Monday, March 31, 2014

Trailer: Construct

Construct is a short film created by Kevin Margo, CG Supervisor and director of Blur Studio VFX, the company responsible for the Batman Arkham and Halo trailers.  Margo is also the director of the award-winning short film Grounded.  This teaser was presented as part of a tech demo at Nvidia's GTC conference March 25, 2014. This is a work in progress intended to illustrate recent advancements in graphics hardware and software capabilities.

Featurette: Star Wars: Prelogy

If you want a reminder of the story that was laid out in the prequels (and I honestly don't know why you would), without having to endure them all over, Reddit has pointed folks in the direction of epic retrospective created by Steven Thomas that recaps the three movies in ten minutes.  It's like ripping off the band-aid really quick.
"The three Star Wars prequels Lucas released between 1999 and 2005, 22 years after their predecessors in the original trilogy, were among the most eagerly awaited movies of all time -- and arguably, among the most discussed of all time.

But I like the prequel ! I'm not a purist of Star Wars but i have to tell you these movies are more interesting than lot of SuperHero movies which multiplies since last years. I know this trilogy is unperfect but it's not so catastrophic which we can say. The storyline is certainly better than the directing and the interpretation of leading actors but George Lucas has made a coherent prelogy with the original trilogy."

Featurette: Birth of the Lightsaber

This 15-minute featurette detailing the birth and history of the lightsaber features both George Lucas and Mark Hamill.  It examines the origins of the weapon, its meaning in the series, and the technical aspects of how they worked with various visual effects to make it appear on screen.

Video: Wil Wheaton's Advice

During a panel at Denver Comic Con last year, a young gitl contending with bullies in her school asked Wil Wheaton if he’d ever been called a "nerd" when he was a kid. Wheaton's heartfelt response and words of support was so resoundingly awesome that you won't know whether to grab a tissue or whoop for joy. 

When this video recently surfaced on Reddit, both of the girl’s mother and her father both voiced their gratitude for the advice Wil offered and provided an update on how their daughter is doing now. 

Music Video: Star Wars Symphonic Suite

"Star Wars Symphonic Suite" by Jelani Eddington at the Sanfilippo Wurlitzer
"Jelani Eddington plays the Main Title from the Star Wars Symphonic Suite at the 5/80 Sanfilippo Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ in Barrington, Illinois."

Short Film: Prospect

"Prospect" Directed by Zeek Earl & Chris Caldwell of Shep Films

In this short film, directors Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell transplant an old story trope from the deserts of old westerns to the science fiction genre.  In it, a teenage girl and her father are prospecting for precious salvage materials in the verdant forests of an alien world in the hope of striking it rich, but their very lives hang in the balance when they encounter a futuristic claim jumper trying to seize what their findings.  It's a great twist on an old story that's very well executed.
"Prospect is the coming-of-age story of a teenage girl on a toxic alien planet. She and her father hunt for precious materials, aiming to strike it rich. When the father is attacked by a roving bandit, the daughter must take control. Prospect premiered at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival."

Crafts: House Stark Stained Glass

Crafts: Leather Covers

Prints available for purchase from Etsy. US$85

If you're a bookworm like me, there's at least one book in your collection that's never far from your reach, some life changing volume that will always have its pride of place on your nightstand or fireplace mantel.  For those special few titles, Alan Klem handcraft beautiful custom leather dust jackets.

Street Art: Abyss

"Abyss" by 1010
Photographed in Hamburg, Germany

Street Art: 3D Space Invaders

[Previously: 3D Pac-Man Painting]
3D street art Space Invaders at the EPLF campus Lausanne Switzerland. The anamorphic painting measures 150 meters square and was been created for the "Art on Science" Project, on exhibit from March 17 to April 10.

Posters: Bioshock Quotes

"Bioshock Quote Posters" by London-based graphic designer Simon Ward
Prints available for purchase from Etsy. £25

A Set of 3 Bioshock Quote posters each featuring locations from the series, including Rapture and Columbia.

Posters: Valar Morghulis

"Valar Morghulis" by Philippines-based illustrator Kerby Rosanes
Prints available for purchase from Society6. US$22.88
"Personal piece inspired by the house sigils and themes of HBO's epic fantasy series, Game of Thrones."

