Category Archives: Design

Google builds a cloud-based animation studio, creates on the fly

Google showcased its cloud-rendering & collaboration chops by deploying a cloud-based animation studio, enabling a creative team to design & render this short over three days:

To demonstrate what’s possible, we built an animated short over the course of three days.

To do it, we invited some like-minded artists who share our vision to set up a live cloud-based animation studio on the second floor of Moscone Center. These artists worked throughout the three days of the show to model, animate, and render the spot, and deliver a finished short. […]

We used Zync Render, a Renderfarm-as-a-Service running on GCP that can be deployed in minutes, and works with major 3D applications and renderers. The final piece was rendered in V-Ray for Maya.

Zync is able to deploy up to 500 render workers per project, up to a total of 48,000 vCPUs.

Pretty dope—though in my heart, these dabbing robots won’t ever compete with my then-5yo son Finn as a dancing robot:


[YouTube 1 & 2]

Funky automated light-painting machine

Who doesn’t like a good Rube Goldberg contraption? Of his Josh Sheldon writes,

I made this robot to make light painting animations.

Each of the animations I made took between 4 and 12 hours to shoot, one frame at a time. Each frame is 1-3 long exposure photographs of the machine performing the light painting.

Check it out (and if you’re impatient like me, jump ahead ~3 minutes to start seeing the generated artwork):


[YouTube] [Via Marc Pawliger]

“This beautiful art installation looks like Photoshop. It’s not”

 What if your color palettes came alive, giant size & in 3D space? FastCo writes,

The installation is almost like three-dimensional graffiti. Set in the ruins of Les Baux, which date back to antiquity, the piece has a light footprint: The artists simply used metal rods to hang pieces of semitransparent textile patches of different sizes along the square. The resulting gradients of color are reminiscent of digital color palettes like RGB or CMYK.

See it in action:


Behind the scenes: How Assistant gets delightful

Every day some friends of mine toil (in the loosest sense of the word) to invest Google Assistant with personality that provides real moments of delight. David Pogue met with the team to find out how it works: 

“We actually have a team of writers from around the world to vet as much as we can the cultural appropriateness of the material that we put out,” Germick says. “Germans, we find, don’t particularly appreciate wordplay, in the pun sense. So our German writers need to work a different angle.” [Awkward!! —J.]

Fortunately for the Personality team, a principle they call “Fun in, fun out” is at play here. If you prefer an assistant without a helping of humor, you’ll never encounter it. If all you ever say to Assistant is “Set a timer for 15 minutes” and “Who was the third President?”, you won’t run into much of Assistant’s personality.


YouTube/After Effects event in SF July 25

Some motion designers from the YouTube team are hosting a mograph event aimed at aspiring YouTubers: 

Awesome Scripts and Plugins for Motion Graphics Artists and YouTubers

Local designers will share their favorite tools for a range of animation software including After Effects and Cinema4D in short micro talks. Take your animations to the next level.

First several guests will receive a YouTube-branded Google Cardboard unit 🙂


Field Notes go to space

Man, I love it when people take wacky “Y’know what’d be really crazy/cool…” ideas seriously and actually do them. To promote their new notebook sets that come with papercraft spacecraft, Field Notes actually sent one of the little guys into space (or something very close by). Bananas:

Each 3-Pack consists of three Memo Books, one each for the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. These books are full of facts and figures. They feature dramatic photographs of iconic moments from those missions on the covers… 

Additionally, you’ll notice these 3-Packs come in a slightly larger package than usual. That’s because each set also contains three “Punch-Out and Assemble” Mission-Specific Crew Capsule Models, for fun and education.



A printable master list of Adobe keyboard shortcuts

After busting my ass there for two solid years, I came within hours of being laid off from Adobe, only to be saved by Russell Brown. During that purgatorial period, my soon-to-be-ex boss Michael Ninness tossed me the bone of updating his Photoshop keyboard shortcuts book for PS7. I was grateful for the gig (as who knew what lay next?—certainly not getting a call to work on Photoshop!), and ever since I’ve had a particular soft spot for anyone working to make Adobe shortcuts more comprehensible. Enter Shutterstock:

[W]e created a handy printable chart for all the most common and useful shortcut key combos* in the big-three Adobe design programs (Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign). It’s color-coded, labeled, and grouped for maximum efficiency. We call it the Periodic Table of Adobe Keyboard Shortcuts, and we’re letting you download it here, totally free.



Flying cars (er, pontoon boats?) take a step forward

Someday soon, I really want to come around a corner & see Larry Page (who evidently backs this company) tooling around over a nearby reservoir:

The Verge writes,

The Flyer weighs 250 pounds and sports 10 battery-powered propellors and two joysticks. It looks sort of like bobsled mounted on a couple of pontoons surrounded by a bunch of drone rotors — so, you know, totally safe I’m sure. Its not intended for soaring through the clouds like you’re George Jetson, with a maximum elevation is 10 feet and a top speed (limited by the flight control system) of 20 mph. Kitty Hawk has kept the pontoons for water landings, but gotten rid of the protective netting from the original prototype.