Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus Offer Exciting 3D Future

clock August 23, 2014 21:50 by author christpaul

All lovers of science fiction will be familiar with the concept of the alternative or virtual reality. 3-D worlds that run parallel, or are somehow separate to our own, has been a perennial theme of a science fiction writing for decades, and is particularly associated with the work of the highly acclaimed writer Philip K. Dick. For a long time, the most imaginative people on the planet have envisage the possibility of people disappearing into an alternate reality. Well, that time may not be far away.

Facebook's $2 billion acquisition of Oculus PR created a lot of headlines. The company is currently in the process of developing Oculus Rift; a virtual reality headset which has been initially proposed to be aimed at the video gaming community. With its ability to deliver truly immersive 3-D worlds via a virtual headset, the potential of Oculus Rift in the long -term is absolutely massive.

Oculus Rift is not the only virtual reality device currently being developed. A contender to the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift is Sony's Project Morpheus. This is another virtual reality headset which will eventually provide access to 3-D worlds for owners of the Sony PlayStation 4 console.

The ability to take people - even given the immersive world of modern videogames  - through the television, into an entirely new concept in which one is literally transported into a 3-D world, offers huge opportunities for movie makers. Because it has been predicted that 3-D movies will not really take off until such time as they become a more immersive experience.

 

Although 3-D animation has been vastly successful in the cinema, and has greatly outperformed 3-D movies, which by their very nature require glasses to be worn, technologies such as Oculus Rift promise a future in which incredibly absorbing 3-D animations can be viewed within one's own home. It would seem at this point in time that the technology is rather too expensive to be used on a cinematic basis, but certainly home movies could be viewed through the helmet in a way which adds something of great significance to the viewing experience.

Just days ago, the popular movie website Netflix announced its intention to be compatible with Oculus Rift eventually. This would mean hat you could both browse and then view movies in wraparound 3-D; an attractive proposition for many movie buffs and fans. It seems inevitable that such a form of technology could add a great deal of value to animation as well, given the potential for it to immerse viewers in an entirely new animated universe.

Virtual reality has huge transformative potential for 3-D movies and 3-D animation, and it'll be fascinating to see how Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus develop in the coming years.



How to Select or Produce the Right Facial Photograph for Natural Front Intuitive Pro

clock August 17, 2014 21:25 by author christpaul

Natural Front Intuitive Pro makes producing world-class animations incredibly easy and intuitive. With its specialised package which particularly focuses on producing the highest quality of 3-D facial animations, Natural Front Intuitive Pro is a powerful tool in the hands of professional animators and animation studios.

Natural Front Intuitive Pro has been designed to make the animation process as easy as possible, and the feedback we have received has time and time again indicated to us that we have been successful in this goal. But we never cease in our attempts to make the 3-D animation process even easier and more pleasurable for our customers, and there are always little snippets of knowledge which can help with the animation process.

One thing we asked about a lot at Natural Front is the best way to select a photograph for 3-D modelling. This is a valid question, as selecting the correct sort of photograph is essential to making the process as straightforward as possible. So here is a short step-by-step guide to selecting the best possible photograph for 3-D facial modelling.

- Firstly, it is advisable to select the photograph or someone aged between 15 and 65 years of age. This should give you a pretty broad spectrum to select from.

- Secondly, the photograph in question must be a full frontal facial image, with mouth closed and the person’s face exhibiting a relaxed expression.

- Thirdly, flash lighting must be used. You should avoid using photographs which have been taken during the daytime.

- Fourthly, any form of facial hair is acceptable, as is make-up.

- Glasses should be removed.

- In terms of the distance between face and camera when taking the photograph, a distance of at least five feet is recommended.

- When taking the photograph, ensure that the camera and human face being photographed are kept at the same horizontal level.

- Images should be in full colour, black and white images will not suffice.

- Finally, once the image has been entered into the Natural Front Intuitive Pro software, the face should be clicked in eleven spots as follows: within both eyes, at both sides of the face adjacent to the ear lobes, at the side of the furthest extremities of both nostrils, at the corners of both sides of the mouth, at the furthest extremities of both sides of the person’s jaw, and the lowest point of their chin.

