Friday, February 27, 2015

Goal Line Technology

Recently many of the top soccer leagues around the world have started employing goal line technology to help assist referees to decide when a goal should be allowed. These technologies have been used in other sports, such as tennis, for years and soccer is now just starting to get in on the game. The amazing thing about these systems is that they are able to create 3d renderings of the entire field and goal area that can be used for television purposes. The biggest example of this use was during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil where are goal that could never have been called by the human eye was allowed because of the goal line technology, and through the visual 3d rendering the global viewing audience was able to see why it was allowed.
This goal was deemed to by an own goal by the Honduran keeper and allowed France to extend their lead. These new systems make it so much easier for referees and the viewing audience to determine what is and is not considered a goal.

Blank Canvas...

Since we are all braining storming on our title sequence projects, I came across once again another video that is both a beautiful title sequence and inspirational. Blank Canvas is a show that features artists and their passions and dedication to their respectful craft. The color is phenomenal, and the graphics are great as well. The placement and timing of the video with respect to the audio is all well done, and is a lesson to all of us that a title sequence is much more than just an introduction. It is a representation of what the audience is about to witness, a representation of the show or film. A great title sequence makes way for a great show/film. 


             
                   Blank Canvas from Ayhan Cebe on Vimeo.


With respect to the title sequence,  Blank Canvas, with your knowledge of the film/ show that you all are thinking of erase the old title sequence and create a new one on a blank canvas

Till next time,
Krystal

Thursday, February 26, 2015

3D Printed Animation

This is an example of a type of animation I had never seen before. Not 3D animation... 3D printed animation. This animation, called "Bears On Stairs" by DBLG, was created by using a 3D printer to individually print about 50 frames of a bear walking up stairs. The 3D printed bears & stairs were all placed and photographed one-by-one, then stitched together to create the animation. The result is something that I think looks much more interesting and organic than anything that could be made using CGI.
Watch a short video about how it was made here:

Photoshop turns 25!

Well, it looks like we messed up and forgot a rather important birthday last week. Last Thursday, Adobe Photoshop celebrated its 25th birthday. Since it's inception back in 1990, Photoshop has become a household name. It has affected every facet of media from tv graphics, to magazines, and even internet memes. It has revolutionized the concept of art.

Adobe released this video celebrating 25 years of Photoshop.


Also, here are some pictures from some earlier versions of the application.






 So lets all wish Photoshop a happy belated birthday! For more information, check out the posts on Adobe's website.
http://blogs.adobe.com/photoshopdotcom/2015/02/celebrating-25-years-of-photoshop.html
http://www.adobe.com/news-room/pressreleases/201502/021914AdobePhotoshopTurnsTwentyFive.html

Element 3D

Element 3D is an After Effects plugin that lets users more easily create 3d items in After Effects. This is a quick rendering tool and Compatible with After Effects so it is ideal for quick graphics and animation.

This was used in the creation of the Star Trek title sequence in order to create the planets and other objects. This plugin is powerful and a great tool if you know how to  use it. 

Here is a link to the title Sequence:


I just downloaded this plugin earlier today however I have already started using it and my personal opinion is that it is great. If you like animation and have some money to spare I would suggest downloading it. 

Music Video Inspiration


This is the music video for the song Better Than by the John Butler Trio. It's a funky tune, with a pretty cool music video. The video is a bit old, originally being put on YouTube back in 2007, and I have no idea what software was used to make video, but we can do everything featured in the video with After Effects. The video features some spray pain effects, and a camera movement effect that looks very similar to the Sure Target tutorial that we just went through. The effect that is featured throughout the entire video, having John Butler be superimposed onto walls and posters, can easily be accomplished with some chroma effects, and the color changing can be done using an Adjustment Layer. This video may serve as some inspiration for our upcoming Title Sequence project. I know I  got some pretty good ideas from the video. And even you don't get any inspiration from this video, you can still enjoy an awesome musician with dreadlocks playing the banjo, and what can be better than that?

Animation in Advertising

Every couple weeks I like to go through Vimeo's animation section and see if anything new and interesting has popped up. A couple days ago the studio Motion Authors posted a new short animation they had done as an advertisement for an App. The thing that was a little different about this advertisement is that it was specifically designed as a Youtube Preroll advertisement.

With everything we've learned in this course so far, I don't think it's too far of a stretch to say we all could make something similar to this advertisement without too much trouble. The designs are pretty simple and the movement in the animation isn't anything too crazy. However, what I thought was interesting was the timing.

One thing I've noticed when watching Youtube prerolls, is a lot of the advertisements clearly weren't made with Youtube in mind. Many ads that pay for their pre-roll spot, if played in a "skip after 5 seconds" context, fail to get enough of a point across so that people still know what you're talking about. They spend too long on a "catch" that most likely won't work, and fail to say what their product is. This advertisement however hits all the milestones. In the first 5 seconds, there is a catch, name of the product mentioned, and logo displayed. By the 15 second mark, we know what the product does. And of course, by the full 30 seconds we learn how its relevant to our lives.

