Saturday, 9 February 2008

Watchmen - can it become a movie

I finished re-reading my Watchmen Graphic Novel - blimey it is good. The work is so classy in its multiple threads, plot and character complexity and also the execution. I looked at this baby and its imagery not so long ago - but the cover images dont convey how clever the illustration is. It really is a graphic novel it is not a story with a few illustrations.

By way of realising this work as a movie - I am actually a little worried. There is quite a bit of complexity in the work that it integral to the plot and characters. This is very different to the usual adaptations of comic fair we are used to seeing where they take the 'idea' of the comic and characters only. Then the movie goes about reinventing them, their world and adversaries. With the Watchmen the characters, plot and visuals are all tied together to create the magic that is the comic. Soooo we can only hope that a great deal of talent is being poured into the movie to try and realise the vision...

Article for IT News

I wrote up an article for our IT Newletter here at UNSW covering our implementation thus far of the 46" LCDs, XPS laptops and such into design studio presentations and exhibitions. It is good to get this kind of infrastructure development out there amongst the suite of IT professionals we have, many of whom are more coders or back-end systems people and dont get to explore this direct user interface at close range.

We still have a few things to iron out with some applications with respect to getting the 3 screens working via the one laptop. Until I write that up with more detail here is a sneak preview pic we used for one part of the article:

[image of the 3 screens showing HL2-lost coast]

Friday, 8 February 2008

Dubai - And Dynamic Architecture

Whenever you check out the wonders that are taking place in Dubai it just seems ever more amazing. The concurrent construction work taking place there is staggering, with cranes and projects everywhere you look. The projects arent just of the 'get the job done' variety, they all seem to be huge and setting new benchmarks, for being the worlds largest, tallest, busiest, most luxurious or most expensive.

[3 of the amazing projects in Dubai from the Delft site]

Many have documented the wonders going on there - Delft Uni has a nice summary and the ritemail blog covers the same basic ground. There are also youtube vids like this one with commentary by Bruce Fenton. The whole thing has a rather Vegas feel to it with headline architecture and cost extravagance, but things have certainly been stepped up a notch or two here. There seems little doubt that if Dubai can pull this off it will in very short order become a super-city with real world clout.


Dynamic Architecture
Though there are many extraordinary things going on there - one particularly interesting one is the first project from Dynamic Architecture. Their building concept allows the individual floors to rotate creating either vertical 3D patterns or randomness. Then there are the wind turbines between the floors to generate power for the building and more. This for me shows the start of a great trend towards architectural spending not geared solely towards profit for the developer - filling that same space with saleable floors would generate more income - but this is vastly more sustainable and future thinking. Plus the floor can move - how cool is that!!

[images of the Dynamic Architecture Tower coming to Dubai first - from their site]

I also like the blobby Italian design at the end of the vid - it is all very exciting:

Russell's studio last year in final year Architecture that tackled ideas of movement and dynamically responsive architecture shows that FBE is exploring alot of these ideas and other studios like Deo's are all about the sustainability side of things. Seeing these studios unfold again in 2008 is going to be exciting.

The other thing that we get along for the ride with all this Architectural one-up-man-ship are the CG renders and animations. May of them are relatively standard fair, but since some of the projects have budgets in the billions, they can afford to show off a little more on this as well.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

A peek at Iron Man

Comic adaptations to film are something that I look forward to on many levels and we have had some super films in this category of late. The Iron Man will come crashing into our large screens at the start of May and it features some big talent names and some juicy CG effects work.

[images from Iron Man from the Marvel site]

Robert Downey Jr stars here and brings a gritty depth to the lead role that should bring some life to the character that needs it when it has to spend alot of time buried under the suit. This is even more important than for Batman who at least still gives us a mouth when in costume. There are plenty of other class actors turning up for larger and smaller roles and we can only hope it ll comes together. I like the way we will see the suit evolve through the film (in stages anyhow) and the plotwork from the trailer looks interesting.

The CG comes to us from the ILM masters and will doubtless be flawless and deliver to us a believable Iron Man strutting his stuff. ILM will it seems be using RDJs motion capture to get that link with the actor and their CG double. I hope they will get his weight to feel right - given he is semi-robotic that may prove a little simpler for them. We can be sure there will be plenty of combat, explosions, fire, flying and metal metal metal everywhere for the CG artists to work on. Sites: Iron Man Official; IMDb; Wikipedia; Marvel.


