Thursday, December 2, 2010

NYC Holiday Train Show

Made a trip to the NYC Holiday Train Show last weekend and managed to splice together some admittedly amateur video into something coherent enough to send to the grand folks.  Its a bit too long.  If I were doing it again, Id lop off at least a minute.  Meh.  100 NYC buildings (and 3 major bridges) made out of sticks and twigs and berries.  Very cool exhibit.  A good excuse for me to get acquainted with Vegas Movie Editor. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thoughts on the MachinExpo 2010 Jury Nominees

I heart the Machinexpo.  Its got smarts, variety and edginess but lacks the attitude you might find elsewhere.  Its a great way to see new things or to see old things in a new way.  So when their jury film selections are released I get all excited.  16 films selected this year.  The majority of the selections are under 10 minutes and I managed to watch 3/4 of the selections in 2 hours.   So without further ado, heres my thoughts on the jury nominees...and as always these are just my opinions (which are seemingly often overly critical).  Your thoughts are welcome.

Unheimliche by Pierre Gaudillere - Im completely unaware of the creators intent here.  Based on my experiences this felt like a fan film or perhaps even a teaser for Limbo (the video game).  Little info in the credits as to what was used (perhaps it was limbo or perhaps Little Big Planet) or what it means.  Shadow profile looked cool but felt like a buildup to something more interesting.  The most esoteric of the bunch this year.  

Rod Pulsar - Terra by Rod Pulsar - No less than 10 seperate video games were used in this techno music will save the world flick.  Very well made, lovely to look at, clever premise.  In the end, I dont like techno music and the process of reading the subs kept me a bit distanced.

The Big Event by Jorge - I have voiced my positive opinion on this one elsewhere.  Razor sharp dialog and a tight focused story.  Perhaps lacks the visual bells and whistles of some of the other nominees but is more than competently put together. Excellent.  

That Girl Stole My Nick at the Voom Hotel by Luca Lisci - Snow Crash meets Lydia Lunch in easily the most bizzare Expo offering Ive seen.  An interesting portrayal of what I wildly imagine a 2nd life sex show to be like (though I realize its probably not).  At the beginning I was bewildered and by the end I had it figured as mostly genius.  I really liked the carnival vibe music that ends in an eerie, somber er...release.

W.B. Yeats - An Irish Airman forsees his death by Russell Boyd - A short Flight-Sim based, reading of a Yeats poem.   Nothing jumped out at me as particularly noteworthy though the ending is very nice.  I wonder if I'm missing something that hooks others either through knowledge of the  poem or the methods used in flight sim machinima.

A Woman's Trial by Chantal Harvey - One for the ladies.  Theres some nice inventive camera work focusing on the Eiffel tower.  However, once the sisters of the audience were formally addressed I felt a bit um..alienated.  But thats just me.

Major League Azeroth by John Hsu - Frenetic and crazy like a Japanese game show but still had me thinking about fast forwarding at times (perhaps it's a bit too long).  Would be interesting to see a "making of", as theres so much going on in this one but outside of the pacing, the effects and the howdtheydothat?? factor it failed to grab me.

Order of Madness by Eugene Tan - A modern war movie with a compelling description.  Some of the scenes were wonderful depicting war machines at their most sleek and destructive but I thought that the effect of jumping around between the shooter P.O.V. (with that rigid gun arm)  and the 3rd person perspective was at times rather jarring.  About half way through, OoM presents a compelling scenario where the protagonist uses all means necessary to stay alive.  It is a unique moment (at least for me) for this type of film.  I simultaneously hated and loved the way it made me feel and think.  Unfortunately, I felt that the last third of the movie was very confusing and failed to build upon that moment.   

Moonlighter by Igor Tkachenko - Exceptional animations (best Ive seen in Iclone).  Technically wonderful.  A cute scenario but feels a bit thin on content.

Dagon - HP  Lovecraft by Lainy Voom - Excellent and creepy.  Voom's distinctive style cuts out or alters much of the more goofy looking 2nd life animations and instead relies upon sets of slightly animated stills (if that makes any sense).  The style reminds me of an old TMU flick from Trewill7 about a serial killer and a tree (it featured AND I believe).  Anywho, great visuals, creepy stuff.  On par with her own The Dumb Man (one of my personal machinima faves).  A frontrunner I would bet.

gEISHA by Krish Spyker - Another distinctive 2nd life style.  Dirty, gritty, adult themed.  Very good.  Interesting both in its style and its point (and I have little doubt that there is indeed a point).

