Flip the Switch

A Look Into Foldables + BONUS: Element 3D Folding Phone Concept Samples

Back when I was trying to start a tech blog, and just after Google announced support for foldables, and even before Motorola was getting in the game, I was already thinking about the next flip-phone. Now with a new version of Samsung Galaxy Fold, a highly-anticipated dual-screen phone with Microsoft Duo, and a Motorola event happening today, where should we expect this trend to go?

Read my original article here: https://r-views.com/flip-phone-future/

FOLED – which just means adding “folding” to whatever OLED means, is a term I remembered hearing on the Discovery Channel as a teenager in the early 2000’s. I remember seeing concepts about folding screens for TV’s or projectors, and even TOLED (transparent OLED) being used on windshields. It took more than 15yrs before we finally saw actual products that used these technologies. But are they any good?

I for one have never held a folding-screen device in my life. Judging from what others say, and pictures and videos that I have seen, I feel like it’s a trend that is slowly creeping in though. A famous tech personality even uses a Samsung Galaxy Fold, and actually boasts liking the product enough to be his daily-driver. The foldable phone is already out there, but its not in the hands of people who want to give it a shot.

One factor that slows that progress is the price. A normal smartphone already costs around half of renting an apartment (or in some cases the full rent). Adding another screen, a bigger battery, and I would assume “new” features too, that price is really going to go up. If a foldable-smartphone would go down to the price of an affordable Android, I believe there is nothing that would stop the regular-Joe from picking one up. In the event that these technologies would be considered part-of-the-norm, it’s very likely that it’s going to start rolling out more.

Love it or hate it too, there is also the factor of Apple, and what they think of it. From experience, Apple has never really started a trend, instead, they wait, and when the time is right, they go on the offensive with a certain kind of technology. Will Apple eventually try and go into the whole foldable-trend? Having just release a new 16″ Macbook Pro, it seems like it’s not in their radar as of yet. They do have other things to worry about as well, like a non-breaking iPad Pro, the new MacPro desktops, and maintaining their lead in the wireless-earbuds market with AirPods. But the iPhone is their flagship, their money-maker, and their inlatable-lifesaver, and if they’re not on-board to get the iPhone to fold, that’s another huge chunk of the population not getting into the new tech.

If foldables of today fail to get even the most hardcore techies, or a even just a small niche of Android users, then the idea would just die. So far, folding-phones have had a good run – Nobody is really that mad with Samsung (how can you be mad at foldables after the whole Note fiasco), and everybody knows the technology is in its infancy. It would take manufacturers, more than developers in my opinion to get the ball rolling. Why? Because smartphones, like any other gadget today, is an accessory, something to make you look cool. If plastic screens, and creases on the screen is where it all ends up, then it won’t even be fun to make ads for those. It. Won’t. Sell. Plain and simple.

———-

For now, I can only dream of a slim, and clean form-factor, no creases on the screen, and just would look and feel like a regular smartphone. That’s why I built one using Cinema4D and Element3D. As you can see in the render above, this is my ideal folding phone:

– Rubber Hinge (no creases)

– Notification Screen when folded. Think smartwatch size screen on the back.

– Edge-to-Edge Display

– More Cameras and Sensors (being that this render is over a year old, as a Pixel user, I didn’t even think of doing more cameras)

The technology, and even the experience is all new and would take quite some time to mature and actually be useful. Who needs a folding phone? Nobody can answer that, because back then, nobody even thought they needed a smartphone. What can we expect to see on the turn with this new technology? What can we see at the river? I can’t go all-in just yet – so for now, I’ll just fold.

Let me know in the comments below if you would like to see a tutorial of how to create a 3D foldable in Cinema4D, Element3D and After Effects. Also let me know what kind of features you want to see in a foldable.

Advertisements

Oh Man! The Lore! Yawn…

The Mandalorian premieres today on Disney+, and like any other thing from the Star Wars franchise, people are staying up late, and already have a solid opinion of what they think of the new show. I for one give it a solid 8.7/10 – react however you want, I love the Prequels. Let’s talk about the hype, what’s kept from the original movies, and if it bored me.

