Wonders of Modern Photo Editors

Now you can change sex, get a tattoo and turn into an anime in one click

Reading time 7 minutes

Once again Snapchat literally blew up social networks with its new filter, which allows you to «change» sex. The girls looked at themselves as a guy, and the guys looked at themselves as a girl. Some users have even created Tinder pages for their alter ego to prank friends.

Илон Маск в «женской» версии от Snapchat
Elon Musk and his «female» version from Snapchat

It is not the first time when Snapchat developers demonstrate to the public interesting things. Take even insta-stories, the format that has been created by Snapchat team. Also masks and photos in dialogs, which disappear after 24 hours. All of that Instagram borrowed from the creators of Snapchat. Although, in a way it was not invented by them either. Some time ago, Snapchat redeemed the Looksery app, which was developed in Ukraine. The team of the same app actually made most of those «masks».

Today Snapchat really sets the bar, but it is not the only app that allows you to experiment with your appearance. There are plenty of them, and they all perform different functions – from changing the sex and age to transformation into the anime.

Meitu — transformation into the anime

Chinese app Meitu was launched way back in 2008, but it became popular only in January 2017. The mask of this photo editor increases eyes, blushes cheeks and changes facial proportions. That is how you become an anime character. The main advantage is that the app processes images in real time, so you can try on the effects before taking a photo or  a video.

Basic editor filters are free – but there are also special filters that require a paid subscription. For free you can try on Bunny ears and pretend to be sick: a face blushes, cheeks grow and virtual snot starts pouring.

Meitu - приложение для любителей японской культуры
Meitu — the app for fans of Japanese culture

FaceApp — aging, fake smile and sex change

The developers of FaceApp one of the first resorted to the use of neural networks in creating photo editors. The app is widely known for the opportunity to try on a believable smile, change the sex and look at yourself in old age. In 2017, the social network was full of collages of four photos, which appeared even on television.

Today FaceApp yields to new masks from Snapchat. New filters process images in real time and make men look like women, and women look like men way more realistic. However, FaceApp can still surprise those who just discovered it, because it alters the appearance quite plausibly. We must not forget that  the developers of Snapchat obviously got inspired by this app. Because several years ago, the developers of FaceApp introduced such filters as «sex change» and «aging».

FaceApp - нейросеть, от которой стареешь
FaceApp — neural network that makes you grow old

InkHunter — the virtual try-on of tattoos

InkHunter does not change the appearance, this application’s function is practical. It is recommended to use it before going to the tattoo parlor. With InkHunter you can try on a tattoo: the desired image will be applied to the specified area of the skin. In order to do this, you only need to draw a special sign on your hand or foot — three stripes in the form of a smiley. So the neural network recognizes it.

The app uses augmented reality technology, so the quality of the displayed tattoo is not high enough. The «tattoo» cannot be properly scaled, expanded or zoomed in to really see how the image would look on the skin. Probably the fact is that after the success of the app in 2016, it is no longer being developed.

Фото с меткой для приложения и снимки с примерами татуировок (динозаврик настоящий)
Photos with a label for the app and pictures with examples of tattoos (a dinosaur is real)

FaceTune — the simplified version of Photoshop

And finally, the most important hit in the insta-photography industry — FaceTune. It was developed by the Israeli team Lightricks. This platform has replaced Photoshop for many users. In the photo editor, you can do face tuning, whiten teeth or remove bags under the eyes. In addition, it looks quite natural.

Even the free version of FaceTune amazes with its list of features. For instance, you can «narrow» the shape of the face and highlight the cheekbones, or paint it  in any color. The app does not apply filters or «masks», but it provides tools: you need to apply the desired effects with a brush and try not to overdo it.

FaceTune - любимое приложение всех insta-блогеров
FaceTune is the favorite app of all insta bloggers

The app simplified the work on improving the appearance so much that the media started discussions. On the one hand, FaceTune is suitable for those who cannot use Photoshop, on the other — it makes it too easy to hide flaws, which makes natural beauty a rarity.

Homemade Mario 2

What was shown at the presentation of Super Mario Maker 2

Reading time 4 minutes

The holiday began a month earlier for fans of Nintendo products and Mario fans. While the rest are waiting for June and E3, Nintendo has pleased its users with an online presentation of a new game in the Super Mario Maker series.

