Saturday, 19 January 2008

Day364 Crysis End and TRA

Crysis End
Yep, just before my hols I saved my progress in Crysis faced with a huge battle on the deck of the aircraft carrier. Little did I know that that was essentially the end of the game. I really hope there is more to come - the story was really only just warming up.
I couldnt play this battle at the res I was used to in fact and had to run on medium 1024x768 which just shows how much was going on.

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Tomb Raider Anniversary
Played some more of TRA, since it hasnt graced my screen for a while now. I am actually quite impressed how big this game is, I seem to have played for hours and I have just finished chapter 6 (The Coliseum) and there are 14 chapters in all plus the Manor. The graphics just arent in the league of Crysis, but it is still fun to see Lara leaping about the place.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Day363 iCinema, OQO, Pedro and more

iCinema Visit
My second visit to the iCinema facility here at UNSW. The kids loved it, though it was only 30mins and covered just their T_Visionarium app.

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OQO
Since seeing the ultra-thinness of the new MacBook Air, it seems only fair to check out things like the OQO which is just flat out teensie. The Aussie OQO site has them for The specs are very nice for something so completely minescule with 1.5GHz and 1GB of RAM, the graphics is a VIA VX700 (which I know nothing about). That said people are playing World of Warcraft on the OQO-go with this so it can do the job. This WoW vid shows that it is a little clunky to use your thumbs to play a game like this compared to a full keyboard and mouse, but considering you could do it all standing up at a bus stop, that is pretty clever!

These little beasties have been out since mid 2007, I think this is the kind of tech we could adapt to perform walk-around-spaces doing IT tasks here in FBE - plenty of research opportunity. At $2,700+ they arent throw away money, but they arent freakishly expensive either and could make turn all manner of projects around the place into very mobile ones indeed.

[image of the OQO from their australian site]



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Pedro Delgado
In exploring about the place I came upon Pedro Delgado's profile area on DeviantArt. I still really love the modern American comic feel when done like this. His gallery is chockers with great pieces both pencils and with colour and his clean anime comic look inspires me to do better!! He has done pencils and inks for only a few comics, I hope more to come. Here are 3 quick examples to lure us all in:

[3 pieces from Pedro Delgado's DeviantArt Profile]

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Thursday, 17 January 2008

Day362 Check out Andrew Jones

Andrew Jones
There is a very neato article by Renee Dunlop on CGSociety about Andrew Jones the creative director of Massive Black. He is a great example of what a digital artist can be, delivering not just style and talent but a freshness and joy at having the art part of events. The picture of him wandering around with a Cintiq tablet attached to him via a guitar strap wherever he goes is quite inspired and goes way beyond all of us who have a sketchbook in our pockets or bags! That he now works live with DJs and musicians and such would be something to behold, I remember seeing the artists working live at the roundhouse last year and that was cool, this would be stunning.

[Images from the CGS article on Andrew Jones]

If you check out a video like this one on youtube he refers to himself as a "cultural stenographer" when describing his work as a pseudo vjay. He also shows us his guitar-strap-tablet construction.

Andrew Jones' website is a piece of art in itself (as we would expect), though I would prefer to get higher-res images of his amazing work. That is where his blog comes in - it is basically just a blog of images - very cool images of course. Here are a few examples:

[images from Andrew Jones' blog]

Andrew is one of the founders of the mighty ConceptArt.org and his profile sports more of his work. He also has a profile on ImagineFX which comes with a nice quote that he is trying to communicate with our inner reptilian brain - cool. His portfolio just goes on and on, indeed he is working on Illuminated (see embedded vid below) which looks like a great concept and has a look that will demand attention.

[this is using the reference iFrame version from illuminated.com]

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Day362 Macworld 2008

Apple's Macworld 2008
Steve Jobs and the Apple team always seem to be able to launch things and make them feel special, new and surprising. How they keep a lid on their developments is quite amazing as is their skill at making all these products fit so well with our desires and techy feel.
As always their products never tick all the boxes, but they seem to overcome any shortcomings by going waaaay over the mark with a few special ticks that make the whole somehow irresistible.

The Keynote
The Keynote address is pretty drawn out, but still full of info on the new things Apple have, things that are a week old like the Mac Pro barely get a mention. I actually find watching things like this rather awful, they are somehow a little too overtly American, with the pride, cheering and icky arrogance of it all. That said, Steve is far more approachable and watchable than most CEOs out there and does get to show off the amazing work his company does.

