The Troop Redux: ACES Reformatting and Archiving Project

At AMIA’s The Reel Thing conference in Hollywood, film director/producer Marcus Dillistone, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences managing director Andy Maltz and Academy Film Archive director Michael Pogorzelski presented a case study of an ACES reformatting and archiving project, with Dillistone’s 1999 short film “The Troop.” The topic is the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, and the film had a royal premiere at BAFTA, with film industry and military guests as well as a British princess in attendance. Continue reading The Troop Redux: ACES Reformatting and Archiving Project

Startup to Introduce Holographic TV Technology at NAB 2017

Startup Light Field Labs, founded by three former Lytro engineers, is working on creating holographic displays via light field technology. The goal is to create a TV set that can project a 3D hologram into the living room, with the further-off goal of enabling the user to touch it. Although that might sound like science fiction, the company founders stand behind their idea, and state the company will be able to ship a few displays to developers in 2018. Commercial production will be in operation by 2019 or 2020. Continue reading Startup to Introduce Holographic TV Technology at NAB 2017

Adobe’s AI-Enabled System Could Replace Greenscreen Tech

The traditional bluescreen/greenscreen method of extracting foreground content from the background for film and video production may be on its way out. That’s due to research that Adobe is doing in collaboration with the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, to develop a new system that relies on deep convolutional neural networks. A recent paper, “Deep Image Matting,” reports that the new method uses a dataset of 49,300 training images to teach the algorithm how to distinguish and eliminate backgrounds. Continue reading Adobe’s AI-Enabled System Could Replace Greenscreen Tech

Microsoft Camera Rig Gives HoloLens Developers Video Hack

Microsoft has come up with a new camera rig that allows HoloLens mixed reality app makers to capture video from a HoloLens and make it easier to show a person interacting with that app, something Microsoft dubs “spectator view.” The details of the hardware-software combo were published as open source on the HoloLens’ GitHub page. The HoloLens headset is wireless, which lets the user move around the room freely, and is based on four cameras, lightly tinted lenses and a holographic processing unit. Continue reading Microsoft Camera Rig Gives HoloLens Developers Video Hack

Early Corporate Trials with Augmented Reality Prove its Value

Augmented reality has found a spot on the factory floor of AGCO Corp., a company that manufactures agricultural equipment in Jackson, Minnesota. Workers wear Google Glasses that display diagrams and instructions as an aid in conducting quality checks on tractors and chemical sprayers. The result is so successful that the Duluth, Georgia-based company plans to expand the program next year, using 3D computer-generated imagery to help workers weld 30-foot booms to chemical sprayers. Continue reading Early Corporate Trials with Augmented Reality Prove its Value

Researchers Develop Efficient Way to Render Shiny Surfaces

Computer scientists at UC San Diego have developed an efficient technique for rendering the sparkling, shiny and uneven surfaces of water, various metals and materials such as injection-molded plastic finishes. The team has created an algorithm that improves how CG software reproduces the interaction between light and different surfaces (known as “glints”), a technique the team claims is 100 times faster than current state-of-the-art methods, requires minimal computational resources, and is effective beyond still images to include animation. Continue reading Researchers Develop Efficient Way to Render Shiny Surfaces

CryWorks: Disney, Pixar, ILM Vets Launch New VR Company

VFX and CGI veterans Euan Macdonald, Hans Uhlig and Kymber Lim have secured funding led by Michael Bay’s 451 Media Group, 500 Mobile Collective, and WI Harper Group to launch an immersive entertainment company called CryWorks, with plans to produce virtual and augmented reality experiences. “Although there are a few high-quality VR content pieces to date, most of them have little incentive for the viewer to keep tuning back in,” said Macdonald. “We see an opportunity to build the first VR broadcast network, partnering with other production companies and creating addictive, episodic experiences.” Continue reading CryWorks: Disney, Pixar, ILM Vets Launch New VR Company

