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Machiniplex Bulletin Board 01

I've always enjoyed the posts at Shattered Keyboard and Overman's site where they occasionally feature a huge collection of links. Using this idea, I've decided to create the first of what will be several "Bulletin Board" entries for Machiniplex. The difference will be that it won't be just links, but media, pictures and short announcements that don't necessarily need a full post.

Here we go....

The Wizard of OS Premiere

Overhead shot of the OS Premiere.

Last Sunday's "Wizard of OS: The Fish Incident" premiere went very well. Tom Jantol (director of OS) and I spoke for an hour or so and then fielded questions from the audience, which consisted of around 20+ people, including several Second Lifers who just came because the event looked interesting. It took a bit for Tom and I to warm up, but once we zoned in together the conversation was wide-ranging. Everything from Tom's favorite author, a surprising G.K. Chesteron, to Tom's frank statement that he has no trouble with film technique, it's the story that is hard work. We discussed his "anymation" idea and the various programs Tom used to create OS. Motionbuilder, Sony Vegas, Moho (now Anime Studio) and Poser are his main tools. He indicated he spent "too much money" on some live motion shots that he brought into the scene. Tom was keen to let everyone know that the live motion scenes were not composited, but rather painted on surfaces as video textures using Motionbuilder.

Tom and his mysterious Butoh avatar

After the Q&A we were able to lure Tom on to the dancing floor and once he figured out how to activate the dancing animations that Hathead had built in, Tom was twirling around and having a ball. It's interesting to me how conversation changes while people's avatars are dancing; very different from when every one is just sitting or standing around. People seem to loosen up while dancing. At any rate, after thanking Hathead for setting up the event and once again letting us use his island for our event, I had to head out to an appointment and left Tom dancing and chatting away. You know, for someone who's worried about his English, he didn't seem to care once he got his rhythm down. Thank you, Tom.

-Two New Members of Machiniplex-

I've asked Damien Valentine and Tom Jantol to become members of Machiniplex. They have both accepted and will be blogging here starting in May. Both of them are well-known members of the machinima community, but aren't heard enough in my opinion. Damien has directed over a half a dozen Star Wars related machinima and has been active in supporting Machiniplex from it's inception. Tom is a Croatian nut case who's "anymation" ideas are becoming increasingly popular. He promises to write some controversial stuff. Good. That's what our Machiniplex blog needs. I welcome them both.

-Bitfilm Machinima Nominees-

Overman has a list of the Bitfilm Machinima Nominees and, boy howdy, is it a hot line-up. Machiniplex is proud to have hosted Leo's "The Beast",Tobia's"Among Fables and Men" and Lainey's "The Dumb Man", all three of which are imaginative and wonderful films. Watching the other entries, I was particularly struck by Egils Mednis's "The Ship". A simply beautiful film. Hard to believe it was created in the Unreal Game engine. My congratulations to all of the nominees.

-Recent Machinima Program Updates-

Antics has updated their machinima/previz software to 3.1 in the last week. The main adjustment is in adding the ability to import the free Google Sketch-up format (.skp) directly in to and Antics scene. Antics 3.1 can now search the Google Warehouse while inside of Antics and download just about anything available. This is a huge step up in available content. Also, a recent tutorial there shows how to animate your Google Warehouse character using some simple techniques. Antics also has a new blog, which looks to be an excellent way of staying up on developments with this excellent program.

Moviestorm has a significant update to their popular (and free) program. Version 1.04 has many improvements, most notably a new interface, a gesture previewer and improved shadows for furniture. There are also many fixes for known issues like footsliding at the end of a walk cycle. The forum at Moviestorm is very lively and supportive.

Iclone is preparing to launch a significant upgrade this summer (July). IClone 3.0 should be a major improvement over previous version. In-scene motion editing, sky and terrain editing, new timeline, real-time vehicle control and many enhancements make this version of IClone the most interesting version yet. There's a good "First Look" video on Youtube and an IClone Blog that has screenshots and updates. This version of IClone should be a big one.