MacBook Air
This little (thin) baby is the darling of the presentation and despite some of the strange bits in the offering it is without doubt a remarkable notebook. Apple really do make the nicest notebooks by a long way now and it is really only cost and for some the extreme features that would stop them being on everyone's laps. My Macbook Pro styling which has been around for a while now is still as slick as they come and this new machine steps up the design stakes yet again. The solid state drive is an interesting option, for me the optical drive is more than an option and to say that connecting to other machines to share their drives is good enough is a stretch for me. The Macbook Air brings a weight and thinness that is off the chart for a laptop with this size screen and maybe even performance. The engineering sets a new high and the worls now has a new thing to drool over or desire.

[images of the beautiful MacBook Air from the Apple site]

More
There are a heap more things to admire like the new Time Capsule which is a bit like the routers we can get these days with USB ports to connect a drive to. The advantage here is that is smoothly connects to the TimeMachine software in Leopard to backup your machine.
The Movie Rentals addition to iTunes could be good, not here in Oz yet of course. It was interesting that purchasing the movies didnt seem to be an option. Apple TV and the iPhone etc all get new goodies and his keynote speech does reel off plenty of figures around the might of things like Leopard, the iPhone, iPod and iTunes.

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Me, well I need to get hold of: Leopard, iLife08 & Office2008, then perhaps somehow try the likes of Logic Studio and Final Cut Studio

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Kung Fu Panda

Since we are with Apple and the are the source of Trailers for one and all, we cant go past the delights of Kung Fu Panda (cant wait).

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Day361 Aardman Tute and Aard Wars

Ardman Professor Tutorial from 3DW100
3DWorld 100 has a neat little Maya tutorial by Steve Roberts, who is a character modeller and rigging artist at Aardman Animations. I started on the tute - boy do you get rusty with applications like Maya fast :-) I still love this idea of modelling from a cube.
This is what I should end up with which should be fun:

[image from the DVD]

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Aard Wars
This little vid by Ray Chung (from some time ago I know) but it really makes me laugh. This cut together of Star Wars and Aardman's Wallace and Gromit is not just funny, it is a classy piece of editing, and being a fan of both films, it gets all my thumbs up!

Monday, 14 January 2008

Day360 DAZ gallery

DAZ Gallery, incl Poser work
Continuing the look at what the likes of DAZstudio, Poser and such can do with characters in teh face of the higher-end apps like Max and Maya. The DAZ Gallery is another good place to see fine work being done by artists in a range of styles using these applications often looked down upon. This gallery has work done using their products, some using DAZstudio, but most using their figures with Poser actually.
Though it is easy to get sucked into this same viewpoint that these apps are 'poorer' when say Poser/DS dont do modelling, from the look of this work they have a valuable role to play in many pipelines...


[Images from the January Gallery on the DAZ site]

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Day359 Characters for Modelling

Human Characters
One of the interesting things I seem to have noticed if my email adverts and some quick investigation seems to reveal is that there are some stunning human characters for little cost for things like DAZstudio and Poser, but it is slim pickings for the mighty apps like Maya and Max.
If you look at V4 and Aiko and the vast numbers of variants you can get via DAZ or 3rd party sites like Renderosity with their myriad of vendors. Even if I look in ContentParadise for 3ds Max characters, they are actually all based off the poser and DAZ ones.
Turbo Squid have things like Masha and Alicia, but in comparison - well there isnt any.
I find it rather amazing that the art of creating wonderful characters is really rather specialised, yet for Max/Maya/Etc there arent a wealth of content providers that seem to bring the same quality that the poorer cousins like DAZstudio and Poser bring.
There are plenty of folk out there who go through the headache of moving things over from these apps to the likes of Max, Maya and more. What I think the state of play should be is that the amazing work that is done for the simpler apps was easily used in the gruntier modellers, that way people can leverage each others talent rather than starting from scratch. Perhaps Carrara 6 is worth a closer look for this reason...
Just check what V4 and Aiko can do with a few morph packs in the simpler 3D apps - stunning.


[Poser and DAZstudio art and store imagery from Renderosity's Gallery]

Day358 SWTCG and bits

An interesting day with some sketching of more TV people (actually I saw a music video where the lead singer was an old style crt tv for a head with images of him singing on it. He eventually meets a tv-head girl at the end - but now that I am writing this I cant remember who's video it was.
Saw a long game of the Star Wars TCG - sing the blockade rule as well (which perhaps needs a little more tweaking to get some ebs and flows rather than a single aggressor).
Have been using Adobe Bridge to manage and view my images of late, seems funny that I need such extravagant software for such things.