The Eternals – Making Of On Behance

June 26th, 2015 news

Here we go with some time I invested to write a little bit about the creative process behind my “The Eternals” artwork. It includes a lot of testrenders, how the project progressed and descriptions about the overall process. I also included a couple of testrenders that show a different perspective on the scene. Feel free to check it out here on Behance.


Gaming Liberalization in Japan…

June 22nd, 2015

movie review…could give us galactic gambling. If there is any place in the world where the greatest sci-fi dreams have the highest chance of coming true, it would be Japan. Home to some of the world’s most advanced technology and robotics, Japan has been at the forefront of bringing futuristic plans to life, making headlines this year when they announced that in July, they would be opening a hotel run entirely by robots. The Henn-Na Hotel in the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in the Nagasaki Prefecture will be operated by 10 robots capable of making bookings, carrying luggage, and cleaning rooms, and the robots are so realistic, they just cross over into Uncanny Valley.

Japan is constantly breathing life into pet projects that seem torn right out of the world’s best sci-fi novels, and with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe still pushing through with his plans to legalize casino gambling in the country, it’s not unlikely that we may see the world’s first galactic casino come to life as well. While it hasn’t yet introduced gambling and integrated resorts, Japan has become known for its lavish theme parks, and with Caesars Entertainment and MGM already having expressed an intent to invest in casino resorts in Japan, the future is looking quite bright.

What might we expect from a futuristic casino in Japan? For starters, robotic dealers would help many gamblers feel more at ease. As Intercasino explains in great detail, “the card dealer plays a great impact in making your casino game memorable, fun and interesting” as not only the dealer’s level of experience can affect how much you enjoy your game, but even their temperament and how they treat you can have massive impact as well. Robotic dealers would result in a uniform experience, allowing users not just to rest easy knowing that their dealers are sufficiently skilled, but that there will be no biases resulting from the dealer’s own personal preferences.


Designs for these futuristic casinos will also be awe-inspiring, as even now, Japan has already come up with several building designs that seem snatched right out of brochures from the future. With skyscrapers built on top of each other, mega-city pyramids, and floating self-sustaining cities, it’s clear that Japan has no shortage of plans for futuristic buildings.

Mad Max: Fury Road – Movie Review

June 16th, 2015

movie reviewA little late in the game, I finally managed to watch this, oh so highly praised, action spectacle of a movie. Does it live up the hype? Naw, not really. But it’s still a damn good and entertaining action movie! My review will probably be a mashup of other reviews I read, saw and listened to over the past days but well… who cares, since I mostly agreed with them.

Let’s start with the story! Max (Tom Hardy) literally stumbles into the adventure we’re presented with here. He gets captured by some strange wasteland warriors who bring him to the Citadel. A sorta kinda death valley big rock island in the middle of a desert. A place ran by a family of deformed and mutated warlords. They’re in control of the water and over the past decades seemed to have built a religion that takes parts from all kinds of different beliefs we know today. The movie throws us into this world without much of an explanation and I find that rather refreshing. What’s to explain there. Take a look around. The world’s gone to shit. Not even that… it’s more the dust that’s left of a pile of shit when the sun constantly drains it from all its fluids. I surely don’t want to live in that world! And the movie does a good job making you understand that it’s not a cool place to be. All that without too much of an explanation. It’s textbook “show, don’t tell” George Miller executes here.

The movie shifts into next gear soon, when Charlize Theron’s character Furiosa prepares a truck for a gas run, visiting a place called Gastown. We never get to see that place except for silhouettes on the horizon. Furiosa managed to free a group of women that belong to Imortan Joe, the leader of the Citadel. These women are basically used as sex slaves and are only there for breeding purposes. When Joe finds out that his wives are gone, he immediately starts to hunt down Furiosa.

