14 December 2014

A Little Amsterdam Love Story


This is just about as sweet as it gets, following a tiny denizen of the Dutch capital as he makes his way to that important first date.  Yes, that is pretty much it but this is delightful work by Andrey Koval with some lovely touches throughout guaranteed to put a smile on your face.  It makes you wonder what goes on in cities all around the world which we fail to notice. 
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The Story of R32


When, in the future, old robots are discarded as they are replaced by more advanced versions, what will become of the obsolete?  Although the subject is touched on in a number of movies, this short focuses on one robot who just wishes to fulfill its primary function – to look after someone. Yet when the opportunity comes along, is it too late?  Directed by Vladimir Vlasenko, this short features some superb CG and enough pathos to pull even the most hardened of human heartstrings.
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Sans-Souci – Carefree Palace of a Make-believe Monarch

The Haitian Revolution (1791 – 1804) had left Haiti independent from its old colonial master, France which itself had only recently felt the convulsions of civil insurgency itself. Yet it also left the country divided in to north and south. In the north, a remarkable yet despotic man came to be known as Henry I, King of Haiti and held sway for a number of years. He decreed that a palace be constructed to be the centerpiece of his power. Sans-Souci, as it was named, was to be his Versailles.

13 December 2014

Why Do Cats Like Boxes So Much?

One question which gets asked time and time again is what, exactly, is the fascination that cats have with boxes?  Until they learn to talk we may never know the answer but we can have a few educated guesses.  Over at our sibling site, the Ark in Space, is a photo-packed feature on this most vexing of issues.  OK, it’s an excuse for a cute-fest but, honestly, do you care?

Image Credit Paul Hyde
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Coldplay: Ink - Official Fans' Cut of the Interactive Video


A few weeks ago Coldplay released their first interactive music video.  Now based on Coldplay’s fans’ engagement, the makers of the video, Blind Inc, have been able to bring us the compilation which represents the most popular variation (out of a possible 300) that the video presented.  I am so happy they did this – I like the interactive version but really wanted to see which one came out on top!
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Owl


A series of uncanny dioramas set in the English countryside. Owl is a mixed-media animation combining CG visuals, Infrared film photographs and marker pen sketches to unique effect. The final animation represents a collaboration between Thomas Beg and the haunting music of Collectress, a quartet of long-term musical collaborators based in the UK who have recently released their debut album Mondegreen.
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Miss Alissa – A New Superhero


If you were given two weeks to create a new superhero, what would you do? Here is Martin Woutisseth’s take with influences from Harley Quinn, Bruce Timm, Faster pussy cat, Kill! Kill!, Kill la Kill, Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Robert Valley, Queens of the stone age Go with the flow, Eagles of Death Metal Wannabe in L.A, Dizzee Rascal Fix up! Look sharp and Jamie Hewlett.  I think we should have an entire animated series of Miss Alissa’s adventures!
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How to Pass GCSE English


In my other life I am a teacher so I thought I would share with you one of my latest videos.  I am obviously not in the same league as the animators that we feature on Kuriositas but I hope that the videos I make (based on PowerPoint presentations) find an audience and allow people to improve their English skills.

This one is for GCSE English which is an exam taken by 16 years olds in the UK, although many adults take it too for one reason or another (usually missed opportunities previously in the life).  This video covers the questions featured in the OCR exam board Information and Ideas exam which is difficult to pass if you don’t know what the examiners are looking for.  I hope this helps a few people get through an exam which the UK government is making a little more difficult each year in the mistaken belief that making it harder will raise standards!
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12 Dogs on 12 walls in 12 cities in 12 days

As Christmas approached the rush to be ready and get all the presents sometimes precludes a little thought.  Charities like Dogs Trust in the UK are faced with the annual prospect of rescuing hundreds of homeless or abandoned dogs whose prospective owners simply did not take time out to think through the responsibilities involved with creating a forever home for a canine addition to their household. So, how to try and get people to think things through a little more?

This is certainly one way.  The pair of (self-described) gonzo artists more than willing to take a punt at pretty much anything who go under the collective name of id-iom has recently been on a road trip of the UK.  While in each of the dozen cities they visited they painted a dog on a wall for Dogs Trust.  As a memento paw-i (probably too bad a pun to have included here, but it’s almost Christmas) they included the real reasons Dogs Trust was given when those reluctant to see through their commitment delivered a dog to the charity’s doorstep.

8 December 2014

Where There’s Muck There’s Aluminium


Plastic-aluminium laminates have been troubling recyclers for years, in as much as they could not be recycled commercially.  Before now packing containing these laminates would end up in landfill or simply incinerated. Now, however, Cambridge University and its spinoff company Enval have invented a way to turn your old drinks cartons and toothpaste tubes in to aluminium and fuel. The eureka moment?  A bacon roll and a microwave oven.
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Home Sweet Home


In Home Sweet Home, a house decides to escape its desultory urban surroundings and sets off to find a new home.  Before long he has companions and this trio become an inseparable band of explorers in their pursuit of a place to call their own.  Yet there are some things that even the bonds of friendship cannot overcome.

