Saturday, 3 May 2008


Wow, simply superb. I have been looking forward to this film ever since the first snippets starting coming out of Dark Blade and co. There is class everywhere in the John Favreau film from ILM's CG to the awesome cast. The casting is really a feature actually, Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow and Terrence Howard are awesome, the surprise was Geoff Bridges who adds a whole heap more.

[concept poster art from the Iron Man film]

The close up fitting and mechanical dynamics of the suits and all their pieces is remarkable to watch. It looks like it could actually work! I liked the computing, 3D interfaces and robotics everywhere - the AIs had character which was neat.
I dont want to fanboy myself to death here - so lets take a look at some of the imagery and vids.

[concept to reality images from Iron Man from the advancediron and filmschoolrejects sites]

[filmshots from Iron Man of his workshop and the techie goodies from comicnerd]

[action shots from Iron Man thanks to the filmschoolrejects site]

As I write this Youtube is down, so you can see plenty of IGN Iron Man videos section, but for some reason the embedding is doing strange things - cant get the right vids - weird.

So lets let TrailerAddict have the fun (check both of these - great trailers and nicely presented in their flash player):

Official Site
Marvel Section
IMDB Coverage
Rotten Tomatoes review

One last note, there are a few moments that are a bit freaky for the kids, I think people should think before the younger (pre 10s) go see this one. It may be a super hero film, but it isnt for the kiddies. There were lots of younger kids brought by their parents when I went - wht can you do...


Also saw trailers for Indiana Jones IV, Speed Racer both with more ILM effects which look great. Plus Hancock with Will Smith that I hadnt heard about, but looks GREAT.

Green Architecture from AS+GG

The trend towards high profile architecture being green is prominent at the moment, even if the designs has other strong themes, it seems that the more sustainable the project the better.

Adrian Smith + Gordon Hill Architects are making a name for themselves in this space with several signature buildings. Take a look a these 2 projects, they present a highly technical aesthetic, a digitally emergent design of complexity all in the name of creating architectural statements around sustainability and design. The CG work used to show off the schemes is also worth noting, the styling for me shows off the technical side very strongly - rather than a natural feel of environmental sustainability. The idea is that technology will help us be sustainable...


The Clean Technology Tower, Chicago
I like the formal influence that the wind generation has had on the building. It's for Chicago, the home of the skyscraper, so the aesthetic works for me.
Building on principles of biomimicry, Clean Technology Tower utilizes advanced technologies and climate-appropriate building systems to foster a symbiotic relationship with its local environment. [from the AS+GG site]
If Chicago is as windy as they say - then such a design seems like a great idea.

[images of the Clean Technology Tower, Chicago from the Inhabitat site]

AS+GG Page on the scheme
Inhabitat coverage


Masdar Headquarters, Abu Dhabi

A core piece of the Norman Foster master-planned Masdar City, this HQ is setting a bunch of firsts for this type of building. It will not only generate more power than it consumes, but also generate power for its own construction. Being part of the creation of the first phase of Masdar City, craetions like this will be key to the viability of the whole green city idea.

[images of the Masdar Headquarters, Abu Dhabi from the Inhabitat site]

AS+GG Page on the scheme
Inhabitat coverage

Thursday, 1 May 2008

GTA4 - immersion and a future mod maybe

There is plenty of hype around this gem of a game at the moment. It is a controversial series of course, but it is also a major achievement in gaming and the immersive experience. I dont have either console so I cant play this baby, but there is HEAPS of youtube content to keep anyone busy for ages to come.

[image from the Rocktar GTA site]

The Rockstar site has plenty of official info to get started with with images, characters and such. The environments are full of detail, character and dynamics - will be great to get this on the PC (Windows - well going by the previous versions we should have it this year).

[screenshots of GTA4 from the Rockstar site]

But it is video that shows off this game best - lets let youtube do the talking - first one of several trailers, then the IGN review:


Over on CGSociety, Tom Bramwell has a nice interview with the art director Aaron Garbut where they cover the design of the characters and the incredible Liberty City. There is a little bit on teh Euphoria engine (from ILM Star Wars fame) - awesome. Here is a little quote from Aaron on the lighting setup:
I think the lighting system in general is pretty amazing. There are no hard limitations on the number of active dynamic lights around the player. The real-time shadows are working across every object and surface in the game with everything self-shadowing and casting onto everything else, there's ambient occlusion and emissive lighting on top of that. And then your standard next-gen shenanigans - light shafts, bloom, depth of field and motion blur, and of course it goes without saying everything's rendered with HDR.

[some more images from the CGS article on GTA4]


Digital Urban have had a look at the engine a little (previous incarnations that is). I will be keen to see if getting content into the new engine (with all its juicy bits) is a viable task as well.