With all these things in mind, do you think you could market yourself as being a useful member to an advertising team?



Ibotta YouTube Shorts from Motion Authors on Vimeo.

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Title Sequence

Today in class we wanted the title sequence of "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" which is one of my favorite books.  I did not see the movie for fear of it not sticking with a book, but watching the title sequence alone gave me the sense that the movie captured the essence of the book.  Instead of putting a title sequence together with cookie cutter like shots, instead the director David Fincher chose to do an abstract and surreal sequence which in my opinion was an amazing choice.  The main character Lisbeth is not a character who the reader can categorize and put in a mental box.  She is permeable and adaptive, never solid in emotions or actions, which the title sequence captured perfectly since the book series and the movie is really about her.  Anyways, the title sequence is below and you should totally take a look at it.


Disney's Animated Short: "Feast"

A teaser of the short film, "Feast."


Patrick Osborne pitched his animated short idea about showing the progression of a romantic relationship through the perspective of a dog to John Lasseter. It was chosen, and Walt Disney Animation Studios began the tedious process of creating a new animation.

"Feast" played in theaters before "Big Hero Six," and received amazing reviews from critics and audiences alike.

The creators studied real Boston Terriers in order to achieve just the right hand-drawn look.

"Feast" just won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Watch this short video that shows some part of the creative process behind "Feast."



Google Launches YouTube Kids Application

It's amazing to think that YouTube was founded when I was in 5th grade; it sure has been a long time since 2005. But, it has become abundantly clear, in the past nine years, that online streaming media has become a staple in electronic entertainment (alongside television, radio, and the telephone); And YouTube, has always been the one leading the way. Recently at the 2015 Kidscreen Summit in Media, Google Inc. launched a new mobile application aimed specifically at children by providing a broad selection of family-focused, age-appropriate YouTube channels and videos. What was once an on-demand television parental setting, has now become an operational streaming service dedicated to media consumption without the threat of inappropriate content in commercials.


As the company's first official standalone application for children, the unveiling received great reception when it was simultaneously added to the Google Play Store and was made available on all Androids and iOS devices. More specifically, the application selects and manages content in four respective channels: shows, music, learning, and explore. Some of the most popular content offered on the application includes National Geographic Kids, DreamWorksTV and Talking Tom and Friends, as well as episodes and clips from PBS's Sesame Street.

 
As a strictly educational media streaming service, YouTube Kids is completely free to the user and is subsequently funded by age-appropriate advertisements (similar to Hulu's advertisement arrangement). It's great to see Google moving in the educational direction with media consumption and content recommendations. Google believes that the future is in educational streaming media; it's evident that many more educational institutions are making a transition to online homework submission. Streaming video is just the beginning.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Avatar and After Effects

Avatar was revolutionary in terms of 3-D animation and use of various digital effects. This video explores some of the post-production work involved in the process of putting the final cut together. I found it interesting that the video explains some of the terminology we have gone over in class such as rendering and the use of green screen. It's crazy to think that we are working on the same software that has been used to produce films grossing billions of dollars.

Bring old photos to life

This week in my senior seminar class, exploring the documentary, we checked out the film The Kid Stays in the Picture. It's a documentary about Robert Evans life, an old time Hollywood actor and producer who ran the Hollywood game for a while. The film is almost entirely old photographs that with Robert Evans himself narrating his life story. But this isn't simply a Ken Burns film. The entire film is brought to life with after effects. Here's a cheesy trailer where you can get an idea of the film.


The film itself is worth checking out but I think this demonstrates how powerful a tool aftereffects can be.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Kyle Cooper- Title designer

Hey everyone. So Last week when we were showing our progress on our name designs Chris mentioned to me that my design reminded him of the title sequence from Se7en. I had never seen Se7en or its opening title,  but I did know that my creative "idol" if you will, Kyle Cooper, designed that sequence as well as American Horror Story. AHS's title design has been one of my largest inspirations and really captures the style that I've always had and admired. So here is a breakdown of Kyle Cooper's Se7en title sequence and a link to the AHS titles.

http://www.empireonline.com/features/david-fincher-fight-club-opening-credits/p1

An interesting thing about Kyle is that he enjoys doing things on film or in the camera by going out and shooting things and then compositing them on the computer as opposed to building every effect in CG.

Here are the first titles I had seen by him and continue to inspire me:



Monday, February 23, 2015

Letter Inspiration

I stumbled upon this video on Vimeo designed by Jessica Hische. Since we are all making progress with our name projects and soon going to be moving into title sequences, I thought this would inspire some of you with font design and font choices. The color and design used in the video makes something so simple as just a letter seem more intriguing and personable. 


                     
                           Penguin Drop Caps Animation from Down the Street on Vimeo.





