Real data used to create fictional flight over Mars

Jan Fröjdman used HiRISE satellite data from Mars to create this beautiful and detailed flyby of the planet. Liz Stinson writes that stitching it together took months.

For Fröjdman, creating the flyover effect was like assembling a puzzle. He began by colorizing the photographs (HiRISE captures images in grayscale). He then identified distinctive features in each of the anaglyphs—craters, canyons, mountains–and matched them between image pairs. To create the panning 3-D effect, he stitched the images together along his reference points and rendered them as frames in a video. “It was a very slow process,” he says.

When I was a kid, my mind was blown by Isaac Asimov's VHS wonder, Voyage to the Outer Planets and Beyond, which (at least in some versions, if not the one you can find on YouTube), included the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab's 1980s Mars flyover animation: my first encounter with the glitchy, transfixing, uncanny quality of real data from another world. How far we have come, yet not gone.

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Randomly generated pixel art potions

Brian Macintosh made an Icon Machine that generates procedural potions. Gotta drink 'em all! Source code. Read the rest

"Hyperbolic tiling": can you escape from an extradimensional prison?

The only thing at Hypernom.com appears to be a 3D fractal cage. You can move toward the edge with the WASD and arrow keys. But as you approach it, a new level of detail pops in and you seem no closer to the perimeter. Approached as a game, there is a "trick" to escaping—but I'm not sure you're supposed to. Press numbers to change the forms that bind you. There are all sorts of things going on like this. Read the rest

HX-01: a feature-length journey in psychedelic space

HX-01 is an animated full-length film on the verge of hitting its modest $6k crowdfunding goal. Its landscape of psychedelic geometric video graphics are just my cup of acid; check out the trailer and see if it's yours, too.

Hi, my name is hexeosis. For a little over three years now, I’ve been creating and posting animated GIFs on the internet. I’ve been unreasonably lucky to have connected with thousands and thousands of fans from all over the world. Crazy, but awesome!

I’m launching this Kickstarter campaign to help fund the production of a full length, full color, full HD sized animated short film.

PREVIOUSLY: Xeni blogged about creator Hexeosis in 2014 when they were first getting us high on Tumblr. Read the rest

Why video game eyes are creepy

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:

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.

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Points of inflection: monochrome generative audiovisuals

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

Watch: How "oldschool" computer graphics worked back in the eighties

In part one of a series, the limitations of color on eighties-era computers and early game consoles like NES and Commodore 64.

The design story of NASA's "worm" logo, sadly retired

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

National Response Center: now THAT's a logo

via Bruce Sterling Read the rest

Graphics chip commercial debunks moon landing conspiracies

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

First-person shooter engine in 265 lines of Javascript

Hunter Loftis, who created the fractal terrain generation in 130 lines of Javascript engine, has done it again: a a full-blown first-person shooter engine in 265 lines (demo, source). He used a technique called ray casting, and goes into some detail about this choice and where this could go next. Read the rest

Fractal terrain generation in 130 lines of Javascript

Hunter Loftis's Javascript-based fractal terrain generator produces absolutely gorgeous landscapes (reload for more) in just 130 lines. It's accompanied by a great explanation that reveals the sweet, underlying elegance of the process. Read the rest

Facemelting VFX

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

SIGGRAPH 2013 computer graphics technical breakthroughs

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

Fantastic graphics innovations from SIGGRAPH Asia 2012

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: Wacky Packages meets AdBusters

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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Space vehicles, to scale

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.

Via Ananyo Bhattacharya

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