On Aug. 5 or Aug. 6, depending on which part of the country you’re in, the Curiosity spacecraft careening toward Mars will hit the Red Planet’s atmosphere, deploy a supersonic parachute and either land safely on the planet’s surface or perish. It’s dramatic stuff, and NASA has produced this Hollywood-style YouTube video, complete with animation and suspenseful music, to preview the landing, evoke that drama and put viewers on the edge of their seats.
As engineers explain, it will take seven minutes for Curiosity to travel from the edge of Mars’ atmosphere to the surface, going from a speed of 13,000 mph to zero. “If any one thing doesn’t work just right, it’s game over,” engineer Tom Rivellini says.
Because Mars is so far away, it actually takes 14 minutes for the spacecraft’s signal to reach Earth. So by the time we learn the spacecraft has hit the top of Mars’ atmosphere, Curiosity will have either have survived the landing or perished for a full seven minutes.
Source: Skye - 7 Minutes of Terror: NASA’s Dramatic Mars-Landing Preview
If not for Machinima, you might be unaware that gamers are terrified of zombies and Return of the Jedi, when you really think about it, has a lot of plot holes.
At this point, most of you are probably wondering: What is Machinima?
An online programming company boasting a fanatical following among young males and a staggering 149 million unique users, last month Machinima’s videos were viewed 1.3 billion times (that’s billion, with a “b”). Across YouTube and other online destinations, Machinima claims a total of 101 million subscribers. To put those numbers in perspective, the CBS TV network has about 350,000 subscribers on YouTube and in six years has earned about 1.2 billion views for its online content (compared to 1.3 billion last month for Machinima).
Machinima (pronounced mah-SHIN-eh-mah) is one of a handful of players building massive media companies off Web programming.
**The upper case use of the word refers to the media company. The lower case refers to the genre, defined as the use of real-time 3D computer graphics rendering engines to create a cinematic production. Most often, video games are used to generate the computer animation.**
How big is machinima, and Machinima? “As a genre, I’d say that 90 percent of gamers know what it is,” says Tom Akel, executive producer of MTV Geek.“As a company, maybe every college kid playing Madden and Tiger Woods golf doesn’t know them, but most millennial male gamers do.”
An example of machinima:
In the ’80s, when you wanted big hair you whipped out the Aqua Net. But it wasn’t so easy for animators. The Little Mermaid‘s Princess Ariel was meant to sport curls, but the technology just wasn’t there in 1989—rendering that kind of bounce and frizz, cel after hand-drawn cel, was all but impossible. Now, though, animated big hair is finally on the big screen in Disney/Pixar’s Brave.
The movie centers on Merida, a feisty Scottish princess on a quest to save her kingdom from a curse. To illustrate her fiery spirit, filmmakers wanted Merida’s locks to spring off the screen—”Curly hair almost defies gravity,” simulation supervisor Claudia Chung says—but Pixar’s old CG hair simulator (used in 2001′s Monsters, Inc.) wasn’t up to the task.
So in 2009 Chung’s team designed a new simulator named Taz, after the wild Looney Tunes character. It forms individual coils around computer-generated cylinders of varying lengths and diameters. The resulting locks stretch out when Merida runs but snap back into place as soon as she stops. Each strand is also strung through with a flexible “core curve,” like the string of a beaded necklace, that lets the coils bounce and brush against one another without unwinding.
The full story – Pixar Reinvents Big Hair for Brave
The main character is a bookmark, stuck in a forgotten book. Both are connected by chance, in a life marked by standstill in a deserted room.
One day a window is pressed open by a gust of wind, knocking over the book and blowing the bookmark onto the table. As they become separated, the journey begins. While the bookmark watches from a distance, the wind catches the pages, turning them into ocean waves.
Unfolding hands and feet, the bookmark is swept back into the book. With a surfboard taken from the book, the character is given the opportunity to experience its environment in a new way – wipeouts, washouts and nosedives in a wild ocean follow. Just as our hero is willing to resign, the ocean carries it higher and higher on a wave frozen in time – they become one. The wave breaks, releasing everything back into motion.
The bookmark enjoys the ride of its life, carving and floating its way in and out of tubes, until the last page is reached. The book cover closes with a snap, spitting out the surfer. The journey through this episode of its life is over. As the protagonist tries to get back into the book, light reveals other parts of the room, fully packed with bookshelves. It faces endless challenges in its newly gained freedom.
A short video – Making of…
Pixar’s Oscar nominated short, “La Luna,” will premiere in front of Brave — in US theaters June 22.
La Luna is the timeless fable of a young boy who is coming of age in the most peculiar of circumstances. Tonight is the very first time his Papa and Grandpa are taking him to work. In an old wooden boat they row far out to sea, and with no land in sight, they stop and wait. A big surprise awaits the little boy as he discovers his family’s most unusual line of work. Should he follow the example of his Papa, or his Grandpa? Will he be able to find his own way in the midst of their conflicting opinions and timeworn traditions?
La Luna is directed by Enrico Casarosa and produced by Kevin Reher
If you happen to own Toy Story 3, one of the bonus features is a short video entitled “Pixar’s Cereal Bar.”
In the video you’ll hear Pixar employees like Tia Kratter, Pete Doctor, and Andrew Stanton talking about the importance of cereal during a workday, and showing off an animated representation of how the Pixar Cereal Room fuels some of the best creative minds in the business!
According to Pixar employees, this room is well-used and well-loved! They eat cereal everywhere — from the screening room to the meeting room — and even at their desks!
Pixar’s “Toy Story 3″ is the highest-grossing movie of all time in Mexico, where the animated adventure tale collected $59 million at the box office in 2010.
The follow-up from “Toy Story 3″ director Lee Unkrich and producer Darla K. Anderson is also likely to have strong appeal with Mexican audiences — and to boast more authentically Latino characters than a Spanish-speaking Buzz Lightyear doll.
The duo’s next movie is a still-untitled project about Día de los Muertos, the Mexican holiday of the dead, which Disney and Pixar first announced at CinemaCon last month.
On the Day of the Dead, which has its roots in indigenous Aztec culture, families in Mexico and many Latin American countries pay tribute to deceased loved ones by creating graveside altars with treats like candy and bottles of Coca-Cola, and donning elaborate skull masks and costumes for processionals.
“This is a very different view of death than the American one,” said Unkrich. “It’s not spooky. It’s celebratory.”
via The Envelope
//Thx to Irene Chung
An interactive Flash animation titled “Scale Of The Universe 2“, covering everything in the universe from the fabric of space-time to the estimated size of the universe, was posted earlier this year, and it is awesome. A month or so later, it went viral, but why…so popular?
First, the actual scale of the universe is mind blowing as it spans 62 orders of magnitude (that’s multiplying 62 10′s together).
Second, the animation is very well produced and packed with information.
Third, it was created by a 14-year-old, Cary Huang, and his twin brother, Michael, who worked on it for a year and a half as a fun project…
It’s true, it is really fun to play with, especially with all the weird objects they use for comparisons. I snapped a few screenshots below to show you some of them.
The first one is where the animation starts and the second is after scrolling out a bit. In both, you can see the size of a human in comparison to many objects (in the second one, there is a tiny human in the center).
In the last screenshot, you can see how California, Texas, and Italy are about the size of many moons and Pluto!