Much like ‘Sanctuary’, my last project, I had no specific plan in mind when I started this one. I wanted to do a different kind of Scifi interior and just started to play around with shapes. This time I heavily used into Vue imported vector shapes to create the room and most of its contents. I also wanted to play with daylight/artificial light combinations inside the room. That part was interesting and fun. I don’t know if I would like to live with an architecture like the one in the picture. It has a certain flow that my eyes seem to appreciate though.
Technically it’s business as usual. In my recent projects I use a lot of vector shapes for some rudimentary/basic 3d modeling. I create these in Photoshop and save the shapes as a *.bmp. Then I load the *.bmp into Inkscape to create a vector shape with Inkscape’s tracing plugin to save it then as a *.eps file. Somehow it’s not possible to get Vue compatible vectors created with Photoshop. That’s why I always have to go through Inkscape. It’s very annoying. But it works and gets the right results. The lady is done with DAZ tools but modified in Vue and Photoshop.
This picture is also part of the KIBERNETIK Exhibit by The Luminarium. Thanks to all the members who voted it in! Very appreciated guys! And everyone else… please feel invited to check out this great collection of inspiring digital art! =)
It’s also the first picture I did on my new PC setup and I think it’s a great start. Hope there’s much more to come! =) For now enyjoy the view!
After a longer break it’s time for the 23nd Exhibit of The Luminarium Artgroup: Kibernetik. This time it’s all about technology and how it can influence the world within and around us. As usual there are quite some amazing works to see and enjoy. Digital art, Abstract, Digital painting, Photography and Music. For me it’s always an honor to be amongst such talented people and have my work side by side with theirs. This time I tried my luck with a picture that, in all honesty, wasn’t intended for this Exhibit release. I’m therefor thanking the members of the group for voting my piece in and allowing me to be a part of this, yet again, formidable collection of digital art.
All of the works, from all kinds of different fields of expertise, surely are a nice source for inspiration! So be sure to check it out -> Kibernetik
Here we have another nifty little Apophysis/Photoshop mashup result I created for a short video workshop (find here: http://v5.tigaer-design.com/?p=1841). Yet again it was fun throwing stuff together and look at what came out in the end. Especially when I work on pics like these I really have no plan what to do. I usually create a couple of fractal plates and start playing with them. Sooner or later everything falls in place and something nice is evolving from the mess I usually start out with. Hope you enjoy as well!
Here we have a short workshop showing how to work with Apophysis Fractals in Photoshop. It’s in German language but it’s not a big problem if it’s not a language you master. You can pretty much see how it’s done. Nothing too complicated if you have some basic Photoshop experience. =) The video is thought to be a small teaser for the Book Die Tricks Der Photoshop-Profis, where I also discuss how to make the Fractals within Apophysis. Among other details that can help you to create a stylish picture. For now have fun with this little workshop! Additionally, as a small gimmick, I included the final result of the workshop in different wallpaper versions to the project materials. Enjoy!
First of all I have to state that I went into this film without any expectations whatsoever. Except maybe the fact that I really wanted the style of the first 300 movie. I was certain that this new movie would not completely be able to hold up with the first one. That rarely happened in movie history. So how much of the first 300 movie was in this new one?
This movie basically tells the same story we already had in 300. This time though we are following the Greeks and not specifically the Spartans. It’s basically that: some really sexy guys have to hold a certain area from a really sexy lady who is leading a part of the Persian invasion. While the first movie is very condensed on Leonidas, his 300 and the area around the Hot Gates, we now get a look at the bigger picture and everything that’s going on around the happenings in the first movie. The movie is at least trying to give a bigger picture. That would make it more a ‘side-quel’ instead of a ‘sequel’.
Here we are following Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton), a Greek army leader, who is pretty much the main guy in the movie. He is also the guy who may be the reason why all this war is raging, because he killed the father of Xerxes in a battle earlier in history. Which then started a chain of events that made Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) the crazy ‘God-King’ of Persia we all know from the first movie. Then we have Artemisia (Eva Green). She’s our lead villain in this movie and is originally from Greece. She had a very troubled and disturbing past, which lead her to Persia, when she was saved bysomeone we know from the first movie and this now famous “THIS IS SPARTA” scene. He decides to adopt her, train and teach her to fight and be a relentless leader. When Xerxes decides to conquer the world, Artemisia leads a significant part of his army to Greece. In the first 300 movie we have a couple of scenes that give a glimpse of how sea battles would look like. In this new movie we basically get one big sea battle. The opposing forces give each other hell until the final battle between Themistokles and Artemisia.
The battle scenes are what elevates this movie a tiny bit above the ‘average’ mark… and Eva Green. She must have really enjoyed playing that over the top, badass, crazy villain character of Artemisia. At one point she even opposes Xerxes and says open to his face what she’s thinking about him. She is also the character with the most depth in the movie. We get quite some backstory to her. And that story completely justifies how she became what she is in the movie. And Eva Green does that in a fantastic way. If (beside the battle scenes) anything saves the movie, then it’s her performance. She’s great in this one.
