The first fully adjustable car rig that creates photoreal CG cars.

The Mill: The Blackbird

The Mill BLACKBIRD® is able to quickly transform its chassis to match the exact length and width of almost any car. Powered by an electric motor, it can be programmed to imitate acceleration curves and gearing shifts and the adjustable suspension alters ride height, rigidity and dampening to replicate typical driving characteristics.

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Smithsonian: Enterprise Studio Model Back on Display

USS Enterprise on display(via @airandspace)

The Enterprise model, a genuine television star of the 1960s, now rests in the south lobby of Milestones in a new, state-of-the-art, climate-controlled case. From the center of the Hall, the restored Enterprise rests with its camera-ready side on full view.

Washington Post: Here’s what’s new:

A green-gray paint job. Using the original paint on the top of the saucer as a reference, conservators returned the ship to its proper color by removing paint applied during previous restorations and adding new paint where needed. “People are going to say it looks too green now, but it looked more gray on TV because of the powerful incandescent studio lights,” [museum conservator, Malcolm] Collum says.

Enterprise restoration

Bill George and John Goodson, both of ILM, mark the position of windows on the secondary hull before painting.

Space tarnish. Artists from visual-effects studio Industrial Light and Magic applied bronze-colored streaks and specks, lost during past restorations, to the exterior. “It looks like the ship was speeding through space and ran through a cloud of something that splattered across its hull,”Collum says.

Old-school decals. With historic photos as a reference, ILM artists added lettering to the sides of the starship using the waterslide method (the same technology that underlies temporary tattoos) used by the original model makers.

A more authentic deflector dish. Before coming to the Smithsonian, the Enterprise lost its deflector dish — the saucer at the front that projects a force field to protect the ship from space debris. During an earlier restoration, “the museum made a not-very-accurate replacement — we referred to it as the salad bowl,” Collum says. The new dish is a perfect replica, re-created using the original specs.

Lights that won’t cause fires. In addition to blinking lights throughout the ship, the Enterprise’s nacelles appeared to have spinning lights inside, an effect created with motors, mirrors and Christmas lights. The old incandescent bulbs ran hot and actually scorched the inside of the wooden model, which is why they were removed long ago, Collum says. The restored version uses LED lights to replicate the original effects. “When you turn on the lights, it just brings the ship to life,” Collum says. “It’s an incredible transformation.”

Previously…

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Craft and creativity

USS Enterprise goes back on display at the Smithsonian after a faithful restoration

The studio model of the Star Trek starship Enterprise is now on exhibit in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall. After taking it off exhibit in 2014, assembling a special advisory committee, examining it using x-ray radiography, searching out long-lost photos, and planning the work in great detail, months of hard work culminated in several weeks of painting, detail work, rewiring, and final assembly.

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The Peter Principle: the scientific reason everything is a bit s**t

Adam Westbrook: We live in times of seemingly unending progress – and yet somehow things still always go wrong: trains are late, broadband speeds suck and the promotion always goes to the wrong person. Well, it turns out there’s an explanation for all this – and progress itself is the problem. Meet The Peter Principle.

The Peter Principle

The Peter Principle

See also: The Long Game: The struggle for art in a world obsessed with popularityA series of video essays by Adam Westbrook: All of history’s greatest figures achieved success in almost exactly the same way. But rather than celebrating this part of the creative process we ignore it.

Game of Thrones: Anatomy of A Scene: The Battle of Winterfell

SPOILERS, obviously. Game of Thrones’ biggest pitched battle to date, the Battle of the Bastards is brutal and terrifying and this wasn’t even the only major conflict in episode nine!

Update: This VFB breakdown shows a lot more of the effects work from the episode.

Update: Another addition to this post on The Battle of the Bastards to include this interesting CineFix piece on 3 Brilliant Moments from the Battle of the Bastards.

CineFix: We hope we’re not too late to the party, but as it turns out, we just can’t get enough of this episode! So today we’re talking about 3 of the best, most brilliant little moments from this amazing on screen battle.

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The Secret World of Foley

Witness the magic of moviemaking and journey into the little known world of Foley Artists, who bring films to life with their perfectly-timed sound-effects.

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Tim Lomas
Use your words

216 positive emotions that have no direct English translation

Quartz: There are hundreds of positive emotions that have no direct English translation

University of East London psychology lecturer Tim Lomas has corralled some of the most striking non-English words about emotions for Westerners to appreciate. While the words describe phenomena experienced and celebrated by many cultures, no easily-expressible equivalents exist in English.

The paper has two main aims. First, it aims to provide a window onto cultural differences in constructions of well-being, thereby enriching our understanding of well-being. Second, a more ambitious aim is that this lexicon may help expand the emotional vocabulary of English speakers (and indeed speakers of all languages), and consequently enrich their experiences of well-being.

