Friday, 9 January 2009

Medusa Vamp digisketch

Armed with the Cintiq 12WX I did my first fully digital drawing sketching first just like on paper, then doing some quick colouring. I am not that happy with how it went, though it does have a certain style going. I think I might try some more MedusaVamps - see if things get better and better.

I am getting better at the tablet, using the hotkeys to run both screens at once with the pen and such. Everyone should have one of these - awesome.

Kung Fu Panda - blu-ray

[movie poster from King Fu Panda via the Collider site]

Yay, I have been looking forward to seeing Kung Fu Panda for ages now, and so a nice shiny blu-ray version seemed like a good idea. The family had a riotous time, lots of laughing to be had by all. The adults and kids finding appropriate pieces to amuse them with some wonderful animation behind some great CG visuals.

The voice talent saw an army of famous people chip in to flesh out a story that was lovingly like the classic kung fu films. The animation of the complex fight sequences must have been a real challenge, combine that with some cartoon push and stretch carnage and things really come to life. The rendering has a lovely style that looks awesome up there in stunning full HD.

With the rhinos at the prison and the bunnies in the village I was reminded a fair bit of Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo - great stuff. Anyhow, here are a few nice images of the films visuals from the nice review by Brian Orndorf from the Collider site. They are shrunk a bit for taking a quicker look, still pretty big to see the beauty in there:

[images from King Fu Panda via the Collider site]

Plus here is one of several trailers - as the animation is just to die for:

In fact it was so good we actually watched it twice in a row :-)

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Reiq - work and tutorial vids

[Digital image from Reiq's portfolio on his site]

Continuing in the vain of the Cintiq tablets, take a look at some of the work and tutorials by Reiq. There are plenty of examples of his work on Reiq's site and the included blog runs through things as well and we have his portfolio and links to his Deviant.Art and CGSociety presences as well. His work is predominantly girls, in often rather compromising positions, but the digital skills on display are cool - just check the tutorials.

Anyhow, I came to his work via these digital colouring tutorials on youtube which are great examples of how elegantly these tools can be used with a minimum of fuss to generate images like this one. There are a series of them using painter and photoshop - all worth a watch as he starts with a scanned sketch, then inks and colours digitally for us:

[Reiq image from the portfolio on his site - the videos show how it was all done]

His blog has his little review of the Cintiq 12WX as well, which he gives pretty high raps and deservedly so. I havent played with Painter, but I think Photoshop can do a decent job, certainly capable enough for me (he even covers this a little in the vids).

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Ood Coloured

As you may have noticed, my Ood got himself a little colour thanks to a little playing with the Cintiq tablets (primarily the 12WX). Here he is (still has a filtered multiply of the pencil on real paper sketch applied):

Wacom Cintiq 12WX playtime

Yep, hot on the heels of the 21" version comes the gorgeous little Wacom Cintiq 12WX which is a little baby compared to its big brother. I had a bit more of a play with this one at home and it is definitely small enough to whack in a backpack along with your notebook of choice. Again it is beautifully made and is actually jet black this time.

Here are two pics of it running, one with and one without the flash, neither quite show it how it really looks:

Gripes from a little use are that the panel actually gets quite hot under your hand after some use and that the otherwise cool zoom sliders are really hard to get to stop at the level of zoominess you want. That aside, this could easily become my best friend, it really is THAT nice to use and I dont think you need to size of the 21UX, this size is plenty big enough.

This will end up a very popular piece of loan equipment I think - at least I can see myself drooling on it a fair bit...

Here are a few vids straight from youtube of people using it :-)

And while we are here - here is a neat vid of the 21UX in action which shows how cool the tilting and a few other features of the big version are:

Wacom Cintiq UX21 playtime

We have a few Cintiq's in the Faculty now and I set one up on my already crowded desk to see how it feels. I look forward to seeing it used in some presentations, demonstrations and exhibitions as well, but for now it is just an awesome sight on the desk.

