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A number of Wichita middle school teachers visited our facility Thursday. They were here to get a look at not only what it is we teach but how to better incorporate the fundamentals into the real world.
A few math teachers told us they were thrilled to see, first hand, how basic geometry is tied into the digital arts. They now have an answer to the question, “When will I ever use this?” Well, when it comes to 3D animation, whether it’s for movies or video game production, an understanding of how a triangle works is essential to making it a success.
On our motion capture stage, they saw it live, in action. From things that might seem simple, like the placement of the motion capture cameras, down to how the suit was set up, the math was ever-present.
The teachers were here as part of the STEM program which USD 259 is implementing. STEM stands for, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Throughout the curriculum, teachers are stressing these fundamentals for college and career readiness.
Ryan stands at 5’9”, but once we’re done with him, he’ll be 36 feet tall and made out of stone.
Mindfire is the only location in the area to have a fully functioning motion capture stage, and Ryan is acting as a rock monster for our latest commercial. He’s dressed in the suit that’s outfitted with the active markers. We’re very excited to see what the final outcome will be.
The amazing thing about motion capture is how we can have the entire world, and universe, at our fingertips. This rock monster we’re creating, if we wanted it to take down Tokyo, we could with a few clicks of the mouse. If we wanted it to destroy a Sphinx, we could.
These are the same techniques used to make movies like Lord of The Rings. In those films, Andy Serkis was transformed into the character Gollum using motion capture technology, similar to what we have here in Wichita. More recently, Johnny Depp acted out his entire roll on a motion capture stage in the film Rango.
Video game developers also use the same motion capture technology to make their animation appear more lifelike, having athletes and martial artists mimic their moves on motion capture stages.
Our students are helping us out with this commercial we’re making, working as assistant directors and grips. This experience of working closely with professionals is one of the most exciting aspects of being part of Bethany College @ Mindfire Academy. They’re gaining knowledge both in and out of the classroom, and you can really tell they’re just soaking up the knowledge like a sponge.
This summer, we’re opening up our doors to high school kids so they can get a jump start on their college education. There’s little doubt they’ll be far ahead of their peers once the summer is over.
Blackmagic, which will be announcing both a Pocket Cinema Camera and this, its Production Camera 4K. We’re fairly sure that this will sit above its Cinema Camera, offering a bigger Super 35 sensor, global shutter and Thunderbolt connector alongside the SSD recorder, touchscreen LCD and EF lens mount we found on last year’s model. The camera is expected to be available for $3,995 — low enough to make even the most ardent of DSLR fans think twice.
Canon releases the EOS Rebel T5i with a new kit lens featuring stepping motor technology. First questions first, will you be crossgrading from Nikon for this camera? Probably not, Might you update your EOS Rebel T4i? Only if you like the insignia to advance one digit, however, if you are looking for a new DSLR with exceptional quality and functionality from a trusted manufacturer, the EOS Rebel T5i is an excellent choice.
During my talk at iConnect iLearn 2011, I promised a list of open source tools for 3D Animation and Game Design. The tools listed below are not all technically open source (more on that later), but are free to use in a non-commercial environment, such as your classroom.
I once again stuck with tools that I knew worked, and worked well. There are many image manipulation and game design programs, but these are the best in their class, rivaling programs that cost thousands of dollars per seat!
If you have any questions about these pieces of software, or have any to add, please feel free to comment here or hit me up on Twitter (@mfa_josh)!
* Neither Unity 3D or the Unreal Development Kit are what we would think of as being open source, though they are both available for free for non-commercial use. If a student releases a project commercially, they simply have to get the proper license to cover the project. Though a project can be built in the environment with no license being obtained, allowing students the ability to work on a game that may never be released, but allowing them to release it in the future in they choose to do so.