3D Design Makes Annual Report Pop

Okay, I know it’s old school anaglyph…and an annual report…for a fast food company—but this is very cool use of 3D in design.

The company Restaurant Brands operates Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Starbucks in New Zealand and is publicly traded on the New Zealand Stock Exchange. They have taken the traditional stodgy annual report—financials and all—and by applying clever design turned it into a creative, whimsical, attractive statement about the company.

Click on this link to see the whole document online. And maybe buy some stock!

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Mark your calendars: PuppetZilla 3D May 27 LA

Upcoming event in Los Angeles this weekend looks fantastic! It’s a joint presentation by the LA Guild of Puppetry and the Los Angeles 3D Club. For more information visit their website here. Can’t wait to see the pictures!

2012 April Foolishness: Toshiba’s 3D “Spectacle”

Toshiba uses a clever spoof—a faux launch for a new 3D monocle called “Spectacle“—to publicize its line of 3D laptops and other products.  It’s witty and fun. The Spectacle is billed as ideal for everyone, especially those “who don’t like bulky 3D glasses but just can’t wait for glasses-free 3D”.

Accessories include designer red and blue lenses, a chain, and carrying case. There’s a silly video ad as well.  Enjoy!

NY Public Library Launches Online Stereoscopic Archive

Planet3D features a section from a 19th century painting of a woman entertaining herself with a stereoscope.

In a brave, creative move the NY Public Library has made more than 40,000 stereograph images available online at a new site along with a tool it’s calling the “Stereogranimator.”

Stereoscopes are a fascinating part of 3D history. They remind us that 3D is not a new entertainment phenomenon but a technique we human beings have been playing with for a very long time.  The cards themselves are windows into other times and places—the stereo effect often brings a startling realism to a old-fashioned sepia image.

This Sterogranimator tool lets users select an image from the archive, render it as an animated gif and/or an anaglyph image (where two color offsets create the illusion of depth). These can then be shared in the online gallery (and in the case of the anaglyph images, viewed with red/blue glasses).

A page of frenetic flashing gifs or anaglyph pictures at first glance may seem, well, silly. Take some time to look at them and notice the subject that photographers chose to shoot (and site visitors chose to “stereoanimate”—the depth of images, the vantage points, the subject matter.  It will bring you closer to some pretty amazing people, places, and things.

While debate continues about 3D as a cheap commercial trick or powerful visual tool this project brings interesting insight and context.

Thanks NY Public Library.

From the private collection of Planet3D: before cats on the Internet there were stereoscopic cats.

 

Behind the Scenes: Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” in 3D

Here’s a nifty video diary from the set of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit.  It’s full of details on camera technology, some of the aesthetic and artistic choices being made, and a sense of excitement about a powerful new storytelling tool.

They’re using 48 RED Epic cameras, 3ality 3D, 48 FPS (frames per second) and a lot of  classic special effects and filmmaking skills.

Great insight into the challenge and opportunity—I’m looking forward to December 2012!

3D Encounter at the Museum of Modern Art

I dropped by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City the other day for a quick art fix and ended up at the exhibition: Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects.

It’s an ambitious effort to examine the interface designs between humans and objects, something we deal with a lot in the tech world but not necessarily from the designers point of view.

The results are interesting with a design-centric sensibility harnessing trendy tools such as QR codes, smart phones, and Twitter hashtags in an effort to enhance human interaction with the exhibit itself.

One piece in particular caught my eye Keiichi Matsuda’s Augmented (hyper) Reality: Augmented City 3D, a short film illustrating augmented reality (layering computer-generated visual information over a real life view.)  It’s an interesting concept and the design is beautiful, but what caught my eye were anaglyph glasses dangling across from the piece inviting viewers to watch in 3D.

The piece is displayed on one of many video monitors hung down a long, sunlit corridor.  These are terrible viewing conditions in every way (too much light, people jostling as they past) but it was irresistible for a lot of people, including me.

The 3D optics aren’t great, but it is enough to give a better sense of the immersive quality of augmented reality, something we’ll be seeing more of I’m sure. It’s also a testament to the power 3D has to command attention. The show runs through November 7, 2011. I highly recommend it.    

Wim Wenders: sharing the space

I had the incredible privilege of hearing Wim Wenders’ keynote address to the Toronto International Stereoscopic 3D Conference (June 11, 2011).  I transcribed some of my frantically scribbled notes at the time.  Now the entire speech is available online at Mr. Wenders’ official web site.

It puts forward a passionate, eloquent vision of what is possible with 3D as an artistic tool.  Wenders has created “Pina”, a film featuring the work and creative company of the late Pina Bausch.  He screened some clips from the film and it’s amazing.  I can’t wait to see the whole thing. Here’s the trailer: 

The speech is long and reads like an epic poem but it’s really a manifesto challenging the trivialization of 3D as an artistic tool.  Anyone interested in 3D, film, or art in general should read this.  I will be posting my favorite quotes starting with this one:

[on working on “portraits”, close-ups of the dancers]

I must say: I was, again, unprepared.
We had been using this technology for weeks already,
and had started to “understand” it,
learn how to move the camera,
learn how to deal with “depth”,
but this sheer presence of a person,
without choreographie,
without sound,
without story,
almost without purpose,
was… mind-blowing.

I had not seen that in any film before,
not in any 3D film, that’s for sure,
and not even in our own shots.
How this medium was able to actually transcend 
(in the very sense of the word)
the realm of cinema,
of cinematic representation,
and create (or imitate, I’m not sure) “presence”,
human presence, in body and soul…
that was shocking.

The most outrageous, though, was, or is:
the present perception of 3D is going in the opposite direction.
It is all taking place in the realm of fantasy,
and the actors on the screen are more devoid of reality
than any actor in any old black and white movie.
Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz in “Pirates of the Caribbean” for instance
(I could pick many other examples)
are not “there”…
they do not exist,
with all the gimmickry around them
they are strange, human-like creatures, 
“body snatchers” like in that film by Phil Kaufman.
And that goes for everything that comes packaged 
in the 3D envelope of the Major Studios.
They have taken this language, this amazing new medium,
and … kidnapped it,
stolen it, mutilated it beyond recognition,
so none of their audiences could possibly conceive of it as a tool
to represent … reality.
Human reality.
Our planet.
Our existence.
Our concerns.

But: I am convinced that this is what 3D was invented for.