Saturday, 11 August 2012


When I was looking at the splendout that is A Fox Tale, that leads to this French school of computer graphics and animation Supinfocom Arles. They are clearly a quality outfit with the production values set very high for all the projects presented on the website. If you work your way through the 2012 trailers for the student films they are a lovely array of styles all gorgeously crafted - plus dont stop at 2012 - keep scrolling for more in the previous years. Not sure how to see the complete works anywhere, that would be a super resource if they used Youtube or Vimeo or something!

Here are some images from their 2011 promo art booklet that show off some of the finihed quality, plus the development and creation side as well - giving a little peek at the number of skills on display.

[Supinfocom 2011 artbook images]

Thursday, 9 August 2012

A Fox Tail

I love being impressed by the work that comes from student projects and A Fox Tail is a beautiful example of a small team coming together to show off their new skills in a digital short film format. The project was completed in 2011 by 4 students at the Supinfocom Arles in France using the suite of software I see around me here, 3Ds Max, Photoshop, After Effects and Premiere Pro (plus they must have used other tools for Audio and so forth).

We get some lovely design and rendering here that works in very nicely with the setting and the character of the piece. I like the environments and the feel of the rocks and trees matching more stylised illustration, but in 3D here. For a short the characters are full of fun stereotypes that enhance the style of the whole film while delivering the story without any dialogue. The sound work really enhances the experience and without any spoken elements has an even more critical role to play.

There isnt a dev diary/blog for the whole team, but their individual sites have a heap of concept art and production commentary. The imagery below is from these sites and reveals the amount of work put in to arrive at such a level of quality.

Thomas Bozovic

Alexandre Cazals

Julien Legay

Chao ma


Guy-Roger Duvert

Nicolas Titeux

Maybe I need to just take a chunk of time off work so I can get right into the creation of my own concepts, just looking at these images is very inspiring - it shows lots of fun in the conceptual sense and then follow-through on more detail and then completing the project. I just wish their blogs had more images of the 3D models under construction, the render tests, storyboards and the whole bit. Their blogs are worth a visit though as there are still lots of pics to see - and nifty work by the whole team as well, not just one of the group.

[Production Images from A Fox Tale via the creators' blogs]

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Lure of the Secret World

Sometimes going with the classics for generating conflict is just so so good - World Domination is the goal and the three factions in The Secret World want it. Though the game mechanics might not differentiate the three, they are all attractive from a loyalty and purpose perspective, we get the Templars in London, the Illuminati in New York and then the Dragon in Seoul.

I admit, finding time for games is hard, but I do like the idea of delving into a complex world like this, even solo and then having those lunch discussions over al the fun. Getting together with friends or family is great fun as well and having a new place like this to explore as far as the 'place' and the 'mechanics' would be super. With Guild Wars 2 not quite here yet to tempt and such good reports for this - I am indeed very tempted. Hex and Bajo's take is helping fuel that fire (or should i just get the CivV expansion :-)

How glorious are the promo videos for the game, beautifully crafted and really enforcing the creepy world that all the action takes part in. We get the nice mix of slow undercurrent of conspiracy as well as the violent action combat.

I like the idea of the skills wheel and creating a character that is a little unique, particularly with the visual freedom provided. I have fond memories of nice character creation like City of Heroes and spending way too much time there. The mood and design of the Secret World is very strong and that is borne out in these cool pieces of design and concept art for both the characters and the super cool environments. The places are just screaming with story and depth, finding out what happened there and what might happen next looks like a real attraction. They have done a great job of giving us so much cool artwork on the site - go look!!

First a few screenshots showing how it all came together then the art that inspired!

[The Secret World screenshots via the official site]

[The Secret World concept art via the official site]

Monday, 6 August 2012


The range of laptops is greater than ever and with all the tablets as well, mobile computing has never looked richer. That said we normalise so quickly these days, Pads, Ultrabooks, Software, everything - scant months after something is released it is ordinary and we are scouting for the next cool think to grab our collective attention.

Ultrabooks, I do love the sexy thinness and they are some of the best designed pieces of hardware we can buy. That said they really are collapsing the grunt to get that form-factor going. We arent at a place where we can have firepower and stay oh-so-thin. A bit like the shot putters at the Olympics - they need to be big guys to hoik that ball of metal 20 metres.

Anyhow, check out the usual good places like notebookcheck for releases and specs, but here are some pieces of kit (by Vendor) that still have my interest. With Microsoft's experiment with Win8 creeping closer, I expect 'touch' to bring forth some interesting configs.

While I am much preferring my life in Windows, there is little doubt that Apple have some gorgeous laptops. The New MacBookPro is sleek and sexy for a full laptop with good components all round. They skimp on essentials like an ethernet port, but when the rest is this good people will overlook such things. Add to this the Macbook Air (prettiest laptop of them all) and Apple are still doing things to please.

The Korean gang at Asus have some of the nicest looking laptop gear outside of Apple. The Zenbook Prime has a new version which still looks neat with the metallic feel. Their ROG gaming machines have always been good value for money and the latest versions are ok. Asus always have crazy model numbers that make their range pretty impenetrable.

There is still so much to like here, the styling is still Alienware through and through, they arent trying to copy Apple or make jewellery, they make gaming/performance rigs. That said the styling is attractive and (even if a touch late) they bring the very best hardware options into their machines - the fastest mobile SLI solutions available included. Even their baby 14" version packs a punch, but the mighty M18x has it all.

The new series of Samsung machines, not that they are at the top of any heap for me do have some interesting things to offer. Their series 7 gamer is quite a beast actually and I wouldnt mind having a play at some point. The little HP 2170p is a very neat business machine that should be a real winner while everyone sorts out having the right stuff in the ultrabook form factor. While it isnt as sexy, it is neat, clean, light and has all the right upgrades/options/support.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

MvB Sketches

Watching the Olympics and at other moments the sketchbook grows, here are a couple more compilations from the A5 sketchbook. They are still dominated by concept doodles for Moths vs Butterflies which I am still exploring with enthusiasm. Most are pencil, though a few bring in pens and markers...