Thursday, February 19, 2015

Building Fire

It's been a cold week here in Ithaca, reaching as low as -30 last weekend. Therefore, I decided to heat it up this week by posting a tutorial on how to build fire in After Effects.

So my name project involves an onion volcano so one of the things I had to do was build a fire. While I was expecting to need some stock footage or some fancy plugin, I found a way just to build it with a particle system. Here is the tutorial I found. The guy is austrian, his english isn't great, and its pretty long, but it gets the point across. I found it to be very helpful. Check it out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1z9ti_dGgQE

Note by Arturo

This one is probably better and shorter

Autodesk Technology in the Film Industry

One of the most interesting aspects in my enrollment in this class is the ways in which my education can be applied to the motion graphics industry. Even though we've predominantly working with After Effects, the work that can be done using Autodesk's Maya is just astounding. Within the last two days, it has been announced that all 5 of the best VFX and 7 Best Picture Academy Award nominees were designed using Autodesk and Shotgun Software. It has become increasing evident that the role of technology in the service of great storytelling continues to evolve. As the creators of some of the best CG tools in the world, Autodesk has allowed animators rise to the top of the global computer graphics industry. Some of these films are as follows:

                                                                        Big Hero 6

                                                    Captain America: The Winter Solider

                                                         Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

                                                          How to Train Your Dragon 2

Even though we haven't started using Maya, I'm intrigued to learn how animators take full advantage of all of the tools that Autodesk has to offer. This is definitely a type of animation that I want to pursue in the future.


High Speed Robot Meets High Speed Camera

Although this video does not have any animation in it, I thought it was very interesting. These guys designed a robot to move at high speeds while carrying a high speed phantom camera. By moving the high speed camera rapidly around the action being performed you can achieve a super slow motion parallax effect that looks amazing. I love phantom cameras and I am always checking out what people are using them for.

Majora's Mask



As many of you probably know, I'm a massive fan of Nintendo's Legend of Zelda series. This past Friday, Nintendo released a remastered version of the game for its mobile 3DS platform 15 years after the original was released. I've been playing it pretty much non-stop all week and while I've been going through it I was really interested in how, 15 years ago, the base game was created. For the time, this was a really complex game, not to mention having only been made start-to-finish in a year.

Majora's Mask was Nintendo's second game using 3D graphics and they did use a lot of the character models from Ocarina of Time in order to meet their one year deadline. The remaster has added a host of new features and they're just as impressive as the original game.

When people talk about 3D Graphics and Animation, and the evolution of those, video games are frequently overlooked. I definitely recommend at taking a look at the original game if you haven't before, and if you have--the 3DS version is a new improvement to an old classic.

Fringe and Floating Text

Not too long ago, we learned how to utilize motion tracking in After Effects. The ability to have an image or piece of text that you've created follow the camera movements to appear as part of the environment is a very valuable skill. As a media production major, the more tricks of the trade I learn, the more I start to see them used everywhere, and motion tracking is no exception. Lately I've been binge watching the Fox series Fringe on Netflix, and old favorite of mine that makes heavy use of motion tracking techniques.


Fringe is a show about the investigation of pseudo-science and unnatural phenomena. As you can imagine, a science-fiction show like this would make use of a lot of effects, but perhaps most notably are the floating text effects that the use during their establishing shots. Multiple times each episode, there are giant 3D letter floating in establishing shots, indicating where the story is taking place at the time. 




These words move with the camera movements, making them appear as though they are a part of the environment. The show creators also use other effects to really try to make the words appear to be in world, by including reflections in glass buildings and puddles, and even having the weather interact with letters. To see effect in motion, check out any episode, you'd only have to watch the first couple of minutes before seeing this effect used. Or you can check out this quick little demonstration video.

Creating Wallace and Gromit


Nick Park started creating Wallace and Gromit in 1982. The first film was A Grand Day Out.

He came up with the name Gromit from his brother, an electrician. A grommet is a rubber device used to insulate wiring. He was originally going to be a cat, but once he found it was a lot easier to make dogs out of clay, Gromit became a dog.



Park had never written a script before, and his first version of A Grand Day Out would have been four hours long. Aardman took Park on and helped him cut down his ideas to make them better and makeable in a shorter amount of time. A Grand Day Out took seven years in total.

The next film, The Wrong Trousers, came out in 1993. The train chase in the film is something that they had never seen done before in stopframe animation, and none of them knew how to do it. They built a 20 ft long living room wall, 2 ft high. They fixed the camera to the train and filmed on a long shutter speed to make the background blurry.



In an interview with The Guardian, Park talks about once they made The Curse of the Were-Rabbit with Dreamworks: "We made The Curse of the Were-Rabbit with Dreamworks, and it was often a struggle to keep things as we wanted. They'd say: "Why do they have to have an Austin A35? Can't they have a pickup truck or something cool?" But I love it because it's not cool. We were going to call it The Great Vegetable Plot, but research showed that vegetables were a negative with American kids, and they didn't know a plot is a place where you plant vegetables."



