Tech Prices and 3D

December 3, 2010

A common complaint nowadays about 3D is that the bar of entry is rather high. The average price of a 3D-capable HDTV should at least set someone back by $500, which obviously is not a small amount of money. The required glasses for viewing aren’t exactly cheap, too. Movie tickets are no exception, either. Coupled with rising basic prices, watching a movie in 3D these days adds about 30-50% more on top of the basic cost one pays for a ticket.

Fret not, though. As is the rule with new technology, it starts out really high-priced for early adopters, and then gradually decreases as it becomes more accessible and more manufacturers enter that particular market.

Let’s take a look at two good recent examples:

DVD players are a ubiquitous part of pretty much anyone’s home entertainment setup nowadays. Still, there were days back in the late 1990s to early 2000s where they were actually considered expensive. In fact, when Sony’s Playstation 2 game console came out in October of 2000 in the United States, it was considered as one of the cheapest DVD players available for the mass market. That really puts things into perspective, looking back on it from where we are now.

Another more recent example is HDTVs. When they first became widely available, a decent LCD set would usually cost an arm and a leg, somewhere around $2000-3000 and more so for a plasma display. Fast forward to today, and though they still might not be considered cheap, these once pricey sets are now priced more reasonably, usually at half of their cost five or six years ago.

Given the rate of adoption of 3D technology by a wide array of fields and industries, it won’t be long before prices drop and 3D-capable displays become available to a wider market than the one it they have right now.

3D technology has also moved in to other bigger stuff such as 3D renders and 3D floor plans in the realm of architectural firms and business. 3D renderings are being used in order to paint a better picture of what the clients would be seeing upon the completion of the project that they are investing in.


The Rise and Resurgence of 3D in Gaming

December 2, 2010

It is becoming more and more common to see 3D applied in today’s forms of visual entertainment. Anything ranging from movies to certain TV channels, right down to comic books has some form of 3D implemented in it. One particular field where 3D technology is also fast gaining traction is gaming.

3D in games is not an entirely new concept. One particular example is the 1991 arcade game Time Traveler. Though it was touted more as a “holographic video game” at the time of its release, the way it projected characters and elements onto the playing field more or less gave it a three-dimensional effect as a result.

The recent resurgence of 3D in gaming has given rise to a number of things. First off, we have game developers releasing games with out-of-the-box 3D support or patching older releases to become 3D-capable. Next, are the hardware manufacturers and their devices, the best examples being Sony’s Playstation 3 which has recently gained 3D support through updates and Nintendo’s upcoming 3DS handheld system.

One aspect of gaming also utilizing 3D technology is arcade gaming. Having fallen to the wayside due to the popularity of consoles and their ability to surpass arcade hardware in terms of power, arcade game developers are now looking into 3D to draw new audiences. Leading the way is Konami with the upcoming arcade installment of its long-running Metal Gear franchise and Road Fighters 3D. With all these developments going on, it won’t be long before 3D becomes a standard feature of interactive entertainment.

The Metal Gear series gets a 3D facelift soon

Aside from this 3D has also branched out into other fields and areas such as 3D renderings, custom 3D walkthroughs and even 3D floor plans such as these:

These businesses can also provide 3D axonometric views of areas and floor plans…


3D Pitfalls

November 26, 2010

The resurgence of 3D in today’s visual media is a clear sign that content creators are getting a clear grasp of the technology along with it becoming more affordable and widespread. Still, accessibility does not immediately spell quality results. More often than not, the results are usually mixed. Successful implementation can yield visually captivating end products and less than optimum use can even detract from the overall viewing experience.

Most cases of poorly implemented 3D result in a darker and murkier image compared to the original 2D work, as is the case with a lot of films post-converted into 3D. On top of that, the 3D effect that was originally envisioned comes more like something from a children’s pop-out book. The on-screen images would usually look more like flat, floating cut-outs layered against an equally flat background.