In the meanwhile, after a not so successful attempt to flee the Citadel, Max gets strapped to the front of a car. To serve as a bloodbag for one of the warriors! I think it’s never really explained in the movie but these warriors are, I guess, sick from radiation and try to extend their life by filtering their blood? So Max ends up as this living bloodbag for one of these guys called Nux (Nicolas Hoult). Nux is probably the only character who is having an arc throughout the film. Hoult does a fantastic job with the material and in the end you kinda like that character a lot. Now the big chase for Furiosa begins. And that’s basically the rest of the movie. With a couple of short breathers here and there.

Now I went to see the movie with two friends who didn’t like it very much. At least one of them is an action movie fan. While the other one is more for movies that have something to say and make you think. From what I gathered their main opinion was that the movie was stupid. Action fine and good but ultimately… stupid. The main reason for that probably is the decision our characters make in the middle of the film. When they decide to turn around and drive back to the Citadel. In that scene Max tells them that driving further into that one direction will get them nowhere except to the neverending salt flats. Now I read that what Max actually meant is that they reached a point where once the ocean started. And crossing that vast area of nothingness surely doesn’t make sense. But they don’t mention the word ‘Ocean’ in the movie. I, honestly, wasn’t able to put 1 and 1 together while watching the film. And I guess that my friends didn’t either. While the Wives and Furiosa don’t look very old… I guess Max is the only character old enough to remember the oceans. Other than that, yes… it’s the purest kind of an action movie. And in that respect it is very well done.

This movie is exactly two hours long. And it’s the first (in a very long) time, that a movie (for me) felt shorter than it actually is. All these blockbusters nowadays are so goddamn overlong. I welcome a barebone action movie that focusses on what it wants to be. Instead of trying to please every nonsense demographic that ever existed. It gives you an outline of the characters and that’s all you get. The movie doesn’t bother delivering all the backstory of each character and why they’re there and do what they do. Some might say that it would be nice to have that stuff and while normally I would agree… I’d have to disagree in case of this particular movie. It does not need that over-explanatory cheap sugarcoating. Instead you get a movie that’s easily among the best choreographed, easy to read, explosive action movies of all time. And the movie doesn’t want or strive to be more than exactly that.

From what I gathered there is a lot of sublevel detail that you will only notice in futher viewings. The costume and vehicle design alone is amazing. It almost hurts seeing all these cars blow up! It also delivers characters that leave a lot of room for interpretation. The movie doesn’t waste too much time on them. Remember Boba Fett? He’s in probably roughly 10 minutes of the original Star Wars trilogy… and he became one of the most iconic characters ever. You know why? Because he was a mystery! No I don’t want to compare the Fury Road characters to Boba Fett… but the approach on how to handle characters isn’t a bad one. We don’t know too much about Furiosa for example. But I can guarantee that her character would surely serve well for a fantastic comic prequel kind of thing.

The stunt work and VFX are seamless. I can only praise how well they worked with the practical effects. It all looked realistic and the fact they used real cars surely plays a big role why this movie became a success. It’s also funny how an over 70 years old director has to show all the youngens how to shoot action! It seems like none of the younger generation of directors know how to shoot action anymore. It’s all shaky cam and quick cuts. Not in Fury Road. The action was fantastic and easy to follow. In comparison to the action sequences in Age of Ultron, Fury Road is lightyears ahead. Whenever an action sequence in Ultron started I, more than once, thought “get it over with!”… that thought never came up in Fury Road once. Again taking Ultron as a reference when it comes to dialogue. Ultron is a very talky movie. Fury Road on the other hand minimizes dialogue to an absolut minimum. And again I have to disagree with the friends I saw it with. I found the dialogue very efficient and sometimes a short grunt is enough to say what other movies would have used a whole sentence for. Some would call it lazy writing… I call it well observed, appropriate and efficient.

So is it the masterpiece everyone says? No it isn’t. For a masterpiece you need a little more than just action. No matter how good the action is. But for the time we live in it easily is one of the best action movies in a long time. And for that alone it’s worth a recommendation.


