Place this under the ‘stranger-than-fiction’ category, this Martian landscape seems more like concept art. Look at those fractured swirls!
The default reaction of journalists is “we want to explain why dinosaurs are an evolutionary failure”, and you can tell them again and again that we should consider, according to the current score, dinosaurs as the most successful dominators of terrestrial ecosystems.
Required reading: marcus-clauss-explains-codron-et-al-2012
It hurts when someone like Alex Wild, who shares his fantastic imagery with me via his blog, writes something like this:
I’ve had not one but several pest control operators claim that all internet images including mine are public domain, refuse to remove images, repost images after DMCA takedowns, question my ownership rights over my own photographs … and accuse me of being a predatory copyright troll out to hurt small businesses.
Widening the scope of recent events, ArtEvolved is confronting an image-pilferer and numerous bloggers and re-bloggers are plugging palaeoillustrations, with or without author credit and artists are accessing information and skeletal reconstructions blogged by scientists. One step further back reveals a political party here in Germany is making waves for restructuring the political process (for which I find them very sympathetic) and also championing rights to copy… yeah, what? extremely vague definitions of author and usage rights. (If you are in America and view even a third party such as the independents as a freak appearance of some eccentric millionaire then you likely fail to appreciate the impact this will have. A topic outside my normal posting scope)
As a 3D artist, I’m very aware that the methods I use involve the cumulated efforts of literally hundreds of artists, programmers and business folk. Imagery I make often involve texture, lighting and tool presets that others have made, that I have tweaked… and for which there are no credits because it doesn’t fit into the neatly packaged definition of a signed artwork. My own compass in all these issues is centered about ‘intention’ – a wholly subjective and vague appraisal of usage based on interpretation of the goal. Pff.
Is the 3D artist who googled and incorporated a photograph into the background of his/her dinosaur render exercising infringement when the image is used one-to-one? Spliced and cut up into a matte painting? Mapped onto geometry and used as diffusion, displacement and specular maps on a mesh which is then rendered? Who is the author / authors of a textured mesh created via photogrammetry techniques from a museum display which is part bone, part sculptural reconstruction?
Man schützt, was man liebt, und man liebt, was man kennt.
You protect what you love, and you love what you know.
Camilleri is head of the new Disney nature department, making family-safe wildlife documentaries which concentrate on dramatic stories. Fothergill, maker of Earth, is now filming a documentary Lion King called http://www.disney.de/disneynature/filme/raubkatzen/. Seriously. Read about it in the Spiegel and the above quote is brought up to justify the editing decisions – no sex, no all-too-bloody kills, one case of vfx to clean up a lion’s bloody snout… It’s an old argument, and I tend to think documentaries should be documentaries. But the way we’re consuming our way through every biotope on the planet I’m willing to wish them luck.
Animal Logic is calling for production coordinators for animation, lighting and compositing on the stereoscopic feature “Walking with Dinosaurs”. They ask for skills in VfX and animation, of course, but fail to mention anything in the way of “familiarity with the biomechanics of ornithischians and extant species of related archeosaurs”. Would be cool if. Jus’ sayin’.
Whack the image to zap on over. They’re also inviting interested artists for whatever… so, maybe they would pick up on a consultant. Sydney – lekker.
(Compare that static graphic above with this.)
Interactive gadgets … are classified as supplemental material, or maybe educational software, and are not seen as an integral part of the publication itself. Years ago, many publishers segregated photographs and certain other kinds of illustrations in an analogous way. They were printed on special paper and bound in a separate section of “plates.” That practice ended with improvements in printing technology. Likewise, when publications are distributed over the network and read on a computer screen, active graphics can be integrated into a document in the same way that ordinary photographs and drawings are. There’s no reason to keep them out of the mainstream.
via Flowing Data
The English film subtitle “Band of Scientists” gets an American work-over into “Band of Misfits”. What’s the difference?
