Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Crysis2 Concept Art

Some more concept art for Crysis2 is up on CGtopia by Viktor Jonsson. It is inspirational to see these environments come alive in his illustrations to such a level that they feel playable. Here we have mood and detail, colour and lighting. Here are a couple, but see the post for more:

[Crysis2 concept art by Viktor Jonsson via CGtopia]

Monday, 19 December 2011

Techy Bits

Here are a few interesting bits of tech that swam past over the last little bit that are worthy of a few seconds of blogginess:

Throwable Spherical Panoramic Camera Ball

The Ball Camera is a clean and simple idea of having enough cameras in a throwable ball so you can get a 360 degree look at a spot once thrown. Quality of the splicing looks like it could be better/smoother, but the video speaks for itself - clever.
Sony HMZ-T1 3DTV Headset
The idea of nice headsets for VR or AR is till something waiting for something of a revolution. We generally dont want to have silly headsets on, but when the quality gets good enough to blow our socks off we will change our minds fast enough. We wear headphones for things and when 3D vision headsets give us full peripheral screens at hi-res we will don them as well and it will be super.

I am doubtful Sony's HMZ-T1 headset will be what is needed - but perhaps it is another little step along the way - maybe it will be a big step, bringing a fully realised commercial product to market.

Here is the same unit with some head tracking thrown in:

HP Envy Laptops
While we dont seem to get these HP Envy Laptop babies in Oz (why?) there are things worthy of note. The design is frustratingly too much like the MacBookPro. We know the MBP design is gorgeous, but that doesnt mean there arent other designs for laptops that can look just as good. Sigh - HP have crafted a laptop that looks basically the same...

[HP Envy Laptop promo image via the official site]

Looks arent everything though, the laptop boast some serious hardware including the 3D screen and some nice sub-systems.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

WoW TCG Artwork

With the family still enjoying some WoW-time together here and there I like some of this artwork that has been created for the World of Warcraft TCG. WHile some of the pieces might just be nifty illustrations of the basic races and classes and generic enemies, some are loving representations of some of the cooler characters and instance bosses that we all remember. Check the site for more, but here are some to lure you there:

[World of Warcraft TCG images via the official site]

Friday, 4 November 2011


Got to watch the Thor bluray the other day and they have done a great job in bringing another Avenger to the screen for us. This time we have a tale spread across the stars as well as time with our gods living so long. The environments of Asgard and Jotunheim contrast so beautifully with the simplicity of the New Mexico desert and township. We get another stirring tale of powerful people strugglign to understand their role in things, but in this case the main struggle is far far away with the politics and struggle between the mighty Norse gods and the Frost Giants which spills over onto Earth.

Kenneth Branagh assembled a great cast, we get Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins bringing their class to Aussie Chris Hemsworth's ripped Thor. The sound stands out in the film (as it has in many the recent superhero movies) - lifting the experience for us into the other realms and to the right plane for thinking all supery.
The occasional tie to the Avengers here reinforces this concept that we are leading upto something huge, something that will require Nick Fury's whole team to tackle (plus with Joss a the helm, whats not to love).

The CG and visual effects were stellar, the world of the front giants feels cold, the magical technology of Asgard transports us there and the blasts and power of our God of Thunder are fully integrated. See the CGSociety article for more detail and some great production images like these:

[Thor CG imagery via the CGSociety article]

Here is some gorgeous concept art done for the film by Michael Kutsch and Craig Shoji. They have each designed and captured character, environment, prop and mood of these grand places and the heroes/villains - inspirational stuff. See their respective sites for much more, but here is a taste:

Michael Kutsch

[Thor concept art by Michael Kutsch via his site]

Craig Shoji

[Thor concept art by Craig Shoji via his site]

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Game Trailers

Just saw the review of Battlefield3 and Uncharted3 on GoodGame, so thought that was good enough inspiration for some Gaming videos of cool things around atm or soon to be. It is incredible the number of things modern games can have going on at once on screen for us, while we may have a fair way to go to reach 'reality', they are still a joy to behold. The modelling, animation, effects and gameplay are all very mature now...

Windows 8 Preview

Well I took the plunge and have downloaded the Windows 8 Developer Preview from dev.windows.com and thrown it onto my HP 2760P to see how it handles the touch screen and so forth - or perhaps just as importantly how I handle it.

The Install
Downloading was simple, the ISO just needed unpacking so the install could proceed from a USB key (thanks Jas). Super super smooth after hitting the setup.exe as it nicely went about the upgrade in maybe 10 mins or so with just the one restart. Most of my devices were detected by the install, not sure what I am missing yet - but the key things are there.