Co-founder of Aardman, Peter Lord, says, "Nick manages to convey in animation what Wallace and Gromit are thinking – and that's something most animators can't do. The lack of sentiment is the most charming thing about them: their affection is never saccharine, never obvious, just kind of real. I love their Jeeves and Wooster thing: the master being such a dope and failing to properly value his lower-status companion – I won't say servant – who is so much more intelligent."

Nick Park ends his interview by saying, "Digital animation is getting better all the time – they can make it look so much like clay now – but for me, there will always be a difference."

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

Just last week the world was graced by the release of the newest epic movie to be released to theatres, The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. The animated/live action film is the second Spongebob movie to be released. The biggest difference between the two feature length films is that this one takes place in the real world, rather than just Bikini Bottom. The trailer gives a good idea of what the film is going to look like and how they are going to bring the characters from the 2D world of Bikini Bottom into the 3D real world.
As you can see from the trailer the formerly flat characters from the Spongebob series have been moved into the 3D world and animated into living creatures the move alongside us humans. The 3D rendering technology made the characters come to live and look like they were really part of this world. They has real shadows and lots of other distinctions that made them look like they thoroughly belonged in the world they were in. However, the animators had to find a balance between keeping the characters true to their original looks while still bringing them to life and having them be a part of the 3D world. This is where the magic of the 3D rendering technology comes in because they can use the original characters and build them in 3D space while keeping them as true to their original designs as possible.

Synergy

Disney and Marvel have had great success recently through their live action features. Guardians of the Galaxy took this summer by storm, and Marvel has treated that success as a launching point for other media based on the film. They've recently announced the creation of a Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon.
Now, this is nothing groundbreaking; superhero cartoons have been a staple for a long time. What is interesting, however, is how Marvel is using the show as a launching point for other media. They recently released a comic book of Guardians that has the same exact art style as the cartoon.


Additionally, they've used the same style for the Disney Infinity toys. This streamlining of look of the superheroes shows a strength in brand which I find to be very cool. 

The Oculus Rift and what it means for Film and Interactive Media



When this first came out I initially didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it because it didn't look too different from virtual reality equipment I've seen before. But when the POV office obtained one while I was interning there last semester, I realized that it is the beginning of a powerful tool for films and interactive media. Brian Chris works as the digital technology developer at POV and has a interesting blog involving the oculus rift and what it means for documentary film makers. Here is a link to his blog where you can find it all explained much better than here. Brian Chris's Blog - POV. One of the uses for documentary films is to show the audience physically what the numbers represent since in so many films it's difficult to communicate what the numbers actually mean. Or for issues like climate change it's difficult to show it's affects since it's happening at such a comparatively slow rate to how we exist although in reality the changes are significant. So with this tool people are able to design entire 3D worlds or alternate realities for the audience to simply play around in. For example Brian posted a 3D city that you can navigate through.



Animation and 3D design seems to be bridging the gap between reality and a virtual reality. Animation has been an amazing tool to help share and explain ideas in a simple way but now that we can emerge ourselves in a world that we can design. We can even use it as a medium to interact with our own world. When it comes to films I feel like we will be able to gain a much stronger perspective on what the directors are trying to communicate. 

Heliofant

I was browsing the web looking for something to make my blog post on when I stubbled across this.



 I don't know anything about the creator as of now but I watched this short animation and was mesmerized.

 Not only was the animation phenomenal, but what ever the message behind it is... is something powerful. This video is intriguing and if you can find the time you should really check it out.



I would explain my own opinion on its meaning but after watching it a third time i think everyone should decide what it means on there own.

Very impressed.

Note from Arturo: how about embedding the video:

I, pet goat II from Heliofant on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Interactive Digital Projection and Dance

So before I say anything, I want to say that this is SO COOL!  As a dancer for 13 years, watching this video makes me want to dance to something with this projection system.  The project is called Pixel and it was performed in 2014 in France.  I loved how not only were the dancers choreographed, but the animation was as well.  Both elements of the performance were in balance with each other, playing off one another.  (1:16 in the clip at the top of the page blew my mind right out of the water)

Link is here for the site.

Note from Arturo: embed, embed!


Image Stabilization

With image stabilization becoming very accessible in the form of software programs such as Hugin Panorama CreatorBlenderDeshaker, Adobe After Effects, etc. people can do their own image stabilization very easily. This has brought forward a lot of creative applications of image stabilization. What was originally meant for stabilizing shaky footage has become a tool for creating totally new ways of looking at otherwise normal footage. For example, here is a video of a street performer doing contact juggling with the video stabilized on the crystal ball:
video
Here is a time-lapse video of the night sky with the video stabilized on the stars, revealing that the earth is spinning rather than the stars revolving:
video
And here is a video of an award show with the video stabilized on Weird Al Yankovic floating past an interview:
video
With more easy to use, free software programs coming out, I'm sure people will take image stabilization to a whole new level in the next couple years.

