Nvidia Ray-Tracing Technology a Quantum Leap in Rendering

At SIGGRAPH 2018, Nvidia debuted its new Turing architecture featuring ray tracing, a kind of rendering, for professional and consumer graphics cards. Considered the Holy Grail by many industry pros, ray tracing works by modeling light in real time as it intersects with objects. Ray tracing is ideal for creating photorealistic lighting and VFX. Up until now, ray tracing has not been possible to do because it requires an immense amount of expensive computing power, but Nvidia’s professional Turing card costs $10,000. Continue reading Nvidia Ray-Tracing Technology a Quantum Leap in Rendering

Samsung Wants Bixby Assistant to Control Multiple Devices

Samsung’s digital voice assistant Bixby just arrived on millions of the company’s Galaxy S8 phones. According to Samsung head of mobile software R&D Injong Rhee, the inspiration for Bixby was super-hero Tony Stark (“Iron Man”), who only needs to voice orders to activate all kinds of systems. Similar to Stark, Samsung wants to use Bixby to activate all kinds of devices, from dishwashers to TVs. While Bixby cannot control all apps yet and, like other digital assistants has some limitations, early reviews suggest it excels at function-based commands. Continue reading Samsung Wants Bixby Assistant to Control Multiple Devices

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

Rovio Self-Finances ‘Angry Birds’ Movie to Control Franchise

Finnish company Rovio Entertainment decided four years ago that, rather than license the “Angry Birds” characters to a Hollywood studio, it would finance its own $73 million movie. Since opening on Friday in some territories, Rovio’s gamble has thus far resulted in a $43 million gross. Companies such as Lego A/S and Hasbro turned to studios to finance their films, but Rovio took the same path Marvel did when it made “Iron Man,” with the goal of controlling the franchise over the long term. Continue reading Rovio Self-Finances ‘Angry Birds’ Movie to Control Franchise

Disney Accelerator Program Nurtures Data-Centric Solutions

Disney is carefully tracking and nurturing future technologies for children via an annual accelerator program it runs with partner Techstars. The program awards $120,000 to 10 startups, which also work with Disney executives for three months. The potential prize at the end is that Disney and Techstars may take a stake in one or more of the startups whose technologies are the most interesting and, one imagines, capable of commercialization. This year, approximately half of the companies chosen are involved in data. Continue reading Disney Accelerator Program Nurtures Data-Centric Solutions

Disney Teams with Shanghai Media, Producer Forms New Studio

Disney has signed a multiyear deal with Shanghai Media Group that will have writers in the U.S. collaborate with Chinese writers and filmmakers to develop Disney-branded movies that incorporate Chinese themes. The partnership will also expand training opportunities between the creative teams of both countries. Meanwhile, film producer Robert Simonds is forming a new movie studio that intends to meet the growing needs of China and self-distribute the types of films that have been displaced by summer blockbusters. Continue reading Disney Teams with Shanghai Media, Producer Forms New Studio

Cable Operator Comcast Has Plans to Sell Hollywood Movies

Sources confirm that Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator with nearly 22 million video subscribers, plans to expand from renting to selling major studio movies directly through its cable boxes by the end of the year. Comcast will join streaming services such as iTunes and Vudu in offering the option to purchase titles in an evolving new window known as “early EST.” While viewers typically pay about $5 to rent a movie through VOD, digital purchases run $15-$20. Continue reading Cable Operator Comcast Has Plans to Sell Hollywood Movies

Marvel Series to Stream via Netflix Through New Disney Deal

Disney and Netflix have inked a deal for multiple original live-action series based on Marvel characters to be streamed exclusively on Netflix, which has committed to streaming at least four 13-episode series and a miniseries. Marvel will develop series based on characters Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage, leading to a miniseries event for “The Defenders.” The programming is planned to begin on the streaming service starting in 2015. Continue reading Marvel Series to Stream via Netflix Through New Disney Deal

Marvel Superheroes to Appear On Tour and Disney Cruise Ship

Hero Ventures will produce “The Marvel Experience,” a $30 million attraction featuring Marvel superheroes that plans to go on tour beginning next year. The first person superhero experience will include a 4D motion ride, 3D animation, motion comics, virtual reality and holographic simulations. In related news, Disney recently announced that it will also feature a number of Marvel’s superheroes aboard its Disney Magic cruise ship as part of its Oceaneer Club for kids. Continue reading Marvel Superheroes to Appear On Tour and Disney Cruise Ship

Fourth Dimension Effects: Iron Man 3 to Be Shown in 4DX

Starting April 26, “Iron Man 3” will be shown in 4DX (fourth dimension effects) at a theater in Nagoya, located in central Japan. The theater is operated by Korona World chain, which plans to screen 12 titles per year using the new format. 4DX can include tilting seats, blowing wind, odor effects, strobe lights and equipment built into the ceiling that can drop bubbles onto the audiences. A ticket will cost $13 for 3D and $10 for 2D. Continue reading Fourth Dimension Effects: Iron Man 3 to Be Shown in 4DX