There are several low budget character animation programs, but far the easiest to use for non-professional animators (people who haven’t received any formal animation training) is Anime Studio 5 Pro, made by Lost Marble, and sold by Smith Micro.
Anime Studio can be used for all kinds of animation, but it shines at cut-out animation. I will not review Anime Studio here, but only want to mention one of my hobbies (character animation). My skill level isn’t really high, as can be seen in this little clip.
It isn’t bad, but it isn’t stellar either. I want to improve myself, by creating an animation starring the TWIT cast (Leo, Dvorak, Amber, etc.). Don’t know when it will be finished. You just have to wait and see.
This Week in Tech (abbreviated as TWIT) is a network of podcasts, originally started by Leo Laporte. TWIT has a logo which is quite distinct and appropriate. I decided to recreate the logo as an exercise and have some fun with it.
I started by copying the logo from one of Leo’s many websites (TWIT Live in this case). Next, I booted up my copy of Anime Studio Pro and traced the several parts of the logo in separate layers, and colorized these, using Mac OS X built-in color picker (DigitalColor Meter) on the original TWIT logo.
Here is the result:
Now, that wasn’t enough for me. I also wanted to create an animated GIF file. Now Anime Studio Pro doesn’t have an animated GIF export filter, but it can export sequences of PNG files. I imported those PNG files into The Gimp as layers, reduced the color space to 32 colors, optimized for GIF animation, and exported the file as an animated GIF.
It isn’t spectacular, but it was a lot of fun creating.
Manu Sporny has made an excellent introduction video about the Semantic Web, what it means and what you can do with it. He has put it on YouTube, and therefore I can put it on my blog. The video really says it all.
Another interesting piece of media I found on Phil Windley’s personal podcast Technometria, which includes an interview with Elias Torres and Ben Adida about RDFa. RDFa is a practical application of the Semantic Web, which is currently is in use and gains in popularity. You can listen to the interview here:
Manu Sporny also made a video about RDFa, and put it on YouTube:
That is a lot to digest. I hope you understand what it means, and especially what it will mean once it is universally adopted. You could do much more elaborate searches on the Web, and have much more relevant search results, because you can tell the search engine what you mean with your search query. This, in turn, can be used to rate documents in a search result (most relevant results on top).
Of course, there is more. Once content management systems adopt this semantic information gathering and processing, they can let the user drill deeper into the content, even if the author didn’t include outside links to relevant documents on the website, or even on the entire Web. The CMS could look for those documents for itself, because it understands the context of what has been selected by the user, and understands the meaning of other documents, and how they relate to the selected piece of text. The way users interact with this additional data can be recorded and used to add meaning. Once kick started, the Semantic Web would build itself.