For the first time, Big N decided to show Super Mario Maker 2 during the presentation of Nintendo Direct in February. But since then, the new official information about the game has not appeared. Even small pieces of the puzzle, which were shown in the short first trailer, were enough to interest the fans. Hour and a half trailer analysis – proof of this.

Nevertheless, there were still a lot of questions. For example, how can it work online? Or: how will the search for levels be arranged? Nintendo answered all these and other questions.

WHAT’S NEW?

First, the creators confirmed the topic based on Super Mario 3D World, the design of blocks, objects and opponents, associated with hero. Secondly, they showed a lot of new types of surfaces and environments, and a new opportunity to change the day and night. For example, in SMM2, it will finally be possible to create slopes that were not in the previous game, and also to regulate the water level.

Another significant innovation was the ability to customize the direction and speed of scrolling the screen. For example, now levels can move not only from left to right, but also in other directions. In addition, the requirements for the passage of levels can also be customized, not limited to only “run to the end.”

In addition, the construction can now be done together on one console, this feature was not available in the previous game.

ONLINE

Now the level search system will also work differently. Players will receive a set of filters and tags to simplify the search. However, if you don’t really want to search, you can choose “Endless Challenge” – an automatic selection of endlessly changing levels, which continues until the player plays a certain number of times.

One of the most serious innovations of SMM2 is the ability to play against others or with other players, creating competitive communities.

Super Mario Maker 2 can be played with friends.

On sale Super Mario Maker 2 will appear on June 28. In addition to the publication of the game, a limited annual subscription to the Nintendo Switch Online service will be available. Creators will give a stylus as a gift for pre-ordering the game.

In addition, during the presentation Nintendo announced the release of vouchers for the purchase of games at a discount. They can also be used to purchase Super Mario Maker 2 and other company games.

The first Super Mario Maker was released in September 2015 for the Wii U and was praised by critics, fans, and became popular on YouTube and Twitch. The game was a kit of levels, based on the Super Mario games and allowed to create, share and play them.

The most expensive mistakes of space engineers

How one bug in the program and confusion of meters and feet can cost millions of dollars

Reading time 6 minutes

Developers of space projects sometimes make expensive mistakes. Let’s recall the five largest engineering errors of the space era.

Rocket «Mariner 1»
Ракета «Маринер-1»
Rocket «Mariner 1». Ph: NASA

Mariner 1 is the first apparatus of the NASA’s «Mariner» project (automatic interplanetary probes designed to investigate Mars, Venus and Mercury), the launch of which was scheduled on July 22, 1962. The apparatus was supposed to fly to Venus, however, after 293 seconds it deviated from the course, and was destroyed over the Atlantic ocean. According to the official version, the programmer made a mistake while translating the handwritten formula into a computer code: he mistook the index symbol for a regular dash. As a result, the on-Board computer software perceived normal speed jumps as critical, which led to a failure. The accident could not have happened, but the device’s antenna lost contact with the guidance system on the Ground, and the program automatically moved to plan «B». The engineering error cost $18.5 million, which the New York Times called «the most expensive dash in history».

 

Space station «Skylab»
Станция «Скайлэб»
Skylab space station. Ph: NASA

Skylab is the United States orbital station launched in 1873 (the first and only one). It was designed for Earth observation, astrophysical, technological, and biomedical researchs. Before the destruction, it held three space expedition, however, due to increased solar activity, it went off the orbit in 1979. The lowering of the Skylab accelerated, and since the station did not have its own engine, it was not possible to raise it to another orbit. According to the forecasts of the mission control Center, the station was to enter the Earth’s atmosphere on July 11, 1979 and sink for 1300 kilometers in South Cape Town. But the inaccuracy in the calculations by 4% led to the fall of some wreckage of the station in Western Australia. The damage from premature destruction was estimated at $10 million.

Hubble Space Telescope
Hubble Space Telescope. Ph: NASA

Hubble was launched in 1990, but immediately there was a problem in its work: the telescope transmitted a blurred image. After checking, it turned out that edges of the telescope’s main  mirror were too flat, making the telescope «myopic». NASA scientists have developed a program for image processing and, at first glance, the problem was solved. But few months later, other problems were discovered (gyro failures, problems with solar panels and computer malfunctions), and NASA organized three space expeditions to eliminate those defects. One of them brought «glasses» for the telescope — optical correction system COSTAR. Manufacturing and delivering of «glasses» have cost NASA 49.9 million dollars, while since the beginning of telescope’s construction there were spent 6 billion dollars.

