Sunday, December 21, 2008
This animation was done by a single artist, my dear friend Jim Ludtke, who left this planet far too soon. I miss you, Jim, and think about you all the time. You were a true creative genius, a one-of-a-kind human being. Jim did this all in Macromind 3D, one of the coolest 3D rendering and animation tools you probably never heard of, it wasn't around very long, but Jim made the most of it. From the Residents' "Freak Show" album and CD-ROM.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
In a stunning turn of events, Apple today announced that 2009 will be the last year that they participate in the the venerable MacWorld Expo, held in San Francisco in January each year since 1984. This means that Apple will no longer attend any major computer tradeshow - they've bailed out of CES, NAB and the European shows, and outside of their own Worldwide Developer Conference which usually takes place in the spring/summer, they have no presence at any other technology conference of note. Also announced was the fact that Apple CEO Steve Jobs would not make his yearly keynote this January, another surprise that is stoking further rumors of undeclared health issues. What really takes the cake for me is that January 2009 marks the 25th anniversary of the Macintosh, which had many of us hoping for something exciting in the wings for the Expo. Rumors of an update to the Mac mini are setting the tone, and it ain't grand.
Because of the reality of video on demand on the Internet, I was able to watch this absolutely wonderful episode of the classic Twilight Zone show, one that I had never seen before, and which left me in tears. I know I've had some truly positive affect on my students, perhaps helped them become better thinkers.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
The Donnell Library in NYC was an excellent resource, including a vast video and film library. The real estate gods of Manhattan know no mercy, so it's been closed and will reopen as a luxury hotel, because we all know that there aren't enough places to stay for $1000 a night in New York City. Here's a great blog posting by Igor, who works for Archive.org. They were in there digitizing a bunch of the library's collection. Very sad, but the pictures are captivating.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I'm not sure how I'm going to end up feeling about the new flick "The Day the Earth Stood Still", as the original is one of my all-time favorite films, but from what I've seen, it might not totally suck. Today comes news that Fox has decided to put the movie on the GalacticNet, beating lowly Internet-based media pirates to the punch. If you're on a planet in the Alpha Centauri star system, you'll be able to watch Kean..., er, Klaatu and Jennifer Connolly sometime in 2012.
I did a writeup on the geniuses at Audio Damage this last summer (yeah, I know I've been slacking at updates on this blog, but hey, I'm putting one of my New Year resolutions into effect early here), and since then, they've put out a wonderful free plugin dubbed Rough Rider. It's a slick, potent audio signal compressor, capable of adding a lovely vintage bite to rhythm tracks and just about anything else you care to run through it. It adds heft and presence to recorded electric guitars, and it's great on saucy synth lines as well. Audio Units and VST, Mac or Windows, pick your poison, this is a great addition to anyone's rig, and it's more economically viable then the Big 3.
The wonders of the Google world never cease - they've been busily scanning scores of magazines, letting you search the archives and relive past glories. I discovered this article from New York magazine, back in 1985, covering the nascent Mac graphics market. The piece opens with coverage of the animation project I worked on with musician/performance artist Laurie Anderson for the opening of the Palladium nightclub that same year. I was a ripe old 23 - exactly half my life ago - and I spent many nights in Laurie's apartment at the west end of Canal Street, fastidiously chopping up Thunderscanned Rousseau paintings into discrete elements, and adding animation with Macromind's fantastic VideoWorks software (which later morphed into Director). We were able to output the results down at Barry Rebo's video studio, and add some color with a high-end paintbox system. Laurie & I both blew off the grand opening of the Palladium, after consulting with each other on the phone, and sadly, we gradually lost touch over the years. Ah, memories!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
While it's billed as a "first look", my recent Mac|Life article on Photoshop CS4 is fairly in-depth, and a decent overview of the new features. You can also watch my screencast demos of Content Aware Scaling and nondestructive layer masks, two very cool new additions to CS4.