Saturday, 14 March 2009

CGS Watchmen

There have been some fun discussions around the place concerning The Watchmen, from people both familiar with the Graphic Novel and not. Looking through the book with people, there are actually quite a few subtle differences which is interesting - like when Rorschach kills his first major crim.

Anyhow, there is little doubt that the visual effects are impressive and CGSociety have a nice feature covering some of them including Dr. Manahattan and the glowing suit and Rorschach's mask.

[Dr. Manhattan creation image set via the CGSociety feature article]

Character Concept Sketches

Straight into the thick of things in both my COFA courses, for the character development one (which will head through a full 3D dev and rig of a character) - things start off in design, profiling and concepts. I love this part actually and have created two full concepts apart from a small set of others that didnt make it this far.

Why two indeed? Well one is the Unicycling Agent, he is an interesting concept, but it is possible that the modelling, weighting issues without going near cloth sims might be beyond the scope of the course. The other is a 3D embodiment of an Oinkfrog, starting with the name and a suite of sketches he has come to life a little, along with a joyful exhiberance to experience anything and everything (with a sneaky eye towards debunking) he would be quite alot of fun. His anatomy will be nice and squooshy and allow good exploration of eyes, mouths and other rig elements.

I wrote up a pair of nice Character Concept Docs along with a dosier, thoughts and sketches - here are the pics and a quick intro:


The quirky little creature known as the Oinkfrog sets out to experience as much of the wonder in the universe as possible. Though this playful (and often dangerous) desire is done with great joy and openness, he brings a critical mind to each endeavour exposing fraud and misbelief as he goes (often incidentally, but exposed none-the-less).


Unicycling Agent
Special Agent Nox has a remarkable talent for piecing together evidence, profiling and understanding the criminal mind and in meting out justice no matter what. His methods may look clinical, but the quirks he brings along for the ride in his assault on the criminal are there for all to see. The most obvious is his ubiquitous unicycle, though there are others both physical and mental to be found. This brings ridicule from many, but you cant fault his results.


We looked at Disney's 12 principle's of Animation (great stuff that it is) and both characters exhibit several qualities even in sketch-mode. The Agent would be fun to wield in animation on a nicely rigged unicycle and that is a quite unique character idea that would be fun to explore. That said Oinkfrog will suit the mode squash'n'stretch style of character animation for sure and I would live to see him in 3D. Note that he has several characteristics in common with the 2D 'painting' version of an oinkfrog I did in the MillionMasterpiece - boy does that seem a long time ago now...

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Collab Studio

Tutored for Jeremy on day 1 of the Architectural Computing Collaboration Studio today. Great bunch of students (24) already exploring their groups and the complex real-time visualisation component of the course (Crysis Fabrication of an unbuilt Architecture of significance).

I look forward to, not only seeing their environments evolve, but also how they engage with the concepts of collaboration and the ideas brought in through the guest presenters to come.

Check out this piece of Crysis visualisation (though I have covered the idea lotsa times before - there always seems to be another piece of cool stuff out there - even snippets like this):

Plus there are swarms of pretty butterflies like these and even lotsa lotsa frogs:

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

COFA Begins

My next session of courses for my MDM kicked-off last night at COFA. It was good to get back into Maya again doing animation (though it comes back quickly enough - it does need to come back).

The new COFA blogging service (using Wordpress MU) looks like it will be fun and I have linked to here already as I will have to work out how I blog in both places.

Monday, 9 March 2009

CGS Steampunk Comp

[steampunk challenge logo via the CGSociety site]

The guys at CGSociety have just announced the winners in the various categories of their recent Steampunk Challenge. I love the way the CG community engages with things like this outside of all their other work commitments and just look at the inspirational quality of design and realisation on display.

The Winners page is full of jaw-dropping stuff, kicking off with:

EMET by Bonsaininja Studio where the fully realised video starts with the trailer, shows the production breakdown and concludes with the finished work. As one of the judges said: Outfreakinstanding!
The video shows just how much work went into the piece in all the categories, bringing to life an idea and following through so mercilessly. The production thread reveals more of the creation and has images like this:

[EMET production sketch via the CGSociety forum]

There is lots more that this though - check out the rest of the video entries on the site - really awesome work all round!

The winner of the 3d still image was this piece called Steamnocchio by Fabricio Moraes and it is easy to see why:

[Stemnocchio image via the CGSociety site]

Here are some more images from the challenge - * * tips hat to one and all * *

[Steampunk challenge images via the CGSociety website]

Sunday, 8 March 2009

2009 Trailers (video overload time)

I really love a good trailer and there were a few on offer at Watchmen that inspired me to post a whole raft of them here for upcoming effects/CG laden films that will grace our BIG screens in 2009. The art of making trailers is one that I would love to learn, I keep saying that, now I just need to find the energy. In the mean-time, here they are for inspiration:


Went to see the mighty Watchmen film today at the Hoyts IMAX at the Entertainment Quarter (not as stunning as the Darling Harbour version by a long shot, but still a big screen). First up the Graphic nvel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons is remarkable in many ways. It is a dark and violent world we enter in this net of tales, and the movie stays truthful to this protrayal of the darker side of humanity. Indeed it is a graphic telling of the graphic novel (not one for the kids!!)

Anyhow, the world created by Zack Snyder and his team is remarkable in its realisation of history an alternate 1985 and a vast array of the details present in the book. Obviously they couldnt cover everything in the book - but the film does cover a great deal and quite faithfully at that. There is a nice article on Geekanerd comparing the novel and the film visuals and more at The Film Stage. Some of the panel sequences flow like a set of story boards, beautiful ones at that (hmm I seem to be using a fair number of superlatives here).

The novel is a powerful piece of work that lingers in the gut and the head and the film does the same. I hope people will pick up the book now, as it will flesh out many of the details and throw into large pools of extra story. The story-lines that are exposed around the news-stand (including the Tale of the Black Freighter) and the psychologist's life changing due to Rorschach and more. The novel is rich and complex, check the Anotated Guide to get an idea.

[desktop promo images for Watchmen from the official site]

The Watchmen website looks simple enough at firt, but has some very nice flash transitions (with the yellow strip), video integration and leads us off to all manner of places like the New Frontiersman (complete with alternate reality videos on youtube). The site has heaps of video snippets drawing on the 160mins of footage in the film and they all look great.

The special effects and CG work in the film lifts the visuals into the grim world allowing the wonders of Dr Manhattan and the gruesome work of protagonists and antagonists alike to be shown in all their gruesome detail. There are some feature CG-shots, like Dr M's Martian 'home', his origin tale, the various cataclysmic explosions, and even Bubastis.

All in all, a gut-wrenching, gripping and truly detailed realisation of a great novel and one that should have people talking about the human condition and moral dilemas for some time to come.


Oh and a side note, I kept thinking that Laurie (Silk Spectre II) played by Malin Ackerman sounds just like Rebecca Watson from the SGU...


Oh and I forgot to say one more thing ... YYYAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY

Frockstar flower-version

I quickly constructed a variant of the little flyer-advert for the frockstar bushfire appeal and here it is (is it too pretty for the super rockers that they are??):

Frockstar bushfire appeal

I created a little image for The Frocks just now that they can use to promo their upcoming charity gig to raise money for the Bushfire Relief Fund and Wildlife Australia. Something like this will go in the gig section of their site and could appear in other locations.

The colours that the girls use are reds, orange and yellows, so while incorporating that, I brought some cooler imagery into this special event piece as well. This is the 500px JPG version - Go Girls!! I will incorporate changes no doubt, but this will hopefully get them going.