First Baby Steps
Well talk about a confusing start, the whole concept of the green start screen thing is quite mystifying still. Esp as the installation has hidden all my previously installed apps away from me...
The splitting up of the new apps and the more regular desktop experience feels highly disjointed. Though ALT-TAB works, this is far from the joy of the Win7 taskbar with all its clever icons, aero preview and unified logic. The idea of strangely discovering which part of the screen I can swipe over to get things to come up is odd. Plus the intuitive thing might be to swipe up at the edge to get something to appear - but to get it to go away again, why swipe up again :-)

First real problem is getting onto the wireless network, that is just giving me unhelpful errors so far. Moving on I have started to re-install apps, that seems to be what is needed and the WIn7 versions are popping on there one by one ok so far.

Where Does that Leave Me
Well it is actually working surprisingly well in one way considering it is early days yet. The Metro interface is still a mystery waiting to be solved and I am stuck to a network cable, but the rest seems to be alive...


A little video (not mine) of how that Metro is looking etc:

HP2760P and SketchBookPro

A little while ago now I finally got an HP 2760P to replace my iPad as the portable computer in my life. While the Star-Trekky coolness of the iPad was great, as an actual tool it was left wanting in almost every regard. I am a computer user and to be hamstrung by the apps and the IOS logic at every turn meant either a great journey or just greatly reduced functionality and efficiency.

So, rather that just going back to a baby laptop or ultrathin I decided on a convertible tablet PC. This way I got the small form factor, the fully functional OS (and all the apps that run on it) plus retained the touch screen as well. In fact the HP 2760P screen is a fully functional WACOM tablet with pen so the lure of using it for graphics work was high.

The Windows7 OS isnt super at doing touch as yet and many of the apps assume that it is easy to press a key at some point which isnt easy when in full tablet mode. For example Photoshop's navigation and tool controls often need the shift or control keys etc which is too hard in this mode.

I am loving the portability of the device and the i5 version I have is quick (though it isnt too much more to get the i7). The handwriting detection is surprisingly good, though even my junk typing is generally  faster anyhow.

One of the first pieces of software I was keen to try was SketchBookPro as it works nicely with the touch and pen interface (not perfectly, but nicely). Over the last few weeks I have done a handful of little sketches of various Moth and Butterfly characters and here are some of them. Clearly I have plenty of practising to do, but I think it shows merit as a sketch tool for me...

Monday, 31 October 2011

Vitaliy Modelling

Found Vitaliy Naymushin's modelling via a look at some Rage concept art. Seeing behind the scenes of each creation (the inner workings of the 3D models) always gives me a much greater appreciation of the craft and creative talent required to deliver the final vision.

Check out these amazing images for the Rage character models by Vitaliy from Ben Olson (lots more on his site):

[Vitaliy Naymushin character models from Rage vis his site - SHRUNK]

Should finish off with a Rage video:

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Muppets, Cubes, Robots, Bandai and CryEngine

A mixed bag post here, just some things I felt needed a little air-time.

I have to start with this super poster from Disney that brings together the Muppets and Cap (via FirstShowing).
[Disney's Muppets promo poster]

Now, what is not to love about lego, rubik's cubes, robots and smart phone apps - bring them together and we get things like the CubeStormerII.

I like having models of things on my shelves and one source of such things are the Bandai kits. The GundamModelKits site covers them in great detail and shows how cool they are. I only have a few of the little squat ones, but they are fun to build (even with the kids) and have a nice/dramatic design aesthetic (see also Collect3D)

[Bandai model imagery via GundamModelKits and Collect3D]

What the community can do with the mighty CryEngine2 is superb, but seeing the CryTek staff playing with shaders and more complex effects is very cool - like Cry-Styves work shown in these images (see thread).

[Cry-Styves CryEngine shader images]

Lastly these videos look like they will be cool - showing a Unity Project from start to fin!!!!

X-Men First Class

Just finished watching X-Men: First Class (blu-ray) and had a blast. Seeing all these characters from the books woven into the new tale along with events from world history. Going back into the back story of our main protagonists  (ProfX and Magneto) holds everything together - action and the human stories alike.

The sound and music was super, bringing all the mutants powers together and continuing the work from the previous films. I liked all the casting, with each bringing something more to the characters (gotta love Kevin Bacon as well). The CG effects are gorgeous and flawlessly integrated while keeping a nice old-school 60s feel to the whole film.There is a little more info on Luma Pictures work on the film in CGSociety's Feature.

First some imagery from the film itself (it looks so good in HD) showing off some character designs and CG overlays thanks to DuBlu's review:

[Shots from X-Men: First Class via DuBlu - shrunk, see site for fulls]

Then here is some concept art from the film.
First some Jamie Rama environment concept art pieces:
[Jamie Rama X-Men: First Class concept art via his blog]

Lastly some character concepts by Howard Swindell:

[Howard Swindell X-Men: First Class concept art via his blog]