Stage capture device .

You have seen or can see his work in some of these films: The Matrix (1999), Spider-Man 2 (2004), King Kong (2005), Superman Returns (2006), Spider-Man 3 (2007), and Avatar (2009).


Image from HDR Shop, an HDR image processing and manipulation tool that you can download HERE , unfortunately Windows only:-(

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Academy


Sometimes we think of the Academy as something remote that we connect with every year during the Oscars. But of course it is a lot more than that. As students of entertainment media there is much to learn and benefit from the numerous activities that you can have access to if you are in LA for your internship. So make sure to check their calendar of events.

At the very least be informed by the innumerable articles, research in the science and technology of movies, and of the numerous grants, internships and fellowships that the Academy grants every year to educational institutions across the country.

As a student of Ithaca College you are part of a select community of individuals who are expected to make their mark in the industry of communications and storytelling. Variety, which is the premier source of entertainment news in the world of show business, lists IC as one of the top media programs in the nation. It is up to you to use this platform to further your career opportunities. It takes work, and passion. Your call.

Disabling "Enable Rest Position"


Hi Folks,
I ran into this problem when I tried to parent my chess piece to my hand. Any time I set the "weight" to zero for the hand to release the piece, the piece would return to its original position on the board. I had to uncheck the "Enable Rest Position" box in the attribute editor for the piece. After that it stays put when it gets dropped off.
I hope that this is helpful-P

Behind the Scenes of The Hobbit


Peter Jackson takes us behind the scenes of the long-awaited The Hobbit, finally being filmed after many delays and disruptions. I honestly don't know much about the Lord of the Rings franchise other than that I've seen the films, but I found this video on another 3d blog and the author was extremely enthusiastic to say the least, so it seems like it's a rare occurrence to see this side of the production process before the movie is released. Enjoy!

Gulliver's Travels

VIDEO

Embedding this video is disabled (sorry!)

Anyways, I had to edit something for ICTV about this movie that is coming out on DVD this week. The story looks pretty ridiculous, but it is clear that a lot of money was put into 3D animation and compositing in this film. There are a lot of visual effects in this preview alone, and because the story is set on an island where everything is miniature compared to the main character, a lot of work needed to be done.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes



Get ready for August. If you liked Avatar, the visual effects team is making the prequel to the Planet of the Apes movie. The apes look so human-like now that they take on these monstrous qualities to over power humans on Earth.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rango - ILM Animates!




I know I'm a little behind the times, but I finally had a chance to see Rango this weekend. I must say the animation was simply incredible, as was the story! The film was only playing at one time (2:00 in the afternoon) and the entire theater was filled with really young kids. Other than the parents, I was definitely the oldest one there! After watching the film part of me feels like this isn't really a movie for children. Yes it's animated, but that doesn't automatically make it a fun film for kids to watch. It was really like watching a Western. I'd probably be a bit freaked out if I had watched it as a young kid! Rango isn't that first of its kind, but it's interesting to see more and more animated features releasing for audiences other than young children.


The lighting throughout the film really impressed me the most. The lighting plans were so detailed and intricate that it gave the film such a unique look. I read an interview with Tim Alexander, the visual effects supervisor on the film. It was a really interesting interview because Tim discussed how Industrial Light & Magic, a company used to working in live action, had to adapt to create an animated feature length film. They really had to adjust their entire workflow to complete this project. Tim said lighting was difficult for them because they are so used to receiving video plates where the lighting in the shot has already been composed by the DOP, in which case they just created their effects based on the existing lighting plot. Creating an image that was 100% animated was difficult because they had to create the lighting from scratch. To help them with this problem, they hired an experienced DOP, Roger Deakins (Shawshank Redemption, True Grit, O Brother, Where Art Thou, etc) to help them figure out lighting designs. I must say the plan definitely worked because the lighting is really amazing!


Reference images

As students you have access, among other things, to ARTstore, a visual database of great good resolution reference material for your 3D character or costume creation. (See some examples below *). You can access the site HERE using your Netpass login.

*I took the pictures down because there might be copyright issues, this being an open blog. But login and do your search, you will find amazing stuff. Remember to narrow your search with some boolean operators!:-) e.g. armor AND renaissance, otherwise you will get too many hits

Assassin's Creed



I don't really know what this is or how it's done, but it looks crazy cool.





