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Though three different actors have played Bruce Banner on the big screen in the past decade, only one can really say he also played the Hulk. When Mark Ruffalo appeared as the iconic character in last summer’s The Avengers, he was the first actor to actually portray the Hulk half of the character in motion-capture. (His predecessors Edward Norton and Eric Bana let the CG artists take over that part.)

The decision paid off, as fans enthused that Ruffalo’s Hulk was the best they’d seen in recent memory. Now a new video shows just how Industrial Light & Magic pulled off the trick. Hit the jump to check it out.

First founded by George Lucas in the ’70s for Star Wars, ILM has been behind some of the most notable cutting-edge effects work of the past few decades. Last year alone, they contributed work to Red Tails, The Hunger Games, Battleship, Cloud Atlas, and Paranormal Activity 4, in addition to The Avengers. Grantland posted this video from their studios.

No matter how often I watch these behind-the-scenes videos, I’m always startled by the massive difference between what I saw in the theaters (i.e., the Hulk stomping around Manhattan) and what was actually filmed on set (i.e., Ruffalo in a goofy hat prancing around a green-walled room).

As we’ve said before, part of the “problem” with VFX is that the really good work is so seamlessly done it’s easy not to notice it at all. But videos like this one demonstrate just how much skill and labor have to go into making scenes like this one work — and, unfortunately, the recent VFX protests highlight just how badly these talented artists are treated in return.

If you’re curious to see more of Grantland‘s series on the famed effects company, here are Parts 1 (From Star Wars to Today, Inside ILM Headquarters) and 2 (The Evolution of Filmmaking Technology at Lucasfilm).

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Click here to read <em>Star Wars</em> Looks Rad as a 1980s Teen Movie

Yeah, the first Star Wars was released in 1977, but for most, the franchise is a staple of the decade that came after. Something artist Denis Medri plays on with these awesome images, reimagining the heroes and villains of George Lucas' universe as the cast of a 1980s teen movie. More »

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Beyond Princess Leia in a Beam of Light: A Glimpse into the Future of Augmented Reality

Google Tech Talk March 12, 2012 Presented by Prof. Ken Perlin, NYU. ABSTRACT There is something incredibly right about the vision George Lucas showed us back in 1977. Displays that hover in the air between us promise a world that privileges face to face communication -- a far more human-centric vision than our current reality, in which we spend our days staring into computer screens. Such holographic displays are not yet practical, but one day they will be. Meanwhile, through real-time video chat enhanced by capture of gestures and head positions via depth cameras, we can start to experience -- and design for -- that future. We will describe and demo our system, ARCADE, that creates the appearance of a holographic projection floating between people in a live video chat, and allows those people to enhance their communication by interacting with objects in this virtual projection. There are immediate applications in educational settings and for increasing the power of live multi-way video communication. More info about Ken Perlin: cs.nyu.edu
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Uncy Gabe
Penny Arcade’s new games journalism site (note the lack of capitalisation), the PA Report, has kicked off with an interview with Uncy Gabe of Valve’s new beard. Most interviews with the newly hirsute Newell have some form of forward looking speculation about the industry, because that’s the way his mind works, and Newell’s take on hardware shows that the Valve hivemeind are contemplating how best to serve customers hardware as well as software. Though Newell observes that “It’s definitely not the first thought that crosses our mind”, Valve’s biofeedback experiments have been so successful that they are, if no-one else does it adequately, prepared to sell the hardware themselves.

“It’s not a question of whether or not this is going to be useful for customers, whether or not it’s going to be useful for content developers, you know, it’s figuring out the best way we can get these into people’s hands.”

But how could that happen?

(more…)

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The Senior Tools Engineer develops the essential tools and pipelines for game development on current and Future Generation console and PC hardware. The ideal candidate should have the ability to deliver flexible, yet powerful tools that allow content creators to bring their game vision to life.

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We're seeking an experienced graphics engineer with a passion for real-time rendering and a desire to develop industry leading visuals and graphics. In your role, you will be working on establishing the benchmark for in-game graphics on future console and PC hardware with a team of talented artists and engineers.

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Art critic Jerry Saltz said of a recent exhibition that the artist had “done what an artist ought to: open the floor beneath my feet, and take me places I didn’t know were there.”

That’s how I feel about Neue Haas Grotesk. Christian Schwartz has gone deep into a typeface we all think we know – fucking Helvetica! – and come back with something beautiful and fresh. It is a flat-out wonderful work of type design. Why? It successfully bridges all the tensions that great typefaces are made of: conceptual yet concrete, rigorous yet loose, respectful yet daring, fashionable yet practical.

To those who would scoff and say, “Why do we need more Helvetica?” Grant me two points. First, we’ve been looking at digital Helvetica for so long that we’ve forgotten it embodies decades of compromises. Christian has restored the layers of subtlety and balance that have gone missing. (As someone who’s worked with cold-metal Helvetica, I can vouch for the fact that it’s never looked better.) Second, love it or hate it, Helvetica will be part of our visual culture for the foreseeable future. So if I have to look at Helvetica another 50 years, I’d rather look at the best version of it.

And that brings me to my sole criticism of the face – its ungainly name, which I’m regrettably certain will limit its visibility and hence its uptake. “Neue Haas Grotesk” makes it sound like a second cousin of Akzidenz Grotesk that’s just stumbled in from the hinterlands. But no, it is the rightful heir to the Helvetica throne. It should carry the Helvetica name. The old king is dead; long live the new king.

Matthew Butterick is a typographer, lawyer, and writer in Los Ange­les. He is the author of the book “Typography for Lawyers.” His most recent typefaces are FB Alix and Equity.

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From StarTropics to Star Fox Adventures, many a Zelda clone has aimed for the stars. But only one brought the stars to us. Quite literally, in fact.

In Okami's opening moments our canine sun goddess Amaterasu summons a dragon deity in the form of a constellation by filling in the missing star with her 'celestial brush'. This godly device allows players to manipulate the environment and manifest objects. Fancy changing the time? Draw a sun or moon in the sky to switch between day and night. Want to blow up a cracked wall? Paint a cherry bomb beside it. Need to traverse hazardous liquid? Create a lily pad as a makeshift raft, then scribble a gust of wind for a gentle push.

It's impossible to ignore that all of these items and abilities were ripped straight from Nintendo's flagship series, but the difference is in their implementation. The magical effects of Link's ocarina or wind baton bare no sensible correlation to the player's interaction. You'd play a ditty, watch a cutscene, then poof - wind! Drawing with the celestial brush is a more tactile action and the results correspond directly with your input. This is one of those grand ideas, deserving to be as revered as Portal's titular gun.

Read more…

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