Clockwise Part 1 by Amorphous Blob Productions - Half Life noir.  Not quite as fun for me as Shelf Life (2009 Expos excellent Half Life Jury selection) but very smooth and very enjoyable.  Great VO performance from Ricky Grove.

Breathe 2 "Its a wonderful 2nd Life" by samlowry - A tour of great second life locations.  Well made, inspiring and a call for more creativity and less capitalism.    I'm a little torn on what this has created; it is after all just a tour of locations and perhaps a bit of promotion. Not so much a story or an idea but a nicely executed location tour.  

Out in the Cold by Legs I - A fine Xmasy WoW flick but I felt like I was missing some back-story that perhaps exists in the framework of the game (which I don't play) or barring that, in fairy and goblin xmas lore.

Success Begets Success by Freeta Kayo - A documentary about a man with a brain injury who finds inspiration and more in 2nd Life.  Its an inspiring story told (IMO) in a somewhat bland and unfocused manner.  Is more interested in the social environment of machinima than in the movie making aspects which is fine but hard to compare to the other nominees.  And I feel like a jerk for not liking it.

The Ills of Silence by Walvince - A complex espionage/thriller made in MovieStorm (French I believe w/ English subs).  Complex and a bit confusing at times but hugely original and stylish.  I found myself confused at times due to not understanding if there were cultural customs at work or a changed/imagined future society at work.  The animations at times were called upon to get something across that didnt always come (all the time spent staring at the "deaf" man didn't always convey the isolation I think it was supposed to).  A bit of a downer but worth the watch.

This is a pretty good collection of varied machinima flicks. I have gripes and personal opinions about many of them but an argument could certainly be made about any one of these being the big winner.  My favorites are The Big Event, That Girl Stole my Nick, Dagon and gIESHA with Dagon being my most probable to win and Big Event being the Underdog (ala ClockWork from last year).  I am surprised to see three 2nd Life flicks as my faves.  Perhaps some further thoughts on this in the future.

Today I looked back at my thoughts on last years Expo.  Interesting to compare to this years if your into that type of thing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Provacative diorama seeks not to solve world's problems.

 I'm beginning to really enjoy bldgblog which always seems to have new interesting posts.  Like this one about a guy who marries architecture to story.  The Emperor's Castle is like a little diorama of craziness full of meaning that i just don't quite fully understand as yet.  Check out the Migration of Mel and Judith as well.  I don't really know what it is but I know I'm intrigued and a bit inspired.  And I rarely ask for more than that.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

baseball tonight

This is what we pray for in a baseball team.  A bunch of guys of who hear they dont have a chance and say fuck off  Yea, the Giants beat my locals (ATL) but we all felt good about it as it was a close knit and respect filled affair (christ, the braves had nobody left at the end..give us a break) and the giants are doing exactly what you want in a feel good season.  Show your strengths (starting pitching) and stick around.   The Phillies may yet win this series but the Giants are memorable this season for thier Blackbeards and their Pandas...  What would David Justice have been compared to in 95 wonder.   Alas Posey is up and it way past my bedtime.  And baseball can still be potent.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

3 animations I've enjoyed immensely

3 excellent animated shorts I watched in the last month that left a lasting impression.

Stand Up - Creepy rotoscoped creepiness.  Nothing says "cant tear your eyes away" like a bad standup comedian flailing away into the blackest parts of their being (Michael Richards anyone?).  Thanks for the headup CartoonBrew.

Salesman Pete - Fun action, memorable visual setups and editing.  A Vimeo spotlight feature.

How Wings are Attached to the Backs of Angels - Another creepsy short.  Rube Goldberg Machines meet otherworldly (even other to the otherworld of this story) Ghost story.  Highlighted in the Myclone Blog.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Graphic: A Risky Business by D.L. Watson

Im really digging the live action actors on the MovieStorm sets as well as the twotone color.  Yea, the lipsync decision is distracting at first but kudos for the varying route.  Color me impressed.

