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Inside Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles VR Interview Experience

Maggie Lane Contributor Share on Twitter Maggie Lane is a writer and producer of virtual reality experiences and covers the industry for various publications. More posts by this contributor Does Ready Player One reveal the future of VR? Last month at San Diego Comic Con, I fulfilled my childhood (and let’s be honest, current) dream of stepping inside a NickToon. In Nickelodeon Entertainment Lab’s Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles VR Interview Experienc e, I interacted with turtles Mikey and Donnie—voiced live by series talent, Brandon Mychal Smith and Josh Brener, respectively. I stood against a green screen, selected an avatar (I chose Arnold from Hey Arnold! ), put on an Oculus Rift headset, and was transported onto a New York City rooftop. I inhabited a 3D form, but as I looked ahead, I saw two 2D turtles. I interviewed the characters in real time, and their movements perfectly corresponded to their answers–there was no discernable lag. Given that AI isn’t able to match the conversational speed and nimbleness of real humans just yet, companies like Oculus are experimenting with using live actors in their VR experiences to approximate in-person interactions. However, this was the first time I’ve experienced a live melding of 3D and 2D worlds in VR. Behind the scenes, this “magic” was made possible by four computers, two puppeteers, two voice actors and a team of eight people running the various stations. (The crew were all wearing ninja bandanas, naturally). Adobe Character Animator , Epic Unreal Engine , and NewTeK NDI were all used to create the interview experience. The pièce de résistance was the bright purple keyboard that was piloted by two team members (one for each turtle). Each key featured a different animated pose, and so the actions of the turtles could be “animated” in real time, akin to playing a symbol piano. According to Chris Young, SVP of the Entertainment Lab, the impetus of the activation was that his team was looking for an innovative way to help socialize Nickelodeon’s Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at SDCC and so they came up with the idea of a VR press junket.

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Comic sales are down as readers abandon print

Comic book and graphic novel sales fell 6.5% in 2017 from a 2016 high of $1.015 billion. Graphic novels brought in $570 million while comic books brought in about $350 million. A report posted to Comichron notes that comic stores are still the biggest source for revenue while $90 million is attributable to digital downloads. “After a multiyear growth run, the comics shop market gave back some of its gains in 2017, with lackluster response to new periodical offerings and, consequently, graphic novel sales,” wrote Comichron’s John Jackson Miller. “The third quarter of 2017 saw the worst of the year-over-year declines, leading into what has turned out to be a stronger spring for stores in 2018.” In a pattern that is now familiar in publishing, kids comics and graphic novels helped buoy the market. The same thing is happening regularly in the book market with kids titles selling briskly in print while adults abandon softcovers and hardcovers for digital downloads. While the “floppy” comic book is still clearly popular, the digital download is outpacing subscription sales but it still minuscule in comparison to print. Interestingly, Comichron breaks up sales into comics, graphics novels, and digital downloads and it would be enlightening to compare digital sales broken up by book style. That said, it’s fascinating to see the medium change as consumption models shift to devices.

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Netflix Is Now Home To 125 Million Subscribers – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo Netflix Is Now Home To 125 Million Subscribers Ubergizmo When Netflix announced their plans to go global, no doubt that this was great news as it meant more subscribers, and Netflix's efforts are definitely showing because according to the company's latest quarterly report, they are now boasting a subscriber ... and more »

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