Mars Climate Orbiter
Аппарат «Mars Climate Orbiter»
Mars Climate Orbiter. Ph: NASA

Mars Climate Orbiter is an apparatus studying the Martian climate, which was launched by NASA on December 11, 1998. The main objective of the apparatus is to picture the surface of Mars and to study the dynamics of its atmosphere. Nine months later the unit arrives to the planet, turns on braking and begins to move on highly elliptical orbit. According to the calculations of engineers, the device was supposed to change the orbit to circular and to begin research two months later. However, 5 minutes after the start of braking the apparatus passed Mars and never sent any signals. After analyzing the errors, it turned out that the NASA team calculated the parameters of the decisive stage of the flight in the metric system, and the engineers of Lockheed Martin — in the British system (pound-force). As a result, the device crossed the orbit for 53 kilometers lower than required and disintegrated in the atmosphere of Mars; the loss amounted to $193.1 million.

Satellite «NOAA-19»
Спутник «NOAA-19»
Satellite«NOAA-19». Ph: NASA

The accident is not related to the software, but to ordinary sloppiness. In 2003, September 6, during the construction of the satellite, engineers have tried to move it to a horizontal position, but the device collapsed to the floor. The investigation determined that shortly before failure the technician has pulled from the truck 24 screws and has not documented it, but other staff did not check the presence of screws either. As a result, $135 million were spent to repair the satellite.

 

 

Stunning masterpieces of miniature art

Tiny creations of Salavat Fidai, Edward Kazaryan and Hasan Kale

Reading time 4 minutes

Pencils are familiar to everyone from childhood; we draw or write something with them. But Salavat Fidai found another use for this writing instrument.

The artist created this work from the 4th time. The photo is published in the official Instagram account.

Salavat Fidai has long been interested in miniature art, performing reproductions of famous paintings on a variety of surfaces: matchboxes, pumpkin seeds and rice grains.

Some of the reproductions of Salavat went to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

In 2014, he discovered another material for his little masterpieces – pencil lead. His works became popular, and Salavat Fidai, with the help of his fans, released an illustrated album in 2016. Some parts of this book can be found in the public domain.

Backgammon from black obsidian and gold in rice grain. Edward Kazaryan.

Edward Kazaryan is a famous Soviet microminiature mechanic. He became famous for his ability to work with the smallest details. His works were kept by Stalin, Khrushchev, Queen Elizabeth. Among the miniature masterpieces of Kazaryan you can find a poppy seed, which depicts a scene with Gulliver in the country of Lilliputians, figurines of football players from black obsidian inside a polished human hair, a real violin and a bow inside a needle ear. Some of his works are moving: Charlie Chaplin is twisting a cane. Ten works of the miniaturist are listed in the Guinness Book of Records.

There have been tragic incidents in his work. Once, a pigeon pecked up a drying grain of rice, on which the master, by request of the Louvre, painted a copy of Aivazovsky’s painting The Ninth Wave. So three months of hard work and one million dollars were spent – that was the price of the order.

Edward Kazaryan was a professional musician. He played a concert together with the Yerevan Symphony Orchestra with the help of one of his miniature violins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hasan Kale chose food as a canvas for his masterpieces. The artist draws mosques and landscapes on chocolate drops, nuts, sugar and raw pasta.

With such an original bouquet, the miniaturist artist congratulated all the women on his Facebook page.
With such an original bouquet, the miniaturist artist congratulated all the women on his Facebook page.

Hasan Kale is an active user of Facebook and puts his work on public display.

A miniature created using a sugar cube.

Cardboard reality in the big game

Nintendo Switch will get VR support, but that's not what you think

Reading time 5 minutes

Since the announcement of Nintendo Switch in the network there is information that the console will receive support for virtual reality . The idea seemed crazy, but now it is known that VR will appear on the Nintendo console. Well, almost reliably…

Do it yourself!

New information about «VR from Nintendo» appeared like a bolt from the blue. Nintendo of America in his Twitter-account announced a new set of a series of cardboard designers Lego — Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 04: VR Kit. The set will give you the opportunity to assemble from cardboard VR-accessories for Nintendo Switch, as well as provide players with related games.

Two new Labo VR kits: Starter (left) and Full (right)
Two new Labo VR kits: Starter (left) and Full (right)

The method of implementing Nintendo picked up from Google Cardboard, which is also a cardboard mask with lenses. In this case, the Nintendo Switch is used as the screen, the image of which is divided for each eye, creating the illusion of immersion and volume.

