Friday, November 18, 2005

Update on PC Magazine

I spoke with the Art Director from Ziff Davis Media (PC Magazines parent company) and he was very apologetic regarding the lack of credit for the use of my Dermal Display image in their Nov. 22 issue. They promised a correction and did oblige my request to include at least a small version of the image, my name and webpage. The correction issue will be out on December 28th.

Popular Science (who I did send a PR email to regarding my Dermal display animation) did a brief blip with Robert A. Freitas Jr. about how the dermal display would work in the December issue page 26. Image: the original non credited page - click to enlarge.

Friday, November 11, 2005

PC Magazine - On Stands Now

My dermal display animation has made a visual appearance included with a small interview by my collaborator and author Robert A. Freitas Jr. , in the current issue of PC Magazine, November 22, 2005, page 22 "Hand me my Data", on stands now at your local market (or other). Thank you M.O. for the heads up. Unfortunately my name seems to be missing but I have sent out an email request for a correction in the paper publication as well as the online version which (although one of the images is missing in this version) you can see here. Above image: the cover of current Nov. 22 Issue.
I honestly can't tell if this is one of the media houses that I sent my release to or not. I went searching through my email sent box and it was full of releases that I had sent from 9/22 to 9/29 with up to 79 emails I sent out a day. With that many I didn't bother to continue to track it down.
By doing a Google search for "Hand me my Data" I found another site (obviously a feed) that has a comment box for viewers on this article. Its' here at Extreme Biochips and at a sister site of Extreme Nano.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Today I was rummaging around the house thinking about perhaps being responsible and picking some things up that have been laying around. I didn't manage to get very far as I stumbled across some drawings that my niece made as gifts for me. Hmmm...... didn't I say I would animate these? Ummmm, tap, tap, yep, I sure did... time to get on the computer and get creative, sorry house (not so much)! I looked through the drawings and selected the ones that had the less overlapping in them, so that I could isolate the parts easier.
Before I began I was careful to make a mental note of respecting the purity of the drawings and not get carried away adding color or special effects as it's the innocence and simplicity that makes this interesting.The first scene of the animation (the black and white character) I removed the outside space surrounding the character. I made duplicates of my layers and I went through making individual changes on each layer, selecting the arms and moving them, the eye blink etc. I saved them as jpgs and then imported them into Combustion where I extended the length of each jpg and added the text and of course animated.
The second scene, I also cut each object out from the background so that I had individual parts but saved them as gifs so that they could be layered over each other. Each flower (including my new textured "extra" flowers), two versions of the people - one set with elongated heads for the pulling "birth" (so to speak) effect from the flower, the grass etc. were blended, scaled, and animated all in Combustion. Once rendered from there I pulled the footage into Vegas to get rid of a buggy frame, add credits and the music (I had to cut and lengthen the last section of that song so that it sounds like it's ending - his voice doesn't really sound slowed down like that). This song is one of my favorite little enchanments (got to love the child singing). I was even trying just last night to set it as a ring tone on my new cell phone, but I couldn't get it to work (it might be too long - I haven't looked into it) anyway, it was gratifying to be able to apply this song to what feels like its rightful home. I think it works well with the whole theme. Click here to go download the animation The Garden.
Hope you like it Veronica.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Snurks

Last night I took a trip down to Fred Myers to pick up some tricks and treats for the Ghouls and Goblins that might be arriving at my front door. While at the check out, I saw the usual three sided stand of movies. I wanted an animation movie selection but here lies the quandary, my two choices were, the 2D and rather well publicized Brother Bear (produced by Disney) movie and a 3D movie entitled "The Snurks", which appeared to have well developed characters (gnomes) on the cover, but I had never heard of it. The clerk said something like, "I wouldn't get either of them, but especially not the Snurks because I've never heard of it either". I can't resist 3D, or I can't resist the opportunity to rebel, either way (probably both ways), I ended up tossing the Snurks into my cart.
When the movie started the narration voice was recognizable, "hmm that sounds like Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) from Star Treck, and it was. With an actor like that, it does hold some instant credibility - although the movie would have to still live up to it, famous person or not. I recognized immediately (from an animators point of view) that this was good quality animation, it was pure and clean eye candy, I admired the animators work. Sure, it didn't have the big production value script of say The Incredibles. Due to this The Snurks might have gotten swept under the rug.
If there was one flaw it was merely a personal pet peeve of mine that the smart scientist was the "mad scientist" and of course the antagonist of the story. Some day, there will be a story of the reverse, it is my hope that it would be more than a story but a reality - science helping us open broader doors, to say a disease free world among other things. Until then I still enjoyed the movie, it was some good lighthearted fun and I'm very glad I bought it.
Although it's not on my cover sleeve, the movie is often cited as "Boo, Zino & the Snurks", I've also spotted it as "Back to Gaya".
A few links:
The official website.
I found the Back to Gaya game, but it appears to be unavailable, at least at Amazon.
I found a few "inside of the program" images here.