Posters: GoT Season 1

Winter is Coming

Game of Thrones Season 1 Minimalist Posters by Jen Snow
Prints and merchandise available for purchase from RedBubble.

Posters: Game of Thrones Minimalism

Posters: Game of Thrones Sigils

"Game of Thrones Sigils" by Manila-based graphic designer Jig Ignacio

Artist: Jonas Åkerlund

Illustration by Stockholm-based Jonas Åkerlund

Artist: James Paick

Illustrations by James Paick

Illustration: Lannisters Caricatures

Tywin Lannister Caricature

Game of Throne Caricatures of House Lannister

Illustration: Summer is Coming

Prints available for purchase from Society6. US$18

Varys has a hot dog. VARYS HAS A HOT DOG.

Humor: Before the Internet

This is soooo true.  I remember sitting around the house on Sunday mornings, bored out of my skull.  Now, there's no such thing as nothing to do, there's only net surfing time.

P.S. Did you know that there's a wiki dedicated to explaining the references in each XKCD comic?  It's also a great place to discuss the comic with other people who are fanatical fans of the comic.

Gaming Round-Up: March 31, 2014

Get em Minion! by Chad Woodward

News: If you’re one of the many who have experienced past frustration on Xbox Live due to gamers with poor attitudes, Microsoft is stepping up to the plate. A new Xbox One reputation system targets and penalizes players who receive repeated negative reviews from their peers.

News:  Noted anti-video game senator Leland Yee was indicted this week on bribery and corruption charges.  Oh Yee of little integrity.

According to game developer extraordinaire Ken Levine, the future of storytelling in gaming lies in video game plots and characters that change and evolve with each playthrough.  This sounds amazing, but obviously presents some logistical challenges.

Comic Round-Up: March 31, 2014

Welcome to the neighborhood!

Interview: Kurt Anderson interviews Gene Luen Yang about his graphic novel Boxers & Saints.

Interview: With the arrival of the second issue of The Sandman: Overture, Neil Gaiman talks about the joy of writing the first series and returning for this one, why he chooses to pen a story as a comic rather than a novel, and how his process differs.

Link Round-Up: March 31, 2014

Crescent Crown Dragon by MoulinBleu

Creative Influence Isn't an Excuse for Plagiarism

How it became cool to be a geek

Does late Dungeons & Dragons creator Gary Gygax deserve a statue?

The Lord of the Rings vs. Game of Thrones: Tolkien's epic fantasy seems downright naive compared to George R.R. Martin's post-Cold War political parable

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Posters: Center of the Earth

Prints available for purchase from Nautilus Art for 72 hours only.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lecture: Bionics Will Transform Us

"Bionic tools are no longer restricted to the pages of science fiction literature. Real, amazing advances are being made and promise to transform the way humans experience the world. Trace runs down a list of some of the most exciting bionic inventions to date."

Lecture: Bionic Limbs

"Professor Homayoon Kazerooni is a robotics engineer at the University of California, Berkeley with more than 40 patents to his name. His research on exoskeletons relies on more than just ingenuity and engineering expertise, it's also an example of how inspiration can play a part in the innovation process, the simple desire to help other humans."

Lecture: How Big Is The Universe?

"In ‘How Big Is The Universe?’ ROG astronomer Liz shows us the expanding nature of the Universe and how this affects the light reaching us from distant galaxies, some of which will remain forever hidden from our view."

Video: Captain America Honest Trailer

Before "The Winter Soldier" hits theaters, revisit the first Captain America movie...which was really just a feature-length set-up for "The Avengers."

Ads: Titanfall Mech

Life-Sized Titanfall Titan in Berlin
Photographed by DunkinNico and Lepotatoe

This life-sized mech, the Atlas model Titan "Betty," is part of the "Titan Tour," a roving marketing campaign for EA Games' Titanfall.  These photos were taken in Hauptbahnhof (central railway station).  SlashGear has a story about other events promoting the game across Europe.

Short Film: Manifold

Manifold is an ambitiously multi-layered short film that blends crime drama and science fiction into a narrative that leaves most of the work to the viewer's imagination.  In it, a small-town sheriff investigates a grisly murder scene linked to a brilliant young software engineer, but his investigation uncovers a much larger conspiracy.  The film is carefully structured to leave viewers wanting more, but even if you’re left scratching your head, there’s no denying that Manifold is gorgeous to watch.

