Animation

OBOTO – Rise of the Robots

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OBOTO – Digital Pet (Robot) Showcases Advanced Augmented Reality

Since co-founding Ogmento back in 2009… a goal for the company has always been to creatie immersive augmented reality experiences, including the ability to place characters and other digital interactive content seamlessly into the physical world.

The key to a truly magical and immersive experience is in the tracking.  Powerful computer vision algorithms come into play in order to seamlessly tie the virtual to the physical.  With Ogmento  focusing on premium AR experiences,, we are now highlight some of our tracking capabilities with the introduction of OBOTO, and a little robot named Oggie.

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With our prototype OBOTO app (available for iPhone) we are testing out the idea of a digital toy robot that can interact and track to the physical world without the use of markers, printouts, or any pre-setup.  To date, the need for markers, printouts, or a lengthy set-up process have prevented Augmented Reality (AR) from true mass adoption.  These initialization methods are intrusive, and ultimately barriers to entrance for many mobile content enthusiasts looking to experience the magic of AR instantly.

When it comes to offering an engaging augmented reality experience (one which can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere), Ogmento believes a zero-initialization tracking solution in a natural environment is key.  The release of OBOTO, Ogmento’s first original project, showcases such a solution.

Users can place Oggie into any environment they wish — on a table, on the floor, in middle of the street, in their hand, etc.  Oggie will track to the environment instantly, allowing the user to pan, zoom, and move around creating a seamless mixed-reality experience.  This zero-initialization, natural feature tracking AR, allows for instant immersion, which is key.

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Photo and video features allow users to get creative and show off with their very own digital pet robot.

If people enjoy the notion of virtual characters in the real world, and  the character interactions that come along with that, there are endless opportunities for this type of application. Virtual pets, mascots, toys, and more. With the added ability to unlock exclusive content based on location, and brand recognition as well, this is a content model that has no limits, and will only continue to grow.

Be sure to download and check out OBOTO, and let me know what you think.  If your company, agency or brand have ideas in mind based on this content model, I’d love to explore opportunities with you.

Relavant Links

ogmento.com/apps/oboto

facebook.com/ObotoCentral

youtube.com/ObotoCentral

twitter.com/ObotoCentral

Projection Mapping

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As I focus on Augmented Reality, I continue to be fascinated and inspired by the notion of transforming common landscapes into art and entertainment. Some of the best reference for this can be found in projection mapping.

There have been some amazing projects that truly inspire the creative possibilities, and serve as examples for what Augmented Reality will eventually allow us to experiences at any time. When it comes to transforming every-day environments and buildings into works of art, this is a great place to look for creative ideas. Virtual lighting, 3D augmentation and distortion, edge highlighting, surface painting… it’s all here.

If you are interested in bringing these types of experiences to Los Angeles; if you have the equipment to pull this off; and/or if you know of great buildings/locations that can be made available to be used as a backdrop for a Projector-Mapping festival of sorts, please contact me. I am hoping to set up an event for sometime in 2010.

The following are a few of my current favorite examples (make sure your volume is up!)…


How would it look if a house were dreaming?
Production by Urban Screen


Private festival in the North East of England
Production by The Darkroom


Battle of Branchage @ Branchage Film Festival 2009
Production by Seeper


El Jardí theater building i
Production by: Palnoise

The Legacy of Tron and Syd

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There are a just a handful of movies that truly influenced me in life and are simply part of my DNA. Tron is one of those movies.

The visual impact of Tron and its computer-generated worlds drove me to take computer graphic classes, and ultimately end up working in the fields of comic books, video games, digital media and virtual worlds.

Now, over 25 years later, I’m thrilled to be watching this new footage from Tron: Legacy. The look-and-feel seems nostalgic and retro, yet modern and updated at the same time.

I can’t post about Tron without giving a bit shout out to Syd Mead for being such a rock star conceptual artist. Many of my all time favorite movies have his signature on them (Tron, Blade Runner, Aliens, 2001…).

Here is a nice video on the art and life of Syd Mead! A true visionary who I had the privilage of meeting at last years Comic Con.

