June 2006 Archives
Ah.. It was an interesting Saturday yesterday in North Hollywood, as I spent most of the day at the Academy reviewing and voting on the many series, movies, and specials that have been submitted for a Special Visual Effects Emmy.
If you haven't already found out, Apple is now selling Shake at $499.. Yes, that's no typo. Four hundred and ninety-nine dollars. Read the press release.
The original press release is here. Since the price drop is so radical, I can foresee Apple coming up with a new comp package to continue the Shake legacy. If they don't, they will have opened up a door for their competitors to run free.
CUPERTINO, Californiaâ€”June 20, 2006â€”AppleÂ® today delivered ShakeÂ® 4.1, the first Universal version of its industry leading compositing software and cut its price from $2,999 to $499 to fit almost any productionâ€™s budget. Final CutÂ® Studio editors can now take advantage of Shake for sophisticated 3D compositing, keying, image tracking and stabilization for the price of a plug-in. Shake continues to be the tool of choice for major motion-picture studios and leading effects houses to create award-winning visual effects including this year's Oscar winner, â€œKing Kong.â€
â€œAt just $499, Shake is now priced as low as a plug-in for Final Cut Studio,â€ said Rob Schoeben, Appleâ€™s vice president of Applications Product Marketing. â€œNow Final Cut Studio customers can retouch their shots with Shakeâ€™s optical flow technology or add photo realistic visual effects to their productions, even on a shoestring budget.â€
â€œShake has become an essential tool at ILM for visual effects compositing, playing a central part in our pipeline on blockbuster movies such as â€˜Mission Impossible 3,â€™ â€˜Poseidonâ€™ and the upcoming â€˜Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Manâ€™s Chest,â€™â€ said Cliff Plumer, chief technology officer of Industrial Light and Magic. â€œBy pricing Shake at less than $500, Apple has opened up the doors for the next generation of artists to master their craft.â€
Shake 4.1 complements Final Cut Studio by providing a full range of operations from simple re-touching to complex 3D compositing. Launched directly from the Final Cut Pro timeline, Shake uses state-of-the-art optical flow image analysis to re-time, track and stabilize shots with precision. Particle effects from Motion 2 can be dropped directly into the Shake process tree to add elements such as smoke, sparkles and fire to sophisticated multi-plane 3D composites. High resolution work can flow from Motion to Shake by rendering with the shared OpenEXR format for pristine film quality reproduction.
Shake 4.1 delivers significant performance gains on the new Intel-based Macs providing artists and editors with desktop level experience on the new MacBookâ„¢ Pro* notebook computer. Performance tests on a MacBook Pro have shown that common tasks such as color correction, warping and the application of filters are processed up to 3.5 times faster on a MacBook Pro than on a PowerBookÂ® G4. Artists and editors can start compositing with HD, 2K and even 4K shots directly on location making Shake 4.1 on a MacBook Pro an ideal tool for continuity.
Pricing & Availability
Shake 4.1 is now available through the Apple StoreÂ® (www.apple.com), Appleâ€™s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $499 (US). Owners of Shake 4 can take advantage of a crossgrade to Shake 4.1 for just $49 (US). Full details are available at www.apple.com/shake. Apple will no longer sell the Apple Maintenance Program for Shake. Current Shake Apple Maintenance customers can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
* Performance tests on a 17-inch MacBook Pro have shown that common tasks such as color correction, warping and the application of filters are processed up to 3.5 times faster on a MacBook Pro with 2.16 GHz Intel Core Duo than a 17-inch PowerBook G4 with 1.67 GHz Power PC.
Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning desktop and notebook computers, OS X operating system, and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital music revolution with its iPod portable music players and iTunes online music store.
Over the weekend I drove up to Northern California to attend the A vs V Paintball game, which pitted the audio guys and gals against the visual effects guys and gals! The game was at Paintball Jungle, and we would be rotating various playing fields, playing as a private group..
Yep, another new toy made its way into my possession this week. It's totally unrelated to visual effects, but does help me relieve the stress on the weekends!
So today is June 6, 2006.. 6-6-06, Devil's Day, apparently, and also the day of the California Primary. I went to the ballot station this morning a couple of blocks from home to vote, and it was empty inside, save for three volunteer pollworkers, playing guessing games ("He walked away blank, six letter word"). It distracted me for a moment from all the ballot options, as I tried to figure out what the blank word was.
Just like the dailies it represents, monthlies is a monthly DD tradition, where work footage from the various teams are shown to the rest of the studio. This month was no different than last month or the month before, except for some new, completed footage of a couple of the films we are working on, and a couple of the commercials that have just been finished.