As I have mentioned, I'm making an Assassin's Creed movie. Here is a shot of me with the Assassin. This was my first cosplay and it has been extremely intensive figuring out how to craft each bit of the costume based on pictures of the 3D model and from playing Assassin's Creed II. While there were several liberties taken with exactly how things look and what materials I used were, I tried to stay pretty true to form in many ways. I would like to learn more about the process that character designers go through. For example, Ezio is from the Italian Renaissance era so research had to be done about fashion of the time, this had to be taken into account and then the outfit had to have functionality and form.

I found that many of the reference images for Ezio had subtle, but noticeable when trying to recreate, differences. For example, the differences in the belt from various source materials are featured to the right.


These are really important things to keep in mind when designing characters. There were a few things that I had to fake because there was no way for Eric to take the clothes on and off or move from the way they looked that they were created in the videogame.

Also, every time he wears the outfit, it takes both of us to dress him and it takes at least an hour. Some of this is definitely because of faking it for functionality's sake, but it is hard to imagine that this character is really able to spend an hour + dressing himself, by himself, each day, especially when he's so busy climbing on buildings and assassinating people.

I'll let everyone know when the video is done, it was our first day of shooting on Sunday, and it went really well.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Cathedral

The Cathedral from styczek on Vimeo.


I think this short is a stunning example of lighting. The particle emitter on his staff is really cool especially around 1:22. 5:31 doesn't have much to do with lighting I just thought it was an incredible shot. The only problem I have with Cathedral (and it's not a big one) is the texture of the stone faces. The modeling and animation are nice but I don't find the texture believable. Anyway enjoy!

Characterized Chess Set Animation


Here's an awesome chess animation; it's really different from our assignment but still fun to watch! (instead of a hand moving the pieces they are characters and move themselves)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Another Program to Make 3D Faces


This video shows another program in which you can build 3D faces and heads. Just interesting to watch another process in comparison to Maya.

My3D Goggles


Have you folks seen this yet?
My3D goggles from Hasbro, they turn your iPhone into, well into a souped up version of a View-master toy, remember those? Where you pull the little lever to see the next 3D slide. These goggles let you play 3D games and view real environments in 3D. Imagine using these with fiducials to view 3D items superimposed on the environment in real time. My question is , will it work with my Android?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Maya Software Update

For those of you having technical problems with the Maya software (ie freezing, crashing, smoke emanating from your hard drive, etc), try downloading the newest hotfix. I just downloaded and installed it and now my software isn't crashing (yet)! The file is a little over a gig. I downloaded it on the school's internet connection in about an hour today.

Also, this page has a complete list of the updates for the various versions of Maya. It seems like they update it fairly often.

Does anyone know if Maya has a built in software updater? I'd be nice, but maybe you have to just keep checking the website for updates...


Make Your Own Soundscapes

http://naturesoundsfor.me/

This isn't necessarily 3d related, but film/animation related in general. This site is a sound generator where you can mix and match different sounds found in nature, and personalize your own audio file to use however you want. I know from experience that sometimes you don't have time or the means to record every sound that you need, and sites like freesound.org don't always have exactly what you want. Hope this comes in handy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

RAVING RABBIDS TIME TRAVEL



This company was awarded the best advertising line. I liked the use of sound in this for the annoying voices and the "epicness" of their journeys. I also liked how each time frame was modelled displayed exactly the way that we depict these time frames.

First Hand Animation

video

Muh first hand animation! Woot!

Chris Ware



Chris Ware is one of my favorite cartoonists, so I was pretty excited to when he made this animation for the television show of This American Life. His comics are known for having very intricate and elaborate layouts. This whole video is really simple in terms of its animation but the amazing part is Ware's design of the animation. He uses really simple shapes in creative and complex ways.

Reverse Animation to Live-Action


I thought this was funny to see that someone decided to make a live-action version of an originally animated piece, considering that now many technically advanced films are utilizing live-action motion capture tools to create highly realistic animation. I recall seeing this short chess animation "Geri's Game" before seeing the first Toy Story movie in theaters, and just thought this was a funny little real-life remake of it, and shows that it's a good script as well.

