30 March, 2009

Bruce Lee vs. Iron Man: Clever Animation


There are some things that I see out of the corner of my eye, that I end up checking out. I saw the icon to the animation and clicked it because 1) I like Bruce Lee (have been since I was a little boy), and 2) I liked Ironman and found it intriguing how these two characters would fight. 

For animation and visual effects students, you'll find it highly entertaining. It was also short (less than a minute) and it shows what you can do with a great fun idea. When I saw how many people viewed it already, numbering over a million, I couldn't resist. I had to check it out. For those of you wondering, I definitely think its STOPMO, with a little dash of compositing and lensflare :-). 

What do you think? Whoever made this....great work.

Funny ending too. Way to kick those guys!


26 March, 2009

Shadowbox: Video and Image Viewers

Shadowbox is similar to the popular image viewer called Lightbox created by Lokesh Dhakar. Shadowbox caught our attention because of its ability to display quicktime videos and "embed" Youtube video code. Shadowbox was created by Michael J. Jackson.

Similar to Lightbox, the design and presentation is attractive and "sexy". When a user clicks an image, the entire page will darken and your image and video will be framed and cropped in a simple elegant animated style.

From a usability standpoint, it keeps the user on your site, and will stay on the page as long as they wish...very very nice.

Navigation is clean, simple and minimal just the way I like. Thanks MJ for sharing this application with us.

Fire it up!

- Randolf

24 March, 2009

Eldred Tjie: Modeling and CG Animation Demo Reel

Eldred Tjie's demo reel is exceptional. As you can see by the examples posted below, he shows a great command over his textures and lighting. His demo reel presentation is also well done, its fast paced, exciting and fun to look at. If you are a student, pay close attention to how he labels the the work he has done for each shot. He doesn't have a site currently, but the demo reel is perhaps all we need - very nice work Eldred.

21 March, 2009

Robot Fish Underwater


Okay, I saw this and was amazed. The fish's movement is simple but looks extremely realistic especially when viewed in the water. The randomness and variety in the way the fish moves also looks just right. Nice project guys.

I wonder what's next. Perhaps develop Ai in the fish to enable it to catch a lure. Imagine programming a "fight" response once this fish is caught...it sounds like a lot of fun. 

17 March, 2009

PC vs. Mac Transformers Animation

This animation was created by Dan Chianelli and Nick Greenlee as a visual effects and animation piece. It got our attention not only for its overall quality, but because they attended Art Institute schools. For those of you who attend Art Institute schools, I'm sure you'll recognize the paint job in the halls and rooms, the piece is fun to watch...

This piece is outstanding, its professionally filmed, the story has a nice hook at the beginning and once the animation kicks in, you'll find great examples of animation, compositing and lighting. Overall...seamless and well done! If you are an animation student, this should inspire and stir you a little bit.

Dan and Nick, you have some fans here at the school, when you get a chance reply to this post when you have a moment to let us know what happened to you once word of your animation got around. Lots of us want to hear how you are doing. Best of luck in all you do.

Fire it Up! - Randolf

12 March, 2009

Artificial Intelligence in Video Games: Torsten Reil & Force Unleashed

This week in my animation classes, we talked about the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and its impact on computer animation video games and feature film. We started first by viewing this lecture by Torsten Reil (Natural Motion), who presented his findings from Oxford University on the use of AI in characters. The interesting part, is that this was recorded in 2003 and when you watch the lecture, you'll learn about the "evolution" process, which is a series of algorithms that enables the computer to learn. In this case, it helps it to react to stimuli resulting in natural animation that is generated on the fly, and that looks different every time. In the lecture, Torsten mentioned that the technology was now being used for video games and for digital stunt doubles in feature film. Below is a great example of how these clips can be blended with MOCAP data to create engaging and exciting footage. The company that produced this is called Euphoria.

So, since this the 2003 Torsten lecture, we decided to do some research to see where the technology was used and surprisingly, many of us have seen examples of these on TV and in video games, the best examples we found was its use in the video game "Force Unleashed" (Lucas Arts 2008). The clips below show how these technologies were used in the actual gameplay and also, how the environment is affected. The results are simply amazing. Keep an eye out for more of this type of animation in the next title that you buy.  

11 March, 2009

Killzone 2: Are video games art? Are video games sport?

Chime in and let us know what you think? We can contest if the medium is an art. I teach in the field, and I would have to say yes. Its one of the newest forms of expression that involve others. Are video games sport? In some ways yes...you challenge opponents, you keep score, you play on a field (and in this case, a virtual battlefield) until there is a winner. The only thing missing is the actual physical exertion is experienced in a virtual world. Without the physical exertion, then it remains a game, similar to chess.

What do you think? Chime in below and enjoy.


Jim Kakalios: The Science of "Watchmen"

I saw the "Watchmen" movie this weekend and had a good time. I ran into this clip while browsing and found it interesting.

Jim Kaklios is a physics professor for the University of Minnesota and was the technical consultant for the recent "Watchmen" movie. He makes sure that there is substance, reason to many of the supernatural effects that you see in the movie, especially the ones surrounding the character Dr. Manhattan. In essence, he adds information to shots that make them appear real.

If you've seen the movie, you should check this out. If you've seen it and would like to leave a comment, let us know what you think.

Fire it up!

06 March, 2009

Laundry Day: By Guillaume Chartier

I teach a lot of 2D animation classes, and in looking at my blog, realized that I haven't posted many great 2D examples for my classes to watch, even though we watch many in class. So, the next several blog posts will be solely devoted to 2D animation, in order to build my collection.

This first example, was recommended from one of my students Chrsta. It's called "Laundry Day" and was animated by animator Guillaume Chartier . It opens well and soon as we see "the object", draws our attention, the premise is interesting, the animation (the pieces that are complete) is smooth, displays good anticipation, arcs, follow through and exaggeration, and most importantly, its pretty darn funny. You'll have to watch...wait and see.

I'm also glad to see the unfinished look he has for a couple of his shots. Loose uncleaned animation can sometimes be more gestural, fluid, we see how he animates form and most importantly, we can see how he breaks down his acting into keyframes, which brings forth a great opportunity for learning animation. Good job Guillaume, if you ever read this post, post a reply, you got a lot of fans here at the school.

Thanks for the link Christa C.

Fire it up!

03 March, 2009

Barclay Waterslide: Video Contest

This just came in and I found it to be very amusing. First, Barclay is a "contactless" technology company. It seems that the company is expert in setting up systems so that you can get around and pay for things easily, these days we need it. See the commercial below and you'll see what I mean. As you watch, your assignment is to see which parts are CG and which parts are not.

So, some guys in London decided to do a spoof on the ad, and created an amazing waterslide with household items. Not only that, but they filmed it and got some recognition for it.

Interesting right? Barclay is making a competition out of it and it sounds cool.

Can you make a better slide? I think you can. Get your crew together, film it, edit it and make it cool. Post it on Youtube and if you get the most hits, you could win a fantastic waterslide trip around the world in places such as China, Dubai, Brazil, Brazil or Germany. You'll also be given a laptop and camera to document your sliding trip around the world. Sounds fun, especially with Summer fast approaching.