List of Monumental sculpture projects 2015

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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Machinima 實時計算機造-動畫影片 paper, Conf at TNNUA 21nov2013, without jpeg, text only


Machinima 實時計算機造-動畫影片

Real Time Computer Graphics for Cinematic Animation 

Shuen-git Natasha Chow  

Visiting Associate Professor
Interdisciplinary Artist
Tainan National University of the Arts
Graduate Institute of Animation and Film Art 

Machinima is the use of real-time computer graphics engines to create a cinematic production. Most often, video games are used to generate the computer animation.  It is approximately 15 years old.

My interest and creations in the virtual world has a main focus of bringing ancient Chinese culture through New Media platforms.
In this paper, I will expose two to three main types of Machinimas, and within each type a range of graphic inventiveness and specific purpose for various audiences.
The First is an online Virtual World Platform, Secondlife - which has no predetermined gaming elements, it has a blank volume for users to create their world.  It provides storage and the Graphic Engine itself with building tools and scripts.  Therefore, it is not yet a game, but an online tool for sharing real time graphic information - to create playing elements - in real time.
The Second type would be the artistic deployment of Video Game engines to record the graphic display as films.  This would include regular game play and also creative, inventive use of the characters in the game platform as "talents" in the film. 

    "Second Life's true advantage is its ability to provide a plethora of virtual filming     
    locations or, at the other extreme, a blank canvas upon which one can build an   
    environment quite inexpensively."

    -Machinima: "The Art and Practice of Virtual Filmmaking", 

     by Phylis Johnson and Donald Pettit  
I begin first with a Machinima documentary film of the functional aspects of a Virtual World. This demonstrates why for certain real life problems, a Virtual World is a breakthrough and proven to be useful in a unique way which is not possible with other forms of solutions. 

Then, I will present the various types of artistic Machinimas, for animation film making and esthetic enjoyment purpose.  

Lastly, I will show the current state of Machinima in the economic-business world and the applications of computer animation using video games graphics for commercial purpose. 

First group: 
Secondlife Virtual World Tool
Secondlife, a blank interactive online 3D tool platform, provides a canvas for players to interact with self-created content 
Example 1:   Close identification of the avatar with the player enhances cures for Parkinson's disease. 
Secondlife investigator : what is inside the world of Secondlife?  
Example 2: Architecture 3D design students using the real time online Global online features.  
Collaboration of an architecture project between Kansas University Students with Cairo University using the platform of Secondlife in real time.  USA+Egypt (part 2) 

There are other functional oriented Machinimas, we could imagine, simulation training for firemen, hospital care, briefing diplomats to ease into a foreign culture via a simulated foreign environment, so on so forth.

Next, we will see some Artistic Machinimas.  These are chosen for graphic, aesthetic, and quality of the story.  I will skip most "Fan-laborer"s work because they require a huge amount of enthusiasm and experience of the specific games for the delicacies of the films to be understandable.
Second group: 
Artistic Machinimas

Example 3: Machinima using Online game play with stylish graphics.  Habbo Hotel
Habbo Hotel :  fiction using game engine, live collaborative playing, many players behaving with or without a script

Example 4:  Minecraft.  Mixed reality
Minecraft : mixed reality 
real life footage + online footage, post production work; with script

Example 5 :  Vola Vola, Fly Me.  Director : Berardo Carboni
A full feature Machinima made as a maquette for a real life film
Vola Vola : film maquette shot in Secondlife as preparation for the real life feature film
Scripted, with real life actors manipulating the e-puppets (avatars), actors are from around the world, Japan, USA, Italy, Amsterdam.  90mn 
Notice the graphics inside the computer of the sl avatar.  What we see is Secondlife roaming around by Secondlife avatar.  Its a Secondlife for Secondlife avatar.

Example 6 : Testing of tools in Secondlife.  
Swannjie in Tainan: Incrustation of video display with Chroma screen for a short film.
Chroma Green screen with giant tv viewing, live footage from Secondlife.
There are many filming tools created by third parties for the Secondlife platform.  And many cinema sets created for film making.

Example 7 : Testing of a short Machinima+real life (Tainan), screening in Secondlife. 
This is a live screening at the Digital Guqin Museum Garden Lot.
Example 8 : Testing of tools in Secondlife.  
Mock up of a real sculpture : Virtual World platform used as a testing ground, a studio for sculpture modelling.  It has the advantage of allowing visitors to see the work and walk around it in 3d.

Example 9 : Interview of Motion Capture creator in sl+rl, Drax Files  
Motion Capture Animation creator
Drax Files: interview of a motion capture artist in sl from Scotland.

