Thursday, 28 April 2011

Stroggtank art and armour reference

I am always on the lookout for reference art (and other imagery) for projects, including the current character design thinking for Moths vs Butterflies. The Butterfly armour here involves fine tracery over the top of plates with integration of jewel-like qualities here and there. The pieces are a mixture of tight conforming segments that occasionally fly-out beyond the signature body shape.

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STROGGTANK Reference Cetaur
I came across Carlos Ortega's CGPortfolio and in particular his images of 'Tesalia, a young female centaur' created in Maya with postwork in Photoshop. Here is a nice little CG model which features armour very much like that the Butterfly characters including the swirling metal and a simple yet vibrant colour scheme. The bow is pretty cool as well, though I have been pushing the idea further for prop elements like this. His Gallery is full of other works and more imagery of Tesalia even - well worth a browse.


[Carlos Ortega images via his CGPortfolio Gallery]

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In the spirit of reference imagery for the Butterflies, fantasy High-Elves are good value. Some Google image searches around this brings forth all manner of other artists with related ideas (I might cover some of them in future posts)

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Tron Legacy

Just watched Tron: Legacy so thought I would comment a little...

Trailer


Summary

The film builds on the original Tron classic from 1982 bringing back Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner to boot. We are drawn back into the grid years later and get an evolution of the real and digital worlds. We watched on BluRay which is one strong point, but the whole experience leaves us wanting - lets look a little closer, though I will try to keep the spoilers to a minimum.

Characters
The characters in Tron Legacy are unfortunately one of its weakest elements. Each character ends up falling well short of anything memorable, the heroes arent very heroic, we have no fear or concern over the actions of the villains and so forth. Quorra has the most potential as a character, being the last of the Isos, yet like much of the film we are given a hint of promise which just doesn't get a chance to flourish into anything.
I do like the costume designs though...

Plotline
There are hints of a plot here and there, though principally we are following Sam Flynn around with no real choices being made or changes or even understanding. Many an action film can feel like this, James Bond films are like this in many ways, so if we are happy for the plot to lead us from one cool-action-sequence to the next then great. Alas we are given hints of more, almost Matrix-like hints of something grander.
One thing that annoys me is having a betrayal, that has no lasting effect and no emotion. In fact the movie would be identical if we left off that sequence altogether...

Digital Humans

The idea of using CG to bring a young Kevin Flynn and CLU to the screen was admirable and in several shots worked well. That said, in general it was very distracting and brought us out of the film so many times as all we start noticing is the digital actor. They were trying something very very hard and when you dont succeed it hurts. Clearly at this budget level we arent to the point yet where a digital actor can compete and hold a frame let alone shots and scenes.

Digital World
The digital world is cool though, fill of references to computers and interfaces. We get lots of nice transparency, reflection, wiring, transforming and interlocking. The vehicles are superb and the Light Jets create a wonderful sequence for us. The creation of the digital landscape is well executed, though the world is simple/stark in digital terms.

Filmy Bits
There were definitely some interesting shots as they played with camera angles and clever transitions. The audio landscape was tremendous, drawing on games and movie-ness to deliver a deep resonating and ominous feel.

Conclusion
Hmm, I was really looking forward to the film and had high hopes. Alas I am left rather flat, there are some serious flaws in the characters and how they weave a plot around them. The action sequences are great fun though, particularly the light-dogfight. While this film fails on some levels it does have the fight/game sequences to be proud of.
I am not sure if the the film will grow on me after another viewing or two. Will I give it that chance even...



[Promo images from TRON: Legacy via the official site]

Links: Official Site, IMDB

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Soa Lee 3D Butterfly Imagery

Here are a couple of images from Soa Lee's CGPortfolio Gallery which have elements of Butterlies as reference for me on the ongoing work for Moths vs Butterflies. These are all using 3ds Max, even though they looked like beautiful 2D pieces at first, showing some real talent and attention to detail while at the same time the overall cohesion of the image.



[Soa Lee images via her CGPortfio Gallery]