Saturday, 24 May 2008

Jim Lee vids

I have loved Jim Lee's work on comics for a long time now and have found that there are quite a few vids of him doing sketches drawings, inks and more on youtube for us all to see. We get to see his finished works of course, but it is all the more inspiring to watch his pieces actually come into being.


[Some Jim Lee covers from his ComicDB entry]

He has a nice big entry in ComicBookDB and indeed the Cover Gallery therein.
Here are a few of the vids I like - these are multi-parters, so there is plenty here to admire after you are drawn in by these first parts:


Indiana Jones 4

It has been a long time since the Last Crusade and it was great fun to have Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to continue things for us. We are gifted with a range of new and old characters which slowly expand a plotline a little different from the previous three.

The CG and special effects work is beautiful, with only a few exceptions. It is hard to talk about pieces of it without giving things away that are best experienced first (without being read here). There are certainly lots of effects shots to admire, I look forward to seeing some discussion/breakdowns of them.

I loves the star wars reference and all told this is a movie absolutely chock full of memorable moments. I am not sure the plot is as tight as we might expect, but it still flows in the Indy kinda way, though it doesnt tie things off as well as say Raiders.

By way of a mini retrospective, here are 3 images from each of the 4 films (thanks to the official site)





[Images from the 4 Indy films from the IndianaJones site]

Note that it must be absolute torture for archeologists or anyone for that matter that takes the film to heart for the attitude towards antiquities and artefacts.

Had a blast!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Preview Idea

Russ and I have been working on an idea, and though it has a long way to go, here are a few sketch images using sketchup that hint at where we are going...







more later :-)

SIGGRAPH 2008

A show in a whole other class is that of SIGGRAPH and the 2008 event in LA looks awesome (it doesnt even look too expensive - tempting).

There is a great little preview article on CGSociety showing something of the creation of the Animation Mother imagery. Paul Hellard brings us a little look at the image and the evolving nature of the industry and SIGGRAPH itself. There is an AWESOME VIDEO preview of what is to come in the show in the article as well, but here is Meats Meyer's Animation Mother (this is the full res version):


[Meat's Meyer's Animation Mother, from the CGSociety article on SIGGRAPGH 2008]

There is a growing number of youtube vids from folk who will be exhibiting or presenting at the event as well...

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Sydney CeBit 2008

Well it is CeBit time again, with the usual halls of exhibitors at Darling Harbour. I always go with very low expectations and seem to come away after a pretty long morning having a fun time. 2008 slots beautifully into this mould for me. The whole event only works if you actually go up and talk to these people, it doesnt really work as just a way to browse around and look at things show - here are a few of my highlights:

Immersive Video
The aamhatch guys and their spherical (11 camera) rig creates what amounts to a video version of a QTVR really. As the video plays along, say following a car driving along a road, we can manipulate the view point to look forwards, backward, anywhere in 360 degrees. I can see some great applications in showing both interior and exterior spaces for the architecture and design programs here. The logic is quite similar to the Google work, but this has a video logic instead. The site has 3 great examples that are well worth a look:


[images from aamhatch showing a glimpse of the 360 videos]

CSIRO Wireless Location
I always love the CSIRO stand, this year being no exception. Mark Johnson was showing off a wireless tracking system (WASP) that works with each node forming part of the detection 'grid' as well as being tracked. He talked about applications for people like the fire department where they can turn up to a building and get immediate live location and health data on their firefolk on the spot as they enter a hazardous building.
I talked to him about some of our ideas for FBE, things like mapping the usage of building, both under regular conditions and for things like evacuations. Though there was still plenty more work to do - the demo running showed the kind of data that would be available - in this case cool dots moving around on a plan of a building.

CSIRO Virtual Adviser
Steven Ark and co have been working on a virtual adviser, who is a 3D character in the computer (closeup shot) which can be the interface for IT systems. She (or one of many other faces) can respond to voice commands and convey emotion in her face and voice as well. When I suggested she looked a bit grumpy, Steve entered a command into the command line interface with a new emotion value and she became a little happier. Plus, in delivering a line of text with a high 'certainty' value, she was quick and confident in her delivery of the words, when less certain she sounded hesitant and spoke less assuredly and quickly.
Alas no pictures for this one, but still it was very cool to see it running.

