Some great press about “Pearl”

It’s been wonderful to watch people react to “Pearl” as we take it out on tour. Here are some of the nice reviews and interviews that have come out since our debut at Tribeca:

USA Today USA Today, May 17: Google to show off animated VR short at I/O

Cartoon Brew, May 14: Observations from the VR Front: ‘Pearl’, ‘Invasion!’, and ‘Allumette’

Filmmaker Magazine, April 22: Tribeca 2016: Patrick Osborne on Winning an Oscar and his Animated VR Piece Pearl

The Verge, April 22: The best virtual reality from the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival

The Verge, April 21: The brains behind Pearl on bringing Google’s new Spotlight Story to Tribeca

Inverse, April 18: Google’s VR Film ‘Pearl’ Combines Disney Charm and Cutting Edge Tech

Variety, April 16: Google Shows Off First Spotlight Story on HTC Vive at Tribeca

What VR feels like today

Here’s what the VR scene feels like today:

It’s the early 90’s. PDI is about to do Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” video. Pixar is about to do “Toy Story”. ILM is about to do “Terminator 2”. None of these things have happened yet, but behind the scenes, amazing people are working on them. They’re meeting for lunch, hanging out at conferences, reading each other’s publications with great interest, playing volleyball together and throwing great parties. Nobody knows exactly where this is going, but everyone’s pretty damn excited.

That’s what this scene feels like today.

[I actually wrote this a year ago, but it still feels true right now. So there you go.]

Atlas of Emotions

For a few weeks last spring I had the tremendous pleasure of working with my dear friend Eric Rodenbeck on an amazing project: an Atlas of Emotions. Commissioned by the Dalai Lama, and based on decades of scientific research by Paul Ekman and his colleagues, the project aims to help people find a path through the complex landscape of their feelings toward a state of calm and happiness.

This was such a fresh and exciting experience. First, because Stamen is an absolutely lovely place to spend time for any reason. (Seriously: pineapple plants and bubble machines!) Second, because it forced a connection between parts of my brain that had never met before: emotion brain, meet design brain. Well, hello! My time on the project was brief and my contribution very small, but will that stop me from kvelling? No it will not! The rest of my feelings can be found right here.

“Pearl” to premiere at Tribeca Film Festival

A scene from "Pearl".
A scene from “Pearl”.

News is finally starting to come out about the project I’ve been working on for the past year at Google Spotlight Stories. It’s an interactive 360º story, directed by Patrick Osborne, called “Pearl”. We’re simultaneously making a 2D film version of the story, which will have its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on Sunday, April 17th at 6pm.

It’s been an amazing experience so far, full of exciting artistic and technical challenges, and it’s opened my mind to some astonishing new things. I’ll post more about it when we’re done, but in the meantime, Cartoon Brew has a nice writeup with some images from the show. And if you’re in New York that weekend, swing by and say hi!

Making Pão de Queijo

Pão de Queijo, done right

Every place has a certain food that you just can’t seem to get anywhere else. For New Yorkers it’s the bagel. For the French, the croissant. Pão de Queijo (cheese bread) is that food for Brazilians. For years we’ve gotten by on packaged dough balls from the frozen section of our local Brazilian market. But this weekend we found an old recipe from a friend, and realized we had everything we needed to make it from scratch at home.

Continue reading Making Pão de Queijo

Pluot captured in amazing new photo!

Pluot and its moon in an amazing new photo!
Pluot and its moon in an amazing new photo!

As New Horizons’ science mission reaches its suspenseful climax, researchers in Northern California are busy analyzing a flood of new data about this mysterious object. Approaching closer than ever before, we can see its dimpled contours and subtly mottled colors in unprecedented detail (click for the full resolution photo). Better yet, we have detected our first traces of the nearly spherical body’s atmosphere: a mix of tangy volatile aromatics emanating hundreds of micrometers from its surface. What an amazing day for science. Our team can’t wait to ingest all this new data!

Inside Out and Subconscious Comics

Pete Docter's "Inside Out"

We just saw Pete Docter’s brilliant and sweet Inside Out, which I highly recommend to anyone with a functioning heart and brain. As a sometime student of human emotion, and a fan of Paul Ekman’s work, I was impressed with how well tuned the five main characters were to the real mechanics of emotions. There wasn’t a moment in that film that didn’t ring true. If you haven’t seen it yet, go already!

Subconscious Comics

For those who liked the “who’s driving this thing?” angle of the movie, I want to point out another body of work that I’ve admired for years: Tim Eagan’s Subconscious Comics, which ran in a Santa Cruz newspaper from 1981-2000, and appeared in book form as The Collected Subconscious. It’s a more adult and irreverent take on the same subject, where instead of the five cardinal emotions at the controls, it’s a hairless chimpanzee in tighty-whities known only as “The Boss”, surrounded by an entourage of anthropomorphized neuroses. Definitely not for kids, but lots of fun for grown-ups. Enjoy!

Cassidy Curtis's splendid display of colorful things.