"Graphic: A Risky Business" from D.L. Watson on Vimeo.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Been poking around a good bit lately, specifically in the 78 cylinder archive.  Some pretty excellent stuff there if you like your blues/country/jazz authentic and alive. Some of my faves include Big Bill Broonzy's Good Liquor Gonna Carry Me Home (what should be sad is in fact pretty fun),  Geeshie Wiley's Last Kind Words (haunting), LeadBelly's Where did you Sleep Last Night (haunting again), Charlie Poole's Don't Let Your Deal Go Down, Dock Boggs' Country Blues (feels like your sitting around a campfire at a sqatters camp), Trio Matamoros' Yo 'Ta Cansa (check out that shift there at the end) and Im So Glad from Skip James.

Anywho, I stumbled upon this CBS radio re-enactment of the third day of The Battle of Gettysburg complete with multiple radio correspondents.  Bizarre interviews with soldiers in the field (especially the creepy confederate who sounds like a jailhouse rapist around 9:40), field reports from the middle of the battle and the excellent booming, echoey, dissafected voice  shouting YOU ARE THERE like the horsemen of the Apocalypse are upon us.  Surreal.  I have openly mocked war re-enactments in the past but this one is worth a listen just for the strangeness of it all.  Also kind of weird how they never really talk about all the dead (50,000 lives lost).  

As an added plus you can follow along on Wikipedia.  Strange fact about the only civilian death being a stray bullet striking a woman making bread in her kitchen.  A bad time and place to make bread I suppose.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sketchup Bonus Materials

With Google sketchup models being easily accessible to both Iclone and MovieStorm, sketchup is a good tool to have in your anymation movie-making belt.  Ive been playing around with sketchup for a little while now and while I'm no expert I can do most of the things I need to do.  Still, after a year and a half of putzing about, I only today downloaded the bonus materials pack.  Doh!  This little pack greatly increases the number of textures you can paint your model with.  Definitely worth the download.  

Just download the materials library link and change the folder in the installation process to the Sketchup 7 folder.  Easy Peasy.

Thanks to the Dr. Nemesis Blog for the link.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monsters of the Atomic Age!

A man finds fame in a monster suit. Fame fades. World explodes.


thebiz as Dave/Growth-O!
6HeadedMonster as Steve-O!
Madison as Little Girl
JohnnyEx as Angry Dad
Nahton as The Boss
Wolf as Alan Hale/Giant Robot monkey
Norrie as Quinn/King Buzzo
GoofParade as The Mayor
Dulci as Dulci@Dusk
Act3Scene24 as Felix Award Presenter
Sisch as Marie Heim
MrsBiz as Red Leather
Jase180 as JetPackBoy

Music by Precog and Kevin Macleod

Full credits in film.

Please let me know if you have any problems viewing the flick.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A crutch is a tool after all...

Watched KibishiPaul's The Comeback last night.  On TMU he has provided an interesting and involved description of the scenario/story involving generation of clowns and the protagonist being a very bad performer who wants to take off the makeup.  However, the flick itself contains no dialog and could be easily broken down to a simple little horror story (though not a bad one, pretty fun I thought) that has none of this back story.  It made me wonder if the description served to enhance the movie by adding context and secondary info or if the movie failed to explain the plot and uses the description as a crutch.  

With online videos, the description is closely tied to the movie and I always read it before viewing a flick so here I tend to feel it can be used as a tool.  No, the story line doesn't need to be fully expounded upon but perhaps some small verbal clues can be used to aid the visual story or is this cheating so to speak? Tag lines are used in most cinema poster promotions while expository info is often used in trailers.  With online videos the description is sitting right there next to the little screen so why not use it?  Or perhaps all this is pretty obvious. Thoughts?  

Friday, August 6, 2010

Video Game Makings

Continuing on the subject of Video Games, Edge Magazine has a very cool weekly feature on the "Making of.." various games both current and classic.  The articles run the gauntlet (hehe) from design to tech specs and a good bit of history.  Some of my favorites so far include:

Little Computer People  (Thanks for the heads up Overman!) - A Sim before the Sims ('85) for the Commodore64

Tapper - Hard to believe making video games was as simple as they make it sound here.  And who doesnt love a beer themed game.

Gauntlet - The multiplayer co-op Granddaddy

Repton - Never heard of it but an interesting story as its creator was 15 and lasted 2 years before leaving the game business behind to enter college.