Many of these (like zeitgeist, chutzpa, savoir-faire and nirvana) are in common English usage. I’ve excerpted some of the ones I found most interesting…

Feelings: Positive

  • Se déhancher (French, v.): to sway or wiggle one’s hips (e.g., while dancing).
  • Desbundar (Portuguese, v.): shedding one’s inhibitions in having fun.
  • Feierabend (German, n.): festive mood at the end of a working day.
  • Mbuki-mvuki (Bantu, v): to shed clothes to dance uninhibited.
  • Pretoogjes (Dutch, n.): lit. ‘fun eyes’; the eyes of a chuckling person engaging in benign mischief.
  • Ramé (Balinese, n.): something at once chaotic and joyful.
  • Samar (سمر) (Arabic, v.): to sit together in conversation at sunset/ in the evening.
  • Schnapsidee (German, n.): a daft / ridiculous plan thought up while drunk (generally used pejoratively).
  • Sobremesa (Spanish, n.): when the food has finished but the conversation is still flowing.
  • Sólarfrí (Icelandic, n.): sun holiday, i.e., when workers are granted unexpected time off to enjoy a particularly sunny/warm day.
  • Tertulia (Spanish, n.): a social gathering with literary or artistic overtones.
  • Utepils (Norwegian, n.): a beer that is enjoyed outside (particularly on the first hot day of the year).
  • Mерак (Serbian, n.): pleasure derived from simple joys.
  • Cwtch (Welsh, n.): to hug, a safe welcoming place.
  • Trygghet (Swedish, n.): security, safety, confidence, certainty, trust.
  • Estrenar (Spanish, v.): to use or wear something for the first time.
  • Fjellvant (Norwegian) (adj.): Being accustomed to walk in the mountains.
  • Flâneur (French, n.): someone who wanders the streets to experience the city.
  • Hugfanginn (Icelandic) (adj.): lit. ‘mind-captured’, to be charmed or fascinated by someone/something.
  • Shemomechama (შემომეჭამა) (Georgian, v.): eating past the point of satiety due to sheer enjoyment.
  • Tyvsmake (Norwegian, v.): to taste or eat small pieces of the food when you think nobody is watching, especially when cooking.
  • Kukelure (Norwegian, v.): to sit and ponder, without engaging in activity.
  • Zanshin (残心) (Japanese, n.): a state of relaxed mental alertness (especially in the face of danger or stress).
  • Nirvāna (निर्वाण) (Sanskrit, n.): ‘ultimate’ happiness, total liberation from suffering.
Positive lexicography, by themes

Positive lexicography, by themes

More foreign feelings →

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Poster by Magpie Studio

Monotype introduces Johnston100

A contemporary update to Transport for London’s Johnston typeface, marking the centennial of its use across the London bus, rail and Underground systems.

First commissioned in 1913, British artist and calligrapher Edward Johnston was tasked with creating lettering with “bold simplicity” that would have clear roots in tradition, but wholeheartedly belong to the 20th century.

“Our brief to Monotype was to go back to the original principles of Johnston, to reflect on the way the font is now, and see what we might have lost in its 100-year journey. We didn’t want to redesign it, but we did know that certain things, for various reasons, had changed. Some of the lower case letters, for example had lost their uniqueness.”
TfL Head of Design Jon Hunter

“As social media has become more important, hashtags and ‘@’ signs are more important – Johnston never designed those because they were never needed. Mainly we wanted to make Johnston relevant and fit for today’s purpose.”

Johnston100 - Mind the gap

Design Week: Over the last 100 years, Johnston became narrower and more mechanical as functionality took precedence over design. Monotype has opted for a wider face, which better reflects Edward Johnston’s original drawings and gives it more of a relaxed feel.

“It was very important to TfL that we add the extra-thin weights, because of today’s digital trends. We were able to capture the contemporary trend and the fashion of having something very light and very elegant, but because we are still using the original structures, we were able to maintain the soul of the typeface.”
Nadine Chahine, UK type director at Monotype


Designology

I visited the Designology expedition at the London Transport Museum a few weeks ago and took some photographs of the design sketches for the 70’s New Johnston typeface.

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Craft and creativity

Johnston100: a modernisation of TfL’s classic London Underground typeface

“Johnston100 will be rolled out by TfL starting July 2016. Initially it will be used for printed material such as tube maps and posters, but over time the typeface will be used within TfL’s trains and station signage, including London’s new Crossrail Elizabeth Line – scheduled to open in 2018.” — Monotype

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Movie written by algorithm turns out to be hilarious and intense: Ars is excited to be hosting this online debut of Sunspring, a short science fiction film that’s not entirely what it seems.

Sunspring screenplay sample

Benjamin is an LSTM recurrent neural network, a type of AI that is often used for text recognition. To train Benjamin, [researcher, Ross] Goodwin fed the AI with a corpus of dozens of sci-fi screenplays he found online—mostly movies from the 1980s and 90s.