Short Film: The Naturalist

In this gripping science fiction film, a gay man living in a genetically modified society is offered an opportunity to alter his sexuality. The film was created as Connor Hurley's KickStarter-funded thesis for NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and it explores the concepts of genetic engineering and human sexuality through a tale of a love triangle complicated by science fiction technology.

The film centers on devoted partners Simon and Oliver, who live in a militant future society that mandates the use of genetic therapy to correct co-called "inferiorities," including homosexuality. Simon and Oliver's relationship is put to the test with the arrival of Eden, an heiress genetically modified to physical perfection. Eden has been in love with Simon for years, and offers him an escape from his precarious position in society: a genetic virus that can alter his sexuality.

It's a fantastically thought-provoking film.  I genuinely wish there were more like it floating around out there.

Short Film: Shifter

This visually striking short film from The Hallivis Brothers combines the aesthetics of the best eighties films with the more sophisticated science fiction story tropes of today.  It's sort of like Terminator and Inception spawned a baby. 
"Los Angeles - 2023. James Striker is on the verge of bringing down the oppressive government that has crushed all freedom in the United States. But before he can take them on, Striker must get past a homicidal drone and an elite squad of EFT soldiers. His only advantage is the SHIFT, a process that allows Striker to transfer his mind into an identical clone body. New body, Same mission: Bring the whole system down."

Jewelry: Solar System Necklaces

Solar system inspired jewelry from the Miriel Design

Solar System Necklaces by Norwegian goldsmith Josephine Ryan
Jewelry available for purchase from Etsy. US$80 - $420

Jewelry: Horde Engagement Ring

Horde Engagement Ring (from World of Warcraft) by Paul Michael Designs
Jewelry available for purchase from Etsy. US$490

I'm not sure what sort of marriage would start with a Horde ring, but this would be a pretty sweet gift for your favorite gamer girl... so long as she's not an Alliance fan.  The stones are a 1-1.1 carat heart-shaped ruby and 0.25 carats of diamonds.

Jewelry: Sonic Solitaire Ring

"The Sonic Solitaire" by Paul Michael Design
Jewelry available for purchase from Etsy. US$175

It may not be the sort of sonic screw driver that the Doctor uses to open doors, but if sprung at just the right moment, this ring could certainly get you out of some sticky situations.  You know, like a forgotten anniversary? 
"Who needs a key to your heart when you have The Sonic Solitaire? Embellish with your choice of colored stones that can represent almost anything, keep it true to Dr. Who colors, add a birthstone or go crazy and add a real diamond and make this “The Ring” using our custom settings."

Jewelry: Rings of Mara

Skyrim: Rings of Mara by Peregrine Studios

"Ring of Mara" (from Skyrim) by Peregrine Studios
Jewelry available for purchase from Etsy. US$76.78

Peregrine Studios has an excellent selection of custom design geek fandom-themed jewelry produced with 3D printers, including a fairly wide selection of Skyrim necklaces.  If you're a geek girl (or dating a geek girl), this is going to be a necessary bookmark.

Crafts: Carl of Duty IV

Carl of Duty IV by Zombie Yeti

"Carl of Duty IV" by Zombie Yeti
Part of the AMC The Walking Dead art show at Hero Complex Gallery.

12” X 24” Laser engraved on hard Maple Wood finished with a coffee infused stain and satin clear coat.

Papercraft: Cute Papercraft Pokémon

Papercraft Pokémon by Christchurch, New Zealand-based PlaidCushion

Sarah, aka PlaidCushion, painstakingly created these 12 x 18cm Pokemon from paper as part of a month-long challenge.  They include Umbreon, Sigilyph, Budew and Volcarona.  You can catch them all in her DeviantArt gallery

