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Starting Pixel - Weekly Summary 15th April 2024



AI: Korean digital human in Las Vegas aspect 16:9 weird 500



This summary has been produced with ChatGPT, please assume there will be errors and omissions as no one is perfect 



Executive Summary

The landscape of virtual production is witnessing significant advancements and a burgeoning interest in immersive technologies, highlighted by a series of discussions and shared resources within the professional community. A recent paper on immersive virtual production using SMPTE-2110 has sparked interest, focusing on cutting-edge 3D environments that promise to elevate the visual storytelling experience. This technological leap is supported by the introduction of tools such as the Ultra Dynamic Sky (UDS) and Sky Creator plugins in Unreal Engine, which, despite their performance costs, offer unprecedented realism in sky and weather simulations.

The community has been active in addressing and solving practical issues in virtual production, such as the challenge of an Unreal Engine asset appearing excessively red. The collective troubleshooting points to post-process volumes and specific lighting setups as likely culprits, showcasing the collaborative spirit and technical acumen prevalent in the field. Moreover, discussions around the optimal use of these advanced tools emphasize a need for careful integration into production workflows to manage lighting effectively and maintain color fidelity.

The professional community is also engaging deeply with the training and development of skills related to these technologies. Notable initiatives include the introduction of Qimera, an Unreal Engine plugin designed for live shows, and various training opportunities like the free animation upskilling courses offered through ScreenSkills. These educational endeavors are crucial for keeping the workforce adept at the latest technologies in virtual production.

On the digital human front, innovations continue to surge with tools like a new Houdini plugin for simulating anatomically correct human muscles, further blurring the lines between digital and physical realities. Additionally, the introduction of synthetic performers, as demonstrated by South Korea's Studio Meta-K, highlights a trend towards integrating AI with traditional performing arts.

Ethical considerations and regulatory discussions are becoming increasingly central as the technology evolves. The community has expressed concerns about the sufficiency of current guidelines set by bodies like PACT, especially when compared to the more established standards of SAG-AFTRA and WGA. There is a strong advocacy for more robust legal frameworks and real-world case studies to navigate the ethical use of AI, underscoring the industry's move towards responsible innovation.

Lastly, the sector is ripe with networking opportunities, exemplified by events like the NAB SHOW in Las Vegas, which provide platforms for professionals to exchange ideas and forge collaborations. These gatherings are pivotal for setting the future direction of virtual production technologies and ensuring that the community remains at the forefront of technological advancements.



Main

  • A paper on immersive virtual production with SMPTE-2110 was shared, focusing on advancements in 3D immersive environments.

  • A technical issue discussed regarding an Unreal Engine asset appearing too red, with suggestions pointing to post-process volumes and lighting setups as potential causes.

  • Links provided to various products and plugins that might impact the color settings, including the Rocky Desert product from Unreal Engine Marketplace.

  • Recommendations for handling downloaded assets in Unreal Engine to minimize unexpected coloring by resetting lights, post-process settings, and reflections.

  • Discussions about Ultra Dynamic Sky (UDS) and Sky Creator plugins in Unreal Engine, which are used for realistic sky and weather simulations. These plugins are noted for their complexity and performance costs.

  • Advice shared on how to manage UDS settings for more controlled lighting in virtual production, including tips on integrating these plugins into production workflows.

  • Discussions on the challenges of using Unreal Engine for virtual production, particularly concerning the realistic rendering of skies and lighting.

  • Various community members shared experiences and tips on how to optimize the use of advanced rendering tools like UDS and Sky Creator for different production needs.

  • A new member introduced a podcast about virtual production, aimed at professionals in filmmaking and immersive technologies, discussing the integration of virtual environments with traditional filmmaking processes.

  • Technical discussions about setting up material nodes in Unreal Engine to control color temperature more accurately for virtual production, with suggestions to improve workflow by using blueprints for kelvin to RGB conversion and blending techniques.


Events, Training and Work Apps

  • Inquiry about experiences with an MA in immersive technologies, seeking advice.

  • Introduction of a new Unreal Engine plugin called Qimera, focused on live shows and broadcasts, featuring full-body tracking, AI virtual anchors, and more, with a presentation scheduled at NAB.

  • Announcement of free animation upskilling courses for animation producers and directors available through ScreenSkills.

  • A member seeks an additional endorsement to qualify for VES membership and invites private messages for support.

  • Invitation to an industry event at Pinewood focusing on Radiance fields technology, hosted by Prism and Clear Angle Studios, with prior registration required due to security restrictions.

  • Confirmation of the event date as 25th April.

  • Announcement of a certified user training for virtual production colour management in London.

  • A company named Flawless announces hiring on their LinkedIn page.

  • A member successfully receives the required endorsement for VES membership for the next session.


Digital Human

  • Link shared about a new Houdini tool for simulating anatomically correct human muscles.

  • Comment on the interesting timing of the tool's release.

  • Personal reflection on the challenge of mastering Houdini.

  • News shared about South Korea's Studio Meta-K teasing a single by a new synthetic performer named iaaa, with a linked video.


Back Chat

  • Discussion about the Yellow screen chroma keying, also known as the Sodium Vapour process, a technology used in older films like Mary Poppins which might be superior to modern green screens.

  • Mention of potential modern updates to the Sodium Vapour technique, utilizing narrow bandwidth LEDs and advancements in optical filters and beam splitters.

  • Observations about the limitations and scope of guidelines issued by PACT compared to SAG-AFTRA and WGA, questioning whether PACT's guidelines are sufficient.

  • Commentary on the need for real-world and legal case studies to better navigate the ethical use of AI, alongside examples of companies like Athropic and BRIA developing ethically sourced AI technologies.

  • Discussions on the lack of strict guidelines and reliance on self-regulation by companies in the AI sector, with some individuals advocating for stronger, more comprehensive ethical standards.

  • Exploration of AI's impact on creative workflows, like turning images into 3D models, which could revolutionize pre-visualization and design processes in various industries.

  • Upcoming events and networking opportunities mentioned, including the NAB SHOW in Las Vegas, where industry professionals are planning to meet and discuss advancements and collaborations.

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