Another shortcut a lot of creators take with 3D is the overuse of objects that simply pop out of the screen. During the early days of 3D cinema, this technique used to draw in crowds simply for its novelty. Other than the fact that it can be totally disorienting when overused, today’s more discerning audiences and high ticket prices, it simply isn’t enough anymore.

Long story short, 3D is a fantastic technology and opens up a treasure trove of possibilities in various fields beyond just the entertainment industry. However, as is the case with most creative technologies, cutting corners with the execution can lead to sub-par results.


The X-Box 360 Kinect – Fusing Motion with 3D

November 24, 2010

The Internet has been ablaze as of late because of Microsoft’s latest masterpiece, the Kinect for the X-Box 360. This gadget integrates real world motion and images with 3D graphics quite similar to the current trend for 3D augmented reality cards that has been used for promoting stuff including clothing lines and believe or not even the Japan’s life sized Gundam.

It has become such a highly anticipated add-on for X-box users and owners that in mere days after it’s release, several so-called hackers have even made several nifty and cool applications that fuse together a variable of stuff including 3D walkthroughs and 3D renders.

Some “hacks” have gone as far as emulate the classic lightsaber from the even more classic movie “Star Wars”.

Showcasing a great fusion between 3D renderings and real life, Kinect will sure become the face of how we will be playing video games in the near future.

 


Hollywood Embraces Animated Pirates

October 4, 2010

With the release of Gore Verbinski’s Pirates of the Carribean trilogy, Hollywood and the rest of the world has openly embraced pirate movies once more. But what caused about this change? A few years back, no one wanted to touch a movie dealing with pirates. There were a few attempts which all failed spectacularly. What was the missing ingredient that gave new life to this genre? The answer is simple. It was animation.

Animation was the key ingredient that boosted the movies produced by Disney and starred Hollywood heartthrobs like Johnny Depp, Kiera Knightly and Orlando Bloom. Infused with a highly comedic and action packed script, the first Pirates of the Carribean was a runaway hit. By the time the second movie hit the screens, the audience were awe-struck with tentacle-faced Davey Jones and his barnacled, undead crew.

3D modeling and 3D animation did just the trick in order for the film to become not only a breakthrough winner but also a successful cash generator. For the film, Pirates of the Carribbean: At World’s End, only one actor was physically present during scenes involving Davey Jones’ Flying Dutchman and that was for the character “Bootstrap” Bill Turner. Shooting these scenes were only made successful through the use of Maya and photorealistic illustrations taken from Gentle Giant body scans of actors to create subdivision surface models with compatible proportions. ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) was also tapped to help out by using its photography-based CloneCam system to reference the actor’s faces.

In animating and fine-tuning the movements of the movie’s main antagonist, Davey Jones, animators worked with motion captured data for body movements while facial expressions and lip synch were animated by hand. Pull-down menus were also used to take the place of British actor Bill Nighy in some scenes. A customized ILM program called “Compare” was also employed in order to give the animators the chance to run videos of the actors side by side with the 3D model.

Animation-1 and 3Dwalkthrough.com are companies that have deliver the same quality of work but for mainstream audiences including construction firms, architects, engineers, home builders and even real estate agents or agents. They both offer high resolution and high quality 3D renderings and photorealistic illustrations as well as perfectly customized 3D walkthroughs for presentations. These walkthroughs also help in showing people what the finished unit or building would look like.

Animated pirates and other fantastic creatures may come out of movies but they may also create the houses we live in or the malls that we love to visit or hang out in. It’s a wonderful thing to actually live in a world that the fantastic and the mundane co-exist peacefully.


How Stereo 3D is Shaping Broadcasting

September 28, 2010

With Hollywood now fully embracing the benefits of Stereo 3D for their films, broadcast stations and major networks should also consider following soon. Because when you think about it, people would always look for what’s latest and what’s the most attractive and whats more attractive than watching stereo 3D newscasts at the comfort of your own home.