Claymation

While I have never done any myself, I believe claymation is one of the coolest forms of animation out there. Basically, it is a form of animation using either clay or this material called plasticine, which has been around since the early 1900s. In claymation production, the artist will sculpt the characters out of either the clay or plasticine, while also using wire molds underneath to support the sculpture. Shooting claymation is extremely tedious and time consuming. A full length 90 minute feature film using claymation would require roughly 64,800 stops to change the figures for the frames. Notable claymation films include Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run, and More.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lyric Videos

Hey Everyone, now that we covered working with Audio in AE,  I thought I would share this tutorial about creating lyric videos. I personally love working with music and making music videos and I found this to be very helpful, maybe you all will too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldsXqaGB7Ac


Monday, February 16, 2015

Live Visuals and Color.

I've recently been experimenting on syncing sounds and music with objects and shapes in After Effects. While I was looking on Vimeo for my daily inspiration I ran across these Live Tour Visuals and decided to share it with you all! I think the color choices and the silhouettes of people are amazing. I was wondering if these images were just sketched and then recorded into After Effects or Photoshop or just transferred in as .png files or something similar. What do you think?
 

                     

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Marvel Sony Spiderman Deal

In the realm of CGI and animation lies a genre a movies that has gained a lot of popularity over the past decade, superhero movies. That being said, if one company had to be given credit for said rise in popularity it would have to be Marvel. Since creating the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008 with Iron Man, Marvel has built an extremely successful franchise filled with individual movies for each character as well as The Avengers, where they all team up. However, not all Marvel movies were able to be part of this universe. The X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Spider-man movies, were all owned by different companies making it impossible for them to be a part of the MCU...or so we thought.



This past week, Marvel Studios and Sony struck a deal regarding Spider-man. According to the deal, a new Spider-man will first appear in a MCU movie and then Sony will release the next installment of the series. Unfortunately for Andrew Garfield this does mean another reboot of the Spider-man series. However, for everyone else, this is really exciting.


Cake Zoetrope

This video is a great example of how you can do pretty much anything that you can imagine, no matter how pointless. This is a zoetrope of a spinning chocolate cake and a strobe light. The strobe light flickers at a speed exactly equal to the speed at which the cake spins one unit. This creates the illusion of an animated scene where chocolate penguins jump out of alligators mouths. When the lights turn on, the magic is gone because the flickering light is not in sync with the spinning cake and the illusion is over. What this video shows is that you don't need a computer to create animation, just a very creative mind, and also a friend who has a passion for chocolate art. I can only imagine what this animation looks like in person because I know that the poor quality of the camera, and the fact that its shutter speed is slightly off from the frequency of the strobe light, is taking away from the experience. Still, the video is very cool.


Juno Title Sequence



The 2007 film, Juno, directed by Jason Reitman and starring Ellen Page, has an extremely memorable and fitting title sequence. The first scene of the film flows seamlessly into the credits, which are printed, hand-drawn, xeroxed, cut, and colored images. Over 900 of them. It focuses on the main character, Juno, as she walks through her neighborhood.







Designer Gareth Smith of Shadowplay Studio said it took "nearly supernatural patience."

Smith worked with Reitman to create an idea for the opening credits. "The music, the tone and originality of the screenplay, and the uniqueness of Juno's character, led us down the path toward creating a low-fi, hand-animated title sequence," Smith said.

Smith and his wife, Jenny Lee, flew up to Vancouver where they were shooting the film to shoot thousands of photos of Ellen walking with a high-speed camera from a number of angles.




The cut-outs of Juno were created from the photographs. They printed out every frame, outlined Juno, and photocopied the prints to degrade the quality. Then they cut out the frames with scissors and colored them in by hand.

Read the whole interview and the in depth process they did here.

WALL-E

It feels just like yesterday when I went to see WALL-E in theaters. The favorited animated movie originally came out in 2008, as a production by Pixar Animation Studios. Even though the film was released six years ago, it's message still holds true: we must take care of the Earth if we want to live there in the future. The story follows a robot named, WALL-E who's sole purpose is to scour the Earth and clean up the remaining waste.




The existence of humans is referenced for a brief amount of time, but the main focus is on the journey of robots within a new universe stemming from environmental unconsciousness. Ironically, it seems as though humans have gravitated to a seemingly "robotic" and repetitive lifestyle: lack of exercise, processed foods, and constant media consumption. While on the other hand, robots have been tasked with the daunting goal of cleansing the world while humanity lives in a starship planet. What makes this animated film standout from all of the rest, is that the robots are designed to model physical human traits (eyes, hands, feet, etc.) and display emotions, rather than words to express themselves. As the movie progresses, it becomes evident that the robots understand the full meaning of free will.




It would behoove us to take a page out of WALL-E's book and do our part to preserve our home: the planet Earth.






