They're being a bit ambitious, looking for $30,000 and they still have a long way to go, but with three and a half weeks to go, if they can get some more attention, they still have a shot. The main reward levels are more like sponsorship levels, allowing animators to promote their works on the Tupi website, which may or may not be of interest to some. Still, the project itself looks quite cool.
Next up is a more specific project: apngasm, a tool for making animated PNG images, while also pushing to get past the animated GIF, and finally moving to PNG instead. Just like regular PNG images are much better than regular GIF images, the animated counterparts represent a step up as well.
These guys started with a much more modest goal of $5,000, which they've just about doubled, and there's still a week to go.
I hope everyone has a nicely animated Labor Day weekend (if you're in the US) or just a regular weekend if you're elsewhere.
If we're going to have armies of robot servants, we probably shouldn't make them look like scary terminator exoskeletons or creepy rubber-skinned mannequins. It's actually not that easy to avoid the uncanny valley, but that difficulty isn't going to prevent folks from trying to create ever more life-like (yet fake) people. Here are just a few links pointing to some cool projects to design our artificial replacements.
Want to know when a bit of news has really hit the mainstream? It's when the Taiwanese company Next Media Animation does a computer generated animation of the story. These videos have become a media sensation. Guess what they just took on? Yup, the battle over SOPA, which they animate by showing Hollywood lobbyists seeking to attack the internet, and showing not only how tech companies teamed up to fight this, but that internet users are pushing back. Amusingly, they make use of the imagery from the UC Davis pepper spray incident to show how Hollywood and the government can "knock out" sites under SOPA.
We've mentioned some interesting CGI work before, but the field of advanced video processing just continues to be amazing. Big Hollywood budgets won't be necessary if CGI software keeps getting better and better. Here are some cool clips we've seen.
With all the recent stories of questionable TSA searches of people who opt out of both the TSA naked backscatter scanners and a personal groping by a TSA agent, it really was only a matter of time until the famed Taiwanese news animators NMA stepped up with an animated recreation, which I would say... um... takes some poetic licenses with the story -- especially when it comes to the availability of a private search area for the grope. That said, it covers the story of the "don't touch my junk" guy (and shows picketers with a sign saying that), as well as a planned protest of the machines for November 24th, one of the biggest travel days of the year.
Among the more amusing bits are a prediction of all naked flights (on which the people all seem way too happy) and terrorists laughing at our new security measures.
Meanwhile, for those of us in the US (I know, I know, don't blame me, blame Viacom), you can watch Stephen Colbert's take on the TSA security mess, involving "x-raying your x-rated parts," along with noting that it appears the company making most of these devices, Rapiscan, hopefully is not pronounced "rape-iscan":
You may remember the attention paid recently to the Banksy-created opening of the Simpsons, which (among other things) portrayed animators working under sweatshop-like conditions, to produce the cartoon. We had mentioned it after Fox issued a DMCA takedown on the video, which had been uploaded to Banksy's account. I'm not entirely sure what happened, but that YouTube video is back up:
That said, what may be more interesting is this story about how the South Korean animators who did, in fact, animate that opening sequence protested the whole thing, and pushed back until at least some of the sequence was changed. I will admit that my first impression on hearing about it was to think that Banksy confused North Korea with South Korea, and that does appear to be what some others have said as well. While it is true that South Korean animators make less than American animators, it's hardly "sweatshop" conditions. Still, in the end, the animators animated the sequence in question, but are making it known that they don't think the depiction is fair.