>Crooked Perspectives: Texture Tiling in Google Earth

>
I was just checking out the new Beta 4 version of Google Earth, and was looking at the 3D buildings on Manhattan, just south of Central Park. Suddenly I saw a weird effect of the source image tiling the makes up the ground texture; photographs taken with two totally different angles right next to each other.

As I just delivered over 250 GB of 1920×1080, 16-bit animations of fly-overs of the same data that Google Earth uses, I’ve grown accustomed to having to find out and replicate the same angle of view as the photographs were taken from. Fortunately, even though some of the sources contained over 4 GB per image, I never had to conceal this sort of problem.

>Locate the Logo: How to Find Vector Logotypes When Your on a Deadline

>Here’s a collection of good resources for finding logotypes, especially vector ones.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can always use the old PDF trick of going to the corporate website and looking for annual reports or other documents where the logo is likely to be found. Then just open that page of the PDF in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.

If you still have no luck, do a Google search limiting the scope to a particular site, such as this: site:volvocars.com pdf
If all fails, you could probably find a bitmap of higher resolution in a PDF than on their site, usable for taking a screen shot of and perhaps trace.

brandsoftheworld.com (vector logos)
LaLogotheque.com (vector logos)
Beers (vector logos)
International Flags (vector, but remember to search for the French spelling of the country you’re looking for)
French road signs (vector)
Other signs (vector)
Apple illustrations (vector)
Euros (vector)
www.logotypes.ru (vector logos)
goodlogo.com (logos: bitmap and designer info)
Swedish Roadsigns (vector) and their typeface (TT)
cartype.com (bitmap logos)

Update 2006-07-13: here’s one more tip from AE Freemart:

stock.xchng (bitmap photos)

>More Free AE Projects from Dean Velez

>One of the great benefits of working with After Effects is the number of people the freely share their knowledge, and one of the most generous is Dean Velez who frequently post batches of AE projects for free download.

Even if you don’t have use for his latest Water Effects projects, they’re an excellent learning tool when you disect them and see how you can combine effects and features to make something from nothing!

Free After Effects Projects from The Anvel

>AE Presets: Smooth Vertical Scrolls for TV

>UPDATE: The presets now come in both PAL and NTSC variants, and include a flicker-reducing filter that adjusts itself to the chosen speed.

Working at a TV station, I see so many jumpy titles that were created in After Effects. This comes from the fact that interlaced video gives a sort of venetian blinds effect to your content, making vertical scrolls flicker if you don’t scroll at certain fixed speeds.

In version 6.5, it was easy to tell people to set two keyframes and then just move the last keyframe so that the pixels/sec velocity read-out was an even double of the framerate. This was a useful feature that was actually removed when the Graph Editor was introduced in version 7.0, since you can’t see this value until you release the keyframe.

When I got the question the last time I couldn’t find where to enter the value anymore, making me feel kinda stupid. In a vain attempt to look like I was on top of things, I came up with the simple and unsofisticated solution of three Animation Presets for the three common scrolling speeds.

The layer that you apply the preset to will start to scroll upwards from its original position as soon as it appears in the timeline. The nice thing is that you can just drag it around to set the starting position, without having to modify any code.

//Smooth SD vertical scrolls by Jonas Hummelstrand
// Version 1.3, http://generalspecialist.com/
// Can be applied to a non-square NTSC comps or to both square and
// non-square PAL comps.

// Change the value of “intPixelsPerSecond” below based on the speed you want:
// Normal scrolls are 100 for PAL and 119.88 for NTSC
// Fast scrolls are 200 for PAL and 239.76 for NTSC
// American Idol scroll speeds are 300 for PAL and 359.64 for NTSC

intPixelsPerSecond = 100;

y=position[1]-((time-inPoint)*intPixelsPerSecond);
[position[0],y]

Here’s a ZIP file with the three PAL and three NTSC speeds pre-configured.

Thanks to Nathan Shipley for the error-correction.

>VFX Reading List for the Summer

>The holidays are soon upon us, so I thought I’d share my reading list for this summer.

Let’s start with the most expensive one. From what I’ve understood it’s a must read in the industry, so I’ve ordered The Art and Science of Digital Compositing by Ron Brinkmann, the Product Designer for Apple’s Shake.


Here’s another reference book that you’re expected to be able to know inside out, Digital Compositing for Film and Video by Steve Wright.

Now for the new edition for AE 7.0 of a great book I ordered just two months ago (anyone interested in buying the 6.5 edition?) Adobe After Effects 7.0 Studio Techniques by Mark Christiansen.
This is really a must-read for anyone serious about professional AE work.


Here’s two non-VFX books that I picked up after hearing Neil Gershenfeld in a podcast and reading his piece about home fabrication in Make: magazine.

FAB: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop–From Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication


When Things Start to Think


And finally some reading for the long, dark tea-time of the fall, since it won’t be published until October 2006: The DV Rebel’s Guide by the guru Stu Maschwitz.

