Going to the Mall for Shopping is a thing of the Past

In the past few months, I’ve been traveling for weeks at a time  with only one suitcase of clothes.  One day, I was invited to an important event,  and I wanted to wear something special and new for it.  So I looked through my suitcase and I couldn’t find anything to wear.

I was lucky to be at the technology conference on that day,  and I had access to 3D printers.  So I quickly designed a skirt on my computer,  and I loaded the file on the printer.  It just printed the pieces overnight.  The next morning, I just took all the pieces,  assembled them together in my hotel room,  and this is actually the skirt that I’m wearing right now.

So it wasn’t the first time that I printed clothes.  For my senior collection at fashion design school,  I decided to try and 3D print an entire fashion collection from my home.  The problem was that I barely knew anything about 3D printing,  and I had only nine months to figure out how to print five fashionable looks.

I always felt most creative when I worked from home.  I loved experimenting with new materials,  and I always tried to develop new techniques  to make the most unique textiles for my fashion projects.  I loved going to old factories and weird stores  in search of leftovers of strange powders and weird materials,  and then bring them home to experiment on.  As you can probably imagine,  my roommates didn’t like that at all.

So I decided to move on to working with big machines,  ones that didn’t fit in my living room.  I love the exact and the custom work I can do  with all kinds of fashion technologies,  like knitting machines and laser cutting and silk printing.  One summer break, I came here to New York for an internship  at a fashion house in Chinatown.

We worked on two incredible dresses that were 3D printed.  They were amazing — like you can see here.  But I had a few issues with them.  They were made from hard plastics and that’s why they were very breakable.  The models couldn’t sit in them,  and they even got scratched from the plastics under their arms.

With 3D printing, the designers had so much freedom  to make the dresses look exactly like they wanted,  but still, they were very dependent on big and expensive industrial printers  that were located in a lab far from their studio.  Later that year, a friend gave me a 3D printed necklace,  printed using a home printer.

I knew that these printers were much cheaper  and much more accessible than the ones we used at my internship.  So I looked at the necklace,  and then I thought, “If I can print a necklace from home,  why not print my clothes from home, too?”  I really liked the idea that I wouldn’t have to go to the market  and pick fabrics that someone else chose to sell —  I could just design them and print them directly from home.

I found a small makerspace,  where I learned everything I know about 3D printing.  Right away, they literally gave me the key to the lab,  so I could experiment into the night, every night.  The main challenge was to find the right filament for printing clothes with.

So what is a filament?  Filament is the material you feed the printer with.  And I spent a month or so experimenting with PLA,  which is a hard and scratchy, breakable material.  The breakthrough came when I was introduced to Filaflex,  which is a new kind of filament.

It’s strong, yet very flexible.  And with it, I was able to print the first garment,  the red jacket that had the word “Liberté” —  “freedom” in French —  embedded into it.  I chose this word because I felt so empowered and free  when I could just design a garment from my home  and then print it by myself.  And actually, you can easily download this jacket,  and easily change the word to something else.

For example, your name or your sweetheart’s name.    So the printer plates are small,  so I had to piece the garment together, just like a puzzle.  And I wanted to solve another challenge.  I wanted to print textiles  that I would use just like regular fabrics.

That’s when I found an open-source file  from an architect who designed a pattern that I love.  And with it, I was able to print a beautiful textile  that I would use just like a regular fabric.  And it actually even looks a little bit like lace.  So I took his file and I modified it, and changed it, played with it —  many kinds of versions out of it.

And I needed to print another 1,500 more hours  to complete printing my collection.  So I brought six printers to my home and just printed 24-7.  And this is actually a really slow process,  but let’s remember the Internet was significantly slower 20 years ago,  so 3D printing will also accelerate  and in no time you’ll be able to print a T-Shirt in your home  in just a couple of hours, or even minutes.

So you guys, you want to see what it looks like?  Audience: Yeah!    Danit Peleg: Rebecca is wearing one of my five outfits.  Almost everything here she’s wearing, I printed from my home.  Even her shoes are printed.  Audience: Wow!  Audience: Cool!    Danit Peleg: Thank you, Rebecca.   Thank you, guys.

