Completely Machinima S2 Ep 40 News (July 2022)

Tracy, Damien and Phil discuss news items relevant for machinima and real time creators.

Tracy Harwood 00:06
Welcome to the July 2022 episode of the And Now For Something Completely machinima Podcast. Today we're Team Three again, I'm Tracy Harwood, and I'm joined by Damien Valentine. Hello. And Phil Rice

Phil Rice 00:23
Hows it going. Cool.

Tracy Harwood 00:25
Ricky has unfortunately, decided that he simply must finish Elden Ring. And so we're looking forward to hearing what he's actually achieved that next month, so he sends his apologies. Not really. First, let's actually start with an apology for the false start we had on last month's news. A couple of our key interviewers noted that we hit a copyright issue that blocked the release of the News episode within seconds of it going live. And to give you a flavour of the conversation between us, me saying to Damian, I think you've used someone's music. Damian said, No, it's that clip of Star Trek Stranger Things that's been bogged. Cool. So even though we were trying to report on something in a positive way, the YouTube Genie basically x'd us out to which point I would suggest let's roll on artificial general intelligence. Come the day. So there you go. Let's crack straight on with the show. Then we've had some fabulous feedback again from our viewers which we'd like to share. First of all, from 3DChick on Episode 38, which was our News episode. She says on our discussion of the price of new versions of iClone and Character Creator 4, she agrees that some of the older users are angry and swearing not to upgrade. A couple of nice things she says. So you can run through both versions on separate computers. So you could be working on things on your laptop, but then move to desktop for other parts, which is super nice. And last fall, you could get both for free if you spent $800 In the Content store, which she used to buy export versions of a lot of assets that she actually wanted in any event. She gets that people are upset, especially if you don't want to ever export anything. But she does make a pretty good point, which is that she says it's kind of worth it in the long run even for hobbyists, because it's less than a couple of weekends skiing. I think that's a pretty good point. But these days, actually, probably what that just means is that you know, you don't have to get in your car for a couple of hours and drive around because fuel is going through the roof. Al Scotch also said on same episode, it's unfortunate Character Creator with text to speech and English language visemes for lips, tongue and teeth is not a separate product. He's yet to find a demo of that capability. So if we find one, or if we create one ourselves, can we let him know? Yeah,

Damien Valentine 03:11
I use that feature all the time in iClone. Did you know what Crazy Talk is like what I call, this is a plugin that comes with it. And you load in your file, your sound file, and you can put in the text and it is so good at predicting the lip movements. So you can you can have it within a second, you have accurate lip sync. And you can choose different how expressive you want the mouth to be. So if you hear a character whisper then the lips when you have a little bit. If you're into yelling, you can set that in the mouth and you don't really have the top. It's almost instant. And you can refine it to if you're not quite happy with the results. So I use it all the time with Heir to the Empire now, and it saves me so much time.

Tracy Harwood 03:59
But it's not a standalone.

Damien Valentine 04:02
No, it comes with with iClone that comes with icon. But because it's a feature of iClone, you can't just use it separately.

Tracy Harwood 04:10
Yeah. Yeah, I think it's what he what he's saying is if there's a separate thing out there, you didn't know if any then Phil?

Phil Rice 04:18
No, I'm trying to wrap my head around like how standalone in what way like something that would work with other programmes or or maybe

Damien Valentine 04:28
we can, if you've got a you can animate your character with that in iClone and have all the lip sync. So when you set that you can export that animation to whatever platform you want to use. So you don't really need a separate tool because you still need something to have the character model in. Maybe that service. So let us know if we've answered your question. And if we haven't, because you haven't quite understood it, please let us know. And we will come back to it next month and hopefully give you some better answers.

Tracy Harwood 04:58
Absolutely. I think the other thing he says probably we've already lost him actually, the other thing he says he's more likely to listen to us if our videos were less than 15 minutes. And I don't think we've ever achieved that as individuals, let alone as a team.

Damien Valentine 05:15
That would be quite challenge.

Tracy Harwood 05:16
I think that would be too much of a challenge for us. Anyway,

Phil Rice 05:21
On that note, that's all for today.

Tracy Harwood 05:24
And yeah, see you next week.

Phil Rice 05:28
Short, short forms tough. It's really hard for this kind of thing. Yeah.

Tracy Harwood 05:33
Yeah. You know, what we try and do is we we chunk it up, and we put timestamps on it so that you can jump between things that you particularly interested in. So we do try and manage the fact that we go on a bit. Now another piece of feedback from Spentaneous who was the creator or is the creative Damien's pic Lost in Space series last week, last month, even episode 39 our films episode last month. So thank you very much for trying out the Lost in Space series. Tol put so much work and effort into it. It was wonderful to see what parts we all enjoyed. And I'd say you're very welcome. We love watching that one. Excuse me, Mike Clements has come back to us again, very much enjoying our critique generally and says, It makes me so happy you'll dive deep into these pieces and really appreciate them. Even if Ricky tears into a few. That just makes me even more curious about what you would say about my film. Well, we really do look forward to seeing your film at some point in the not too distant future. Circu Virtu, I think I've pronounced that correctly. Also on episode 39 says very insular, interesting selection of movies and discussion. Now I have to watch some all of them in detail. That's awesome. We have created a playlist for the season of films, although some of the ones we refer to are actually only on Vimeo like cam, for example. David Blandy's films that we reviewed. So the best way to sort of find the links for those is actually go to our blog, rather than on the YouTube channel. And then Notagamer3d On the same episode said one day I will be featured here. And we hope so too. We certainly enjoy reading your feedback. So do keep that coming. It makes us feel as though we're not alone in this vast YouTube universe. Did you guys have any feedback you wanted to comment on? From anything you've seen? No.

Phil Rice 07:41
We just I'm just happy there's there's that much feedback this. It's nice. Nice to hear. Hear from people who listen.

Tracy Harwood 07:49
Absolutely. And I must say, what I'm what we're getting is emails. We're getting comments through Twitter, on the YouTube channel and actually on the Discord server as well, which is great. So however you want to get in touch, you're very welcome to.

Damien Valentine 08:03
Please keep sending it in because we'd like to hear it.

Tracy Harwood 08:06
Absolutely. Let's, let's go into the news then. And I think let's start with you, Damien. I think you've got a couple of really interesting stories for us.