Magic Leap and ILMxLAB Plan to Make ‘Star Wars’ Immersive

Magic Leap and Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB have partnered to develop “Star Wars”-related content for the former’s technology. Because Magic Leap has kept its mixed reality developments under wraps, neither company would reveal details about specific experiences that would result from the partnership. But Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz, at the WIRED Business Conference in New York City last week, did show a teaser that showed two iconic “Star Wars” characters, computer-generated but very real looking, interacting with participants. Continue reading Magic Leap and ILMxLAB Plan to Make ‘Star Wars’ Immersive

Lucasfilm Shows Off ‘Star Wars’ VR Experience with HTC Vive

Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB R&D unit just did a limited demonstration of its new “Star Wars” virtual reality experience: “Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine,” using the HTC Vive headset. The user, by walking around in a 15×15-foot space, explores the planet’s surface, does some maintenance on a Millennium Falcon, meets R2-D2 and fight offs a group of attacking Stormtroopers with a lightsaber. After unveiling the experience to a group of journalists, Lucafilm plans to allow other “select audiences” to also experience it. Continue reading Lucasfilm Shows Off ‘Star Wars’ VR Experience with HTC Vive

Magic Leap Demonstrates Its Augmented Reality Technology

Magic Leap, the Florida-based company that raised $542 million from Google, Qualcomm and others last year, demonstrated how it plans to marry the real world with virtual, computer-generated content. Magic Leap demonstrated its technology at The Wall Street Journal’s WSJDLive conference in Laguna Beach, California with a concept video that shows the user interacting with a tiny robot gimbal hiding and ducking behind the legs of a real table. The user also brought up a virtual solar system in the real office environment. Continue reading Magic Leap Demonstrates Its Augmented Reality Technology

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

SIGGRAPH 2015: More on VR and 360 Degrees of Experience

Last week we reported that beneath the aura of excitement generated this year at SIGGRAPH 2015 by the prevalence of virtual reality, a number of compelling panels examined the nuts and bolts of creating VR experiences, including managing workflow and assets. Part 2 of our report on SIGGRAPH VR panels continues with coverage of the VR Village sessions Creating on the Edge and Convergences in Film and Games Technologies, featuring perspectives from professionals in production, post production, visual effects, gaming and journalism. Continue reading SIGGRAPH 2015: More on VR and 360 Degrees of Experience

SIGGRAPH 2015: Google Cloud Announces Cloud-Native Rendering

Google Cloud Platform announced the public beta of Zync, its cloud-native rendering solution. Google acquiredZync last August to incorporate specialized computing capabilities for visual effects production in the cloud.  According to Google’s representative, “As part of Zync, artists will get access to 1,600 dedicated Compute Engine cores to power your V-Ray, Arnold and Nuke-based renders. Integration of the upcoming release of the popular Renderman software with Zync by Google Cloud Platform was also announced. Continue reading SIGGRAPH 2015: Google Cloud Announces Cloud-Native Rendering

SIGGRAPH 2015: XRoad of Discovery; Emerging Tech Conference Opens in LA

SIGGRAPH 2015, the interdisciplinary conference on the latest computer graphics and interactive techniques, is underway at the LA Convention Center and runs through August 13. SIGGRAPHis unique as a trade event because it showcases both the state of the art in professional production as well as being one of the best places in the world to see and experience emerging technologies, talent and academic research. The conference theme, “XRoads of Discovery,” and the selection of Joichi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab as the conference keynote speaker, underscore the future look. Continue reading SIGGRAPH 2015: XRoad of Discovery; Emerging Tech Conference Opens in LA

Microsoft Details How to Shoot for its HoloLens AR Headset

Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headset allows video — which can be streamed over the Internet — to be viewed from any angle, combining the real world with computer-generated imagery. Whereas a digital object can be rendered in 3D and easily shown from any angle, live action isn’t so accommodating. To that end, the Silicon Valley company just came out with a document giving specific directions on how to capture and handle live action footage for use with its AR headset.

Continue reading Microsoft Details How to Shoot for its HoloLens AR Headset

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