Monthly Archives: January 2020

“Fishception!”

“It’s like a big fish made out of fish,” my 10yo son Henry just noted, “Fishception!”

Kottke, who says “Scary Sea Monster Really Just Hundreds of Tiny Fish in a Trench Coat,” notes:

“Try rewatching the video, picking one fish and following it the entire time. Then pick another fish and watch the video again. The juvenile striped eel catfish seem to cycle through positions within the school as the entire swarm moves forward.”

Like riders in a peleton, each taking their turn braving danger at the front.

[YouTube]

“Ghost Box”: An audio/sculptural mashup

Steve Parker’s brass audio sculptures are a delightfully weird melange:

Activated by touch, “Ghost Box” plays randomized audio segments on a loop, including the ticks of Morse Code, the chorus of spirituals, and the blows of the shofar and Iron Age Celtic carnyx. Each time someone makes contact with a part of the wall sculpture, a new noise emits.

The artists writes,

The Ghost Army was an Allied Army tactical deception unit during World War II. Their mission was to impersonate other Allied Army units to deceive the enemy. From a few weeks before D-Day, when they landed in France, until the end of the war, they put on a “traveling road show” utilizing inflatable tanks, sound trucks, fake radio transmissions, scripts, and sound projections. The unit was an incubator for many young artists who went on to have a major impact on the post-war US, including Ellsworth Kelly, Bill Blass, and Arthur Singer.

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Visually inspecting trains at high speed

It’s pretty OT for my blog, I know, but as someone who’s been working in computer vision for the last couple of years, I find it interesting to see how others are applying these techniques.

Equipped with ultra-high definition cameras and high-powered illumination, the [Train Inspection Portal (TIP)] produces 360° scans of railcars passing through the portal at track speed. Advanced machine vision technology and software algorithms identify defects and automatically flag cars for repair.

[Vimeo]

A few smart career tweets

I’m now thinking about this constantly:

This too:

And yeah, ¬”Satisfaction, but feeling of uselessness…”

Adobe Character Animator wins an Emmy

Early in 2012, I was lucky enough to tag along with After Effects creators David Simons & Dan Wilk as they dropped in on Pixar, Stu Maschwitz, and other smart, thoughtful animators. After 20 years of building the industry-standard motion graphics tool, they didn’t yet know quite what they wanted to build next, so it was fun to bounce ideas back and forth with forward-thinking creators.

Fast forward to 2020, and the product that resulted from those investigations—Character Animator—has just won an Emmy:

Today, the Academy announced that it will honor Adobe Character Animator as a Pioneering System for Live Performance-Based Animation Using Facial Recognition, showing excellence in engineering creativity. In the biz, this is an Emmy! We might be on a bit of a roll here, for industry bling, since this latest award follows on from our two technical Academy Awards in 2019 for Photoshop and After Effects.

The tool has powered the first-ever live episode of The Simpsons, live interviews with Stephen Colbert that morphed into Our Cartoon President, and more (see recent roundup below).

Congrats to the team (who are now “EgOts,” I think—winners of Emmys & Oscars!); we can’t wait to see where you go next!

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[YouTube]

Apple releases Reality Converter

I found myself blocked from doing anything interesting with Apple’s Reality Composer tool due to the lack of readily available USDZ-format files. My kingdom for a Lego minifig!

Therefore it’s cool to see that they’ve released a simple utility meant to facilitate conversion:

The new Reality Converter app makes it easy to convert, view, and customize USDZ 3D objects on Mac. Simply drag-and-drop common 3D file formats, such as .obj, .gltf and .usd, to view the converted USDZ result, customize material properties with your own textures, and edit file metadata. You can even preview your USDZ object under a variety of lighting and environment conditions with built-in IBL options.