—SPOILER ALERT for anything past this line—

That being said, The Mandalorian feels like everything else that Disney-StarWars has now with the franchise. It all feels, different. Different is good, but at the same time, ever since the acquisition from Disney, I always felt that it’s missing the George Lucas touch. Sure the big guy is on set for the show – he was also on set of Game of Thrones – but that doesn’t help. Disney is taking StarWars to the next far far away galaxy, and we are just going along for the ride.

One thing that feels far, far away from the original franchise is the lack of any force-user. It’s a bit weird watching something StarWars without anybody mentioning Jedi or Sith. The “Empire” was mentioned quite a few times, but that’s about as much as we get with those force-users. I feel like that is just a matter of time before we see force-using characters though. It’s just inevitable.

The dialogue is a bit strange for me as well. I get it that there’s multiple alien languages, and even humans speaking these languages. What I didn’t like about it is how some aliens just sound like some normal English-speaking dude. No treatment, no effects, just a normal clean voice-over. I mean, if the guy looks like a fish, can we at least get some kind of treatment with the voice?

This character with a gun riding this animal – whose name I do not care to Google – is one of the culprits too. I swear he sounds like Deckard Cain from the Diablo games. One of the weirdest scenes the show has to offer is this Mandalorian fanboy – but let’s give him credit for teaching our hero how to ride that creature. I wouldn’t mind not seeing this dude again. Plus his lips weren’t that well-synced to the voiceover. I do appreciate the fact that his mask and costume and his character I suppose, are all practical effects.

On the other-hand, I love how Taika Waititi’s IG-11 comes into the show. If you watched the original trilogy, you may have seen a similar droid model, and you probably had the idea of “how can this static, awkward robot do any bounty hunting?” This show answers just that misconception, and I have to tell you it’s one of the best ways you can see a droid fight. I love R2 and 3PO for sure, but you can’t deny there’s a lot of appeal from fighting droids like K2SO and IG-11. If you’re getting a sidekick, it shouldn’t be a protocol or a trash-can – that’s just common sense.

A lot of people got excited with Werner Herzog being in the show. Though I did not know about this dude at all, his scene was one of my favorites from the pilot.

I like his scene in particular not because of him, but because we got to see some nice dialogue and script. Pedro Pascal’s voice (treated btw, so thanks) just works. A little attitude, a bit of confidence, throw in a little doubt – you can feel it even through a mask. Another thing that made this scene awesome are the Stormtroopers. I believe these troopers are from the 501st and I just have to say that they are pros. The costumes, the wear and tear on them, how they stand, its all just too cool. They’re a good reminder that this is an action world, where blasters are involved and powerful leaders call the shots. We’ve only scratched the surface, and these troopers have gone through a lot.

The Mandalorian pilot, love it or not, is a great milestone in the world that is StarWars. I sincerely hope it gets better from here. Having watched The Clone Wars, I wish they give as much time to explaining the backstory of our main character, and his home and his people. There was a flashback scene in the pilot, though we’re not yet sure if they will expound on that or leave all of it as secondary info. I am also excited for the possibility of seeing a darksaber – having that plus a lightsaber battle for this show would be insane and not really that far from happening. No need for Jedis too!

Though there are other StarWars shows (like Clone Wars and Rebels), this one (live-action) is proving to be the more popular approach in moving forward with the franchise. With more shows in the pipeline, I can only see it getting better from this point. Hopefully when Obi-Wan starts going into production, showrunners would already know what to do, fans would’ve already voiced their opinion, and we’ll have an even better show.

May the Force be with us all! No regrets about that Disney+ subscription so far!

TUTORIAL: LEGO 3D Text Build in After Effects w/ Element 3D

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a LEGO text build in Adobe After Effects using VideoCoPilot’s Element 3D. As an alternative to expensive 3D software, I’ll show you how to create and animate a dynamic and good-looking 3D text made out of Legos directly inside of AE, ready to comp and include in your work.

Download the C4D brick file here.

Read more about the project I used this method in from one of my recent articles, Singalongs On Steroids .

Purchase your own copy of Element 3D here: https://www.videocopilot.net/products/element2/

“Bye Tim, I’m With Bill Now.”

I moved from Mac to PC.

