18th June 2009

Watchmen Revealed A Sellout Success

Siggraph VancouverVancouver – Last evening our local ACM SIGGRAPH chapter presented a post-mortem panel for the movie Watchmen, featuring four of the development team from MPC Vancouver.

Watchmen was the first project for the brand new west coast studio, which completed MPC Vancouvera total of 300 shots for 24 sequences with 50 team members in only nine months. The team wanted to accurately recreate iconic moments from the original graphic novel, which at times proved to be a big challenge, but they rose to the challenge and succeeded. Archie, the owl ship was by far the heaviest asset in the show and played a major part a pivotal part in the show, during the sequence known as Call to Account.

The panel members – Ben Cole, Landon Bootsma, Harry Mukhopadhyay and Tim Mulvihill led the audience through the processes used in building the major shots from reference photos to 3d builds to finished product. Mixed with bits of humour the session was very educational and offered some very good insight into the amount of time and work which goes into the making of a movie such as Watchmen.

Watchmen Revealed was sponsored by: BCIC, 3vis, VanArts, Sophia Books, AnnexPro, Stash Digital Media, VEAbc and Society of Graphic Designers Canada, Vancouver Chapter.

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17th June 2009

AnnexPro Announces Two Upcoming Events

Annex|Pro VancouverAnnexPro is pleased to be presenting two educational events this summer. First up is the Matrox MAXimum Roadshow on June 23 at the VFS Cafe. The seminar will be showcasing Matrox MAX technology for faster than realtime H.264 encoding for Blu-ray, the web, and mobile devices. Matrox MAX is available in the Matrox CompressHD accelerator card and in the Matrox MXO2 series of I/O devices for the Mac.

The second seminar is the AJA Ki Pro Worldwide Roadshow: From Lens to Post. You are invited to join AJA on July 14 at the Vancouver Film School for a demonstration of their latest innovation in workflow enhancing technology – the Ki Pro. Finally, shoot on the same codec as you edit with, full raster 10 bit Apple ProRes 422, built natively into Ki Pro’s stand-alone, portable hardware. You’ll get a high level overview of AJA and see a live demo of Ki Pro. Ask questions and get answers from AJA executives, and leading industry experts.

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9th June 2009

Interactive Ontario Launches ONkidz while Trillium Supports North Ontario Youth Initiatives

Interactive OntarioTorontoInteractive Ontario today announced a new project, ONKidz, that is aimed at promoting Ontario’s Kids sector on a global scale. The ONKidz project will culminate with a business event focused on the interactive kids space in the spring of 2010 in Toronto, Canada. ONkidz supports the creation and commercialization of Ontario-made interactive media content and services for kids ages 4 to 15.

“It goes without saying that kids prioritize their interactions with and through digital media very differently than their parents,” said Ian Kelso, President and CEO of Interactive Ontario. “ Interactive Ontario is thrilled to present a unique event pulling together the leading creators of interactive experiences and the producers, broadcasters, and publishers who are leading the charge on building integrated cross-platform markets.”
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8th June 2009

Dare To Be Digital Competition Begins Today

Dundee – Over 70 students from as far away as China began their 10 week computer game design challenge at the University of Abertay Dundee today. However, there seems to be a problem with the competition’s web site. I tried to visit the URL as provided in the competition’s press release, and landedDare To Be Digital Competitors on a holding page. Hopefully this issue will be corrected pronto.

The computer arts students and graduates from Canada, China, India, England, Northern Ireland, Norway, Scotland, Southern Ireland, and Wales are finalists in Abertay’s ‘Dare to be Digital’ computer game design competition. Sunny Atwal, Eric Stock, Pedro Melendez, and Chris Iaconis from Algoma University will be competing for Canada.

Dare to be Digital’, now in its tenth year, sees fourteen five-strong teams competing against each other to design a prototype game or other interactive digital entertainment. The teams beat off fierce competition and survived industry scrutiny during the regional finals, to secure their place in the grand final.
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4th June 2009

VFS Grads Present Projects

VFSVancouver – Last evening, the GD12 students at Vancouver Film School presented their grad projects to an evaluation audience in the VFS Main Theatre. The students spend several weeks in pre-production developing their game concepts, and then an additional 12 weeks in production, bringing their concepts to life.

The first group up to the podium was Team LightSpeed, presenting their 2D Action Platformer game Travis’ Terror. The target audience for this imaginative and colourful game is children under 10, and to that end I feel that they came very close to making a product appropriate for the age group. Developed on Citrus

Lightning Speed

Light Speed

flash engine, the game’s environment is comprised of artwork which resembles colouring book drawings. The gameplay involves two modes: dreamtime and nightmare. In dreamtime mode, the environment is bright and colourful while nightmare mode has a darker colour palette. The premise of the game is to help Travis get through the game and defeat the boogeyman lurking in his closet. As the player advances through the levels, he is confronted by monsters such as dinosaurs and robots. In dreamtime mode, the monsters are small and easily defeatable. In nightmare mode the monsters are bigger and more challenging. Game progress can be saved at nightlight checkpoints, and there are toys and candies to collect along the way. The player can choose several different paths through the game, each path presenting different challenges. Travis’ Terror is a game which I feel showed hard work and attention to detail on the part of the development team, who overcame many challenges including losing a team member partway through the project.
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3rd June 2009

SES Offers Search Engine Marketing Training Workshops Following Toronto Conference

SES Toronto 2009Toronto – Search Engine Strategies (SES) is offering search engine marketing (SEM) training workshops following next week’s conference and expo in Toronto. The largest search engine marketing conference and expo in Canada will be held at the Sheraton Centre Toronto June 8-10, 2009.

