Friday, 3 August 2012

Written by a Kid

There is something magically uninhibited about the way children tell stories, much like dreams where there need not be any great rationale for actions, characters, agents or plot shifts, they all just happen in often superbly entertaining ways. So if we combine that with some clever graphics and production grown-ups and we get the hilarity that is Written by a Kid.

As of writing we have 3 little masterpieces, Scary Smath, Goth Boy and La Munkya which are all wonderful. Having Ghostbot animation, guest acting from Joss Whedon, Felicia Day producing along with the rest of the talented Geek and Sundry (creators of The Guild) gang is extra cool. We are also treated to the 'making of' vids as well, thanks guys!

There is a fair bit of craft that is hidden in the editing of the kids' stories and the final video - it really works having the fun set with the interview format - I love that huge chair.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Insect SEM

After posting some superb Butterfly and Moth Scanning Electron Microscope images from the amazing Science Photo Library I couldnt resist and here are another bunch of insect SEM images. I am keen to splice in some of the logic of how nature works at this scale into the concept art for my MvB work - but just enjoy the intricacies of these minute biological machines. There are so so many more on the site, these I like because they reveal the tiny structures, are cute or outright monstrous...

[Science Photo Library SEM insect images]

Monday, 30 July 2012

CS6 Roadshow and Speed

Last week at the Adobe CS6 Roadshow, we had a suite of Adobe evangelists (their term, but apt) showing off the goodies across the suite in this latest release. I went to the video tracks to see what Premiere Pro and After Effects could do in the hands of these guys and certainly learnt plenty. The big theatre at Darling Harbour's Exhibition Centre is a grand venue and in here we had the keynote covering the whole suite, where Adobe is headed with the cloud and so forth. There was a focus on the world being changes, that digital media is pervasive and Adobe is at the heart of that. Things are also movign very very fast, when CS5 came out there was no iPad now there are zillions of them. We got to see several videos and projects by professionals and students showing that creation happens across a large spectrum of users. The whole group (thousands) also came together at the end for Photoshop (who doesnt love Photoshop).

The Photoshop demo showed off some very nice controls for Camera Raw which we can now use on any file to do some much smarter tonal and contrast controls. The crop tool now has the addition of guides like the 'rule of thirds' and nice rotation controls. Brushes can even wear down if you like that even more realistic way and we get more video, tilt-shift and content-aware fills/moves/etc.

Video was where most of my time went on the day and that meant I got to see lots of the Mercury Playback Engine, while they mentioned this many times in the demo they didnt flaunt it as much as I though they could have. Maybe that was because the majority of the demo machines they were using were still Mac and so the full firepower wast there (plus it came out in CS5 I guess). The demo guys were still doing live playback of 11 videos while editing on the fly and adding effects and adjustment layers at will = laptops are cool.
There was a fair bit of focus on the improvements to the UI and giving more realestate to video and less to controls. Moving the 'play' button means the tool is really targeting the pros and I am nervous about newbies being able to use the software at all without knowing all those keyboard shortcuts and alt-shift-ctrl modifiers.
Some of the changes make for some very fast workflows indeed, the warp stabiliser is here in PPro as well as After Effects. There was so much shown, not just for Premiere Pro, but also After Effects, Audition, Speed Grade and more - really a very powerful suite of video production tools.

Definitely one of the key changes in CS6 across all the apps was speed, speed of rendering, saving and loading but also workflow streamlining - these are all good things.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

After spending the day at the Adobe CS6 Roadshow on July 26th at Darling Harbour I took the opportunity to head in and see the conclusion to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. I hope there arent any real spoilers here, it is a super film.

The Dark Knight Rises draws together a slew of elements from the first two films as Gotham comes under siege. We are treated to tension, drama, loss, bravery, death, fear and more as this grand yet flawed city looks to its caped saviour. The cast is expanded to include many of the Inception gang and we end up with a find ensemble as the movie counts down to the finale.
The sound and music is big and loud matching the action and the environment again and the visual treat is best shown off in these images. The CG VFX work is pretty seamless throughout, no doubt there is far more of it that we know as so much of it just looks completely real now. No doubt there are shots of completely CG streets, people, explosions and heroes.

[The Dark Knight Rises imagery via the official site]

Design-wise we get some big combat hardware for bats to take on Bane. The single design element I like the most was catwoman's night-goggles that swing up onto her head to make her cat ears without them becoming a costume - that is just so so clever.
The film really binds the trilogy together into one vast artistic work that really showcases just how cool the whole concept of the Batman really is and the class by which they have brought this rendition to the big screen.

EDIT > Check out the nice ComicBookMovie article on the Catwoman goggles/ears with 3D model concepts etc.