Logos of videogame consoles from then and now

Graphic designer Reagan Ray compiled more than 100 logos of videogame consoles from 1976 to 2017. (Just a handful seen above.) Oh how I miss the days of the, um, Fairchild Channel F and the Bandai Playdia. Ray writes:

This list covers the second (1976) through eighth (present) generation consoles. According to Wikipedia, there were 687 first-generation consoles produced, so I decided that was a rabbit hole I didn't want to enter. I had fun designing the page to look like an old video game ad or one of those posters that came in Nintendo Power. The TV screen borders even made me nostalgic for playing games on an old crappy 19-inch TV.

Video Game Console Logos (ReaganRay.com) Read the rest

Raytracing with MySQL

Raytracing is a method for drawing scenes by modeling beams of light, illuminating and richocheting off objects. It's realistic but very slow, and only the newest and most expensive video cards [Amazon] introduce it to realtime games. MySQL is the most commonplace relational database, the sewer containing all the web's fatbergs, the last thing on earth you'd use for number-crunching graphics. Or ... is it? Behold the MySQL Raytracer, by Holtsetio.

This is a raytracing engine contained in a single Mysql SELECT statement. In the beginning of the code there are a few parameters that can be modified. The scene can be specified using the @triangles and @squares parameters, but everything is explained in the comments. The whole query returns a bitmap file which can be written to the filesystem using the "INTO DUMPFILE" syntax at the end of the query, if mysql has filesystem write permissions. The raytracer supports shadows and reflections, which makes it, to my knowledge, the most advanced MySQL raytracer on the market right now. However, it is not really polished and kinda slow. Since I didn't really know how to present this work in a demoparty friendly way, I just included two finished renderings.

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Visualization of the United Kingdom's budget

This one's good not only because it's simple yet interactive, but because it shows the receipts and the spending. There are various others on the site for different tendrils of the British state; hopefully the same visualization can be used to show other governments at work too. United Kingdom Budget 2016 [uk.wikibudgets] Read the rest

3D Ken Burns effect from a single photo

Simon Niklaus et al devised a method to convincingly add a 3D Ken Burns zoom effect to 2D photographs. Their code works as well as a professional graphic designer: better than simple cut-outs slapped into an After Effects stage, thought I still get that slightly uncanny "2.5D" Viewmaster effect.

The Ken Burns effect allows animating still images with a virtual camera scan and zoom. Adding parallax, which results in the 3D Ken Burns effect, enables significantly more compelling results. Creating such effects manually is time-consuming and demands sophisticated editing skills. Existing automatic methods, however, require multiple input images from varying viewpoints. In this paper, we introduce a framework that synthesizes the 3D Ken Burns effect from a single image, supporting both a fully automatic mode and an interactive mode with the user controlling the camera. Our framework first leverages a depth prediction pipeline, which estimates scene depth that is suitable for view synthesis tasks. To address the limitations of existing depth estimation methods such as geometric distortions, semantic distortions, and inaccurate depth boundaries, we develop a semantic-aware neural network for depth prediction, couple its estimate with a segmentation-based depth adjustment process, and employ a refinement neural network that facilitates accurate depth predictions at object boundaries. According to this depth estimate, our framework then maps the input image to a point cloud and synthesizes the resulting video frames by rendering the point cloud from the corresponding camera positions. To address disocclusions while maintaining geometrically and temporally coherent synthesis results, we utilize context-aware color- and depth-inpainting to fill in the missing information in the extreme views of the camera path, thus extending the scene geometry of the point cloud.

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Online face generator

From the headline, you're probably expecting some AI-powered, creepily realistic image of a person who either doesn't exist or isn't really in the photo. #Faces, though, is all about old-timey hand-drawn cartoon faces, with a technical eye on having them drawn on plotters. Refresh for a random one, or fiddle with the sliders; I got this Tove Jansson-esque character on the first go. Read the rest

Watch: New Wave TV commercial for Hawaiian Punch with music by DEVO's Mark Mothersbaugh

This totally excellent computer animated television commercial for Hawaiian Punch was created in 1987 by Omnibus/Abel, the ill-fated company born from the merger of Omnibus Computer Graphics with computer animation pioneer Robert Abel's Abel and Associates.

From Vintage CG:

Rarely seen is this full 90 second version.... Music is by Mark Mothersbaugh (of DEVO), who later admitted to embedding a subliminal message: "Sugar is bad for you."