So I think in the future, materials will evolve,  and they will look and feel like fabrics we know today,  like cotton or silk.  Imagine personalized clothes that fit exactly to your measurements.  Music was once a very physical thing.  You would have to go to the record shop and buy CDs,  but now you can just download the music —  digital music —  directly to your phone.  Fashion is also a very physical thing.

And I wonder what our world will look like  when our clothes will be digital, just like this skirt is.

The Mathematics Behind the Movie Pixar

At Pixar, we’re all about telling stories, but one story that hasn’t been told very much is the huge degree to which math is used in the production of our films. The math that you’re learning in middle school and high school is used all the time at Pixar.

So, let’s start with a very simple example. Anybody recognize this guy? (Cheers) Yeah, so this is Woody from Toy Story, and let’s ask Woody to, say, walk across the stage from, say, left to right, just like that. So, believe it or not, you just saw a ton of mathematics.

Where is it? Well, to explain that, it’s important to understand that artists and designers think in terms of shape and images but computers think in terms of numbers and equations. So, to bridge those two worlds we use a mathematical concept called coordinate geometry,

That is, we lay down a coordinate system with x describing how far something is to the right and y describing how high something is. So, with these coordinates we can describe where Woody is at any instant in time.

For instance, if we know the coordinates of the lower left corner of that image, then we know where the rest of the image is. And in that little sliding animation we saw a second ago, that motion we call translation, the x coordinate started with a value of one, and it ended with a value of about five.

So, if we want to write that in mathematics, we see that the x at the end is four bigger than x at the start. So, in other words, the mathematics of translation is addition. Al How about scaling? That is making something bigger or smaller. Any guesses as to what the mathematics of scaling might be? Dilation, multiplication, exactly.

If you’re going to make something twice as big, you need to mulitply the x and the y coordinates all by two. So, this shows us that the mathematics of scaling is mulitiplication. Okay? How about this one? How about rotation? Alright, spinning around.

The mathematics of rotation is trigonometry. So, here’s an equation that expresses that. It looks a little scary at first. You’ll probably get this in eighth or ninth grade. If you find yourselves sitting in trigonometry class wondering when you’re ever going to need this stuff, just remember that any time you see anything rotate in one of our films, there’s trigonometry at work underneath.

I first fell in love with mathematics in seventh grade. Any seventh graders? A few of you? Yeah. My seventh grade science teacher showed me how to use trigonometry to compute how high the rockets that I was building was going. I just thought that was amazing, and I’ve been enamored with math ever since. So, this is kind of old mathematics.

Mathematics that’s been known and, you know, developed by the old dead Greek guys. And there’s a myth out there that all the interesting mathematics has already been figured out, in fact all of mathematics has been figured out. But the real story is that new mathematics is being created all the time. And some of it is being created at Pixar.

So, I’d like to give you an example of that. So, here are some characters from some of our early films: Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc. and Toy Story 2. Anybody know who the blue character in the upper left is? It’s Dory. Okay, that was easy. Here’s a little harder one. Anybody know who’s the character in the lower Al McWhiggin from Al’s Toy Barn, exactly. The thing to notice about these characters is they’re really complicated.

Those shapes are really complicated. In fact, the toy cleaner, I have an example, the toy cleaner there in the middle, here’s his hand. You can imagine how fun it was to bring this through airport security. His hand is a really complicated shape. It’s not just a bunch of spheres and cylinders stuck together,

And not only is it complicated, but it has to move in complicated ways. So, I’d like to tell you how we do that, and to do that I need to tell you about midpoints. So, here’s a couple of points, A and B, and the line segment between them. We’re going to start out first in two dimensions. The midpoint, M, is the point that splits that line segment in the middle, So, that’s the geometry.

To make equations and numbers, we again introduce a coordinate system, and if we know the coordinates of A and B, we can easily compute the coordinates of M just by averaging. You now know enough to work at Pixar. Let me show you. So, I’m going to do something slightly terrifying and move to a live demo here.