The interaction between it and my MBP screen is a little odd and something I would need to play with some more. If I do split the screen then the temptation is there to have things on both which gets a bit awkward. Aside from that it is just so cool, in a way I feel I take for granted a little the ability to draw on a screen, but it is actually something completely new and just gorgeous. The hardware build itself is great and indeed its weight makes it far less transportable than we would like. Thats where the 12" variety will come in as more mobile loan kit. I love my little Wacom Graphire 3, though it feels very old next to this baby.

The programmable buttons are neat, though deciding which functions to have on them is a challenge - I want a heap more to save the trips back to the keyboard for things like the undo and such. So I would HIGHLY recommend the mighty Wacom Cintiq 21UX !!

Here it is setup and running on the desk:

Here is the first super-uick pic that I did to show folk in the office what all the fuss is about - no masterpiece by any means, but something fun:

And lastly here is a few minutes work on the Ood sketch - great fun - but heaps to go yet:

Oh and here is a pic from their site showing some of the adjustability of the thing:

[Cintiq tablet movement image via the Wacom site]

More from Blur

[One of the scenes from the WHOL Trailer showing the complexity via the Gnomon site]

The Gnomon presentation from the Blur team who created the Warhammer Online Trailers is just so cool. I didnt mention yesterday the breakdowns of the shots which show how many people, elements, software packages and passes are required to get one onto the screen for us. This is a long presentation with questions included. I am still amazed how many pieces of software would be used in a production like this, covering all the different fields and specialties. It is like watching the DVD special features and gaining a whole new level of appreciation for what we see.

Check out the Blur site for more on them and the Warhammer Online site for more on the game.

[Images from the WHOL Trailer showing some of the hero characters via the Gnomon site]

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Making of the Warhammer Online Trailer

Gnomon have a lengthy video from their school of visual effects where the team that created this second trailer for Warhammer Online detail the process involved in that very act. Here is the Youtube Vid of the trailer itself, though you see it in the full presentation on the Gnomon site as well. So dive over and see the creative supervisor level team from Blur Studios show you how the cinematic trailer was done - awesome.

It is cool to hear them talk about changes (esp from one trailer to the next) with things like their shift from 3dsMax to XSI etc. Storyboards are just awesome - I love this part of the process and it goes on from there in great detail over a full 2 hours of presentation. This kind of thing should be compulsory viewing for anyone interested in this field.

Just for fun, here's an image from the event via the same Gnomon pages showing a squig and its crazed gobbo rider.

[image from the Blur cinematic trailer presentation via the Gnomon site]

New Scanner

Not big news really, but I am now armed with a nice baby Canon CanoScan LiDE 100 which gratefully has drivers for OSX and Vista which are the two OSes I have running on this particular machine - so that is handy.

Here is a quick scan of a sketch of an Ood from Dr Who I did the other day.

Enrolled for S1

Well, I am enrolled in two pretty big courses for session 1 2009 (which will be upon me before I know it). This will be my 4th session, so my 7th and 8th courses, I am having a ball and am pretty on track to actually ge the degree as well. The two are follow-up courses to ones I have done previously with Maya and ProTools - so it will be a production heavy session. Here are the course descriptions of what is ahead from the Handbook.

SOMA9202 3D Animation Workshop
This is an advanced course that assumes prior knowledge of 3D software. The 3D Animation Workshop provides a platform for comprehensive instruction in the disciplines required for professional short animation production. The class will also illustrate many applications for 3D computer effects and animation in the world of digital media. The 3D Animation Workshop extends on the concepts developed in the introductory sessions of 3D Animation
SOMA9002 Sound Construction 2
This course continues the examination of both the audio/visual relationships and sound/music genres, while expanding on the techniques and ideas taught in the previous semester. Both individual and group projects will be based around the development of sound design works that relate to screen based media, or stand alone works that explore the creative uses of sound in their own right. The relationship of sound to editing within other works within time based and interactive works will be examined. Technical knowledge of sound recording and editing will be refined, with a concentration on integrating the use of sound into the production and post production process. Further techniques such as MIDI composition and analogue synthesis will be explored.