Excerpts from the commercial later turned up in the classic computer animation VHS compilation "Beyond the Mind’s Eye," the content of which you can enjoy below:

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How to serve a billion images a month on a budget

I wrote earlier this year about Lorem Picsum, a site that provides random placeholder images for use in design projects in the spirit of Lorem Ipsum, the classic jumbled-up latin passage used likewise for text. It's taken off. Creator David Marby explains what it's like to serve a billion images a month of a budget.

Processing images is very CPU intensive. As Lorem Picsum runs on a very small budget, to cope with all the requests as the service became more popular, we wanted to avoid doing so as much as possible. This meant adding caching to multiple layers of the architecture. We added two separate layers of caching: A CDN in front, as well as a second cache layer using Varnish Cache. To make the image processing as efficient as possible, we decided to use libvips, as it's very fast and resource-efficient.

As part of making Lorem Picsum as easy to use as possible, we've never required any registration, API keys, or enforced any usage limits. This has generally worked out well, but once in a while a high traffic site deploys production code calling our API, usually accidentally, which leads to [problems]

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The DIY graphic design/publishing revolution of Letraset

The Pulp Librarian tweeted a fun history of Letraset's rub-on lettering sheets. Launched in 1959, the dry transfer letters transformed DIY design and publishing, from 'zines to record albums! Below are a few of the tweets. Click here for the whole thread!

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Microsoft releasing new edition of Flight Simulator

After five years without an update, MS Flight Simulator is getting refreshed. The XBox exclusive was demoed at the E3 trade show Sunday. Some of the scenes are spectacularly realistic. I would have been unable to tell it was video of a simulation when I was a kid, playing stuff like F-18 Interceptor and Falcon. This makes it both more intense (because I can experience a more perfect replacement for reality) and less impressive (because I'm no longer afflicted with the xennial awe derived from comparing the quality of a simulation to the simulator's known technical limitations). Read the rest

A delightfully bad US Army animation starring a talking floppy disk (1985)

From TMeeks01:

This bit of ancient animation history was programmed in GW-Basic on a Mindset Computer.

The "live" sets included full size props, such as the typewriter and schoolroom desk, and doll house furniture, such as the paintings and the easel.

Overlays were accomplished by partially drawing the figures, rather than chromakeying the live shot, cutting away part of the character around a prop that was to be in the foreground.

(via r/ObscureMedia)

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Vintage CGI

r/vintageCGI is my new favorite subreddit. Embedded above is a collection of the rendered scenes from 1983 laserdisc game Star Rider, reputed to have cost Williams $50m in development, production and marketing costs. Below, Ronald Peterson's 1988 image demonstrating a ray-tracing package.

Here's the Compleat Angler:

And here is DISK.GIF:

Finally, I made DISK.GIF.JPG for you. With luck WordPress's CDN will make it even worse. You're welcome.

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Why video games are made of triangles.. smaller and smaller triangles

The power is in the polygons.

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Space is the Place, the best starfield on the web

Space is the Place is a remixable Glitch app that generates a full-screen starfield with a "morph" control to make it more or less psychedelic: hold your clicker down and move it back and forth for fabulous results. There's something weird about the optical effects used, a video-era flare that's unusually appealing, like the early-1980s Doctor Who intro Read the rest

The best of SIGGRAPH 2018

All of 2018's latest computer graphics techniques and toys in one eight-minute video. I hope you like ray tracing! More. Read the rest

Tank: an excellent animated short paying homage to 80s vector videogames

Red Giant's chief creative officer Stu Maschwitz used Adobe After Effects to painstakingly create Tank, a fantastic tribute to 1980s vector graphics videogames like Battlezone, the Vectrex system, and the original Star Wars coin-op machine. Below, "The Making of Tank."

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Will this Unreal Engine real-time ray tracing demo run on my 486DX?

What better way to show off a second mortgage's-worth of parallelized GPUs (Eight Nvidia V100s, apparently) raytracing a scene than Star Wars' Captain Phasma?

The Unreal Engine's been knocking socks off for a long time:

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Fractal generator

Andrei Kashcha‏ has created a lovely fractal generator, using WebGL.

Click "Randomize" to have it generate a new fractal. If you want, tinker with some of the parameters by changing values in the function, and watch as it produces trippy results! (Deeper instructions by Kashcha here, along with the code.)

I've been sitting here in a trance staring at this thing for half an hour now, somebody help me. Read the rest

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