Meme les pigeons vont au paradis


Imagine spending 18 months just making the the sets, characters, lighting, etc. That really puts it into perspective how much patience it takes to be an animator.
I think the first thing about this short that really grabbed my attention was the incredible camera movement. Especially in the beginning when the car a motorcycle are racing I like how the camera bounces along the rough dirt road rather than tracking smoothly. The textures and attention to detail also help make this film a success like such as the flicker of the fireplace and the stubble on the old man's chin.
This short contains very successful elements of everything we've discussed in class such as modeling, textures, camera movement, lighting, particles and so on. However the most important element of this short is the story. It's funny, witty, relatable to the audience and has a great twist at the end.

Monday, April 11, 2011

TimeScapes

TimeScapes: Rapture from Tom Lowe @ Timescapes on Vimeo.


I was looking for motion tracking tutorials and somehow stumbled across this amazing piece of work. It is not exactly 3d related, in fact the video images are 100% real, but honestly when I first began to watch I thought the video had been composited with artificial skies!

The film uses a motion control rig (they used a product from camBLOCK) to capture these stunning time lapse images. Basically, the camera is set to record an image say, every 20 seconds while at the same time it is attached to a motor that moves the camera ever so slightly over time. For example, a shot might dolly a few feet over a 6 hour span! Amazing! The resulting video creates an almost surreal view of the sky.

To view images from the production, check out the TimeScapes blog.

SFX Scar

video
Since Jen posted her new look:-) I guess I will follow the thread with this short video showing how you do a realistic scar. It is by a company called Smooth-on which is where you can buy all the goodies shown here, although you can also improvise using materials that you can get at your local hardware store or cosmetics supply place, just being careful to read the labels so you don't put any harmful substance on your skin!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Not a topic in 3D

This isn't related to 3D, but since I've spoken about it with Arturo, and it ties into film and special effects and stuff like that, I wanted to share some of my work in special effects make up.

I'm just getting started with it, but I'm having a blast and learning it all so quickly. Arturo sent me some really helpful resources that I'd be happy to share if anyone is interested in make up.

I've been working on a whole bunch of different movies, doing all kinds of make up. I have to admit that my favorite make up project so far has been for the thesis film Zombie Day. I'm posting some pictures from last weekend's shoot. When I left the set for the day I actually got pulled over by a cop because he thought I was severely injured! I took that as a compliment.

















So I will post about something more related soon, but yeah, wanted to share. If anyone wants tips or is looking for a make up artist, let me know!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Learn from the Pros!

Pixar Artists Masterclass

If you have an extra $500 dollars lying around you could spend 2 days learning from instructors who work at pixar! Matthew Luhn (head of story) and Andrew Gordon (animator) are teaching the session and it is one of only three stops in North America. It seems like it would be geared towards just professionals but it is being presented to anyone who is interested, whether they are a pro, student or just interested in animation. I feel like this is a cool opportunity to look into if you are serious about animation!

Unity

Unity Spring 2010 Highlight Reel from Unity3D on Vimeo.

Arturo mentioned this program in class yesterday, it's called Unity. You can download it for free. Its a platform for designing games, especially mobile device games. So you can build your characters and environments in Maya and import them directly to Unity. It just finished downloading, I can't wait to try it out!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Red Vs. Blue



I've always had a liking towards action video games, especially when I became hooked on Halo. Graphics and movement have changed so much since the first game was released in 2001, everything looks so realistic nowadays. I really liked this piece for the action, sound and lighting. I think Optical Flares from Video Copilot was definitely used in this but ever since I saw Star Trek from 2009, I cannot help but think space is associated with intense lens flares.
Creating an action short is tough as it is when using your own camera but when creating it in empty, 3D space, it is a true challenge.

3D Underwater


I looked this up because I was considering trying to model a little underwater animation and was pondering the complexity of creating an underwater environment around all the 3D objects and figuring out how their movements are affected by being submerged. While this animation is lower quality than something like Finding Nemo or a lot of the other videos on the blog, it is a good example of a funny, simpler cartoon. Also the top YouTube comments are worth noting, and also really funny!:

  • You guys need to shut up. It takes lots and lots of work to create something like this. So shut up, Deal, And appreciate.

  • @TheChillerdude It says 3D animation not animation in 3D. 3D just means it's using meshes, 3 dimensional figures compared to 2D animation

Cute Gopher Cartoon


This cute little video is a good example of high quality animation but in a small environment of 3D objects. There is a high level of detail, which can be seen in the way the hairs on the animals move, the flying dust, the way the wind moves the crops, and the random bumpiness of the truck driving down the dirt road. The emotions of the characters are well-done also. The creator used interesting camera placement to make the small environment where the animation takes place look interesting and diverse - a good use of perspective within the scene.

