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Next year they should let people apply for the chance to be randomly selected to receive a visa.


TheCoelacanth 11 days ago | link

That's what they already do. Anyone who applies in the first five days has a chance of being randomly selected.




I'm one of the engineers working on this, I even make a semi-appearance in the video. I'm not really going to say much about it because it's a little annoying that it leaked out, and by such a crappy recording too, but -

a) I think the title here is pretty good, better than the hyperbolic one the Inquirer used.

b) Your middle two paragraphs are spot on

c) Given the video, it's understandable people are focused on the "actor as a virtual character" previsualization part ('but Avatar did this two years ago!', 'our game engine does that!', yadda yadda). That's only a small part of it, and honestly one of the less interesting ones.

I don't see what you think is condescending though. There's not a lot of difference today in the skill-set of a CG artist and a games artist. Generally they're just working to different budgets. (I say that as someone who spent 15 years working on console games).

The painstaking days of game artists building models that use less than 100 verts and hand-painting 256x256 textures are gone. Now, both your CG and game-artist build super-high resolution models, probably starting with something like ZBrush, then decimate down to whatever they need with the highres asset used to generate normal or displacement maps.

Optimius Prime in the original Transformers movie used ~20x more polygons than a PS4/Xbone game would today for a similar character. That's pretty amazing when you think that the GPUs in those machines are already handily outmatched by PCs, and the performance gains Nividia/AMD bring with every hardware cycle.


MrScruff 205 days ago | link

Games and film vfx are two different industries with two similar but different goals:

- how high quality an image can I produce in ~1/30s

- how high quality an image can I produce in several hours.

The interesting thing is how different the solutions often end up being based on these constraints. Also, the continual migration of techniques from film to games.


hayesdaniel 205 days ago | link

Hey, thanks for the reply! It's definitely really impressive tech and I (and everyone else) are hugely excited about the possibilities.

My comment was definitely more about the media coverage than anything else. I've been a lighter/comper/pipeline dev mostly in features and have never worked in games so I can't speak with really any authority on the subject. I really just wanted to convey that mainstream coverage of VFX (and games) tech seems to really gloss over the human element.

Anyway great work, thanks again.


thenomad 205 days ago | link


So what would you say - as one of the people involved, rather than a journalist commenting - are the most interesting/important parts of the project?


ajg1977 205 days ago | link

I would say that when you reach the point of being able to accurately represent final CG in realtime, a huge number of possibilities open up :)


thenomad 204 days ago | link

Including an accurate lighting model? Or do you think that there's a significant inflection point before that when we're still attempting to replicate a final render using rasterizers?

(My current bee-in-bonnet, besides integrating HMDs and mocap, is realtime-ish path tracing - but that's a while away yet, still.)


All "cyberbullying" does is prevent the bullying from stopping when the kids go home.

That's a pretty big 'all'


alan_cx 344 days ago | link

I thought that "all" was supposed to be sarcastic, but maybe I misunderstood. Anyway, I interpreted it as sarcasm.


nvr219 344 days ago | link

Let's not turn this discussion into what's pretty big and what isn't


There's a big difference between "X would like to access your contacts" and "X would like to access your contacts, then store everything on their servers for reasons/duration of their determination"


__david__ 353 days ago | link

But not from the OS's point of view. iOS (and Android) can only warn about the contact crossing the threshold into the app. After that the app can do as it pleases...


It's hard to see this as anything other than someone choosing to go out at the top.


rhizome 407 days ago | link

That's one way of looking at it. Another is that there's about to be a big fight over royalties to the labels with Apple entering with a huge salvo today[1], and Pandora likely needs a new face in order to join the battle differently than they had in the past. In other words, "circumstances dictate."

1. http://www.macrumors.com/2013/03/07/apple-reportedly-offerin...


waterlesscloud 407 days ago | link

Here's an article on the amount Spotify pays for streams to indie artists. There's obviously a lot of hands out for pieces of the pie.



