When it comes to the uncanny valley of video game characters, the eyes have it. Even as digital characters become increasingly (hyper)realistic, the eyes lag behind. At FastCo Design, Mark Wilson looks at the technological and perceptual challenges of designing eyes with personality:
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The initial problem with rendering eyes is simply that of light and structure. While the eye looks simple to, um, the naked eye, when you actually examine its structures, you realize it’s actually a mostly clear object. All of these clear layers manipulate light differently, and in reaction to one another, through a spherical structure (but notably, not a perfect sphere!). On top is the cornea. It’s not just a transparent lens. It’s a transparent lens that bulges out from the eyeball. It might reflect light like a mirror, or refract light, warping it like a water droplet on a windshield. Indeed, every structure you see within someone’s eye—like the colorful iris—has been distorted by their cornea.
"The transitions of each of these things, from one to the next, needs to be handled properly," says (Brian Karis, senior graphics programmer at Epic Games). "How light interacts with all those things has to be handled."
The white of the eye is particularly tricky. Known as the sclera, it’s actually the layer that wraps around most of your eye like an orange skin. Light "scatters" from the sclera through the clear gel that comprises most your eye—which is the same phenomenon that gives a glass of milk its particular glow.
Alexander Senko wrote Pure Data code that "produces a lissajous figure with different frequency ratios and a phase modulation. The curve generates pitch, harmonics and volume of sound. The inflection points on the curve create rhythmic structures."
I don't always blog about figures, but when I do, they're lissajous ones. Read the rest
In part one of a series, the limitations of color on eighties-era computers and early game consoles like NES and Commodore 64.
Over at Display, Graphic designer Richard Danne tells the story of the fantastic "worm" logo he and partner Bruce Blackburn created for NASA in 1974. It was used for almost twenty years until the NASA administrator Dan Goldin unfortunately reinstated the previous "meatball" logo, developed in 1959. Read the rest
NVIDIA made an interesting video to market their graphics processing tech by showing how it can be used to debunk conspiracy claims that the 1969 lunar landing was faked. (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!) Read the rest
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VFX designer Thomas Krejek created this elegant face-melting video with a Python script for the RealFlow fluid and dynamics simulator software. Quick, call David Cronenberg! Read the rest
The Association for Computing Machinery's annual SIGGRAPH conference is where you will find many of the most incredible, edgiest developments in computer graphics research. Above is the video trailer for this year's "Technical Papers" program. SIGGRAPH 2013 takes place July 21-25 in Anaheim, California. Read the rest
SIGGRAPH Asia 2012
starts tomorrow in Singapore. The above video teases some of the astounding graphics accomplishments that will be presented at the conference.
Ron English's Stickable Art Offenses is an inspired collection of stickers from one of the world's most iconic sticker artists. Ron English designed the iconic Ronald McDonald parody for Super-Size Me, and has built his reputation on grotesque, trenchant, and funny graphic attacks on corporate logos and marketing.
The book opens with English's reminiscence of one of the many times he was arrested for stickering in New York City, then leaps into more than 40 pages' worth of die-cut, full-color vinyl stickers. English's stickers are a bit like a highly politicized Wacky Packages or Garbage Pail Kids for grownups, with a bit of Warholian whimsy thrown in, by way of AdBusters. The book ends with some lovely photos of English's work in the wild, from giant murals to billboard defacements to guerrilla re-branding in the grocery store cereal aisle.
Ron English is a great favorite around these parts, as this extensive collection of Ron English posts from our archives can attest. I can't wait to start decorating my environs with his work
Last Gasp, English's publisher, were kind enough to send us some hi-rez outtakes from the book for your pleasure. Visit the jump to see more.
Ron English's Stickable Art Offenses: A Sticker Book
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Digging this drawing by astronomy blogger Invader Xan, showing spaceships of the past, present, and (possible?) future lined up side-by-side for size comparison. I, for one, just learn that the Space Shuttle Orbiter was larger than I thought in comparison to the International Space Station.
Also cool: Skylon—a rather terrifying name for a spaceplane that's currently in the early stages of development by a private company. Interestingly (or, perhaps, even more terrifyingly—seriously, this thing is going to need a new name, like woah), Skylon would not have a human pilot but would be capable of hauling humans into space, carrying up to 24 in a special box loaded into the payload bay.
Check out Invader Xan's blog, Supernova Condensate, for more information, including a version of this graphic that includes the Starship Enterprise.
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Bob Rosinsky from Top Dog Imaging walks through the extraordinary process of restoring a badly damaged 1870s tintype (such as the Billy the Kid image that was the subject of a recent record-setting auction
) using modern, high-tech techniques, such as a polarized strobe and ultra-high-rez camera. He hints at even more advanced techniques employing X-rays, UV and infra-red light.
My standard operating procedure is to use an ultra-high resolution camera combined with a top-of-the-line macro lens to photograph tintypes. I use strobe lights to illuminate the artwork. Strobes produce "hard" light, much like the sun on a clear day. In addition to the strobes, I place a polarizer over the camera lens and polarizer gels over the strobe lights. This eliminates all reflections and enables the camera to pick up a greater tonal range along with more detail...
Restoring a Photograph from the 1870s
One advantage of using a scanner to digitize a tintype is that it will smooth out surface imperfections and micro details thus reducing the amount of time it takes the retouch artist to produce a clean, albeit low fidelity, image -- somewhat analogous to hearing a Beethoven symphony on AM radio.
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Phil from Phil Are Go has done the world the excellent service of trimming out the smoking, disembodied floating Dobbsian heads from this old Kaywoodie Pipes ad, and and making them available as hi-rez PNGs.
Kaywoodie Pipes - DFH gift set. You're welcome.
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A UNC team has written an engine that scours Flickr for photos of a city, figures out which ones are images of the same place, analyzes them, and uses the results to build amazingly detailed 3D models -- all in less than a day, using a single PC.
Flickr Hack Makes 3D Model of Any City in a Day
(Thanks, MooseHP, via Submitterator)
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