Worth a look at thelist to see if one of your favorites is there as well.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Life Well Wasted

Heres one of the best things Ive heard off the internet in quite a while:  A Life Well Wasted is "an internet radio show about video games and the people who love them".  Created and produced by Robert Ashley and featuring uber quirky pop music from him and his band, I come to Shanghai.   Very good editing that sounds like a very hip version of NPR and provides incredibly interesting material.   Trust me when I say you dont have to be a video game aficionado to enjoy as the episodes venture from the death of print journalism to musings on fame, creativity and ideals.  Currently there are six episodes and Ive listened to three.

Episode 1 - The Death of EGM includes interviews with the writers from Electronic Games Monthly at their going out of business party.  Suprisingly interesting with amusing travels down memory lane of guys who seemed to live in the land of misfit toys.  Reminded me a bit of skate culture from the same time period.  Makes a fine, though subtle, case for why we should care about the loss of print culture. 

Episode 3 - An outstanding piece on Jason Rohrer, a bohemian game designer intent on creating art through video games designed for 256mz systems (I gotta download Passage soon - its free!).  Another pretty good interview with a game designer who discusses what happens when a game turns bad (and is reviewed as thus).  Both pieces really translate well outside of the ideas of game design and are just plain interesting to listen to.

Episode 6 - A musical montage of user submitted game ideas.  A narration on ideas that sounds like Jim Morrison in an American Prayer circa 2010 (this was the highlight for me...really well written).  A man who licensed Tetris, made millions and now wants to save the world from itself.  A well endowed, fame loving video game geek.

I will probably finish up the other three episodes this week which is a shame as new episodes of this one man show seems to get made very sporadically but its definitely worth the wait.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Stormy Baseball, Zombieland, Toy Story3

"Faust" Eddie Brock has become my "thing" ...meaning my next big project.  Ive mentioned him here before so in short he's the baseball player who claims to have sold his soul to the devil.  But where do we go from here?  As I asked before...whats the story.  In a straight up conventional world he wants to win a pennant (a pennant is so much more interesting than a world series..hey its baseball and baseball loves the old school and pennants only really matter in the old school).  Mayhaps we throw in a girl or an orphan (it is a Wallace Beery picture right?).  Or we throw in the Seatle  Supersonics (cause they are simialr to a girl or an dont exist anymore).   But a city got screwed in the process (not for first and certainly not for last).  But the last year in a city who's losing its sport franchise is pretty solid for a pretend strory right?  Whos the protagonist and whats his issue?  Not sure yet.  Still, in the process of figuring it out. In the meantime, let me tell you a tale.

Went to the new Yankee Stadium last night.  I dont like the Yankees (You may not know it but Im a die hard Atl fan. Love my Braves, love my Hawks and above all love my Falcons) but it was a friends birthday so such is life.  Took the ferry uptown to the stadium.  Great 30 minute boat ride.  Good times.  But alas, we had purchased the Mohegan Sun Bar seats.  Ive been to many baseball games.  I was at the game where Otis Nixon scaled the wall to send the 91' braves to the pennant (see pennant description up above).  Or perhaps Ive got my facts wrong but stick with me anyway.  So we are in a bar in dead center field with giant glass windows.  But its a bar (with 11$ beers).  Nothing like a baseball game, more like sitting in a bar.  Ok, fine, I adjusted.  We are 50' from the center fielder and Im thinking in my mind about what is the story as Eddie should be a center fielder and the experience was an experience.  Then somewhere around the 5th inning with a tornado warning in effect, a bitch of a storm wandered through (Hell came to Frogtown).  Mass amounts of water and lightning but still Im inside and behind glass and watching as some of the  bleacher bums dance and enjoy their 100% soakedness.  Im feeling guilty cause Ive never seen a game from a stadium inside a bar before and it feels fake but alas Im getting pretty sloshed from my 11$ beers and then the ceiling springs a leak.  As a result of a lot of water (did I mention how big this storm was?) on our seats leaking through the roof, we get our whole tab comped which is about $600 (there were a lot of us) which makes the whole experience worth it.  Plus the storm was uber-cinematic. 

So yea, my next picture will be a baseball flick I think.

In other news, I watched Zombieland today.  Solid but perrhaps lacking.  I would have liked to see more of the bigger picture of society (especially the zombie kill of the week stuff) and I didn't like the two females and the finale was pretty lame. Still, the whole BM (and I aint talking Bob fact the whole Hollywood Zombie combo could have made an excellent movie itself.) scene makes my 2 hour investment worthwhile and Woody Harrelson was great.  (2.5 outa 4).