I moved from Mac to PC. It’s been over a decade since I left my Vista-turned-XP HP computer to collect dust. Since then, I have owned two Macbook Pros, an entry level one and another fully spec’d. And both have proven to be very reliable and lasted way longer (and powered through way more renders) than I could have imagined. I put those laptops to WORK and for years they’ve been my trusty slaves. I had a good long run with my Macs but as I stared at the spinning color wheel of death one night, I knew—- it was time for an upgrade.

There is that thing we call “age”. One definition is a number that refers to how old something/someone is. The other, refers to a particular period in time, and in this case, the Age of Good Macs has passed. I have fallen back into the hands of Bill Gates. And as I gaze into this brand new Windows [PC], dreams of better render times and seamless scrubbing are now at my fingertips. See how I built my latest workstation… and you know the drill – like, subscribe, and help me kick-off this YouTube thing.

Singalongs On Steroids

A few months ago I had the opportunity to work on some singalongs. Since I love karaoke, I immediately said yes. But it wasn’t doing a cool version of Bon Jovi’s Bed of Roses that I was doing. Instead I had the honor of working on a release of Elf, not a musical, but a really funny Christmas movie that’s always a blast during the holidays. This time, it was adding some cool singalongs as well as other graphics popping in-and-out of the movie. Being a comedy more than a musical, it gave us the opportunity to play around a little bit with how we approach it as a sing-along, or in this case, a Sing & Cheer-Along.

ElfStill_03

Elf_sing_02Using Buddy’s hat as the main bouncing-element, I got to play around with making it come to life using After Effects. The actual lyrics would’ve looked really good in 3D, that’s why I opted to use Video-Copilot’s plugin, Element3D to create the lyrics. This gave me the ability to control everything, and animate the singalong all in After Effects. With Zooey Deschanel’s character singing, I used her hat for their Baby It’s Cold Outside duet in the movie. It was really fun but at the same time really hard to animate all the overlapping lines in the song.

Elf_sing_03Overall, the mix of playful animations and having it interact with the movie made this singalong project a real treat. It felt like I just gave a cool gift to an already great movie.

Elf_sing_04

Immediately after this project, I hopped on to a similar one, but this time with a new movie called Smallfoot. If you haven’t seen it, I can guarantee it to be a blast. A funny and unique take on the Yeti’s point of view and how people are in regards to mysterious creatures. For this particular project though, I got to explore more designs and bouncing elements for each song. Using emojis and other elements from the movie, it was very easy to get creative especially with the catchy songs. I’ll be a movie-critic this once and say it’s actually better than Frozen.

SmlFt_01
Bouncing Glowing Snails? Yes, please!

Like Elf, aside from just doing insane singalongs, I also got to play around and incorporate the graphics into the movie itself. This method seemed to be really working well as your attention goes from singalong to movie, and it all works seamlessly.

SmlFt_sing_04

Using Element3D, I created the 3D snowball, and used it throughout the mowvie, bouncing in between scenes and lines from the singalong. It was another great way to do some fun and unique compositing. At this point, I was getting the hang of the timing and generally have a good feel of how singalongs work.

 

Fast-forward a few months and my producer got a green-light from Warner Bros. to make another singalong, but for this time, for a movie that is tried and tested, and had one of the catchiest songs in 3D animated-movies. Everything was awesome at this point!

LegoStill_10

So from doing 2 movies and all the songs in those, plus some more compositing and motion graphics work, it felt like it was good to start with those, because now its getting crazier. Still looking at Element3D as my main tool, this was the perfect opportunity to do some wild things with the plugin, and just take this whole singalong journey to a whole different level.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Too many things I got the chance to play around with. Bouncing coffee-cups, morphing Lego Queen to Batman – this was starting to get better, but at the same time, renders are getting heavier and heavier.

Lego_Sing_01We were very fortunate to work with the animators of the movie as they provided some of the 3D models of the characters. The problem was, they had their own system of how they used these models, so for most of the bouncing elements, we created our own 3D elements using Cinema4D while we figure things out. Luckily with Lego, we are only dealing with blocks, but since these are well-designed toys, we had to get our measurements and modeling right.