Blue Sky Studios

I was watching trailers for Blue Sky's new movie Rio which comes out next Friday (April 15th) and came across this video that give an inside look into their headquarters in Greenwich, Connecticut. I know a few weeks ago we watched a video about Pixar's headquarters, so I figured I'd share about Blue Sky!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

War Horse

I think this is so relevant to anyone trying to make a believable animation or simply to bring something to life!. Since I am a puppeteer myself and have worked with giant puppets I can tell you how extraordinarily good this guys are in an understated kind of way. The way they manipulate the puppet goes back a very long way into the traditional Japanese art form called Bunraku.

Sherwin Williams goes 3D

This is just awesome. I didn't know paint chips could look so cool.



These animations are done by a company called Buck. Thanks Charlotte for showing me this it's awesome!

Get out your 3d glasses


I'm not sure what it would be like to draw straight in the air. I feel that it would be really difficult not to have something to rest your wrist on. You can read more about the SANDDE here

Particle Systems

So after reading Ch. 5 in our book, I stumbled upon this post on another website and watched some of the beautiful particle system animations it had. It looks like they might have some links to tutorials at the bottom of the page, but they appear to be for 3DS Max. How do you do this in Maya?

Ólafur Arnalds - Ljósið (Official Music Video) from Erased Tapes on Vimeo.



http://forcg.com/tutorials/particle-system/15-excellent-particle-flow-animations/

Chapters 3 and 4

The beginning of Chapter 3 went over some basic concepts that we have already gone over in class, but this time it was nice to be able to pair the concepts we already know with the proper terminology. I've taken a course that used the animation program Alice, where we learned a lot about what is being discussed (objects and how they relate spatially to themselves, others and their environment, etc.).
There were a few parts of Chapter 4 that jumped out at me most. First of all, was just the explanation of the different types of splines. Like I said about Chapter 3, it's nice to read a full out explanation and description of things that we're already aware, especially the explanation behind the names of the different splines. I think it's good to absorb the context of things like this. The other part was the technique called deformation with lattices. I guess this stood out because reading the description over made it sound like something gone over in class and yet I wasn't sure if it was something we had done or not, as I can't remember talking about lattices in class. Either way I was very interested in this particular process.

Nosy Bear





I think the most interesting part of this is the way he made the animation via tiny sketch book drawings. It's really cool to see someone try to craft a method of animation that caters to their preferred working environment (for him it was drawing very small in a sketch book, outdoors).

Monday, April 4, 2011

Car Modeling


I discovered this amazing video showcasing some work done by a 3d Max artist. Apparently he created all of the models just for his enjoyment. It took 110 days to render! The modeling and camera moves are incredible!

George, maybe you can get some inspiration for your Delorean from this video!

Also, if you watch all the way to the end it gives some technical details about the programs he used, as well as the polygon counts for the vehicles. Plus there's a surprise behind the curtain (literally), but I won't blow it!


Stage Light 6

This is an image-based approach for capturing the appearance of a walking or running person so they can be rendered realistically under variable viewpoints and illumination conditions.

With this technology developed at the Center for Creative Technology at USC, the subject is filmed with a vertical array of high-speed cameras for about 40 seconds under constantly variable lighting.

The result is a seven-dimensional dataset of the subject under variable time, different illumination, and viewing angles.

This data is processed giving complex values to each pixel deduced from different camera angles/time.

A 3d character is then extracted form that information and relit according to any given environment with very realistic results.

Baby, we are not in Kansas anymore...


video

Chapter 3 & 4

Reading about all of the math involved in making models was exhausting. It is good to have an understanding of how the computer understands the models, but I am very glad that the computer deals with the majority of the math and I just get to concentrate on making things look pretty. The explanation about the difference between local and global transformations was very helpful. Reading the exact description of all of the different navigation terms was also very helpful, it is explaining the things we have been doing all along. Having the experience in Maya made all of these terms understandable, and reading about them after the experience made them make more sense. I think that if I had read these chapters before getting started in maya, this would have all been total gibberish to me.
Chapter 4 explored some things that I didn't know about before and better explained parts of Maya that I am very familiar with. I definitely want to learn more about sweeping and try it out. I would also like to experiment with text and other things with making 2-dimensional objects into 3d. I would also love to learn more about Visemes, which was only briefly mentioned towards the end of the chapter, and briefly mentioned by Arturo.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Face Model



This looks like a pretty decent tutorial on how to make a face model out of polygons in Maya, from the website http://www.computerarts.co.uk. I think I might give it a try sometime this week. Wish me luck!

