Friday, 6 August 2010

Nekro 13 Inches

[13 Inches birdcage mask concept image via Nekro's CGProfile - see there for unshrunk version]

Borja Fresco Costal (aka nekro) has created a fascinating world of art and jewellery under the banner of 13 Inches. The graphic impact is very high, yet there is a softness and delicacy that shifts the pieces from being dark gothic to a more romantic state. I think the high contrast gray pallet with the red elements is very striking and the quality is so high that it is a delight to go from image to image.

Here are a few images from her CGProfile, other versions on her Gallery - but visit her blog and other sites to see the full effect:

[13 Inches imagery via Nekro's CGProfile - see there for unshrunk versions]


A couple of cool robotics items.

[CRAB imagery by Jamie Martin design via his site]

The CRAB models, rendering and videos are the creative spawn of Jamie Martin whos site features these police robots on the rampage along with a host of other design projects. Here are some of the stills followed by the vids which show off the design, model and storytelling. There is plenty of Robocop in the logic, but I think that story still holds plenty of relevance - anyhow enjoy the fun:


Onto a piece of real robotics, and robotics attached to people - does that make a more cybernetic thing? Here is the HULC or Lockheed Martin's Human Universal Load Carrier which is such a clever thing that can follow instantaneously the wearers movement. There is always that concern that if things go wrong it might pull your legs off - but assuming things are working it looks very very clever and must have medical or other mobility applications outside the military as well.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Star Wars Cinematic Trailers

The Star Wars games bring a quality to their cinematic trailers that often surpasses the films, they are overflowing with the visuals, sounds and styling while injecting some serious cool for both sides. The quality of the trailers really inspires interest in the games themselves, building on the franchise - love them. I know this first one for The Old Republic was done completely in 3ds Max by Blur Studios (thanks Vizworld), inspires us all to make more use of the tools we have. Here and there the animation could be improved of course, but on the timelines they work to now with the demands on each shot they are pieces that I aspire to - I can dream...

Enjoy (watching in HD is nice):

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Marina Bay Sands

On our recent holiday we had a stop-over-day in Singapore and in the heat and being super tired we decided on a single site to explore and that was the newly opened Marina Bay Sands.

Singapore is a place knee-deep in construction, particularly around the waters edge where land reclamation has created whole new areas for construction sites to sprout up. The grand Marina Bay Sands development covers quite a large area, but the stand-out feature are the main three towers joined at the top by the soaring ship-like skypark.

The whole giant casino, hotel, exhibition complex, shopping area and more is designed by Moshe Safdie Architects for Las Vegas Sands and makes a big statement on Singapore's Marina Bay. Things are still under construction for several of the key areas which dampens the grandeur for the moment, but the completed areas are coming to life. While the design may use its vast extravagance as an initial lure, there is some lovely design refinement from both the large and smaller scales.

We approached the site from the Singapore Flyer (their take on the London Eye), which given the oppressive heat and humidity was a trying experience. The torture was alleviated to a fair degree by the journey through the double helix bridge which leads upto the complex. This makes the journey quite dramatic for those coming by foot and are braving the elements.

With the main entry to the hotel at the far end, we get to walk along the outside of the three towers, keeping to the shade where we could. Exterior dynamic elements catch the wind sending ripples along structure as we approach. The entry area sets the scale up again, making a grand gesture to have us enter. This was spoilt somewhat by the entry approach catering to taxis and cars rather than us pedestrians, but perhaps we are the exception.

The outside may be extravagant, but inside is a real treat, while the scale stays vast we can engage with that extravagance, moving upto and through it. The designers have managed to use the various floors of the towers and the negative space between them to create a sculpture of light that consumes the senses. Whole restaurants (each with their own smaller-scale design care) are just minor elements placed within the spaces. Whole trees feel much like pot-plants against the size of the internal mall that runs the length of the hotel. While it may be stifling hot outside, in here it is beautiful and allows us the time to enjoy the architectural qualities presented.

We do take the trip up to the Skypark, which is a slightly disappointing interior lift, but once there we are treated to vistas of Singapore in all directions. Impressive as it is to be on a vast cantilever 200m above the ground, we are quickly drawn to the shade of the trees up there. This is no loss though, we can still see the swarms of shipping vessels camped out waiting to make use of the Singapore ports and views around the city. The edgeless swimming pool makes the experience all the more spectacular and if staying here I would love to try it out (even if you end up on display).

All up the architecture is vast and dramatic while drawing us in to a range of carefully created smaller details. All the images here are from our visit, though more imagery and info can be found via: Wikipedia, Arch Daily, abduzeedo, the official site and more.

IMAGES : All taken on 15 July 2010 - not uploaded to anything yet (stay tuned for that) - these are all compressed 1200x900 versions selected without the family members prominently in-shot.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Fermi cometh

I have been looking forward to this next generation of grunt in a graphics card and NVIDIA are delivering some serious firepower for us. The new Quadro Fermi cards have specs that are off the charts and I am keen to see them in action, should have our first Fermi workstation in and running here in FBE in a month or so.
This short article on CGSociety does a good job of summarising the joy coming our way. Our HP quotes are likely to steer us to the Quadro6000 (6GB DDR5, 448 CUDA cores) in a Z800 Workstation for our first foray. I am still not sure of the bang4buck vs a crazy-spec gaming rig with the GeForce cards like the GTX480 though (specs) - more investigation and thinking needed. Regardless we are in for some fun times with respect to our simulation and rendering needs. IRay in Mental Ray looks approachable for us, while CFX alas doesnt...

Since I will have to post more once I know more - here are some videos to keep the enthusiasm high : Fluid simulation, Then VRay fun:

Bottle Design

While we are on a roll of design related posts - one of the cool things from my European holiday was picking up one of the Ty Nant bottles of water while in London. As soon as I saw the Ross Lovegrove designed PET bottle I had to grab some. I have been using it ever since with refills and it is sitting proudly next to me right now. Some more info at the TurnkeyProduction blog.

[Ty Nant bottle design via H3owater]

Packaging wizardry

Off the back of an Apple blog post, where the stellar design qualities extend to gorgeous packaging - have a look at this award winning work for Panasonic by Scholz & Friends. The sheer clarity of presentation of the item itself combined with its function is just so classy. Would make us not want to take them from their box - just keep them that way. via OhGizmo

[Panasonic packaging beauty via OhGizmo]