Experts Address 5G and the Cloud for Post, Visual Effects

At NAB in Las Vegas, BeBop Technology director of technical sales Nathaniel Bonini described how his company provides virtual versions of the post-production tools artists are used to working with, but in the cloud. That includes tools from Autodesk and, in a new partnership, Avid among others. Cloud-based virtual post and VFX tools give post houses and VFX facilities tremendous efficiencies, including the ability to scale up and down. StratusCore is another company that creates an entire virtualized workstation in the cloud. Continue reading Experts Address 5G and the Cloud for Post, Visual Effects

Nvidia Demos New Products at Deep Learning & AI Confab

Nvidia made a number of compelling announcements at this week’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC 2019) in San Jose, California. The company unveiled its GauGAN AI image creator that uses generative adversarial networks (GANs) to turn sketches into nearly photorealistic images. As part of its cloud pursuits, the company unveiled its latest RTX server configuration that is designed for Hollywood studios and those who want to create visual content quickly (each server pod can support up to 1,280 GPUs). Nvidia also announced partnerships with 3D software makers including Adobe, Autodesk and Unity to integrate Nvidia’s RTX ray-tracing platform. Continue reading Nvidia Demos New Products at Deep Learning & AI Confab

Nvidia Debuts Next-Gen Gaming with Ray-Tracing, AI at CES

At Nvidia’s CES 2019 press conference, founder/chief executive Jensen Huang was enthused about gaming. “Usually I also focus on AI and self-driving cars,” he said. “We have a lot of announcements about that. But today it’s all about gaming.” One big announcement was the company’s new GeForce RTX 2060, which is based on Turing architecture and is enabled by both ray-tracing and artificial intelligence. The RTX 2060, priced at $349, will be available January 15 “from every major OEM, system builder and graphics card partner.” Continue reading Nvidia Debuts Next-Gen Gaming with Ray-Tracing, AI at CES

Computer-Generated Photoreal Influencers, Avatars Are Here

Computer-generated influencers have arrived. The glamorous all-digital Miquela Sousa (also known as Lil Mequela), which was created by Los Angeles-based startup Brud, has been the star of an Ugg advertising campaign, appearing on billboards around the world. Brud believes it can create CGI social media stars that are easier to manage and monetize than human celebrities. It’s not alone in its efforts; Soul Machines, which has debuted dozens of digital humans, is launching its Digital DNA platform to make it easier to create virtual avatars. Continue reading Computer-Generated Photoreal Influencers, Avatars Are Here

Blockchain-Based RNDR Harnesses Power of 14,000 GPUs

Los Angeles-based OTOY, a company that has created software used for visual effects in projects such as “Westworld” and “The Avengers,” also launched a blockchain- and cryptocurrency-based rendering platform called RNDR to help other content creators harness the power of thousands of graphics processing units (GPUs). OTOY’s strategy is to gather a group of computer owners who can share their GPUs in the cloud in a decentralized way, and thus trade GPU power among members to accomplish data-intense imagery. Continue reading Blockchain-Based RNDR Harnesses Power of 14,000 GPUs

AMPAS, Linux Foundation Team Up for Open Source Software

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Linux Foundation announced this morning the launch of the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF) to create an environment for developers to contribute to open source software for the motion picture and related media industries. Industry partners funding and participating in ASWF include Animal Logic, Autodesk, Blue Sky Studios, Cisco, DNEG, DreamWorks, Epic Games, Google Cloud, Intel, Walt Disney Studios, Weta Digital, with Foundry and SideFX. Continue reading AMPAS, Linux Foundation Team Up for Open Source Software

Autodesk, Amazon Tweak Digital Assistants to Be More Natural

Autodesk is rolling out a new version of its Autodesk Virtual Agent (AVA) to replace its text-only chatbot in mid-May. AVA features an animated face and a New Zealand accent, with emotional responses that the company hopes will help customers engage. For example, if a customer says he’s having trouble, AVA will frown, say she’s sorry and ask how she can help, explains Autodesk manager of digital support channels Rachael Rekart. In doing so, Autodesk is following a trend of companies installing virtual assistants that are more helpful and personable. Amazon, for example, is updating Alexa to be smarter and more conversational. Continue reading Autodesk, Amazon Tweak Digital Assistants to Be More Natural

