Let a low-rez world of flesh and metal overwhelm you

You should probably take a seat before you watch Mattis Dovier‘s Inside. Just get your head straight, y’know, couple of deep breaths, because Dovier’s animated short is a hugely discomfiting, bleak take on the relationship between people and technology. It spreads like a plague: our monotone narrator guides us through a future where, just beneath a pliable film of flesh, lies a gleaming mechanical skeleton. He dreams of cables sluicing below his skin and bursting from his mouth; a burn on his hand dries and cracks wide to reveal cold metal within. His doctor diagnoses him with “severe hypochondria,” but he knows there’s…


Learn how to rotoscope with Paint of Persia, a new animation tool

Before motion capture was a thing, there was rotoscoping. Sure, it’s wasn’t quite as entertaining as strapping middle-aged actors into black bodysuits studded with various balls and gizmos, but it was a versatile technique that’s been used in everything from Disney movies to the music video for “Yellow Submarine.” Invented by Max Fleischer and put to use largely in his 1940s Superman serials, the technique involves filming live-action footage and then tracing over it to create animated characters with realistic movement. It was originally a bit of a painstaking process, with artists having to project live-action scenes onto a frozen glass panel…


Get a load of the fluid, feminine power of Gris

As of right now, there’s not a lot of information about Gris. We know it’s a 2D game. We know it has “zones.” We know it stars a woman clad in a flowing cloak reminiscent of the main character in Journey (2012). We know it takes place in a surreal environment largely dominated by a Mars-like red, and we know it’s being worked on by a team from both Barcelona and Tokyo. More than anything, though, we know it’s beautiful as all get out. We know this because what has been revealed about the game, mostly through its social media accounts on…


The beautiful Eastern European folktales behind Forest of Sleep

Forest of Sleep, the procedural adventure inspired by oral storytelling and the latest brainchild from the creator of Proteus (2013), looks more like a children’s book than a videogame. Early screenshots unapologetically resemble artwork, illustrated with bold borders and thick lines and no UI in sight. In an interview with the Forest of Sleep team, producer Hannah Nicklin talks to artist and animator Nicolai Troshinsky about his illustration background, and connection to the Eastern European folklore that permeates their game. a slower style, filled with tiny gestures Troshinsky discusses how he and Ed Key, the co-creator of Forest of Sleep, tossed…


Explore a bleak British town in a Kafkaesque adventure game

The northern England town of Grimsfield is bleak—completely desaturated of color, existing solely on small, square dioramas. Its inhabitants, architecture, and virtually everything within it are completely cubular, except for some dashing, rare berets. Everyone within Grimsfield is self-absorbed, the protagonist perhaps most of all. He’s an ex-detective who has recently given up on his day job to pursue his dream of becoming a poet. But if only life were that simple in this Kafkaesque adventure. The rules-laden town of Grimsfield is all about making your life inconvenient Adam Wells, the creator of the point-and-click adventure game Grimsfield, is an…


The software behind Lord of the Rings’ giant battles now has a playable demo

There’s a reason The Lord of the Rings film franchise took home the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects three years in a row. While many films fall flat in a matter of years, The Lord of the Rings trilogy and it’s approach to CGI still stand firm more than a decade letter. While there were many breathtaking moments throughout the series, the enormous battles with armies thousands strong were consistently glorious, thanks to the simulation software Massive. And now that very same software is available to anyone for a 30-day trial. Watching a short demo video quickly illustrates how…


UNICEF combines 500 photos of war victims to give the refugee crisis a face

It’s difficult to grasp the meaning of a global refugee crisis. For much of the world this mass displacement is a moment on a newscast, a headline to be skimmed, a statistic to move us, but only briefly. UNICEF’s Sofia is the latest attempt to give us a deeper understanding. Sofia is a 3D animated girl created using 500 images of actual children from places affected by conflict, such as Ethiopia and Ukraine. The campaign worked with Getty Images, animators who worked on Planet of the Apes, Tintin (2011), and Avatar (2009), and the marketing agency Edelman Deportivo to culminate these images into a…

Donald Trump

New technology lets anyone control Donald Trump’s face

If given the opportunity, what would you do to the melted clump of leftover Kraft Dinner that is Donald Trump’s visage? While this is surely a question with which much of the electorate has recently reckoned in a hypothetical sense, technology is making it tantalizingly real. Let’s start with the serious application: “Face2Face” takes a YouTube video and re-renders the face in real-time to match the movements of another person as captured by a webcam. The project, which was created by researchers at Stanford, the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, turns real people into puppets. Their…

Loving Vincent

Animated Van Gogh film is made entirely with paintings

Vincent van Gogh occupies a special place in the Western psyche. His legacy mythologized the idea of the tragic artist who nevertheless makes beautiful art. The Starry Night (1889) is so iconic the painting was used to symbolize Cory and Topanga’s fraught relationship at the height of Boy Meets World’s popularity. It’s not surprising, then, that Van Gogh’s life is the subject of a new animated biopic called Loving Vincent. When Variety reviewed 1956’s Lust for Life, based on a novel by Irving Stone and starring Kurt Douglass as van Gogh, it called the film “a slow-moving picture whose only action is…