Erwin 407 days ago | link

Interesting. If that's not enough royalties, Spotify is charging too little. According to last.fm (who can record all track plays from Spotify), I've played 10672 tracks over the last 4 months ($55 in royalties at the 0.0052/stream rate), but paid $61.9 to Spotify for their highest premium subscription in the same time.


rhizome 406 days ago | link

Pandora pays CRB rates, Spotify negotiates direct licenses with labels. They both pay out over half of their total revenues, which of course is unsustainable. Pretty much all music services are surviving off of capital infusions while keeping the price point for subscriptions palatable to the consumer. Eventually we'll see some of them pinched out of existence, unless Apple's muscle has an effect.


socalnate1 407 days ago | link

Yea, that isn't it at all. Pandora has been on the brink of bankruptcy for years. This is a new start to try and make the business work by figuring out their licensing cost structure.


hyperbovine 407 days ago | link

In Pandora at the top? Spotify seems to strictly surpass them in all dimensions.


Uhh, no. The last thing the US VFX industry needs right now is to become more expensive.

The problem is not artists being screwed over pay & benefits, the problem is that most VFX shops are struggling to stay in the black, period. In part this is due to overseas competition and expensive bidding processes, but also shops taking on work at or below cost in an effort to keep people employed.


anigbrowl 423 days ago | link

I don't see the contradiction really - if there's pressure to take on work below cost, then what's missing is bargaining power. I am very much not a union guy (I tried on 3 separate occasions to join the SF chapter of IATSE and they refused to even process an application), so I hope the answer is something other than a typical union structure. On the other hand it's become increasingly difficult to make a living as a technical professional in this industry, given the relentless downward pressure on wages.


ajg1977 422 days ago | link

Right, and that lack of bargaining power is because in these days of hefty PCs and standardized software studios can always find other VFX shops, either in the US or abroad, to do a "good enough" job for less.

There's zero chance of requiring studios to only use unionized VFX shops, so unionizing them will simply make them either less competitive (need to charge more to cover guaranteed benefits) or more prone to bankruptcy (cannot meet commitments to workers if there's a shortage of work)


anigbrowl 422 days ago | link

I'm not arguing for unionizing them, although I can't help noting that other unions & guilds manage to negotiate deals with the studios.

What I'm pointing out is that having VFX shops crumble under financial pressure from studios doesn't do the studios any good either. Ultimately it's not about the hardware or software, but about the skill of the people using it. Given that R&H is a leader in its field and still went down, something is wrong with the business model.


The article is a little misleading in that it suggests a land-grab. The short links are auto-generated from app names/company names by pruning whitespace, copyright/trademark symbols and so on.

So if your app wasn't already called "Banking", you're not going to get appstore.com/banking.


When I installed Windows 8 a few weeks ago, the 64-bit install was about 20GB so where the hell is the other 21GB going?

Is the recovery partition literally a mirror image of the default install? That sounds ridiculous because the thing is basically a computer so could have a USB-restore, but I don't see how they get to 40GB+ otherwise.

<facetious>21GB of trials and time-limited software? </facetious>


dangrossman 444 days ago | link

Plausible: 20GB for Windows, 10GB for recovery, 4GB for the hibernation file (has to match RAM size), leaving 6GB for the swap file, system restore points and preinstalled software.


cma 444 days ago | link

Seems like they could have something like a (but a little more nuanced than) union-FS for the primary partition joining it with the recovery partition. Only updated files would need to take space on the primary partition, untouched files would be sourced from the recovery partition. To restore you just wipe the primary. Of course, there is an entire blog written about how sensible ideas like that are completely impossible: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/


I can't speak for this specific case, but when releasing software to others (open sourcing, licensing, etc) it's common to run the codebase through something like Black Duck. Everything that comes up as a false positive needs to be checked into and cleared. Everything that's a true positive must have its license read to ensure that any terms of its release are being met.

For software that's been released but doesn't have a clear license (e.g. some "Pull to refresh" implementation on Github) it's often necessary to ask the author to sign some form of "no, I really won't sue you" release.

If it's discovered that some license was inadvertently violated (e.g. attribution) then it can be necessary to send a mea culpa to the licensor so they're not incensed if someone points the violation out to them later.

(IANAL, but I have done this dance before).



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