This time there are several options for buying cardboard peripherals: «Starter kit» with glasses and «Blaster» for $39 (~2800 rubles.) with the possibility of separate purchase of other accessories and «Full set», which also contains «Camera», «Elephant», «Bird» and «air pedal» for $79 (~5600 rubles).

If you do not want to buy everything at once, it is possible to purchase only interesting Toy-Cons
If you do not want to buy everything at once, it is possible to purchase only interesting Toy-Cons

Not my VR

However, the announcement of the cartons from Nintendo was ambiguous. Many age-old fans of “big N” were not very happy that beyond the designers of Labo, focused on children, VR will not apply.

One of the problems associated with Labo products is the lack of tangible depth of built-in games, and Toy-Con themselves are no more than interactive toys.

But there is still hope for a bright future. For example, some of the previous designers received support in the «serious» games of the company. In particular, it is worth noting the «Motorcycle», which can be used to control the Mario Kart 8: Deluxe.

Promotional art collaborations Nintendo Land and Mario Kart 8: Deluxe
Promotional art collaborations Nintendo Land and Mario Kart 8: Deluxe

For the first time rumors about Nintendo’s entry into the virtual reality market appeared with the discovery of the company’s patent, vaguely reminiscent of VR-glasses.

This interesting patent has been discovered for the first time in 2016. He gave rise to further speculation about the VR Switch on the Nintendo.
This interesting patent has been discovered for the first time in 2016. He gave rise to further speculation about the VR Switch on the Nintendo.

It is also worth noting that this is not the first attempt of «big N» to enter the VR market. Back in 1995, the company released the Virtual Boy console, which is a helmet similar to modern «head displays». The experiment was not successful: after prolonged use, the helmet could cause headaches and pain in the eyes, and the project itself is still considered one of the biggest failures of the company.

Must plays of March 2019

The best games of the spring season

Reading time 10 minutes

Along with spring, thaw and sunny weather in March, begins the gaming season. Usually, spring is not as fruitful for big games as autumn or Christmas holidays, but here is the list of the most exciting releases of March.

Dead or Alive 6 — 1st of March

Dead or Alive 6, the newest part of a popular Japanese fighting game, opens up the first month of spring.

Всего в Dead or Alive 6 26 персонажей. Ещё больше контента будет доступно в виде DLC.Всего в Dead or Alive 6 26 персонажей. Ещё больше контента будет доступно в виде DLC.
Overall, there are 26 characters in Dead or Alive 6. there will be more content available in DLC.

This time, the creators decided to shift slightly the vector of the game by dressing up immodest heroins (however, the chest physiology stayed the same) and making the game more accessible and appealing for new players. Besides, there will be a full customization of characters, which can be seen in Soul Calibur VI, Tekken 7, and other modern Japanese fighting games. In addition, the game has extremely realistic visuals of clothes and faces of characters, which there are 26.

If you miss these quality Japanese fisticuffs — and Tekken 7 and Soul Calibur VI already drive you crazy — you definitely should check out Dead or Alive 6.

The Occupation — 5th of March

Also in the first week of March will be released a new project by an independent British company White Paper Games — The Occupation.

The Occupation - один из самых интересных квестов последнего времени.
The Occupation – one of the most interesting quests of the last years.

The setting is Great Britain in the 1980s, where happened a disastrous terrorist attack that has taken lives of 26 people. In the role of a journalist, the player will have to understand what happened and prevent a looming political scandal. To finish the game, the player has 4 real hours, which means that it can be ended without any player’s interactions, so solving all mysteries of the narrative is not easy.

For those who love fascinating stories and intrigues, The Occupation will be a perfect match.

Devil May Cry V — 8th of March

This year’s international women’s day will bring joy to fans of the Devil May Cry series, slash action shooter games.

Главные герои DMC 5 (справа налево): Данте, Неро и V
The main characters of DMC 5 (from right to left): Dante, Nero and V

After 11 years, if not taking into account a remake in 2013, the Devil May Cry series returns with the complete sequelae — Devil May Cry V. The player still needs to exterminate hordes of demons in the roles of Dante, Nero, and mysterious V saving Red Grave City from awful hell-creatures. Everything the series is popular for stayed the same —  powerful combos, considerable arsenal, and pinch of magic will not leave indifferent both veterans of the series and beginners.

