Umbrellas in SL

“Umbrellas” by the UK’s Nish Mip

“a ghostly, ethereal street scene in which echoes of people swirl around in the rain endlessly chattering to themselves as umbrellas float between them like beacons of light in the perpetual night of their dark, lost repeating patterns” — Backpacking Burro.

“It’s that time when umbrellas take on a life of their own. A rainy night in town. I just love that feeling of being dry underneath whilst the rain buckets down above me . Neon lights, the rain, smoky noisy streets, making your way through the crowd to catch the last train home.” — Nish Mip.

Second Life URL.

[ Hat-tip: Backpacking Burro ]

YouTube online video editor

YouTube has introduced a new simple online video editor for your uploaded clips. You’re limited to your own clips, and it’s intentionally basic…

“a simple video editor tool that anyone can use”

Slot the clips together, trim, add any of 10,000 music tracks (ones that Google knows are not likely to have record company lawyers calling), preview a very low-res version, press OK and you’re done. Ars Technica has a review of the new service.

It’s not much use for machinimists, who’ll already have a good video editor to hand. But it could be useful if you’re out and about, and need to quickly splice together some camera video clips via your puny netbook. Or if you’re doing basic animation workshop days with children.

There’s also Myna for free online audio editing.


A three-person 2010 graduation animation from the UK…

“Adrift” (on Vimeo)

To see how far they’ve come, check out their original first-year trailer on YouTube. Lads, I suggest you don’t delete this old video now. Because when the old and new versions are compared it shows, I think, how much the UK stands to loose if the Foundation year is abolished and two year degrees become the norm in the creative arts. Young British creatives need a good Foundation year, followed by a full three-year degree, and then an opportunity for the most talented to take a one-year Masters degree.

How to get a newsfeed from Google 3D Warehouse

How to get a “What’s New?” newsfeed from Google 3D Warehouse:

1. Type in the name of your favourite model-maker, or keywords for the type of props you want.

2. Then select the drop-down, to re-order the results by date. The most recent will appear first.

3. An RSS feed button for that search appears on the far right of the results. Click on it.

You’ll also find RSS newsfeed buttons on themed collections of models.

11 Second Club

The 11 Second Club is a monthly character animation challenge. Each month you get a short script in audio form. This is the June script…

Voice One: “It didn’t make the noise.”
Voice Two: “What noise?”
Voice One: “You know, the *sounds here*”
Voice Two: “It’s not supposed to make that noise.”

“Entries can be character animations in any medium, from CG animation to traditional 2D animation to stop-motion.”

There is a strident disclaimer about “no copyrighted characters”, but that seems to be a result of someone ripping off a popular free-but-copyright character rig in the past. Royalty-free / creative commons characters should be ok, so far as I can tell from looking at the FAQ. Animations need to be hand made — because they don’t seem to like motion-capture, or morphed or generative animation.

Last Performance

The excellently inventive “Last Performance”, Andy Whiteley‘s 2002 graduation animation from a UK university…

Unfortunately it’s not on YouTube or Vimeo and can’t be linked to since his site is all done in Flash. Click the lower-left button on the front page, then “Animation”, then “Play Movie” to view it.

Less lights, more impact

I thought I’d transcribe a little of the new podcast interview with Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois of How to Train Your Dragon (55Mb). They’re talking about lighting, and the context is that British cinematographer Roger Deakins was brought in to do workshops, and make suggestions on lighting — but in the end…

“there was no scene or sequence that he didn’t have a huge hand in lighting for … we feel that CG animation is notoriously over-lit, things end up looking like toys because light is pumped in from every angle … [ the film is set on a dark northern island, so we needed less light ] … and Roger started talking about other cinematographers he’d worked with, and it’s all about removing lights, seeing how many lights you can do without. The less lights you have, the more dramatic the lighting … So you had to be comfortable with building a set… and you can’t see parts of it. … but it feels so good, you get that wonderful atmosphere …”

It’s something I’d half-noticed when looking back at a couple of my recent stills, and seeing that’d I’d ended up using a limited number of lights and/or a limited colour palette on the lights. I don’t know any lighting theory and I hadn’t realised that “it’s all about removing lights”, when done correctly. So I guess iClone’s limited number of lights may actually be quite a useful limitation.

A month of Wolf & Dulci

Hurrah! The last month of Wolf & Dulci shows are now available for download. 24th May, 31st May, 7th June, and 14th June 2010.

In one of these (7th June?) I win an iClone 4 Standard licence in the APE, with my iClone commercial. I was thinking of using this prize to attract entrants to my own first competition. I had a couple of ideas… “Best short storytelling movie which uses only my Ryzom conversions” or “Best short movie which illustrates a young child narrating a dream they had”. Any opinions?