Example 10 : Re building a movie set for the pleasure of visitors.  Playing. 
Spirited away in Secondlife : The movie set Spirited Away was re-created in Secondlife by a Fan-artist.  Visitors could walk around the scenes and be the talent, interact with others and have their own personal stories for memories.

Example 11 : The Third Cat : MosMax+Chris Marker's Machinima in Secondlife 
THE THIRD CAT : by gorrr aka. Mosmax, with Chris Marker's using Marker's cat who visits various locations around the world in the Virtual World, just like he did in real life movies.

Example 12 : Music video for Danish group "Pixelated Truth" 
Pixelated Truth: Giana Factory - Pixelated Truth - Pop Art Lab Music Video Entry
Film produced by FuzOnAcid & Fuschia Nightfire
Filmed in Second Life at Mata Hari, Idle Rogue, Pop Art Lab, Art Maze on Zindra, Mysterious Wave & Saiwa
Particles by Poofmania
Love Guitar: Designed by Tinkle Pudless

As we could see by this example, for a short music video, it takes a lot of team work.
The talents in the virtual world is just like in the real world, each role is taken by a real person and is manipulated in a co-ordinated script.  Lighting, scenario, location scouting, script.  It is a total miniaturised film making at a fraction of the cost of a physical music video production. 

      Loui Foo of Giana Factory said:
      "The winning video is amazingly abstract! It pictures an absurdity and a parallel universe,

       we could not even imagine existed. We find the colors and the playfulness and creativity 
       in the universe very attractive. It's unpredictable and avant garde and still pure eye 
       candy, and has an almost burlesque feel to it. Besides that, we think it goes well with the
       tune and keeps the story untold, and it's up to the viewer to create their own."

      MommaLuv Skytower, Diawa Bellic, Serena Lekvoda, Slappy Doobie, Chryblnd Scribe, 

      Madison Pinelli, Fuschia Nightfire, Jewellah Magic, Dogman Sparta, Midnight Zepp, 
      Curti5 Rexen, Ellie Criss, Boo Eberhardt, Mozy Pera, 13ANGELSMINE Bluebird, Zoe 
      Babineaux, TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn, Anje Aichi, Eifachfilm Vacirca, NicoleX Moonwall, 
      and Spiral Silverstar.

Example 13 : A simple poetic Machinima/animation film based on a flash game. 
But that was yesterday: This is a simple online flash game, after filming the various sequences together, you get different endings of an animation film.  There is no group participation here.  Only a record of the "film", game play that you have seen/experienced.

Video recording of a game play
Original Playable game online here:

In China 

Example 14 : Massive Virtual World simulation trainings for sales-personnels. 
Sales training simulations:
Secondlife expert from Taiwan Nomilly Valeska :
A professor from Taiwan, specialist in Secondlife comments on FB that, 3D virtual world's specific functions are right here, for commercial training purpose.  
Why do we Taiwanese not see this future? 

Functional + Entertainment + Cultural Heritage

Example 15 : Canadian Hospitals investments in Simulation trainings for Health Care.  Canadian Hospitals: Simulation for practical purpose ie hospitals.  Canadian hospitals (private internal sim)

Example 16 : Digital Guqin Museum Stone Castle building found which was used as a club in a Western Style setting.
Digital Guqin Museum Building: Came across this castle and I purchased the same and did interior settings to make it the Digital Guqin Museum Home  (no machinima footage, only stills for memory)

Example 17 : Digital Guqin Museum Stone Castle used as a Guqin Playing Venue
Digital Guqin Museum Building: Borrowed another persons Stone Castle for guqin playing venue to test the setting and vegetal nature themed ambiance.

Example 18 : Digital Guqin Museum Stone Castle used as a Guqin Playing Venue
Final Digital Guqin Museum setting: interactive realtime online White Board Graffitti wall - courtesy of Mississippi University (scripting); Mahjong Table - Japanese creation - a real game for playing with other avatars or by yourself; Library, guqin playing costumes created by Swannjie, all free.

Example 19 : Digital Guqin Museum : Guqin Playing Venue and Library Books
Book Publishing:  Prize winning Guqin Book (Swedish and English) in real life by Professor Cecilia Linqvist, here displayed introduction to the guqin for non-Chinese speakers.  There are also many books published in the Virtual World - just like eBooks in real life.

Example 20 : Digital Guqin Museum - Guqin Playing concert outfits.  
Fashion Design and Sale: Real life Universities used Secondlife for training fashion.  ie London College of Fashion.  Some Secondlife garments are purchasable through pre-order as made to order item from Virtual World to the Real World.

