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This isn't a photograph - it's an amazing render

Published in Post & VFX

This is a picture that looks more like a photograph than a photograph. And whereas a photograph can be made in an instant - you can imagine the time it took Brazillian artist Gilvan Isbiro to create this masterpiece

Blender 2.73 adds more features for storyboarding

Published in Post & VFX

With more than 200 bug fixes and some fairly hefty new features among a plethora of tweaks, Blender 2.73 is somewhat more than just a point release. Guest Author, Gottfried Hofmann, provides the details.

Weta Digital is at it again! This time, the red-hot VFX house is inventing new ways to overrun the Earth with primates, as evidenced by an illuminating behind the scenes featurette for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

The Great Gatsby: Stunning VFX/CGI breakdown

Published in Post & VFX

You really can't believe what you see these days. And that's even more true for historically-set dramas where to recreate authentic 360 degree retro environments would be so expensive as to severly limit the scope of the productions

CGI brings back the dead

Published in Technology & Computing

Although it is always based on strict scientific principles, sometimes - and more and more often - CGI does something that seems miraculous

Holograms: Will we ever need them?

Published in Studio & Broadcast

Holographic TV: I have to declare a bias here. The Princess Leia hologram scenes in Star Wars convinced me that we will never need holographic TV. This is nothing to do with the fact that video holograms are always depicted as being fuzzy and unstable (presumably to stop them looking real, in which case you couldn't tell they were holograms). No, my issue with them is that while real life may be 3D in the sense that you can walk around it, drama isn't.

What do I mean by this?

Holograms in the cinema

Well, imagine being in a cinema watching a holographic film. If you're sitting in the centre of the auditorium, about half way up, then it's all well and good. But if you've arrived late and you're sitting at the side, then you'll have a bad time, because none of the actors will ever look at you, unless they're making transitory, sideways glances.

That's the problem in essence. Everybody gets a different view. It's not film making: it's moving sculpture.

All of which is a scarcely relevant introduction to a news item this week about a breakthrough from the International Society for Optics and Photonics, who have managed to merge the disciplines of hologram-making and computer generated images.

It takes longer with a computer

Until now, making holograms from computer images has either been impossible or has taken far too long to be of any practical use because of the rendering times. You can only make computer holograms if you calculate an extremely large number of viewpoints for every point on the holographic object's surface - a recipe for waiting a long time for something to happen.

But now, they've found a way to use more CGI-like techniques. Instead of calculating the result at ever conceivable point, they use polygons instead, massively reducing the calculation times.

The society claims to be able to produce photorealistic holograms in reasonable timescales, and if I'm wrong about the unsuitability of Holograms for film making, then this could be the breakthrough that everyone except me has been waiting for.

We're still working on RedShark's comments system. Meanwhile, if you'd like to respond to this article, drop an email to me, david.shapton@redsharknews.com. We'll publish the best comments.

Depth sensing cameras could revolutionise CGI

Published in Technology & Computing

The Z List: One of the great technological leaps forward that failed to really catch on the first time round was the 3D camera - a unit that could automatically capture the z-axis (the "depth axis) of a scene to create depth map information. Perhaps it’s time for the industry to look at them again.

The Blender Foundation has released Blender 2.70 – the first release of the 2.7x-series. That series will incorporate major changes to the UI. But unlike the switch from the 2.4x to the 2.5x-series, the changes will be integrated gradually

Bridging the Uncanny Valley to make realistic CGI humans

Published in Post & VFX

The term 'Uncanny Valley' was originally coined by Japanese robotics professor Masahiro Mori back in 1980 and suggests that as we get close to human realism a huge dip in a ‘familiarity’ graph occurs, indicating a sudden negative response. Now the Digital Human League, a superteam of Hollywood visual effects artists and researchers, is looking to bridge the gap with the creation of convincing synthetic humans.

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