Archive for the ‘Cool Stuff’ Category

Sony Kicks Off New Visionaries Campaign with “Just Imagine”

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

In a campaign is designed to drive consumers to see and experience the Sony 4K TVs, the company brings creative innovators together, pairs them with new Sony technology and encourages them to unleash their imaginations.

According to the report in CG World, “the spot sets several important milestones, as it is among first commercials to embrace true 4K both in production and delivery (with a companion piece being shown in 4K at retail locations), utilizing the technology that raises definition by four times that of your standard HD television. Additionally, the spaceship created by VFX company MPC is the largest asset ever created for TV.”

This first production was directed by Garth Davis (co-director of Top of the Lake) and shot by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Claudio Miranda ( Life of Pi), and imagines the limitless potential of Davis’ vision, as realized through the new 4K Ultra High Definition TV.

Check out the video of the commercial.

What do you think about the commercial and the potential for the 4K technology?

Looking for a Challenge During Winter Break – Try the New Rubik-style Cube

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Thought you were pretty smart and solved the basic Rubik’s Cube?  Well, here’s a new challenge to keep your minds and fingers busy! Brando developed an IQ cube with a roulette wheel.

This Geekologie review says, “The Most Complicated! OR, The Most Fancy!? This IQ Cube Challenge of IQ Brick, common in 6-Surface Cube, 6-color surface… means (that you) not only need to accomplish each surface color, but the ROULETTE Color and Sequence Number! Rotating in each Roulette Surface, Moving IQ Cube in each Direction, Different Solving Skills.”

Let us know if you solve the puzzle and how many hours it took!

Cogswell Tower – Caroline Cogswell’s Gift to Central Falls

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Cogswell Tower in Central Falls, RI

We ran across this article recently in the SF Gate and thought it would be fun to do a little digging into the history of the Cogswell Tower. The Cogswell’s lived in Providence, RI where Henry started his dental practice before moving to California during the gold rush, so the couple had ties to the area.

The structure was built in 1904 as the result of a bequest left by Caroline Cogswell in her will. According to the City of Central Falls “the eponymously-named tower, whose four clock faces provide unparalleled views of the city in all four directions. Standing almost seventy feet tall, the tower is supported by a brick barrel vault that rests atop historic Dexter’s Ledge.”

Another article by Gerald Carbone, describes the “The Blackstone Valley was the Silicon Valley of the 1800s, on the cutting edge of industrial technology” so we supposed it’s not surprising that Henry Cogswell was such an entrepreneur.

The Cogswell left their mark across the United States through the construction of temperance fountains and other monuments – but most especially – through the founding of Cogswell Polytechnical College in 1887 in San Francisco.

Apps That Turn Your Phone Photos into Great Collages

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

If you’ve been waiting for an app that will let you turn the photos on your phone into a cohesive statement that you can then upload or email, then Bazaart has an app for you!

“People have too many photos,” founder Gili Golander says. “[Bazaart offers] the ability to join them together and create something that is more than the sum of the photos in it.”

Check out this article in Mashable to learn more.

Not Your Typical New Year Resolutions

Monday, December 30th, 2013

According to the USA.gov website some of the most popular new year resolutions are: Drink less alcohol, eat healthier, lose weight, manage stress, manage debt – no big surprises here.

This was first published in 2009 by Carole Summerville but we think it’s worth sharing again. It’s a great reminder that some resolutions can make our lives better and the world a better place.

Tell us about the resolution you plan to make.

10 Short Animated Films Considered for an Oscar

Friday, December 27th, 2013

The 10 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production companies and whenever available, a link to the trailer.

Feral,” Daniel Sousa, director, and Dan Golden, music and sound design (Daniel Sousa)

Get a Horse!” Lauren MacMullan, director, and Dorothy McKim, producer (Walt Disney Feature Animation)

Gloria Victoria,” Theodore Ushev, director (National Film Board of Canada)

Hollow Land,” Uri Kranot and Michelle Kranot, directors (Dansk Tegnefilm, Les Films de l’Arlequin and the National Film Board of Canada)

The Missing Scarf,” Eoin Duffy, director, and Jamie Hogan, producer (Belly Creative Inc.)

Mr. Hublot,” Laurent Witz, director, and Alexandre Espigares, co-director (Zeilt Productions)

“Possessions,” Shuhei Morita, director (Sunrise Inc.)

“Requiem for Romance,” Jonathan Ng, director (Kungfu Romance Productions Inc.)

“Room on the Broom,” Max Lang and Jan Lachauer, directors (Magic Light Pictures)

Subconscious Password,” Chris Landreth, director (National Film Board of Canada with the participation of Seneca College Animation Arts Centre and Copperheart Entertainment)

Do you have a favorite?

