Articles

I will now talk about whether VR is an “Empathy Machine” for 12.5 min

Various people have suggested that I spend some time talking about Virtual Reality and all the interesting thoughts, challenges, and other bits and pieces around it, on YouTube. So I’m giving that a go! First video: the whole “VR as Empathy Machine” concept. Is it right? If not, what IS VR? Links for things referenced in the video: Syrian Refugee Experience VR Gender Swap Experience Gamist, Narrativist and Simulationist RPGs Papers Please This War Of Mine Left-Hand Path What do you think of the whole “Empathy Machine” concept?

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Video: Testing The Leap Motion In VR. Contains Happy Swearing.

As promised, I managed to get longtime SC collaborator Johnnie Ingram to test out the Leap Motion’s new Orion software in VR so I could record it. Well, I say “I managed” - actually he insisted. Forcefully. And his response was… Well, let’s just say he was impressed. Afterward, Johnnie described the experience as mind-blowing” and “life-changing”. Doesn’t quite have the precision to do small or complicated movements. But honestly, when you’re playing with it, you don’t care.

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Film Is Two Artforms, Not One

I’m not convinced that the “film industry” exists. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about filmmaking in 2016 (as a sort of follow up to some of my previous posts ). And my conclusion is that it makes very little sense to think of the film industry as a single entity. Industry The First There’s the studio film industry. It spends around $60m - $200m per film. It has an effective lock on cinema releases in the UK and US: a studio film will get a cinema release, and will spend some time there.

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Leap Motion ORION: Yes, The Leap Works Now

So, some time ago, a company called LEAP Motion produced a demo video that looked truly incredible. They claimed to have a new piece of technology, a tiny little box, which would track your hands and usher us all into the world of Minority Report. Like a lot of folk, I bought one. In my case, I bought one specifically because motion-capturing hands is a Hard Problem: it’s possible to get inertial motion capture gloves, but they’re not cheap for $10k values of not cheap, and in my opinion the output quality isn’t that good.

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Realtime Visuals Vs Pre-Rendered: How Close Can I Get?

OK, before I begin this, I should mention one very important salient fact: this comparison is specific to one non-photorealistic project. As mentioned a couple of days ago, I’m looking once again at using realtime engines as movie renderers for my Stone And Sorcery project. That’s a non-photorealistic animated series, using a strong voxel / Minecraft aesthetic. As such, I wondered just how close I could get to the visuals I achieved using a conventional path tracer.

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First Look: Amazon’s New Games Engine, Lumberyard

I just saw that Amazon have gotten into the games engine business with a new engine, Lumberyard. I’ve had a look at the documentation and features list - haven’t tried to build anything in it yet - and wrote up my thoughts as a comment over at Hacker News. Since that became rather long, I thought I’d reproduce it here as an article for others who might be interested. Digging into the details, it seems this is largely a fork or adaption of the CryEngine, with all the advantages and disadvantages that brings.

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Development Notes: Unreal Engine As A Movie Renderer

I’m doing a lot of ongoing research at the moment into new production techniques for live-action, animation, and comics, and will be writing some of that up here in semi-note form. This is the first of those! Looking at the possibility of using the Unreal Engine as a movie renderer in 2016, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s possible, but not the slam-dunk awesome solution it initially seemed it might be.

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“Hacking VFX” at Raindance - Resources Post

Thanks to everyone who came along to the Hacking Hollywood VFX panel at Raindance on Tuesday! During that talk I mentioned that I’d put up a resources post with a bunch of the videos we all talked about during the panel - here they are! Firstly, here are details for our panelists: Paddy Eason’s IMDB entry, and Nvisible’s website Damien Valentine’s IMDB entry and Bathtub Productions My Wikipedia entry (my IMDB is horribly out of date).

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Guest-posting: “A Storm Of Stories”

The common response to creative types panicking about the mass of content that’s being produced right now is “Oh, don’t worry, it’s all crap. If you make something great it’ll rise to the top”. But is that true? Once again, science fiction author Charles Stross invited me to blog over at his uber-popular site. For this one I decided to dig into the figures for films, TV, books and games. And what I found was both surprising and, frankly, terrifying…

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Guest-Blogging: 3 CGI Techniques Even Indie Filmmakers Can Use

I was very flattered recently when Elliot Grove, founder of the UK’s Raindance film festival and general indie filmmaking legend, asked me to guest-blog over on the Raindance site. And it’s now up! I’m looking at the same tipping point for filmmaking technology that I’ve been discussing recently on here, but this time with a very practical slant toward fellow indie filmmakers: It’s tremendously easy these days to composite elements of stock footage into your shots.

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