Posts Tagged ‘comics’

Tinkering in the Rift

These remarks have a timestamp.

- xx

TIME STAMP: 1380964654

DATE (M/D/Y @ h:m:s): 10 / 5 / 2013 @ 4:17:34 EST

I HAVE BEEN INTO THE RIFT. AND I HAVE TO TYPE IN CAPITALS, BOTH BECAUSE I’M RENDERING, BUT ALSO BECAUSE THAT IS HOW AWESOME AN OCULUS RIFT IS.

It REALLY only works in the Rift

TIME STAMP: 1380969654

DATE (M/D/Y @ h:m:s): 10 / 05 / 13 @ 5:40:54am EST

I AM A SPACE FANBOY … WAIT … Rendering is Done now. Okay. Again; I am a space fan boy ever since I was a little kid. Everything space is awesome. I was so full of myself. I actually looked down on people who couldn’t name at least nine planets. And their moons.

Now, these days there are so many inner-solar-system objects with a name, that I can’t keep track anymore. Ever since Pluto became a dwarf planet, we’ve started naming every rock in the Solar System. Still, When exploring them with an oculus rift is AWESOME!!!

TIME STAMP: 1381533780

DATE (M/D/Y @ h:m:s): 10 / 11 / 2013 @ 18:23:0 EST

Gnuif, before he dives into Ciess

Gnuif dives in the rift for Ciess on VRJam, http://www.oculusvr.com/vrjam/

Here on Facebook ( ? <– I don’t know what I’m doing ) or on google ( ? <– I really, fucking, don’t know what I am linking)

TIME STAMP: 1382922420

DATE (M/D/Y @ h:m:s): 10 / 27 / 2013 @ 20:7:0 EST

Also this post on Oculus Rift Forums, that may help some people;

Actually, you can do real time image manipulation

You need to click on this to enlarge

Okay, with After Effects you can get a convincing Oculus Rift 3D view, by using the “CC Lens” (I think the CC-effects ship with After effects).
By Trial and error I found that a CC Lens, centered in the middle, with a Size of 60 and a Convergence of -100 will give the desired effect.

Now I had my Rift on loan for the weekend a couple of weeks back, so I can’t experiment with it anymore, but here is the simple setup, that worked for me.

The CC lens will emulate the HMD warp shader’s lens bending, and by creating 2 camera views in After Effects you can emulate, or recreate a z-buffer. I’m assuming that a HMD Warp shader can be easily set up with Adobe Pixelbender, but I did not have time to test that out. So here is the walk through of a poor mans HMD Warp shader in After Effects CS4

1) First create your scene, you only need 640 pixels in width, but I created mine in full width at 1280 pixels ( x 800 of course). It doesn’t really matter as we will be cropping it later on. Make sure your scene has 3D objects in it, moved along the z-axis, otherwise it would be pointless looking at it in the rift ;)

2) Drag your scene-Comp scene into 2 new compositions ( which are 640×480 ) make them a 3D layer, add a Camera and let the camera look at the scene-composition you just dragged there.
Now Position the camera’s slightly apart in each of the compositions. I have mine in the ‘left’ composition at 400,400, -1777 and in the right composition at 300,400,-1777. I assume that by playing with the x (moving them further apart) you can make the depth of your scene more profound while viewing it in the rift.

3) make a final composition, 1280×800 and put your 2 camera compositions in it, next to each other. Now apply a ‘CC Lens’ – effect to each composition and put it on size 60, Convergence -100. I found these values through testing, so they might be optimized, but they worked for me.

4) Finally, Render the scene and view it with the Oculus Rift.