By following these simple steps, you will soon be able to animate your 3-D face in Natural Front Intuitive Pro.



Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to be Sophisticated 3D Animation Extravaganza

clock August 13, 2014 11:41 by author christpaul

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - heroes in a halfshell! This will be a slogan familiar with all animation fans of the 1990s, as the superhero cartoon was one of the most successful animated products of the period. Well, the turtles are back, and this time they are reportedly taking advantage of some of the most state-of-the-art animation techniques available.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are the latest super heroes to hit the big screen this summer. This will be the first Turtles outing for nearly 20 years, and it represents the fourth movie in the turtles series.

The film has unfortunately already hit a bit of a marketing snag, when a poster related to the forthcoming movie was withdrawn due to its rather appalling resemblance to the September 11 terrorist attacks. But the plot of the film sees before heroic turtles saving the people of New York City from Shredder and his evil Foot Clan.

With such major stars and bankable action veterans as Megan Fox appearing in the movie, it is clear that this is a huge production and one likely to be hugely successful.

The movie grabs the attention of viewers as soon as the credits have finished rolling, very much resembling a giant comic book come to life on the big screen. Already the animation, special effects and 3-D animation related to the film have been proclaimed to be nothing short of spectacular. And the very latest techniques have been put into practice to ensure that this movie really stands out from the crowd in terms of visual effects.

Preparations for the 3D scenes in the movie got underway months before filming — as Alan Ritchson (Raphael), Pete Ploszek (Leonardo), Noel Fisher (Michelangelo), Jeremy Howard (Donatello) and Danny Woodburn (Master Splinter) each underwent complex facial and full-body scans that led to the tailoring of their custom made helmets and motion-capture suits. 

Later, on set, the four Turtle actors and Woodburn each went through a daily two-hour long session of applying white facial powder and VFX dots to help further track their expressions. This complex process enables the turtles to really be brought to life in I'm extremely sophisticated form of 3-D animation.

As the expectations of moviegoers grows and grows, so film studios are finding evermore innovative ways to deliver even more immersive special effects and 3-D animations. Mere CGI doesn't necessarily cut it now; and this is going to lead to even more exciting developments in 3-D animation as years go by.



Authoritative Report Predicts Huge Future for 3D Animation Industry

clock August 8, 2014 09:10 by author christpaul

An important research paper on the future of 3-D animation has seen the light of day in the last 24 hours. Research and Markets has announced the release of its “Research and Markets: Global 3D Animation (Hardware, Software & Service) Market Forecasts and Opportunities Report 2014-2019”. This detailed and authoritative report offers the opinions of the organisation regarding the direction that the 3-D animation market will take in the next few years.

This is an extremely detailed report on the direction of the 3-D animation industry that encompasses all of the key areas of interest to all professional animators. The report segments the 3-D animation market based on a series of key components such as hardware, software and services. Within each of these areas, Research and Markets have looked into and prognosticated the direction that the animation industry will take between now and the end of the decade.

The hardware section looks at how elements of animation technology such as dedicated workstations, video card/GPU, motion capturing systems, and other hardware elements will evolve, develop and influence the industry in the coming years.

People involved in the animation industry professionally may be particularly interested in the services aspect of this report. The services market, according to research and markets, comprises consulting, development and integration, support and maintenance and product training and certification. 

The report assesses all of the most important areas of 3-D animation which have arisen from the flexibility of this exciting technology. 3-D animation is now associated primarily with video games and movies, but it is also a powerful way for companies to engage in absorbing marketing. Thus, 3-D animation has become extensively and effectively used in a variety of marketing advertising techniques, which incorporate modelling, simulation and analysis, along with training and education.

The key topics covered in this report include a detailed overview of the 3-D animation market for the remainder of the decade. The introductory sections incorporate an executive summary of the 3-D animation industry, and then the latter sections go into a detailed breakdown of the economic potential of the 3-D animation marketplace.

Numerous larger companies associated with the industry are also profiled in the report with the likes of Adobe Systems, Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Autodesk, Corel Corporation, Intel Corporation, Lenovo Goup Ltd., Maxon, Nvidia Corporation, Newtek, Inc. and Side Effects Software all assessed by Research and Markets.

