Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The mystery deepens...

Well, look what the Office of Naval Intelligence just found.

I'm going to throw a cat amongst the pigeons.

Whatever could she be?

The big reveal, soon...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Live from Federation Square, Melbourne

(Photo: 1:53pm, Saturday, June 27th, 2009 in Federation Square...)

Hello from sunny Melbourne.

(Believe me I am as shocked as you are. Sun in Melbourne? Preposterous!)

I'm under pressure to throw this out as quickly as I can before this laptop's battery dies, but sufficed to say, MIAF goes well.

After having spent nearly 6 hours drinking with a bunch of eccentric animators last night til about 4:00am, I have some new and very scary insights in to the workings of these people in the professional world. One of these people is Canadian filmmaker Chris Landreth, who the film-inclined may recognise as being the Academy Award-winning Director of the animated short, "Ryan."

Landreth is in Melbourne to screen his new film, "The Spine." It's a technically brilliant piece of work that brings justification to the statement that Landreth is nothing less than an unparalelled guru of CGI. (Indeed, he counts people such as John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton of Pixar Animation Studios among his immediate peerage.) His knowledge of 3D applications and methods is utterly intimidating, and I'm planning on spending a lot more time interrogating him on how to do this kind of thing.

It's rare that one has an opportunity to speak with such a person, let alone sit down in a bar with them for 6 hours over too many drinks!

As you probably guessed - I am in fact not going to reveal the identity of the secret submarine just yet. I'd much prefer to have access to my machine back in Wagga so I can finish refining a few things before I throw it up on the main site, but the speculation has been utterly fascinating to say the least... for reasons I won't yet explain.

Updates as they come.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The mystery sub... Continued.


In the last twenty four hours, between comments and emails, we've had a very strong response to the mystery sub I showed you all. There is a very strong theme amongst all of you that she is the new seaQuest DSV, and thus represents the Odyssey class...

This is an interesting little experiment for me. The identity of the sub isn't being revealed just yet. Let's see what happens there on Saturday. What I will say for now is that this is giving me some ideas about something special that I've been considering for a while.

Every now and then, a project comes up that I decide to pass on to someone else. The list of people who I generally have on this 'contact list' is small, and the reason I ask others to design subs for Atlantis is two-fold.

Firstly, I don't have time to do it myself because of other projects. It almost goes without saying that having someone else working on something else simultaneously drastically increases productivity.

Secondly, I leave many aspects of design to the builder, and seperate myself from the process as much as possible, because it usually brings a different design aesthetic that I otherwise don't consider. This could be because of personal technique or taste, but regardless, on a couple of ocassions, these other designers have greatly influenced the way Atlantis continues to develop in very positive ways.

I would like this to continue...

And so, some time soon, I'm going to start a little competition to solve a problem I've had for a couple of years. You can probably guess where this is going, and all I shall say for the time being is that you may wish to start thinking about your own designs, and that there will be rewards.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

MIAF 2009

Well folks, a few sneaky things have been happening at Atlantis in the last week or so, but here's the deal.

Tomorrow I drive south to Melbourne for the Melbourne International Animation Festival 2009. After the work I did on AIAF this year, I have a free pass in, so I'm not exactly staring the gifthorse in the mouth.

This said, from the 22nd to the 28th of this month, I'll be out of the loop, but you can still catch me by email.

When I return, this is what's going to be unveiled...

(First email with the correct guess of what this is gets bragging rights.

Catch you on the flipside!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Forward: From a friend.

Rarely do I feel compelled to post someone else's material on my own blog, but this one is particularly appropriate.

Peter Hanshaw is a friend and colleague of mine who graduated from the same course of Animation and Visual Effects and now works as an Environmental artist at Blue Tongue studios in Melbourne - a games studio under THQ most recently responsible for "de Blob" for the Nintendo Wii.

Truth be told, there isn't much I work on that doesn't go under his eyes and across his desk before it finally finds its way online. Indeed, not everything Peter has to say about my work may be full of praise, but more importantly his critiques are honest, constructive and helpful.

Yesterday he tagged this for me on Facebook.

Working in virtual space all day has its advantages, to be sure. You dont have to worry too much about budget, running out of paint is a non-issue, and there is always the off-hand chance that you can defy physics without making the universe implode, explode or turn into some weird mess of spaghetti*.

But all that aside, digital art lacks something vitally important. Its not the lack of stability, the mind numbingness of almost constant crashes (restart universe error) or the fact that you gradually earn yourself a monitor tan from constantly sitting infront of a computer.

What detracts from it the most is the fact that it is not tangible. You can't play with what you have just made. You can't walk around in those echoing coridors, you can't ever fly beside the massive star-ship.

What you see is essentially all there is to it. From one angle it looks like a complete world, but from any other angle it becomes clear that its all an illusion.

Those mountains in the background? Just a flat canvas, painted in photoshop. The walkers? Gemetric data rendered from a 3d application. Is any of it tangible? No. None of it is real.

But combined together, in just the right way, for a brief moment they form the idea, feeling and tone of a world much larger than the individual ingredients. They pave the way for the audience's imagination to *create* the world that you want them to see. Just a brief flicker, and suddenly there is a swirling sandstorm, the grind of the worn gears in the machine's leg, the glint of sun lighting up the flank of the beast, its all there in the picture, it just needs a receptive audience to give it life.

Sometimes its hard to create things in the virtual world. You know from the start exactly how many polygons are in the model, how many points it is made out of. You can see each individual element that makes up the whole picture. You know exactly how fake it is, rather than how real it looks.

It isn't always like that. Sometimes you get swept up in the creation, almost as if what you are making is making itself, you are just pressing the buttons. Its times like that, when you look up and suprise yourself, that make digital art worth all the time and effort.

It almost makes up for the constant crashing too.

*I still havn't got the hang of string theory...

The reason I post this here is because I feel it very elegantly describes what it is that I - and others - do as 3D modellers and artists.



Thursday, June 4, 2009

Update at Atlantis DSV

You read correctly.

The main site has been updated and brought up to the current state of affairs. Go check it out here.