Papercraft: Paper-Cut Light Boxes

Paper-Cut Light Boxes by Hari & Deepti

Deepti Nair and Harikrishnan Panicker (collectively known as Hari & Deepti) are a couple who light boxes from paper.  Panicker is a trained graphic designer and illustrator.  Nair specializes in paper cut art.  Each of the pieces is constructed from layers of watercolor paper inside a shadow box and lit with a flexible LED light strip.  The pieces shown here were exhibited as part of this year's SCOPE NY art show at Black Book Gallery.
"Paper is brutal in its simplicity as a medium. It demands the attention of the artist while it provides the softness they need to mold it in to something beautiful. It is playful, light, colorless and colorful. It is minimal and intricate. It reflects light, creates depth and illusions in a way that it takes the artist through a journey with limitless possibilities.
What amazes us about the paper cut light boxes is the dichotomy of the piece in its lit and unlit state, the contrast is so stark that it has this mystical effect on the viewers."

Installation: Facades

"Facades" by French photographer Zacharie Gaudrillot-Roy

Zacharie Gaudrillot-Roy that imagines a world where facades have been completely isolated from buildings.  Several of these pieces will be included in “Bright Lights. Big Cities.” exhibit at the Antwerp Mansion in Manchester this May.
"The façade is the first thing we see, it’s the surface of a building. It can be impressive, superficial or safe. Just like during a wandering through a foreign city, I walk through the streets with these questions: what will happen if we stick to that first vision? If the daily life of “The Other” was only a scenery? This series thus offers a vision of an unknown world that would only be a picture, without intimate space, with looks as the only refuge."

Installation: Mirror Culture

"Mirror Culture" by Ignatov Architects
Prints available for purchase from Etsy. Society6. US$

Last summer, Ignatov Architects erected this outdoor installation in Varna, Bulgaria with the assistance of 128 volunteers who gathered six thousand used compact discs and tied them onto a fishing net at the entrance of a local seaside garden.  The resulting surface reflects the light as it ripples in the breeze, like a fish's scales catching the light beneath the waves.

The resulting piece, "Mirror Culture," was seen by over fifty thousand visitors in the course of the summer, and its popularity raised public support to nominate Varna as the European Capital of Culture for 2019. 

"It was my fascination with the play of light on fish scales and on liquid surfaces that made me think of a flexible mirror," lead architect Borislav Ignatov told Slate in a recent interview.  "I realized that the optical discs use the same principles of refraction and separation of light as fish scales and I decided to use them for the purpose."

Installation: Walking, Eating, Sleeping

Frick’s work is composed of laser-cut wood panels that serve as visual records of numerical patterns that represent how people experience their day.  Each piece is unique.  One piece, for example, depicts how a group of people spend their day walking.  It looks like a map of a city, with gridded roads and clusters of buildings.  Each panel is hung at different height and at different angels, creating an overwhelming cloud of data, referencing multiple lives and timelines. 
"Numbers are abstract concepts but we recognize pattern intuitively. I’m experimenting with wall size patterns that anticipate the condition of our daily-selves. Very soon walls and spaces we occupy will be filled with easy to decode patterns – a visual record of how we feel, stress level, mood, bio-function captured, digitally recorded and physically produced using 3D printers and lasercutters. Human data portraits transcribed as pattern from the all the sensor data collected about us.

Will it kill the mystery of being human, simply magnify our defects or will sensors and a mass of measurements acknowledge and present patterns of self-examination that lure us into a future of self-quantification that is irresistible?"

Event: Art Wars Dubai


"Art Wars Dubai" curated by Mo Abedin
Photographs by Vin Miranda (top) and Ravindranath K of  The National (bottom)

"Art Wars Dubai" debuted in the Bloomingdales Atrium of The Dubai Mall on March 20th.  The exhibit features twenty customized StormTrooper helmets contributed by various artists from the United Arab Emirates.  This event is supported by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and The Toy Store. The exhibit will be on display until March 30th, after which it will be moved to the Middle East Film and Comic Con (April 3rd to the 5th) at The Dubai World Trade Centre, where they will be sold via auction. You really need to check out the MEFCC Facebook page to see what they have in store.

Posters: Mass Effect

Mass Effect Posters by Colin Morella

Posters: When the world will end

That is when the world will end

Posters: Madness is the Emergency Exit

Madness is the Emergency Exitby VVernacatola

Posters: Alien

Alien Posters by Martin Ansin
Created for the Mondo Gallery in Austin, Texas.