There is no point of saying anything else — you have to see it for yourself. In case you are not ready to purchase the game, there is a demo version for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 — 15th of March

In the middle of March will be released a project that can possibly become one of the best games for the next couple of years — Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, a loot shooter by UbiSoft.

Explicitly recreated ruined Washington is one of the main features of The Division

This time, as an agent of The Division the player will visit Washington, specially recreated on a one-to-one scale. Like in the first part, the main activity will be helping citizens, neutralizing local gangs, recapturing their territory and, of course, the production of new weapons and armor in industrial volumes. There is also a PvP mode in the form of Dark Zones.

This time, as an agent of the «Division» the player will visit Washington, specially recreated on a one-to-one scale. Like in the first part, the main activity will be helping citizens, neutralizing local gangs, recapturing their territory and, of course, the production of new weapons and armor in industrial volumes. There is also a PvP mode in the form of Dark Zones.

You can play the game either by yourself or in the company of three friends, so whether you look for a game for a couple of evenings or even months, you will definitely enjoy Tom Clancy’s The Division 2.

The Sinking City — 21st of March

A week later, the world will see a new project by Ukranian Frogwares, which is famous for its games about Sherlock Holmes. This time, they were inspired by works of Howard Lovecraft.

You cannot miss The Sinking City if you are a Lovecraft fan

The game’s setting is a fictional American town called Oakmont in in the 1920s. Our protagonist is an investigator Charles W. Reed who decided to visit Oakmont, which turned into a half-flooded wasteland with a couple of people that did not leave the town after the flood. What has happened in this town? What does Reed has to do with it? Carefully exploring the city and communicating with witnesses, the player will find answers to these and many other questions.

For those who was not impressed by the recent Call of Cthulhu and those who love mysteries and puzzles, The Sinking City is mandatory for familiarization.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice — 22nd of March

A day later, on the store shelves will appear the most sadistic project of the month or even of the year — a new game by From Software, the authors of Dark Souls and Bloodbourne.

В Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice даже протезы несут смерть и разрушение
In Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice even prosthesis can be used as a deadly weapon

Instead of Gothic of the middle ages you will experience Japan in late 1500s, a Sengoku period. Under the control of the player is the warrior Sekiro, who seeks revenge on the Ashina clan for the loss of his master and a hand, which he now replaces with the mechanical prosthesis. With the help of his new mechanical limb, Sekiro will be able to use the hook and other useful fixtures which can be switched in a moment. As for the combat system, it will be based on blocks and parrying.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice promises the same furious action and brand-name complexity of From Software. If you want to tickle your nerves the game will intrigue you as well.

Yoshi’s Crafted World — 29th of March

At the very end of the month will be released Youshi’s Crafted World — infinitely cute 2.5D platformer about the dragon Yoshi by Nintendo.

Yoshi’s Crafted World is definitely one of the cutest projects of this year

The new adventure of Yoshi is created in a handmade aesthetics. The dragon will have to work his way through DIY obstacles made of paper, fabric and other everyday materials in an unusual appearance. The main feature of the game is a reverse mode which turns the world around enabling to look behind the facade of homemade obstacles. The game can be played by two players as well.

Youshi’s Crafted World is a mandatory purchase for everyone who misses classic platformers, but looks for something fresh, and also for those who likes relaxing and colorful games. If you are not sure about buying you can try the demo version.  

Stress and the city

How different urban objects affect the human condition

Reading time 4 minutes

Experts at the University of Bristol decided to explore which urban landscapes have the greatest impact on stress levels.

Three objects were chosen for the study: parks, cafes and shops. Modern neuroimaging technologies have made it possible to obtain data directly from the brain, not just from surveys. The experiment involved 40 people. Their stress levels were measured using portable electroencephalogram sensors – not in laboratories, but directly in the city.

How does it work

Studies of encephalogram allow to determine different States of brain activity, its dependence on the level of stress and concentration of a person. Experts paid special attention to two types of activity: alpha rhythm and beta rhythm. The first occurs in a state of calm, the second – in the solution of any problem, when you need the maximum concentration. Watching these rhythms, you can assess the level of stress or the opposite indicator – the level of meditativeness.

The level of meditativeness of the urban landscape (cafe, supermarket, park)

The first point of the study was to determine the level of meditativeness-that is, the relaxation of a person in a particular place. Experts assumed that the highest level of stress will be observed in shops, and the lowest – in parks. Their hypothesis was confirmed: the diagram clearly shows that a person is more calm in parks or cafes than in supermarkets, where the level of meditativeness is much lower.