Example 21 : Digital Guqin Museum presentation live with Transmusicale Event with Rennes, France. 
Mixed Reality - eRobots/avatars : an electronic music+digital art and technology event. This was filmed from both in Virtual World and Real World.   There is a documentary Machinima archived by the Transmusicale Organiser.  On screen, you see the real world live streaming - it is a two way transfer.  The viewers see the Virtual World and could talk to the avatar and the avatar could see the action in the Real World.  Somewhat like Skype - but from RW to VW and back.  i.e. Ars Electronica in 2009 did a simultaneous broadcast of the mayors opening speech at the opening ceremony with the real mayor on stage at the same time.  In 2013, at ars electronica, a Japanese professor presented a robot - replica of himself - to speak to the audience at the same time.  His robot is a physical robot - whereas the Virtual World avatar is an eRobot.

Example 22 : Digital Guqin Museum presentation live with Transmusicale Event with Rennes, France.  
Mixed Reality Real Life newspaper coverage:  the event was covered by local media newspaper, and the mixed reality system was expanded to stream a real life opera from Lyon Opera House into Secondlife the following year.

Example 23 : 3D narrative driven Videogame as Art // Art Games :: 
Video-game art as art in a museum :  Die Veterraanen 1995 : prize winning interactive cd-rom thats designed as an art piece not a game.  Spiritual, aesthetic, or simply fun without other functional purpose games.

Example 24 : Goal Oriented games with artistic renderings and traditional story telling
Myst : started work in 1991- released 1993
creators:: Brothers Rand and Robyn Miller, with help from sound designer Chris Brandkamp, 3D artist and animator, Chuck Carter, Richard Watson, Bonnie McDowall, and Ryan Miller, who together made up Cyan, Inc. 
"Myst" 1993- 2012 (24a)released on various devices.  Collected by Musuem of Modern Art, New York.  
"Myst 5" 2005 (24b)  

Example 25 :  Non-narrative Secondlife creative artistic experiences sims 
Clock Island 2007 : no longer exists, no specific goal - similar to Myst but no mystery to solve.  Franck Mullers clocks, time machines, fashion, mystery treasure hunt game + time space ambiance immersive experience.  The clock tower with ever falling numbers in a scenario of white.
The island setting (25a) : clock tower
Inside the clock tower (25b) :
The clock tower with ever falling numbers in a scenario of white.
Franck Muller dress gift (25c) : Fashion with the time theme

Example 26 :  Non-narrative environment in Secondlife for creative play and commercial real life+virtual world experiences
Greenies Sim : up to 2009, no longer exists
Spaceship theme with tiny green spacemen in a 50s kitchen setting - the sim offers merchandise - ie tiny green avatars, accessories, playthings.  Served as a virtual world advertising backdrop for real life L'Oreal products etc.
Exploratory sets for events to happen.  Players create the events, and the sim owner host commercial events as well.  Successful match of commercial with ludic activities.  Parallel to real life Disney Land, where the commercial is the target driven by the playful.

Swannjie plays the guqin (26a) to two avatars - promotion of the art of guqin
Guitar sits on the kitchen table (26b) : aerial view of the sim setting
L'Oreal makeup promotions in real life (26c) : l'Oreal ad in Greenie sim cost 100k, 2007

Example 27 :  Non-narrative environment in Secondlife for creative play and education of graphic tools.
"Second China" : artistic sim from Hangzhou Academy of the Arts
We could walk around in an ink painting literally.  This is a privately funded sim which is very popular as an artistic hangout.  The teacher teaches Virtual World as a tool.  It is not supported by the school.  

Swannjie visits China sim, installs house in a Chinese landscape by Aston Leison

Example 28 :  Online interactive artistic games: "Hotel", on Arte-Creative TV.
"Hotel" began as a machinima animation, the story is further transposed to an online platform, funded by French Arte-Creative tv

"HOTEL" trailer from Benjamin Nuel on Vimeo.
Terrorists from two camps in a retirement home.

Example 29 : Machinima as artistic animation, graphics with music
"Standby": melancholic atmosphere video by Bryn Oh

Example 30 : Machinima as artistic animation, graphics with music.
"Push": Playful graphics w character by Lainy Voom

Example 31 :  Real Time Animation :: Machinima ::for passive viewers as a video in the style of Disney   
"Source film maker" : software.  Mar27 2013
"Source Filmmaker" Test: Bromley and Winfield: 3d animation studio.
Example 32 : 
The Walking Dead : Images of the Graphic Novel

What is interesting here, is the characters faces, they are "rotoscopic painting" style - so its a human figure that does not pretend to be realistic.
It is painted on, like the characters in the movie "A Waking Life" - in fact, this is a way of making "A Waking Life" type of graphics but in animation without having to paint every frame!

