Fifteen years ago this week, programmer Ron Britvich launched version 1.0 of Active Worlds. Started as an autonomous project of Worlds, Inc. (a spinoff of educational gamesmaker Knowledge Adventure), Active Worlds was one of the first and most ambitious attempts to create a 3D virtual community on the web. Built on the architecture of Britvich's Worlds Chat beta, Active Worlds debuted in the form of Alphaworld, a sunny green infinite plane open to public building. In its opening years Alphaworld experienced a land rush of construction, resulting in an anarchic starfish sprawl larger than the state of California. A sister company, Circle of Fire, was soon founded to craft additional themed hubs, and once individual ownership of worlds became possible the AW community spawned a veritable universe of hundreds of worlds. Although the company has seen its ups and downs since those heady times and its fortunes have slowly dwindled, the Active Worlds platform survives to this day. Look inside for a simple guide on how to log in to the (free) service, rundowns of the best worlds, links to essays analyzing the program's legacy, and other content summing up its venerable community. [more inside]
First, there was colossal miscalculation. Something so bad it could make parable a four-letter word. Didn't faze him. His next was "bizarrely compelling... Slower than watching a train wreck," but yet invoking, "that same level of disbelief." It was also like swallowing spiky clusters of manure. Maybe he had lost his mind? But yet he rose again... Or should we say he blew? No really, it was the wind this time . A feeble gust of an environmental horror story. "You feel like you're not watching the end of the world but the end of a career." Alas, like the undead, you cannot stop him. His latest, sitting at a paltry 0%* on the Tomatometer, is whitewashed, and offers an experience that's a headache-inducing, joyless, soulless, husk that Roger Ebert called "agonizing... in every category I can think of and others still waiting to be invented." It enchantingly makes, "Jake Lloyd’s performance in The Phantom Menace look studied." And, "the Golden Compass... look like a four-star classic." With $150 million spent on production, and $130 million on marketing alone, has this "auteur" finally created his masterpiece? Or will it be the Last Straw® (in 3d!)? [more inside]
Toy Story 3 hits theaters today, and it's already winning universal acclaim as an enchanting and heartbreaking wonderwork, employing understated 3D and a "real-time" perspective that deftly capitalizes on the nostalgia and can't-go-home-again angst of a generation that grew up with the series. It has a strong pedigree, with 11-year-old predecessor Toy Story 2 the rare sequel to equal its forebear, 1995's Toy Story (itself the first CGI feature in history). And it joins a lofty stable of films: over the last 15 years, Pixar has put out an unbroken chain of ten commercial and critical successes that have grossed over $5 billion worldwide and collected 24 Academy Awards (including the second-ever Best Picture nom for animation with Up), a legacy that rivals some of the greatest franchises in film history. But there's rumbling on the horizon. Although the studio has been hailed for its originality (of the 50 top-grossing movies in history, only nine were original stories -- and five of them were by Pixar), two of their upcoming projects are sequels, both of them based some of their least-acclaimed films (Cars 2 in 2011 and Monsters, Inc. 2 in 2012). And while 2012 will also bring
The Bear and the Bow Brave, the first Pixar flick to feature a female protagonist [previously], fellow newcomer Newt has been canceled. With WALL-E/Up/Toy Story 3 guru Andrew Stanton focusing on his 2012 adaptation of John Carter of Mars and with forays into live-action already in development, does this mark the end of the golden age of Pixar? Or is this latest entry lasting proof that even the toughest case of sequelitis can be raised to the level of masterpiece? [more inside]
Michael Fivis, Maximus Chatsky, and Krakenpoison are three photographers who shoot with a Nimslo, the four lens 35mm lenticular camera manufactured in the 1980's, and create animated autostereo "wobble 3D" images.
Warning: Lots of animated .gifs to load. [more inside]
Warning: Lots of animated .gifs to load. [more inside]
Crazy Cubes optical illusion. (SLYT)
In an exclusive interview with MTV, Ridley Scott releases further details on his latest project: two 3D Alien prequels, which will have a non-Ripley female lead and focus on the story behind the first movie's "Space Jockey." [more inside]
Most people consider the remote control helicopter quite intimidating. As a beginner, your first few hovers are pure white-knuckle terror. Thanks to negative pitch, these little helis can fly inverted. And some people can do truly awe-inspiring freestyle routines (this style of flying is called "3D"). Part of the reason they're so intimidating is that nearly every crash is a total writeoff. Keep in mind, these aren't Radio Shack toys; they sometimes kill people [more inside]
Will post-conversion done badly kill 3D movies? Jeffrey Katzenberg of DreamWorks thinks it might. Or as Michael Bay puts it "You can’t just shit out a 3D movie".
"Au Soleil" is based on my memories of a cycling trip I undertook across Eastern Europe from Berlin to Istanbul. Vimeo video. A (surprisingly relaxing) short multimedia documentary, created using open source 3D animation software and a keen artistic eye. [more inside]
The Free Art and Technology (F.A.T.) Lab is an organization dedicated to enriching the public domain through the research and development of creative technologies and media. You may know them from such projects as How to build a fake Google Street View car, public domain donor stickers, internet famous class, the first rap video to end with a download source code link, or their numerous firefox add-ons (such as China Channel, Tourettes Machine, or Back to the future). FAT members have been hard at work standardizing various open source graffiti-related software packages, including Graffiti Analysis, Laser Tag, Fat Tag Deluxe and EyeWriter [previously] to be GML (Graffiti Markup Language) compliant. Fuck Google. Fuck Twitter. FuckFlickr. Fuck SXSW. Fuck 3D. FAT Lab is Kanye shades for the open source movement.
