Microsoft

The Future via HoloLens.

I love seeing old images and films about how people thought the future was going to be. Sometimes they were pretty close, other times they were really off. Either way, it’s always entertaining. If you look at the way the 1950’s and 60’s saw the 21st century we should all be riding around in flying cars, piloted by our personal robots while we eat food that was instantly processed out of thin air.

back in the late 1990’s Virtual Reality goggles and software were white-hot for a quick blip and then faded into the background. Recently Facebook has brought it back to the forefront by spending billions on their product. Google launched Glass which they have also have recently announced they will be stopping development on, and Now Microsoft has jumped into the futures game with HoloLens.

Like all those visions of the future from the past, all three of these tech giants see our future with headsets that augment our reality with 3D visions and gesture controlled virtual reality seamlessly blended into our real world. The video has grabbed more than 10 million views on YouTube in less than a week, and it looks pretty compelling. There is a prediction that this could launch in 2016, but I doubt it will look like this when it does.

I still can’t see people wearing large clunk headsets all day long, and virtual reality replacing your expensive flat screen TV. What I can see is this being used in business for training, education, product approval, collaboration, etc. None the less the Microsoft vision of the future looks pretty slick, and if only half of this happens it would be pretty exciting.

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Skateboard Time Collapse.

Heres a bend your noodle little video to start your week off right. This was shot on a Nokia Lumia 930 by Cy Kuckenbaker, and features skateboarder Cory Juneau. This is a total of takes that have been composited together to create a seven scene video. The timelapse footage features no CG work and is absolutely mesmerizing. This is all part of a promotional channel for Microsoft to show off the capabilities of the camera in the smartphone and frankly I think it’s a winner.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/101557016″>Skateboarding Time Collapse: Shot with the Lumia 930</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/windowsphone”>Microsoft</a&gt; on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

“Ori and The Blind Forest”.

I’m not much of a computer or console gamer any more. I used to play a few games on the PC but I really haven’t played much of anything beyond my phone or iPad in quite awhile. That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the art, craft, and storytelling that go into making a game that really stands out. With that said I might have to pick up “Ori and The Blind Forest” when it comes out this fall, if for nothing else than the beautiful artwork it contains.

Four years in the making, and advances in computer technology have allowed Moon Studios, and Microsoft to create something that really is visually stunning. A platform game that pays homage to 8 and 16 bit games of the past, “Ori and The Blind Forest” truely raises the bar visually to an entirely new level. Below are images, and the official trailer for the game. The look of the video is what the actual game will look like, and frankly I think it is pretty exciting.

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Over the past four years, Moon Studios has been feverishly working on Ori and the Blind Forest.

At Moon Studios, we all grew up playing games like Super Metroid, Zelda: A Link to the Past, etc. and with Ori, we wanted to recapture the magic of these games.

Ori and the Blind Forest is a bit of a genremix – It’s a ‘Metroidvania‘, but with a stronger platforming focus and light RPG elements, all set within an atmospheric world.

Naturally we tried to push 2D gaming forward on all fronts: We tried to make every single screen in Ori look like a painting come to life while making sure that the controls are still pixel-perfect.

We’ve been taking lessons from games like Super Metroid and A Link to the Past in order to really bring back this sensation you had when you played the games Nintendo was building in the early 90s. The level of polish and the execution of design in these games – we feel – was extraordinary. We felt strongly that children and adults today should get that same feeling again. Remember the first time you played Zelda or Metroid when you were a child? We hope that years from now people will also remember the first time they got to play Ori and the Blind Forest.

We also push the story angle really hard. We explored some new ways of telling stories within 2D games and we’ve been heavily influenced by Ghibli/Miyazaki as well as by great animated films of the 90s like The Lion King or The Iron Giant.

Ori is a bit of a coming-of-age story. The player is put into the role of a forest spirit, who – over the course of his journey – has to find out more about his role within the world he’s living in. We tried to create memorable characters in an atmospheric world and to craft a story that players will truly care about!

Paul Trillo’s “Living Moments – Lumia Arc of Wonder”.

To promote the camera in the new Nokia-Microsoft Lumia phone, filmmaker Paul Trillo constructed a custom arc that held 50  Lumia 1020 phones. The phones were controlled by an app running on the new Microsoft Surface Pro tablet that was able to fire all the phones at the exact same time. this allowed Trillo’s team to then composite all of the images into a single film. The film showcases the New York street scene with a unique perspective that turns over repeatedly through the duration of the short. Below is is the finished film, plus the behind the scenes reel which gives additional insight into the process and vision behind “Living Moments”. Once again, the making of is in many ways more fascinating than the final film for me.

 

Homeboy Animates “Microsoft – ¡Déjate llevar!”

Below is a fun little spot for Microsoft Mexico that dropped right before Christmas last year. The piece was created by  for Wunderman agency and Microsoft. Featuring a vibrant color pallet, flat graphics, and organic transitions, the animation stays true to Microsoft’s branding and the look and feel created for Windows Mobile, and the Metro interface used in Windows 8. The story line is an entertaining journey from Earth to outer space passing by the Microsoft product line including the now Microsoft owned Nokia phone line. What is great about this fun little spot is it reads well with no dialog and could be reused in multiple markets world wide with little to no effort. It’s fun, and fun is always a winner.

 

Fracture IO. A New Kind of Photo Booth.

MPC Digital has reinvented the photo booth with Fracture IO, an installation that creates generative 3D animated artwork based on the human form. Fracture IO made its debut at the One Show Awards last week at the Bowery Hotel in New York. MPC Digital was approached by JWT and asked to create an innovative piece for the show. The result is an update to something that has remained fairly unchanged for the last 100 years.

Fracture IO (Process) from MPC Digital on Vimeo.

MPC Digital used the Microsoft Kinect to capture both image and depth data in order to create a high-res 3D scan and then generate a full 3D model of whomever was in the booth. Using a combination of computer vision algorithms originally developed for robotic navigation, MPC Digital stitched together the image and depth data from 4 Kinects into a complete, accurate 3D model of whomever or whatever was captured.

Captured geometry was utilized as the basis for dynamically generated artwork. Each artwork created was then posted online with mobile-friendly, shareable unique URL that allowed visitors to experience it in 3D.

Razorfish Emerging Experiences – KinectiChord

 

About a week ago at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Razorfish Emerging Experiences Lab debuted our their latest creation, the KinectiChord. KinectiChord is a multiuser, multisensory experience that blends physical and digital experiences in an unexpected and delightful way.

The device was on display in the Microsoft Advertising Beach Club over the course of the festival and participants were encouraged to interact with the device. The KinectiChord experience allows multiple users to see, hear and feel technology like never before. It’s a really nice blend of art and technology that extends the overall user experience. It’ll be interesting to see where Razorfish takes this in the future.