СИЛЬНО

Today we take a dive into the world of 3D rendering that accompanies a musical journey.

What would a vibrant dream look like? The answer to this question is in the making of “SILNO” – an enigmatic, glossy and visually powerful journey directed by the acclaimed Tanu Muino for Ukrainian multi artist MONATIK.

The project’s webpage presents the development process, which captures visually stunning details from the music video, together with their starting stages, from research and development to early concepts.

How Netflix’s ‘Klaus’ Made 2D Animation Look 3D

“Klaus,” Netflix’s first animated film, is an origin story of Santa Claus. Because the Oscar-nominated movie appeals to nostalgia, director Sergio Pablos and his team at The SPA Studios in Madrid decided to make the film in 2D. But they also wanted to advance the look, so they developed new technology that adds details like lighting and texture to the characters that make them appear 3D. The Insider Team spoke with Pablos to find out how they made the innovative film, which earned an Academy Award nomination for best Animated Feature and seven Annie Awards.

Romanian designer wins MIT prize for high-tech face mask prototype

A face mask equipped with a sensor that detects Covid-19 particles in the surroundings, designed by a Romanian engineer, has scooped the top prize at a contest from MIT Media Lab.

Burzo Ciprian’s award-winning design, “social mask”, is a minimalist, transparent mask featuring a biosensor that can connect to a smartphone. Via an app, users would be able to track the number of surrounding air-borne pathogens, collecting data that also maps other users around you and calculates the risk of infection with Covid-19.

The design, which is still a prototype under development, won a competition by MIT’s pandemic response lab that asked engineers and designers to come up with creative responses that reimagine face coverings and personal protective equipment (PPE).

“Connecting the mask with our smartphone is a real option for the future,” says Ciprian. “We should know who is infected in our area, and get informed on our smartphone about what the biosensor has detected based on surrounding particles. These are just a few of the options that will surely feature in the mask of the future.”

Source

Tree rings may hold clues to impacts of distant supernovas on Earth

Massive explosions of energy happening thousands of light-years from Earth may have left traces in our planet’s biology and geology, according to new research by University of Colorado Boulder geoscientist Robert Brakenridge. The study, published this month in the International Journal of Astrobiology, probes the impacts of supernovas, some of the most violent events in the known universe. In the span of just a few months, a single one of these eruptions can release as much energy as the sun will during its entire lifetime. They’re also bright — really bright.

Tree trunk, cross section showing annual growth rings, full frame

To study those possible impacts, Brakenridge searched through the planet’s tree ring records for the fingerprints of these distant, cosmic explosions. His findings suggest that relatively close supernovas could theoretically have triggered at least four disruptions to Earth’s climate over the last 40,000 years. Scientists have recorded supernovas in other galaxies that have produced a stupendous amount of gamma radiation — the same kind of radiation that can trigger the formation of radiocarbon atoms on Earth. While these isotopes aren’t dangerous on their own, a spike in their levels could indicate that energy from a distant supernova has traveled hundreds to thousands of light-years to our planet.

To test the hypothesis, Brakenridge turned to the past. He assembled a list of supernovas that occurred relatively close to Earth over the last 40,000 years. Scientists can study these events by observing the nebulas they left behind. He then compared the estimated ages of those galactic fireworks to the tree ring record on the ground. He found that of the eight closest supernovas studied, all seemed to be associated with unexplained spikes in the radiocarbon record on Earth. He considers four of these to be especially promising candidates. Take the case of a former star in the Vela constellation. This celestial body, which once sat about 815 lightyears from Earth, went supernova roughly 13,000 years ago. Not long after that, radiocarbon levels jumped up by nearly 3% on Earth — a staggering increase.

You can read more in the original paper (this version is adapted and abridged from Source).

Brakenridge, G.R., Solar system exposure to supernova γ radiation. International Journal of Astrobiology, pp.1-14.

Understanding climate change through forest simulators

The effects of climate change are sometimes difficult to grasp, but now a virtual reality forest, created by geographers, can let people walk through a simulated forest of today and see what various futures may hold for the trees. The researchers combined information on forest composition with information on forest ecology to create a forest similar to those found in Wisconsin. “As part of an NSF-funded CNH program grant with Erica Smithwick (E. Willard and Ruby S. Miller Professor of Geography at Penn State) we are working with the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin,” said Klippel, who also is director of Penn State’s Center for Immersive Experience. “Inspired by the Menominee’s deeper connection to the environment we believe that experiencing the future is essential for all environmental decision making.”

The first step, of course, was to create a forest of today. Using data on a typical Wisconsin forest, the researchers could have used strict or deterministic rules and placed trees in the forest. However, they chose to use a procedural method that would populate the forest using a set of ecological rules, creating a more organic, natural feel. “Orientation and small details of the trees are also randomized in the approach so that the trees don’t look exactly the same,” said Jiawei Huang, graduate student in geography, Penn State.

A virtual walk through this Wisconsin forest shows tall trees and understory. Strollers, using VR headsets and controllers, can reveal the types of trees in the forest, change elevations from forest floor to birds-eye view and in-between, and more closely examine the forest composition. The researchers chose two future scenarios, a base scenario and a hot and dry scenario. Using VR, visitors to the forest can see the changes in tree types and abundance and compare the base scenario to the hot and dry scenario.

The simulator scored high on heuristic evaluation criteria like natural engagement, compatibility with the user’s task and domain, natural expression of action, coordination and realistic feedback, navigation and orientation support, and sense of presence. The virtual environment is composed of realistic aesthetics, color schemes, illumination conditions, 3D models, and textures. The interactions with the menu, the environment, and the virtual objects are intuitive and compatible with user’s expectations.

You can read more in the original paper (this version is adapted and abridged from Source).

Huang, J., Lucash, M.S., Scheller, R.M. and Klippel, A., 2020. Walking through the forests of the future: using data-driven virtual reality to visualize forests under climate change. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, pp.1-24.