As the cast gathered around a tiny printer, Benjamin spat out the screenplay, complete with almost impossible stage directions like “He is standing in the stars and sitting on the floor.” Then Sharp [the director] randomly assigned roles to the actors in the room. “As soon as we had a read-through, everyone around the table was laughing their heads off with delight,” Sharp told Ars.

Sunspring

For Sharp, the most interesting part of the Benjamin experiment has been learning about patterns in science fiction storytelling. Benjamin’s writing sounds original, even kooky, but it’s still based on patterns he’s discovered in what humans write. Sharp likes to call the results the “average version” of everything the AI looked at. Certain patterns kept coming up again and again. “There’s an interesting recurring pattern in Sunspring where characters say, ‘No I don’t know what that is. I’m not sure,'” said Goodwin. “They’re questioning the environment, questioning what’s in front of them. There’s a pattern in sci-fi movies of characters trying to understand the environment.”

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Light-based media

Sunspring: a short film written by an algorithm

In the wake of Google’s AI Go victory, filmmaker Oscar Sharp turned to his technologist collaborator Ross Goodwin to build a machine that could write screenplays. They created “Jetson” and fueled him with hundreds of sci-fi TV and movie scripts. Building a team including Thomas Middleditch, star of HBO’s Silicon Valley, they gave themselves 48 hours to shoot and edit whatever Jetson decided to write.

Gallery

You find yourself deserted on an unknown planet, with little indication of how you arrived. Armed with your trusty plasma cutter and your ship’s sentient artificial intelligence computer, you must search for a way home. During your journey you will uncover secrets and challenges beyond your imagination, along with a hidden past that this strange planet holds. As you discover this hidden past, you will ultimately have to confront your own…

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Light-based media

Transmission: stylish SF action-adventure game on Kickstarter

Transmission is a hand painted action-adventure game that blends tactical combat, vast exploration, and intricate puzzle solving, along with a rich narrative in the realm of great science fiction cinema.

Gallery

CineFix: Top 10 Favorite Rule Breaking Films

What makes a cinema rule? And why do they exist? And what happens when you break them?

  1. Invisible Filmmaking – Dogville
    It’s not as much breaking the 4th wall as it is demolishing all of them, but the effect is exactly the same. It’s a constant reminder to the audience that what they’re looking at ISN’T REAL.
  2. Editing Rules – Breathless
    When everyone was trying to make you forget about editing and cuts and believe that movies were real, Godard was chopping up his film and throwing them right in your face, bringing the very artifice of editing right to the forefront with the jump cut.
  3. Shooting Rules – Tokyo Story
    The most important rule of all is called the “180 degree rule” and it’s a shooting guideline for establishing a dependable screen geography. Although this kind of screen continuity pervades almost every film you could have seen in theaters for the past CENTURY, Yasujiro Ozu tossed it out the window.
  4. Colors / Visual Style – Enter the Void
    Enter the Void used lighting and camera and visual effects in a way unlike anything ever before it. The story is an out of body POV experience in more ways than one, and an absolute visual revelation in terms of how to view the world.
  5. Genre – From Dusk til Dawn
    A quick-talking Tarantino-esque crime film STARRING Tarantino and a fresh-from-TV Clooney, From Dusk til Dawn makes it just about halfway through without a single undead, before quickly pivoting into the kind of balls-out actiony-vampire-shoot-em-up that’s pure Rodriguez.
  6. The Hero / Protagonist – Psycho
    Hitchcock purposefully set out to mislead his audience and then devastate them, like an old-timey George RR Martin. He used their expectations against them, carefully cueing them to invest in Marion Crane as the hero of the film, before stabbing them in the metaphorical heart.
  7. Story Structure – Last Year in Marienbad
    Truth, fiction, time, place, logic and cause all fold in on themselves, creating an escher-like narrative structure that refuses to be linearized in any kind of story map.
  8. Having a Story at All – Jeanne Dielman, vingt-trois quai du Commerce, mille-quatre-vingt Bruxelles
    The film is honest about life in a way most others are not. It does not select the fascinating. It does not focus on the important. It does not trim the fat.
  9. Coherence / Causality – The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
    It is a bizarre storyworld where anything can happen, asking us all to interrogate our own logical assumptions, and those of of the stories we consume daily.
  10. Linguistic vs Emotional Storytelling – The Mirror
    Images speak, but not in words or symbols. They do not attempt to convey to us logic or language or concrete plot. But instead thoughts, emotions, memories in the abstract. Before processing and verbalization.

(via)

Vox: The GIF was invented in 1989. And since its beginning, the GIF has been used to make money. At first, GIFs were sold as placeholders for the web of the ’90s and early 2000s. But after web design became informed by professional standards, gifs lost their role as placeholders. Eventually they became tools of expression, turning snippets of video from popular culture into bite size communication devices. Today, a few big tech companies are trying to capitalize on this new use of GIFs, partnering with brands who want their content to be used as communication.

qxmmJD

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Use your words

Tip: Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint

A simple rule that more people giving presentations should follow…

The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint

It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.

Guy Kawasaki: The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint

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