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January 31, 2010

Yeti Film Festival

Yeti Film Festival Submissions Due!!
When > Friday, Feb 12, 2010
Where > KPB Office (115 Kirby Student Center)

Five Categories:
30-Second Shorts = Exactly 30 Seconds
Library Category = About / Take Place in the Library

PRIZES: Best of Show : $500 Best Buy Gift Card Second Best of Show : $250 Best Buy Gift Card **BEST OF SHOW IS NOT ELIGIBLE TO WIN A CATEGORY* First in Category : $150 Best Buy Gift Card Second in Category : $75 Best Buy Gift Card Third in Category : $50 Best Buy Gift Card Best of 30-Second Shorts : $50 Best Buy Gift Card ----------------------------------

Submissions Due February 12th. Please place DVD in the submission box on Max Melby's Desk. Email Max with questions at melby083@d.umn.edu ---------------------------------

Submission Guidelines: You can enter a maximum of two separate categories and one 30-second short, but only one entry is required.

Time Limit:
10 minutes (excluding 30 second shorts) Follow the UMD student conduct code: No excessive / over the top foul language (you've got a diverse audience) If someone is drinking in the film, they need to be over 21 Reasonable limitations on violence and gore. ----------------------------------

January 29, 2010

Machinima > a new art form

A Japanese ghost story adapted from Hearn's "Yuki-Onna"(Kwaidan). Directed by Michelle Pettit-Mee. Filmed entirely in the Sims 2, October 2006. Winner of Best Story at the European Machinima Festival '07.

So, what is Machinima?
From the Academy of Machinima Arts and Sciences

Machinima (muh-sheen-eh-mah) is filmmaking within a real-time, 3D virtual environment, often using 3D video-game technologies.

In an expanded definition, it is the convergence of filmmaking, animation and game development. Machinima is real-world filmmaking techniques applied within an interactive virtual space where characters and events can be either controlled by humans, scripts or artificial intelligence.

By combining the techniques of filmmaking, animation production and the technology of real-time 3D game engines, Machinima makes for a very cost- and time-efficient way to produce films, with a large amount of creative control.

Archive of Machinima Films

Machinima.com is a website, operated by Machinima, Inc., that aims to be a hub for machinima, the art of creating animated videos in real-time virtual 3-D environments. The site features machinima-related articles, news, and Internet forums.

ILL Clan Animation Studios is an award-winning machinima animation studio with over ten years of experience producing original content and work for hire. Called "machinima masters" by Wired Magazine we've been a key player in pioneering this medium since its origins in 1997.

The Art of Machinima on Vimeo

Machinima Podcasts

List of Machinima Film Festivals



Machinima Festival Europe

Angela Thomas blogs about Machinima here, with some great examples:
Proposing A Machinima Canon

Paul Marino blog

More about Machinima

Marino, Paul (2004). 3D Game-Based Filmmaking: The Art of Machinima. Scottsdale, Arizona: Paraglyph Press. ISBN 1-932111-85-9.

Kelland, Matt; Dave Morris, Dave Lloyd (2005). Machinima: Making Movies in 3D Virtual Environments. Cambridge: The Ilex Press. ISBN 1-59200-650-7.

Some interesting examples of Machinima, as discussed by Paul Marino:

Diary of a Camper (1996). The very first machinima work by Quake clan The Rangers is somewhat hard to watch (and impossible to hear--it's mostly silent), but this seminal piece is the foundation of machinima history.

Warthog Jump (2002). Randall Glass exploits Halo's physics engine to comedic effect, interspersed with sound bites and song samples that make for one of the first truly entertaining examples of machinima.

Red vs. Blue (2003). Rooster Teeth creates the de facto example of machinima, a series embraced by gamers and nongamers alike, showing firsthand that machinima can reach beyond its initial audience, with approximately 1 million downloads per episode.

The Photographer (2006). A lone photographer is searching for his subject through the crowded city. Filmmaker Friedrich Kirschner mixes various media elements in his machinima, thus emphasizing that the medium not only can be devoid of game assets but also can break free of its commonly known framework.

Ignis Solus (2007). This Team Fortress 2-based machinima is the dictionary definition of making narrative stand above the game platform. Zach Scott directed this Pyro-as-Everyman piece, making the locations of the game seem designed from the ground up as places of solitude.

Joseph DeLappe's Quake/Friends looks at the celebration of violence as promoted through games, and both Eddo Stern and Jessica Hutchison's Landlord Vigilante and Jim Munroe's My Trip to Liberty City add commentary about how games symbiotically create and color our worldview.

January 28, 2010

Student Avatar Art

Here are a few examples of student designed avatars:

January 24, 2010

Avatars in Digital Culture

The term avatar was first popularized as a concept in cyber culture and science fiction through books like Neal Stephenson's 1992 classic, Snow Crash.
Stephenson uses the word "avatar" in his novel: "The people are pieces of software called avatars. They are the audiovisual bodies that people use to communicate with each other in the Metaverse (the virtual reality internet)."

Virtual worlds, avatar experiences and communication tools are becoming more prevalent in digital culture. Here are some recent books that discuss the contemporary use of avatars:

I, Avatar: The Culture and Consequences of Having a Second Life (New Riders) (Paperback) Mark Stephen Meadows (Author)
Publisher: New Riders Press; 1 edition (January 6, 2008)
From the Book Description:
What is an avatar? Why are there nearly a billion of them, and who is using them? Do avatars impact our real lives, or are they just video game conceits? Is an avatar an inspired rendering of its creator's inner self, or is it just one among millions of anonymous vehicles clogging the online freeways? Can we use our avatars to really connect with people, or do they just isolate us? And as we become more like our avatars do they become more like us?

