Visitors to the ASIAGRAPH 2007 exhibition held in Tokyo this weekend will have witnessed what is probably the most innovative use of robotics to date in the shape of a green-skinned mannequin that can take on virtually any appearance.

The secret behind the chameleon-like ability of ‘ U-Tsu-Shi-O-Mi’ is a piece of virtual-reality software that projects images onto the green covering of the robot in the same way special effects are created in movies. The resulting avatar is viewed through a connected head-mounted video display.

Forced feedback

Are you itching to see some footage from The Dark Knight? Omelete is reporting that Warner Bros plans to release a 7-minute prologue to The Dark Knight in front of the IMAX screenings of I Am Legend on December 14th. The footage will apparently feature Heath Ledger as The Joker. But remember, the 7-minute prologue will only be attached to the IMAX version (which I’m assuming is a cross promotion since Dark Knight will also premiere on the huge IMAX screen).

(Source: businessweek.com)           A year ago, Tim Cheung had one of computer-generated animation’s dream jobs—working on the latest installment of Shrek for DreamWorks Animation SKG (DWA). Today, the 35-year-old Texas native works in an old warehouse district in a remote part of Hong Kong, helping film neophytes learns the do’s and don’ts of how to make a movie featuring computer animation. “You have people who were coming from jobs in sales, who were engineers, all walks of life,” he explains about his staff of 54 animators. “One guy was working at a 7-Eleven.”

LipSync Post has announced that it is to invest approximately £500,000 to expand its successful VFX department, following a sustained increase in demand for its film post-production services. The investment will acquire and equip a 6,800 ft² premises in Wardour Street, London, which will be connected via SohoNet to LipSync’s main building, also in Wardour Street. Recent high-profile films that have undergone the LipSync treatment include United 93, 28 Weeks Later, 1408 and Stardust.

[Editor's Note: IMO this is very basic information. If you don't know any of this stuff you've either never been on set or you're probably not qualified to be an on-set VFX supe. I'm only including the article here for my noob readers]

(Source: vfxstuff.com)          As a VFX supervisor on set you need to take notes, measures, stills, and keep an eye on tracking marks, chroma colors and a lot of other stuff.

Measuring device. (I prefere a laser-based unit. Like this one)

Squarepaper/graphpaper for drawing the set and measures on.

(Source: forbes.com) What’s one thing you were sure would happen, but didn’t?

I thought we would have a more sophisticated infrastructure in regards to transport elegance. That promise was unfunded by the vast transfer of monies to social services, pandering to the currently fashionable political voter base, both ethnic and moralistic.

Air travel became cheaper for the consumer, but the control infrastructure was unfunded by shifting funding from upgrades to lesser, but more insistently promoted federal schemes.

The vehicles we drive are vastly more expensive than 25 or 30 years ago, even considering the insidious devaluation of the dollar. We pay for ’safety’ advancements that are expensive to design and incorporate at the insistence of government advisory groups with a minimal knowledge of engineering possibilities and zero appreciation of risk assessment.

I expected an integrated transport network across this country. Instead, we have a convoluted mélange of ‘go to’ choices that do not connect with each other, prompting the continued favoritism of the private automobile over so-called ‘mass transit.’

More: Forbes.com

In a follow-up to this article, White Jazz director Joe Carnahan has confirmed on his official Blog that Chris Pine has bowed out of that film in order to play Captain Kirk in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek at Paramount Pictures.

Pine joins a cast that includes Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nimoy, Eric Bana, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, Zoe Saldana and John Cho. The studio is targeting a Christmas Day 2008 release.

Pine previously starred in the 2006 Lindsay Lohan movie Just My Luck. He played a neo-Nazi assassin in Carnahan’s Smokin’ Aces.

This is how the folks at Pixar will supposedly address their perceived brand fatigue problem. Not through tricks & gimmicks. But by deliberately stepping away from just producing CG animated features & shorts.

What’s it going to take to make the domestic release of a new Pixar film seem like a special event again? Will live action projects like John Carter of Mars & 1906 really be enough to re-energize this animation studio’s U.S. fanbase?

I know, I know. Pixar diehards keep insisting that Ratatouille is this enormous success. That there’s no possible way that anyone could ever be disappointed with the way this Brad Bird film has performed to date.

The visual-effects wizards at Rhythm & Hues in Los Angeles said that their most spectacular sequence in the upcoming fantasy movie The Golden Compass didn’t make the final cut but will instead serve as the beginning of the hoped-for next installment, which may hit theaters in 2009.

The sequence, which takes place at the North Pole and involves the aurora borealis, is part of the movie that director Chris Weitz announced that he was saving for the next movie, which will also be based on Philip Pullman’s trilogy of books, His Dark Materials.

The plot may be out of his control but a Ryerson professor is content adding a new dimension to the world of film-making.

Dimitri Androutsos, Ryerson’s electrical engineering program director, has partnered with IMAX in a pilot project that aims to make 3D movies at a discount.

“IMAX was first out the gate to create a 3D context. They realized going to 3D is the next step for a movie experience. We may not be able to make the plot better but we can make the effects better,” said Androutsos.

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