Mad Max: Fury Road on IMDb

Galactic Civilizations 3 Artwork – Pt 2

June 15th, 2015

Here we have the second batch and first of additional three pictures I created for Galactic Civilizations 3. These were made for some sort of a Tech-tree screen where you can choose special skills for your civilization. Said screen is divided into three key aspects (benevolent, malevolent, pragmatic) that represent a certain set of skills to choose from.

Skillscreen – ‘Benevolent’

This first image is used for the ‘Benevolent’ screen. It’s a light and bright setup to represent a more friendly approach with good intentions.

Galactic Civilizations 3 - Skillscreen 1

For 1920×1080 Wallpaper Click Here

Skillscreen – ‘Malevolent’

This second image is used for the ‘Malevolent’ screen. It’s a dark, aggressive and very industrial influenced approach.

Galactic Civilizations 3 - Skillscreen 2

For 1920×1080 Wallpaper Click Here

Pic 3 will follow soon! These projects were done with Vue and Photoshop. As usual a combination of multiple renders, manipulations and overpainting.



Hunting Season

June 9th, 2015

Hunting Season

This scene doesn’t have a big backstory. I imagine it shows a military training exercise for fighter pilots on a desolate moon surface. A cat and mouse game between groups of fighters. Red vs Blue. Something like it. But ultimately I leave the interpretation the viewer. =)

This one is created for The Luminarium Art Collective for an exhibit release with the topic ‘depth’. Check it out HERE – While I admit that there are far more interesting interpretations of the topic than what I did for it, I still enjoy my work. I used the topic to play with a couple of things. First of all a slight depth of field effect. Secondly… planets! I always wanted to try myself on a picture that (even if unrealistic) has a lot of planets or moons in it. In this picture I wanted to use them to create the depth the topic demanded. And I think it works good enough to give a nice impression of a vast space and distance in general.

Created with Vue, C4D and Photoshop. For the terrain I used a worldmachine terrain that worked really nice when I played around with it. Often enough pictures come together while playing with some elements in 3d. Suddenly it clicks and you have a starting point. If you’re lucky then everything starts to fall into place as if it’s magic.

Vue, Worldmachine, C4D, Photoshop, 6000px wide


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wallpapers available



Luminarium Exhibit #26

June 8th, 2015

The Luminarium Exhibit #26

Here we go with the 26th Exhibit of The Luminarium Artgroup. “Depth” was the topic this time and the interpretation of it amongst the artists in the collective spawned some nice ideas. There are a couple of pieces in there that really make me proud to be a part of it. The Exhibit features some of the best digital art that’s currently on the internet. There is digital art, digital painting, 3d, 2d, photography and music! Congrats to everyone involved! Fantastic work!

Artworks from all kinds of different fields of expertise, surely are a nice source for inspiration! So be sure to check it out – Depth.

The Luminarium: WebsiteDeviantartBehance



The Avengers: Age Of Ultron – Movie Review

May 27th, 2015

movie reviewHere is the final chapter of Marvel’s Phase 2. And it’s a rather smooth closing I have to admit. Seeing this movie rather late with 4 weeks after its release, it makes me wonder where the hype has gone, comparing it all with the time when the first movie came out. There is nothing left. It feels like one week after the release everything stopped. Are people disappointed? What did they expect? Wasn’t it enough spectacle?

When talking about spectacle we watch the beginning of the film with a quite extensive action sequence. Everyone is there. Ironman, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. We don’t get an explanation of what’s going on and how it all got to this point. From what I gathered they are on their way to raid a fortress like complex because a bad guy somehow managed to obtain Loki’s scepter. Remember? The one that gave him the power he used to destroy half New York in Avengers 1. That action sequence goes on for a little too long and was close to exhausting. Of course our heroes manage to get the scepter. Banner and Stark start to analyze it and discover an artificial intelligence in it. Both decide to tickle it out of the scepter and see what it’s good for. They don’t tell the other Avengers about it. Which is one of many signs that they’re not the best team ever. The alien A.I. doesn’t like to be played with and decides to take matters in its own hands. While being held in the Avengers HQ it has all the best technology around and immediately starts to form a plan. Before doing that, it gains access to the Internet and basically recognizes that mankind has to get a reboot in order to make a step further. Looking at most of the stuff that’s on the Internet nowadays… I can understand that point of view for sure. The Avengers of course do their best to stop Ultron. Before that, they get a serious beating and decide to retreat for a while. They eventually regain their strength and go on to face Ultron in a final battle.

