Mar 30, 2009

LaMB - Spoilers!

Original, interesting, pretty and enjoyable.

These are the things that LaMB is not.

In 2007 Animax held a scriptwriting contest, inviting anime fans to submit their stories with the prospect of turning them into an anime show for TV. Carmelo S. J. Juinio, a writer from the Phillippines, was one of the finalist who submitted the script that became the basis for LaMB.

The story of LaMB takes place on a desert planet called Cerra. The prison system on Cerra has been replaced with lamination, a technology that puts criminals in sex-ed out, transparent body fitting suits that inhibits their freewill and the ability to open their mouth. These criminals, referred to as Lambs, are then put back into the society as labors (or slaves). Like a bad marketing campaign, the individials who engage the services of the Lambs are affectionately called Sheperds.

The show feature some (relatively) big names such as The Click Five and Simple Plan who provided the songs, Van Ness Wu and Josie Ho for the character voices and Vivienne Tam who provided the designs for some of the dresses.

As a CG artist, let me just get this out of the way: LaMB is not good to look at, to put it nicely. The show is produced by Peach Blossom Studio in Singapore, who used Flash for the 2D animation. The excuse for this was given by one of the staffs during an interview: The process of creating anime the Japanese way was too complex and time consuming, so they opted for Flash and promised to deliver something new and unique. It was probably another way to say "Animax spent all their budget getting big names onboard, so we can't afford to spend it on making good quality animations.". There are some 3D scenes, but even those are poorly implemented. I wondered how difficult was it to actually get a Japanese animation studio to do it in the first place.

The character voice overs are also rather unconvincing. The delivery of the dialogue is emotionless and inappropriate at best, downright cringeworthy at worst. The music is nothing to shout about either; Why they got western bands to perform the songs, when there are perfectly fine artists in Asia, is anybody's guess.

Admittedly I was at first intrigued by the idea of lamination as well as an Animax original production. But when more and more footage of the show began to surface, I started to get a bad vibe about it. Those feelings were soon proven correct when it was finally aired it last week. To Carmelo S. J. Juinio's credit, the premise of the show was quite promising on paper, only to be let down by poor execution.

LaMB is launched on several platforms including a website, graphic novels, mobile content and a video game.

Mar 7, 2009

Augmented reality in Flash

New word of the day - Glyph Tracking.

Point you browser here to experience some pretty awesome technology at work, and it's all in Flash! You'll need a webcam, preferable a mic and of course, the latest version of Flash player. Just follow the instructions on the website.

If you are one of those unfortunate bunch who doesn't have a webcam, you'll just have to settle with the demo video below:

The application is basically a very interesting way to use glyph tracking technology (If you haven't realize, the square symbol is the glyph). You don't even have to print out the symbol; I simply took a picture of the glyph on my phone's camera and displayed it to the webcam.