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This past August we had the chance to witness the launch of Maya 2009, the 10th major release of Maya 3D software. While it’s keeping up with the latest trends in the animation and cinematography industry, I do think that some aspects of Maya need more attention as well.

Right now, we’re seeing more and more feature films using stereoscopic images. In the past you could make these images using a handmade camera rig in conjunction with some trial and error. Maya 2009 not only gives a fully featured stereo camera, but also allows you to use a feature called “Stereo Preview”. Using this feature, you can preview your stereo scenes directly in your viewport, completely eliminating the need to test render your images or animations just to see that they work.

The stereo preview offers a variety of preview modes: anaglyph (red-cyan), horizontal interlaced, chec ... Read more »

Category: Tools & devices reviews | Views: 1419 | Added by: Eagle | Date: 01.10.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

In the beginning, before the Big Bang, all the matter in the universe was concentrated in a single point. Qfwfq can tell you about it: He was there. "Naturally, we were all there—where else could we have been? Nobody knew then that there could be space. Or time, either: What use did we have for time, packed in there like sardines?"

Qfwfq has been a mammoth, a dinosaur, and a single cell. He made the first sign in space, and analyzed it, too, getting the drop on Roland Barthes by a few billion years. He remembers the Earth when it had no atmosphere, the sun when it was a cold, dark nebula. He recalls how good it felt to be a mollusk, with all of evolution still before him; and what happened to old U(h) and the first bird; and how his sister G'd(w)n got lost when the sun formed and turned up in Canberra in 1912.

With their avuncular narrator and their wild l ... Read more »

Category: Books reviews | Views: 1347 | Added by: Liberman | Date: 08.08.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

Inherent Vice, Thomas Pynchon’s seventh novel, follows so quickly on the heels of his sixth, the massive Against the Day (2006), that the teams of specialists who go over the fuselage of every Pynchon text as if it were a spy plane forced down by mechanical difficulties, identifying the probable origin and function of each part, writing up the results in Pynchon Notes or on the Internet, must be gnashing their teeth with weariness. The red telephone again? Aw, sheesh. If only there were some way to persuade them not to worry! Inherent Vice is by far the least puzzling Pynchon book to enter our airspace: a goof on the Los Angeles noir, starring a chronically stoned PI with a psychedelic wardrobe and a hankering for pizza. At fewer than four hundred pages, it’s also the shortest Pynchon novel to appear since Vineland (1990); you could almost recommend it to your boo ... Read more »

Category: Books reviews | Views: 1486 | Added by: Liberman | Date: 08.08.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (3)

The large segment of the Haitian population that is unable to read or write inhabits an oral history culture, which produces, when looking into the past, a curious foreshortening. First comes the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804, the only successful slave revolution in history and an event with whose fundamentals practically all Haitians are reasonably conversant. Then there's a compressed, indeterminate period of confused and repetitious instability, ending with President Woodrow Wilson's decision in 1915 to use the collection of outstanding American and French loans as a pretext for installing Marines in Haiti to prevent the election of an anti-American president. Following the close of the US occupation in 1934 is another indeterminate period of confusion, ending with the erection of the Duvalier dictatorship, a père et fils monolith that, in its iron duration f ... Read more »

Category: Books reviews | Views: 1081 | Added by: Liberman | Date: 08.08.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

When I was a little girl, my mom—consummate feminist and literary mother par excellence—gave me Tatterhood and Other Tales, an anthology of feminist folk tales whose cover sported a soot-cheeked minx gamely beating back a gang of trolls with a wooden spoon. Published by the Feminist Press in 1978, Tatterhood was one of a slew of anthologies that emerged in the wake of the women’s rights movement to combat the patriarchal Brothers Grimm and Disney party line. But employing fairy tales for activist means was nothing new. In Weimer Germany, fairy-tale collections like the pungently titled Proletarischer Kindergarten (1921) were published by communists to critique the country’s turbulent capitalist ethos (and to recruit little comrades, no doubt). Such prominent Weimer artists as George Grosz often illustrated the books, but some, like Kurt Schwitters, also took to wr ... Read more »

Category: Books reviews | Views: 780 | Added by: Liberman | Date: 08.08.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

