Disney Animation video guide explains ‘Path Tracing’

At this years FMX conference in Stuttgart, Disneys presentations mostly covered their new renderer Hyperion, which was developed during the production of Hero Big Six. Hyperion renderings are using Path Tracing, which allows Disney to compute awesome imagery in a very short amount of time. The studio now published a very cool Path Tracing explaination video, which makes the science behind Hyperion quite easy to understand – and fun to watch. If that’s something you are interested in, be sure to check it out.

Apple Script: Force iTunes to reload metadata from music files

I recently stumbled upon Tagger, a neat little Mac app, that allows me to tag my music files with metadata downloaded from the amazing VGMdb. It’s super great, especially if you are a Japanese music collector without any Kanji skills, because fans have translated song titles for a lot of soundtracks.

One problem I ran into however: iTunes didn’t reload the metadata from the music files already in my library, after I changed them with Tagger. So in order to get iTunes to update to your new metadata, you have to use a little Apple Script magic:

tell application "iTunes"
refresh selection
end tell

This little piece of code forces iTunes to reload the metadata from currently selected songs. Just open up the Apple Script Editor pre-installed on every Mac, paste in the lines and save the whole thing to “~/Library/iTunes/Scripts/”.

Now restart iTunes and you should see a little scroll in the menubar, right between “Window” and “Help”. From there you can quickly access your script. Just select the music you want to refresh and run your script though the menu. A couple of seconds later, your metadata should be updated correctly.

For those who do not like to do it on their own, I prepared a little installer for you. Just mount the .dmg-file and drag the supplied script file onto the “Scripts” folder alias and you should be ready to go. Feel free to leave a comment if it somehow doesn’t work for you.

iTunes metadata refresh script download (ZIP, 1.3MB)

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This work by Tim Lehr is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.timlehr.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.timlehr.com.

OS X Automator: Optimize folder with JPEGmini

A couple of weeks ago I finally bought a copy of JPEGmini, an amazing tool which compresses JPEG images without compromising the image quality. It’s ridiculously good, especially compared to freeware like ImageOptim. I always run my photos though the software before I upload them to my WordPress media library. It will save you a lot of web space and your users a lot of traffic. Unfortunately, even when you chunk out 20 Euros for the full version of JPEGmini, the software does not support the amazing OS X Automator software. This is very disappointing, especially because automatically optimizing images could be just one click from the Services menu of Apples Finder.

So I dug a bit into Apple Script programming and came up with a little Automator service which passes the selected folder to JPEGmini for optimization. It’s far from perfect as it requires the user to stop interacting with the Mac until the script put everything in place and the optimization has started, but I guess it’s still better than doing everything by yourself. Another problem I ran into: The method I use only works with one folder selected in Finder. Multiple folders or file selection is not supported at the moment.

JPEGmini Automator service download (ZIP, 127kB)

To install the Automator service, follow the instructions over at OS X Automation. Enjoy! If you have any questions or requests, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do. No promises though! ;)

Creative Commons License
This work by Tim Lehr is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.timlehr.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.timlehr.com.

 

 

Maya 2015: Playblast with MPEG-4 to .mov-file on Windows

One of the most annoying aspects of Maya for Windows is the fact, that it simply doesn’t support h.264 for Playblast encoding. In the past I settled with the IYUV codec in an AVI container, but I just spotted a suitable alternative. If you set your format in the playblast option to qt (Quicktime), you can save your blasts sucessfully with MPEG-4 video encoding.

Doing so can save you up to 85 percent of disc space, while keeping the loss of quality at a acceptable minimum. It’s no h.264, but you got to go with what you got, right?

Epic Evangelion CG short film

Holy mother of glob. As you may know, I’m currently busy finishing our next little cg project for the university and it is involving mecha suits and destruction. I just started to like what our film has become so far and then I saw this epic Evangelion short by Sola Digital Arts.

Evangelion: Another Impact is based on the very popular anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, which is now about 20 years old. I’m really impressed with the work this team has done, because it looks pretty darn spectacular. Great job.

Animation films: More than just plain entertainment for children?

Today I got something special for you. Back in summer 2014, I wrote an essay about the reception of animation films today. It was written as part of my studies for a special business English excercise and I think it’s rather good. Without further comment – enjoy and feel free to leave a comment!

Animation films: More than just plain entertainment for children?

In the early thirties of the last century, Walt Disney introduced the world to a new genre of film: the animated motion picture. Since then we have come a long way and today, most of the traditional animation techniques have been replaced with computer animation. Animated feature films are more popular than ever, with huge numbers at the box office. Regardless of these impressive developments there are still a lot of moviegoers, who do not recognize animation as a genre for grown-ups and strengthen a misleading view: Animated films are nothing but entertainment for children. In this essay I am going to discuss the issue, point out its roots and outline why people should be more open minded about the modern animation genre. Continue reading

Live2D Euclid brings 2D characters into 3D space

Hi guys. Happy new year! It’s been a while. I’m currently busy working on another CG project as well as playing the heck out of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. The game is just too fun. Anyways, I just stumbled across this cool new software called Euclid from a Japanese company called Live2D.

The software allows artists to transform traditional 2D cartoon character drawings into fully functional and awesome looking 3D models with 360 degrees of viewing angles. Less advanced versions have already been used in a ton of Japanese games like Ni No Kuni, the excellent collaboration JRPG between Studio Ghibli and Level-5. The new application will also be Oculus Rift compatible. I can’t wait for talented 2D artists to take advantage of this new piece of software.

Post-Halloween post 2014

Yesterday I was in a bit of a Halloween mood, listening to the Nightmare Before Christmas Revisited album and thought to myself: Why not do a some Halloween art? So I spent the evening and this morning trying to get this little pumpkin character right. It’s not rigged and I don’t plan to do so, but I think it turned out rather cool, so I rendered a 1080p wallpaper for you guys. Feel free to download and use it, as long as you give me some credit.

Pumpkin wallpaper download (JPEG, 324kB)

Creative Commons License
This work by Tim Lehr is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.timlehr.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.timlehr.com.