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A time capsule from the dawn of computer animation

Five years before Toy Story proved to the world that pure CGI -- a field long relegated to the role of special effects -- could be an art form in its own right, Odyssey Productions attempted to do the same on a slightly smaller scale. Drawing on the demo reels, commercials, music videos, and feature films of over 300 digital animators, the studio collated dozens of cutting-edge clips into an ambitious 40-minute art film called The Mind's Eye. Backed by an eclectic mix of custom-written electronic, classical, oriental, and tribal music, the surreal, dreamlike imagery formed a rough narrative in eight short segments that illustrated the evolution of life, technology, and human society: Creation - Civilization Rising - Heart of the Machine - Technodance - Post Modern - Love Found - Leaving the Bonds of Earth - The Temple - End credits (including names and sources for all clips used). But that was just the beginning... [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Apr 25, 2010 - 62 comments

 

Компьютерная анимация 1968

Soviet CGI, circa 1968 (SLYT)
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Mar 21, 2010 - 20 comments

Welcome to the Desert of the Real

The Third & The Seventh (a gorgeous, entirely 3D short film) [more inside]
posted by empath on Jan 8, 2010 - 32 comments

The Computer Graphics Revolution circa 1978

"We might not be aware of it, but we're all watching more computer generated television these days." [SLYT]
posted by ZenithNadir on Dec 20, 2009 - 31 comments

Teaser Trailer to Motion Picture Deal in $300

Fede Alvarez, a Uruguayan filmmaker, posted a short live action/CG video on YouTube back in early November (prev). The short, which features mysterious robots destroying Montevideo and cost approximately $300 to make, received interest from Hollywood days after being online. By the end of November, news spread that Alvarez signed a deal with Ghost House Pictures, reportedly worth $30 million. For now, Alvarez has a six-figure holding deal to wait while Ghost House hires a high-end scribe to turn the idea into a feature. The six-figure deal will be applied against a seven-figure fee if Ghost House makes the film, though Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert are already set up to produce the film. (via) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 17, 2009 - 45 comments

CGI Fun

I'll Be Gone is the latest music video from Lithuanian cgi director/developer Rimantas Lukavicius of Korb.lt.
posted by netbros on Dec 9, 2009 - 6 comments

But what about Monkey Polar Express?

The uncanny valley effect (too many previous posts to list) has been blamed for poor acceptance of human-analogue robots (YT) and computer simulations (not to mention the box office results for The Polar Express, Beowulf, and other computer-animated movies). But did you know that humans are not the only primate species to experience this "too close for comfort" effect? A recent behavioral study in macaque monkeys suggests (pdf) that the uncanny valley may be hardwired into our brains at a deeper level (i.e., earlier-evolved) than previously thought.
posted by supercres on Nov 2, 2009 - 40 comments

CGI-brows short mockumentary

CGI-brows (link goes to video on Vimeo which contains a naughty word but is otherwise SFW.) A short mockumentary about extreme emoting through SFX by RocketSausage (Dir. Andrew Gaynord) which has won the Virgin Media Shorts People's Choice Award for 2009.
posted by planetkyoto on Oct 1, 2009 - 12 comments

Architecture through the cinematographic lens. The visual fusion between the third and the seventh arts.

The "Third&Seventh" project is "A full-CG animated piece that tries to illustrate architecture art across a photographic point of view where main subjects are already-built spaces." In other words, Alex Roman has created a series of CG images and short films, based on real places (like this short film that depicts Louis Kahn's library at Phillips Exeter Academy), with a remarkable level of realism and beauty. (via)
posted by ocherdraco on Sep 21, 2009 - 5 comments

SQUIRREL!

The real world location behind “Up’s” Paradise Falls. But could that house really fly?
posted by Artw on Jun 2, 2009 - 54 comments

Pixel City

Pixel City is a procedurally generated cityscape by Shamus Young. Procedurally generated graphics have a long history of producing attractive results with extremely small amounts of code, like Elevated, which was generated by just 4K of code, automatically generated video game content (also, Spore) or the generation of realistic water flows. Note the last demo reel may have been the test for a new film mentioned previously.
posted by GuyZero on May 15, 2009 - 44 comments

Road Warrior

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!
posted by Artw on Mar 7, 2009 - 38 comments

___ Days Without an Accident

Hochbetrieb [Nuts & Bolts] is a 2003 short from Germany that utilizes live actors and computer-generated effects in tribute to influences ranging from silent comedies to Charles Ebbetts' images of construction crews atop the GE Building, along with a cat & mouse cartoon from MGM guest-starring a baby and a Warner Brothers piece about an amphibian.
posted by Smart Dalek on Jan 12, 2009 - 2 comments

It's only a yellow line. How hard can it be?