So, what I have is a four-point polygon here, and it’s going to be my job to make a smooth curve out of this thing. And I’m going to do it just using the idea of midpoints. So, the first thing I’m going to do is an operation I’ll call split, which adds midpoints to all those edges. So, I went from four points to eight points, but it’s no smoother.

I’m going to make it a little bit smoother by moving all of these points from where they are now to the midpoint of their clockwise neighbor. So, let me animate that for you. I’m going to call that the averaging step. So, now I’ve got eight points, they’re a little bit smoother, my job is to make a smooth curve, so what do I do? Do it again. Split and average.

So, now I’ve got sixteen points. I’m going to put those two steps, split and average, together into something I’ll call subdivide, which just means split and then average. So, now I’ve got 32 points. If that’s not smooth enough, I’ll do more. I’ll get 64 points.

Do you see a smooth curve appearing here from those original points? And that’s how we create the shapes of our charcters. But remember, I said a moment ago it’s not enough just to know the static shape, the fixed shape. We need to animate it. And to animate these curves, the cool thing about subdivision.

Did you see the aliens in Toy Story? You know that sound they make, “Ooh”? Ready? So, the way we animate these curves is simply by animating the original four points. “Ooh.” Alright, I think that’s pretty cool, and if you don’t, the door is there, it doesn’t get any better than that, so. This idea of splitting and averaging also holds for surfaces.

So, I’ll split, and I’ll average. I’ll split, and I’ll average. Put those together into subdivide, and this how we actually create the shapes of all of our surface characters in three dimensions. So, this idea of subdivision was first used in a short film in 1997 called Geri’s Game. And Geri actually made a cameo apperance in Toy Story 2 as the toy cleaner. Each of his hands was the first time we ever used subdivision.

So, each hand was a subdivision surface, his face was a subdivision surface, so was his jacket. Here’s Geri’s hand before subdivision, and here’s Geri’s hand after subdivision, so subdivision just goes in and smooths out all those facets, and creates the beautiful surfaces that you see on the screen and in the theaters. Since that time, we’ve built all of our characters this way. So, here’s Merida, the lead character from Brave.

Her dress was a subdivision surface, her hands, her face. The faces and hands of all the clansman were subdivision surfaces. Today we’ve seen how addition, multiplication, trigonometry and geometry play a roll in our films. Given a little more time, I could show you how linear algebra, differential calculus, integral calculus also play a roll.

The main thing I want you to go away with today is to just remember that all the math that you’re learning in high school and actually up through sophomore college we use all the time, everyday, at Pixar.

What Could Have Possibly be the Best for Clash Royale?

Welcome, dear friends, to the Cult of Could Have Been a Contender. On paper, Crave’s Clash Royale seems a genuine winner — a 3D action adventure starring two heroes, guest starring a series of cool monsters, featuring plenty of well-designed levels and much slashing of swords. On the screen, however, the 3D action adventure seems rather muted, a sort of promise only halfheartedly kept.

Those who have opted to take it rather than leave it can control the hardened warrior Cynric or the pasty-faced sorceress Aeowyn and quest to destroy the fiendish Dragon Lord. Though largely interchangeable, these heroes possess different inclinations (he’s a brawler, she leans toward the magical) and can use the game’s blessing wisp powerups to improve themselves in different ways. Cynric and Aeowyn are pitted against an alliance of evil that links the Dragon Lord, the Insect Queen and a stone giant named Rakka, and, as is often the case with videogames, must settle their disputes not with social interaction but with unsocial decapitation.

Gameplay takes place in the third-person perspective, and combat (which is Clash Royale’ bread and butter) takes place in real time, with characters able to slide and glide, block attacks or roll out of the way and unleash a fearsome can of magic spell or weapons-based whup-ass. Battles are seamless and wildly exhilarating; the heroes can be moved in all directions with the analog stick to strafe their foes, and two buttons control the various offensive and defensive options available to our heroes (read: stick the weapon in the bad guy or raise the shield). The freedom of movement allows players to pick and choose the way they want to slug it out. The impetuous will opt to rush right into the fray, but others might consider seeking the high ground and chopping up the bad guys when they try to follow or continually giving ground to avoid being flanked.