3D Monitor
At the very end we saw a 3D monitor at the PeripheralsPlus stand which didnt use any glasses or other bits and pieces. We simply see the image popping out from the screen, not perfectly in lots of cases, but still extremely interesting (have to get one to try out).

WACOM
I am always drawn to the WACOM kit, and it is about time we got into the Cintiq game - be it the beautiful new smaller versions or their bigger cousins. I had fun playing briefly with painter on the 12WX - see below for a real talent using it:


[Image of the Cintiq 12WX that I got to play with at the WACOM stand (image from their site)]

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

QTVRs

World Heritage Tour
I came across this site via my Digital Media World subscription which features a range of QTVRs for world heritage sites. It would be neat to have them add a reconstruction of the places from the same perspective as well - esp as I can see how wonderful they can be via my Visualising the Past course.
World Heritage Tour site - world map

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Digital Urban Panoramas
Those clever dudes at Digital Urban have been experimenting with embedding panoramas in the QTVR vain into our blogs thanks to flashpanoramas. Their coverage has been through a few updates and the results are well worth a look - will have to see how easy it is to build one myself now.

SkyTroop

The new Carlton Draught advert - skytroop is another masterpiece in the vain of the Big Ad. I am not sure how much of this is real and how much CG (much like their others) - will look forward to a writeup from the creators.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Machinima Music incl WoW and SL

I have been looking at machinima music clips for some time and always love to see the creativity many people bring to what is just a hobby.

Again and Again
This music clip isnt strictly machinima in the traditional sense - it is using the tools in the Apple OS to build a video instead. That said, the clip builds to a rather mesmerising and artistic flurry of applications - very clever indeed. Bird & the Bee are a band from California, not sure though who made the clever clip which must have been far more work than it looks.
I came across the clip first on Gizmodo, but here is the youtube version:

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WoW Video Comp
The Blizzard folk have just had a comp going for creating a music video for "Rogues Do It From Behind" using the World of Warcraft Engine. I hope such a competition will bring out some of the talent that has done these videos before and a whole lot more besides. Cant wait to see them.

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Second Life Vids
The Second Life site has a Photos & Machinima section in its Showcase area, plus a spot particularly for music. There are plenty more on youtube etc for everyone to explore, but here is one in the set which shows off the Bartlett House (perhaps not a music vid - but rather cool for SL):

Sunday, 18 May 2008

ImagineFX June08 and the Reilly Method

I always look forward to my subscription copy of ImagineFX and the striking comic cover by Jamie McKelvie gets things going for issue 31. The roundup of artists' work at the front of the mag shows the emphasis on 2D photoshop work, 3D is certainly at the fringe only.

This issue concentrates on Comics and has some great tips, workshops and such. One (that isnt just for comics) is the first part of a workshop by Ron Lemen on figure drawing using the Reilly Method. The DVD has 3 vids of him actually creating the sketch drawings as well - always inspiring to see artists doing their thing.


[Sketches by Ron Lemen from the ImagineFX DVD]

I whipped out the sketchbook and tried my hand at the technique - well from what I can see. It actually generates pretty good forms, though I am sure there is more to it that these brief images convey. The method seemed to push my drawings to be chunkier than I would usually create - good fun. Below are some of the sketches I did today using the method - just quick digicam pics of the pages thrown together. Lots to learn...

[my sketches using the reilly method]

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Ron Lemen's work can be found at the Studio 2nd Street site - plus there are some youtube vids, from snippet ones like this to full demonstration ones like:

Ghost Rider

Got the Ghost Rider DVD for this rendition of another Marvel comics icon. I hadnt ever read any comics, so I cant really comment on the adaptation specifically, though it is good to see some of the imagery come to life. There are some good actors (Sam Elliot and Cage) and good material to work with, but the end result is rather flat and doesnt come together as I would have hoped.

[wallpaper from Ghost Rider]

Being a comic adaptation, the creators have a wealth of concept art already done, but that doesnt stop them - here are 3 more thanks to superherohype:


[concept art for Ghost Rider from the SuperheroHype site]

We do get plenty of special effects work, death, transformations and lotsa fire. The experience is full of good trailer moments and stuff to chat about with friends, but doesnt qualify for the top flight. Speaking of trailers here ya go:


Hell lets finish with this stunning piece (Not sure whose this is, but it is floating around the net a fair bit):