Posters: Alien

Alien Posters by Kevin Tong
Created for the Mondo Gallery in Austin, Texas.

Illustration: Street Fighter

Prints available for purchase from Etsy. £15

Illustration: Game of Thrones Cast

Game of Thrones Character Illustrations by Varsha Vijayan

Paintings: Great Scott!

Great Scott!

Prints available for purchase from the artist's website. US$15
Back To The Future portrait. Oil on canvas.
"I’m working with oils for the first time ever today, exciting! Blending with oils is AMAZING, I can blend with oil with so much more fluidity than I can with acrylic - Let’s see where we go with this!

For my first oil painting I wanted to do a portrait of an expressive face - and I found the perfect candidate. Great Scott!!"

Paintings: That Burnt Orange Sky

Underneath That Burnt Orange Sky

Prints available for purchase from the artist's website. US$15
Doctor Who portrait. Acrylic and Gesso on canvas.
[ Blog | Facebook | Ebay ]

"I could pretend, just for a bit, I could imagine they were still alive underneath the burnt orange sky. I’m not just a Time Lord: I’m the last of the Time Lords."
"I haven’t painted in acrylic for a while, and I haven’t painted the Tenth Doctor for some time either - so here comes the Tenth Doctor, acrylic on canvas.  Allons-y!!"

Link Round-Up: March 27, 2014

Cinder by ChasingArtwork

Interview: Chris Nolan Built Giant, Practical Spaceship Interiors For Interstellar

20 Killer Game of Thrones Items on Etsy

The 22nd Field Notes Colors seasonal release is made of wood! The “Shelterwood” edition features covers made from actual American Cherry wood. The fine folks behind Field Notes never cease to amaze. Watch the making off video here.

Camera Used by Astronauts on Moon "Pulls $940 Gs" at Auction — The history of Hasselblad cameras used (and perhaps abused) during the Apollo moon missions.

A mashup of 43 iconic cartoon theme songs, performed by Ensemble ACJW at Carnegie Hall.  How many can you name?

Mike Mignola's Otherworldly Concept Art For Disney's Atlantis

Humor: Internet makes me Sick

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Video: Game of Thrones Recapped

Never watched the Game of Thrones TV series and want to hop in when season 4 starts? Here a quick recap of the three first seasons in just 9 minutes!

Video: Mario Warfare

Beatdownboogie has released a new KickStarter-funded web series called "Mario Warfare" that pays tribute to a lot of great action movies, using classic Nintendo game characters.  Keep an eye out to see if you can spot them all! 
"Bowser's airships rain destruction on the Mushroom Kingdom.  The King is missing, presumed dead.  The Princess is on the run.  A couple plumbers answer the call of duty and sign up to fight.  Now Mario, Luigi (and a team of old school video game characters) are thrown into the gritty new world of first person shooters like COD and Battlefield.

Imagine "Super Mario Brothers meets Blackhawk Down." With a healthy dose of humor.  That's our new web series, Mario Warfare!  It's a loving parody of classic video games and epic action-films."

Video: House of Thrones

"House of Thrones" (Game of Thrones meets House of Cards Parody) by QuiznosToaster

Is it a Game of Thrones parody or a Quiznos commercial? You decide!
"Game of Thrones meets House of Cards in Frank Underwood's new hit "House of Thrones." Who lives? Who dies? You got to watch this toasty video to find out! Curated entertainment, straight from the toaster. Quiznos and Toasty TV sets life on fire and burns down the status quo, bringing you the hottest in music, film, art and entertainment."

Short Film: Zominic

I've always found the lack of baby-sized zombies in horror films a bit strange.  It seems like a pint-sized flesh eater would be exactly the right intersection of tragedy and grotesquery that post-apocalyptic films are trying to capture.

Turns out, I'm not the only one thinking that way, because here's a short film that centers on a baby turned zombie.  Only, this isn't really a horror film, it's a dark comedy.

Short Film: Torturous

Have you ever found your credulity strained in the midst of a horror movie when the killer's actions seem to be just a bit too perfectly executed?  I mean, why is it that horror film psycho always seem to be just a hair's breadth from omniscience?  Torturous is a short film that pokes fun at that entire convention.  What if the villains from Hostel and Saw ruined their own plans by accidentally grabbing the wrong guy?   Or what if the madman from your favorite slasher flick was in the grip of an existential crisis?