On the opposite of Eva Green we have Sullivan Stapleton as Themistokles. He falls a little flat and by far doesn’t have the charisma of a Gerard Butler who played Leonidas. There are a couple of heroic speech scenes that just don’t really hit the spark and worked for me. But hey, Leonidas had a red cape, Themistokles has a blue one… so the leader in the next movie is destined to have a green cape! He and Eva Green though had some great chemistry when they both shared the screen. They played well off another (and I don’t reduce that to a really nice sex scene between the two). They had some good lines to fire at each other.
What I found positive was the really hard violence in this movie. They completely follow the path of the first movie and even upped the loss of tons of blood in this one. It’s even too much blood for my taste. Sometimes you’re thinking how no one in these battle scenes even slightly slips on all the liters of blood that should be spilled on the ground they fight on. It’s a little ridiculous. It can be said though that it served the 3d very good. All this slow motion blood flying around was kinda fun to watch.
Between the first 300 movie and today there were quite a lot of movies that tried to copy the look and visual style. I had a feeling that this movie would be a weak copy as well. But no! They managed to get exactly the visual feel and look from the first 300 movie. That’s of course the main reason to watch this movie. Since a lot of the movie’s battles happen on open sea, it’s also a different battlefield and allows for more creative visuals and fights. Even though the 3d worked really nice, there was one detail that kinda bugged me in certain scenes. A lot of flying particles! May it be dust or whatever. The 3d effect was great but it distracted a lot from the actual focus point of the scenes. These particles were mostly used in quiet scenes and I ask myself why. Did they think these scenes were too dull and they needed something to keep the eye busy? I don’t know. Otherwise… no big problems with the 3d.
Forget historic details when you go into this movie. From what I know it’s all over the place with it’s facts and everything. Who cares?! I, for my part, got exactly what I wanted from this movie. And that wasn’t much, except a bloody visual feast for the eye.
I started this one without having a specific plan. Except that I wanted to try myself on something similar to my Room With A View piece. And I wanted to do a night scene. Well, it looks like I had a plan… sorta.
I used this one to dig a little deeper into using Vue and vector shapes to create some architecture. The lady was implemented with help of DAZ3d tools. A lot of planning went into the look of the room and the balkony. Of course I wanted it futuristic and a little shiny. I had some fun playing with lights and creating the mood. Again the creation and rendering of the scene basically happened in two parts. On step for the city background and one step for the front. In Photoshop I brought it all together and did some major refinements to the room and city. Beside general fixes, refining and overpainting I also tried to add more detail to the dress our lady here is wearing. I also played with an idea I always wanted to try. A hologram display implemented into the windows. In this scene it’s basically turned off and only shows the name of the building complex. I enjoyed playing with that part.
Is there a larger story behind this one? Not this time to be honest. What’s the character doing? No idea. It looks as if she just came home from shopping and is calling a friend to tell about the newest stuff she was able to hunt down. Maybe her boyfriend is calling to take her out for dinner. I have no idea. =) Let your imagination decide.
The first new one for 2014 and right at first I want to apologize for this novel of a description. This one has just a too special history to leave it to rott in the back of my brain waiting to be forgotten. So where do I start…? Let’s start with some numbers.
298 hours – 33 minutes – 22 seconds. Originally planned as a ‘less is more’ side project, just to play around with a couple of ideas, it turned out to be the longest render I’ve ever had. Not having a renderfarm, that would help getting it done much faster, I had to rely on my 4 year old machine to get the job done. I must also admit that it was not planned at all, to create a scene that would take ages to render. But yeah, in the end it turned out to be an almost 300 hours render. Let’s just say that again I learned a lot!
My initial intention was to play around with a couple of fractal 3d objects I created with Xenodream. I wanted to try myself in some abstract 3d stuff and did a couple of render tests. I wasn’t really happy. What I saw instead was a possible Scifi scene that would be perfect to incorporate both elements… the Scifi component I always love to do… and the fractal component I was initially going for. I started to look at the project differently and treated it more like a scene instead of a 3d fractal experiment. Soon I found a nice lighting setup. After extending the fractals and optimizing the composition, I still needed a striking atmosphere. Now here is where it became tricky. Crazy like I am, I was aiming for a larger size image (as usual), to get a nice print quality from it. Larger picture equals longer render times. Of course! Now while looking for an atmosphere I started thinking about adding clouds to the whole setup. The scene itself rendered pretty fast up to that point. I thought there would be some room for volumetric clouds to spice it up a bit.
Dear Lord I did not expect what came next. After adding some clouds and doing some testrenders (which took forever and should have been a warning sign!) I found the clouds bring the whole thing together and create a tighter feel. I prepared the render and started it with my usual quality settings. I killed it after 8 hours when for 30 minutes nothing happened anymore and the render stopped to make progress. Damn! Eight hours wasted. I hate it when that happens. Again… the testrenders should have been the perfect warning indicator. I reduced my quality settings and concentrated purely on rendering out the clouds in an acceptable quality, along with a mask for easy editing later in Photoshop. After restarting the render it all did move a little faster than previously. But nothing prepared me for the odyssey I had to go through for the next two weeks! I must laugh just thinking about it.
