Featured IT News

Unfair contract terms in small business sector under scrutiny by ACCC

22 August 2019 in Strategy

Australia’s competition regulator the ACCC says unfair contract terms are a big focus as it takes action and moves to…

NextDC’s M2 Melbourne data centre gains Uptime gold certification for sustainability

22 August 2019 in Data Centres

Data centre operator NextDC’s M2 Melbourne data centre has achieved Uptime Institute’s Tier IV Gold Certification for Operational Sustainability.

Deliveroo appoints new CEO for Australia

22 August 2019 in People Moves

Online food delivery service Deliveroo has appointed current CEO at Meridian Energy and Powershop Australia, Ed McManus, as CEO of…

Experian acquires Australian fintech startup Look Who’s Charging

22 August 2019 in Deals

The Australian and New Zealand arm of global credit bureau services provider Experian has acquired Australian fintech startup Look Who’s…

Blue Prism, Wipro partner to launch Melbourne Automation Lab

22 August 2019 in Strategy

UK-headquartered robotic process automation software company Blue Prism has partnered with India's second largest outsourcing company, Wipro, to launch the…

NetApp taps Rohatgi for regional role

22 August 2019 in People Moves

Hybrid cloud vendor NetApp has appointed Sanjay Rohatgi as senior vice president and general manager for Asia Pacific.

Commonwealth Bank, BioDiversity Solutions collaborate to develop Blockchain ‘BioTokens’

22 August 2019 in Development

A new blockchain prototype has the potential to boost sustainable development while enabling investment opportunities for landowners, environmental groups, developers…

Payright launches online pay later option for purchases

22 August 2019 in Market

Australian fintech and payment plan provider Payright has moved into e-commerce, enabling accredited merchants to add the payment option to…

Vivo Mobile gets on board with telecoms industry’s MobileMuster

22 August 2019 in Business Telecommunications

Smartphone manufacturer Vivo Mobile has joined the mobile telecommunications industry’s recycling program – MobileMuster – joining Australia’s major mobile handset…

Warning: Cybercriminals pose threat to Australian, world’s healthcare systems

22 August 2019 in Security

Australian and the world’s healthcare systems face a range of security threats due to malicious activity as cybercriminals attempt to…

Smart home devices at risk of attacks by hackers

21 August 2019 in Security

The deployment of smart home IoT devices may pose risks of attacks by hackers, according to a new report which…

Connexus pilots ‘Pay-it-Forward’ free digital phone service

21 August 2019 in Business Telecommunications

The South Australian town of Gawler will be the first regional community to receive free digital phone services under a…

Dell Boomi appoints new APJ region chief

21 August 2019 in People Moves

Cloud integration and workflow automation vendor Dell Boomi has appointed 25-year IT industry veteran Ajit Melarkode as its managing director…

US tech professionals earning top dollar

21 August 2019 in Enterprise Staff

Freelance independent professionals in the United States technology industry - along with other industry sector professionals - are earning more…

Remote parts of Northern Territory get mobile coverage for first time

20 August 2019 in Mobility

Optus has switched on two new mobile sites in the Northern Territory as it progresses work on its mobile blackspot…

Reckon gets revenue boost through cloud services delivery

20 August 2019 in Accounting Software

Accounting software provider Reckon has reported $32.2 million in half year revenue to 30 June, with more than 46% of…

Coles inks agreement for three new solar power plants

20 August 2019 in Energy

Retail giant Coles has secured a 10-year agreement with global renewable power generation company Metka EGN to build three new…

Optus turns to Myriota for satellite IoT

20 August 2019 in Telecoms & NBN

Optus Business has struck a deal with nanosatellite operator Myriota.

Breaking IT News

Kleos raises $3 million in extra funds for second cluster of satellites

22 August 2019 in Space

Space technology operator Kleos Space has secured $3 million in funding for its second cluster of satellites.