This excellent short film from Angus Swantee walks the line between blood-soaked fear and black humor without ever missing a step.  It combines comedy and terror by letting the victim keep his cool while the villain reacts like an actual human being.  The results reduce the horror genre's best conventions to complete absurdity.

I would absolutely love to see this one expanded out into a full length film like Cabin in the Woods.

Quick Pic: Game of Thrones Ad

Source: Twitter via Nerd Approved

Neatorama calls this an "Advertising Fail," but I suspect a marketing exec with a wicked sense of humor knew exactly what he was doing.  Clearly, this photo was destined to go viral.  It's just too perfect.

Short Film: Lights Out

David Sandberg won the Best Director award for this short film in the Bloody Cuts Horror Challenge. In it, Sandberg illustrates the difference between the classic suspense films Hitchcock favored and today's special effects dependent horror films.

Be warned, this is a short film to be watched in the daylight, and definitely not just before you turn out the lights for the night.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lecture: Big Bang Discovery

An interesting video about why the recent discovery that gravitational waves actually exist matters so much. 

Lecture: Light Speed With Minecraft

"Minecraft can be a great tool for visualizing complicated subjects, such as the speed of light (aka "c"). Using a straight track and simple math, we can see how the universe might be limiting speeds for very fast things, such as light.

The "doors" metaphor is admittedly, imperfect. While they do limit speed outside of "acceleration", they falsely imply that there is something "in space" that slows things down, which does not appear to be the case at the moment. The actual mechanisms that limit objects to light speed will be the topic for a future video. (Hint: It has to do with time!)"

Music Video: Beer Bottle Soundtracks

Music Video: Dragon's Daughter

Remix master Melody Sheep is super psyched for the upcoming fourth season of Game of Thrones, debuting April 6.   In honor of the next exciting chapter in the fantasy tale, Sheep made this catchy Game of Thrones Tribute Remix to hold fans over.

Short Film: Odessa

Odessa tells the story of the first mission to a potentially habitable exoplanet, 135 years away.  On the night before the mission, two people meet, and through the course of the meeting, the film explores the voyagers' doubt and commitment.  Odessa a low-key, introspective film about the human condition, and the need to explore.

This film was  written and directed by Cidney Hue for her thesis project at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.  It was funded through KickStarter.

Short Film: CRUSH


Malek Rizkallah tells a heart-wrenching tale in just two minutes.  That all the time it takes for him to arouse heart feels in this potent tale of Crash Dummies who come to life.  The ending is a bit ambiguous, but the film's intensity is undeniable.  Enjoy.
""CRUSH" is my final project of the 3D Animation and Visual Effects program in Vancouver Film School.

I had a lot of fun doing this. I was inspired by almost everything I saw, heard and felt for the past year (2013).

In "Crush", a pair of dummies are being assembled for a crash test. Moments before the test begins, a fateful spark alters the process. This event ignites a connection between the couple, driving them to defy their destination."

Posters: Game of Thrones

Posters: Halo

The Halo Posters Series - Created by Colin Morella

Posters: Firefly

Firefly Poster by Kodi Sherson

Prints available for purchase from Etsy. US$12.50

Event: King for a Day

"The Overlook Hotel" by Matthew Rabalais
24” x 36” giclée print - Edition of 15 - $60
My ‘The Shining’ inspired piece for Hero Complex Gallery's “King for a Day” show, opening March 21st, which will feature artwork inspired by the stories of Stephen King.

Hero Complex Gallery is holding the "King for a Day" Stephen King tribute how  March 21st – April 6th.  The exhibition will feature artwork inspired by the work of Stephen King, including his novels, short stories, scripts, television shows and films.  A portion of the proceeds of this show will benefit Mr. King’s charity of choice, The Haven Foundation, a non-profit service that serves to benefit freelance creators of all types who have found themselves unable to work due to disease or accident.

Artist: Bastien Grivet

Illustrations by Bastien Grivet

Bastien Grivet is a freelance concept artist based in Montpellier, France and has done work for the likes of Activiosn and Ubisoft.

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