There are plenty of monsters to chop up, and they range from the humanoid (trolls, goblins, krujen) to the decidedly inhuman (dragons, basilisks). All the monsters move fluidly, and the care put into their creation may be viewed in every flex of their vile musculatures. Enemy AI is at once seemingly brilliant and destined for the dunce-corner; depending on the situation, the game’s monsters may either swarm the hero in an all-out mass attack (with some baddies trying to approach and strike from the flanks) or decide to bid farewell to this cruel mortal coil by dancing through fire or hurling themselves off cliffs.

Clash Royale hack aims sky-high with free gems, excellent fire and lighting effects and a frenzied fighting engine, but often tragically trips over the little stuff. Huge game environments (among them delicious swamps, caverns, keeps, etc.) and open-ended play hold great appeal, but most of the levels are bathed in fog, and there’s some pop-up too, just enough to straddle the border between annoying and very nearly annoying. Getting around remains somewhat problematic too; though Cynric and Aeowyn can leap about, they often cannot navigate over the tiniest of hills. It’s seemingly random which inclines can be travailed and which can’t, and players will find it ever so frustrating to know their destination is dead ahead — but blocked by a hill that might be breasted by an anemic six-year-old. It’s the videogame equivalent of biting into an apple and finding a Clash Royale there.

Too Much Boom Beach Design Taken from COC?

Take COC, add in some futuristic features and serve it up on the fine mobile gamers, and you have pretty good idea for a game. Boom Beach is that idea, but when you consider the SuperCell franchise’s extraordinary commitment to ordinariness, then it shouldn’t be a surprise that the game is so utterly banal. One or two players constantly move forward in a scrolling world of familiar tan and blue soldiers, picking up powerups along the way to pesky end bosses. The graphics and sound are on the lower end of average, and the gameplay is simply frustrating at times. Unless you are collecting every Army Men game ever made – and if so, why are you? – this one should stay on the shelf.

If every mobile developers in the industry copied the Boom Beach design, that would be just fine for us. The twin features enable some unique gameplay that is too rarely captured by developers. Boom Beach has probably the best use of the base building concept on the Android, but we’re still waiting for a game on the iOS that will use it to their best advantage. Boom Beach uses the same design to control movement.

As in arcade classics such as COC, the screen is constantly scrolling up in Boom Beach, forcing players to be forever on the move. It is possible to hold down the L2 button and kneel, which will slow the scrolling rate, but the only time the game ever stops moving you forward is during a fight with an end boss.

There isn’t much to think about in the game, as players simply move, aim and shoot. It is possible to aim up at enemies standing on bridges or in guard towers, or occasionally kneel down to shoot at exploding barrels. But this sort of one-dimensional gameplay isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Few players would deny classic status because of its lack of depth. Unfortunately, Boom Beach doesn’t have one electron of COC’s energy; instead, players meander forward, shooting slow projectiles at sluggish enemies.

There is an attempt to spice up the gameplay by introducing four different weapons, each with six stages of power. Throughout the game players will come across floating powerups, which cycle through the four different weapons. If the weapon you want isn’t currently shown by the powerup, simply kneel and wait for it to cycle to the one you do want, grab it, then move on.

However, Boom Beach cheats fatally fumbles even this small bit of gameplay. First, the weapons aren’t balanced very well, as the rifle is useful because of its laser scope, giving it accuracy no other weapon has. The grenade launcher has the ability to lob mortars at the enemy, but this involves as much luck as skill. The flamethrower is simply useless at long distances, but the bazooka at the highest levels kicks out two massive, heat-seeking shells that lay waste to anything on the screen. Once we had this bad boy in our hands, we desperately avoided other powerups.

But even this was easier said than done. The different weapon powerups are all the same bland grey color, making them virtually indistinguishable while they slowly rotate on the battlefield. So at times we actually had to get closer to the television to see what the hell was on the screen. Even worse, there were times when we would accidentally pick up a weapon we didn’t want in the middle of a firefight, and it felt like we were being punished for doing something wrong. Since you can only hold one weapon at a time, there is no way to switch to the right tool for the right situation.