Damien Valentine 08:14
Yeah, so the first thing is something that I had no idea even existed, which I guess is why it's news. One of my friends has been streaming all through the pandemic playing various horror games. And they've been doing it with their webcam in the corner. So we could see them playing and reacting to your widgets and chatting the way you'd expect from streamers to do that, they decided to create this separate account. Because their main accounts for horror games, and they want to play other games, but they don't want the algorithms to mess it up because they're playing something different. And they call it vtubing. So instead of showing themselves on the webcam, what they do is they have this animated character. And they are using the webcam to control the character as they play. So it responds to what they do. So if they're talking to her like this, then the animated character will sit with it. And I asked him about how this actually works, because obviously wants to know a bit more about it before I started talking about it and apparently quite popular thing for streamers to create these animated characters. And there's a whole sort of market for people who are digital artists who create these characters, and they do it. So that so like traditional animation, whether there's a head and arms or in different pieces and then the body and then the face has all different pieces in it. So it could all move and our response to the person doing so even though the eyebrows can go up and down when the facial expressions can change based on what the person playing is actually doing in front of their camera. And on top of the like, my understanding is that a lot of these people, they don't just act themselves, they kind of create this whole personality that which is part of, you know, to match the character designs they've come up with. A lot of it is 2d animation. But apparently there are some 3d animated characters as well. And I thought, well, even if it's 2d or 3d, this is real time animation being performed live over the Internet, and so it's kind of like a live broadcast machinima. And I've never heard of this before, but since I talked to my friends about it, and they started doing it a few weeks ago, and I've been watching some of their streams. And it's quite interesting just to see how their character does things. This is something that I thought I should share here on the show, because it's such an unusual thing to come across.

Phil Rice 10:46
But yeah, there's an app over on Steam called Face Rig. And it's actually the second such programme that that these developers have released, I can remember what the first one was called, very, relatively inexpensive. And it basically will, you know, 3d render, and you can choose from, I don't know, I want to say there's maybe about a dozen characters to choose from, that I saw. Some of them are, are very, you know, cartoon looking. And there's one in particular that, you know, looks like this, like, like an old man from I don't know, the late 1800s or something. I mean, it's just, it's this very distinct, you know, as far as the style of beard and everything, it looks like a like, like something that one of the US presidents would have in their portrait in the post Civil War era or something. And, and yeah, it will do that it, it creates a virtual camera, that you can then position on your screen, and whatever movements you do, and to some degree, your facial expression, and it will live puppeteer that through this character, through your choice of backgrounds, I want to say when I picked up Face Rig, it was maybe 15 bucks or something. I mean, it's one of those kind of like, Nightmare Puppeteer. It's just just very inexpensive. Pretty decent system requirements involved for it because it is, you know, actual, it's machinima, I mean, it's 3d rendering. But I've seen some streamers. There's some, there's some streamers out there that do, the genre that they do is called scam baiting. And basically, they will, you know, these these fake call centres, you know, trying, you know, with fake tech support, or, you know, running different scams that, you know, tried to get people to call them, they'll deliberately call up these centres, and tie them up and waste their time and do all that for this audience to watch. And there, it's twofold. First of all, it's entertaining, because a lot of these guys, these guys and gals are very funny. And so they'll, they'll say absurd things, and this call centre person has no idea what to react to that. But the other thing too, is it's, it's, it's revealing how these scams work, you know, it's educational, so that, you know what, what to look out for and, and what they're actually up to what they're trying to do how these schemes work. Well, there's, some of them are just known, their faces are known to maybe they use a pseudonym of some kind, but some of them are really privacy conscious. So they will use Face Rig or something like that, or something like what you were describing Damien, where it's this. It's this animated character. And it's basically designed to protect your identity. Because honestly, these the people behind these scam call centres, they're not nice people. And they have more connections than you would think, in Europe and United States. Because they're moving money around there. They're there. I mean, it's organised crime, essentially. So some of them rightfully, the ones who are poking the bear. They don't want their real identity known. And this is a tool that they use for that. It's pretty interesting. So I don't know if FaceRig is one of the ones that your guys or your friends are using or not, or if this is some other method, but it is a neat. It's a pretty neat development. And absolutely, it's machinima. It's live puppeteering of a digital character, 2d or 3d.

Damien Valentine 14:28
I think the software my friend uses because when they start streaming, it shows up on Steam. They started, I believe it's called b2b studio or something along those lines.

Phil Rice 14:39
Okay, I've heard about it. I've not messed with it, but I've heard of that. Okay,

Damien Valentine 14:43
because they need it for their 2d characters. This dragon looking creature. I guess Facebook has some built in characters, but my friend wanted to create their own character. And they had this very specific idea of how they wanted it to look so that they put as an artist who then came back to them with, with a shirt of various pieces, yeah,

Phil Rice 15:04
I'm sure that there's probably a spec published somewhere for exactly how to rig a model for that use. So, yeah, that that would be the ultimate for that. I mean, if you just get FaceRig and use one of their stock characters, that's neat and everything, but if you want it to truly be kind of an identity stamp, yeah, you'd want to get one custom made. And with the whole gig economy that there is now with Fiverr, and places like that. Even if you don't know someone who knows how to do that you can hire someone for amazingly low money compared to what you would think it would cost to do these custom characters and stuff. And yeah, it's a neat development.

Tracy Harwood 15:47
That's coming down the road anyway, isn't it the fact that you can have your own face where? Yeah, I gotta get your identity on.

Phil Rice 15:55
I gotta think that's part of what Zuckerberg is working on for Meta. Yeah. You know, for that whole thing. I mean, ultimately, the metaverse is, is yeah, it's about animating an avatar. So yeah, this these are just I think, different manifestations of that. That same tech it's, it's it's interesting

Damien Valentine 16:17
I wanted to try it out myself that the not the v2 thing, but the face rig. But wearing glasses makes that tricky because

Phil Rice 16:25
it does glasses mess it up. Yeah. Because it's trying to map on the fly through your webcam. It's trying to map to your face. And yeah, it doesn't, it doesn't contend well, with reflections. Especially I've noticed the same thing.

Damien Valentine 16:36
And the eyebrows as well. Doing just at the same almost the same level as top of my glasses, which, if you're watching you can see me doing with my finger? Sure. It's very hard to do that. Because especially if your glasses like that as well, your eyebrows are kind of obscured.

Phil Rice 16:50
Yeah. I've tried taking off my glasses to help mitigate some of those effects. But then the avatar keeps squinting.

Tracy Harwood 16:59
The same problem to be a certain age to do this sort of stuff.

Phil Rice 17:04
Yeah. Oh, wait, contacts. Were were context. That's right.

Damien Valentine 17:07
I see. The first time I tried to take my glasses off to it. I was trying to press the button to my mouse to try and start, but I couldn't see where the mouse is. And

Phil Rice 17:18
then you're like, where's my glasses? If you're me, if you're through me, it's where my glasses were like.

Tracy Harwood 17:31
Yeah, yeah. Oh, yeah. That's ways of ageing, folks. Is that it? Have you got another piece for?

Damien Valentine 17:41
Yeah, it's, it's not really machinima. It's exactly, but it's a new feature for Vimeo, which I thought might be interesting for storytellers. And it's interactive video. And what it reminds me of is the early to mid 90s, of the interactive, interactive movie video games where you'd get to live action video sequences, and you have to click on a choice and you get, you get a choice of two or three different things. And it will play a different video, depending on what you do. And it's like a, an interactive story, you get that way. But now you can do the same thing with Vimeo. So you could have your branching storyline, you can make you make the videos with machinima and create the whole thing. And then you can now use, Vimeo now supports that as a feature. So it's not something that I've looked too closely at. But it brought back memories of those old games. And I thought, well, it might be an interesting way to try storytelling. So I thought I'd mentioned that briefly and see what people come up with that much of a challenge for you, you have to win. Most of us when we're making our machinima film in the beginning, the middle at the end, if you're doing interactive, you have to have all these different branches and make sure that they all lead somewhere. Do you want to have it and suddenly stopped because you haven't made it all the way.