JEFF!

video
Behold! My latest creation! his name is Jeff. Does anybody really have the desire to be a rigger? I'd offer up these models as practice since I want to animate them but hate rigging.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

NCUR presentation

Sooo... I accidentally skipped class on Thursday because of NCUR, because I was going to see one of the NCUR presentations and because I had no idea we had class. I ran into Arturo on the way to the presentation and I completely thought he was joking when he told me we were having class. Whoops!

Anyway, now I get to share the information from this research presentation with all of you.

I went to the presentation called "Press Start: The Rise of Casual Gaming," presented by Zachary Miller from Bridgewater State University in MA.

The presentation was primarily about how the wii brought about the rise of casual gaming. Casual gaming, in this sense, mostly meaning motion games. The purpose of the presentation was to demonstrate the importance of video games as a prevalent, growing media form and to show how casual gaming has changed the gaming world.

Casual gaming, specifically the wii and the following motion games for xbox360 (kinect) and playstation3 (move), has become the best selling type of gaming of all time. The wii is the best selling console of all time, and wii sports is, by far, the best selling game of all time. Many people who never gamed before, because of the advanced skill set required for more intense games, have been spending a great deal of money on casual gaming. Zachary highlighted amusing but very true examples of parents who had felt as if they had lost touch with their children, who are now able to reconnect by playing family video games with the wii because it is so easy to pick up the skills required. I can definitely attest to this. My parents are absolutely dumbfounded by videogames and can not understand the concept of xbox live. Every time they see me talking on the headset they ask "Do you know who you're talking to? Is that person in China or something? Do you get to play with them or is this just like a telephone call?" They seriously ask this EVERY time I'm on the headset. My Dad is very curious about China. Anyway, when a friend brought the wii over to my house, it was the first time my parents would dare go near a videogame controller. My Mom was thrilled that she could knock down a few pins in wii bowling on her first try. Now, at holidays, my family frequently gets together to play rock band and wii sports. Casual gaming has absolutely turned into a social experience. One will frequently find a wii in use at a party, where anyone can drop out or join in and have fun.

I wasn't sure exactly what this presentation was going to be on when I went to it, casual gaming seems to encompass a fair amount of things in my mind. Based on the definition that Zachary provided of casual gaming, I guess I am not a casual gamer. I consider myself to be a casual gamer because I play videogames so infrequently... at least in comparison to my video game-addicted-boyfriend. But when I do play, a few times a month, I tend to play games that are geared towards more intense gamery gamers, not casual gamers.

I thought this was a very intriguing presentation. I think it was better suited for an older demographic, since I already know a lot about videogames and their ever-growing importance in our society. Older people do not understand videogame’s impact on society, and this presentation did a great job of explaining it. The presentation started out by explaining that video games are the highest grossing media form in the world, by far, a statistic which many people do not seem to realize.

This is relevant to us because one of the main things that 3D animation is used for is for video games!


Rango! gotta love your lizard


I just saw Rango last night. Simply amazing piece of work. Directed by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) the film pays a homage to a number of films both in terms of storytelling structure, some memorable characters themselves and even music and lighting.

Films referenced are of course "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly", "For a Few Dollars More" (Sergio Leone), John Ford westerns, the extraordinary "Chinatown" (Roman Polanski) which shares the core story, "There Will be Blood" (Paul Thomas Anderson) in terms of lighting, and great characters based on such icons as John Huston (in Chinatown), Lee Van Cleef's in For a Few Dollars More, which in Rango is the very bad Rattlesnake Jake. and, yes, Clint Eastwood as "the Spirit of the Desert", poncho and all. (And oh, a wink to Star Wars, why not) I am sure there are other references I missed!

In short it is a film fest, definitely go see it! Needless to say the character modeling, animation, environments, shaders and particularly the acting, etc are simply outstanding. Talking about acting, some of the characters are actually played by their actors, (like Johnny Depp) who are not only doing voice over. But the subtlety of their emotions down to the smallest twitches is a pleasure to watch.
Photographs copyright © 2011 by Paramount Pictures