MythBuster series finale tribute compilation

Last night, one of my favorite shows of all time ended it’s incredible 14 year run on Discovery Channel with a bang. You know what – or more specifically – whom I’m talking about: The MythBusters. That’s Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage, Kari Byron, Tory Belleci and Grant Imahara. These guys spent over a decade putting urban myths to the test, blowing the crap out of things and tackling science in a fun and entertaining way.

I’ve been a huge fan since day one and basically for most of my life by now. I’m very grateful for all the hours of great entertainment I owe to those guys and will continue to support them, whatever their next projects might end up being. Thomas Crenshaw put together a beautiful compilation, celebrating some of the coolest myths and explosions the MythBusters gave us. Enjoy … and a giant thank you from the bottom of my heart to Adam, Jamie, Kari, Tory and Grant. I will reject this reality and substitute my own!

Short film: How to cope with Death

I just found out about this very cool short film called How to cope with Death by Ignacio Ferreras in a post from one of my favorite blogs, GeekTyrant. The short is really fun and very well executed with great animation and sound design. It’s a couple of years old (2002), so you might have seen it already – I surely didn’t, but I’m glad I did now.

Insightful ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ VFX Breakdown

Oh boy. It’s been forever since my last post on here. Unfortunately, I’m really busy right now, so that’s not going to change anytime soon, but in the meantime I have something neat from the Star Wars universe for you. A vimeo user called achilles just posted an awesome VFX breakdown of some of the coolest shots from the newest Star Wars installment (which I loved by the way!). Be warned: This video shows bits and pieces from all parts of the movies, so … SPOILERS!

Disney Animation video guide explains ‘Path Tracing’

At this years FMX conference in Stuttgart, Disneys presentations mostly covered their new renderer Hyperion, which was developed during the production of Hero Big Six. Hyperion renderings are using Path Tracing, which allows Disney to compute awesome imagery in a very short amount of time. The studio now published a very cool Path Tracing explaination video, which makes the science behind Hyperion quite easy to understand – and fun to watch. If that’s something you are interested in, be sure to check it out.

Apple Script: Force iTunes to reload metadata from music files

I recently stumbled upon Tagger, a neat little Mac app, that allows me to tag my music files with metadata downloaded from the amazing VGMdb. It’s super great, especially if you are a Japanese music collector without any Kanji skills, because fans have translated song titles for a lot of soundtracks.

One problem I ran into however: iTunes didn’t reload the metadata from the music files already in my library, after I changed them with Tagger. So in order to get iTunes to update to your new metadata, you have to use a little Apple Script magic:

tell application "iTunes"
refresh selection
end tell

This little piece of code forces iTunes to reload the metadata from currently selected songs. Just open up the Apple Script Editor pre-installed on every Mac, paste in the lines and save the whole thing to “~/Library/iTunes/Scripts/”.

Now restart iTunes and you should see a little scroll in the menubar, right between “Window” and “Help”. From there you can quickly access your script. Just select the music you want to refresh and run your script though the menu. A couple of seconds later, your metadata should be updated correctly.

For those who do not like to do it on their own, I prepared a little installer for you. Just mount the .dmg-file and drag the supplied script file onto the “Scripts” folder alias and you should be ready to go. Feel free to leave a comment if it somehow doesn’t work for you.

iTunes metadata refresh script download (ZIP, 1.3MB)

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OS X Automator: Optimize folder with JPEGmini

A couple of weeks ago I finally bought a copy of JPEGmini, an amazing tool which compresses JPEG images without compromising the image quality. It’s ridiculously good, especially compared to freeware like ImageOptim. I always run my photos though the software before I upload them to my WordPress media library. It will save you a lot of web space and your users a lot of traffic. Unfortunately, even when you chunk out 20 Euros for the full version of JPEGmini, the software does not support the amazing OS X Automator software. This is very disappointing, especially because automatically optimizing images could be just one click from the Services menu of Apples Finder.

So I dug a bit into Apple Script programming and came up with a little Automator service which passes the selected folder to JPEGmini for optimization. It’s far from perfect as it requires the user to stop interacting with the Mac until the script put everything in place and the optimization has started, but I guess it’s still better than doing everything by yourself. Another problem I ran into: The method I use only works with one folder selected in Finder. Multiple folders or file selection is not supported at the moment.

JPEGmini Automator service download (ZIP, 127kB)

To install the Automator service, follow the instructions over at OS X Automation. Enjoy! If you have any questions or requests, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do. No promises though! 😉

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This work by Tim Lehr is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at
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Maya 2015: Playblast with MPEG-4 to .mov-file on Windows

One of the most annoying aspects of Maya for Windows is the fact, that it simply doesn’t support h.264 for Playblast encoding. In the past I settled with the IYUV codec in an AVI container, but I just spotted a suitable alternative. If you set your format in the playblast option to qt (Quicktime), you can save your blasts sucessfully with MPEG-4 video encoding.

Doing so can save you up to 85 percent of disc space, while keeping the loss of quality at a acceptable minimum. It’s no h.264, but you got to go with what you got, right?

Epic Evangelion CG short film

Holy mother of glob. As you may know, I’m currently busy finishing our next little cg project for the university and it is involving mecha suits and destruction. I just started to like what our film has become so far and then I saw this epic Evangelion short by Sola Digital Arts.

Evangelion: Another Impact is based on the very popular anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, which is now about 20 years old. I’m really impressed with the work this team has done, because it looks pretty darn spectacular. Great job.