Phil Rice 19:04
It's like, right, and one of those choose your own adventure books that were popular in the the 80s and early 90s as well. Yeah, yeah, that's a that's quite a challenge to do that. I think.

Tracy Harwood 19:16
That sounds more like an art sort of a attempt, you know, sort of more modern sort of thing that artists might play with rather than machinima creators, do you think?

Damien Valentine 19:27
Maybe. Depends on what kind of story you want to tell, I mean,

Tracy Harwood 19:34
when was when was it launched in

Damien Valentine 19:36
June? I don't know the specific day because it was quite recently, a few last few weeks, maybe about a month ago. It popped up on my newsfeed. Oh, that's interesting.

Tracy Harwood 19:49
I must have missed that one. I didn't see that one come through. That sounds fascinating.

Damien Valentine 19:54
Yes, it's one less thing. So maybe I'll do a couple of short videos and just to experiment with it as a as Test. I don't think I'd want to do something that people spend hours on because you have to do. You can't just do an hour long video you have to do your many, many hours. Yeah, video. Yeah, 10 hours to do a one hour story or something like that. Right. But you know, for a few short minutes, it might be fun to do.

Tracy Harwood 20:20
Okay, great. And anything else?

Damien Valentine 20:23
Yeah, one last thing. It's something that Ricky sent along. I thought I would have mentioned it. It's not here. It's the Milan Film Festival. They do. They kind of showcase some of the videos they've been looking at. And this one that Ricky sent along is about the situation in the Ukraine at the moment. And it's a video, I don't know which game it was used for it. But it's someone walking through a forest. And it's narrated by text, by someone telling the journey. And I thought this is actually someone talking about the story of how they went through. But apparently it is the story that something that happened before. In the past, I haven't read the whole history. So I'm being very vague about it, because I don't know all the details. But it's a someone who left Ukraine many years ago in a crisis situation, and they've taken the the words and updated it to apply to what's happening now. And all people are having to flee what's happening now and how similar that person's journey was to what they're going through at the moment. And I had actually been wondering, when people might start using machinima to talk about their feelings about what's happening in Ukraine, I realised the people in Ukraine probably aren't making machinima because they've got more immediate concerns then expect, artistically. But machinima does give people a platform to quickly create things, and especially we've seen it before the French Democracy and films like that. So it's interesting to see something that's happening in the real world is coming over to machinima and this video was made.

Tracy Harwood 22:11
Yes, fascinating. And, you know, when Alex made the French Democracy, for example, he was he was making it as events were unfolding there as a way to highlight some of the issues that were going on, in which was, interestingly, was in a language that he didn't actually speak very well. So that was, that was also part of his strategy and using The Movies for that particular project. So it was, you know, I think there are there is roles for games, which this kind of thing really can be used quite well for telling a wider audience what's actually going on without going into too much of the graphic detail of it, so to speak.

Damien Valentine 23:01
And there is no graphic, it, the whole video is just someone walking through a forest, there's no, there's no war scenes or anything like that. It's just walking through this text narrating the story. And it's very powerful. And one of the things I noticed was, as they're walking through, most of the time, they're walking towards the sun, which I don't know if it's a deliberate choice, but it kind of gave the impression of walking towards the light out of a bad dark situation. And I don't know if that's a deliberate choice, but it's something that struck me I think they have to turn around when they get to the edge of the maps or parts of the terrain where they can actually climb over it. Kind of go keep going back towards the stun where they can.

Tracy Harwood 23:42
Interesting. Okay, shall I am talking? I've got quite a lot again, do I collect, and then I like to sort of reflect. And what I'm going to do, again, is reflect on some of the legal things that I've picked up again, this month. Just a bit of an update on some of the competition things, a few of the tech things actually which linked to some of the things you've already been talking about. And a couple of project things, which I think are quite interesting as well. So legals now, since he's not here, I feel I can talk about this without him getting angry about it. So, you may be aware that Henry the red is now a playable character in Evil Dead the game. You might well ask, why are we discussing this and more especially why are we discussing this when the main man whom we are commenting on is actually not here to share his thoughts? Well, for those of you who are not aware, Ricky played Duke Henry the red in the film, Army of Darkness, which was released in 1992. And I'll put the link to his IMDb profile in the show notes so you can check it out. I was really intrigued in the development of have his character into a game asset, which actually looks and behaves exactly like Ricky's character from the original film. And I wanted to know how his portrayal was being recognised in the game and whether his original contract covered the use of the character into this kind of new digital format. And of course, the answers were no, it isn't, and no, it didn't. Now, Ricky said that it's only the higher level actors that get rights nailed down by high paid agents, lawyers and managers. He's received no royalties for 3d models of his character or any games with his character. He mentioned that the Screen Actors Guild is a tool of the major studios. But overall, the union is conservative and avoids taking on the major studios over big things, which, frankly, I think this kind of thing is. Now only last month, if you remember, we talked about Star Citizen attempting to lock down digital representations of various big name actors in their game, spin off Squadron 42, presumably in order to try and protect any misrepresentation of their characters by content creators, or, in fact, any representation at all by content creators. Now, clearly, there are lawyers at the back of that, but I have to say, I'm pretty overall disgusted to hear what Ricky said, given the exact and I do mean exact replication of his character in the game, from the film. Now, of course, when contracts were signed back in 92, who would have foreseen how films and games are now merging? I guess a question that has been tested at the moment is that of what basically what transformation means based on the other legal case I mentioned last month, which was to do with the estate of Princes versus Warhol. And we've got no answers on that yet, of course. But I do believe it's high time that IP relating to all contributions to creative works, including game of course, are recognised, particularly for living people. I've no doubt the studio that licenced, Ricky Ricky's character is making something from its use. So I say, you know, they need to come on here and step up to the plate. If platforms like YouTube can take off videos in seconds, with an AI because of a couple of scenes, playing in the background from a TV show that it's actually being reviewed. And I'm pretty sure that attributing IP to individuals who helped make content in the first place is achievable in computer games. And that's a comment for you to Mr. Tim Willits of Sabre Interactive, who ironically, guys he came from id Software as the studio director and level designer. So that's Doom and the origins of machinima. It's not even as if the content here has been transformed in its character, its characterizations. It's an exact digital replica, using the same character looks, movement, and all right down to the detail of Ricky's beard. I guess we'll see over time what the creators do with Ricky's character in machinima terms and I dare say, he'll be as supportive as he always is. of indie filmmakers in the process, but the issue of who creates what, where creative stuff comes from, and how it is attributed, which we all know has proven to be really problematic in the past, I think it's becoming much clearer now, not least because AIs are helping to identify and match sources. And clearly the next big challenge here has to be how creatives are fairly dealt with by the very many stakeholders, an increasing number of those organisations. And I do believe that the day will come sooner than we probably think as ethical without behaviour in the creative and cultural industries becomes a mantra that all are having to adopt. I should add here that these are my opinions are not Ricky's. And I will also preface some some of my comments here too, because neither are we sponsored in any way by any brand, or any platform advertising. Did you want to comment on any of that you pair?