A Little Levity After All that Family Time

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Every holiday needs a cute cat video to lighten the mood and get you ready to head out to the malls. We’ve heard that you just can’t have too many of these!

Check out this compilation of the best cat videos from The Daily.

Please share your favorite cat videos with us!

Twas the Night Before an VFX Artist Christmas

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

One of our alumni shared this with us last year and we thought it was worth repeating.

************

Twas the night before Christmas, at the VFX house
Everyone was still there, ’cause shots “HAD” to go out.
The clips were all loaded, ready for playback again,
With hopes to be home by a quarter past ten.

The artists all wiggled, back and forth in their chairs,
Confident that “Finals,” soon would be theirs.
VFX sup at the ready, their anticipation grew,
As they all settled in, for one last review.

When out in the hall there arose such a clatter,
They sprang from their seats to see what was the matter.
From through the door a producer screamed like a loon,
More shots just came in, due tomorrow afternoon!

“How could this be, do they know it’s Christmas eve?”
“We’ve been on OT for 6 weeks, and now we can’t leave?”
“For my family I’ve bought, nothing at all!”
“On the way home, I was going to stop at the mall!”

Sadness and anger took over their minds,
But soon they were off, they dared not get behind.
Back to their desks, away they did flee,
Anxious and worried, what kind of shots would these be?

No new characters or props, a bit of good news,
A new environment, no time, an old one they’d re-use.
More rapid they typed, as they got back to work,
They drank coffee, and yelled, and started to curse!

“Screw Maya and Nuke and this proprietary crap!”
“Wake me when that file loads, meanwhile I’ll nap!”
“Ok, it loaded, but my assets aren’t showing!”
“Where the hell are those files, there’s no way of knowing!”

After while they all settled, back on the right track,
They had to make haste, there was no going back.
Hours and hours they slaved at their screens,
Pushing every pixel, every red blue and green.

And then, via email, a bit of joy after all,
Donuts in the office, at the end of the hall.
Pushing and shoving to claim circular delight,
Glorious sugar and frosting, some fuel for the night.

With simulations and renders, out on the farm,
A slight glitch here and there, no cause for alarm.
Keeping tabs on their renders, frame by frame,
Soon they would finish and freedom they would claim.

By four the next morning, all tasks were complete,
Freshly animated and lit, then composited neat.
Shots uploaded and queued, so they gathered once more,
Tired and haggard, the team was drained to it’s core.

The VFX Sup stood up and looked over his crew.
A wave of pride rushed over, and immediately he knew,
These people had families that soon would awake.
These words he spoke so loud, the ground it did shake!

“Get away from this place, another minute do not spend.”
“Be with your spouse and your kids, go home my dear friends.”
“If during review the client says these shots do not pass,”
“I’ll turn to him and say, why don’t you kiss my ass!”

They looked at each other, then started to cheer,
Finally it was time, they were all in the clear.
They got up and walked out, goodbye they all waved,
Racing home in their cars, Christmas might have been saved.

Back in his office the VFX sup awoke from his slumber.
Where had everyone gone, out loud he did wonder.
Up on the roof, old Santy morphed back to himself,
“Happy Christmas to All!,” shouted the jolly old elf.

Don’t Forget Cookies for Santa and We Don’t Mean the Tracking Kind

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

In case you forgot about dear ol’ Santa and the treat that every good boy and girl should leave out for the kindly gent – well, here’s a simple yet tasty recipe that you can whip up at the last minute.

Cornflake Wreaths

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 (10 ounce) package regular marshmallows or 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 teaspoon green food coloring
  • 6 cups corn flakes
  • red cinnamon candies
  1. In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat.
  2. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in food coloring.
  3. Add corn flakes cereal. Stir until well coated
  4. Using 1/4 cup dry measure coated with cooking spray, evenly portion warm cereal mixture. Using buttered fingers, quickly shape into individual wreaths.
  5. Dot with cinnamon candies.

Or you could just run out to the store and pick up a tray of cookies!

A Glass Symphony Through the Eyes of Google Glass

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

If you have ever wondered what the musical world might look like from a different perspective, this pair of videos gives you the chance to view two different musical performances through Google Glass.

The two videos in this piece in Create Digital Music let you see music through the eyes of first a performer and then a conductor. In “Glass through Glass,” you hear a beautiful, ethereal ensemble of wine glasses resonating in harmony by Alexander Chen. In the second video you see Cornell conductor and professor, Cynthia Turner, using Google Glass as a point-of-view camera.

Did either of these videos make you feel more like you were part of the action?