5) Profit :)

image: http://xangadix.net/oculus/afx_oculus_rift.png
afx cs4 project file: http://xangadix.net/oculus/Oculus.aep

Our culture is reaching the boiling point

“As I understand it, at the last count human information was doubling around every 18 months. Further to this, there is a point somewhere around 2015 when human information is doubling every thousandth of a second. That means that in each thousandth of second we will have accumulated more information than we have in the entire previous history of the world. At this point I believe that all bets are off. I cannot imagine the kind of culture that might exist after such a flashpoint of knowledge. I believe that our culture would probably move into a completely different state, would move past the boiling point, from a fluid culture to a culture of steam.”

from ‘The mindscape of Alan Moore

Yes, you have to spent well over an hour listening to the man who gave us Watchman. And who also came up with the dresscode of the global Occupy movement in ‘V for Vendetta’. He may be a bit eccentric, but remember that Alan Moore forsaw important parts of the future in his visions. In this video he argues that after the ‘cultural boiling point’, all bets are of, as we move from a fluid culture to a culture of steam.

Now press play on tape:

YouTube Preview Image

He traffics in fiction, not in lies.

Then the world changed…

I didn’t do anything, as we were to busy smelling each others farts.
-You, probably me, talking to your kid in thirty years time. Explaining why it is such a mess then.

This is one of those posts, that should start with something about how long I haven’t posted  on this blog. Although that would be true, and it would make an okay opening I guess, I am starting with something else. Something you’ve all heard about by now, even those suckers who are trapped on this page by a Google on ‘ duct tape’ .  I mean you, accidental visitor who searched for duct tape. And who choose ‘images’ on Google to search. And couldn’t help yourself when you saw this picture on page 2. And thank you 14000 visitors a month.

Yes, now you are here on a completely different subject. It is not what you are looking for, but read on anyway; All of you who read this, just click ‘more’, and read on for a bit. It is needed and it is important.

(more…)

Comic Review: Air

air_cv19_02

Ha! It’s that time again! I’ve found some time to read up on my comics list and decided to pick a new one that I hadn’t got around yet. Air, by G Willow Wilson and M. K. Perker is one of the newer ongoing series from DC/Virtigo. It now runs for just about a year and half (october 2008). I already got the first trade-paperback handed to me at my local comic shop about a year ago. Back then I decided not to buy it, as I had just bought about 5 or 6 trades already. I promised however to look it up online. Well, that moment arrived last week and I’ve been reading it through over the weekend.

Air is a fun read! But it has a slow start. It mingles Airport-fiction loosely with Terrorist-detective and does an adequate but not brilliant job on it. I must note that it is written by a woman, G Willow Wilson, and it shows. Not in a bad way, mind you.
Her heroine, Blythe, is a stewardess and a very believable, strong woman. The character gets her power from her no-nonsense attitude and her “girl next door” wit, which makes her a very suited protagonist. There is something chick-lit about the whole ordeal, but it is never annoying, better yet it adds to the story.

After the first introduction of the main characters, Zayn, an Interpol Agent, some flight attendees, a couple of bad guys and Blythe, the story takes of. It develops easily into a love story against a background of terrorist threatened airports and airplanes. A lot of the story takes place in Schiphol Airport, which I find funny as I live an easy 2 miles away from there and can actually see it from my window. The dutch which is  spoken now and again in the strip is almost right, missing a letter or a noun here and there. Which is often the case when English native speakers try to write our language.

*spoilers*

The story after the first couple of issues picks up and enters a new dimension as we find out that our Heroine has some special teleporting abilities called “hyperpracting”, not unlike ‘folding space’ which we know out of the Dune series. Wilson connects this through the Aztec-culture proclaiming that we did not invent symbolism, but that symbolism actually invented us, and spacial relations are nothing more then connected dots (interesting notion, not unlike Plato’s world of forms).

AIR-Cv22

Now the story both deepens and weakens at this point. The central theme of the story; Symbolism as opposed to Euclydian space is interesting but is not worked out nearly enough to strike some ground. The ‘hyperpracting’ is a loose background on which  the relationship between Blythe and Zayn is played out. Admittedly the human part of the story is so good that the loose ends in the philosophical part are soon forgotten, but it gets fishy here and there. I think it could do with more support for the paranormal and spiritual claims. The way it’s set up now reads more like new-age-abracadabra.