Damien Valentine 29:35
Yeah, I've seen a picture of Henry the Red in the in the game. I haven't played the game. My friend I was talking about earlier has played the game as one of the streams. But I didn't see him in the red in it. Because I didn't realise at the time Henry the Red was in was in it. I thought it was just the characters from the first film. But I had to guess, because that's not really that important. One of the things I notice, looking at the pitch was, it's not just, it'd be very easy to have a character that wore Henry the Red's costume and then just kind of gave him a generic face. Because Star Trek Online has done that when they've had characters that are meant from the TV shows and films in the game, but they don't strictly have permission from the actors to use their peers, they'll kind of give them sort of generic parents like trying to think I can't think of anyone offhand. But let's say you had cats and because you're in the uniform, but you didn't look like Patrick Stewart, he would be a bald man with a pointy nose like Patrick Stewart has, but he doesn't look for like a realistic representation of him. He's just kind of, you know, it is that even though it doesn't really look like him, and then sometimes they get some of the voice actors to reprise their roles for the for the game, and then they would make the character actually look like them. But when that character has been president again, before, they had just like a generic, very rough representation of them, and then they'd update it when the actor gave, they're okay with it. So I was surprised to see this happening with the Henry the Red character, and he looks like Ricky. It's not just, it's not just someone wearing the clothes and having red hair. And then just like a generic face is there's obviously not a scan of Ricky's face. But they've already put a lot of effort into trying to recreate Ricky's head shape and face as much as they could to match the style of the game. And I was really surprised by that, given what I've seen in other games do and I guess, now a lot of companies want to try and make recognisable characters look like you expect them to based on the film, even if they don't necessarily approached the actor. Like in this case, Ricky about it.

Tracy Harwood 31:58
Do you want to comment, Phil?

Phil Rice 32:00
Yeah, it's, it's an interesting subject, because it just makes you think like Okay, first of all, I'm 100% in camp, Ricky, Ricky's my longtime friend, 20 plus years, I want him to get everything he's entitled to. Yeah, that should go without saying. So I'll play a little bit of devil's advocate here, I guess, and just trying to understand. So let's say that somebody wanted to this may not be a fair comparison, because the character I'm going to mention is, is iconic. And the actor is a major dude. But if somebody wanted to create a video game and have a representation of Michael Corleone. So who created that character? Like who? Who actually created that character? Is it? Is it Al Pacino, is that the costumer and makeup artist for Al Pacino and during that movie? Is it Francis Ford Coppola, the director? Is it Mario Putzo, the author of the novel, you know, I mean, arguably, there would be no onscreen portrayal of Michael Corleone if Putzo hadn't written his novel, and described physically, you know, what this guy looked like and how he behaved to some degree, and I'm sure that influenced Pacino's approach to it and the way that he was directed and all that. So it's a convoluted mess, really. But it doesn't take anything away from the fact that if you create something that looks like Al Pacino's portrayal of Michael Corleone in The Godfather, you're gonna recognise, I mean, it's gonna look like him. If or otherwise, you're gonna go, who's that? That's not Michael Corleone, you know? So, and thinking about it with Ricky's character, we talked about the beard, which is very, it's iconic, you know, it's very unique. It's someone who knows, it would know, that's the character even just from that, even if they didn't get anything else about his bone structure, right. But who actually chose that beard? You know, did did Ricky show up? And that was his beard. And they said, Oh, that looks good. Let's use that. Or was it the, you know, the costumer who someone designed that and that was what he wore for the show. And so it's yeah, it's it's I think what ends up happening is that the, the big money in movies that Ricky alludes to, when he talks about SAG and how all those things work. They use that convoluted nature of how a character comes to be on screen. They use it as an excuse to to cut out people like Ricky from credit that they would they would list all those things and go well if we have to credit you for using your likeness in the movie. And we're not saying it's Richard Grove, we're saying it's Duke Henry the Red. So then we also would have to write royalty checks to whoever did your makeup and styled your hair and, you know, the director of the film and your co stars, and you know that they use that as an excuse. Okay, so it's hard. That doesn't mean it's not right. That is the mean that there shouldn't be compensation. And that that character wouldn't look like that character if it wasn't Ricky who had been playing it. So I don't know I, you know, emotionally My heart is very much in feeling like trying to get inside Ricky's mind seeing this happen, you know, what is it 30 years now? Yeah, after the film came out. And now someone else is profiting off of his likeness, without so much as a phone call or an email to see if he's alright with it. Maybe he would, knowing Ricky, he would have probably not thought about the money part at all. And would have just said, You know what, I'm flattered. Go ahead. Thanks for asking me, he would have just been, it would have just been enough for him, I suspect, to have been treated with respect about it. Because he, if he was about money, he wouldn't be doing what he's doing. Absolutely. You know, he had a foot in the door in Hollywood. He was he was a, he had an episode of Quantum Leap for crying out loud. When you look at his IMD thing, if anything, if he wanted to pursue the money and what comes with it from Hollywood, he could have done so. You know, so to me, that's not his priority. But it doesn't mean that it's not right. It should be offered to him. It should be. That should be the way that it works. You know, you certainly can't can't make a John Wick character. In a video game without Keanu Reeves being involved in some way, I would think page 80 Again, as a Keanu Reeves is an A Lister. And Ricky either by fate or by choice is not. And he knows that. But does that mean that he doesn't have the same rights? You know, is this character any less memorable to people have seen in the film? Is it any less memorable than? You know, then characters and other movies played by maybe more powerful or more prominent actors? No. I mean, yes, it is. So yeah, it's hard, you know? And then how do you fix that? Because that whole industry is controlled by the people that were kind of casting some shade. I mean, they, they control it, you know? So what could we do about it anyway? It's hard. Well,

Tracy Harwood 37:59
I think it's unpicking a little and

Phil Rice 38:01
thanks. So to be a

Damien Valentine 38:03
little bit more to it. It's not just his face, it's his voice as well, because my understanding is the character speaks. And they didn't approach Ricky to reprise his role, even in a voice capacity, which I would have loved to see. That's

Phil Rice 38:18
just silly. I mean, above and beyond what's right and wrong here. That's just that's a that's a really serious silly omission. Somebody? Hey, their loss. Yeah, you know, I haven't heard as he is something else.

Damien Valentine 38:32
I'm sure he's a great voice actor. But surely you can get the original code pack. I'm sure Ricky would have been up for that. If he'd been asked,

Phil Rice 38:39
because and here's the thing, they paid whoever did voice him,

Damien Valentine 38:43
which would be the same wage that they'd pay Ricky. So why not Ricky? Right.

Phil Rice 38:49
Yeah, but then, but again, doing the devil's advocate thing here. You know, there's hundreds and hundreds of people that were involved in the production of that movie. And it's 30 years ago, nobody keeps track of where those people are now, you know, they might have have the main stars. But that's it. So

Tracy Harwood 39:08
that's what AI think, has a really important role. And if they can use AI, to track, you know, single scene, single frames, on channels, then I'm really pretty sure that they can start to use it in such a way that creatives, whoever they may be

Phil Rice 39:29
aI AI-PI like that the AI is just Lambda Hey, track down, track down this guy who played exactly yeah, that's that's, that's extraordinary and also creepy.