With the inception of new and improved television sets with stereo 3D capabilities from major electronics firms from around the world, it would be no time before we actually get our news feeds wearing polarized glasses and enjoying the latest soap operas in full 3D. 3D broadcast may or may not be big. But it’s the thought that’s really exciting. In the world of television, broadcasting and ratings, being the first to provide the millions of audience watching with 3D broadcasts will be something huge.

It’s going to be a game changer and will most definitely affect how businesses will deal with networks and broadcasting studios. Logically speaking, adapting Stereo 3D broadcast opens new doors not only for off-shoot new media but also for existing business. Come to think of it, everybody benefits in the long run.

3D broadcasts will most definitely take advantage of animation companies that can provide high quality and superior stereoscopic 3D content creation. They will practically go with the animation company that can provide great services with fast turnaround time and dependability.

This will be the scenario five to ten years from now with the technology being sparser and more available.


Making Magic through 3D Animation

September 27, 2010

3D animation is a lot of things for a lot of people and industry. It can be used in architecture as in through precise and eye popping 3D walkthroughs. Medical animation has also been used in order to teach and educate future doctors and medical practitioners as well as patients regarding diseases and illnesses and how to prevent them in the future.

Give a quick run through your favorite email or the best web browser with the right keyword and you’ll be treated to thousands of 3d images that also feature impressive optical illusions. Even artistic websites such as deviantart and other similar websites can also features cool optical illusions and other 3d related eye candy that can make almost everybody go “wow”.

3d animation has gone a long way from the basic stuff we’ve seen on the silverscreen and on TV to something as full blown as 3d street art that can be easily removed or wash but takes hours on end to prepare and conceptualize.


Announcing the “3D Character Rendering Challenge 2010”!

September 16, 2010

Announcing the “3D Character Rendering Challenge 2010”!

Press Release from e-on Software

Beaverton, Oregon, September 7, 2010 : e-on software, maker of the leading solutions for natural 3D environments, in partnership with DAZ 3D, a leading provider of character solutions along with 3D Artist Magazine and Cornucopia3D, are pleased to announce the “3D Character Rendering Challenge 2010”; giving both professional and casual artists the opportunity to showcase their 3D character creation and rendering skills, and a chance to win a copy of the soon-to-be-released Vue 9 Complete, Vue 9 Studio or Vue 9 Esprit along with many other prizes.

Because a world is nothing without its inhabitants!

“Vue is renown for its natural rendering capabilities and we’ve been running an annual environment competition for several years now. But Vue is also widely used throughout the graphics community for top quality character rendering. We decided that it was time to give tribute to this thriving art-style by organizing a sister competition, specifically focused on this form of art, and we’re happy to partner with DAZ 3D to make this a major event”, said Matt Riveccie, Communication Manager at e-on software

Any version of Vue – including the free Pioneer and Personal Learning Edition (PLE) – can be used to enter the competition, in conjunction with other products such as Poser or the free DAZ Studio.

“DAZ Studio 3 and Vue provide a terrific combination for 3D renderings!”, said Steve Kondris, Director, Sales & Marketing at DAZ Productions. “We’re certainly looking forward to the outcome of this first challenge, since it will emphasize how well these 2 products work together.”

Judging will be performed by Sarah Slee, Deputy Editor at 3D Artist Magazine. Judging will be based solely on the quality, realism and artistic merit of the entries, not on the software products used to create them.

“Vue’s ability to create vivid, breathtaking environments along with DAZ 3D’s character applications and content provides a proven platform for creating rich, character-filled scenery. Having two of the major players in the 3D Artist market team up for this contest is a very positive development and we’re excited to participate in this contest”, said Sarah Slee, Deputy Editor at 3D Artist Magazine.

Win the Perfect 3D Character Rendering Toolkit!

The winner of the “3D Character Rendering Challenge 2010” will receive over $1,650 worth of prizes including: Vue 9 Complete* ($599), Carrara 8 Pro ($549.95), DAZ Studio 3 Advanced ($149.95), 1 year subscription to 3D Artist magazine ($130), 1 year Cornucopia3D C-Club Membership ($99.95), 1 year DAZ 3D Platinum Club Membership ($99.95) and SkinVue for Vue 9 ($29.95).

