Every year, this time of year, normal people nationwide gather ’round spreads of newspaper to carve glowing, ghoulish jack-o’-lanterns. And for about a month’s-worth of sporadic lunch breaks, we, too, have been carving a pumpkin … into a camera! Much to our amazement, it actually worked.
Their only advice: “The image from our first camera came out completely black because the camera was not sufficiently lightproof. we highly recommend this project if you can find a darkroom. Although it’s time-intensive, meticulous and, at times, a total pain, it’s worth it to watch the image emerge in the darkroom.”
Paul E. Debevec may be the only research professor whose laboratory subjects have included Charlize Theron and Will Smith. The University of Southern California computer scientist is about to take another unlikely step—from academe to the Academy Awards, for special effects. His pixel wizardry has been featured in films such as Spider-Man 2 and Avatar.
On February 20, in a black-tie geek gala hosted by the actress Elizabeth Banks, of Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Mr. Debevec will pick up an award in science and engineering for his work on digital facial-rendering technology. The 38-year-old professor leads the graphics laboratory at USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies. In Avatar, a futuristic film set among the alien Na’vi people on the moon Pandora, Mr. Debevec’s techniques helped map the faces of live actors onto digital puppets, creating astonishing realism amid fantasy. Back on Earth, he sees applications for the techniques in higher education.
The Gibson Les Paul, like the Fender Stratocaster, was one of the defining instruments at the dawn of the Rock and Roll era of music. But the contributions to the music industry by that inventor whose namesake appears on that legendary Gibson guitar didn’t stop with just a solid body electric six string. An innovator, maker and hardware hacker, Les invented the tools needed to bring his ideas in music creation and production to life. And it’s a reflection on these contributions in which we mourn the passing of a legend.
Literally. Leave it to the Japanese; I know they have a culture that is much more comfortable working side-by-side with machines, or letting machines do all the grunt work, but as an American who gets creeped out by her cell phone, I’d rather just boil my own noodles, thanks.