Tracy Harwood 39:43
Yes. Anyway, so I thought I'd share that one. Next one, though, in terms of another legal story that I've got. This one has to do with the FTC is updates to the disclosures 101 for social media. influencers guide. And the updates being proposed specifically deal with influence influencers including what they term as unsophisticated influences used by brands to promote products by, for example, manipulating reviews, nondisclosure relationship relationships such as sponsored sponsorships, or by micro tagging specific groups of consumers through platforms such as Twitch and YouTube. Their particular concern in terms of unsophisticated influences is to do with minors and young people using platforms as influencers. And it's really interesting that one of the reference cases mentioned in relation to this is Machinima Inc's, undeclared influence, as you remember that 2015 FTC case where it was found that that machinima Inc, had supported a campaign that generated something like 300 videos reaching 300 Millions of million views, I think in about a month, in around 2013, all promoting Xbox One and a few games do remember that. Now, these new guidelines will also highlight the role that platform owners have here, specifically in terms of how they deliver content to users. And we all know that the the way these kinds of algorithms, algorithms work and floats the most viewed content at the top of the webpage, which means there's kind of this clear relationship between the platform, some brand and the influencer, say through ad revenue from views. And I think all this means is that viewing and streaming platforms are going to have to declare and notify audiences when content is paid for in some way. For example, when the creator is being used by the platform, to present material to audiences, which creators don't currently have any great control over. What's interesting here and new, I think, is that it will no longer be the sole responsibility of the creators to declare their relationship with a brand for whom they are receiving some form of sponsorship say. But also the platform and the brand relationship and how they're using the content creator, much of which I think is invisible at present. And I guess what might be a little challenging here is how influence changes over time as audiences build for content. And so what point and how different algorithms treat content creators or influences and promotes work will also be quite interesting to consider. I mean, we know, for example, how many views and subscribers we might need. But how are advertisers and platforms working in the background? I do think that mostly the FTC is perspective is targeting the front end processes. But I think the unintended consequences of what what they're talking about here is going to be that the back end aspects are highlighted too. So I imagine what we might begin to see at some point is maybe new labelling system over the content content on platforms, a certain viewing thresholds are reached where creators begin to make revenue from it. Do we see that now? I'm not sure we do, really. But presumably, any brand that has a relationship with a platform is also somehow going to have to be explained too. And I'm guessing this refers to affiliate marketing, where it's being used to generate revenue through content creators who are kind of unwittingly being used as promotional tools. I don't know. But it seems like it's going to be a bit of a minefield to navigate and nevermind, unsophisticated influences. I think it really fell it brought to mind your video, your your Company Rulez, video that you made back in 2007? I think that kind of Yeah. alludes to that. Right. Yes, exactly. We'll put a link to that. So you can have a little giggle at that as well. Now, according to the FTC, what constitutes a relationship? Well, it could be money, but it could also be swag or some kind of personal connection to the brand, such as a family membership. It could also be endorsements, including, for example, through contest entries. Which doesn't necessarily mean you win anything but the fact that you are associated through having entered which is quite interesting, I think. But I guess what could be good to note might be that organisations are going to find it increasingly difficult to blatantly exploit influences without their knowledge and possibly without their consent. Although in case anyone has forgotten what happened in the case of Machinima Inc ultimate They, what happened there was that the creators lost everything. Because the organisation which had claimed full in perpetuity ownership of the content, just simply close the service down once they could no longer sustain the commitment they had in the hidden relationships between the brand and the platforms, versus the content on its own. And if you want to know more about that story, and particularly about the rise and fall of, Ben and I did a whole chapter on it in, in the book, which we published last year. Guys, I don't know, if you've had a chance to have a look at that story. I don't know whether you've got any thoughts about how that might impact from your perspectives. Be really interested to hear.

Damien Valentine 45:48
This, it's obviously not a simple issue to talk about. I mean, if a influencer is has been given projects to talk about, it's gonna be pretty obvious, they've been doing this because otherwise, they're not creating any like, if I come in months ago, I talked to one of my news items was a cynical Melinda and she had this whole recording studio and I talked about that, because I thought it's good for general sound, a lot of her videos, she gets sponsored by HelloFresh. And so she has a little segment in a video talking about the food that she's been received. And she's doing, she's got a video in her kitchen, preparing whatever it is that they've sent her. And of course, you have to show the products or there's no point doing it. So as far as that goes, it's pretty obvious that this company has sent her something to talk about, because it's getting their name out. But it's also, she's obviously willing to do it and being paid for it. So that that kind of stuff that I think that's fine, because it works with both sides of it. On the other hand, my YouTube channel, it's, I've got like over the threshold where I can enable ads, I have no control over the ads that are shown, I don't even know what ads are being shown. And so I go and watch one of my videos and see what comes up. But then, of course, I'm only seeing what's the ads available here. I mean, Phil, if you watch my videos, you'd see completely different as to what I did, because it will whole region thing. So I have no idea. I've got no control over it. I don't know what's being shown. I hope it's sensible things, but I've no idea, there's no way for me to know. And I guess if a lot of people watching the videos, you're gonna get if they did want to show me a list of every ad that's shown that's gonna be hundreds or 1000s. Or for people who have millions of subscribers, that's gonna be millions of videos, that list of millions of ads that have been shown and no one's going to want to read that. So there's no real way to do it, because that's just not practical. But yeah, I just have to hope that the videos, the ads, showing them live videos, sensible and not horrible. I've got no, nothing, there's nothing I can do about it.

Phil Rice 48:08
I think the it seems like that the the main concern is not ads that are packaged as ads, you know, the ones that YouTube's algorithm tacks on to the beginning, and sometimes in the middle of videos. Those aren't so much a concern because the the way that those are packaged and delivered, it's, it's clear that it's an ad. And I guess this whole article makes my head hurt the whole topic, not the article, but the topic. Because it's like, every time that I see a video, like the one that you were talking about Damien with your friend where they talk about Hello Fresh in the middle of the video, or, you know, there's always a paid promotion label that comes up on YouTube. When that happens, and that meets the FTC, the current FTC, disclosure requirements for anyone that's that person is doing affiliate marketing, you know, they're making their own content, that's what draws the eyes in, but where they're getting their money is, is through that sponsored thing. But it seems like that YouTube already has when you when you submit a video, you disclose that information or you're supposed to. And if you don't, then you're liable. So I guess what I'm still trying to wrap my head around is what is it that that mechanism? What's slipping through the cracks that that requires them to crack down? Is it that they're not enforcing the current regulations and now they're going to start enforcing them? Or is there some Tracy what you were kind of alluding to gives me the sense that there's, there's some kind of higher tier of relationships, undisclosed relationships and, and exchanging of stuff behind the scenes and stuff that's happening. And I guess it's just, that's a part of that world that it's just so foreign to me that I'm, I'm really struggling to, to envision a concrete example of that, you know, are we talking about the think Mr. Mr. Beast, or one of the big streamers, and he's secretly getting paid by NVIDIA to just discreetly mentioned that his his PC has an NVIDIA card in it or, I don't know, it's really hard for me to, it sounds like that they're trying to get at something that's even beyond the the examples that Damien and I have been talking about, because those are the things that we see. And we know, as youtubers that they exist, there are mechanisms for them. So something somewhere must be slipping through the cracks, I guess. And there are issues

Tracy Harwood 51:01
now it's how the content is coming to the top of the pages. That's, you know, certain, certain, if we're, if we're talking YouTubers, certain YouTubers are coming to the top, certain others are not. And therefore,

Phil Rice 51:17
oh, maybe there's some kind of a motive there with regard to what's being promoted. Exactly.

