Saturday, 6 September 2008

Screens screens screens and tiny PCs

Setting of for UNSW's Courses and Careers day we ended up with 17 of our 46" LCDs in action around the Faculty. This sort of event will end up easier once we invest in the midget computers to drive them. For much of the time we dont require the realtime graphics grunt that our laptops deliver. For playing the captured work things like this e-box will be a great move for us.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Audrey Kawasaki inspiration

Our group has been inspired by the work of Audrey Kawasaki and are looking to incorporate some of the ideas and graphical styling into our concept artwork for the Lepid Valley. The idea of bringing the imagery to play with the wood grain texture is something we all love and will try to bring that approach to our digital work. Audrey is working with traditional media directly onto real wood, we can simulate that pretty well I feel. I hope to bring a dash of colour as well, since I am working in the Butterfly zone at the moment.

Here are a few of the wonderful images from Audrey Kawasaki's gallery pages - a must see as there are HEAPS more:



[Images of Audrey Kawasaki's paintings from her site]

The Sketch to Colour

This is the sketch I think I will go with for this exercise. I like the way she has near-human eyes, and that it is her battle helmet which introduces the bug-eye look of the real-world insect. I think the way the segmented body works to accentuate her feminine quality works and the way the armour plating and detailing flesh out the artistic ego of their culture is what I was after.

Now, onto the Wacom tablet I go...



If I were to continue the same idea in more depth, I would probably see the elements becoming more stylised, the shoulder plates would grow, the weapons would have more flare and her body segments would have more dynamics about them. We will see if I have time to bring some of this thinking into the digital version...

ButterMoth Character Sketches

The next part of exploring our world of conflict betwixt Butterfly and Moth is over the next three weeks to create separate pieces of concept art based around different facets of the world (say Character, artefact, architecture, landscape).

For this week I am having a go at fleshing out the idea of a Butterfly warrior of some sort. I am in the sketching phase still, but that is promising many approaches. Here are some of the sheets of sketches where I am trying to draw out what a Butterfly might be in this world, my take on reality with plenty of anthopomorphism thrown in. More to come...





Olden Days

The other day I had a real chuckle when my daughter asked me if I was born in the "olden days" :-)
Fortunately, after a little quizzing, that seemed to mean horses and carriages etc and I was off the hook.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Chrysler Tomahawk



When I came across this design for the concept bike from Chrysler - the Tomahawk, I assume my reaction is much like everyone elses. Very cool idea and implemented with style. Yes, very much overkill on many fronts, but great to see them actually run the project through to a real working bike. A few more nice images at Jungplunga for us.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

COFA Courses - Awesome

I am having an absolute blast with my 2 COFA courses this session. Sound Construction was working with microphones and recording last night, while in the background I am working on the proposal for the larger project due at the end of session.
For this I am working through a series of ideas relating to the fictional world that my group in Concept Art is working on at the moment. It was a fascinating process seeing us work through online a game/movie concept for a new world. We were working through a range of ideas which were getting pretty grim and intense. So to lighten things up I suggested we could have an anthopomorphised world where Moths vs Butterflies. We ran with this and it got a fair bit grittier and Noir influenced along the way as we developed the character of these two races.
Anyhow, a sound piece illustrating this conflict in auditorially should be fun.

One of the snippets I wrote for our world:
"A moody fantasy world where the intertwined ancient cultures of the Moths and Butterflies continue to bring them into conflict. Though their very existences are co-dependant, their long feud sees their hardened warriors drawn into ongoing battles throughout their world. On one side the culturally elitist and colour rich Butterflies, in their gleaming towers, and on the other, the vast numbers of the humble and earthy Moths. The clash of sword on shield will ring through the valley with growing passion while the dualities of the Valley remain at odds."
In concept art we are working on our first visual representations of our new world - which is proving to be fun already - stay tuned for pics.

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My two courses are complementing each other very well, one online, the other face to face. One visual the other in sound. One using a small number of larger submissions, the other a relentless stream of contribution. Great Stuff.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Warhammer Online 1 : Cinematics


The might of Mythic and EA are being brought to bear in an MMORPG take on the GamesWorkshop world of Warhammer. Yes Warhammer Online : Age or Reckoning is going to be big. There is no shortage of promotion out there for us to admire, I remember several years ago reading that the player classes would actually get bigger as you levelled, in a way similar to the table-top. I liked this idea from the beginning - very clever.

I will get to the artwork, concepts, screenshots and gameplay soon enough - for today lets just hit the two trailers. First up they can be found here and here on the main site in large scale glory even in the flash player. The modelling, effects, animation and style are great and it sells all the races and multiple classes on the way through. The setting feels like many other fantasy worlds really, though they hint at some of the differences like Chaos and the squigs. Have they done enough to make it feel different to WoW though - time will tell.
The videos remind me alot of the WoW cinematics actually, bringing together a sequence of pitched battles between the two sides of the conflct. There is a great deal of CG work going into the creation of these works, they are full of details at every level.

There are more video on the main site's video section, but back to the cinematic vids - here they are courtesy of youtube in the lower res and quality:




and just for fun, here is a compilation using these and a few other Warhammer game videos to create something that should inspire players to enter this world:

Jumper

Watches Jumper for the first time on DVD, a really interesting concept nicely portrayed, but poorly finished off.
The idea of having the jumpers and the Paladin's hunting them is solid, however the relationship between the two of them isnt explored to any satisfaction. They end up just battling. There is some nice effects work as the jumps occur and with them bringing objects and people through from one place to another - great stuff.

Clone Wars


[Count Duku unleashing hte dark side of the force in Star Wars Clone Wars - from the official site]

Got to see Star Wars - Clone Wars with the kids last night. It is a very cartoony approach to the universe created by the films. Though the CG cartoon has some character to it, it doesnt engage to the same degree as the films. Much of what we see and learn is only a slight expansion on our existing knowledge of the characters and factions.



There are some nice moments of course and much like the previous cartoon series, it is always fun to see the Jedi going up against the droid armies and their superiors. The animation is oddly inconsistent, sometimes we get fluid graceful closeups of clone troopers, then we get simplistic puppet-like movement of characters moments later.

The visual look and rendering is quite elegant for the most part, though it fails to deliver the visual splendour we are used to from the live action series. Here they had a chance to go all out and push things beyond where the photo-realism was restricted, but instead the shots and complexity are pale shadows of what has come before.

Here are a few more shots from the film:



[Stills from Star Wars - Clone Wars from the official site]

Perhaps I have been too hard on this baby - it is still a great ride through the Star Wars universe and the animation has some real style to it in places. I think, one I have this on DVD I will grow to love it. Oh and the site has some images of the concept sketches and models as well - showing some of the production process that goes into making a feature CG film.