Tiny & Big. Help Tiny recover his grandfather's magical underpants of teleportation stolen by the nefarious Big. A demo for a 3D physics puzzler involving a cutting laser and grappling hook. Youtube preview. Available for OSX (10.5), Windows, & Linux (32bit, 64bit).
Flame is a really nice web-based experimental painting programme from Slovak animator and designer Peter Blaskovic.
3D is all the rage these (warning: video opens with story) days, but will 3D TV ever take off in the home? CNN thinks so, so does Sky Broadcasting in the UK. It's been touted for a while and (as ever) the porn industry is leading the way. But maybe we should just stop and think about things first.......
Saturday night, kids, and time for another Monster Chiller Horror Theatre! Hosted by Count Floyd, SCTV's late night horror film show somehow never quite managed to get a scary film...but it did have the classic Dr. Tongue 3D films! Don't forget to send away to Count Floyd for your special 3-D glasses! [more inside]
Oceansize is a short monster movie created by four animation students. Here's a version with English subtitles (although it's hardly necessary). [via]
5bis rue du Verneuil is the home of Serge Gainsbourg in Paris. This short film peels off the layers of graffiti left on the wall there.
The Mandelbulb "The original Mandelbrot is an amazing object that has captured the public's imagination for 30 years. It's found by following a relatively simple math formula. But in the end, it's still only 2D and flat - there's no depth, shadows, perspective, or light sourcing. What we have featured in this article is a potential 3D version of the same fractal."
2D characters in a 3D world: Flatworld (part 1, part 2, part 3). One of the many funny, clever, and innovative animations by Daniel Greaves of Tandem Films. [more inside]
Assistant professor Noah Snavely at Cornell is into making models. Computer models of real scenes are assembled from photographs, and can then be used to create a better image, a better video, or a 3D representation of an entire city. [more inside]
Peripetics is a short video by Zeitguised that "entails six imaginations of disoriented systems that take a catastrophic turn, including the evolution of educational plant-body-machine models and liquid building materials." [more inside]
Durango Bill's Home Page. With topics that include: 3D end-to-end tour of the Grand Canyon, the origin and formation of the Colorado River, and examples of river systems that cut through mountain ranges instead of taking easier routes around them in Ancestral Rivers of the World. [more inside]
Polynomial (yt) is a 3D space shooter with mathematically generated fractal scenery and models by Dmytry Lavrov with demos available for Linux, (Intel) OSX, & Windows. (via)
Metaplace Raph Koster's customisable, isometric, browser-based 3d environment has now entered open beta. caveats: Registration required, some Beta flakiness (previously)
People have been trying to make the appearance of three-dimensional movement almost as far back as the first movie cameras. The very first efforts used stereoscopy (more pre-vious-ly), which wasn't functional for theater-settings. In 1915, the first public test of 3D film was deemed unsuccessful, as images presented with green/red lenses detracted from the plot, but that didn't stop people from trying to make 3D films. Polarized glasses are another inexpensive method of simulated 3D, while shutterglasses are a more costly method. Up to 1998 or so, there were approximately 187 3D movies made, not counting porn, cartoons and shorts (which bring the 1998 total to 263). 2009 is supposedly the year that 3D movies really take off, as it has been reported that 3D films are expected to gross over $1bn (£700m) at the box office next year, a five-fold increase on their $200m haul in 2008. There are some really big titles coming, including the "3D drug trip" that is Avatar, and all of the announced future Pixar releases will get the Digital Disney 3-D treatment. But 3D isn't limited to the big screen and big companies. The next format war could be over 3D TV. And now the independent production company MeniThings has released the feature-length movie, Battle for Terra. [via mefi projects, and a bit more on the movie after the jump] [more inside]
Brian Valentine takes 3D macro images of flowers and insects. (How do I view them?) He discusses his macro methods here; a more general guide for making your own (not necessarily macro) 3D images can be found here. More 3D goodness at the Flickr Stereophotography (and stereovideography!) pools. Via EMRJKC'94. [more inside]
Gallipoli: The First Day [flash] An ABC documentary site about the WW1 ANZAC landing at Gallipoli, on 25 April 1915.
subprime. Beautiful animation about the US housing market.
Lifting it's script from the abandonned fourth movie, Mad Max will be returning, sans Gibbo, as a 3D animated feature. I'll see you on the road, skag!
Molecular Movies features cell and molecular animations, along with animation tutorials. [more inside]
Structure Synth is an application for creating 3D structures from a set of user specified rules. It is an attempt to make a 3D version of Context Free.
View-Master. It's was, for many, their first exposure to 3D. But where did all those little dioramas come from? Well, sculptor Florence Thomas for one, responsible for these Tom Corbett images. More. Via. Previously.
The Eco Zoo - some amazing Japanese 3D Flash. If you take a close look at the animals there... you might be able to get some tips to live in a more environmentally friendly way!
Area 56: Peeing robots, rockin' office workers, engaging panoramas, and even a few sexy girls.
Virtual Vaudeville [shockwave] Watch a 3D simulation of legendary comedian Frank Bush in a vaudeville performance from a variety of perspectives. Switch between any of eight perspectives at any time and read the extensive hypermedia notes to gain a richer understanding of the performance in its historical context.
A film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Hugo Award winning novella, Coraline will be out (in 3D) in early 2009. [Previously] [more inside]
Fascinating 3D renderings of different processes inside of a human body. Yes, the style is quite similar to The Inner Life of The Cell, but this one is different. Dissolving of the pills was definitely entertaining. It would be great if a doctor could comment on the other processes that are displayed.
With 'Lively' Google tries something more interactive in the 3d space after buying SketchUp in 2006. [more inside]
Flash Java Fun - 'Building Houses With Side Views' Entertaining Java game/exercise/doodad. [more inside]
The Graveyard: Walk through the graveyard. Sit for a spell. Walk back out again. [via Jay Is Games] [more inside]