If I dressed up my sl avatar in "line drawing" skin, then, the character would be "line drawing" person walking, talking, moving in a simulated realistic landscape.

And my character could be in any type of skin.  Its just the background would still be the realistic graphics of existing sl.

In any painting, the foreground and background should be in the same graphic conditions - otherwise the mixing of "genre of painting" would give the viewer of the painting additional meanings that might not be intended.  For example to have a real person walking around in a cartoon styled country side - mixing of two different genres - would be sending additional message and not the same as a real person walking around in a real country side.

Example 33 :  "A Waking Life"
A Waking Life :  Filmed in real life, with post production frame by frame painting :: rotoscoping -  It is not machinima - but the artistic hand painting style had influenced the hand painted post production styles in machinima.

Some figures:

Machinima  : for the amateur video gamer market

Machinima, the art of creating animated videos in real-time virtual game environments.

'Machinima', is a portmanteau of the words 'machine' and 'cinema', and relates to the use and manipulation of video-game technology to create animations.The website has helped to bring attention to machinima, the art of creating animated videos in real-time virtual game environments, and to encourage productions based on game engines other than those of id Software's first-person shooter computer game series Quake. As of July 4, 2013, Machinima has over 663,204 followers on Twitter, 1.19 million fans on Facebook, and over 8,374,592 subscribers to its YouTube channel

As a Multi Channel Network Machinima has over 5000 partners worldwide who are contracted to produce video content under the Machinima brand. The company has been criticised for the use of perpetual contracts. Ben Vacas, known to the YouTube community as 'Braindeadly', attracted media attention in January 2013 over contractual issues with Machinima. Under the terms of his contract, Machinima were permitted to place advertisements on Vacas's videos and in return he would receive a percentage of the profits generated. However, the contract also disclosed that it existed "in perpetuity"; meaning Machinima would hold the rights to any content created by Vacas published on his partnered youtube channel in his lifetime, a detail Vacas failed to read. - - wikipedia

Tracing the origin of Video games/graphics/narration : 

The question of whether Video games has to be goal oriented as "winning/losing" has been studied as far back as cd-rom games: 
Die Veterranen 1995
Sequences of interactive narratives leads to philosophical questions and does not lead to any preset winning or losing targets.

Art in the Age of Videogames


Mainstream Players "gaming" objectives have not changed, they will have their Machinima channel with game play sharing as the primary motivation.  These films are made by "fan-laborers", and the sheer number of gamers brings massive advertising and business opportunities.

The second group, are "players" who want their video game as Art and their Machinima to be Art oriented.   There are less of these Machinimas, which are high quality memorable poetic feelings captured in a contemporary poetic visual language.

The third group, driven by business opportunity and necessity, are Machinimas powerfully funded: because it is useful and could solve real life problems and could bring us a better world.  This last group include real life simulation training, and simultaneous cultural events, cultural heritage sharing, University education, general language school, book publishing, and many other types of e-learning possibilities.  These will be embraced through professional research and development. 

Cultural Heritage via an immersive playing environment
Example 34 :  A real life Guqin Elegant gathering (雅集) in 2013, Oct, Kyoto

Muka Fushimi is playing guqin in a yajis (雅集) setting . This immediately puts into my mind, many years ago - a certain sl avatar was invited to do her first performance. I am not saying this is the same level of expertise, but the setting, the way people are sitting all around, is unlike most yajis, but really similar to the the sl experience.

Example 35 :
Swannjie playing guqin : Swannjie presented the Guqin in a Concert presentation, in Sept 2008, organised by Owl Bay Island - a Portuguese High School Group in real life - for their Chinese Culture Festival.  During the event, avatars are also invited to try the instrument.  The event lasted approximately 1 hour with 30mn question and answer.
Lower right picture, a Secondlife Guqin Concert (Yaji 雅集), and a lot of people came dressed in their Asian fineries - freely interpreted.  Its for fun for a first introduction to the Guqin instrument through microscopic steps.

Machinima - the making of it
The making of a Machinima is real life because it is real time.  It lives in our memories, its an active animation which stays in our minds! 

The version we see are our sharing of an experience, be it a game play, a social event, an exploration or an adventure beyond our comfort zone.  
Everybody is a "talent" in the making of a Machinima.  