The computer generated first-down line in American football is something we take for granted these days. However, the logistics required to make this work is pretty complex. At the very least, have you considered this: if it's computer generated on a moving image, how do they draw it under the people running around on the field, and not over them? And it gets a bit more complicated than this. "Here are some of the problems that have to be solved in order for this system to work: [more inside]
posted by SpacemanStix on Jan 6, 2009 - 52 comments

I've got to admit it's getting better

Brad Pitt is no spring chicken, but it still took some work to put an 85-year-old version of his face on a child's body in his newest movie. The first step: a new markerless, wireless, uncanny-valley-clearing motion capture process, termed "volumetric cinematography" by the effects studio. [more inside]
posted by peachfuzz on Jan 1, 2009 - 49 comments

Thomas' Pixelated Pickle: Or The Year in Thomas

Just over sixty years ago the Reverend W. V. Awdry told his sick son a series of stories based on real life incidents with trains, which he later wrote up as the Railway Series. Now Thomas the Tank Engine and the other engines of the Isle of Sodor (somewhere between Barrow-in-Furness and the Isle of Man) are a global phenomena, with toys, books and of course the TV series - filmed using model trains on more than 70 1:32 scale 16-by-20-foot sets, and voiced by the likes of Ringo Starr and Alec Baldwin. 2008 has been a rough year for Thomas: George Carlin, who voiced the series in the US up until 1998, passed away (previously), as did David Mitton, who had written and directed over 180 episodes (and who has previously worked on the special effects for Thunderbirds). There's changes ahead for Thomas as well - this year saw the faces of the engines, which had previously been cast in silicone and attached with double sided tape, replaced by CGI faces, and from 2009 onwards Nitrogen studios in Canada will be taking over production with an entirely CGI Thomas. Meanwhile a group of British students continues the tradition of model engine-based storytelling with their YouTube based British Railway Series.
posted by Artw on Dec 21, 2008 - 74 comments

The Making of Tron

Although the movie Tron was groundbreaking due to its unprecedented and extensive use of CGI in 1982, after pre-production, it only took four months to shoot and nine months to complete all of the special effects. From Computer Animation Primer published in 1984, we learn a bit about the technical process, which seems amusingly tedious by today's animation standards. [more inside]
posted by SpacemanStix on Dec 11, 2008 - 11 comments

Painting 10,000 words, surely

Area 56: Peeing robots, rockin' office workers, engaging panoramas, and even a few sexy girls.
posted by artifarce on Sep 6, 2008 - 9 comments

Gremlin in the machine

In the middle of the movie Gremlins 2, there is a sequence where the film seems to break, and where the gremlins invade the projection booth. For the VHS edition in the early 90's, they reshot a special sequence where the VHS tape seemed to be torn apart and in which the gremlins invaded a John Wayne movie. The DVD just kept the original theatrical version.
Sacha Feiner's fan video updates the "break sequence" for the Video on Demand era. via
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur on Sep 1, 2008 - 40 comments

Wrong Door grows out of Web

The BBC has a new sketch show, called Wrong Door. It's very heavy on CGI - indeed, the official blurb calls it 'a parallel world where the effects you see in TV and movies are real'. And it's funny - check out the trailers on YouTube. And it has Brian Blessed and a spaceship shaped like a giant silver cock and balls. Really, what's not to love? But the best bit isn't in the show, [more inside]
posted by Devonian on Aug 24, 2008 - 32 comments

Emily brings us out of the Uncanny Valley

Emily is considered to be one of the first animations to have overleapt a long-standing barrier known as 'uncanny valley' (watch the video) - from the team who, in part, brought you GTA4. [more inside]
posted by nitsuj on Aug 19, 2008 - 102 comments

JollyMetaFilter

In the years after leaving MST, Joel Hodgson of Mystery Science Theater, and his "smarter brother" Jim Hodgson, worked on a new movie-repurposing concept for USA Networks. The introduction for the test clip read:
"The Jolly Filter segment is a proof of concept test for a new film process. You will first view 2 minutes of the original film 'Rollercoaster' and then the same 2 minutes utilizing the JollyFilter technique.
"Note: If you find yourself getting bored during the original 'Rollercoaster' footage, don't worry, this is normal."
(SLYT, but an awesome one.) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jul 27, 2008 - 50 comments

And so you're back, from outer space ...

