Illustration: A charming street-art ad from Coke

I’ve been getting a kick out of this spot running during the Olympics:

The minute-long spot features three animated graffiti characters stealthily shifting off a wall and, unseen by passersby distracted by drinking Coca-Cola, climb their way up skyscrapers towards their destination: a print ad of three bottles of Coca-Cola. The trio then enjoy the drinks together on the side of a water tower.

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[YouTube]

Mesmerizing drone shots from inside a fireworks cloud

Happy Chinese New Year from above Yunnan, China:

The intriguing reversal of footage reminds me of this beautifully sad passage from Slaughterhouse Five:

The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers , and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans though and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody as good as new.

When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again.

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Google releases data to help improve HDR imaging

The smart folks responsible for HDR+ on the Pixel 2 are sharing a big dataset in order to help other developers create better high-dynamic-range imagery:

Today we’re pleased to announce the public release of an archive of image bursts to the research community. This provides a way for others to compare their methods to the results of Google’s HDR+ software running on the same input images. This dataset consists of 3,640 bursts of full-resolution raw images, made up of 28,461 individual images, along with HDR+ intermediate and final results for comparison.

[O]ur hope is that a shared dataset will enable the community to concentrate on comparing results. This approach is intrinsically more efficient than expecting researchers to configure and run competing techniques themselves, or to implement them from scratch if the code is proprietary. 

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Rather fascinating: “What ‘Super Mario’ Looks Like at 380,000fps”

This is my kind of nerdery:

Old TVs render an image by actually drawing the entire frame from top to bottom at speeds so fast the human eye can’t detect it, but Free and Gruchy’s cameras can. Mario is almost indistinguishable at 380,000 FPS, but it’s amazing to watch beams of light shoot across a screen in slow motion, slowly building the Mushroom Kingdom we all know and love.

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[YouTube] [Via]

Audi’s AR app lets you draw a racetrack in your living room

This app (sadly unavailable in the US, it seems) looks really creative & fun:

“To achieve a seamless transition from the TV ad to Augmented Reality we use computer vision to detect the quattro coaster TV ad. Then, we sync and position the augmented content on the screen. What’s interesting is that the car remains in the room even after the ad has ended. [more]

Here’s what it looks like in action:

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[YouTube] [Vimeo]

Motion Stills gains a fun new AR mode on Android

Hooray! My first real project to ship since joining my new team is here:

Today, we are excited to announce the new Augmented Reality (AR) mode in Motion Stills for Android. With the new AR mode, a user simply touches the viewfinder to place fun, virtual 3D objects on static or moving horizontal surfaces (e.g. tables, floors, or hands), allowing them to seamlessly interact with a dynamic real-world environment. You can also record and share the clips as GIFs and videos. 

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For the nerdier among us, we’ve put together a Research blog post about The Instant Motion Tracking Behind Motion Stills AR, and on CNET Stephen Shankland gives a nice overview (and has been tweeting out some fun animations):

The Motion Stills app can put AR stickers into any Android device with a gyroscope, which is nothing special these days.

I’ve long been a longtime fan of Motion Stills, posting about it for years. I’m so glad to get to work with these guys now. There’s more good stuff to come, so please us know what you think!

(BTW, the 3D models are among the many thousands you can download for free from poly.google.com.)