Alter Ego: Avatars and their Creators ~ Robbie Cooper (Author) Publisher: Chris Boot (May 1, 2007)
From the Book Description: ...presenting the phenomenon of the contemporary avatar-the virtual characters gamers choose and design to engage in 3D worlds online. Portraits of gamers from the United States, Europe, China, and Japan (including leading figures of the gaming world) are paired with digital images of their alter egos, graphically dramatizing the gap between fantasy and reality.



Digital Culture, Play, and Identity: A World of Warcraft® Reader
-by Hilde G. Corneliussen and Jill Walker Rettberg
Publisher: The MIT Press (May 31, 2008)
From the Book Description: World of Warcraft is the world's most popular massively multiplayer online game (MMOG), with (as of January 2008) more than ten million active subscribers across Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia who play the game an astonishing average of twenty hours a week. This book examines the complexity of World of Warcraft from a variety of perspectives, exploring the cultural and social implications of the proliferation of ever more complex digital gameworlds.

Exodus to the Virtual World: How Online Fun Is Changing Reality (Paperback) ~ Edward Castronova (Author) Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (November 11, 2008)
Product Description: Virtual worlds have exploded out of online game culture and now capture the attention of millions of ordinary people: husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, workers, retirees. Devoting dozens of hours each week to massively multiplayer virtual reality environments (like World of Warcraft and Second Life), these millions are the start of an exodus into the refuge of fantasy, where they experience life under a new social, political, and economic order built around fun. Given the choice between a fantasy world and the real world, how many of us would choose reality? Exodus to the Virtual World explains the growing migration into virtual reality, and how it will change the way we live--both in fantasy worlds and in the real one.

Who Do They Think They Are?: Teenage Girls and Their Avatars in Spaces of Social Online Communication (New Literacies and Digital Epistemologies) (Paperback) ~ Connie Morrison (Author) Publisher: Peter Lang Publishing (January 15, 2010)

Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human (Hardcover) ~ Tom Boellstorff (Author) Publisher: Princeton University Press (April 21, 2008)

About the word > Avatar

Book by Ganga Somany ( 2004)

Avatar origin : ("descent"), in Hinduism, the incarnation of a deity in human or animal form to counteract some particular evil in the world. The term usually refers to these 10 appearances of Vishnu: Matsya (fish), Kūrma (tortoise), Varāha (boar), Narasiṃha (half man, half lion), Vāmana (dwarf), Paraśurāma (Rāma with the axe), Rāma (hero of the Rāmāyaṇa epic), Krishna (the divine cowherd), Buddha, and Kalkin (the incarnation yet to come). The number of Vishnu's avatars is sometimes extended or their identities changed, according to local preferences.

avatar av·a·tar noun
Pronunciation: \ˈa-və-ˌtär\
Etymology: Sanskrit avatāraḥ descent, from avatarati he descends, from ava- away + tarati he crosses over.
Date: 1784

1 : the incarnation of a Hindu deity (as Vishnu)

2 a : an incarnation in human form b : an embodiment (as of a concept or philosophy) often in a person

3 : a variant phase or version of a continuing basic entity

4 : an electronic image that represents and is manipulated by a computer user (as in a computer game)


Daśāvatāra refers to the ten principal avatars. In Vaishnava philosophy, an avatar (Sanskrit: अवतार, avatāra), most commonly refers to the 'descent' and daśa refers to 'ten' in number. The ten most famous incarnations of Vishnu or sometimes Krishna are collectively known as the Dashavatara.


Also see: New York Times article on the word avatar
On Language
Published: August 8, 2008

January 23, 2010

13 Most Beautiful Avatars



Through 2006 and 2007, Eva and Franco Mattes (who are also known as 0100101110101101.ORG) created portraits of avatars, i.e. the customizable personas that people inhabit in online virtual worlds. Addressing the new online environments as places to socialize, nurture celebrity, and perhaps leave one's real self behind, these images capture members of the popular online virtual world Second Life, combining the traditions of glamour photography with the brilliant colors and hard-line aesthetics of the game-world. The Mattes' work questions both the traditional role of portraiture and the nature of the morphing relationship between identity and public presentation in virtual worlds. Like Andy Warhol's legendary Factory, Second Life is about the creation of alternate identities, of building and living a fantasy.

(statement from their website)

Also see ArtNews Magazine
Feb 2008

January 22, 2010

Virtual Italy

I spent some time over the holidays climbing cathedrals and riding a virtual horse through the Tuscan countryside. Twas violent, but incredible.

I'm too busy to date your Avatar

The Guild
The Guild is a independent sitcom web series about a group of online gamers.

I'm Too Busy to Date Your Avatar! (2009)
Machinima spin-off

Director: Bernhard Drax
Producer: PookyMedia Films
Production Company: PookyMedia Films

January 4, 2010

Testing Avatar Makers

I'm zoellyn


This is the 3D me.
Make your own,
and we both get Coinz!

Here are some links to avatar makers on the web:
Second Life

27 of the best avatar makers


A list of 3D Virtual Worlds