Saturday, 20 November 2010

Net Geo Photo Comp

A great photo can deliver great punch, such majesty and drama. I wont spoil the great joy you will get looking at the National Geographic's Photography Contest 2010 by showing more than one. The set has stunning images of people, animals, places and more. Below is Sean Harvey's photo of a supercell thunderstorm rolling across the Montana prairie at sunset. I also like Steve Irvine's long exposure of flying moths image - wonderful.

[Sean Harvey's supercel image via National Geographic]

Toy Story 3 : Setting a Story in Motion

The Toy Story 3 special features includes a wonderful little piece, Beginnings: Setting a Story in Motion where Michael Arndt, the screenwriter, walks us through what he has learnt in his time at Pixar about setting up a story. He looks at the first acts of Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles to demonstrate the ideas for how to setup a memorable tale. The whole doco-bit is a voice-over with a cute animation (not 3D) that further illustrates his structure which goes something like this:

Begin by setting up the main character, by showing them doing what they love most. Then we need to see the characters flaw (not known to them), that comes out of their passion, a good thing taken too far in some way. Then we establish the storm clouds on the horizon, something that could mean change or danger. Blam, their world is rocked by some event that takes away what they love most, followed up with a demonstration of how unfair their world is. Then we come to the fork in the road, one choice is the healthy responsible one, the other (the one we are rooting for) is the unhealthy irresponsible choice that somehow leads to a crisis. This crisis sets up the journey for the hero, which takes them on into the rest of the story and act 2.

Here is how Michael sums it all up:
So your story is coming out of your characters deepest desires and their darkest fears. The thing they love is taken away from them and the world is revealed to be unfair. To put things right they have to make a journey, that is the rest of the film. By the end of the journey, hopefully they will not only get back what they lost but they will be forced to fix that little flaw they had when we first met them.
great stuff, classic, but lovingly demonstrated in 8 mins.


Here is the train from the opening sequence in all its glorious Lego form:

[Toy Story 3 Lego train set via]

More on Toy Story 3 soon.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Unity3D Asset Store

Picking up the logic from the Google Warehouse, here we have Unity3D givign us the Asset Store. For quick design visualisation, this sort of thing is key, being able to rapidly flesh out ideas with greater levels of immersion is something we all want.
What this needs then is the community to grow beneath the idea, an empty store isnt much use to anyone of course. I doubt we will get such things for CryEngine3 though - how nice would that be.

Unity Asset Store from Unity3D on Vimeo.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

LA Auto Show Concept Car Comp

Concept cars are very cool, they bring a fluid forward-thinking style to bear on a ubiquitous piece of machinery. The LA Auto Show has a competition, the Design Challenge, which sees top-flight car manufacturers putting their creative talents to tackling this years theme.

While I like themes, they really need to do better than this:
The theme this year addresses society's shift toward minimizing consumption of the earth's resources. The objective is to envision an efficient, light-weight, four passenger vehicle (not to exceed 1,000 lbs.), that is both comfortable and safe, while delivering satisfactory driving performance without sacrificing the styling consumers demand.
Anyhow, the entries show off some rather gorgeous thinking and a freedom to design with the architectural swishy frame-like curvy swishiness. Check the site for much more information and imagery for each entry, but as we can see there is some real class in the conceptualisation as well as the rendering and visualisation of those ideas and the complex geometries.

[LA Auto Show 2010 - Design Challenge entry by GM]

[LA Auto Show 2010 - Design Challenge entry by Honda]

[LA Auto Show 2010 - Design Challenge entry by Maybach]

[LA Auto Show 2010 - Design Challenge entry by Mazda]

[LA Auto Show 2010 - Design Challenge entry by Mercedes-Benz]

[LA Auto Show 2010 - Design Challenge entry by Nissan]

[LA Auto Show 2010 - Design Challenge entry by Mercedes-Benz Smart]

[LA Auto Show 2010 - Design Challenge entry by Toyota]

[LA Auto Show 2010 - Design Challenge entry by Volvo]

Cowboys & Aliens Teaser

Well, the joy that is Cowboys & Aliens gets a step closer with the release of the teaser trailer.

Lots to like here in the Favreau style, bringing the old west movie logic to bear on an alien invasion movie is a great way to have the genres duke it out. With Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford fronting the film it will be suitably gritty and lend it some believability. Should be fun.

[Cowboys & Aliens stills via the official site]

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Cool AR Hardware

We seem to have been waiting for Vuzix to release their latest AR/VR glasses, but the iWear Wrap 310XLs are finally ready. We have barely scratched the surface with FBE's current glasses, but with the order for these new ones going through as well it will fun to see the Augmented Reality (and Virtual Reality) architectural uses coming through.

Correction: It is the Wrap 920AR glasses that are the new ones we are ordering at the moment and they are even more bells and whistles for us to play with, and they better be good for the much heftier pricetag.

[Vuzix 310XL glasses via gizmosforgeeks and brightsideofthenews]

[Vuzix 920AR glasses via engadget and the vuzix site]

PLUS, the Parrot Wi-Fi quadricopter. Augmented Reality ARdrones are now avialable for us directly in Australia. We have been intrigued to see if these can fill a desire to mix Augmented Reality and full scale architecture for us from more of a birdseye perspective. Well, they also look very cool:

[Parrot ARdrone pic via the official site]

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Forest Jungle Reference

As I work slowly away on Moths vs Butterflies, here are some reference images from a series of Google Image searches using the colour filters (which are rather clever).
While the logic is that the forest will be primarily green, the idea of having sections of colour in their world is very appealing and might allow for a more complex story or side 'quests' to have a stage that sets them apart from the main storyline. Here are a few images to highlight the importance of the forest itself, it is a character in the world as much as the Moths and Butterflies are:

[forest reference image :]

[forest reference image :]

[forest reference image :]

[forest reference image :]

[forest reference image :]

Here are a couple of concept art pieces as well, these artists do a great job of drawing out the essences of the places they envisage.

[forest reference image :]

[forest reference image :]