Report paints a picture of an extremely healthy industry, and it can be downloaded by following this link.



India's First 3D Animated Trailer Captures Attention

clock August 4, 2014 20:43 by author christpaul

In the immediate future, and even the present, the so-called developing economies will become increasingly important for global commerce. The two obvious powerhouses in this area are China and India. The two countries combined house 37% of the world’s population, the top 25% of the Indian population with the highest IQs are greater in number than the total population of the United States, and China is expected imminently to become the country in the world with the greatest number of people that can speak the English language.

India has also been particularly associated with information technology, employing more than 2.5 million people in this sector, and a similar number of people graduate each year from university. A graduation of 2.5 million people per annum is roughly equal to the entire combined population of Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh. India’s IT outsourcing industry already stands at over $50 billion per annum, and is expected to increase to $225 billion by 2020. India also produces over 500,000 engineers each year, and as 12% of its population speaks fluent English, it is expected that in the next decade India and China will be the two countries with the most English language speaking people in the world.

It is perhaps not surprising then that India is already making waves in animation. The association that the country already has with high-tech industries and related university subjects makes it perfect to produce talented young animators. And News this week broke of another first within Chennai in India which indicates the extent to which the country is moving forward in the field of animation.

Randheeran is India’s first 3D animated trailer, coming out of Coimbatore-based Realworks Studios. The film has been born out of 756 manhours of work, with the animation rendered by a 20-member crew. What’s more the animation has been made purely in India by local talent, and reportedly on a relatively shoestring budget.

Made as a tribute to Superstar’s Kochadaiiyaan, the four minute video trailer of Ranadheeran has captured the attention of animation enthusiasts and movie buffs all over the world. With the teaser already uploading to YouTube, it has gone viral since, with the Indian public apparently extremely enthusiastic about this animation breakthrough for the nation.

While India has a long way to go to challenge the established giants of 3-D animation such as Pixar, this is certainly a step in the right direction. Realworks Studios is already making big connections in the movie industry, and the recent culture of India is so steeped in technology that it seems inevitable that 3-D animation will take off there in a big way.



How Natural Front Intuitive Pro Makes Facial Animation Easy For Professionals

clock August 2, 2014 17:27 by author christpaul

Natural Front Intuitive Pro is the ultimate solution for 3-D facial animation. With Natural Front Intuitive Pro, you can create a photorealistic 3-D face starting from photographic references within but a few seconds. Animators from all over the world have already proclaimed Natural Front to be a massive quantum leap forward in 3-D animation techniques. The whole animation process is astonishingly simple and mostly automatic with Natural Front Intuitive Pro.

Natural Front Ontuitive Pro makes it extremely easy to import audio tracks. This enables you to imbue your characters with emotions, make them talk, and take on a whole character of their own. Furthermore, the software enables you to blend expressions and create talking mouth shapes. This is all handled in an incredibly user-friendly and intuitive manner.

Once you're happy with the character that you have created, you can easily import your 3-D created face into any 3-D software package of your choice. To achieve the same results using other software would require you to first model the face manually. Any animator will tell you that this is an incredibly time-consuming process, not to mention a difficult and highly skilled one.

And that's not the end of it. Once this has been done, it would then be necessary to rig the facial model, at least if you were using other 3D rendering packages. The whole process would take days or weeks, and is well known to be one of the most challenging in the entire field of animation.

By contrast, with Natural Front Intuitive Pro the facial modelling process is extremely intuitive, straightforward, and it requires merely a few clicks from animators. Professional animators who've used Natural Front Intuitive Pro have remarked that getting to grips with the software involves almost no learning curve.

Once animations have been created in Natural Front Intuitive Pro, they can be added very easily to any 3-D software program of choice, making the process of creating animations considerably easier. If you are a games creator, Natural Front Intuitive Pro enables you to import animated expressions and talking characters in literally a matter of minutes.

It is this ease of use and quality of animation that has established Natural Front Intuitive Pro as a major leader in the 3-D facial animation field. Saving professional animators and professional animation studios both time and money, Natural Front Intuitive Pro is the ideal solution for anyone hoping to achieve world-class animation on a budget.



