The breakthrough sci-fi role-playing-game is back in Mass Effect 2. Lead Commander Shepard through the galaxy once again as you interact with different alien races. Mass Effect 2 is set to blast off in early 2010 for the PC and Xbox 360.
PhotoPad Image Editor provides users with a tool for fine-tuning digital photos. While its interface takes some getting used to, this can be a valuable tool in the right hands.
This free program initially looks like many other photo processing programs until users take a closer look at its command icons. Representing fairly conventional commands for dealing with color, size, and overall appearance of your shots, the strange symbols for each take some experimentation to understand and get used to. Fortunately, this is a minor roadblock to overcome. After a few passes through these commands the program runs very smoothly … Read more
I've played probably 30 minutes total of the first Mass Effect from Bioware. It's not that I'm not enjoying it, but I feel that--much like KOTOR before it--it's the type of game that is more enjoyable, the more complete the attention you can give it. So, I'm waiting for a week or so when I don't have tons going on in my life to actually sit down and play.
Spoiler alert: This article describes some of the action sequences in the new Terminator movie. If you don't want to know details about some scenes, bookmark this article and come back to read it after you've seen the movie.
SAN FRANCISCO--What do you do if you're a filmmaker trying to capture a scene in which an onrushing tow truck slams into a parked car, sending the car rolling neatly up and over the truck's back, but you face the reality that the car, vaulted into the air by a cannon shot from below, actually flies high … Read more
Every year it seems there's a new catchy spec in the HDTV realm everybody likes to talk about. A few years back it was 1080p resolution. Then we heard about 120Hz, which is supposed to reduce motion blur in fast-moving images on LCD TVs. Well, this year, the latest and greatest spec is 240Hz, which is supposed to do what 120Hz does, but better.
Not too long ago, our video guru David Katzmaier gave his initial impressions on 240Hz in a post titled "Is 240Hz worth waiting for?" When he wrote that piece, he'd just seen his first 240Hz TV in action and wasn't sold on the new technology. Now that he's reviewed four 240Hz HDTVs and has a fifth review (the LG 47LH55) in the works, he's still not sold, but he admits the verdict isn't totally clear-cut.
Part of the problem is that there's a difference between what your eye sees in everyday material you watch and objective testing done with test patterns. As Katzmaier notes in his post, "Standard LCD and plasma TVs refresh the screen 60 times per second, or 60Hz, which is plenty fast enough to eliminate flicker and create the illusion of motion from a series of still images. In fact, most sources sent to your display arrive at the nominal rate of 30 frames per second, and each frame is repeated once by the television to achieve 60 total fps."
For most people, including me and Mr. Katzmaier, it's very difficult to see the impact that "faster" LCD sets have on picture quality. We spent some time in our AV lab watching various source material from 120Hz TVs and 240Hz models and it's really hard to detect any difference (it's hard to detect any difference between 120Hz and 60Hz models, too). To be clear, I'm referring here to motion-blur reduction because of faster refresh rates, not to dejudder processing, which smooths out motion and makes film-based material shot at 24fps look more video-like. When dejudder is engaged, you can easily spot its impact on the picture. (It's also worth mentioning that the dejudder processing on the 240Hz TVs we tested so far wasn't any better--or worse--than than the dejudder on 120Hz TVs). … Read more
With all the buzz surrounding the release of the new "Star Trek" movie, here's a little something to remind you of the kinder, gentler, and, yes, cheesier days of the original "Star Trek" series (for those of you old enough to remember)...a replica of Captain Kirk's command chair.
This life-size replica is a dead-ringer for Captain Kirk's original swivel-throne from the bridge of the starship Enterprise. Designed from actual Paramount Studio drawings, the swivel seat is covered in leather while the majority of the chair is made from wood.
The base of … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--For Paul Kavanagh, the animation supervisor on the new "Star Trek" movie, one technical element of the film was particularly challenging.
During live-action filming, director J.J. Abrams had done something unusual: In a bid to incorporate a shaky, handheld effect, Abrams would frequently sit behind the camera and literally tap on the back of it with his fingers. But "Star Trek" is jam-packed with computer graphics, and for Kavanagh, it was imperative to find a way to replicate the effect of that finger tapping, even in the purely digital sequences. Not to do so, … Read more
CameraBag is a fun way to make great-looking iPhone photos with retro-looking effects. You can either take a picture from within the application's interface or you can pick a shot you've already taken from your image library. From there, you simply choose an effect from the drop-down menu on your touch screen, or swipe your finger to cycle through the 10 available effects to preview your image.
Image effects have names like 1974, which give your images that particular grainy quality, or Instant, which adds the familiar white frame along with that retro image quality. We think this … Read more
2 Pic offers a simple program with options to give your digital photos many of the same effects as the pros. While it does offer more flexibility to edit pictures, it doesn't quite meet professional design standards.
This freeware may look familiar to users who have operated programs such as Paintbrush and Photoshop, but it does not exactly copy either. The biggest difference is 2 Pic's dueling screens. Two portrait-shaped spaces fill up the bulk of the interface, each with lists of icons down the sides for opening, saving, printing, and reversing work. At the bottom, a series … Read more
Good: double amputee gets prosthetic legs so she can walk. Better: double amputee gets realistic-looking mermaid tail so she can swim. Awesome: it's developed and built by Weta, the special-effects company that did work for the "Lord of the Rings" movies, as well as "King Kong" and "The Chronicles of Narnia" series.
Nadya Vessey's legs were amputated below the knee when she was a child due to illness. At one point, reports Stuff, a child asked her what happened to her legs and she told him she was a mermaid. The idea … Read more