The second point of the study is the preparation of a heat map, where red is an indicator of the maximum level of stress, and blue is the minimum. Indicators in cafes and parks are about the same, the only difference is that in a cafe the stress level is sometimes very high. This is due to the fact that there people can face unpleasant situations for the brain: an irritable waiter, a long wait for the order, etc.

Heat map: the level of stress in cafes, parks and shops

It is obvious that supermarkets are an emotional test for our brain. The researchers note that there are people who rest while shopping, but they should be careful: it is unknown at what point the brain will start to get annoyed and stop perceiving shopping as a vacation.

New pokemons of the «Alternative UK»

The Pokémon Company announced new games of the legendary series

Reading time 4 minutes

The information about new games in the main Pokémon series appeared last year, but so far fans of pocket monsters could only guess what’s going to come next. Now the new «Pokémon RPG 2019» has more details. What is interesting in the latest projects of the iconic franchise?

Sword and Shield

First of all, the «Pokémon RPG 2019» finally possessed a name. During the February video presentation Pokémon Direct, names of  Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield games were revealed, they will be the eighth generation in the series.

As well as in previous generations, Sword and Shield will be separate games, and despite the similar story, the single setting and game mechanics are going to differ in the set of included pokemons. However, there is no need to buy every game at once: in order to catch them all, the owners of various versions are able to exchange their pocket monsters.

Brave New World

New generation — new region. This time, the game will take place in the region of Galar, which is going to be one of the biggest settings in the series with the great number of different zones. The Galar’s theme reminds of the undecided in its time period UK, which was the subject of rumors long before the game’s presentation.

Полная карта нового региона - острова Галар
The full map of the region of Galar

On the official map of the region posted on the teaser site of the game there are rural, urban and industrial zones, as well as various climatic biomes

Railways and trains can also be noticed on the map. Apparently, they will serve as a means for rapid travelling in the region.

They’re not Pikachu!

In addition to the names and setting, three new initial pokémon were shown: Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble, which relate to grass, fire, and water types respectively. It is with one of them that players will begin their journey as a pokémon coach.

Стартовые покемоны в Sword/Shield: Груки, Скорбанни и Соббл
Initial pokemons of Sword/Shield Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble

In Sword and Shield the series will return to the system of Gyms and and icons instead of tests from the previous generation, Sun and Moon. it means that the main purpose of the games is again gaining the title of Champion, the best trainer of pokemon.

Some information about «Pokémon RPG 2019» appeared in the middle of 2018 for the first time. It was when The Pokémon Company announced the development of new games. The franchise itself was created by Satoshi Tajiri, a Japanese video game designer, in 1996, while the game’s production was managed by Game Freak studio. In addition to games, the franchise includes manga, anime, collectible card game and several full-length cartoons.

In may 2019, the big screens will also see the first feature film in the series — POKÉMON Detective Pikachu with Ryan Reynolds as Detective Pikachu. Pokémon Sword/Shield themselves will be released exclusively on Nintendo Switch in the end of 2019.

Russians who impressed the Eurovision

The most successful performances from Russian artists at the European song contest

Reading time 7 minutes

Sergey Lazarev will be representing Russia at the Eurovision at Tel Aviv for the second time. This Russian artist won the public vote, but based on the results of overall scoring he took the third place in 2016. The European audience was moved by his song «You Are The Only One» and the breathtaking performance with 3D projection. Now, everyone bode him the the success of another artist, Dima Bilan, who managed to win a Crystal microphone with the second attempt.

Which other artists from Russia achieved success and claimed the first place in the main European song contest?

Сергей Лазарев
Sergey Lazarev will be representing Russia at the Eurovision again
Alsou «Solo» (2000) — 2nd place
Алсу
Alsou became the first Russian representative to take a prize place

The first one to have an impact on Europe was sixteen year old Alsou, the youngest contestant in the history of this show, with the song «Solo». Originally, «Solo» was made for male vocals, but the artist was so imbued with the song, so she choose it. The authors, Andrew Lane and Brandon Barnes, corrected the song for the young singer, and she went to thrill Europe. Alsou won the second place, what became a real triumph for Russia.