The first runner up will receive Vue 9 Studio* ($399), DAZ Studio 3 Advanced ($149.95), 1 year subscription to 3D Artist magazine ($130), 1 year Cornucopia3D C-Club Membership ($99.95), 1 year DAZ 3D Platinum Club Membership ($99.95) and SkinVue for Vue 9 ($29.95).

The second runner up will receive Vue 9 Esprit* ($199), DAZ Studio 3 Advanced ($149.95), 1 year subscription to 3D Artist magazine ($130), 1 year Cornucopia3D C-Club Membership ($99.95), 1 year DAZ 3D Platinum Club Membership ($99.95) and SkinVue for Vue 9 ($29.95).

Submissions start September 7, 2010 and end October 4, 2010.

The winners of the competition will be announced on October 15, 2010.

More information and submission guidelines are available at:

www.e-onsoftware.com/competition

Vue 9 Complete, Studio and Esprit are expected to ship by the end of Q4, 2010. Prizes will ship when product is released.

About e-on software

E-on software is the leading developer of solutions for the creation, animation, rendering and integration of natural 3D environments. Offering a wide array of Digital Nature products and applications, e-on software provides solutions adapted to every project and budget. E-on software products are used worldwide by the film, television, architecture, game, science, educational and entertainment industries.


Using Custom 3D Walkthroughs to Deliver the Point

September 14, 2010

Architectural 3d walkthroughs can get the job done for architectural firms and showcase a firm’s end product. Custom 3d walkthroughs can also provide viewers and prospective clients and buyers the chance to see what their future homes and offices would look like without having to take precious time off from work and other important social or personal activities.

Custom 3d walkthroughs can also give architectural firms, real estate developers and agents the chance to showcase to other people what they have. A lot of businesses and animation firms that provide 3d services for clients may often tend to falter in delivering high quality and fully defined walkthroughs. With 3dwalkthroughs.com, businesses can rest easy knowing that they will get only the best custom 3d walkthroughs.


Using 3D/2D Animation for Marketing Major Brands

September 8, 2010

Marketing major brands whether fashion brands or otherwise is a tedious task and often requires immense hours of painful research on the target demographics. Through the years, many big clothing brands have employed known celebrities and directors to direct or create amazing advertising materials for their clothing line. This trend has gone on for years now with no signs of stopping whatsoever. 

But once in a while, we get to see a commercial, or a marketing campaign that’s so out of the box and so unique that people outside the normal cliché would talk about it or share it via social networking websites. There are several examples of these types of advertising styles that has captured the hearts and minds of TV viewers around the globe. 

Take for our first example, the collaboration between Japanese pop artist Takashi Murakami and the clothing giant Louis Vitton. The LV brand is a staple of high end boutiques around the world and dresses some of the beautiful men and women of Hollywood. Murakami on the other hand is fuses high and low end art styles which end up being made into toys and other collectibles. Murakami’s works have also been translated into “superflat” images while others have become thirty foot sculptures present during gallery exhibitions. 

The end result for the combination of Louis Vitton and Takashi Murakami is nothing but splendid; an animated short film that perfectly blends 2D/3D animation together with not only the Louis Vitton logo but also provides the audience with a unique and Vitton-laced story reminiscent of “Alice in Wonderland”.

Over on the Western hemisphere, Gucci has revealed a new teaser for their new product, Gucci Guilty which was directed by acclaimed comic book writer and artist Frank Miller who was the brain behind the smash hit “300”. The new commercial for the fragrance also employed techniques to establish a noir feel / 3d world for the audience.

As evidenced by these samples, 2D/3D animation can help spice up videos and commercials for marketing. There are no limits to what these types of animation can provide for brands and it certainly does not alienate companies both big and small from getting what they truly deserve, a stand-out marketing material using the best animation techniques.