Also watched Toy Story 3 this afternoon with Kid Millions in tow.  His first cinema event in which he participated in whole.  I was a little dissapointed as the reviews I read made me think I would gather some insight from the proceedings (perhaps see UP...perhaps...).  I left feeling unaffected and wondering how much longer the 3d fad will persist.  It was used fine here but it added little (and was a big detriment when your three year old refuses to wear the glasses and ends up watching an unfocused blurry screen for two hours and get to feeling all guilty over it).  2 of 4 stars.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Ive been working a bit on an idea for myclone's comic book challenge lately.  LastLegs is a character I've been wanting to bring to life for a few months and a still life comic book seems a good place to start.  He's based on a song from CopShootCop (titled aptly...Last Legs) but my version is an old and decrepit man who's a bit more spry than you would think at first glance.  Wasnt completely happy with the character model yet (looks a bit to young and nice).  No telling if I can get it done by the deadline as I wont start really working till MotAA is done.  Anywho, played around a bit with photoshop this morn and got a look that I was pleased with.  File this one under more ideas floating about the noggin.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My hero,

A few days ago I mentioned my baseball Faust story idea.  I made a little pitch to my co-workers over lunch and one of them mentioned a website (forgotten at the moment) where you pitch your ideas at people who have the ability to contribute to the idea which would fund your dream in the area's where money is necessary.  An interesting idea but alas I was mmm...pensive about just how this works and what benifit the contributer would get out of the arrangement and such.  Still its an interesting sounding idea.  And no, Im not going to pitch the baseball faust idea there.

However, Incomptech, Kevin MacLeod's music and movie critique website, recently raised $1,500 in 5 days for some new music software and I gotta say thats pretty freakin awesome.  Kevin has allowed his excellent music archive to be used comercially and otherwise with little else but contribution rights for the last couple of years.  His fingerprints can be found all over machinima and elsewhere.  Its pretty cool that people are willing to give back to a guy who gives a lot (or has defined himself and his website as a leader in the new age of internet music rights and responsibility)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

8 Bit Cities, Motel Modern, Spindrift

You've heard of Google Maps, yes?  Well here's Zelda Maps or rather 8 Bit City, transcribing some major cities from around the world into proper Zelda map style.  Cute.  I love maps.

And with the summers first big heatwave, I present The Life and Times of the American Hotel series from If Charlie Parker was a Gunslinger...  Sweat and dream of yourself floating in a cool, heavily chlorinated motel pool in 1960.  


Finally, commemorate Summer with a look at Reptor7's Spindrift Part 2!  Perfect 1960s Summertime Sci-fi Drive-In fare.  Pack a cooler, bring a date.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Scenario, Story, Moral, Plot and "Faust" Eddy Brock.

So I got this idea for a movie.  A journeyman (re: average) major league baseball player (Ed Brock) gets on a hot streak and subsequently announces to the media that the streak is the result of his selling his soul to the devil (thereby becoming known as "Faust" Eddy Brock).  Theres a few other wrinkles involved (an opposing star player who loses his skills as part of the deal, a city going wild for the man who was willing to sell his soul for their pennant hopes, religious nuts, ect).  Its a solid idea.  I pitch it to my wife.  She says, "good scenario but whats the story"?  I says "huh"?  She says "whats the moral?  Why would I watch it?"  I says, "cause your my wife". Chuckles ensue.  

Its true though.  Too often I got a good scenario but a story it is not so much.  Will have to think this one through.   It's times like these I wish I had a good collaborator.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The New (well...1980s new) Flesh, Easy Beach Reading and Incubus

Heres a rather interesting essay on Cronenberg and the Postmodern from the Art and Culture of Movies blog.  I would expound deeper on my thoughts of postmodernity but I'd rather show you a little screencap of something Ive been playing around with as an idea for an Iclone short (which has absolutely nothing to do with the postmodern...or does it?).  This is just a cap from sketchup but its easy to see where I'm headed.  Easy beach reading....get it?   Cause they are words.

Finally here's Incubus from Chatnoir studios.  Well written, expertly shot and edited. Skills.  How does this movie not have more comments. Sigh.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gawping and Film Essays

After your done gawping at my brand new blog design (stunning aint it) you should head over to the Criterion Collection Online Cinematheque to check out some very well written essays on movies you probably haven't heard of.  Yes, 90% of the criterion collection is old, arty or foreign language (or some combination of the three) but thats no reason to miss out on some fine film critique and expand the old horizons..