Instafilms.com is live!

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We just launch of our public beta for Instafilms.com. This is “machinima for the masses.” Instafilms allows video game fans to make their own CG animated short films (or shows) with a simple tool set that includes text-to-speech, drag and drop cameras, and choices of sets and characters. Shows get rendered within minutes, and you can post them anywhere.

There are currently three “shows” to choose from: Sony Playstation’s Heavenly Sword, Ubisoft’s Brothers in Arms, and our own original franchise, Menlo Park. We will be adding more game franchises in the coming weeks.

Make your own cartoon.. its a lot of fun! Any comments or feedback, I would love to know what you think!

My 3D Facial Avatar

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While at GDC I had my face scanned by EyeBCom, for a realistic 3D facial avatar. The scan turned out really nice, although I hate to admit this because I look very serious and a tad goofy.

I also met with the gang over at BigStage and had my picture scanned into their system. I will update this post once I get access to that demo. Once scanned into their system BigStage offers a bunch of movie clips which you can integrate your face into, turning yourself into the star. This final product is a bit like what JibJab and Gizmoz are doing now, but with 3D tech you can take things much further than just the floating head effect typically seen.

These 3D facial scans have obvious User-Generated Content (UGC) implications, allowing people to easily upload their photos online and put themselves into video game and animation experiences. BigStage currently asks for 3 pictures to be taken (a bit much) and a standard webcam camera will not work (resolution too low), so the barrier to entrance is still a bit high. Still, things are changing quickly and soon it will be very easy to star in any online content you want using these technologies.

As we get ready to launch instafilms.com, this is certainly a viable extension of our business, and should prove to be a lot of fun once integrated. Why just direct your own videos and animation, when you can star in them too?

Instafilms.com – Menlo Park

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We continue to build out Instafilms.com for a Q1 ’09 release. While most of the site focuses on video game related content, we are launching new and original shows as well. Here is a sneak-peak at one of the new characters and environments for a show we call “Menlo Park.” I wrote this very quickly as a test to see if the new assets are working properly, and also because I am bummed I can’t buy peanunt butter right now due to a selmenella scare.

Brian’s Holiday Cartoon

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I made this holiday cartoon for all my friends and family. Enjoy!

Mashin’ on Mashade

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Picture 1We continue to add content to Mashade.com, including Lego Batman, Mass Effect and others. The site is really starting to take shape now. Press release to announce official launch coming soon! Check it out, make a mash-up, and email it to me!

The Story of Stuff

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Picture 1My cousin Alana sent me a link to the Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard today. It is a 20-minute Flash animated presentation about our world of consumption. The straight-talk and simple illustrations in the film cleverly depict the sad reality of our consumption habit, and how it is destroying the planet.

The site is not all doom and gloom though, and does not come off as preachy. There is a playful humor in the animation and thankfully no “10 simple steps” list provided for such a complex problem. This is an awareness piece, which lets you decide how best to make a difference. The good news is that there are great people and organizations working hard to reverse these patterns destroying our planet. Is it too little too late though? Hopefully not!

If you like the idea of having a sustainable world, something to leave behind for future generations… I highly recommend a viewing! It just might change the way you look at things a bit, and perhaps motivate you to do whatever you can to contribute less to the problem.

Also kudos to the design house behind this site, Free Range Studios. They did a really nice job integrating interactive features into the presentation.

Refrigerator Art

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“Refrigerator Art” is one of the Eruptor.com animated shows we launched back around 2001. Since Eruptor.com is no more, it is a pleasure to discover some of our content lives on with sites like YouTube, etc.

I produced Refrigerator Art along with the creator of the project, Michael Dougherty. Michael was involved in several Eruptor shows, and has gone on to make a big name for himself in Hollywood, writing and directing feature films like X-Men, Superman and others. One of the great pleasures of my job is getting to work with talent like Michael.

Animated with crayon drawings, Refrigerator Art is a series of shorts based on the adventures of a little boy named Billy, and his all-American dysfunctional family. The films are educational and heartwarming, teaching kids that having an alcoholic or psychotic parent isn’t just normal, but also utterly hilarious.