Not literate analysis. Not a fresh insight into a perennial problem ransacking the world. Not an obituary. But ... well ... Chewbacca dancing with a Jawa to "Footloose", Leia singing to Padme that "mommy dear, girls just want to have fun" (with a Gamorrean Guard with a red-haired fright wig), and were I to tell you the third ... [more inside]
posted by WCityMike on Jul 9, 2008 - 16 comments

Guernica

A 3D Exploration of Picasso's Guernica (flash movie via)
posted by Kronos_to_Earth on May 15, 2008 - 29 comments

small is beautiful!

Blosxom is an ultra-lightweight piece of blogging software that uses the existing structure of a file system to index and date your posts. The program itself weighs in at a scale-tipping 16.4 kilobytes, and does everything you need to tell the world about your navel. And for those things it doesn't do, there are plugins. At the other end of the weight scale is the >160 page annotated source code.
posted by kaibutsu on Mar 6, 2008 - 32 comments

Don't Ask Me What It Means

"In" is a lovely, maddening, hypnotic 23-minute CG/live-action abstract short created by Philipp Hirsch and Heiko Tippelt. via
posted by maryh on Feb 26, 2008 - 7 comments

Short dutch films

The short films of Floris Kaayk and Sil van der Woerd blend live-action footage and computer animation. Metalosis Maligna. Swim. Duet. Order Electrum. [more inside]
posted by whir on Dec 22, 2007 - 3 comments

The Fossil Finders

Dinosaurs preach Young Earth creationism. "The Fossil Finders are a group of eight homeschooled children on a search for the [Biblical] truth on fossils." (This shorter excerpt cuts to the main argument, involving the discovery of flexible T. Rex tissue. Scientists remain interested in the find.) The video was produced by World's Biggest Dinosaurs, the people who now own the roadside landmark, Cabazon Dinosaurs -- and have turned it into a creation museum. [Previously]
posted by McLir on Dec 1, 2007 - 37 comments

Worst Cartoons Ever AND The Birth of Pixar, in a Single Post!

Sometimes called "The Ed Wood of Animation", director Sam Singer had an interesting career. He was responsible for some of the most godawful cartoons ever produced, and through his work on 1975's Tubby the Tuba, was present at the birth of Pixar. [more inside]
posted by maryh on Nov 16, 2007 - 43 comments

Evil Bee Animation

Evil Bee (embedded QT) is a gorgeous & interesting animated short about a worker bee in a factory who rebels; bonus points for awesome soundtrack by menomena.
posted by jonson on Nov 8, 2007 - 35 comments

Through A Child's Eyes

Reality, Imagination and Fear. Three short animated films by young students and artists. [more inside]
posted by sluglicker on May 3, 2007 - 3 comments

Nazi Robot Attack

Nazi Robot Attack
posted by kirkaracha on Apr 18, 2007 - 57 comments

SF cinema sans CGI

The Fountain "No matter how good CGI looks at first, it dates quickly...So I set the ridiculous goal of making a film that would reinvent space without using CGI." Director Aronofsky tapped into the microphotography work of Parks and Parks to bring a new look to special effects in science fiction cinema.
posted by dhruva on Feb 13, 2007 - 95 comments

Ben Laposky, the Father of Computer Art?

Pioneering electronic artist Ben Laposky began creating his “Oscillons” – abstract artworks created by photographing Lissajous figures off a cathode-ray oscilloscope – in the early 1950’s. Some consider him the father of computer art, and the beauty and clarity of his work is astonishing.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Jan 23, 2007 - 12 comments

Disney, Pixar, Sendak, Go!

In 1983, John Lassetter and Chris Wedge created some test footage that integrated CGI and traditional animation [YouTube] for Disney. The work it was based on? Where The Wild Things Are. The movie was never made and Lassetter left to start Pixar, which redefined how animated movies were created. Curious to see the shorts that led to Toy Story and its followers? Pixar's put all their short films online.
posted by beaucoupkevin on Dec 13, 2006 - 20 comments

Nonononono, After YOU

Nonononono, After You (.mov): A short animated film by Christopher Cordingley, graduate of the Ringling School of Art and Design. The school's computer animation portfolio is worth a browse; there's some real talent being nurtured there. (Last four links are to .avi files.)
posted by Gator on Jul 24, 2006 - 8 comments