Heres a few of the more recognizable subjects that I enjoyed:

Why we feel icky watching Peckinpah's Straw Dogs  

A boozy, winding but interesting reprinted discussion (or is it a monologue) from Robert Mitchum

An insiders look at why Wes Anderson is awesome 

A look at the genius/insanity of Guy Maddin

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

More Map Fun, LoC Tour, Without Words

Another excellent Map, this time in the Gothamist.  Here someone has used geo-tagged photos to delineate NYC locals from tourists to produce a tourist hotspot map. OK, realistically I don't need a map to avoid areas with throngs of tourists but it is an interesting idea and a groovy looking map.

Next up, Without Words from ToxicMenges.  A little creepy, cool SL Machinima.  Good narration, great visuals.  This is the second time TM has impressed me with Second Life (Princess and the Pea was the other).  

Finally, heres a tour of the Library of Congress digital archive process.  Ive mentioned my love of the LoC before and if you like geeky digital archive things this is a very fun read.

Also, a brief mention about a very brief (4 pages) writeup about "how Pixar works" in the latest issue of Wired.  You would think it would be a bit more hefty given its the cover story but theres a pretty cool set of pics that goes from storyboard concept to actual movie scene still.  Worth thumbing through in your local newstand.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summertime, Graeme Mitchell

Amid the sunshine and the cookouts and the walks to the park or trains to Coney Island and the late nights playing Texas Hold'em in Red Dead Redemption (almost like having friends..hehe) it is hard to work on Machinima or even interact so much with the computer.  Now that the 2010 Machinima Expo is officially accepting submissions I have a new deadline of August 31st to complete Monsters.  Wish me luck - or perhaps a cold rainy weekend.

Ran across this very cool site featuring the photography of Graeme Mitchell.  Lots and lots of NYC in wonderful black and white making everything look like its 1970s and making me want to pull out the old 35m. Man, when is the last time I took a picture with something other than my phone?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kid Millions makes a debut, Rarebit Fiends

Dinnertime VOs led to this little quickie.  

Something to show the fam and nice to work on something not involving a man in a monster suit.  And speaking of which, Im realizing I wont meet the July 1 deadline for Monsters of the Atomic Age and so the RL Scifi contest is out for me.  A recent re-interest in Fallout 3 and an urge for Red Dead Redemption are making me wonder if it will ever see the light of day.  I've thought a lot about cutting it into two parts as I could finish the first half in a couple of weeks and take a break (probably would be a good thing to clean out the cobwebs) before diving into the second part. However, this would leave both parts lacking and much less than their summation.  Decisions, decisions.

In other idea news, a recent preview of Wolf's second scifi pack has me reconsidering another attempt at  HG Wells Lord of the Dynamos (especially the pic in the first post...thats the set I wanted to build...hmmm) and a recent blog entry from Matthew Barry has me thinking a lot about Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend (not just the Porter short but also the running comic serial - kind of like a turn of the century twilight zone).

And I almost forgot, I got my first five star review of a sketchup model (to go along with the only other review Ive recieved - one star..hehe).  The oscar stage is ok but I think this snow sled is the best thing Ive done yet.  Certainly not professional but not bad.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Maps and Digital Voodoo

Been busy lately with both real world and Iclone work.  Not looking too promising on me getting Monsters completed by my self imposed July deadline, though I am making progress and will continue to try.  I have no idea how folks pull off these big projects in so little time.  Hindering some of my efforts is the fact that about 1 in every 5 times I open up my HP laptop, the laptop fires up but the screen remains blank (there are three loud beeps - one long, two short).   Ive already sent the laptop back to HP for a new motherboard about a year ago and now the (already extended) warranty is up.  So Ive done a bunch of research on the issue and found out that  if I wrap the laptop up in a blanket and let it overheat before rebooting then I get it too work again.  Talk about weird voodoo computing.  Just hoping to finish this production before looking at something from Dell.  No more HPs for me.

And now for something completely different, here's a pair of interactive maps from the New York Times.  Im a bit of a Geographic information Systems kinda guy so I'm a sucker for a good old interactive map.  Plus points for demographic info.

New York Times Immigration Explorer - Watch how the foreign born settled into the U.S from 1880 forward.  Tell me it aint cool.