Tracy Harwood 51:23
So that's my interpretation of ABC video card company,

Phil Rice 51:27
because I certainly don't want to besmirch Nvidia or anyone like that. So, ABC video card company, has some kind of endorsement deal with YouTuber, Jon Snow, who knows nothing.

Tracy Harwood 51:39
And I think that's how it's gonna

Phil Rice 51:41
end. And then YouTube, meanwhile, has some kind of relationship with ABC video card company. And somehow through that, it the algorithms manipulated to push us to the front, because when ABC makes money, YouTube makes money, those types of relationships. Okay, yeah. So that would be something that me, you know, as, as just a YouTuber, I would never see that at all, you know, like, I wouldn't, I wouldn't even know what's happening. And it could be, it could be happening to me, you know, if I were the YouTuber who is getting all this, this algorithmic attention. Maybe it's not because my content is great. Maybe it's because somebody's on the doll. I've

Damien Valentine 52:25
noticed in the last few weeks, my style was released one for about two months. But suddenly, there's been a huge spike of views on my Star Wars videos. And I'm assuming that's because of the Obi Wan series which has just finished. Oh, yeah. So that's, that's definitely not available on Youtube. But there's gonna be lots of, obviously the trailers, and then there's the reaction videos from each episode, and all that kind of stuff. And I assume it's just kind of a combination of that, then this is make you wonder, well, maybe Disney how at the end eachieve have a relationship. Yeah. And there were more Star Wars content visible at the moment?

Tracy Harwood 53:04
Undoubtedly, that is what is happening with the algorithm.

Phil Rice 53:08
It's tricky. Yeah. Cuz because we, you know, we don't have evidence so to speak. Yeah. It's it's easy to veer into conspiracy theory territory, but the thing is, is that this conspiracy theory is very plausible. Knowing what we know, about these companies, and their dedication to that almighty dollar

Damien Valentine 53:33
is very plausible. Yeah, I just as soon as because Obi Wan make his thought was just, yeah, it

Phil Rice 53:38
could be organic. It could be just everyone's excited about Star Wars, again, for having watched that. And so they're out there. They're searching for more YouTube's or more Star Wars stuff on YouTube. And you're the natural, organic beneficiary of that. But it's very plausible that there could be another lever.

Tracy Harwood 53:57
Yeah, I, I think the point being unsophisticated influencers. Right. Now, not. Not that I wish to use that term, necessarily. But I think in the context of what we're talking about, we're all that in these channels.

Damien Valentine 54:15
Doesn't Yeah, the phrase sounds terrible, but it makes sense.

Tracy Harwood 54:20
Yes, anyway, so I think that's something that we're going to have to watch again, another another thing to keep our eye on and just see how that unfolds and what the influence of that might actually be. In terms of you know, what kind of labelling and how how, how your work is basically showcased through different channels.

Damien Valentine 54:47
And we're keeping an eye on it as well, because there's three more Star Wars shows coming in the autumn. So I'll see how that affects my videos as well. Cool.

Tracy Harwood 54:54
All right, competition news in now, and video Omniverse submission of a competition closed on 27th of June and at the point that we're recording this episode, we've got no news on who the winners are. It's something we're obviously going to be looking forward to reviewing next month. However, I did want to highlight a really nice little promotional video they released with a with due nod to the Top Gun Maverick film release called Top Goose. I really enjoyed that. thanks very much, Nvidia. Great fun. Did you guys have a look at that title? Really good.

Damien Valentine 55:30
I was gonna enter the contest. And then I just kind of go through this phase of being very creatively exhausted. So I had no ideas of what to do. I did go and see the new Top Gun film and I thought, well, one of the models they provide is some pilots so I thought maybe I can do a Top Gun pilot video. And so that's it. I know I can't because I look like I'm just copying that one now. I don't mind because that video was so well done. I really think this hilarious.

Tracy Harwood 55:57
Okay, and then in the meantime, Unreal opened and closed a competition in the last month as well sponsored by Kitbash3d and Sketchfab, giving us absolutely no time to cover it on the show beyond a few tweets. This one is focused on exploring your Unreal lighting skills and also included a student section. And we did see a couple of our machinima friends posting examples of their work, which we guess were being tested for entry. One being, I think, by Ben Tuttle called Amazing Comet, which is actually pretty amazing. This kind of amazing that Marvel like concept piece, which we'll put a link to in the show notes as well, it's really well done. I think this was something that, according to the comments on that video anyway, Ben, first developed for last year's iClone lip sync contest. So it's interesting to see how some of the work is being adapted and developed also using links back. I think it also links back to something that Damien and Ricky were saying about what happens with your work once you've made your film. What do you then do with it? So I think it's quite interesting that he's re rehashed it in some ways, that's what he's done. Anyway, the entries for the Unreal contest closed on the 26th of June. And again, we're really looking forward to seeing what the winners of that look like, which will hopefully have for you an update on next month. And then there was an interesting live launch event for the competition, which includes tutorials with William Faucher, whose work we previously covered in the first season episode two of the podcast. For those of you that don't know, William, he's a CG generalist whose professional work includes Marvel's Black Panther among many other series. And he's got an excellent YouTube tutorial channel too, which we'll put a link in the show notes, to for you. And then I've got a bit of tech news. And on top of that tutorial from from William, first of all, what I wanted to mention is that Unreal have posted a behind the scenes making of Matrix Awakens Experience. tutorial, and it's also quite a reflective piece on how the original Matrix films became this metaverse environment with its current sort of game like open sim. There's a really interesting expose a of how they created the characters too, which very much builds on the discussion that I had with John Gaeta in February for the podcast, which we'll put a link in the show notes tool. So now building on the experience that clearly John developed on the matrix awakens experience itself. There's a new social virtual experience that's been launched called Living Cities, which is positioned as a Metaverse mirror world. The founding team include Matt Miesnieks, I think I've pronounced that correctly, who lead 6D.AI, which was sold to Niantic recently. And a guy called Dennis Crowley who co founded Foursquare as well as John. It's basically using realistic simulations such as those we've seen on the Matrix Awakens, but adding in a social and creative community layer to it as well. And obviously, as this I think what we'll we're going to be seeing is this kind of really interesting storytelling side to it. But at the moment, the focus is really on creating this, these kind of digital twins of city scale environments. So we'll see what happens in due course, it's I think it's a project in development, which clearly has massive potential. And alongside that, John has also recently joined the board of Inworld AI as its chief creative officer. Inworld AI creates to NPCs basically virtual humans for games, AI informed. So it seems his comments about working on characters that remember their lives in game environments is basically coming to fruition through that platform. Now, if you're interested in Metaverse developments, particularly then you can do no worse than follow Pooky Amsterdam.s blog where she has been spending some time talking about metiquette. Nice term, she's going to talk about etiquette in the metaverse and in the metaverse. And she's also mentioned us too, in that thanks for that Pooky. Reallusion have also now formally launched character creative four. And there's a nice little taste of video on their YouTube channel along alongside that, it also has released a demo of its new, simpler character animation process in iClone eight. And we'll put links to both of those for you. I don't know if you guys have had a chance to experiment with either of those. I know. I think you did some pre launch stuff, didn't you, Damian?

