The Genuary prompt for day 14 is “asemic”, i.e. writing without meaning, which is something I’ve always loved. I thought it might be fun to try doing that with my watercolor simulation. Reader, I was not disappointed.
Now with randomized physical properties: staining, deposition, specific weight, granulation. This is starting to do things I don’t understand, which is always a good thing.
To make impossible paint, you need impossible pigments.
I love to tinker with code that makes pictures. Most of that tinkering happens in private, often because it’s for a project that’s still under wraps. But I so enjoy watching the process and progress of generative artists who post their work online, and I’ve always thought it would be fun to share my own stuff that way. So when I heard about Genuary, the pull was too strong to resist.
Here’s a snapshot of some work in progress, using a realtime watercolor simulator I’ve been writing in Unity. Some thoughts on what I’m doing here: it turns out I’m not super interested in mimicking reality. But I get really excited about the qualia of real materials, because they kick back at you in such wonderful and unexpected ways. What I seem to be after is a sort of caricature of those phenomena: I want it to give me those feelings, and if it bends the laws of physics, so much the better. Thus, Impossible Paint.
Last month I had the pleasure of presenting some of my team’s recent research at MIG ’22. It’s our first publication, on a topic I care deeply about: acting for autonomous animated characters. Why do NPCs in video games seem so far behind, in terms of acting ability, compared to their counterparts in animated movies? How might we make their acting more believable? This is one of those hard, fascinating problems that are just starting to become tractable thanks to recent advances in machine learning. I’ll have more to say about it soon, but for now, here’s a short video that explains the first small steps we’ve taken in that direction:
You can find the above video, our paper, and also a recording of our 25-minute talk on our new site for the project: https://believable-acting.github.io/
If you’re any kind of graphics geek, you’re probably familiar with the outstanding YouTube channel, Two Minute Papers. If not, you’re in for a treat! In this series, Károly Zsolnai-Fehér picks papers from the latest computer graphics and vision conferences, edits their videos and adds commentary and context to highlight the most interesting bits of the research. But what really makes the series great is his delivery: he is so genuinely excited about the fast pace of graphics research, it’s pretty much impossible to come away without catching some of that excitement yourself.
What an honor to have that firehose of enthusiasm pointed at our work for two minutes!
Maybe this should have been obvious, but it took me totally by surprise: rainbows are made entirely of polarized light! (I’m guessing this is because of how the light bounces off the insides of the raindrops on its way back to you.) So if you put on polarized lenses (like some sunglasses) and tilt your head sideways, you can make them disappear— or make them look twice as bright against the non-polarized sky!
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, 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