Monthly Archives: February 2017

Photography: Meet the ludicrous 960fps Sony Xperia XZ

Cue Keanu-style whoa:

PetaPixel notes,

The technological magic behind this sensor—as Sony points out multiple times in the videos above—is the RAM built right into the sensor stack. This allows for 5x faster readout and a max slow mo capture speed of 960fps at up to 720p resolution. That is not a typo, and it makes 240fps looks like a sad joke.


Remember—if, like me, you’re about to turn to dust—when the mere existence of a “PHONE video” seemed entirely insane? Cue this Nokia ad from ~2002:

[YouTube 1 & 2]

VR: Google’s new tech provides windows to the (uncanny?) soul

This is bonkers: By having your face 3D scanned, you can now have it show through a VR headset (complete with moving, blinking eyes!), like this:

The Daydream VR team explains,

The first step to removing the VR headset is to construct a dynamic 3D model of the person’s face, capturing facial variations as they blink or look in different directions. This model allows us to mimic where the person is looking, even though it’s hidden under the headset.

Next, we use an HTC Vive, modified by SMI to include eye-tracking, to capture the person’s eye-gaze from inside the headset. From there, we create the illusion of the person’s face by aligning and blending the 3D face model with a camera’s video stream. A translucent “scuba mask” look helps avoid an “uncanny valley” effect.

For a really funny tour, check out the Try Guys’ adventures in VR:



Design: BMW -> Lego -> BMW

How this for some Inception? Back in January, Lego released a 603-piece Technic BMW R 1200. Then the BMW Junior Company unit took Lego’s design and transformed it into a full-size aerial motorcycle called the Hover Ride Concept. Check out the process:

What happens when you put together a team of LEGO Technic designers and a BMW Motorrad engineer?  Watch this short documentary and immerse yourself in the journey of the two teams from recreating the iconic BMW R 1200 GS Adventure to pushing the limits and transforming the alternative LEGO Technic model into a real life size BMW Motorrad Concept Hover Ride.



[YouTube] [Via]

Explore Earth via drawing in Google’s “Land Lines”

Simpsons Did It!!” So goes the cry that lets you know that your unique new idea just ain’t so unique. And so it went, at least inside my head, a couple of months ago when I sent Google’s Geo team a suggestion: 

Quick, Draw! and Terrapattern make me wonder whether you could offer a simple drawing UI for Earth that would let people find things that roughly match what they draw… I can see it being a playful, serendipitous way to explore.

Ah, they told me: Sit tight, because we’re about to launch Land Lines. It lets you “Start with a line, let the planet complete the picture.” Take it for a spin yourself, or just watch how it works:



Illustration: “Make mine a tall, creamy Zuckerberg…”

“You Know You’re Living In A Late Culture When…,” Episode #397: Coffee Ripples“customizes coffee with high quality images in just a few seconds. Ripples are made of tiny coffee bean drops that keep the natural quality and flavor of your coffee.” Behold:

Oh, and haven’t I been blogging about printing weird stuff on food for, like, 10+ years? So I have. Now excuse me while I turn to dust.



Fun, retro-Bond-style VR titles: “I Expect You To Die”

The Art of the Title Sequence shows off the titles for I Expect You To Die & interviews the team behind them. 

Borrowing a title track and colour palette that could have been ripped from the early 1960s, the sequence pulls the player through a trap-laden evil lair, putting them face to face — virtually — with the many, many things that can and will kill them in the game that follows. Not only is it a tongue-in-cheek sendup of a certain British super spy, it’s an ideal way to introduce players to the dangerous and immersive world of the game.



Gorgeous footage of Hawaiian vulcanism

“Yeah, but you know me,” I told my wife: “I’d be so entranced watching this stuff, I’d stare until the lava was oozing up my disintegrating leg.” Aaanyway

The filmmakers write,

“Hawaii – The Pace of Formation” is a window into the creation of an island. The Kilauea Volcano’s continued flow of lava into the ocean is one of the few places in the world to provide a front row seat of an island’s formation. The Big Island is literally changing before your eyes. This vast island contains 8 out of 13 different climate zones in the world, each with unique ecosystems, making the Big Island one of the most ecologically diverse places in the world. To showcase its diversity, we wanted to slow things down and let its beauty speak for itself. Enjoy!