Scott Pilgrim vs. The World



I watched this film a year ago and was blown away by the animations and special effects. Now getting a slight insight on creating animations and special effects like this, I am really impressed with this film. Not only is it a strong and funny story that appeals to the gamer in all of us but it's simply fun to watch. In reality, this film doesn't entirely even have to have a great storyline because it's so entertaining to the eye. They have a lot of over the top animations in the film that maintain it's game-like feel.





I can't even imagine the amount of green screen, tracking, and hours of sitting on a computer that went into this film. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this film and would recommend it to anyone looking for something fun and easy to watch. Also Michael Cera is great in this and really fits the roll perfectly.

Machinima

Last week I mentioned the production company RoosterTeeth, a company responsible for a number of popular web series over the last several years. One of their most popular and well known series, Red vs. Blue, makes use of a technique known as machinima. Machinima refers to the use of real-time graphic engines to create cinematic productions. Most often, the engines used come from video games, effectively connecting machinima to video gaming culture. Many people consider this kind of production as animation because the creators are essentially using computer graphics. What makes machinima different from more traditional animation is that the animators are controlling each character and acting out the necessary movements in real-time. To get an idea of what that might look like, check this episode of Red vs. Blue that RoosterTeeth made using the game Halo: Reach.  


The Halo series is very popular among machinima makers, given their numerous multiplayer maps and the Forge Mode, a game mode that allows players to create their own structures within maps. Other popular video games for machinima include World of Warcraft, The Sims, as well as Half Life 2 with its numerous third party generated mods. Machinma is a cool way for video game fans to make exciting ideas and bring their fan fiction to life.

Attack On Titan

Attack on Titian is a is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. It was created back in 2009 in Japan and shortly after its realize became very popular. It even became popular enough in western culture that they decided to dub over the audio so that subtitles were no longer necessary.

 What is Manga? Manga is a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels, typically aimed at adults as well as children. These are commonly turned into television series now days.

This particular story is aimed at older audiences because it is extremely graphic and also deep. The story contains many characters with very complex pasts. The show also likes to keep the audience in the dark to keep the story suspenseful. 

The premise of the show is that humanity has been pushed to the brink of extinction and the only place they are safe is within the walls of a huge castle divided into 3 sections. The antagonists are huge humanoid creatures that are very hard to kill. 

I personally find the show to be a little to graphic at points. It is extremely violent and oftentimes as soon as you become attached to a character they get killed off. The story is written extremely well and the animation is beautiful. I often don't like watching these shows because the action is too slow for me but this show has a very fast pace and great fight scenes. 

I would recommend that people looking for an in-depth story give Attack on Titan a chance even if "you don't like anime".  
It surprised me. 







Wednesday, February 11, 2015

True Detective Title Sequence

Buzz about True Detective season 2 is starting to pick up, so I thought it would be appropriate to comment on the opening title sequence from season 1.  Lasting roughly a minute and a half, this title sequence is easily one of the most symbolic and beautiful openings to any television show I have ever seen.  It does a tremendous job of incorporating different elements of the show, including incredible shots of the setting in Louisiana, as well as foreshadowing the main characters as broken and cynical people.  The design is truly a work of art that incorporates this hazy and transparent like feel that really adds a nice touch.  As far as the music goes, I think it complements the artistic design wonderfully and adds a nice depth to the overall feel.

Check out the intro below:

HBO's True Detective - Main Title Sequence from Patrick Clair on Vimeo.

Lego Movie Directors bitter as Fathers walking through toy-rooms

One could say the directors of the Lego Movie wish the Board of directors at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would step on as much lego as it took to create the movie for the slap in the face they gave the movie for not nominating it.  The Lego Movie, directed by Chris Miller and Phil Lord, was not nominated for best animated film for this year's oscars, but did however win the BAFTA award for best animated feature.
(Directors of Lego Movie holding their awards)

Usually the British Academy Film and Television Arts awards are spot on in picking the films that later win American Oscars, but this year was not the case.     For their acceptance speech, Miller and Lord parted with "You guys win the award for best Academy.  This is the end of the awards road for us, so we can say whatever we want.  There's no one left to impress," effectively making a stab at the Oscars.  I support the directors in their views because their movie was better than any animated films Disney produced that oscar season; there was no reason why it should not have been nominated.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

As you all all ready know the newest installment of the critically acclaimed Star Wars series is set to release at the end of this year. A couple of months ago, a very short preview for the film was released and gave the world a glimpse of the kinds of animations that were going to be used throughout the film. Here is the teaser to get you all excited for the movie, and the rest of this post.
Now the most obvious use of animation is with the newest lightsaber form. This shows something about a lightsaber that has never been seen before, a hand guard. Also unlike most lightsabers, the actual light being emitted is not solid and more unstable. The animators must have had to make the edges of the saber rougher to create the effect of being more unstable than a regular lightsaber. Another instance of animation used in this teaser is the entire star ship chase towards the ends. This must have been incredibly difficult because of the sheer volume of the shoot. With the camera movements and the vehicles moving through space a lot needs to be taken into account. Starting with the lasers being shot from the enemies, to the backgrounds, and finally to simply having the spacecrafts fly by and look as good as they did. The animations used in the original Star Wars trilogy were extremely cutting edge for the time they were produced, and Episode 7 appears to be continuing to hold the graphics to a very high standard.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

