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Category: Technical

Giving up on greenscreen?

Giving up on greenscreen?

CG has always had problems with realism. Eye-lines are never perfect, colors between live/CG elements never quite match, reflections can be incorrect, directionally incorrect, missing, or mismatched in color/intensity, lighting color/intensity/direction is often inconsistent between the live elements and CG elements, mattes have problems at edges, motion tracking is usually off by just enough to cause odd movement discontinuities. All of this makes CG look cheap.

But there is a new approach using large displays surrounding your shooting scene – and it’s changing the game completely. Even more amazing, camera movement and simulation are done using the Unreal gaming engine. Even back in the mid 2000’s, I worked on a project that was attempting to use a game engine for movie pre-visualization. That’s how far things have come. The amazing visuals of the Mandelorian were created using this technique – and it’s blowing green-screens away.

Grocery Trip

Grocery Trip

“Computers are good at lots of tasks – but they’ll never replace creative activities and artists”

May I present Pouff’s grocery shopping video was created back in 2015, using neural network technology which attempted to identify animal faces in places where they didn’t actually exist.

Incidentally, Mario Klingemann disagrees with the first statement. “Humans are not original,” he says. “We only reinvent, make connections between things we have seen.” While humans can only build on what we have learned and what others have done before us, “machines can create from scratch”

Walking your dog with a drone

Walking your dog with a drone

With isolation orders spreading around the world, people are staying inside to avoid spreading coronavirus. Some people are coming up with clever ways to avoid catching this disease…even when walking their dogs.

Balancing a bouncing ball

Balancing a bouncing ball

Electron Dust shows off a nifty machine that can bounce a ping pong ball, while keeping it balanced and centered on its moving platform. It uses combination of open-source image processing software and Arduino-controlled stepper motors to work its magic.

It is an arduino project with 120 FPS OpenCV image processing and smooth stepper motor moves. The machine calculates the ball’s 3D position from the image processing data and uses this information to control the orange ping pong ball.

Uses an e-con Systems superb See3CAM_CU135 camera. Find out more about the camera here: https://www.e-consystems.com/4k-usb-c…

This machine requires the following things to work:

  • 1x Teensy 4.0 Microcontroller
  • 4x StepperOnline DM442S stepper motor drivers
  • 4x Nema 17 Stepper Motors with 5:1 planetary gearbox
  • 1x 48V 8A power supply
  • 1x e-con Systems See3CAM_CU135 camera
  • 1x Windows Computer with OpenCV installed on it –

All the parts defined the Fusion360 project – Custom Windows Application (made with Unity). Read more here: https://electrondust.com/2020/03/02/t… Complete code and Fusion360 data on Github: https://github.com/T-Kuhn/HighPrecisi…

Nightmare fuel

Nightmare fuel

Image result for faith game

While a relatively short game, the indie horror game FAITH has gotten great accolades. It’s available for free on itch.io if you want to give it a try.

One of the more frightening elements of the game are the voices of the encountered creatures. The voices for at least one of the creepy characters was generated using a text-to-speech program called SAM (Software Automatic Mouth) written in 1982 for the Commodore 64.

The C source code is available on github, or you can give some of your own phrases a try here via a clever web interface.

Unreal Engine resource viewer

Unreal Engine resource viewer

This is a really cool tool (UE Viewer/uModel). I have used this several times to explore and export models and resources from various games. You just need to know what version of Unreal the game was developed with.

For example, I extracted a model from Dead by Daylight by pointing this tool at the pak file directory (…\Steam\steamapps\common\Dead by Daylight\DeadByDaylight\Content\Paks) and indicated the game was ‘Unreal Engine 4 version 4.21’.