And here’s a peek behind the scenes:


[Vimeo 1 & 2]

YouTube enables live streaming from the YouTube app

Fresh off hosting the most-viewed political live streams of all time – the 2016 U.S. presidential debates – and launching the world’s first 360-degree live streaming, YouTube is enabling live streaming from from the YT app (with which I was tangentially involved):

So what’s next? The roll out of our new mobile live streaming feature to every creator with more than 10,000 subscribers (the rest of you will have it soon!). It’s a launch that’ll put the power of live streaming in the hands of hundreds of thousands of talented creators, giving them a more intimate and spontaneous way to share their thoughts, lives, and creativity.

Groovy. Meanwhile I see that my DJI Mavic enables live streaming directly to YouTube. Stay tuned…


Typography: Art Text 3 can create cool, non-cheesy 3D type

It makes me sad that after 10 (!!) years of having 3D in Photoshop, I can’t think of a single time I’ve created good-looking text in it, much less anything else 3D of value. Given that PS includes a whole 3D engine, I hope that someday it’ll include easy ways to make attractive text.

In the meantime, amidst sometimes literally cheesy results, Art Text 3 ($29.99) produces some rather impressive pieces. Maybe Adobe could just license & bundle it as a plug-in. Hmm… (No, I don’t know anything you don’t know.)




Photography: A global hyperlapse made using Google Earth

Wow: Graphic design student Matteo Archondis labored to create this 2-minute tour of the planet using only images he snagged from Earth:

PetaPixel writes,

In all, the hyperlapse contains some 3,300 screenshots captured over the course of 2 days, and edited together in a grueling post-processing workflow that took another week after that…

“Thanks to the developer tools of Google Chrome, I was able to remove all the items that interfered with the user experience,” explains Archondis. “I also removed the labels so that the final image could be as clean and realistic as possible, so that I could concentrate on the camera movements as if it was in real life.”



VR: How Hyundai brought soldiers’ families together at the Super Bowl

It’s easy to pooh-pooh VR (believe me, I’ve bagged on plenty of examples), but this bit of immersive telepresence is pretty special:

Forbes explains,

Using satellite technology, 360-degree immersive pods and the filmmaking direction of Peter Berg, Hyundai… showed the soldiers experiencing a kind of virtual reality: that they were in Houston watching the Big Game live in a suite on site. But the shocker at the end and shown live just after the game was when it was revealed that—in a twist on the classic soldier-surprises-family—their loved ones were in the suite to surprise them.

Footage from Houston and Poland was edited and produced in a production trailer outside the stadium during the game.



“Enhance!”: Imaging tech makes something out of (almost) nothing

Wow—this paper (don’t worry, I’m not going to read it either) promises to recreate face data from extremely low-res images. As Yonatan Zunger explains,

[I]t takes a pixelated image, and uses the fact that it knows it’s looking at a human face, and what human faces look like, to turn each pixel into a 4×4 grid of its best guess of which colors would have to have been there to both be consistent with a face shape and with the average color it saw.

On the right are the original pictures, at 32×32 resolution. On the left is what happens after they’re reduced down to 8×8, the sort of thing you would get when a camera is at the limit of its resolution. In the middle is what their algorithm recovered.


VR: Chinese calligraphy meets Tilt Brush

Google’s Cultural Institute has teamed up with artists to celebrate the Lunar New Year with arts and crafts from East Asia. Check out beautiful brushing traditions given new dimension—literally—in Tilt Brush:

Tyrsa and Yué Wu collaborated on a unique artwork in virtual reality mixing Chinese traditional characters and English language to celebrate the Lunar New Year.



When POTUS met AE…

“The devil…that proud spirit…cannot endure to be mocked.” — St. Thomas More

Started just a few days ago by a VFX artist who prefers to remain anonymous, @TrumpDraws has been remixing 45s’ document-waving to hilarious effect:

The Washington Post writes,

Trump “committed the sin of any public figure: You don’t hold up a piece of paper or a sign, because you’re just inviting people to Photoshop something into it.”

Using Adobe Systems’ After Effects software and a plug-in called mocha, he set up a template that tracks the location of the sheets of paper through the short video clip and overlays whatever drawing pops into his head.


Elsewhere, kick back to the soothing sounds of Life Accordion to Trump:

[Via Jon Lin] [YouTube]