Hitachi Vantara hires Johnson as ANZ leader

22 August 2019 in People Moves

Data specialist Hitachi Vantara has appointed Adrian Johnson as vice president and managing director for Australia and New Zealand.

Hear, hear: Deaf Australia sees true value in Huawei StorySign AI app

21 August 2019 in Apps

In an address to the National Press Club in Australia, Deaf Australia CEO Kyle Miers hailed the success of the…

MYOB scores Bunnings exclusive, launches rewards program

21 August 2019 in Accounting Software

Accounting software provider MYOB has announced a deal with Bunnings that will simplify bill processing for their mutual customers, plus…

VIDEO Interview: James Robinson of HMD Global Australia talks upgradeable tech as Nokia launches 2.2 model with removable battery

21 August 2019 in Home Tech

HMD Global is the home of Android-powered Nokias, and I spoke to A/NZ Country Manager James Robinson about consumers investing…

Westpac opens $50,000 innovation challenge

21 August 2019 in Strategy

Fifty thousand dollars is on offer in the 2019 Westpac Innovation Challenge which gives start-ups, scale-ups and entrepreneurs the chance…

Book Review: "We the People" by Peter S. Temes and Florin Rotar

21 August 2019 in Books

Big Data can tease out all manner of analyses and conclusions from our very digital world, but how can it…

CBL Markets, Xpansiv complete merger

21 August 2019 in Strategy

CBL Markets (CBL) and Xpansiv have completed a merger to form Xpansiv CBL Holding Group (XCHG), a “first-of-its-kind platform” that…

Synacor expands with Zimbra deals in Q2

21 August 2019 in Deals

Global US-based technology and services company Synacor has announced its Zimbra email and collaboration platform added more than 100 new…

Booming North American wearables market hits US2 billion for quarter

21 August 2019 in Market

The value of the North American wearables market reached US2.0 billion in Q2 2019, with shipments up 38% at 7.7…

Siyata Mobile gets US400k purchase order to equip first responders with Push-to-Talk devices

21 August 2019 in Mobility

Canadian global cellular communications systems provider Siyata Mobile has received a US$400,000 purchase order to equip first responders in the…

Sahakian leads channel for Snowflake

20 August 2019 in People Moves

Cloud data warehouse vendor Snowflake has appointed Alana Sahakian as channel and alliances manager for Australia and New Zealand.

Study finds inadequate education, leadership, funding major barriers to Australia’s cybersecurity preparedness

20 August 2019 in Security

The success of an organisation’s cybersecurity investment lies in more than buying technology, with corporate culture, employee education and path-to-purchase…

NextDC opens Perth microsite

20 August 2019 in Data Centres

Data centre operator NextDC has launched its first micro data centre, located in Perth's CBD.

SUSE appoints tech industry veteran Yates to head Australia, NZ business

20 August 2019 in People Moves

Germany-based open source company SUSE has appointed 15 year ICT industry veteran Charlie Yates as country director for the Australia…

Drayton to lead Intuit in Australia

20 August 2019 in People Moves

Intuit, the company behind the well-known QuickBooks cloud accounting system, has appointed Natira Drayton as its country manager and vice…

eBay Plus members get another shot at 2nd-gen AirPods for $169

20 August 2019 in Home Tech

The retail e-tail wars show no signs of abating as gargantuan Goliaths of online shopping continue tempting Aussies with dashing…

Law In Order uses Darktrace AI platform for ‘sensitive’ document protection

20 August 2019 in Security

Australian and Asian legal document and digital solutions provider Law In Order is using security firm Darktrace’s cyber AI platform…

Australians increasingly embrace multiple subscriptions for entertainment

20 August 2019 in Entertainment

Australians have a growing taste for sports and video entertainment content sending the Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) services market…

Huawei, Canberra Raiders team up for world record attempt

20 August 2019 in Business Telecommunications

Huawei Australia is partnering with NRL club Canberra Raiders and Deaf Australia – the deaf-led peak organisation representing deaf people…

