Gheorghe Curelet-Balan Blog

Monday, March 30, 2009

Earth Hour means a lot!

A last year small comment in the local paper, The Record, made me thinking that Earth Hour is not pointless. Even though I agree with authors point of view that green awareness should be a permanent concern we need, I think, time milestones to let the drums remind and inspire everyone about eco living issues.

Yes, Earth Hour means a lot.

1.CTV & CBC coverage of the Earth Hour.

2. City of Kitchener Earth Hour Notes.

3. Some of my Blackberry photos during this year Earth Hour in front of Kitchener City Hall.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Happy International Women's Day!

It is said that everyday in our life should be like a holiday. We still need though the symbolic milestones to recognize this even though there are not big celebrations. Sometimes only the thought and a gesture of it is enough.

That is why I think that we can stop for a moment in our busy life and wish to all the women in our life Happy Women's Day!

1. Global celebrations of International Women's Day

2. United Nations information on International Women's Day

3. Olympic women 2009 celebrations

4. Western Australia’s official International Women’s Day site

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Long hair is theoretical.

The title of this post is not original. It is a quote from Rob Cook's exciting PI lecture Behind the Scenes at Pixar. I found this quote the most puzzling and representative of the challenges computer animators face.

It takes 5 to 6 years to make a Pixar movie and computers are involved close to the end of the creation process. Technology, that creates the around 250 billion image dots (pixels) of an animation movie, is a tool in the hands of the artists.
In his painting creation analogy Rob Cook thinks that technology in animation movie creation is used like a painting brush.

There are lots of previous steps that must be followed as with any normal movie. Starting from the creative step of story telling by the director followed by the visual story telling by the story artists to casting, voice recording, editing, etc.

Computers are involved in creating the 3D models, layout, animation, simulation, shading, lighting, special effects and images rendering.

Reproducing reality is not trivial. This is because, in my opinion, the laws of physics must be accounted for, especially gravity and light effects.

If you look at a cartoon or most of the video games you realize that there is something missing in the animated characters that doesn't give them the feeling of being real.

It was puzzling for me to learn that 90% of the computer simulation efforts put into reproducing realism like effects is in simulating the clothes and hair of the subject in motion.

Mathematical models (like Finite Element Analysis) are used to simulate the stretches and stresses clothes are subject to while subject moves.

Moving hair simulation is another challenge. A challenge sometime so big that in the case of long hair simulation, made the Pixar team temporarily conclude that simulating "long hair is theoretical".

Every second of an animated movie requires lots of effort. A well rewarded effort if the movie makes our virtual life experiences richer.

1. Animation World Magazine:

2. Papers by Rob Cook:

3. What's Pixar's RenderMan:

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Happy New Roman Year!

Today is Martisor Day an important celebration for all Romanians as it marks the beginning of spring symbolizing rejuvenation, fertility, health, love, purity, luck, etc.

As the origin of this anniversary goes back to the Roman's New Year Eve I've extrapolated in time their holiday even though I don't know if and how Romans were expressing New Year's whishes.

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Local Focus 2 Film Festival.

Speaking of movies...

The Multicultural Cinema Club is organizing between March 15 and March 22 the Local Focus 2 Film Festival [PDF].

I missed the last year festival. This year though I'm eager to see what film-makers in the Region of Waterloo will show us.

In the meantime I can enjoy the free movies on the National Film Board of Canada site.


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