There are of course various theories doing the rounds. One suggests that the animator is a “national treasure” here in the UK, is known for its [very British] eccentricity and therefore we are more tolerant of its whims…and seemingly its film titles. Sounds reasonable. Another theory suggests that the film title was dropped in the US because the film makers did not want to risk offending – and, presumably not selling tickets to – the considerable proportion of the US population who do not accept the theory of evolution. After all, Charles Darwin is the grand daddy of evolution. Again, plausible if hardly enlightened. However, I believe there is a more simple explanation: what is fixed, and problematic, is that word “scientist”.
Add crowd-funding to the many ways to participate in science, thanks to Microryza. Am curious what the scientists think about this venture, which is basically kickstarter for science funding. I’m a bit skeptical if the public will fund things that they don’t understand, but I think this could be interesting as a model for outreach projects. And for filling holes in projects like… excavating a Triceratops? Adopt a dinosaur, like you can adopt zoo animals?
The Center for Cretacious Studies highlights Scoot Hurlman’s fishing Unenlagia comahuensis. Good site for news about lake-dwelling sauria and other serious science.
note: while I checked that Scott was properly credited, there are apparently numerous other images at the site that weren’t, so I’ve removed the link for now.
Illustration classics like this astound me, fill me with the ambition to create visuals of this quality… after all, the tools we have at hand should empower us to do work above and beyond the old masters. But work like this seems unachievable. Drawings from the Voyage of the HMS Challenger. Click, browse, be astounded. Best of all… draw, digest and duplicate.
Yes, visions of Heinrich piloting a copter-cam along the mounted sauropod vertebrae in the Naturkundemuseum’s main hall pop into my head when reading this… and stick with me like a catchy pop tune. I’ll have to build him a pilot’s cap with a Giraffatitan print on it and augmented reality goggles ala Bladerunner so that it’s even cooler when I come to visit.
I’ve withheld to social media plugs about this up to now, but I now introduce you to the future here on my own blog. VFX Soldier dug this up, and has the lead on this story… summed up, the CEO of Digital Domain John Textor is thrilled, and you should be too, because now all of those students learning the trade can now pay for the pleasure of working long hours. Exploitation needn’t be outsourced, you can do it right here at home, where ever home is. This isn’t even surprising to those of us who’ve been involved with producing animation formats and educating the next generation. It is however a particularly candid declaration. To be sarcastic, it’s thrilling.
It’s important to define why this is such a negative development. A market-economy believer may well argue that this is a good thing. Demand is being met, on both sides of the production – clever management. Right?
Wrong. Working on a production isn’t education, it’s crunch. Students in such a situation will never learn to ask the contextual questions that make for true advancements in the industry because – quite frankly – those questions are not allowed in the production phase. It’s do or die, bite-the-bullet time. At best, pay-to-produce programs (I refuse to call it a curriculum) will create operators. If you have been in this industry for more than the 5 years that it takes to develop competitive skills, then you know that that’s the last thing you want to be. An operator is in constant threat of becoming redundant – not because of the outsource offerings in India and China – they’re too busy with their own markets. No, operators are made redundant by the software developers. It’s like learning to driving a truck that will be completely redesigned every 4 to 6 years – here a new engine, there a new navigation paradigm, and then – whaddyaknow – an automatic street recognition software just put you ‘out on the market’. I would have to be particularly gracious to assume there is an educational concept behind Digital Domain’s inverted assistant system… and even then I would have to say that the only interest being served is Digital Domain’s. Certainly not an aspiring vfx artist or animator hoping to learn skills with longevity beyond half a decade. And the assholes like Textor at the helm of this industry will be shooting their successors in the foot. Where will the innovators be?
Lucas Brouwers writes about the gritty details of gene mutation in baleen whales, and posts a wonderful phylogenetic chart to illustrate the odd course of evolution. The illustration of Aetiocetus above and the chart are all by Carl Buell. Lucas writes up the research wonderfully and credits the artist. Kudos!
If you try to pick coordinates in some perceptual space for each of the objects in the experiment then you get tangled up in just the same way that you do with the Penrose staircase: you cannot say whether one object is in front of or behind another one. The solution is to give up trying to assign coordinates to each of the objects.