Technicolor Experience Center Opens, Launches Mars Project

Technicolor officially opened its Technicolor Experience Center (TEC) for augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality last week, and announced an ambitious new project based on NASA research and images. The facility, on La Cienega in Los Angeles, launched last year and has been experimenting with immersive media. TEC has partnered with Hewlett-Packard and Nvidia to create a realistic simulation of what life could be on Mars for 1 million people. A community of engineers, designers, architects and artists will work under the direction of Technicolor to create this immersive experience. The project also involves Unreal Engine, Fusion, Autodesk and HTC Vive. Continue reading Technicolor Experience Center Opens, Launches Mars Project

Microsoft Introduces Windows 10 Update, Mixed Reality Tools

Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system update will allow apps to work across devices, including those running rival operating systems from Apple and Alphabet. For example, in a feature called “Pick Up Where You Left Off,” a user can finish editing a document on an iPhone that she started on a Windows PC; both devices must have Cortana to work. The company also introduced Windows Mixed Reality motion controller, which enables gaming in virtual worlds and tracks movement via sensors in the device and the paired headset. Continue reading Microsoft Introduces Windows 10 Update, Mixed Reality Tools

Scandy Introduces SDK for 3D Scanning via Android Devices

Scandy, a company with technology for printing 3D images on demand, is now debuting a beta version of a $500 tool to scan objects in 3D from Android devices. The company relies on 3D sensors from chip tech provider pmd to achieve 0.3mm feature precision, a degree of resolution ordinarily found only in much more expensive toolsets. The company is also making its Scandy Core software development kit available to developers, with the idea that they will create innovative, 3D scanning products and services. The beta program is open now. Continue reading Scandy Introduces SDK for 3D Scanning via Android Devices

Cloud Conference: Challenges to Rendering VFX in the Cloud

Visual effects and rendering in the cloud was the topic of an ETC Cloud Innovation Conference panel at NAB 2016, moderated by Google Cloud Platform senior product manager Srikanth Belwadi. The scope of the issue was made clear by the fact that “The Good Dinosaur” required 110 million compute hours and 300 TB of active data space. Panelists from Thinkbox, Shotgun, Rodeo FX, Avere Systems, and ConductorIO discussed the challenges to producing VFX in the cloud — but also its inevitability.
Continue reading Cloud Conference: Challenges to Rendering VFX in the Cloud

Google’s Daniel Alegre on Perils and Promise of the New TV

At NAB 2016, Google president of global partnerships Daniel Alegre gave the closing keynote on how television is transforming. “If you search for the term ‘TV is dead’, you’ll find 338 million results,” said Alegre. The TV set and viewing of our childhood, he explained, is gone, as the TV evolves to incorporate a computer and the hours of video viewership continue to climb. “A newer better TV is rising from the ashes, better than ever,” said Alegre, who noted mobile video is predicted to be responsible for 80 percent of all Internet traffic by 2018. Continue reading Google’s Daniel Alegre on Perils and Promise of the New TV

Autodesk and Google Cloud Platform Bring Maya to the Cloud

Autodesk and Google have partnered to offer Maya compute services on the Google Cloud Platform, which developed Google Cloud Platform ZYNC Render, an integrated cloud-based storage and rendering solution for the VFX industry. “We’ve been in discussions with Autodesk for quite some time,” said Google product manager Todd Prives. “It’s been a collaborative effort to bring Maya to Google.” With the ZYNC service for Autodesk Maya 2016 software, users will be able to render 3D scenes on the Google Cloud Platform. Continue reading Autodesk and Google Cloud Platform Bring Maya to the Cloud

HPA Tech Retreat: Producing ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ in HDR/4K

Amazon Studios’ production “Mozart in the Jungle” is shot in 4K UHD and released in both standard dynamic range (SDR) and high dynamic range (HDR) versions. At an HPA Tech Retreat panel, “Mozart in the Jungle” associate producer Mike Weiss and Technicolor vice president Mark Smirnoff talked about the “snowflake” production of this Golden Globe-winning OTT series. “There are so many more deliverables and things that can catch you off guard, it really is a snowstorm,” said Weiss. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Producing ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ in HDR/4K

SIGGRAPH 2015: Virtual Production, Cousin of Virtual Reality

At SIGGRAPH 2015, Autodesk executives David Morin and Ben Guthrie described virtual production, its relationship with virtual reality and some newly released tools from their company to aid in the process. Virtual production began with Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings,” got a bump of recognition with “Avatar,” and has been used on many films since. According to Morin and Guthrie, the process, which lets filmmakers create virtual worlds in-camera and composite CG and live action on set, is achieving momentum. Continue reading SIGGRAPH 2015: Virtual Production, Cousin of Virtual Reality

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