Unique Spider Animation Created by Natural History Museum Scientists

clock July 22, 2014 16:20 by author christpaul

What it may not appeal to the arachnophobic among us, but a new 3-D animated video has created quite a stir among the historical community. We are used to seeing all manner of anthropomorphic animals featuring in 3-D animated movies, but on this particular occasion the centrepiece of the film is an unusual animal to say the least.

It is equally rare to hear of an animated film which has involved researchers from the Natural History Museum in London. But that is precisely the basis for the filming question. Researchers used exceptionally well preserved fossils gleaned from the infamous museum to help create the film, and they’ve certainly produced something of historical notoriety.

The centrepiece of the film is a 410-million-year-old arachnid. It seemed unlikely that such a creature, from an entirely extinct family of spiders, would ever gain a digital outing. But this is nearly half a billion-year-old creature was  considered by animators to be a particularly intriguing subject matter.

The striking animation was created in order to display the gait of this prehistoric creature. It is sort by researchers at the spider in question was one of the first ever predators to Rome the land of the Earth. Animators were able to create what is considered to be a highly accurate visualisation of the creature by conferring with researchers before beginning their 3-D animation. 

The researchers had used fossils of the arachnid to figure out the range of possible motion in the animal's limbs. These fossils emanated from a rock called the Rhynie chert, and were unusually well preserved according to curators at the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin. German scientists collaborated with workers from the Natural History Museum in order to help create this particularly striking animation.

Country to the impression that we human beings they sometimes have, Malawian life has not always been the dominant force on the planet. Long before the ancestors of human beings roamed the earth, the only residents were in fact at the very top of the food chain, according to researchers.

What became clear from this process is that the quality of animation software is now search that complex 3-D animations can now be produced by, Not professional animators, but scientists. No longer is immense technical skill and huge Financial expenditure required.

Of course, they could have improved the animation and costs still further by plumping for the latest Natural Front Intuitive Pro package…



Stunning 3D Futurama Animation Released to Fans' Delight

clock July 16, 2014 14:24 by author christpaul

When you're talking animation, it doesn't get much bigger than the name of Matt Groening. The creator of the almost immeasurably popular series ‘The Simpsons’ is without doubt one of the most influential people in the history of animation. ‘The Simpsons’ has gone on to be not really the most popular and successful animated series of all time, but in fact has decimated many records related to television itself. It established animation as once again a viable product for adults to consume, and not merely one aimed at children.

The growth of animation over the last couple of decades Pose a great deal to ‘The Simpsons’. Major 3-D animations such as those produced by Pixar owe a great deal to be hugely popular Fox series. Those that works on the early episodes of The Simpsons understood that in order for the program to be accepted within adult television, the themes of the program needed to appeal to adults while also being comprehensible for children.

Groening went on to create the science-fiction related series ‘Futurama’. While this particular series didn't achieve the phenomenal popularity of The Simpsons, it was nevertheless much beloved by fans and achieve a certain amount of critical acclaim. Unfortunately, the days of ‘Futurama‘ have sadly come and gone, at least for the moment, as the long-running sci-fi animated series came to yet another conclusion with last summer’s Comedy Central finale.

 

However, Futurama was recently brought back to life with an incredible fun animated video which was brought to life in live action. The animation from artist Alexey Zakharov, gave fans of the series and insight into what popular characters from Futurama such as Bender and Fry might look like in real life.

This engaging animation also features the score from ‘Forrest Gump’, and showcase and incredible 3-D animation of the New York skyline. Or should I say New New York. Once the viewer has taken in this breathtaking cityscape, the brief animation then displays the familiar Planet Express ship which zooms by in impressive fashion.

Although this 30 second clip is all we will get to see of 'Futurama' in 3-D for the moment, the website which is related to this extraordinary film also has a number of three-dimensional artistic renderings from the series. When viewing this particular 3-D animation, one can understand how the central character from the series was blown away by the year 3000.

You can check out the incredible ‘Futurama’ 3D clip at this link; it truly is a memorable one for any fans of 3-D animation.