That’s all I want to say about the story. There is more going on and that even includes three new prominent characters with some cool powers. They way the movie starts, with that big action part, I don’t regret having opted for the 2D showing of the film. This film with its 2 1/2h in 3D would have been exhausting like hell. And watching it in 2D I did not notice a single scene that made me say “Wow! That would have been amazing in 3D!” On the contrary. In the fight sequences I was at least able to see what was going on. A lot of CGI objects thrown against walls. It got tiring after a while. It felt wrong, every damn single time. They way they do it just isn’t physically accurate. It takes me out of the movie every single time. Overall the CGI work was good though. At one point Ironman has to stop Hulk from rampaging through a city. That was done pretty well. Even though that action sequence felt too long as well. So overall the action was entertaining while, at least for my taste, it was always very close to being too much.

To counter the action parts, most movies take a timeout and move to character moments. Mostly to give the audience a breather and develop some characters a little more. And that’s where this movie, much like the first film, shines. Joss Whedon is really good with character interaction and dialogue in the quieter moments. Even better when not so prominent characters have a moment to shine. All the main characters, that have their own movie series going on, take a step aside in this Avengers movie. Instead we get more from Hawkeye, Black Widow and Hulk. It still amazes me how balanced the Avengers movies are though. There is not a single instance or sequence where any of the characters falls short. All of them get their deserved time. Which ultimately results in a very organic storytelling where nothing falls short and the audience gets a new perspective on certain things.

Sometimes it feels a little forced though. By that I mean bringing in as many characters as possible. It borders overkill and they managed to avoid it by only a small margin. To me it still felt almost too much. Even in the third act of the film we get introduced to a new character. A character that definitely, one way or another, will play its part in Phase 3. It’s a very long third act. Aside of that there were also a lot of references, which makes me wonder how lost someone would be, who never saw another one of the other movies. At this point though, it would almost be impossible to make an Avengers movie, that would work without referencing stuff. And then there is the Infinity Stone storyline, that will eventually lead up to the Infinity War movies in 2 or 3 years from now. They have to shove a lot of story elements down the audience’s thoats to explain and move forward the Phase 3 storyline.

A friend of mine said the movie was boring While I found the movie rather good for what it wants to be. I can see how it can be boring to someone who’s not at all into the characters. Even though that friend has seen the other Marvel movies and enjoyed some of them. This Avengers movie is quite a sit though. With all those overlong action sequences and repeating brawls between CGI characters it probably wouldn’t have been hard to cut at least 20 minutes out of that thing. The character interaction works great though. Even in the battle sequences there are a lot of parts where they work together and use each other to execute some great moves to take down some bad guys. That’s always fun to watch. Teamwork between the characters. The strongest moments are still the quiet ones. When our heroes reflect on what’s going on and what’s best to do next.

So overall I would recommend this film, if you are familiar with at least the first Avengers movie and you enjoyed it. It’s more of the same stuff and it, for the most part, works really good. Is it as good as the first Avengers movie? No, probably not. But it isn’t worse either. It just the element of ‘something new’ that is missing in this one. Which worked in favour of the first movie. But still, it’s a cool thing to see all these characters work together in one movie.

A solid 7.7/10 for me.

