The Magic Reality of Pixar

In their new short “The Blue Umbrella”, Pixar Animation Studios outdo themselves. The animation is cutting-edge photorealistic to the point that is almost impossible to believe that the entire piece is Computer Generated (CG).

In order to render the magic of the city and the two main characters – a blue and a red umbrella, Pixar resorted to a number of new animation and special effects technologies, which the short fantastically showcases.

Among the various techniques used, prominent are – Global Illumination, Deep Image Compositing and Camera Motion Capture – all set against an enchanting backdrop of dreamy out-of-focus imagery.

Global illumination is “a simulation of how light is emitted and reflected off surfaces, not only the light which comes directly from a light source (direct illumination), but also subsequent cases in which light rays from the same source are reflected by other surfaces in the scene (indirect illumination).” These processor intensive scenes often took 20 to 30 hours to render an image for one frame of film.

Deep Image Compositing is where a scene is created by layering images with notion of depth data in addition to the usual color and opacity channels,  giving greater depth of field. Finally, Camera Motion Capture is a technique of reshooting rendered scenes by recording the physical movements of a dummy camera to create a handheld feel.

An excerpt of the glorious culmination of these techniques and technologies is seen below. Just remember, it is entirely animated!

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How Algorithms Shape our World

A brilliant speech from TEDtalks by Kevin Slavin, on how increasingly more efficient and complicated algorithms are running our world and our lives; and the detachment of human considerations from their impacts on nature and life.

The “IE User Low IQ Study” Hoax and the “Creation” of News

You may have read about it and even posted it on social networks and media – “Users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Web Browser have a Lower-than-average IQ”. This has turned out to be a hoax.

A website called AptiQuant.com published a report on how a study has revealed that IE users have lower-than-average IQ. This, quite understandably, enraged numerous IE users, and hate mail & threats of litigation against AptiQuant followed.

Later, uncanny similarities between AptiQuant.com and CentralTest.co.uk sites were discovered, which led to the veracity of the study and the site itself being questioned. Eventually, the site admitted to the hoax, and apologized to CentralTest for using their website materials, including the same “Our Team” people with different, imaginary names!

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Well, It IS Friday! (Shrug)

All the stars have aligned. It’s Friday, Rebekah Brooks, the Murdochs and News Corp are all over the news AND Rebecca Black has released a new video! So here goes a brilliant mash-up of Rebekah Brooks’ resignation and Rebeccas Black’s YouTube hit song ‘Friday’.

 

In case, you live under a rock, here’s the original (not the “original”, though). And No, I am not going to link the funny and the not-so-bright parodies floating around the Web.

Okay, maybe one :)