Damien Valentine 1:01:11
I've been playing a lot of it. Recently, we are working on Heir to the Empire. And I've got two chapters I'm working on side by side. So I've got everything I need. For the one that after, I've just kind of skipped ahead, but it's gonna be great for crowd scenes. Chapter 20 is gonna have city so they can't just have buildings, you need people there. So I created these very low quality characters, and I'm going to populate, I've been walking around with different alien characters, and being able to just basically place a character and say, walk over here, and not really have to think about too much, because I can just click the end of the street. And that's what I intend to do. That's, that's going to be great. It's new, the face animations they've done. I don't know all the technical words for it. But they've done something to make the face more animated. So there can be a lot more expressive. There's actually a content pack, which I bought, because it seemed like absolutely worth it before these different types of built in character animation. So there's various angry ones is very sad ones and happy ones, and so on. So it's not just, you don't just have a character moving the mouse, like I'm talking now, they're actually looking around the eyes move left to right, eyebrows twitch. And it's all done as part of the animation. So you just drop it in, choose the one that suits the, the scene that you're working on, for that character. And it's done instantly, and it looks so good. I left to see running rendering overnight with Omniverse. I watched it this morning. And the characters feel almost alive because I did the motion capture myself, so the bodies move realistically. But it's the face doesn't until I put these in, and it just adds something extra, which is the cost of the content packs, absolutely worth it for that. And you can still, of course do all the manual animation if you want to, though, well, because there's gonna be things in the content pack that I need that don't exist, that there won't be things in the content pack that I need, but they're not there. So I can still do that myself. But that was worth it. And actually doing that facial animation with the pack. It took me about 10 minutes to do one character in the scene, and then another 10 minutes to do the other character in the scene. And a lot of that was just looking at the animations and testing each one because I'm not familiar enough with them yet to say I need that one right there. So I was experimenting a little bit. But it looks so good. And I can't wait to share it because I'm excited to see how these characters look. And the other thing I noticed was, there's no smoothing options within the cover. So which is now included with iClone, it's not a separate plugin. When you do motion capture, there's a little bit of jitter to the movement. And it's completely random that you can do absolutely perfect performance yourself. But the equipment may glitch somewhere and there's nothing can do about it. And you find that you're walking along, but your character kind of jumps up and down a little bit because something happened in the senses. Now that the smoothing options even better, so you can just do this move up, go through that with the coaster smooth out very quickly. And so now the characters are just walking around perfectly the way they should and then they get a little random twitches and things like that, which no matter how hard you try before that there's still traces of that in places. So I'm really pleased with these enhancements and looking forward to seeing what other people do with them as well.

Phil Rice 1:04:58
Yeah, I've been experimenting with both as well, from a much more of a noob perspective as far as iClone goes. So I've been working through tutorials on how I started in iClone seven, that day that eight came out, I purchased the upgrade and got CC4 and a couple key plugins there. One of them is called headshot plugin for CC4 that basically, will allow you to submit a photo of a face. And it will, you know, start the process of the creation of the character based on that photo. And it doesn't vary. If you if you format the photo properly, and angle it properly and light it properly. It does a very nice job. So one of the things I was experimenting with was I have some in progress or you know, early in progress films that I've been planning to do in Moviestorm. And I've now determined its icon period. So I thought for starters, what would happen if I got if I engineered a nice close up screenshot of the character that I'd spent so much time sculpting in Moviestorm and brought it over using headshot to see what would happen. And with with doing that with Moviestorm The results were so so because frankly, the the character models are so so by today's standards, and not any better than that. So but what was really interesting is there was another project that I had always assumed I was going to be doing in some version of The Sims. And because of the the large number of characters that were needed, I thought surely I would have to do it in The Sims for the sake of time. That's definitely going to be iClone now as well, because it is faster for me to create a character in CC four than it is in The Sims, which the Sims is pretty easy. But I'm with all the sliders and everything and I just there's still a look of the Sims that you can't escape when you're in The Sims. And with CC4 my goodness, you can go places that I've never seen any other character creator type of software, be able to take you so relatively easily. So I took some screenshots of characters that I had designed in The Sims 4 just headshots, and brought those in and created characters in CC4 just for the sake of getting used to the process and seeing what it would turn out like I was very pleasantly surprised with that. Because obviously if you're going to use photos, it either has to be people that you know and get permission from this, this goes back to the topic, we talked about the top of the show with Ricky's likeness, you can't just go grab a photo of someone, because if the likeness ends up being true enough, you know, you've wronged that person. So there's, for me, there's a couple sources that are interesting one is using some other 3d programme or game to get your basic look. And then of course, you edit it, tweak it and see see for there's also of course, all these, there's several different sources online for AI face generation, where they will create a completely unique face, that's not anybody, but it looks just like a person. And you can narrow it down by skin tone and ethnicity and you know, gender and all of that, too. You know, get your starter photo, you bring that into headshot to remarkable outcome. So now from what I've seen these AI face sources, they've started to figure out that they can monetize so they want they want a subscription of some kind or something but to me that's that's fair. If they keep the pricing reasonable because it saves so much time and eliminates so much worry. You know I don't have the chops to sculpt a face tabula rasa I don't I can't do that. You know, I need a good photograph or drawing or something to start with. And then with sliders, I can customise and do some things. So for me as source like that is indispensable. It's that or hire an artist on staff, which I can't do. So, anyway, I've been very pleased with what I'm not dealing with any of the same kinds of issues that that AMI does for production of his show, because I'm just not there yet. But I'm taking it a little bit at a time with both the programmes. And I'm very pleased. I have no, I have no quibbles at all with. For me, it was a very worthwhile portrait purchase. And I'm I can say here with pretty much no reservation, anything that I produce in the future I intend to produce with iClone eight, and CC4 period. No more video games for me. No more Moviestorm. This is it. It's it's got everything that I need. And I didn't I wasn't sure what to expect with that. But I felt that way about iClone seven. Even with all its warts and all. And iClone 8 has done nothing but transcend that like it is. In every imaginable way. It is better software. And it's going to make production that much easier. So, yeah, anyway, I'm happy with it for sure.