-Overman's ZS forum is the place to be-

I thought I had given up on forums last year, but increasingly Overman's (Phil Rice) forums are becoming a new hang out. Not only are there interesting people posting, but many new faces are showing up and offering content and commentary that is inspiring. With Phil ramping up plans for 52 weeks of content on his Youtube.com channel (Phil has to be the hardest working man in machinima, eh?) and with some interesting new (ahem...) developments with his Overcast podcast, I think that z-studios.com is going to be the place to be. What a guy!

-"Louis Revenge" a new film from Andre Pesch-

After working with Andre on "The Days After" a few years ago, I've been a huge fan of his work. His new film "Louis Revenge" is not quite as accomplished as "The Days After", but it sure is a beautiful film to look at and the story is just right for a short film. Andre, if you're listening: I want to work with you again!

-Amorphous Blob's Experimental Machinima Film Exhibition-

Our own Nefarious Guy (Mr. Harrison Heller of "Clockwork") has created an interesting page for a recent class project, which is an exhibition for experimental machinima. Mr. Heller profiles 6
experimental films and comments on each. His goal is to raise awareness of the film experiment in machinima. Well worth your time to stop by his site and see what he's created.

-3d World Magazine-

Despite it's hefty price-tag in the US ($15), I've become addicted to 3d World Magazine. The new issue, #104, has an article on the current state of machinima. Unfortunately, it takes a month or so to show up in Los Angeles magazine stores, so I have to make do with issue #103, which is a hum-dinger. If you don't know about this magazine, it adds a DVD of tutorials, free programs, demo programs and animated films with each issue. Issue #103 came with a special DVD which had 50 of what is, in the magazine's opinion, to be the best short animated films of the last decade or so. I've only made my way through half of the films and they are astoundingly good. It's an expensive magazine (comparatively), but for what you get it's worth every penny.

-Creepy CGI Animation-

Boingboing.net featured this interactive CGI of a young Asian woman recently and it just creeps me out. Apparently, it's flash-based, but darned if I can see how they've made it so life like. And what's with the strange blood-shot eyes? Eeeuuuwww...

-Interview with Alex Sandri, Maya Artist-

I am a staff writer for Renderosity.com this year and recently interviewed an extremely talented Maya artist, Alex Sandri. He is a very popular, but somewhat secretive, artist at the site. After an extended email interview, I've come to wish I could go to Thailand where he lives and spend time with him. Be sure to look through his gallery if you want to be blown away. This guy is good!

-Masters of Russian Animation-

I finally splurged and bought the entire "Masters of Russian Animation" Collection on DVD. What a collection of masterpieces. I've only just finished Disc one. The gem of this first disc is Mikhail Aldashin's, "Kele" (1988), a masterful abstracted story of a flute-playing monster and the two young girls who encounter him. The character movement, the style and the story are remarkable.

-Muxtape - Mix Tape Site-

And finally, although it's not animation related, if you like putting together music mix tapes for your friends, head over to Muxtape.com and set up an account. With a wonderful minimalist design, you can upload mp3's of 12 pieces of music (or spoken word) and create your own mixtape. Phil Rice has an excellent one up. Mine is not to shabby either.

  1. Blogger Overman | May 5, 2008 at 6:50 AM |  

    Wow, great post, Ricky! Jam-packed with vitamins and minerals.

    I, too, was really impressed with "The Ship"... I didn't know that was Unreal. It's a very nice piece of work. There are some really impressive films in the FX Mix and Real Time categories of Bitfilm, too, some of which I've highlighted in the Recommended Viewing section of the ZS Forum.

  2. Blogger Ricky Grove | May 5, 2008 at 9:13 AM |  

    Thanks, Phil. I'll get right over there and check out your list. There are so many films that it helps to use recommendations.

    I slowed down the credits of "The Ship" and at the end he indicates it was created in the Unreal Engine.

  3. Blogger johnnie | May 6, 2008 at 7:42 AM |  

    Woo-hoo! Welcome Tom and Damien!

    I'm looking forward to reading the first post from Damien (and from that crazy Croatian too).

    Great list of interesting tidbits, Ricky. It'll take me quite a while to work my way through all this!

  4. Blogger Ricky Grove | May 6, 2008 at 9:20 AM |  

    Thank you much, Johnnie. Yes, I'm looking forward to their posts as well. Be sure to check out the creepy CGI link. I should have included a picture: very strange indeed.

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