I did like the winged serpent though.

As it appears there is some ancient technology that allows matter, preferably airplanes, to get from place to place without moving called hyperpracting. Now this technology can only be controlled by ‘gifted’ people, who, more often then not are women. And one of those woman is Amelia Airhart, whom we all know vanished mysteriously when flying as the first women across the Atlantic.

To summarize, the writing is good; it’s not eye-dropping gorgeously good, but is good. Definitely worthy of the DC/Vertigo imprint. The remarks I make here are the only real critiques I have, the story flows fluently (although a bit slow at the beginning) there is always a ‘moar moar moar’-cliffhanger at the end and the supporting characters are believable and well plotted out. There is depth and warmth in this comic, and that is saying a lot.

* end of spoilers *

The art is good. It’s not brilliant. I can’t quite put my finger on it, it’s solidly drawn, high realism with very profound expressions. It reminds me a bit of Matthew Sturges) The color could be a tad more expressive. I get a good sense of movement, intelligently positioned and well set, good perspective. In short; it’s good craftsmanship. Still it is lacking something.

In a comic like this one, with a rather outrages plot; the art could make up an awful lot. There are (many) visions and hallucinations in there, and as an artist that would be a good opportunity to go all-out. Experiment more, try to get into the feeling and emotions of the character, rather then draw page after page like a machine.
On the upside; the expressions work really well, the curves and postures all fit perfectly, the artist never ‘overstretches’ himself trying to do an impossible perspective and I never get the feeling he was missing any deadlines. It’s pretty friggin’ well done. but still…

And that goes for the whole comic then. It’s good. Very good at points, but there is an uncanny feeling that it could have been better. It feels like a spin off from a larger comic series that is really excellent ( Like Jack of the Fables ), but it nowhere looses it’s craftsmanship, and is absolutely a fun read!

So in conclusion, should you buy this comic. Well, yes. I think you should. But if you have just bought five trades already then leave it at the shelve and buy it the next time you come around.

Wikipedia: Air

Posted: April 26th, 2010
Categories: comics, general, nerd
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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Angel Study

Photoshop, patience...

Yes, that actually is Frontal Nudity…

Made with Photoshop. No reference was used.

(more…)

The timeless web isn’t static

” And they call it a mine… A MINE!!! ”

It’s all a matter of connecting the dots, really. –

[ published as ROUGH ]

At Rethinking media, a couple of months back, Matt Thompson ( who co-made the famed Epic video up at the Museum for Media History ) spoke on the “timeless web”. He the run down up on his Newsless. ( and even more )

Basically he his arguing that the way we process information is superfluous at best. Although we keep on reading the ‘developing story’, we don’t take the time to run down through the basic system knowledge:

” It turns out that in order for information about things like the public option and budget reconciliation to be useful to you, you need a certain amount of systemic knowledge to be able to parse it. You need an intellectual framework for understanding health care reform before the episodic headlines relating to health care reform make any sense. “

This rougly translates into Google and the NY Times collaboration called Living Stories. Which is basically monitoring stories and updating them, deeping them out.

YouTube Preview Image

At the Mine I elaborate on this with wakes of tag-clouds. The main point here is to get a slow, organic visual representation of the news in general and certain stories in particular. Still under development, of course ;)

This got me thinking on a lot of stuff. Of course Matt Thompson is absolutely right as he states that the current way of monitoring information is like a horseless carriage. Trying to make sense of information through fragmented and partial bits and pieces is useful in some ways, but is a lot easier with some basic understanding of the words.

Still, when the system knowledge is acquired, there stays a need to ‘follow’ the ‘developments’ . Judging by living stories, the system knowledge is displayed in neat info-graphics, video and news-analysis and then updates regularly.