Taxi cab pickups in Manhattan (below 60th street) by day and hour - Like blood circulating through the city.  Watch those late night weekend location to see where the drunken revelry happens.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sketchup Modeler; Fight Night

Its going to be a while before I invest in 3dExchange 4 so I'm still working my way through various sketchup models.  One of my favorite modelers is IDW (Ian west) who has a varied array of high quality models good for all your sketchup needs.  Vintage Televisions, The S.S. Enterprise or Millineum Falcon, gates, street and railroad segments, cartoony wizards quarters, military barracks and bunks, bathtubs and a lot of main street urban buildings from his often used warehouse to this very cool lawyer office.  Even if you don't have a specific idea when you go looking through his models you might have one when you leave.

Heres a good version of Nemo's Nautilus for your League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie (hey part 2 of Century gets released soon I believe).  Then there's this unbelievable rendition of Edward Cooper's Nighthawks by jedicharles who also makes some pretty nifty futuristic transportation models (among other things).  You really should download it just to see it in 3d.  Very impressive.   I wish more people would recreate famous artworks.  Well, heres Hegel's Holiday (Magritte), and heres an attempt at Dali's Persitance of Memory.  Would love to see a 3d version of Guernica.  When I first started using Iclone I made a crappy sketchup version of Picasso's Guitar Model and slapped together a little scene.  Perhaps I should revisit it one day and see if its salvageable/watchable.  My own sketchup abilities are rudimentary to say the least but I manage (well I manage to get a one star review...hehe).  Well not much of interest here but my balloon model (all from scratch) gets some hits.  Its all just stuff I made for specific instances.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.

And heres a recent Shorpy entry that I love.  Such magnificent mustaches and machismo.   Click it (or here) for the HiRes version.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Barcelona Redux, Flat Cars, Kickass Ripoff

As promised a ways back, heres a few shots from Barcelona.  Roman columns hidden within the city, buscars at Park Guel, me outside Sagrada Familiar, Mrsbiz in the Gothic Quarter.


Heres a quick shot from sketchup of an idea I was playing with.  More in the vein of the 2D/3D "sleeper" with the design a bit inspired from some stills at Cartoon Modern (see previous post).  Will have to put this away for a while while I try to get MotAA finished up by the July deadline (as a possible entry to the Reallusion Sci-Fi contest) but Im posting it here as a reminder for later.

Keeping to my usual all over the map motif, I went to see KickAss this weekend.  Fun play on comic book movies.  Production values looked a bit TV (video) to me but the story was fun, constantly and defiantly contradicting itself and it contained enough black humor to keep things lively.  However, I was disappointed to see a particular painting used in a key locale.  The print is of Andy Warhol's "Gun" which depicts the snub nose 22 pistol that Valerie Solanas used to shoot him in 1968.  The painting works well in the set.  My appointment stems from the fact I included this very same print in a set of "Monsters..." I shot 2 days before seeing the movie.  Arg!  The painting is prominent enough in Kickass that when you see it in my flick you would probably recognize it and think it was inspired by the movie, which it was not.  To re-shoot or to leave be...that is the question.  Sigh.

Also saw The Hangover this weekend.  Amusing but perhaps overhyped and as a result not as funny as I had hoped (though the rainman tribute was inspired).  In contrast to Kickass though this one looked very polished.  Lush, dark and glossy.  

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cartoon Modern and Transportation Future

Heres a fascinating Blog that ran for about 3 years called Cartoon Modern (which also served to promote the Cartoon Modern book).  It highlights the animation and design styles of the 1950's.  From Mary Blair to Tom Oreb theres a boatload of cool stuff here.  The blog then seems to have moved to Tumbler with a daily(ish) still shot.  I could spend a lot of time reading through this stuff.  Take a look see if you gots the time (below is a still from Ward Kimbal's Adventures in Music:Melody - 1953 and Mary Blair's concept for "The Little House" which reminds me of the Blade Runner Concept even further below).

Another interesting man of style (futurist) is Syd Mead, famous for his concept designs for Blade Runner, Tron and a host of others.  I wasn't familiar with Mead till read about the NVArt5 competition on the myclone blog this morning.  Cool competition.  An even cooler guy.  Run a google image search on him and you will find more than a little bit of super stylish futuristic design (like this concept still from blade runner below).  

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Google Earth as AnyMation Tool?