Gen 2 cloud is making an impact: Oracle exec

19 August 2019 in Cloud

Oracle EMEA and APAC senior vice president of systems and technology Andrew Sutherland says the company's Gen 2 cloud gives…

 

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Friday, 07 June 2019 16:04

I designed the Death Star

By
Colie Wertz at Computex 2019 Colie Wertz at Computex 2019

… or at least part of it – the trench, as used in Rogue One. This is the opening gambit from Colie Wertz who is both a 3D modelmaker and a concept artist who has worked on some massive movies over the past decades. Other highlights include contributing the internals of IronMan’s suit for Avengers: Civil War plus part of the main space ship from Galaxy Quest.

1 msi death star

I made this. It's the Death Star Trench from Rogue One.

The reason we’re listening to him is because he’s giving a talk and demonstration on how 3D model making can now be created in VR, how the models made are so accurate in terms of scale that they can act as plans for set builders, how the process is so quick and simple that the models can also be dropped into concept art (and easily modified) plus how all of this can be done on an ultra-portable laptop(!) – in this case an MSI P65 Creators Edition which is essentially a tweaked gaming laptop.

Colie says that simply by plugging in an Oculus Rift system with Touch controllers, plus a Wacom tablet the laptop can power everything. If he adds the elaborate WACOM Cintiq 22HD to the mix he’d need to add a powered USB hub to the mix, but ultimately that's all.

He gave insights into the job and then gave a full live demonstration of the workflow.

2 msi pipeline

3 msi concept art

First he took a picture from MSI’s company office windows using an iPhone. He said that if he required a fully-rendered 3D background he’d use Maya but, for now, simply importing the picture to Photoshop and painting over it (to make it look a bit more futuristic) was all that would be needed for concept art.

5 msi office view with paintover

Next up was adding a spaceship to the mix. Typically he’d be given a broad description of what the ship would look like but, more importantly, what the dimensions of the internal rooms would be so they could match with interior shots and sets.

4 msi ship bays

He was told the ship needed to have a cockpit, bunk room and engine bay before being given the size specifications for each room. This gave him a scale for a 3D environment so he set about building the ship from scratch using VR and Gravity Sketch. It took him less than five minutes. He pointed out that the Oculus Touch controllers were handy in that they didn’t require him to flail around much so the risk of crashing into walls and the like was minimised.

6 msi gravity sketch

Gravity Sketch VR design.

7 msi spaceship vr

Waving his hands around like Tom Cruise in Minority Report... to build a spaceship from scratch.

After saving the 'sketch' he exported it as a widely-compatible OBJ file and imported it into Keyshot 8 which offers many textures and lighting options. He matched the light source to the MSI office picture and chose an anodised metal colour for paint. He then rendered the image using Keyshot which took about a minute using intensive CPU processing – it used to take 30 minutes according to Colie. He remarked that other renderers can make use of the GPU.

8 msi spaceship obj

Save as an OBJ file.

9 msi keyshot 9

Import into Keyshot 8.

The spaceship was then imported into Photoshop and the blacks on the spaceship were matched to the blacks at the similar depth-level to the picture – which stopped it from standing out as an obvious ‘shop job.

10 msi import

After rendering in Keyshot the resulting file is imported to Photoshop.

11 msi imported

After importing, it was important to use Photoshop's Levels tool to match the blacks of the ship with the blacks at the corresponding depth of the background.

He then clipped the tail so that it appeared behind the building before giving it a final paint-over that included some heat-haze around the engines, panels on the ship’s body and some highlights.

12 msi final

The final concept art which uses a ship that's to made to scale and so subsequently can be used as plans for set building.

The result looks extraordinary considering the time it took to create them. Years of practice made everything look easy but the fact remains that what would have taken experts a very long time (potentially using very expensive equipment) was now available to all, at consumer pricepoints and is easier to create than ever.

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Nick Ross

Nick Ross is a veteran technology journalist who has contributed to many of Australia's top technology titles and edited several of them. He was the launch editor of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation online Technology section.