TAPE Production and Postproduction Reel

In the midst of my daily adventure to find inspiration via the internet and the physical world around me. I came across a video today that was filled with motion graphics and animation that could do easily (being that we already discussed this in class.) The TAPE production and postproduction reel visually illustrates the use of particles, color correction, expressions, and green screens (or green people). Either way the video is pretty short but is enough to ignite your imagination with tons and tons of ideas.



Creating Star Trek Credits

Hey everyone, so last class Arturo brought up Andrew Kramer, and he's a name that everyone getting into Motion Graphics should know. He works with Video Copilot, a website that builds plugins and creates tutorials. Here is a video on Andrew Kramer's Vimeo channel of him going through the process (abridged) of creating the credits for Star Trek Into Darkness. He talks about using some of the things we've been doing in class using randomize and particle creators, and also talks about using the plugins Video Copilot creates. Here is a link to the video, and below a link to video copilot.

https://vimeo.com/74184382

video copilot:
http://www.videocopilot.net/

Monday, February 9, 2015

Fan Created Superhero Media

I'm a big fan of the superhero genre. I watch all the films, I read the comics, and I binge all the superhero TV shows. As I often peruse comic book websites, a big thing that they feature is fan created videos. Most of these are videos are mashups of various movies, cut to look like two characters exist in the same universe and, usually, fight each other. Although they're never spectacularly well-made, they can certainly be entertaining.


Every once in a while, there some really brilliant videos that play on the superhero genre and have some really decent animation and visual effects. The effects are cool and are fairly easy to do, I've found upon looking up various how-to videos. These videos just go to show how the market is drastically expanding, and how anyone can be a content creator. Here's my favorite one: It's Batman vs. Darth Vader.



VFX in The Wolf of Wall Street: More Than You Think

This video shows how much CGI was really used in The Wolf of Wall Street, and what it was used for. It is amazing how much CGI they used in the film and it is amazing how well it was done. People only notice bad CGI; the greatest work is never appreciated because people believe it to be reality. The film used CGI to mainly enhance the backgrounds and manipulate the sets they filmed on. I was very surprised to see how everything was changed, I'm glad I came across this video. Everyone should take the time to watch this, you will be surprised. It really shows how powerful and effective CGI can be to compliment a scene, other than to make huge exploding action sequences.


The Wolf of Wall Street VFX Highlights from Brainstorm Digital on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Leika Art From Coraline Released





Leika is the production company behind Oscar Nomination Box Trolls as well as Paranorman and Coraline. The company has recently decided to put some of the art behind their films up for auction. While this doesn't necessarily mean as much for Box Trolls and ParaNorman, since their art has long been released to the public in the form of artbook companions, Coraline's concept art is shown for the first time.

Some of it is really interesting and beautiful, and because of the nature of Leika's stop-motion animation style, the art encompasses not only handdrawn and painted illustrations, but also puppets and animation maquettes.

The auction is only live for about four more days, and while the prices are rising quickly out of the typical college students' range, they're definitely worth looking at.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Animating a Still Photograph

Have you ever seen a show or documentary where there is a still image that has been animated to look 3D? That is called the parallax effect, and can be done using Photoshop and After Effects. It is surprisingly simple as well. Using the skills we have already learned in class we could easily create the effect by following this tutorial I found on YouTube. By singling out individual subjects in the photo, making them each their own layer, and putting them into 3D space in After Effects, a beautiful looking 3D animation can be created.

Floor Projectors

After Katy Perry's performance, the Sochi and Beijing opening ceremonies it was clear to me that floor projectors have become a high end and impressive part of live performances. We can change stadium floors to oceans, cliffs, or lava all in a matter of seconds. It is bringing animating and special digital effects to the brim of interacting with reality. They did an impressive job with all of the mapping at the halftime show but the only downfall is that they are hard to film.






How ever, I was fortunate enough to experience these mapping projectors at the opening ceremonies in Sochi. The projector and Katy Perry flying around literally as a firework reminded me a lot of the opening ceremonies. seeing it all first hand was really breathtaking. When the floor turned to water, you started to feel a little sea sick and it really sucked you into this virtual reality. And stories transitioned so much smoother and could tell so much more depth. In a matter of seconds a scene in the middle of an ocean would turn into a dance hall and then space. This combination of creating 2D images interacting with them in a 3D world is incredible fascinating to me and I can't wait to see how it is expanded upon in the future.