The Avengers: Age Of Ultron on IMDb

Dark Star – H.R. Giger’s World

May 20th, 2015

movie reviewIn my early days of playing with Photoshop and trying to be creative and productive with it, there was a very good friend who had this gift for me. It was one of the first artbooks I ever had. It was about HR Giger, his life and his work. I always was a big fan of the movie Alien and fascinated by the creature design. I knew the name behind it but never really checked on background info. Every now and then I stumbled across an image that immediately made me say “that must be a Giger!”. Time moved on and to my surprise (even today) I made something off of my early Photoshop fun days and became more serious and professional. Which resulted in the fact that one of my artworks is featured in a book (Ballistic Publishing’s Expose 8) that also had a big feature about HR Giger in it. That’s a tiny bit mindblowing.

This new documentary is about Giger as a person and how his art influenced him, his friends and his life in general. Since Giger passed away not long ago, this documentary is a nice, quiet and calm sort of goodbye to, what seems like, one of the nicest guys ever. And we can be lucky and thankful to director Belinda Sallin to have this film. For me it wasn’t an easy watch to be honest. While filming, Giger wasn’t in the best condition and you could see that it’s going to end soon. While he himself does not speak too much, it’s his friends, family and colleagues who speak for him. And who else would be able to say better what kind of person he was, right? And from what is said in the film he was a very fantastic person. Not perfect of course… but kind, friendly and helpful. A very good person.

I like the title of this documentary since it’s stressing that it’s not entirely about Giger’s life itself… instead it’s more about what surrounds him and made him the artist he became/was. The film starts in his house. And you immediately feel like in some kind of labyrinth. It’s dark. Full of books and pictures. It’s neither clean or tidy… but it isn’t dirty either. It’s more of a controlled chaos. It feels organic. It’s a world in its own. And that’s what the documentary does very well. It’s no documentary with fancy graphics and design elements… it’s all film and presented in an organic fashion. Well suited for Giger and his work. We learn a lot about the people who followed him over the years. There is not a single person who said anything negative about him. Everyone who is talking about him, spoke with a certain warmth, respect and passion. Giger left a fingerprint on these people and it’s not because of his work. It’s because of what kind of person he was. He was not able to see the final film but I can imagine that he would have been very happy about everything his friends had to say about him.

In the middle of the film we get some more insight into his work life. How he’s inspired and where his ideas come from. Along with some fascinating speculations by his colleagues and friends. Although that’s all very vague. Giger himself doesn’t really know how and why he comes up with these images. Images that are so strange and yet familiar. Images that could be so frightening but are so much more fascinating. We get to see some rare footage from the production of Alien in the late 1970s. Back then he was full of energy and at his creative peak. He moved on winning the Oscar for his design work on Alien. We see that Oscar in his house. A little dusty… but still shining. Then we go on and learn about his parents that were mighty proud of their son. You can see it in their eyes. And isn’t it that what every child wants? To see that glimpse of pride in the eyes of their parents when they talk about their kids? And as the viewer of this documentary you’re constantly wondering how such a great and likeable person could come up with these strange paintings.

But Giger’s work is not limited to paintings alone. He also made a lot of sculptures that look equaly strange and yet familiar like his paintings. We see the Bar he designed and his personal Museum. So much amazing work in there. All these paintings in their original size just look great.

At the end of the film Giger is wandering around in his museum and it really feels like a goodbye. It turned out that it really was the last time he was there. It’s kind of sad. But on the other hand it’s amazing work he created, that definitely made him immortal and something he will be remembered for. Beside that moment there are a lot of touching sequences in this film. He left his mark on a lot of people. Not just friends and relatives. Later in the film we hear him say that he’s happy with his life and how it turned out. Which makes the fact that he’s no longer with us less sad.

Ultimately this is a must see movie for anyone who has a slightest interest in art or even movies. A perfect double feature with Jodorowsky’s Dune. It’s a very quiet and respectful portrait of one of the most fascinating and original artists in recent history.