Damien Valentine 1:11:07
The other good thing about using iClone is obviously between each major version, you have to buy the upgrades, but then all the incremental updates are free. I think there's a four year four or five year gap between seven and eight. So it's a big payout, you're going to be using that for at least four or five years, assuming Reallusion will continue the same. I mean, that gap is actually growing bigger because I believe it is every two years. Previously.

Phil Rice 1:11:40
It was Yeah. Yeah. So

Damien Valentine 1:11:43
it's might seem like a lot of money. But that's money that you don't have to spend it again for quite a long time. Yeah, incremental updates are still huge. When I got started with Heir to the Empire, I started using iClone seven, the characters are really cartoony. And just by having these free incremental updates, the characters become more and more realistic as time went on. And I didn't have to pay anything extra for it. That was all part of the software.

Phil Rice 1:12:17
And now you've got these advanced rendering options available through Omniverse. Or if someone were so inclined, through Unreal Engine. Ben, who you mentioned Ben Tuttle. That's Ben Tuttle. I'm pretty sure that his his current workflow is animation in iClone, I'm sure he probably uses CC4 to create his characters, that's a no brainer to me. Especially with the skin gen plugin, and with headshot. It's extraordinary, you can make very realistic looking characters. He animates in iClone. But he really likes the Unreal Engine rendering environment. And so they will animate a character, but placed them in a scene that was built in Unreal Engine. And that's, that's going to be a workflow I'm going to be experimenting with as well.

Tracy Harwood 1:13:08
Well, you might be interested in this bit as well then, because Unreal, have released an early access new mesh and meta human feature to meta human creator, which enables you to custom facial mesh and convert it into a fully rigged character ready to animate. Wow. So that's sounds pretty amazing as well. Yeah. And actually, if that wasn't simple enough to do then Meta, formally, Facebook has also developed a photo real avatar creation tool that uses an iPhone camera as a scanning mechanism, rather than 100 or so cameras, I don't think it's ready to use yet. But it's another really interesting development, which, you know, I'll share the links so that you can kind of track how that one evolves too. Plus, if you're looking to stream facial and body motion capture, using things like Facewear and Xsens of multiple actors in say, Unreal, then there's a nice little tutorial by MoCats on YouTube, which will show you how to do it. So that's all my tech news. Thanks for your input onto that guys. It's great to see that you're using some of these things already. I got a bit of project news and I don't know what you guys think of Love Death + Robots and I'm not sure whether you would actually describe this as machinima, but it's certainly virtual and it's certainly real time production. Have you seen the amazing volume three of the series directed by Albertan Meilgo. Have you seen

Phil Rice 1:14:54
that's that's the one that's been fairly recently released, right? Yeah. What We've seen the first couple seasons or first two volumes, but I haven't watched the third yet. It's on my playlist for sure. Well,

Tracy Harwood 1:15:07
it's definitely on my playlist as well as absolutely blown away by an overview of you that was released on YouTube about the Jibaro story, which shows you how that virtual content was captured and created. I think it's it's basically everything that we see indie creators do now. Albeit there's a cost to it, of course, perhaps with the exception of the render tools that they've used. And I think, I think what amazes me about it is the it's basically the creative vision that's gone into the character developments. I mean, he's melded Asian on Western imagery with contemporary and mediaeval context. And he's also included different sorts of disabilities and super abilities. It's, it's, it's truly extraordinary. It's definitely definitely one to watch. I mean, I've watched bits of it on, on YouTube on that on the explainer there, basically, which, which shows you how the characters were inspired and created. And there's a really nice little article also on's website, which is basically a character dump, also very interesting, and how some of these characters have been created. Great, great detail of them. Definitely worth looking at. I think it's, I think it's the you know, it's the it's the, it's the the things that have inspired the new characters that I just have never seen before. They are just absolutely amazing. And then finally, on our news this month, a couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by a guy called Jonathan Nimmons is a UK based Creative Writing graduate who completed his studies up at Liverpool actually in 2014, and has been trying to break into the film world ever since. But sadly has kind of repeatedly failed, he says, because he's been unable to secure an agent. And he keeps sending unsolicited emails, which nobody ever responds to. Anyway, his solution hasn't been to give up, or indeed to turn to machinima, like Hugh Hancock did back in the 1990s. But to try something a little bit different. He's launched instead, a free online platform called write scene, where he aims to connect writers with industry professionals, including agents, managers, publishers, and producers. And the platform was literally just been launched. It's called, as I said, Writeseen I think, I'm not sure who the professionals are that are involved at the moment. But no doubt we'll find out in the course. It's certainly a great idea. I think it's potentially one to add to your production notes, depending on how you see yourself developing as a creator. I think, you know, maybe what you can use here is machinima as previz just like the professionals do. Although I think, you know, basically, I think what he's trying to do is connect you with distribution companies. So it's not, it's not a YouTube type thing that he's producing here, but more of a professional industry set of connections that he's trying to put you in touch with?

Phil Rice 1:18:41
Is it distribution, or is it production? It's,

Tracy Harwood 1:18:46
I think it's every part of the pipeline. And he says, If it depending depending on what kind of writer you are, whatever form of writing that you have created or or want to create, he will put you in touch with the professionals who might be interested in including distributors.

Phil Rice 1:19:07
So the primary thing then that a creator would be putting up there would be screenplays and the like, yes, plays or something written content? And yes, with the idea of someone that maybe has the resources or is inspired enough to or has the budget to want to talk about producing it or optioning it or something like that, I think is the right term. Exactly. It's intended to connect those people together. That's what a brilliant idea. Absolutely.

Tracy Harwood 1:19:35
And it's not just written content. For example, you can also put a video pitch up or audio clips, video clips, or any kind of prototype so machinima would absolutely fit in with that, but I guess it just depends on what your goals are with what you're doing. Okay, well, that's me done for this month. I'm sorry. That's a really long one again, I Um, guys I don't know if you've got anything else that you want to add on the news this month. Are we happy? Are you happy with where we're up to?

Phil Rice 1:20:08
Damian you'll be able to edit this down to about 15 minutes or so

Damien Valentine 1:20:11
right up so he kind of it will sound like chipmunks.

Phil Rice 1:20:23
I would like to say also that Reallusion is not a sponsor of this show. Absalutely No, he's not the behind the scenes funder of the show, despite the praise that we just lavish on their products. In a time when people are apparently cursing into their coffee about the prices. This was not a conspiracy. We just happen to really like the products. It's genuinely,

Tracy Harwood 1:20:48
genuinely Oh, we have no sponsors. Yeah, other than ourselves, of course. Anyway, that's it for this month's News episode. Thanks for watching us as ever. Don't forget you can leave comments or get in touch with us on Facebook, Youtube or any other chat tools which you can find links to on our website machinima no completely

Damien Valentine 1:21:15
tickets to a You won't find us though.

Tracy Harwood 1:21:17
There's nothing there. Nothing at all. Don't remember don't forget we've also got our and discord server and a few folks are starting to follow us on that as well now, which is great to see. Anyway, we'll look forward to seeing you for next week's episode, where we do our films discussion. Bye for now.

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