So...Great News...We are going to be getting Moviestorm software for use by Art&Design students at UMD. We won educational licenses... that will be installed in the Digital Arts classroom, the Multimedia Hub, Montague Lab and VizLab.The Moviestorm software will
be good for students interested in 3d animation, digital storytelling, pre-visualization,
game design, filmmaking, and machinima.
A strange man builds a world using holographic tools for the woman he loves.
This award winning short was created by filmmaker Bruce Branit, widely known as the co-creator of '405'. World Builder was shot in a single day followed by about 2 years of post production. Branit is the owner of Branit VFX based in Kansas City.
In Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier, FRONTLINE presents an in-depth exploration of what it means to be human in a 21st-century digital world. Please watch this!
Of special interest to our class is the part about Virtual Worlds.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
Etymology: Sanskrit avatāraḥ descent, from avatarati he descends, from ava- away + tarati he crosses over.
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 Avatar By AARON BRITT
Published: August 8, 2008
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
In my Utopian campus I would integrate more "art" into everyday areas where students would walk past or even walk on. I would also want to build a channel for a river that would flow through campus where students could swim or canoe. There would also be many unique bridges over it for access to other buildings on campus. I would also change the sidewalks and boring concrete walls around UMD and fill them with student designs so that our school would be customizable to our time. And the architecture would be more unique for each building so that It would be easy to navigate and be pleasant to look at as you walk though school. Overall I would just want the atmosphere to feel less like a business building and have a more creative feel that could inspire students as they travel and learn on campus. ~Garrett Danielson
As you walk through the bright hallways you will find a large wooden door. This leads to the courtyard. As you enter there is a boardwalk that leads you down the center and along side the reflecting pool. After that, feel free to walk on the grass or along the granite walkways on either side. It is recommended to take your shoes off to enjoy this place of tranquil delight. Spend time walking around the art pieces as well as the gardens and trees. As the seasons change the courtyard changes. In the fall, enjoy the rich colored trees and crisp, cool air. Once the snow falls, a large, clear dome will protect the courtyard from snow and ice. It will turn into an indoor courtyard. The natural order of trees may change but the grass will stay green all year and the flowers will be at constant care. The courtyard's maintenance will provide students with jobs as well as class projects and volunteer work. There are more windows and sky-walks around campus as well. This allows everyone to see the beautiful place on his or her way to and from class.
For my design I decided to do the theme of super human abilities. It is a fun project to ask my friends what super power they would want to have and then try to create what they want. I decided to try and make it look realistic yet also have qualities of a fantasy. The composition of a panorama opens up the picture and allows the characters to interact with their location in space and their environment. Having the whole background consist of an actual pieced together wide view of a real part of the campus gives it part of the realistic feel. Heightened contrast and slightly unsaturated colors in the background make the characters pop more and also a more fantasy, cartoon feel. Recreating the sky digitally makes it a little more dreamlike and less realistic feeling. My aim is to create a unique wide angle view of the UMD campus with a few make-believe twists. ~Beau Walsh
The kind of Utopia I envision in a university setting is one that brings together all students and faculty of diverse areas of study, as one educational unit. The centrally planned architecture and sustainable nature of the university encourages congregation and intermingling, as well as the educational structure itself. From the first day of class to graduation day, students collaborate with other areas of study on group projects. The campus relies on on-campus agricultural land as its source of food, as well as solar power and rain water collection systems. The university acts like communal society, but with advanced technology on their side making every day living safe and convenient..~David Roberts
Check out this cool installation of a utopian city: Vegetal City by visionary architect from Brussels, Luc Schuiten. http://vegetalcity.net/
Inhabitat.com is a weblog devoted to the future of design, tracking the innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future. http://www.inhabitat.com/new-york-design-week-2009/