The hard gone soft, the raw cooked: This is the Claes Oldenburg we know and love, the Oldenburg of Soft Toilet, 1966, and Giant BLT (Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich), 1963—shiny and tasty American wares fallen victim to gravity and deflation. But beginning in 1976, the artist’s collaborations with the late Coosje van Bruggen seemed to reverse course, stiffening into polished monumentality. While the Guggenheim and the National Gallery’s shared 1995 Oldenburg retrospective struggled to tie together these bodies of work, this survey leaves things largely bifurcated. Its first half, which includes rarely seen films, focuses on Oldenburg’s protean investigations of production, from The Store to soft sculptures to mid-’60s Happenings. Its second features his and van Bruggen’s little-known group of Brobdingnagian musical instruments, quite another take on collaboration ... Read more »

Category: Art reviews | Views: 669 | Added by: Liberman | Date: 08.08.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

James Ensor (1860–1949), the Belgian Symbolist and proto-Expressionist, is a perennial favorite among people with the right taste. One of the very tippy-top paintings in any American collection is his—Christ’s Entry into Brussels in 1889, 1888, at the Getty. Sadly, that work will not travel here, although the show does feature the Museum of Modern Art’s no less iconic Masks Mocking Death, made the same year. Skeletons, masks, and puppets are mainstays of Ensorworld iconography, and yet for all his trafficking in lurid mayhem and morbidity, Ensor nevertheless suspires an air of transcendence. So we can thank MoMA for mounting this large-scale, thematically organized exhibition of approximately ninety paintings, drawings, and prints and for publishing a hefty, scholarly catalogue. At last, the heart sings, something worth looking at.

Category: Art reviews | Views: 575 | Added by: Liberman | Date: 08.08.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

Since 1965, when he began producing the diagrams and photo-text magazine pieces that would become landmarks of Conceptual art, Dan Graham has made a series of swerves in his practice through video and film and performance to the architectural pavilions of the 1980s and beyond. This body of work—along with his early stint as a gallerist showing art by friends such as Carl Andre and Robert Smithson, and his energetic activities as a critic and speaker—has earned him near-legendary status. Artists today find a potent model in Graham’s integration of the conditions of exhibition and media reception into his own work; in his shape-shifting modus operandi; in his omnivorous cultural appetites. (His long-standing obsession with rock ’n’ roll, for instance, has given rise to extensive writings and the videos Minor Threat, 1983, and Rock My Religion, 1984.) And yet, due to ... Read more »

Category: Art reviews | Views: 902 | Added by: Liberman | Date: 08.08.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

The atomic age is fading on its grainy analog newsreels, so it’s high time for the twenty-first century to place Buckminster Fuller in a romantically tinted retrospective. He’s quite an appealing figure, the space-age Thoreau, puffing like a summer breeze through the cold war.

Until his thirties, Fuller was a gabby, overbright college dropout, a sometime meatpacker and sheet-metal worker with a Yankee tinker’s streak. Then bankruptcy and the death of a child provoked a mystical experience, a Whitmanesque self-reinvention in which “R. Buckminster Fuller” suddenly appeared in a Greenwich Village café as an autodidactic, self-appointed expert on everything.

The danger signs of classic crankhood glow all over Fuller—for instance, he creates a tetrahedral “Dymaxion” geometry no one else can grasp—yet his mental breakthrough taps an awesome core of creative ener ... Read more »

Category: Art reviews | Views: 802 | Added by: Liberman | Date: 08.08.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

Over the years, Cy Twombly has received few important museum exhibitions in the United States. New work has largely been seen only at Gagosian Gallery in New York, where it is shown for a month before disappearing into blue-chip private collections. So this exhibition of pieces made between 2000 and 2007, organized by James Rondeau with Twombly’s cooperation, marks a rare opportunity. It will include thirty-two works: photographs, drawings, sculptures, and large-scale paintings, all thematically related through subjects from nature. What should we expect to find? Having long since abandoned the many transgressions of his earlier work, Twombly—from the evidence we do have—is now conjuring paradise; the sheer luxuriance of his recent paintings surpasses even that of late Matisse. Of course, in these times, that may well prove to be the biggest transgression of all.

Category: Art reviews | Views: 850 | Added by: Liberman | Date: 08.08.2009 | Rating: 0.0/0 | Comments (0)

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