Sports Graphics

Seeing as last Sunday was the Superbowl, I figured this week would be an appropriate time to talk about motion graphics in terms of sports. With lower thirds, wipes, bugs, and boards, sports is consistently paving the way with innovative motion graphics and animation.

As part of my internship last summer, I worked on broadcasts of the Cape Cod Baseball League for Fox College Sports. Before the first game, one of my responsibilities was to export the alpha transitions they would use to go to replay for our switcher in our truck. However what I found the most interesting about the graphics was how they did the score bug. There are many different ways to do score bugs. Here at Ithaca College on our football and basketball broadcasts for Bombers Live, we use a channel of our Chyron, a two channel character generator. However, this is not really ideal since it then takes away a channel that could be used for other things like lower thirds. At my internship, Fox actually sent us their own proprietary system called a FoxBox. This was a computer with software that would let you type in the score and the would output a key and fill channel to the switcher. The machine is also smart enough to know that three strikes make an out and other rules of the game. But what I think was probably the coolest thing about it was the fact that it had a serial data input that would read data from a radar gun and output the speed of the pitches. Fox isn't the only network with systems like these. Most others have similar things. Daktronics, the major company who manufacturers scoreboards also has equipment that allow you to take a feed from the scoreboard and use that in your broadcast.


A Great Loss for the Animation World

Earlier this week the animation community has suffered a tragic loss. Monty Oum of Rooster Teeth passed away unexpectedly.


Monty Oum was the chief animator at Rooster Teeth, a production company responsible for many popular web series including Red vs. Blue, Achievement Hunter, and RWBY. Monty's animations have appeared in numerous projects, perhaps most notably the last few seasons of Red vs Blue, as well as RWBY, 3D anime style web series that is largely his own creation. Monty created his animation through the use of Smith Micro's Poser Software.



Monty was a huge creative force at Rooster Teeth, and he will surely be missed. If you're a fan of video game culture or anime, I would recommend checking out some of his videos and other series hosted on Rooster Teeth's website.


Orphan Black Magic

Orphan Black has been a major hit show for the past two seasons and is one of my absolute favorites. Not only because of the characters, but also because of the special effects put into the production to make this show a possibility.  The special effects used in this show allow Tatiana Maslany to play all six clones during filming instead of having six different people playing the six different clones.  Through their use of robotically controlled dollies and the software Fusion, a scene like the one below can be created.  (hint, all four women in this scene is Tatiana Maslany)


While Tatiana does all her work with stand ins acting as another clone, Fusion allows for the editors to manipulate the footage and put all the different Tatianas into the scene at once.  If you have not seen the show I strongly encourage you to watch it.  It will satisfy your creative, technical and slightly weird side that all of us hide.

Madden Predictions

EA and Madden have been predicting the SuperBowl winners since the 2004 SuperBowl when the New England Patriots defeated the Carolina Panthers. Over that span the computer has gone a very solid 9-3 with their picks, most impressively correctly picking the exact final score of the most recent SuperBowl New England 28 Seattle 24. During this span Madden has also released a video showing what their simulation had happening throughout the game, including, the touchdown plays and big plays from the game. Using the in-game graphics to show how these games play out, Madden has been eerily accurate over the past decade. Every year the graphics of these videos improve along with the game graphics for each Madden, with this years looking incredibly realistic.
As you can see from the clip the textures and backgrounds and almost every single part of the animations of the game are incredibly realistic and show a very high attention to detail. As these animations continue to develop and the graphics for games continue to improve we will get better and better quality SuperBowl prediction videos, eventually it may even be like we are watching real game highlights.

Stop-Motion Animation

When someone mentions animation, the first ideas that come to mind are works by famous companies such as Pixar and DreamWorks. Movies like How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek, and Finding Nemo have illustrated the power of graphical animation by developing complicated and concise fictional worlds. But, animation doesn't just stop with cartoon movies. Stop-Motion Animation provides an alternative approach to animation that utilizes all forms of media to create a polished project: still images, sound, video, clay figures (actors), set modeling, and the story-boarding process. One of my favorite stop-motion films, as a child, was Aardman Animations' Wallace and Gromit. Not only did the British stop-motion comedy consist of four short films, but it also included one feature-length film. The academy-nominated relationship, of the two main characters, grows over the course of the series as Wallace's new ideas are constantly met with Gromit's "unimpressed" body language and humorous facial expressions.

                 

This stop-motion graphics artist (below) decided to take the "Wallace and Gromit approach" a step further. With the recent release of Warner Brothers' The Lego Movie, YouTube user, "cheesybricks," takes a stab at his own version of stop-motion animation with the Lego theme in mind. In this short video, watch as the artist "paints with lego."



                     Video Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxy1fkrXmCI#t=85

This video really opened my mind to the possibilities that one can achieve in animation as a field of study. Perhaps, it will be something that I will pursue in the future. But for now, I'm just going to enjoy its prestige!