Lego_Sing_05

By the time I had to work on the last song, I finally managed to get the main character, Emmet, rigged and set-up for animating in Element3D. The extra steps to get it working in Element3D worked great because like I mentioned before, I didn’t want to be switching between Cinema4D and After Effects. Having the ability to control everything in After Effects made everything easier in the long run.

Lego_Sing_06
Using a rigged Lego character, I animated it in Element 3D along with some Lego particles.

3-movies, and probably close to an hour-worth of 3D animated singalongs later, I think I accomplished something that easily got out of hand. It got out of hand in a good way – I used methods that nobody in their right mind would do, and it all turned out unbelievable, super-cool, outrageous and amazing. Such a phenomenal, fantastic and so incredible experience. Woo-hoo!

These songs are burned in my head now. If you want to have the same catchy songs stuck in your head, or would want something for the kids, please do check out the new release of Elf, Smallfoot, and Lego Movie 2 and check out the singalongs!

 

Show Meike Some Love: 35mm f1.7

8b91f2b3-3a64-4ce1-9cea-dd797d3a00d7
So I just got myself a used version of the popular Fujifilm XF35mm f2. Y’all know it, you’ve YouTube’d the hell out of it, and read everything you can provided it’s not a shady site (unlike this of course). It does not disappoint I tell you that, but before having the privilege of that lens, I was using the Meike 35mm f1.7. I just feel like I need to show some of my love for it. Manual focus, cheap (most people say “inexpensive” but let’s be real), and not as sharp. I’m sure those old vintage lenses aren’t perfect as well, so this can’t be that bad right?

A lot of people don’t really like this lens, but a handful of people also do. I hated it during the first couple of weeks. I didn’t know how sharp or how bad it should be. I didn’t get anything good out of it, and I thought that I reached its limits. Then again, I was always shooting at f1.7, which is probably its worst f-stop. I kinda felt like it was just too much effort to like this lens, and it was not functioning how I wanted it to. My fault too for relying too much on focus-peaking. I found that turning any MF Assistant feature off is best with manual focus lenses.

The Meike 35mm f1.7 just got its own vibe though, so I stuck with it. It will give you something different, not worse, than the official X lenses. The way it handles color is just a love-hate thing. On one hand its a unique look, but on the other, its an inaccurate look too. If it’s giving you what you want then great. If you are expecting to get something in the quality of Fuji lenses, then you’re out of luck. It’s more compact than the xf35mm f2 though. The Meike doesn’t ship with a hood, but regardless it is still shorter than the Fuji f2 counterpart despite the bigger opening and wider filter thread. In terms of weight, I felt like the Meike lens was a bit heavier, which also gives it a premium feel.

35mmVS-4

A plus on this lens too is the not-very-accurate depth of field scale. Not perfect, but usable and way better than zone-focusing digitally. If you find your sweet spot, it’s basically point and shoot. I shoot mine mostly at f8 with the focus just between 10ft and 4m. Once you find that sweet spot, you’re good, and you will learn to love it. If you’re not a fan of having everything in focus, you might as well just get the XF35 f1.4, for the convenience of AF and wider aperture if you can find it for a good price.

The lens flare I could live with as well. I do like the work of Andrew Kramer after all.

If you have the Fujifilm X Series camera too, using Acros on this is just heaven. I almost want it to have scratches like I used to have using those old Colplan black and white film (Yes, Colplan is the goal!). It almost feels like cheating because using an affordable lens like this on a Fuji-X body and getting great images is just too good.

I hope each Meike35mm is unique. Like there’s a different characteristic or sweet spot for each lens; kinda like how 2 guitars could have a different magic to it even though they’re the same model. For me though, I think I got a keeper.

Overall, now that I have the Fujifilm XF35mm f2, I don’t think I’ll miss the Meike 35mm. That’s because this lens still has a place in the bag and will see its use. It’s still the best lens for those days you just feel like shooting JPG. Highly recommended, 5 stars, must-buy and all that jazz. Bye!

WhatIsLA? Series01

 

WhatIsLA? Series01 is a collection of digital illustrations about different meanings of LA. Some matter, some don’t. Some are relevant, most are not. But hey, I like finding different meanings in the simplest of things.

These are all available as prints and shirt at my online store so feel free to check them out!