Being a major comic adaptation there is a great deal of gorgeous reference material from talented illustrators - ComicVine of course gives us many to browse through:

[images from Iron Man comics from ComicVine]

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Design, Design, Yanko Design

The Yanko Design site opens up a whole world of inspirational design, both conceptual and available. The remarkable designs cover a wide range from Architecture to technology and showcase how important innovation, creativity and thought are in the shaping of our environment and products - the present and future have much to look forward to.

Here are a few examples that really tickled my brain:

The Digitus Ring

E-Paper Bracelets

Hanging Printer

Napkin PC


and finally something very clever and oh so cute.
Roly-Poly Pot

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

3D World 101 - MIR and Ognian Bonev

The latest edition of my 3D World mag I have been looking forward to and it is always great to get it in my hands. This issue has an Architectural Visualisation emphasis and thus perhaps an even higher than normal percentage of 3ds Max and V-ray.

MIR Visualisation
The cover mage from MIR Visuals kicks things off, and it os not just the quality of the modelling and rendering that is on show here, but the real style in composition, lighting and how the architecture is shown off - ekelent.

[image of two of the MIR pages from 3D World 101]


Ognian Bonev (North) and The Outpost
The most striking and inspiring image for me is a fantasy piece actually called The Outpost which was done with the usual suspects of 3ds Max, and photoshop with Mental Ray sneaking in there. North has his website where this and other images can be drooled over by the rest of us - it is pretty amazing how they were all built in 3D. One of the things I love is the sheer amount of detail crammed into the images and the non-CG feel he has going - really ekelent.

Check out his Game Art Gallery as well - some lovely renders showing how the models are built.

[3D CG images by North rom his website]


One of the things I feel is distinctly missing is any coverage of real-time visualisation with respect to Architectural Visualisation - this is something we need to work on through FBE!

WoW RPing

One of the reasons I shifted away from WoW was that the game made expression and individuality not a natural thing, infact Role-Playing is a rare sight at more often than not just annoying to people. We had been bashing around the idea that we could build a fun group/guild that was centred around the inefficiencies that often come along for the ride with RPing. Something like our all Gnome guild from the EQ days.
It seems we arent the only ones thinking along these lines, The Legendary Sisterhood is an all Blood Elf Female Mage & Priest guild with more besides. It is a neat idea that when done in numbers (146) like this really does set people apart. They even have the naming thing as we did with the Gnomads all those years ago. The article on WoWinsider (thanks for the tip Andrew) has some more detail of the fun they are having.

[image of the Legendary Sisterhood from wowinsider]

ps. I did note on their guild page that one male character seems to have snuck in there - SisterBozo which seems appropriate.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Resident Evil 3D Image

In browsing around I came across this little 3D piece by 'cardinal' sanely titled 'Resident Evil'. The article on 3DM3 covers how Cardinal used Cinema4D, Body Paint and Photoshop to build an image inspired by the movie poster for Resident Evil: Extinction. Below are 3 images showing the inspiration construction and finale - check the article for more. I am yet to have a play with Cinema4D, but it is obviously very capable in the right hands - though the dominance of the Autodesk apps cant help.

[3 images ofthe creation of Cardinal's image from the 3DM3 site]

The Hobbit cometh

The juggernaut that was Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings it seems has been let out once again with 2 films based around the Hobbit. We have a little wait to come of course, but with the leaps that were made in CGland with the Trilogy, will they pull out even more for us a few years on. The enormous praise that the Trilogy (esp the Return of the King) received has got to set the bar mighty high for these films, but if they can repeat that magic we are in for a treat.
The Hobbit Blog doesnt have too much info apart from the 'press release'.
It is interesting to see giant franchises like Star Wars and now LoTR having the sequels go back in time. There's more info to be had at IMDB, TheOneRing and such - though not much more.

Sunday, 3 February 2008


I have had the Orange Box for a little while now (of course) but somehow hadnt got around to Portal. Well, no longer - Portal was a real blast. The story, voicework, music and styling made for an amusing and engrossing feel to the puzzles and mind-bending joy of the portal logic.
There way the portals work is really neat, and pretty much every time it works feels cool :-)

[a few screenshots from the Portal Site]

And just for fun, a nice trip back to this promo trailer with the full feel going and some awesome usage of the portals themselves.