(Source: NYTimes.com)         The year is 2019. The illuminated windows of the city’s densely packed towers sparkle like stars in the night, and their facades are covered with bright, animated billboards. A flying car glides past the enormous eye of a smiling geisha hundreds of stories above the wet urban streets.

That is the world of “Blade Runner,” Ridley Scott’s 1982 film set in a futuristic dystopia. It is also an obsession of a real estate developer, Sonny Astani, who hopes to evoke those atmospherics by affixing rows of light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, to the facades of his two newest condominium towers in downtown Los Angeles.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed creator LucasArts is the latest big-name developer to end its membership with the Entertainment Software Association.

The announcement follows the news that Activision and Vivendi had discontinued their relationship with the ESA. Unlike those companies, however, LucasArts will be participating in the E3 Media and Business Summit, which was created and is supported by the ESA.

“We value each member of our association, but respect the unique factors that led to LucasArts’ decision,” said the ESA’s  Rich Taylor. Neither the ESA nor LucasArts chose to elaborate on what those “unique factors” might be.

In these hallowed halls, Indiana Jones almost seems out of place.

A banner with a two-dimensional cutout of the swashbuckling archaeologist swings through the lobby of Industrial Light and Magic, where life-size replicas of Darth Vader and Bobba Fett from “Star Wars” stand guard.

The home of George Lucas’ visual effects company is a high-tech temple to everything from the dinosaurs in “Jurassic Park” to the talking robots in “Transformers.” But Indy can’t take credit for the digital wizardry for which ILM has become famous over the last couple of decades.

SIGGRAPH 2008 is excited to announce the second featured speaker for this year’s conference, film director and Irish artist Catherine Owens. Owens, best known for her staging and film work with the Irish band U2, will present “Giving Technology Emotion: From the Artist’s Mind to ‘U2 3D’,” which details her co-directing and producing experiences during production of the film “U2 3D.”

“U2 3D” documents the band’s live performance in South America during their critically acclaimed 2006 Vertigo Tour. It was made for 3D IMAX and 3D Digital theatrical release and is the first digital 3D, multi-camera, real-time production. The film used the largest collection of 3D camera technology ever used on a single project.

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