 --- Reference sources: 
1//wikipedia - machinima; visual arts journals
2//google - video games, online flash games
3//machinima film festivals - Atopic Festival, Paris, 2009

4//Virtual World Machinimas of Secondlife:  
Example 36 :  An interview with Rod Humble, CEO of Secondlife.  June 2013
Explanation of research and development of Secondlife's future, and where Secondlife is at right now in 2013.
5// blogs - new world notes, Dusan Writer
6// Phylis Johnson and Donald Pettit, "Machinima: The Art and Practice of Virtual Filmmaking", publ.McFarland Publishing,  2012
7//Edited by Henry Lowood and Michael Nitsche, "The Machinima Reader", publ. MIT Press
8//Edited by Matteo Bittanti, Henry Lowood, "Machinima! Teorie. Pratiche. Dialoghi. ",  Edizioni Unicopli
9//Edited by Jenna Ng, "Understanding Machinima ",  Publ. Bloomsbury Academic, 2013
10//First hand data
11//A Taiwanese Fan-Laborer work:
Lastly, I want to show an example of Fan-Laborer work that has won an international prize to show the difference between fan work and art work.
台灣知名機造影片(Machinima)團隊「AFK PL@YERS」在全球影片大賽中勇奪亞軍 
An example of a "Fans" category Machinima created by Taiwanese Machinima Film maker group AFK PL@YERS .  The creators have won a Second prize at an International Machinima film festival and will next try to create their own scripts and characters.

== end == 



Machinima =  Machine + Cinema 的動畫影片.
這類動畫利用實時(real time)算機圖形引擎,來創建的一種合成電腦圖像動畫。大多數的實時計算機動畫都是從電腦遊戲裏的人物預定動作借用過來, 加上新的遊戲規則, 再把這新的畫面, 故事取橋段錄影再編輯成影片.  玩家(MMORPG : massive multiple online role playing games = 大規模, 多人物在線角色扮演遊戲) 操作人物 - 如同一種電玩傀儡娃娃 - 與其他在線的玩家共同創作的實時動畫視頻遊戲的計算機動畫。

我的興趣和創作的主要焦點是 通過新媒體的平台 - 如虛擬世界 - 把中國古代藝術文化帶到當代.   透過各種當代數字實時動畫, 我嘗試把古中國文化保存及介紹; 以便當代的跨國世界人- 老少來者都不拒 - 都可以體驗; 無論有強烈儀式化, 需要典範的, 到從容自由自在的, 各式各樣的中華文化的詩意; 都可以開始親近.

我將介紹三類主要實時電腦動畫.  連帶精選的例子給大家分享.  每種類型的主要挑選原則以其獨特創新的用途及表現手法的藝術性為先.  大多數的在線玩家的"粉絲"作品將不會被包括在內.

第一類: 生活實用及教育
醫療用途, 教學用途: 外語, 建築, 設計, 時裝, 危急情況模擬訓練, 社交禮節, 禮儀; 綱上買賣商業, 虛擬商店, 廣告活動

"第二人生" 2003- (SecondLife = sl)的在線的免費虛擬世界平台- 這是最大, 最多人用的, 沒有既定的遊戲元素的創作平台.  所有見到的人物, 互, 故事都是用戶創造的, 是他們自己的微形, 精神內在轉化成畫面的世界. "第二人生"開始時是空白的.  只提供存儲圖形工能及引擎建設工具, 沒有腳本。因此, 它不是一個遊戲,而是一個在線工具,分享實時圖文信息 - 實時打造扮演角色的各種要素 。

第二類: 藝術, 文化, 實驗, 創造

這包括原形遊戲的人物及動作被大幅度改編情節來創作成新的另類, 非主流電影故事. 玩家使用在遊戲中已預設的塲景, 動作來創造要說的故事 或 音影藝術效果。玩家本身就是主角; 與他人互動的過程就是故事的來源.  他可以很抽離地造實驗, 也可以將自己作為縮小的自我來延伸到真身上.

這類的重點在於開發還未存在, 或現實中不可能存在的情景. 
例 1 : 一個行為藝術作品: 實時環球性共同參觀一朵花的內部結構, 和在裏面遊走及與偶然相遇的人交往.   
例 2 :  創建一座單間雲中高樓: 一朵有電梯功能的小花為家!  而這朵花是有真人接收的聖誕禮物.  這個建築創作的藝術性遠遠超過一般的實用性, 是個別人類感情世界透過象徵性實物呈現的共通詩意藝術性創作.

第三類: 商業

以上各類都有例子, 請各位自行進入, 啟動在線錄像觀賞. 
請往下到 : Shuengit Natasha Chow, 再點 “viewgraphs

周 旋 捷  


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