Natural Front Intuitive Pro Solves All of Your Facial Animation Conundrums

clock July 13, 2014 18:39 by author christpaul

Do you own an animation business? You will know then how overhead costs and logistical issues can be a massive drain on your creativity and impede your animation studio from getting things done. In the competitive world than modern animators find themselves in, it’s hard to have issues detracting from performance, and many small to medium animation studios find themselves wishing that there was but a single, simple solution to all of their animation issues.

If you’re in the business of creating high quality 3D facial animation in particular then you will know all of the problems that you might encounter. You’re all used to the old way of creating 3D animations, and the issues that you associate with it.

The old way involves manually modelling a face, creating a complex net of rigging with which to manipulate the animation. Many studios are only too aware of both the cost and time that needs to be invested in such an animation method. It can eliminate small animation studios from the bidding process for projects that involve facial animation.

Freelance animators also struggle with 3D animation, particularly with regard to faces. The start-up costs for a 3D animator can be extremely high, and purchasing some of the high end software that is usually utilised to create 3D animation can be extremely expensive. And then, the freelance animator must ponder whether the feature set included in the software is even something that they will need in the long-term.

Another issue related to 3D facial animation is the skills gap. Many small to medium digital and animation agencies avoid bidding for or taking on projects that require complex 3D animations, as the skills required to produce them just aren’t inherent within their teams.

But there is a solution to all of these issues. Natural Front Intuitive Pro is an exceptional 3D facial animation solution which has received commendation both critically and from customers. It negates the need for complex and time consuming processes such as 3D rigging, morphing and facial motion capture. And it comes at a price that suits the budgets of small to medium studios and even independent freelancers. And Natural Front Intuitive Pro is renowned for its user-friendliness; meaning you don’t have to be a software or animation expert to use it.

All over the world, small to medium animation studios and freelance animation professionals have realised that they can get world-class results from Natural Front Intuitive Pro. If you’re in the same position, why not sign up for a free trial today?



Malaysian 3D Animated Movie 'Ribbit' Underlines a Cosmpolitan Industry

clock July 9, 2014 13:38 by author christpaul

The cosmopolitan nature of modern animation has been underlined once again with the results of the ‘Best Family Film’ Award at the Niagara Integrated Film Festival (NIFF) 2014 in Canada on Saturday. The winner was not made in North America, or the UK, or Europe, but in one of the new animation powerhouses - East Asia.

‘Ribbit’ – a 3D animation comedy / adventure story carried off the gong for ‘Best Family Film’ at the festival, giving indication that the usual suspects in the world of 3D animation are starting to be challenged by animators from the so-called developing economies.

This can only be good news for fans of 3D animation. While the 3D animation industry has been growing rapidly in recent years, to the point where it is one of the most dominant in the entire world of cinema, more frontiers opening up for the technique could lead to some exciting films going forward.

This Malaysian production also had a distinctly international feel given the voice talent and movie personnel that worked on it. ’Ribbit’ was directed and written by Chuck Powers, and featured well-known western actors such as Sean Astin (‘Lord of the Rings’), Tim Curry (‘The Hunt for Red October’), Russell Peters (stand-up comedian), and Cherami Leigh (‘Fast Food Nation’).

Demonstrating the pull of Hollywood over even the 3D animation industry was the fact that the movie was recorded in Los Angeles, California. Once the shooting was completed, the post-production work was entirely completed in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, while further work was also carried out by animation studies based in the Indian city of Mumbai.

Truly, modern 3D animation productions exploit a wide variety of different techniques and locales. Where the United States was once completely dominant in the 3D animation industry, it looks likely that the nation will have many competitors in the coming years.

The release of ‘Ribbit’ should see it achieving mainstream success; indeed, it will be interesting to see whether the movie can perform as well as releases from some of the world’s most established animation studios. ‘Ribbit’ will be released in a number of major territories including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Japan, China, South Korea, South America and the Middle East, with the releases staggered and beginning on September 4 this year.

The rise and rise of 3D animation seemingly knows no bounds, with the techniques able to produce movies that please adults and children alike. The critical acclaim of ‘Ribbit’ shows that this appeal is spreading further still.



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