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The band is possibly called Extremity Maiden Guess, and the first track is Killer Ball, an interesting combination of Jazz, Progressive Rock, and Rap, done so the words become another part of the rhythm driving the music. That track was from their second mini-album; the next one is Take Off That Dress from their first EP How To Take Off That Dress, giving you a good grasp on their musical range. The third tune is called Black Parade, and is also from their first EP, which explains why they are using the same outfits, props, and visual themes for the video. This band definitely has an interesting sound and style, I look forward to hearing a lot more from them. One of the many things I like about them is they are not afraid to go somewhere else in mid-song and then pull it back in to the original music, tying it all together nicely.

There are several interesting choices this week, with Transformers: Age of Extinction topping the list. Let’s face it, I would watch any Michael Bay Transformers movie, even though I never cared for the original Japanese animation series trying to promote toy sales. As the series evolved, Beast Wars came out, a story line built on evolution itself. It looks like Michael is finally incorporating that aspect of the franchise into his movies, and I can’t wait to see where he takes it.

Also this week, the truly twisted and paranoid Philip K. Dick masterpiece Radio Free Albemuth goes into general distribution! This gem has been going around the film fest circuit for a handful of years, it is nice to see it finally going into theatrical release. If you are in the mood for an After the Apocalypse kind of film, then Snowpiercer will give you major class warfare trapped on the Orient Express, with an international cast of favorite actors. If you are hoping for something a bit more light-hearted than any of these, there is a limited release of the 2004 animated classic The Incredibles, finally available in 3D.

In movies we have I, Frankenstein topping the list with its near-Dean Koontz like premise, great cast, and excellent special effects. In a completely different style but still with excellent production values there is Her, a touching story about a man who enters into a relationship with his household operating system. This Spike Jonze movie won a ton of awards, and is more than worth your time to check out. Goodbye World is one I missed in the theaters about the world ending while some old friends hold a reunion, and while the premise sounds ordinary it has the potential to be interesting if they did it right. Special ID has Donnie Yen as an undercover cop with some serious Kung Fu fighting for his life against China’s most ruthless crime syndicate. This looks to be the best week in movies we have seen in a few months.

In TV… not so much. In Anime, the Armed Librarians are back, with the The Book of Bantorra: Complete Collection. When you die, your soul becomes a book that anyone can read, and only the Armed Librarians can keep your secrets safe from the world. This series seems to have a lot in common with Black Lagoon (the anime, not the creature) in my mind. And then there is Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends NEXT, the 2nd season in the story of the school club that is supposed to be about making friends. They receive a warning that some of their activities (stalking, taking candid photos of their peers, playing adult video games, watching adult anime, and building time machines) are not approved club activities at their school. And finally, Deltora Quest is the complete series, 52 episodes of gem seeking adventure, striving to release everyone from tyranny once all the magical jewels are collected. And yes, this series is based on the Australian children’s book series written by Emily Rodda.

We get The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on the big screen this week, with all that excellent spidey action and banter we have come to expect. He gets a couple of super villains to defeat this time around, and begins to suspect they have something in common. This 5th venture into the Spiderman franchise looks like it is going to be quite the fun ride. Bad Johnson is a comedic fantasy in which a mans penis leaves his body and takes on human form. As you might expect, that one is in limited release. In even more limited release is Protector 2, original title Tom Yum Goong 2, another elephant training martial arts series from Thailand. Thai martial arts are a bit different than the Chinese and Japanese forms we are all familiar with, and this film stars Tony Jaa of Ong-Bak fame. His parents are elephant trainers, which explains why the animals are in so many of his films.

If you are an Ubuntu fan, rejoice! Ubuntu has just unleashed the full range of their various builds in version 14.04, which is a Long Term Support release. Of course this includes Ubuntu Studio, their Live Disc multimedia powerhouse designed to allow media creation. The tool sets are grouped by workflow in Audio, Graphics, Video, Photography, and Publishing, and each set has a variety of programs useful to the task that you might not expect. As an example, the Video set includes the usual import, edit, A/V effects, and produce/burn software, but it also includes a full range of 3D modeling and animation programs so you can work in both live action and animation mediums. Plus, while I like to run it from the Live Disc, you can install it to hard drive if you prefer. Pretty much all the other Ubuntu variations also released new builds in the last day or so, including Xubuntu, a lightweight desktop optimized for older computers, Kubuntu, which runs the KDE desktop, and Edubuntu, a build designed to allow a teacher with limited technical knowledge to be able to set up a computer lab or build a web site learning environment in an hour or less. It takes a similar approach to administering, making it easy to maintain without becoming a Linux geek in the process.

SIGGRAPH is a venerable name in the world of computer graphics, the name itself being their usenet newsgroup identifier, Special Interest Group, Graphics, from the days before the Web. At last year’s ACM SIGGRAPH convention, for the first time they held a series of four classes they consolidated under the banner of SIGGRAPH University. They are approximately 3 hours each, and they are university level courses in some aspect of creating computer animation. After watching any of these, you will understand the basics of how to create, not just a picture, but an entire project with timelines and interactions between components.

The one I am embedding on this page is Introduction to 3D Computer Graphics, where you get a bit of the history of how the technology got to this point, but you mostly get a complete mental map of how to create your own animated movie from the ground up, in excellent detail, using whichever set of software you prefer. As you might have guessed by now, I prefer to use a boot-from-DVD Linux build that includes free versions of all the different kinds of multimedia production software you could ever need. If you would like to burn your own arsenal of amazing free multimedia creations tools, check out these other posts and select the one that looks best to you: Musix GNU+Linux 3.0 (mostly music recording, mastering, production, some graphics and video), Ubuntu Studio Live DVD (a complete multimedia suite that has everything you need for most projects, organized by workflow, one of the best builds), Open Artist Live DVD (They took the kitchen sink approach, throwing in every piece of free and open source software that might be useful, and compiled them into folders organized by the type of task you were trying to accomplish), and AV Linux 6.0.2, a personal favorite of mine when it comes to A/V Production that will go live tomorrow.

The other classes in this series are:

An Introduction to OpenGL Programming
The Digital Production Pipeline
Mobile Game Creation for Everyone

And there are more coming up later this year, at Vancouver SIGGRAPH 2014!