To Boldly Redo What Some Man Had Done Before

In 2003, Paramount proposed redoing the special effects for the original "Star Trek" series and rereleasing the episodes as "Star Trek Enhanced". Two CGI firms redid the effects for the teaser, the opening credits and title, and the first two acts of The Doomsday Machine as a proof-of-concept with no changes to the acting or the story. Paramount ultimately decided not to pursue the project, but it's interesting to see how two different CGI firms handled the transporter, phasers, and starship effects.
posted by fandango_matt on Jun 23, 2006 - 74 comments

You do not remember me

Jor-El speaks. Cool clip from Rhythm + Hues studios detailing how they adapted footage of Brando from the original Superman flick for the upcoming Superman Returns. embedded quicktime, and via AICN
posted by WolfDaddy on Jun 19, 2006 - 46 comments

Homemade Earth

Artificial images of our real planet : computer-generated Earth views and panoramas, all created using various free tools and resources, including the Blue Marble and USGS datasets, POV-Ray and the Gimp. CGI Mount Saint Helens vs the real thing. For truly artificial landscapes, see also the randomly-generated Landscape of week from the same author.
posted by elgilito on Mar 27, 2006 - 16 comments

The Steam Tank

The Steam Tank is a brief visual effects reel by Chris Paul, from the Vancouver Film School. It begins with a somewhat mundane steam powered tank attacking a mounted gun in a downtown building, but then replays the event shot by shot, showing the original filmed plate, and adding on each cgi component, to give a good idea of how cg & reality interface in an effects piece. warning: link goes to direct download of 56MB QuickTime mov
posted by jonson on Feb 7, 2006 - 13 comments

Do Androids Dream of Light Clerical Duty?

Tempbot (QuickTime) is a new short by Neill Blomkamp. This piece combines the ultra-realistic robot CGI seen in Tetra Vaal and Alive in Joburg (QT) with a softer story of everyday alienation very reminiscent to Greg Pak's Robot Stories.
posted by justkevin on Jan 6, 2006 - 26 comments

eat dog cat mouse

Eat Dog Cat Mouse (link goes to embedded QT movie with audio) is a charming, weird 3 minute cg cartoon described as a folk tale about the food chain. More info here.
posted by jonson on Dec 12, 2005 - 8 comments

Cartoon violence

Amusing, stylized violent cgi cartoon of a series of assassins trying to take on the lone biker of the apocalypse. Embedded windows media video.
posted by jonson on Sep 23, 2005 - 22 comments

Pig Hitler!

Bizarre music video featuring a cgi animated Nazi army composed of anthropomorphized piglets. The video is for a song called Shvayne by a 19 year old Russian singer named Natasha Ionova, who performs under the name Glukoza. Video is embedded flash animation.
posted by jonson on Sep 8, 2005 - 40 comments

I Don't Wanna Work

CGI animation of Neil Peart playing YYZ. Large (43.5Mb) .wmv file.
posted by fandango_matt on Jul 10, 2005 - 27 comments

Alien planet

Alien planet "The drama takes place on Darwin IV, a fictional planet 6.5 light-years from Earth, with two suns and 60 percent gravity. Having identified Darwin as a world that could support life, Earth sends a pilot mission consisting of the mothership and three probes." Discovery channel feature, Flash heavy site, via Pharyngula.
posted by dhruva on May 9, 2005 - 20 comments

Tragic Tale of the Christian Cucumber

How Bob the Tomato got squashed by Barney the Dinosaur
Phil Vischer, creator of those Veggie-Tales cartoons gives a reflective account of why he did not become "The Christian Disney". So why did Big Idea Productions fail while other "Holy Cultural Warriors" are thriving? (Maybe this guy was too sincerely Christian?)
A shorter version of this Tale from "Christianity Today" magazine here.
via the spiritual center of animation on the web: Cartoon Brew

posted by wendell on Apr 30, 2005 - 21 comments

fake or photo?

Fake or Photo? Can you tell the difference between a photo and a CG render?
posted by crunchland on Apr 25, 2005 - 43 comments

To sleep, perchance to be terrorized by muppets

Muppets Overtime via (MoFi) QT
posted by shawnj on Jan 20, 2005 - 25 comments

Friday Fun

Our Whizeels iz tha Shizeel Awesome compositing, audio and 3D work. I like art that make me want to step in to its world, (Note: QuickTime). The incredibly low barrier to entry for this kind of project, as compared to 10 or even 5 years ago blows my mind.
posted by Scoo on Nov 19, 2004 - 31 comments

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