VideoTrace is an application that lets you easily create 3D models from things in video clips.
The University of Adelaide’s Australian Centre for Visual Technologies is developing VideTrace. I don’t think it’s available to the public yet.

The user interacts with VideoTrace by tracing the shape of the object to be modelled over one or more frames of the video. By interpreting the sketch drawn by the user in light of 3D information obtained from computer vision techniques, a small number of simple 2D interactions can be used to generate a realistic 3D model. Each of the sketching operations in VideoTrace provides an intuitive and powerful means of modelling shape from video, and executes quickly enough to be used interactively. Immediate feedback allows the user to model rapidly those parts of the scene which are of interest and to the level of detail required. The combination of automated and manual reconstruction allows VideoTrace to model parts of the scene not visible, and to succeed in cases where purely automated approaches would fail.

Though viewers have been dazzled by the magical polar bears, dreamy landscapes and other special effects in the box office hit “The Golden Compass,” few will suspect that much of the film’s computer-generated animation was done in India.

Artists and animators in the Mumbai studios of Rhythm & Hues, one of Hollywood’s top visual effects and animation companies, worked around the clock via videoconferencing with the firm’s artists and project managers in their Hollywood headquarters to make the film, and they have earned a world-class reputation for it.

Since the Writers Guild of America strike began Nov. 5, feature film production in Los Angeles is up 52 percent compared to the same period last year.

Most movie studios stockpiled projects in anticipation of the strike.

TV production, however, is at a virtual standstill with all but one scripted series shut down because of the strike, creating a direct economic impact of $160 million per week, Variety.com reported Wednesday.

Warner Bros. has notified more than 1,000 employees in its studio facilities operations that an unspecified number of people will soon be let go.

Steven Spielberg will be presented with the Cecil B. DeMille award at the 2009 Golden Globes ceremony.

He was to be given the award this year, but the Hollywood Foreign Press Association decided Tuesday that it would be better to give the trophy at the 66th annual ceremonies, rather than at the press-conference format to be held Sunday.

(Source: darkhorizons.com)        Production Designer Dawn Brown (“Ocean’s 11,” “The X-Files”) has been working hard on the J.J. Abrams’ directed reinvention of the “Star Trek” film franchise and had some stories to share with SyFy Portal.

“I think a lot of hardcore fans are going to freak out. As far as I know, only the exterior of the Enterprise had to stay the same. I don’t know if that came from J.J. or Paramount” she says about the look of the Enterprise in this version.

She admits upfront that “Actually, nothing came out as I envisioned. I am surprised every time I walk on stage. You can read into that however you like.”

Richard Kerris has left Apple to become the new CTO of Lucasfilm, filling the post vacated by Cliff Plumer, who’s now with Digital Domain.

As CTO, Kerris will oversee the technical operations and help develop and execute the company’s technology strategy for Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound, LucasArts, Lucasfilm Animation, Lucasfilm Animation Singapore and Lucas Online.

At Apple, Kerris has held numerous positions, from managing special projects for the applications division to managing the company’s technical marketing strategies for professional applications such as Final Cut Pro, Shake, DVD Studio Pro, Logic, Motion and iLife. Kerris was also senior director of Developer Technologies for Apple’s Worldwide Developer Relations group, where he managed teams supporting Unix, Java and Cocoa developers working to bring their applications to Mac OS X.

SIGGRAPH’s Computer Animation Festival is expanding into a full-scale film festival that will incorporate curated and competition screenings, discussion panels with filmmakers/artists/producers, and an expansive awards program. In addition, the event will be made more accessible to the general public than in previous years.

While SIGGRAPH’s traditional Best in Show awards structure will remain a highlight, an expanded program will include an interactive audience voting mechanism and significant award announcements throughout the conference week. Also, screening times will be expanded to showcase full-length animated features.

(Source: A.V. Club) Periodically, The A.V. Club enters its gleaming, sterile laboratories to taste-test new and bizarre foodstuffs it finds on the open market, from Vosges’ Bacon Chocolate bar to Brawndo: The Thirst Mutilator to Jones Soda’s holiday ham drink. The results are posted weekly at avclub.com/blog. Recently, The A.V. Club considered taste-testing the KFC “Famous Bowl,” that inexplicably popular, remarkably grotesque heap of food that comedian Patton Oswalt memorably described as “a failure pile in a sadness bowl.” Then it occurred to us that we should just have Oswalt do our dirty work for us—especially since he admitted he’d never actually sampled one of those failure piles for himself. So we dared him to. Here are the results.

By Patton Oswalt
January 8th, 2008

I am writing this under appreciable mental strain, since by tonight, I shall be no more. When you read these hastily scrawled words, you may guess, though never fully realize, why I must have forgetfulness or death.

Would that I could forget that fateful evening in the autumn of 2006 when I first heard the shrieking, beckoning clarion call of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Famous Bowl. I was fast-forwarding through the commercials of a Tivo’d episode of The Venture Brothers. The commercial for the Famous Bowl came on. I thought it was a Tim & Eric sketch.

It wasn’t. Kentucky Fried Chicken had filled a bowl with gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, breaded chicken, and finally, cheese. Shut-ins, people afflicted with Prader-Willi Syndrome, and manic-depressives also do this. If you’re trying to make a fortune in the food and beverage industry, those are the three demographics to shoot for—the Famous Bowl is one of the bestselling items on the KFC menu.

KFC calls it their version of the shepherd’s pie. Shepherds in Kentucky must be full of rage and slathered in confusion. They must hang their fat, skin, and muscles from bones carved with runes of surrender.

Click here for the full article

Today at CES, Taser International introduced the Taser MPH, the first combination hand-held music player and Taser.

Thanks god!

I have been waiting for such an invention to come along. I mean, before I could even listen to music while electrocuting someone! I was such a loser! Now I am a waaaay better person!

The player, which has a 1-GB capacity that can hold around 150 tunes, comes in a belt holster, features a built-in laser pointer to aim, and shoots darts carrying 50,000 volts hits your victim.

Nintendo might have invented console-to-handheld connectivity, but Sony finally made it useful. According to PC World, Sony demonstrated the new technology at CES that will make it possible for owners to copy a Blu-Ray movie to their PSP.

In an update coming later this year, PS3 owners will be able to automatically make a lower quality version of any High Def Blu-Ray movie in their library and save it to PSP or Memory stick.

This is sweet because the PSP has been notoriously tedious to encode for and you won’t have to buy any more UMD’s. Not only that, but watching movies on the PSP via memory stick increases battery life compared to watching them via UMD.

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