Tatu «Don’t believe, don’t be afraid, don’t ask» (2003) — 3rd place
Тату
Tatu believed in their victory until the end, but took only the third place

The third place was accepted with disappointment. In 2003 the duo actively transferred from Russia to Europe and held a leading position in the charts of many countries of the continent. So the girls were one of the favorite contestants on the show. Julia Volkova and Lena Katina wore shirts with number one, because they were sure in their victory. However, Tatu took the third place, lagging behind the leaders only by 1 and 3 points. Many people assume that their Russian song «Don’t believe, don’t be afraid, don’t ask» was not understood by the European audience.

Serebro «Song #1» (2007) — 3rd place
Serebro
Serebro became a real  discovery of Eurovision

The group’s debut with their «Song #1» took place at “Eurovision-2007”. The unknown trio of Maxim Fadeev was the winner of the national contest. People did not pin their hopes on inexperienced girls, but they brilliantly performed at the final and took the honorable third place.

Polina Gagarina «Million voices» (2015) — 2nd place
Полина Гагарина
Polina Gagarina’s performance turned into a magic fairytale

Polina Gagarina was representing Russian at the Eurovision with the composition «Million voices» which was written by five authors from different countries. The song is about intolerance to the division of people, the importance of love and peace between them. The magnificent dress of the artist became a part of the projected starry sky. Her performance is considered one of the most memorable performances in the history of the Eurovision. During the show, Gagarina was a leader, but lost the victory to the Swedish representative in the final.

Dima Bilan «Never let you go» (2006), «Believe» (2008) — 2nd and 1st places
Дима Билан, Евгений Плющенко и Эдвин Мартон
Dima Bilan brought Russia the only one victory at Eurovision

Dima Bilan was able to impress the Eurovision twice. The first time, in 2006, the artist with the song «Never let you go» took the second place, giving up the victory to a Finnish hard rock band «Lordi». Ballerinas took part in the performance, and one of them appeared in rose petals from the piano in the middle of the song. In his performance, Bilan did his signature jump for the first time, which became the singer’s hallmark.

Dima Bilan managed to win a Crystal microphone with the second attempt. He also brought Eurovision to Russia for the first time in the history of the show. Together with the figure skater Evgeni Plushenko and the violinist Edvin Marton, the artist created a performance for his song «Believe». Putting his health in danger, Bilan performed barefoot on ice while the famous skater could hurt the singer in any time. But the performance was impeccable and very sensual, which touched both the jury and the audience.The outcome was the first and so far the only Russian victory at Eurovision.

From Aristotle to Robert Mackey

What to read for an aspiring screenwriter

Reading time 4 minutes

Robert McKee – “Story”

Роберт Макки "История на миллион долларов"

Robert McKee is one of the most sought after scriptwriters in the world. He has published several books and regularly holds seminars for those who want to learn storytelling. Students of his seminars participated in the creation of such films and TV series as Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Wolf of Wall Street and others. 

The book “Story” as fully as possible reveals how to tell a story so that it finds its viewer. “History” is written in simple and accessible language, so it is not necessary to know the basics of drama: it will be useful for both beginners and followers.

Blake Snyder – “Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need”

 

Блейк Снайдер "Спасите котика!"
Blake Snyder “Save the Cat!”

Blake Snyder was a screenwriter, producer, and storytelling consultant. He created scripts and earned money by selling them.

 

The book “Save the cat!” is in first place in the top of the Amazon site in the “movie scripts” section and is very popular among screenwriters around the world. It is read in one breath. Blake Snyder describes the techniques for creating a memorable and vivid history, each item is illustrated clearly, this is a practical guide that will answer the most important questions.

The screenwriter offers his own classification of genres and his recipe for creating a potential masterpiece consisting of 15 ingredients.

Aristotle – “Poetics”

Аристотель — древнегреческий философ, автор трактата "Поэтика"
Aristotle – the ancient Greek philosopher, author of the treatise “Poetics”

The study of stories and characters began much earlier than the cinema era. Aristotle’s Poetics treatise was written in 335 BC, it reveals the fundamentals and proposes a theory of drama. The ancient Greek philosopher defines poetics as a whole, speaks about the main techniques of the tragedy, gives the character traits that the heroes of each story should possess.

“Poetics” and other works of Aristotle – an important stage in the study and classification of theories of drama.

 

Initially, the work consisted of two parts: the first reveals the principles and parts of the tragedy, the second – the comedy. Unfortunately, the second part did not reach modern readers.