This beautiful, funny and melancholy animated short was made by a very talented group of students in their last year at the superlative Supinfocom Arles.  They are Pierre Clenet, Alejandro Diaz, Romain Mazevet and Stéphane Paccolat: the music is provided by Valentin Lafort.  I expect that animation aficionados might hear a lot more from them in the future.
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Interesting Facts about The Stars


If you are looking for some accessible facts about the stars then you have come to the right place, courtesy of this fascinating and elegant animation about those balls of gas burning billions of miles away as Pumbaa from The Lion King once described them.  Created by data design agency After The Flood for the BBC this will suit most tastes from idle curiosity to those of you with homework to do for tomorrow!
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The Windcatchers of Persia

They appear throughout the Middle East: Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan have these antique Persian designs dotted around their towns and cities. They are windcatchers, known in the area as Bâdgir. Serving as ventilation systems they have given the people of the Middle East air conditioning for thousands of years. Yet despite their antediluvian origin, windcatchers may even provide a solution for some very modern architectural problems.

Windcatchers come in a vast array of sizes and a number of different styles. They function in one of three ways. Some direct the airflow downwards and use direct wind entry. Others direct airflow up either using a temperature gradient assisted either by the sun or the wind.

7 December 2014

Boy Meets Girl


10,000 years in to the future, what will have happened to us? Rick Barcode’s latest short film allows us, like any grown-up science fiction should, to make up our own minds.  Yet when boy meets girl there will always be consequences.  Beautifully shot, this melancholy short film is complete in itself but I hope I am not alone in wanting more. Mr Barcode is currently in film school at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas.
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Musical Recordings from the Realm of the Dead


Four separate individuals at the dawn of wireless technology unknowingly become accidental collaborators of a musical composition that is pieced together through radio waves. Let’s face it, any video which features Elisha Gray, Ralph Dunstan, Guglielmo Marconi and, particularly, Nikola Tesla, is going to find its way on to Kuriositas. Directed and animated by Troy Morgan this is haunting, atmospheric and like its subject, unique.
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Crowded


The denizens of Crowded amble through their ever-expanding habitat seemingly oblivious to their mutating landscape – while the voyeur sits back and inhales the swarming scenery. The convivial tone veils the dystopian message of the narrative.

Cranes, trains and automobiles instil a sense of constant industry – as the populous swells upwards, outwards, downwards and inwards – contorting and adapting – forcing the inhabitants to recast themselves. Crowded was directed and animated by Andrew Khosravani and Cristina Florit Gomila.
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The Last Time I Saw Richard


It’s the time of year when scary stories seem all the more frightening – and The Last Time I Saw Richard fits the desire for a few December chills perfectly. Jonah is a loner at the teenage mental health institution in which he is incarcerated until the arrival of Richard. Yet despite the growing bond between the teenagers, there are darklings hiding in the shadows of the night. Written and directed by Nicholas Verso this short movie is guaranteed to give you the wibbly-wobblies.Viewer discretion advised.
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6 December 2014

Dogs on Ice

Dogs like nothing better than when something a little out of the ordinary happens. So, when the world has turned white one morning and the water has gone hard and slippery, you can’t blame a dog for getting a little excited, can you? After all, when the going gets cold, the dog gets going. Our sibling site, the Ark in Space has a great collection of dogs on ice pictures for you today…

Image Credit linuskenstam
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The Dinosaur Graveyard of East Berlin

They lie, dead, struck down where they stood by a global event they could neither forecast nor understand. Extinction came quickly: in a matter of years the dinosaurs were no more. Yet this is no reference to the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event which led to the extinction of the majority of dinosaur groups at the end of the Mesozoic era.

These dinosaurs (as you may have suspected) are rather more modern – as was their downfall.

The DVRSE App: Black Friends When You Need Them


If you're white and want to look cooler but don’t actually have time to befriend black people then this new app might just change your life. The team at DVRSE have created an amazing app which could increase your cool factor by a quotient – not to mention your ability to get jobs in progressive companies and – perhaps – even get lucky a little more often.  Best let the team, directed by Marvin Lemus, to explain.
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Joanna Lumley looks Absolutely Fabulous in the new Paolo Nutini Video


This torch singer has a secret and it’s not one that she is able or willing to share.  The video for Paolo Nutini’s new song, One Day, stars Joanna Lumley as a somewhat jaded entertainer who will go to any lengths to restore her former beauty.  Stylishly directed by Ian Pons Jewell, this video is both haunting and, as we might expect from Ms Lumley, totally glamorous.
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Captureland


Tocky has had something on his mind and he has made a huge decision.  This short film by Nabil Elderkin was inspired by the words of the late Nelson Mandela: I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as sinner who keeps on trying.  It also draws breath from the song Capture Land by Jamaican artist Chronixx. Made in partnership with the Tribeca Film Institute and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Captureland will, perhaps, confound your expectations and lift your heart.
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2 December 2014

The Day the Sea Turned to Gunk

It was as if the ocean has been turned in to a giant cup of cappuccino, a particularly frothy one at that. This display of nature’s occasional freakiness had people scratching their heads in Cape Town, South Africa.  Sea Point Beach on the outskirts of the city was transformed in to a foamy mess when the sea suddenly frothed itself into a frenzy.