Am I off in thinking that Google Earth would be a pretty useful tool for some anymation projects?  Pretty cool camera control, path creation and the ability to import sketchup models (your own or someone elses) into your local version of the software.  The free version could be screen captured for use in a host of scenarios from flying (superhero, plane, ect) to boating to perhaps a fly in intro (greenscreen or video textures).  The level of detail for some of the larger urban areas is fun and impressive (see Manhattan as an example).  The pay version (300$) allows you to record as wmv.  Oh, and theres a fun flight simulator built into the free version.  Admittedly, you probably wont be doing any walk-throughs as it often loses its effectiveness up close (though the topography for natural sites is pretty solid).  

And even if you dont come up with any movie ideas, its a very cool tool to explore locales you might never otherwise see in 3d (Grand Canyon for example).  Might want to be careful about the TOS though if your using it for a project.


Vegas Baby!  Vegas!

Hoover Dam

The Grand Canyon

London Eye

Thursday, April 8, 2010

New York Destroyed by 1980s Video Games

Nice!  I especially like the tetrisized buildings and the overall effects.  I would wonder about the budget but always feel cheated by the answer (for instance a production that supposedly is made on no budget or 5-10K by someone who possesses many of the required skills to pull something like this off would cost the average unskilled person - say a producer - 50K to pay the talent).  Just a thought.  Feels a little in the same vein as Panic Attack.  A fine view.

Uploaded by onemoreprod. - Independent web videos.

Further, looking at inspiration for Monsters of the Atomic Age materials and came across this excellent movie poster for my favorite Andy Griffith flick (coutesy of "If Charlie Parker were a Gunslinger..."'s Art of Cinema series.).  Mmmmm, bourbon, sin and blood.  Also really love the shot of the outstreched hands of Lonesome Jones across America.  If you've never caught A Face in the Crowd its well worth adding to your netflix queue.  Some sort of premonition to Network (another 5 star flick) and stars a super evil version of the sheriff of Mayberry.  Big thumbs up.  Was recently thinking about how the "Hudsucker Proxy" is kind of the antithesis of Face in the Crowd (though they both contain that "Going Down" elevator scene).  OK, enough babble.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Another Time, Another Place

Just returned from a brief trip to Barcelona.  My first time in Europe.  Good times were had.  Perhaps a picture in the next few days.  

One of more interesting things about the trip was the daily calls to Kid Millions (who stayed home in the able hands of Grandma and Grandpa).  With a 6 hour time difference it was a bit surreal being constantly reminded of how the life I live 98% of the time exists on a totally different time plane.  While me and Mrsbiz are wrapping up a day of sightseeing and getting ready for dinner and drinks, the boy is just getting his day started.  Felt like an alternate reality of sorts.  

Anywho, was great to get out.  Was even better to return.  

And while Im on a completely different subject, three short reviews for movies recently seen.

Alice in Wonderland - Almost managed to be entertaining until the ending came along and absolutely ruined any good will it had managed to build.  If Tim Burton allowed that JarJarBanks moment of stupidity at the end with less protest than than I imagine....well...color me disappointed.  Perhaps he should stick with stop motion and stop employing Mr. Depp (though his wife was solidly amusing as ever).

Sherlock Holmes - Saw it on the plane on a 6" screen about 6" from my face.  Surprisingly enjoyable me thought.  Plot was garbage but characters and scenarios were thoroughly amusing.  Part 2 with a less scoffable storyline?  One can hope.

Public Enemies - Surprisingly boring with characters that failed to engage me in any way.  A long plane ride seemed even longer.  Well at least Johnny didn't dance a jig at the end.

Friday, March 26, 2010

EDay40 yo

Yes, Earth Day is coming (now called Eday40 for those in the ever hip know) and this year its hyped with catchy phrases like "b the E"  (is that like being in a K-hole?) and "i am E" (they are trying to pass them off as being inspired by that I fight fire with fire and say LOL) and is sporting Earth Day gang signs.

Mark my words, someones gunna get hurt throwing these signs around.  And am I the only one thinking of an Anchorman  style street fight between the E'ers, the Greenpeacers and say...PETA?  I suppose I am.  

Ok, I guess my sarcasm got the better of me this morning staring at the poster on the train.  I like the earth as much as the next guy.  The promotion is just a bit too text generation for me I suppose.  Now get off my lawn you kids!