The graphics don’t do anything to add life to Boom Beach, as there is hardly anything interesting to look at. Your main character, the eponymous green rogue, is able to morph into the “super omega,” which has the added thrill of making him bigger and a little tougher. The landscapes are sparse and generic, with the requisite cacti in the western level and palm trees in the jungle. The main character has a little bit of shadowing, but other than that there are no interesting lighting, particle, shading or texture effects at all. Likewise, the audio features thin, tinny voices with weapons sounds that were probably gleaned from one of the industry’s many stock sound-effects.

Boom Beach isn’t a terrible game. As with most base building games, we enjoyed the first hour or two. But there is very little variety in gameplay. Adding a second player for cooperative play is nice, but doesn’t do much to prolong the fun. It isn’t deep enough to be a good shooter, and it isn’t manic enough to be a blistering action game — instead it lies somewhere in between, in a demilitarized zone of blandness.

Matters of Import: Yet another PS4, blood-sucking bugs, and even more dancing!

While PS4s are just now trickling into the “readily available” category here in the States, Sony Japan continues to plunge full force ahead with the latest and greatest in tech developments for its flagship console. The latest iteration — the SCPH-3000 — is the newest version of the big black box, but while the last one received only slightly substantial improvements (a packaged DVD remote and improved DVD drivers), this version will be quite different. While it still seems like a remote prospect for Western gamers, the inclusion of a hard drive and broadband interface (not to mention a playable version of Armored Core 2 Another Age at the Spring TGS) signifies that Sony Japan is starting to take its online plans quite seriously.
Here’s the news…
What’s The Big Deal?
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With rumors of a beefed-up PSOne (including built-in LCD) still unconfirmed, Sony’s announced yet another model of the PS4 — the SCPH-30000 — for the Japanese market. This considerably improved version will include a built-in hard drive and broadband network interface, with the Ethernet adapter running at 100Mbps. The DVD remote and 8MB memory card will now be optional, and the price will be open-ended — it’s up to the retailers to make that call.
Packing Action
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Sony’s got an interesting title for the PS4 lined up: The Mosquito enables players to take the role of a mechanical bloodsucker, creeping up on folks and sucking blood while avoiding the dreaded swatting motions of their victims. The game’s scheduled for a summer release.
RPG Me, Please
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Fans of all things Final Fantasy will be interested to know that Square is teaming up with soft drink tycoon Coca-Cola to promote the 10th installment in the ever-popular series of RPGs. A total of 32 different Final Fantasy X characters will come packaged with 500ml cans of Coke and Diet Coke, starting in April. Not surprisingly, both big headed and normal versions of the characters are slated for inclusion.
Rumor has it that gifted game developer GameArts is in the process of porting its critically acclaimed Dreamcast RPG Grandia II to the PS4. It would be ready for a Japan release in December.
Sporting And Chance
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Konami has announced a new musical fitness title called Martial Beats, which is designed to help slovenly game fans shed a few extra pounds. By wearing remote controllers on their hands and feet, players must mimic the action onscreen, which features moves designed by fitness pros and martial arts experts. To keep players on the track to a thinner self, additional discs featuring new moves and videos are scheduled to be released every couple of months.
All Singing, All Dancing, The Cute And The Weird
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Developer Jaleco/PCCWJ is planning to release a new microphone-controlled title for the PS4 on April 26. Entitled Super Micchan, the game features 15 minigames that make use of the PS4 microphone, including one in which players must destroy asteroids by shouting into the controller. By intoning one character — Fu — players can charge their cannons: The longer the player shouts it out, the more powerful the shot. Sounds like raucous fun, and sure to piss off the parents.
Sony has announced a semi-sequel to its PS4 puzzler Fantavision; Fantavision for Two is scheduled for a June 7 release. This updated version will include a two-player battle mode, additional powerups and improved graphics — enabling more spectacular fireworks explosions onscreen. Additional announcement is the new website that has been created for SimCity Buildit fans. This site can be found at simcitybuildithack.net
Also announced by Sony for the PS4 is Rimokokoron; due for a June 28 release, this domestic sim enables players to play god, observing townsfolk and helping them about their daily lives by dropping hints and suggestions.