Yet what caused this lather?  It seems that a variety of impurities in the seawater combined at just the right amounts and, shaken and stirred up by the powerful motion of the waves, formed bubbles. The bubbles bonded together and before long it was as if some sort of chain reaction had taken place, back in 2012. It was everywhere.

Little Tombstone


Once upon a time in the west two grizzled gunslingers face each other for their final showdown.  The townspeople run for cover as the good (looking suspiciously like a certain Mr Eastwood) and the bad (who looks very, very bad!) prepare to draw their guns.  All the townspeople, that is, apart from the local undertaker – who takes a professional interest in what is going on.

This is a very cool take on an old genre, with its tongue firmly in its cheek but great respect for the spaghetti westerns of the 1960s and 70s.  It was created by a group of ESMA (Toulouse campus) students.  Directed by Directed by Frédéric Azais, Théo Di Malta, Benjamin Leymonerie and Adrien Quillet, with a great soundtrack composed by Alexandre Scuri. Find out more about how this very cool animated short was made on the Little Tombstone website.
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The Laws of Motion - Animated!


Back in 1687 Newton first published the three laws of motion.  They describe the relationship between the forces acting on a body and its motion due to those forces. They have been expressed in many different ways over nearly three centuries, so here is yet another way of doing so – in animated form. I for one reckon that Newton would approve!

This is the work of Lindsay Gilmour, who was responsible for the visual development of this film from concept to final render. I really like the clean lines of the animation and the interpolation of the human hand in to the action to show us which law is being described.  Of course, when the heroes of the story are Earl the Brick and Freddy the Feather (sound like London gangsters of the 1960s!) it is even more marvelous! Science and art in tandem again!
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The Greatest Moment in the History of the Universe... Ever!


Ask a child what the best thing in the history of the universe (ever) is and you might well get something like the reply you have here: a history of the universe culminating in, the best thing of course!

Countless billions of years of history and it all boils down to one thing. Can you guess what it is?

This charming animated short comes to you courtesy of Jonathan Dower who is part of Tui Studios, an animation studio based in Sydney, Australia.  The team of Tui have worked on a number of high-profile animated TV, feature film and gaming projects internationally.
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How Technology Makes Casino Games Possible

We have come to expect more from our technology and for the companies we visit to take full advantage of the conveniences that new technologies have made available. One industry that is an undisputed leader in technology is casino gaming, both online and in brick and mortar casinos.

Aria Casino Las Vegas
The first true high-tech casino to open was the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, which is part of the CityCenter complex. The Aria uses technology to offer visitors a mixture of luxury and convenience in every aspect of the casino from guest rooms, to dining options and on the casino floor.

The Aria has over 200 individual telecom rooms, which power the data and communication system. A broadband antenna network covers the entire resort, and provides constant wireless connectivity along with touchscreens, information kiosks and 3D monitors.

All of the more than 4000 guest rooms feature in-room automation. The system opens the curtains, sets the temperature, turns on the TV and plays music. When the guest leaves the room, the lights turn off, the curtains close and the TV and music systems deactivate. While in the room, guests can control virtually every in-room function from a remote control or through the HDTV. Guests set their preferences when they first enter the room. That information is saved and the preferences are loaded to the room the next time a guest returns.

29 November 2014

The Walk Home


This is not for the faint-hearted but then London based artist Steve Cutts’ work rarely is.  A young boy, beaten and bloody, makes his way home through a nightmare inner-city.  This really is a vision of Britain that will resonate with anyone who has been to certain areas in the dead of the night yet the discovery that the boy is about to make turns this animated short in to something quite extraordinary.
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How to be a Supervillain


If you have always fancied being a supervillain then you should know that there are some steps to take before you can achieve world domination. 

Fortunately for you, however, we have a guide, courtesy of Alkanoids, a design studio based in Milan, Italy.  So, sit back and take it all in – perhaps in the near future the world will tremble at your name, after all.
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Star Wars Episode VII: First Day on Set as a Jedi


It’s an actor’s first day on the set of Star Wars Episode VII. Will it be everything he hopes and dreams of or the dark return of the prequels menace?

You might be able to guess but this short by Owyn & Co, a British comedy collective based in London has a surprise up its sleeve for those who day to mess with the Star Wars legacy.
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Pumpkin Spring – The Grand Canyon’s Arsenic Pool

Below the rim of the Grand Canyon runs the beautiful Colorado River.  Many take trips down its length but among the majestic scenery is something which they do not quite expect – a huge, enormous gourd-like squash. Jutting out from the canyon wall and perched above the river, this highly unusual formation is known as Pumpkin Spring.

Amung Feedjit