The guys over at The Projection Booth have a nice talk about this documentary as well: Check it here


Dark Star: HR Gigers Welt on IMDb

Spectrum 21 Feature

May 8th, 2015

Spectrum 21

Here we have a book of extraordinary quality. And by that I don’t mean the presentation and quality paper. It’s more about the diversity and quality of art that is included in this fine publication. It contains all kinds of artistic fields and artists that define the visual media of today. No matter if games, movies or entertainment in general. No wonder that other editions of the book were nominated for a Hugo award. Quite amazing. This book actually would not even be on my radar if it weren’t for Lauren Panepinto at Orbit Books. Quite a while ago they used my ‘Phoenix Rising‘ piece for the cover of a Simon Morden scifi book. Lauren seemed to really like my picture and submitted it (as well as works by other artists) to the Spectrum folks. With a little luck my picture made it into the book. That was a great surprise. So a couple of weeks ago I received my copy of the book and want to show you some bits and pieces.

And my ‘Phoenix Rising‘ on page 52.

Find the book here – Spectrum 21



French Connection – Movie Review

May 7th, 2015

movie reviewI’m a William Friedkin fan. He’s certainly one of the best directors of 1970s and 80s. His ‘The Exorcist’ is timeless and ‘Sorcerer’ is thrilling to no end. I recently watched two of his movies in a row and that was ‘To Live And Die In L.A.’ and ‘French Connection’. Both are cop movies. While ‘French Connection’ is a true classic, ‘To Live…’ oozes 80s all over the place. But here I want to talk ‘French Connection’ from 1971.

It’s about some french sorta kinda business men who want to smuggle some dope into the USA. They have it all planned, ready to carry it out and do so. In the mean time we are introduced to Popeye Doyle (Gene Hackman) and his partner Buddy Russo (Roy Scheider). Both are cops in New York and are really eager to do the job as efficient and best as possible. These guys are fantastic and the Scheider/Hackman duo does work great. I think the film does portray the police work in new york back in the day very accurate. It’s very dirty, sleazy and rough. I really liked that element. And our two cops are willing to put in the extra hours to do the job right. You can see how the fatigue strikes them both almost down while they investigate the leads they got in regards to that coup the french guys are trying to pull off. There are some really great cat and mouse plays between Popeye and the french leading man. While the investigation of it all runs into some empty corners, every now and then we see how Popeye is almost fanatically trying to catch the bad guys. No matter what. Forces and drags his partners with him.

If you want to get a good impression of a 70s New York in Winter then this is the go to movie. You can almost feel the chilling cold when Popeye and friends observate the french guys. Also a big nod to Roy Scheider here. I didn’t even know he’s in this movie but it was a welcome surprise since I really like to see him. While Gene Hackman surely is the main guy, Roy Scheider does a nice job with his character in balancing out the ruthless determination of Hackman’s character. Really good work from both of them.

On a technical note the movie feels very very modern and almost uptodate to styles that are common and used today. The camera is always in motion and very dynamic. It has a handheld feel that reminds very much of the Bourne movie series. And this movie is 30 years before the first Bourne movie! But that’s sort of a trademark in Friedkin’s work. It’s all very visceral in its presentation and feels very realistic. The camera work makes the viewer feel as if he’s right there. Loved that approach. And the good thing… it’s never crossing the line into shaky cam territory that drives me crazy. Nowadays it’s used to cover up shitty vfx or bad skills. Back then it was used to bring the viewer a little closer to what’s going on.

Friedkin also likes to work with subtitles. Which makes it all much more authentic. So the french guys are actually speaking french in the movie. This helps to give the whole story and presentation a very specific international vibe and ups the scope. Also the presentation of New York as this greasy gritty shithole that it probably was around the time, really pushes the atmosphere as a whole. It sometimes feels like a Labyrinth that you can get lost in far too easy.

I should have seen this film earlier but that’s how it is sometimes. Now that I saw it I must say that it’s one of the best cop movies I ever saw. The movie won 5 well deserved oscars (Best Movie, Best Actor, Best Writing and Best Director) and that pretty much says it all. Now I suggest you rush out, go see this film and learn where all the modern cinematography started! Hush!


French Connection on IMDb