Future Cities Lab

Time to look at the vanguard of modern digital architecture again - The Future Cities Lab seems to bring a great deal of theoretical experimentation to their work. Take their design for the Hong Kong Design Institute, where they created a design (I dont think it is the one that will be built though) that is intriguing in many ways.

There is a definitive trend in architecture towards the web/rib styling that we see in things like the birds nest, water cube and a plethora of others. This design takes this a step further again, it looks like of those leaves that the you see where insects/caterpillars have eaten away everything but the beautiful fine lines of the leaf veins.

Indeed, the digital renderings we see (some of which are below) only partially convey any of the spatial character in any real sense. There is quite an emphasis on the communication of form alone - it would certainly have contrasted with the surrounding high-rise lines. They may just be a theoretical bunch of course...

[images of the Future Cities Lab design for the HKDI from their site]

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Serious Play Conf

The Serious Play Conference coming up at California's Art Centre College of Design looks like a fascinating ride (pity I will be oh so far away). On the sites about page we can get an instant feel for the breadth of presentations
The biennial Art Center Design Conference is a three-day international gathering of entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and innovators from many fields and disciplines. The 2008 Conference, Serious Play, will explore the essential role of play in business, the arts, science, storytelling, technology, and more.
Ignoring all the nifty names of those presenting, just a list of the job descriptors highlights the type of event this will be - full of thinking outside the square and deeply into design and the richness of enjoyment:
Sleight-of-hand Artist
User Experience Designer, Google
LAPD homicide detective, author
Interior and Landscape Designer Founder
National Institute for Play
IDEO President and CEO
Puppet Master
Visionary Architect
Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Origami Virtuoso
Author, The Way Things Work
President-elect, Rhode Island School of Design
Visionary Kinetic Artist
Athlete and Artist
Correspondent, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Creator, Second Life
Artist and Pentagram partner
Nobel Prize-winning cosmologist
Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer, Art Center College of Design

Reading some of the brief descriptions of the speakers, I look forward to somehow finding out what went on. If only it were like the mighty Ted Talks where we can all just down load them...

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Friedensreich Hundertwasser

The building work by Friedensreich Hundertwasser isnt CGish at all, but it is surely artistic. It has a great deal of passion in it beyond the cool, crystalline signature architecture of the moment. Though he is now dead, I think he might quite like some of the blobby, organic architecture that is very much in vogue today.

Read a bit of a bio in the Guardian and have a look at the styling of his work below. For me it has an awkward stylistic mix of crafty adornment and flowing juxtaposed form. The Hundertwasserhaus is more immediately appealing for me, the striations making a vibrant pattern for us. The aesthetic is quite Gaudi-esque really and makes a really interesting counterpoint to alot of the theory and works of architects and theorists I have been reading through my COFA course of Digital Architecture...

[images of Friedensreich Hundertwasser's architecture from the Wikipedia site]


But wait - there's more. One of the features of his work is the extensive use of tiling and the Mosaic art source blog has a nice look at his efforts and images:

[images of Friedensreich Hundertwasser's mosaic tiling from the Mosaic art source blog]


Though there are plenty more fascinating images to see, I will leave off with this image of a rather hobbiton-like creation. I am having trouble nutting down exactly what this is actually, there are a few references to this being his work, though none further reference what this place is or if it really is his work. I include it here anyhow as maybe it will prompt me (or someone) to confirm things either way at some point (it is only a model...).

[image of a possible Friedensreich Hundertwasser scheme]

Monday, 28 April 2008

Autodesk 2009 release

Yep, I know it is still the start-ish of 2008, but the might of Autodesk have now released a whole armada of 2009 branded applications from Revit to 3ds Max (both incarnations).

I doubt I will really have a chance to play with any of these new goodies until session finishes, but the Autodesk site has a few bits and pieces of what is in store.

[image from the 3ds max showcase on their site]

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Dark Knight Poster and Trailer

When I came across this striking poster for the upcoming Batman movie - The Dark Knight - I was excited by the visual CG dynamic on display. This franchise (new and old) has always shown of its ability to capture the dynamic visuals begun in the comics, this poster is no exception.

[poster for the Dark Knight from whysoserious]


Plus there is a trailer to enjoy. Plenty of effects work as you would expect, it will be interesting to see how much CG there is in the film once it arrives.

COFA Projects

With an essay and a project both due today, there has been lots of COFAing over the last week in between other things. The Essay on the future of Architecture and Issues was very interesting to research and write. The reconstruction from the data set was intriguing, and I had to dive into Flash again to get it going.

I will see if I can post them up here...