Through twitter and blog searches however it is also possible to get not only the news, but also what is happening with the news, or what the people involved have to say about it.

Posted: March 24th, 2010
Categories: media, nerd, philosophy, research, web, weird
Tags: , , , ,
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Zuda, for real, Yo!

Zoom WHAM KrrrRRAAAAKkkk

- Wolverine

I thought I had already mentioned somewhere that Zuda comics is one of the best comic initiatives of the last year. Actually a bit longer. DC got it into their minds to start an online initiative where comic creators can upload an 8-page preview of their work, and let their peers review and vote the comic. The winners get a grant from DC (and probably sign their lives away) but may work on their projects. This is a really good and interesting way for new talent to compete with the best (not so) amateur comic writers in the world. This is awesome people.

So…

click here

Personal favourites?

well… the road and Celadore come to mind, but they won, and everybody thought they were great. Here’s one that lost, but is just plain magnificent. Amazing really. Childrens games. There are already over 215 comics online there. Happy reading :)

Posted: August 8th, 2009
Categories: comics, media, web
Tags: , , ,
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Remembering Michael Turner

Witchblade100

News from the comic shop today; A Fellow collector informed me that Michael Turner died of bone cancer last week. (It’s almost like a shrine here at XX.net). A very sad Tale, indeed.

Turner was to me one of the first pencilers I ever encountered. The first series that I ever collected was the original Witchblade series (#1-11 if I’m correct) which was indeed drawn by Michael Turner and inked by the amazing D-tron. After that I must admit that I rarely encountered Turners work, since I don’t really read Fathom or the many Marvel titles that Turner worked on, I still remember him for his work on Witchblade. Thank you for that.

My thoughts go out to his family and friends.

more on his site on Aspen Comics

Posted: July 7th, 2008
Categories: comics, propaganda, technology
Tags: , , , , ,
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God Save the Queen

6628_400x600

Usually I am very picky as it comes to buying comics, but once in a while I take the advice of the nice lady in my comic shop to heart and by something I haven’t read yet on the Internet. So when my bag came up empty (I’m waiting for Fables #10 which hasn’t dropped yet in Holland) I took her suggestion and bought the relatively new paperback by Mike Carey and John Bolton.

Now Bolton I already knew from the Fables spin off ‘1001 nights of snowfall’ in which he painted the story about what happened to snow white after she married Prince Charming. His style is beautiful and original, mostly painted and mostly referenced through photos. On his website he describes himself as a ‘mixed media’ artist, which probably means that he is using a lot of photoshop; still his panels feel more like paintings then works of digital art, which I love.

A second big plus is that this is the first comic that my girlfriend god carried away with, so for first-timers this is a comic to pick up.

God save the queen tells the story of a palace-revolution in Fiery alongside the story of a changeling (half man, half fiery) coming to grips with her magical nature. It loosely ties in with Gaimans universe, using well known characters like Tittiana,  Auberon and Cluracan. There is even a glimpse of Daniel, the current Sandman, in there when the main character Linda is transcending Fiery and returning to Earth through the Dreaming.

Having said that, this comics is self-contained and no prior knowledge is necessary for understanding the story line.

Early in the story we learn that Heroin and the blood of a changeling is a very good high for Fair Folk, and Linda is introduced to a group of Fieries that keep themselves busy with just that. After they enter Fiery they notice that something has changed, and they soon learn that Queen Titiana has been replaced with Queen Mab who intends to establish a rough dictatorship for the coming eons.

The story revolves around classic teenager themes such as experiment, drugs and sex as well as what I call ‘gothic punk’ themes as fiery and magic. It reads wonderfully and the pacing of the story makes it a very nice read. As I mentioned the artwork is among the best I’ve seen and never dissapoints or bores. Although it is mainly a dialogue and atmosphere comics, the few action scenes are worked quite well.