A fairly important effects pioneer died yesterday. He was 92. His insight and technology increased the visual arena of what was capable into what we are able to do now with his original breakthroughs. This news bulletin is on Yahoo and CNN..
LOS ANGELES - Arthur Widmer, who developed some of the most widely used special effects technology in films and earned an Academy Award last year for lifetime achievement, has died.
He was 92.
Widmer died of cancer on May 28, his publicist Jane Ayer told the LosAngeles Times for a story published Sunday.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave Widmer the awardfor his work in developing Ultra Violet and "blue screen" special effects processes.
"Art's pioneering work has had a profound impact on the film industry," said Richard Edlund of the academy's Scientific and Technical Awards Committee when the award was announced. "Many of the films we hold dear would not have been possible without his contributions to image compositing technology."
Working for Warner Bros. in the 1950s, Widmer developed the UltraViolet Traveling Matte process, an early version of what would become known as blue screen, in which two different images shot at differenttimes and places could be combined into one.
"If you want to have a couple sitting at a cafe in Paris, you could send the couple to Paris and hire a crew and get all the lights and stop the traffic and shoot it, but that would be very expensive," Widmer told the Los Angeles Business Journal last year. "Instead, you get a little mock-up on the stage of the table and chairs and set the couple there and shoot them against the blue screen in the background."
Widmer left Warner Bros. in 1964 to design and build the optical department for Universal Studios, where he continued the development of blue screen and other visual effects until his retirement in 1979.
The Special Visual Effects (SVE) Peer Group will have our annual voting for the visual effects categories Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series and Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries, Movie, or Special on June 24th, 2006. I've RSVPed, and will finally get a chance to see what my peers in the categories will be doing.
What I really like about the TV effects is that they're done on a much more guerilla budget and timeframe compared to most visual effects for films. However, with the advent of HD, it is becoming more and more commonplace to create VFX for TV in an almost filmlike atmosphere, and some of the visual effects on TV are getting closer and closer to their film counterparts in every way.
At the moment, I don't know who the nominees are, but I can hazard a couple of guesses. There will be Battlestar Galactica, some Stargate, Lost, Smallville, and Invasion on the series side of things. I haven't been keeping up with any of the series above, except for Lost and Battlestar Galactica. I wanted to get more into Invasion, but everytime it starts, i just want to do something else.
An indepth look at how I created my G36c A5 out of a Tippmann A-5 and a Tokyo Marui airsoft G36c. An oldie but a goodie. What follows is a step by step breakdown that I originally posted on A5OG.net, which became pbownersgroup.com. You can check the original thread with original comments, at PBOwnersGroup. The following extended entry is very image heavy. I originally created this about a year ago, when it was slow and I needed to keep myself busy somehow. Internet surfing can only please you so much. All these images are 640x480 or 800x600, but I've resized them to a more manageable and viewable 320x240. If you want to see the bigger image, right-click the image and select, View Image.
Welcome to the new DigitalGypsy! After a couple weeks of throwing ideas against the wall, I finally settled on something I like. Here are some of the improvements so far:
— Feedburner RSS feeds and daily emails: Now you can get your DG fix from your RSS aggregator! If you're old school, you can get daily emails instead.
— Collapsible menu items: Try it now! Click on one of the main headers in the sidebar to see what happens.
— Variable width page layouts: No more stuck at 700 pixels wide!
— Updated Bio, Filmography, and Gallery pages: New and improved.
— Today's Visitors: Daily updated site visitors, and where the hits are coming from!
— In Theatres: Pulled daily from Rotten Tomatoes, it also contains their ratings.
— Improved Search: The searching actually works now, give it a try.
I urge you to try and encounter any pages or items that may not jive with the main page. I tried my darnedest to get everything updated correctly, but may have missed something here or there. There are some little things that I need to hit, mainly trying to get comments to display immediately, instead of me manually approving them. However, the more you comment with the same email address, the more you get whitelisted, and able to post immediately.
Any comments and critiques are more than welcome! Want to see what DigitalGypsy used to look like? Click here!
Got this little gem in my email this morning.
Here is what's new at the VES Festival of Visual Effects 2006!
— New location - The Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood with two screens
— Showcase of international, experimental, animated and student film works
— "Festival Courtyard" featuring VFX and entertainment industry vendors, special displays, interactive activities, and a Hospitality Tent
— More professional programming than ever before including in-depth visual effects analysis of Superman Returns, X-Men: The Last Stand, Cars, and television fan favorite Smallville. Featuring Academy Award winners Dennis Muren, John Myhre, Robert Skotak, Mark Stetson and more than 50+ industry veterans, the Festival will focus on cutting-edge technological advances, historical achievements, and forecasting for the future of visual effects in film, television, and animation.
Get your passes now at the VES Site!