According to comScore, there were 3.5 billion expanded searches in Canada during March 2009. Google Sites had an 80.7 percent share, Microsoft Sites had 4.9 percent, and Yahoo! Sites 4.5 percent. During the same month, there were 21.0 billion expanded searches in the United States. Google Sites had a 58.8 percent share, Yahoo! Sites had a 14.7 percent share, and Microsoft Sites a 5.9 percent share.

Now in its sixth year, SES Toronto is considered the definitive digital event for marketers, corporate decision makers, webmasters and search engine marketers (SEMs), including pay per click (PPC) advertisers and search engine optimization (SEO) professionals. The event is organized and programmed in cooperation with the SES Advisory Board, Search Engine Watch and Andrew Goodman, the founder and president of Toronto-based Page Zero Media.
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2nd June 2009

Banff World Television Festival Announces Winners and a Free Seminar

Banff World Television FestivalBanffTelefilm Canada presents Shelly Palmer’s one day GetDigital seminar at BANFF, Tuesday June 9th 2009. Whether you are interested in workforce development, continuing professional education, honing your digital skills or playing catch-up, this course is designed to help you become more competitive and make you more productive in the digital economy of the 21st century. Join a crash course in digital literacy that will change your life. With only 50 places available, this course is FREE for BANFF attendees. Space will be filled on a first come, first served basis.

The Festival has also announced the winners of the TV 360 competition. The TV 360 Program is designed to train Canadian writers, directors, developers, interactive designers, show developers and TV, film and new media producers, to develop multiplatform projects and pitch them successfully both to Canadian and international buyers. Prior new media experience was not necessary to enter, however applicants were required to be professionals from the new media, film and television industries.

Congratulations to this year’s winners:
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31st May 2009

Fast ForWord Software Agreement Established in British Columbia

Scientific LearningBritish ColumbiaScientific Learning Corp. has announced an agreement with Educational Resource Acquisition Consortium (ERAC) to provide the British Columbia consortium’s members with access to discounts for the Fast ForWord® family of products.

Developed by California-based Scientific Learning Corp., the Fast ForWord software provides struggling readers with computer-delivered exercises that build the cognitive skills required to read and learn effectively. Based on more than 30 years of ERACneuroscience and cognitive research, Fast ForWord software has been used with great success in several BC districts including Surrey, Burnaby and Victoria.

At a recent conference in BC, special education administrators who have been using Fast ForWord shared their implementation strategies and student results. Administrators reported that some students are making improvements by as much as two grade levels, while many other students are more focused and attentive in class.
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29th May 2009

Mount Boucherie Secondary Students Win Gold for 3-D Animation

Kelowna – Funky futuristic characters having an all too human movie-going experience formed the basis of an awarding winning 3-D animation created by two students in School District No. 23. Jenna Cumbers and Jade McGilvray won gold at the recent National Skills Canada competition in PEI for their entry titled “Don’t Spoil the View”. They are the first ever students from Mount Boucherie Secondary School to be invited to the National competition for animation.

Jenna and Jade had just 12 hours over two days to create a storyboard, model and animate their story using 3D Studio Max. In addition, the contest rules restricted the use of sound, which made it more challenging for the characters to tell the story.

“Their theme, revealed the morning of the competition, was Don’t Spoil the View, says Barb Butler, a teacher at MBSS and chaperone for the trip. “In the 3D category, there were seven teams. Jade and Jenna were the only females. Each team had one hour to storyboard before they were allowed to touch the excellent equipment provided for them. The first day was focused on modeling (Jenna’s specialty) and the second day on the animation (Jade’s specialty). They are a fantastic team and we enjoyed every minute of our time together.”

This is the third major win for the two students. In March, they won the regional competition and a 50% scholarship worth $16,500 for the Center for Arts and Technology Okanagan (CATO). That success allowed them to compete last month at the Provincials in Abbotsford winning silver. When the first place Provincial winners dropped out of the National competition on short notice, Jenna and Jade had just over a week to arrange to represent BC in Charlottetown. Team BC had 80 members including competitors from secondary and post-secondary schools, delegates, and chaperones.

The last minute trip and project work were made possible by Don Muir, the Computer Drafting & Animation teacher at MBSS, Principal Lisa McCullough, Shona Becker, the Career Coordinator, and Barb Butler, who chaperoned the students. Don extends his thanks to Andrew Buckley from CATO for personally teaching the students digital animation story writing techniques.

“Both Jade and Jenna will be going to animation school next year and I know they will be very successful,” says Muir. “Within the next 10 years, I expect I’ll be still sitting in a theater after a fantastic animated movie while others are leaving, because I’ll be watching the credits looking for their names as I have with a few other students who have gone before them. I have learned as much, if not more, from these two hardworking, enthusiastic, gifted students as they have from the MBSS animation program. I have enjoyed them immensely and will miss them.”

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28th May 2009

MySchoolCouncil.com Makes it Easy to Create PTA and School Council Websites

My School CouncilTorontoTLI Software, a leading Web Applications developer, announces the launch of MySchoolCouncil.com. MySchoolCouncil.com is an application designed for school councils, parent teacher associations and student councils to build community online.

MySchoolCouncil provides the aforementioned community’s the ability to build, maintain and update online community website with only basic computer skills. The sites are automated and have several features that are particularly well suited to the school community. “One of the favorite features with school principals has been the approval process that can be activated for each site. It allows for each page that is built or updated to be sent automatically sent to the principal for their approval at which time, the page goes live,” said Taye Newman, Product Manager of MySchoolCouncil.com.
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