This is simply put one of those comics you want to have in your library, and if you are new to comics, this is one that you can easily enjoy without reading the entire Vertigo library before you ‘get’ it.

Check the Virtigo page for a sneak peak

Posted: May 1st, 2008
Categories: comics
Tags: , , , ,
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Testament

testament

[...] A screenager (a modern day teen who grows up with screens;television and computers -XX) creates his own identity, based asmuch in what he points to with the links on his homepage as anythinghe may have to say by himself. Constructing one’s page is delivering oneself, as he chooses to be known, to the society at large. However naively conceived or psychedelically enhanced, this is the self-birth of the children of chaos.

-Douglas Rushkoff, children of chaos page 239

I’ll admit that I am a bit of a sucker for Douglas Rushkoff, but when I came across a couple of Trade Paperbacks by his hand I bought them all. Rushkoff is probably best known as a very influential media-theorist. His current bibliography includes media virus, screenagers and some weird books on psycho-active drugs.

Besides, it’s not the first time I mention him Cool

So when one of my favorite media theorists starts a comic book I want to have it. So I bought the whole damn lot. And to be totally honest, it isn’t that good. To be fair, it’s not bad either. First problem is the artist; Liam Sharp, who seems to be drawing just a bit above his power. With that I mean, that some pictures seem rushed, mostly the pictures that are likely to have been drawn last. Just before the deadline. Don’t get me wrong, some of the lay-outs are amazing, but now and again he gets a posture or a face just wrong. Seems rushed. I have a feeling if the whole style of the comics would have been a tad more ‘iconized’, more graphical instead of realistic, it could have worked much, much better. It is however quite easy to stare through that setback, at least after a couple of pages it didn’t bother me that much anymore, but once or twice that eerie feeling of “FAIL” came to mind.

So what about the story then? It’s a bit pompous to say the least. Rushkoff tries to make an argument that the stories in the bible are happening over and over again; So he writes a parallel story with biblical events and near-future events. Graphically this could work really well, for instance in the story about Abraham offering his favorite son to God; this is paralleled with a father in the near-future that has to inject his own son with a tracking-RFiD chip for the government.

The gods hover outside the panels, influencing the events in the story lines. This all is conceptually vey nice, but the stories that are told don’t really provoke. The characters don’t sparkle and come to life, like in the bible they are pretty dull and one-dimensional. This is not helped by the fact that the same characters act out different biblical characters. For instance, the near-future Abraham, is the same character that presents Adam in another story on Adam and Eve – near future adam creates an AI.

Still, Rushkoff manages to parallel the biblical stories with very interesting near-future finds. Adam and Eve’s ‘apple’ is paralleled with an AI-program, and the tower of Bable is paralleled with a businessman building a global currency. Again conceptually interesting but without proper facial expression and good dialogs the story just doesn’t seem to sparkle.

Then there is the business of the outer-panel gods; although I though the idea a bit lame when I read about it in the introduction, it works pretty well. Especially the connection of the gods with the stories is interesting. Since the gods cannot interfere directly they can push and pull a little. Rushkoff again is very creative as to how this process works. A particular find that I thought interesting takes place in the garden of Eden. Elijah, Melchizedek and Krishna create a garden for man. Elijah is presented as the Hebrew god, but could as well be Allah, Melchizedek would be the closest to the Christian godhead and Krishna, of course, is presented as a Hindu god. They basically decide to write a new creation myth for one ruling faceless god. The other gods in play, Atum Ra, Ishtar and Moloch are left out of the garden. These latter three gods can best be describes as the Egyptian god, the sex godess and de devil. Together they want to pervert man in the Garden of Eden. Ishtar manages to stick her hand into the comic panel that represents Eden and grows a tree, the tree of knowledge of right and wrong.

All interesting concepts, great finds, even thought-provoking at some points, but not an amazing read. Too bad really.

Posted: February 25th, 2008
Categories: comics, media
Tags: , ,
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