Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lightwave 10 Is Here!

Some very exciting news came about today for the 3D artist community. After a very, very long wait and many pushed back release dates, Lightwave 10 has finally been released.

The long awaited debut brings 3D software to a whole new level. Many of the new groundbreaking features unique to Lightwave are Viewport Preview Rendering (VPR), the precision of a complete Linear Color Space Workflow, real-time Anaglyph Stereoscopic Preview, and Virtual Studio Tools that deliver real-time virtual walkthroughs. These latest additions will now allow animators to dramatically reduce production time.

Probably the most anticipated out of the slew of upgrades would be the VPR. A long time consuming aspect of modeling and animating in the 3D world is checking to see what the final product would be like creating test render after test render. Depending on the level of detail in your project you could be waiting for one test rendered image to complete in about an hour! Well, wait no more...VPR enables you to see a previewed test render INSTANTLY as you're working without waiting absurd amounts of time. That alone will speed things up tremendously for any 3D artist.

As most people know, the movie Avatar was largely popular for its stereoscopic 3D seen while wearing special glasses in theaters. This upcoming phenomenon is now intuitively integrated into Lightwave 10's user interface for a far more precise manipulation and previsualization of stereoscopic imagery. Just throw on your 3D glasses while working on a project on 3D capable screen, and see your creation with realistic depth and feel.

These are just some of the latest features amongst many in the long awaited release of Newtek's Lightwave3D. Will Newtek lead the way in the 3D industry making its product the number one software package of choice? It has certainly taken a turn for the right direction...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The year of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg was named person of the year. Wow. The facebook empire is getting bigger and bigger everyday. Facebook started off as a way to communicate with college friends now parents are even using it, which is still a little weird. As good as The Social Network film was it does not give this young man the credit he truly deserves. He is not only the youngest billionaire but he created the realm of social networking. Young people have become dependent on facebook, some spending hours on it a day looking through their friend’s pictures, reading the newsfeed or playing around with the 100s of game and downloadable apps offered now. From bumper stickers to Farmville the possibilities are endless for facebook. Businesses are now using it as a means to communicate with others. It seems every site you go on or every building you enter you see “ LIKE US ON FACEBOOK” or “FRIEND ME.” Those words have now become part of our everyday language and the social network craze is becoming bigger everyday.

Zuckerberg, 26, is the creator of this phenomenon that has over 500 million users worldwide. He is also the subject of the movie "The Social Network," which received six Golden Globe nominations. Each day gets better and better for this young man. He is also very generous as he gives a majority of his wealth to charities. No matter how much public attention facebook is getting regarding teachers "friending" students, or the amount of time teens are spending on the social network, or how to maintain your privacy; Zuckerberg has come out with an answer. No matter what people say about the social network site, people are still using it and most are relying on it to communicate with long lost friends, family members and when making new friendships.

Mark Zuckerberg has created something that has become part of the younger generation’s everyday routines. Checking your facebook has become the “it” thing in 2010 and we can only imagine the limits Zuckerberg will test in 2011, but no matter what we will all be signing in and obsessing about the new ways to communicate with friends.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A New Way to Shoot Video

In today's world of technology and increasing domination of social networking communities, video has become the forefront on many business websites, blogs, and of course Facebook. I worked with a professional photographer a few years ago as his assistant and I remember asking him what avenues to take to be a photographer someday. He responded and told me that the photography industry is soon going to be obsolete because many people are going to lean towards video, specifically cameras that can shoot photos and video at the same time. I was shocked at his response because that meant that he would not be in business for much longer. I realized that what he meant was that the industry and technologies are changing, and to be a player on the same field, you have to adapt and change as well.

The new technology in professional photography cameras, DSLR cameras, today is absolutely amazing! For the first time ever really, the photography industry is now apart of the video industry. Cameras like the Canon 7D that are your standard professional photography camera, are now capable of shooting high definition video. This has become a young film makers dream because for the cost of high definition equipment today, you would be paying tens of thousands of dollars, whereas with the 7D, you are only dishing out a couple thousand to get what is arguably the same (if not better) quality video.

I came across this video on YouTube that shows how you can adapt your DSLR to do the things a Panasonic HPX (or other high def camera) can do, and then some... The mobility and ease of use with the DSLR lets you take the camera almost anywhere and in any condition. Video cameras are often heavy and hard to maneuver in small spaces where the shot really counts. The DSLR is about a 1/4 of the size of an HPX and can get into tight spaces to get shots other cameras wouldn't normally be able to.

In the legal video industry, imagine being out at a scene taking photos and then being able to capture high definition video seamlessly on the same media card with the flick of a switch. This is where these new technologies are taking us, and it's giving young filmmakers, and even experienced ones, the opportunity to move the camera and use a different kind of lens system that they never were able to before.

Filmmaker, Leonard Retel Helmrich, talks about how video cameras are designed wrong, and in order to get nice smooth video you have to use steadicam systems, and other accessories, to achieve what you are looking for. He believes that video cameras should be designed and shaped the way photography cameras are because it allows you to hold it more naturally and move in a way that you can't with a standard video camera. I was able to ask him at a workshop one day what he thought about the new DSRL cameras that are going to able to capture high definition video, and he told me that it's about this concept is actually coming to life.

The new wave of DSLR cameras is already changing the industry by allowing young filmmakers to produce high quality video with a camera that is able to capture professional audio, video, and maneuver in ways that experienced filmmakers wish they could years ago.