Monthly Archives: March 2020

Hilariously overwrought sports commentary on banal scenes

Here’s a much-needed mental palate cleanser:

Nick Heath narrates his videos of people doing mundane things, like crossing the street, with the verve and dramatic flair of competitive sports.

They’re grouped via the #LiveCommentary tag. Enjoy some of my faves:

Free streaming classes on photography, 3D

It’s really cool to see companies stepping up to help creative people make the most of our forced downtime. PetaPixel writes,

If you’re a photographer stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, Professional Photographers of America (PPA) has got your back. The trade association has made all of its 1,100+ online photography classes free for the next two weeks. […]

You can spend some of your lockdown days learning everything from how to make money in wedding photography to developing a target audience to printing in house.

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Meanwhile Unity is opening up their Learn Premium curricula:

During the COVID-19 crisis, we’re committed to supporting the community with complimentary access to Unity Learn Premium for three months (March 19 through June 20). Get exclusive access to Unity experts, live interactive sessions, on-demand learning resources, and more.

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“NeRF” promises amazing 3D capture

“This is certainly the coolest thing I’ve ever worked on, and it might be one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.”

My Google Research colleague Jon Barron routinely makes amazing stuff, so when he gets a little breathless about a project, you know it’s something special. I’ll pass the mic to him to explain their new work around capturing multiple photos, then synthesizing a 3D model:

I’ve been collaborating with Berkeley for the last few months and we seem to have cracked neural rendering. You just train a boring (non-convolutional) neural network with five inputs (xyz position and viewing angle) and four outputs (RGB+alpha), combine it with the fundamentals of volume rendering, and get an absurdly simple algorithm that beats the state of the art in neural rendering / view synthesis by *miles*.

You can change the camera angle, change the lighting, insert objects, extract depth maps — pretty much anything you would do with a CGI model, and the renderings are basically photorealistic. It’s so simple that you can implement the entire algorithm in a few dozen lines of TensorFlow.

Check it out in action:

[YouTube]

Beautiful illustrations of crappy reviews

These loving treatments of 1-star reviews of natural treasures are pretty wonderful:

[D]esigner Amber Share decided to create a series of hilarious travel posters for all 61 parks, featuring the Internet’s funniest, snarky comments.

Share came up with the idea for her Subpar Parks series as a way to “put a positive, fun spin on such a negative mindset.” Each retro-style poster design features colorful graphic renditions of America’s mountains, lakes, and forests. However, each pretty scene is matched with hand lettering that spells out the bad reviews.

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Adobe Offers Students Free At-Home Access to CC Apps

I’m grateful to my onetime-Klingon buddy RC & many friends at Adobe for pushing this through. Per PetaPixel:

In response to requests from educators, Adobe has announced that it will be providing free at-home access to Creative Cloud apps to those students who usually only have access on-campus. It’s one way the software maker is trying to empower students to keep learning amid campus closures caused by the novel coronavirus. […]

Higher education and K-12 institutions that pay for on-campus access for their students simply need to request “temporary ‘at-home’ access” through this link. Once verified, access will be granted, free of charge, through May 31st, 2020.

A YouTube Learning hub for kids stuck at home

Good God, something like 777 million kids who’d normally be in school are stuck at home right now. Our fam is among those affected, so my blogging will be hit-or-miss as we try to figure out what to do with the Micronaxx.

Fortunately lots of folks are stepping up with resources. YouTube Learning has posted a hub featuring tips for studying at home, plus topics like physics, algebra, robotics, and more. Elsewhere Khan Academy has suggested daily schedules for kids 4-18, and our school district has posted a crowdsourced list of educational resources.

HTH & good luck out there, gang. Please feel free to share via comments any useful resources you find.

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“Virus” tintype animation

TBH the last thing I want is for coronavirus talk to infect (ahem) my escapist art-posting, but I’ve gotta give Markus Hofstätter props for the sheer effort he put into making this 7-frame animation with archaic tintype printing (or as my wife asked, lacking all context, “Why did that dude put a picture into a panini press?”). You can watch his process from the beginning (and check out PetaPixel for the full story), or just jump to the finished animation at the end:

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[YouTube]