>Subscribe to Adobe Support Docs

>Thanks to commenter john b. for pointing out this great way of subscribing to support documents for your favorite Adobe apps.

Adobe RSS feeds

If you haven’t jumped on the RSS train yet, your definately missing something, so create an account on Bloglines or Google Reader right now!

>Terrestial 720p50 HDTV on a PC

>To celebrate that Sweden hasn’t lost a game to England in almost 40 years, here’s a guide to watching the World Cup HDTV broadcasts on a Windows machine. The guide was written by my good collegue wizzerd*at*wizzerd*dot*com and is published here with his kind permission.


Background
Beginning on June 9th 2006, SVT and TV4 in Sweden will broadcast the World Cup in HD 720p via Satellite and Terrestrial (for select areas). To be able to watch these broadcasts you will need equipment that can decode the H.264 (MPEG4) stream.

Recently, several different software codecs for H.264 have become available for PC´s. There is a method (described below) to be able to watch the broadcasts with a PC that has a digital TV card (DVB-T).

IMPORTANT

  • This will only work if you have a good digital reception in Stockholm, Gotland, Västerås or Uppsala.
  • The hardware requirements are tough, you will need a lot of processor power if you want a smooth picture.
  • These instructions may also work if you have a Satellite card in your PC & a dish pointed at THOR, but we have not tested.
  • These instructions are just a guide, no guarantee or support is offered if you run into problems.


Requirements Hardware

As MPEG4 H.264 is highly compressed, it requires a lot of processor power to decode the stream in real time.

Minimum System

  • Pentium 4 – 3.0 Ghz Dual Core
  • Graphic card PCI Express with 256MB (Nvidia 6600 / ATI X1600XT or better)
  • Sound card that supports Dolby 5.1 (recommended, not required)
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Digital TV card (DVB-T). These cards have been tested and work:
    • Hauppauge Win-TV HVR1300 Hybrid DVB-T & Analog PCI
    • TerraTec Cinergy Hybrid T USB XS USB2.0

Software

Installation

  1. Install the TV Card.
  2. Install the H.264 codec (PowerDVD, CoreAVC, or other).
  3. Install DVBViewer Main.
  4. Unpack The DVBViewer public beta. You can either unpack into the DVBViewer main directory, or a separate directory.
  5. Unpack the DVBViewer Filter zip file into the DVBViewer/Filters directory.
  6. In Explorer, browse to the DVBViewer/Filters directory and double click on the Register_DVBSource.bat file.
  7. You should now get a message saying that PushSource.ax registered correctly.

The installation is now complete, all that is left is configure DVBViewer.

Configuration
Set up the TV card

  1. Run the beta version of DVBViewer.
  2. Choose Settings / Options.
  3. In the left column, select Hardware.
  4. Select each device in turn and make sure that Do not use is selected, except for the TV Card (DVB-T), where you select:
    • Tuner Type: Terrestrial (this probably works for Satellite, but we have not tested this.)
    • State: preferred
  5. Apply

Set up DirectX Options
Note: Deselect Auto and select devices where possible.

Extended

Scan for Channels

  1. Select Channel / Channel Scan.
  2. Select Terrestrisch ;o)
  3. Click on Scan Range.


Once the scanning is complete, just select the channel HD-kanalen under SVT & TV4.
Now just break out the popcorn and enjoy the World Cup in HDTV (720p).

>Cheap’Shake: Now $499

>
The price for Apple’s Shake was just dropped from $2.999 to $499 for the new version 4.1.

At the same time there’s rumors about this being the last version of Shake, something that gets a bit more substance from this sentence of the press-release:

Apple will no longer sell the Apple Maintenance Program for Shake.

>After Effects 7.0 Hotfix 1 Available: But What Is It For?

>
I just found out there’s a “Hotfix 1″ available for After Effects 7.0. However, what problems the patch is supposed to fix is still unclear. There’s no Read Me file, no postings on the Adobe blogs, nothing in the About After Effects… dialog, and nothing on the Support Page.

The Windows version of the patch seems to replace at least one DLL, but it’s still the same build (7.0.0.244) as the shipping 7.0.

Preliminary testings (I’m home with three kids wanting to go to the park) indicate that the old problem of OpenGL previews ignoring frames in the buffer when scrubbing seems to have been fixed. If so, OpenGL previewing is finally usable again, hooray!

>Showreel.org Finally Updated

>
Just as I had put my credit card back into my wallet, I realized that all the great online articles at showreel.org were a bit old, and that the next issue was supposed to have been published back in February.

After printing out every article for a analog weekend trip, I still felt it was worth every penny of the 20 dollars I paid for access.

Now I’m even happier since they weren’t bust, only a bit slow. You can still find parts of the site that says that it will be a bi-monthly publication beginning in 2006, which seems to be a bit of an over-statement considering the first issue of 2006 was just published.

Check it out, some of the articles are for paying subscribers only, but there’s a lot of interesting stuff on the new generation of cameras, such as the two part series HDV on the set of 24 [Part 1] and [Part 2]

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