I admit I’m not the most experienced guy when it comes to clouds and Vue. What I know is that it’s not uncommon that rendering of volumetric materials (like clouds) can take a lot lot lot of time. In Vue you can turn down the quality quite a bit with the clouds still looking perfectly fine. But the rest of the scene will suffer. So it’s best to render the clouds in a separate pass and combine scene and clouds later in Photoshop. The thing that drove me crazy was that you could not predict how long the render would probably take. Some areas of the picture are not influenced by the clouds and render much faster. Then later the render is working through cloud influenced areas again and massively slows down. Really painful to watch.
Up to a certain point I was able to pause the render process and save the scene to render again later. It must have been after 60% of the render was done when I wasn’t able to use the so called ‘resume’ option anymore and had to keep my machine running until the render finished. Reminding you that I don’t have a second machine to outsource my rendering to. So I sat there and tried not to do things that would cause the render to crash. Luckily four years ago I really invested some time into getting the right parts for this pc. So it never disappointed me when it came to rendering. It may take time but it gets the job done. So I moved over to my even older laptop – leaving the big machine alone to get the render through.
Eventually it got done… after almost 300 hours. Holy crap. Seriously. I was so happy when the picture was saved properly and was something I could work with. Then I became a little crazed out, because now I really had the pressure to do something cool with it! I mean, just imagine having a picture that took 300hrs to render and you wouldn’t be able to make use of it! A nightmare! And honestly, after a couple of days looking at the render, it started to look boring. MORE PRESSURE! =D
Yes, the infamous cloud render does look bland and boring but it was just one component of a bigger idea. After having that monster out of the way I was able to create and render the actual scene. The big cruiser hanging in the middle of these weird rock structures along with the smaller ships zipping about. Luckily the Photoshop work was a blast and I managed to get something done with help of the cloud render. Of course there was a lot of overpainting and refining. Especially when it came to the couds. The render gave me a good starting point to move on from.
If you ask me what we’re seeing in the scene I couldn’t give you a direct answer. From my point of view it’s a deep space exploration (hence the ship name DSE Scynthia) endeavour having fun exploring this weird planet. But is it a planet? Maybe it’s a giant asteroid field hanging in some sort of very dense nebula cloud thing? It could also be a secret pirate operation and the big ship is a sort of mobile base/hiding place. A friend of mine even said the rock formations could be molecules or DNA string like stuff. I leave it to your imagination and really hope you enjoy the view. Seriously! I really hope you enjoy it!
Thanks out to some friends and Nick, Michael Magin, David Luong for some finishing advice.
I recently watched ‘Greenberg’ from 2010. Another one of these Ben Stiller movies that doesn’t fall into his more known/popular comedy realm. It’s not what I expected but it wasn’t bad either. It was a solid character study with some solid acting by Mr. Stiller. Why I’m pointing that out? Well, simple… I just want more of the serious Ben Stiller. He’s someone who can really pull it off. He’s probably one of the better versatile actors we have today. So when I saw the trailers for ‘Mitty’ I was all for it. It looked great. Promised a story with heart. Promised some good acting. And it’s directed by Ben Stiller himself. The question was not if I’ll see this movie… the question was if I’ll see it on the big screen or wait for Bluray. I’m glad I did go for the big screen and went to the theater.
Ben Stiller plays Walter Mitty. He works at LIFE magazine, which is just making the transition from print magazine to online magazine. Naturally a lot of lose their jobs when this happens so they plan to make their last print issue a masterpiece. What does a good magazine need? A good cover of course. Due to his job Walter plays a big part in getting that cover done. For 16 years his job is taking care of the photo negative archive (you remember? analog photography?), when a new set of photos by very prominent photographer Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) arrives. The message that comes along with it says that negative 25 is the one that should be taken for the last issue’s cover. But that particular negative is missing. In the meanwhile we learn that Walter didn’t really have a very exciting life. Never experienced things that we would normally say represent ‘living life!’. Walter has a crush on a woman who just started working for LIFE magazine and eversince he saw her he wanted to ask her out. Of course he’s a very shy guy and fails to make the right steps. When he is starting to get in trouble, because of the missing photo negative, things fall in place and he gets a chance to talk to Cheryl (Kristen Wiig). She offers him help asking around in the office if someone noticed anything. Walter is developing the negatives he does have and both try to read the pictures and try to find out where these might have been shot to track down Sean O’Connell. A photographer not known to be easily contacted due to constantly being on the road and working with analog equipment to completely focus on the job. Walter and Cheryl manage to get a clue from one of the photos. Walter decides to find Sean since Walter really needs negative 25. The hope is that Sean can either give him the negative or at least let him know where it is.
Beside the happenings evolving around Walter we have this background plot about a huge magazine that makes this weird transition from print to digital. Along with it all the bad things for the workers there. Throughout the movie we also have a message of old versus new. The movie is not trying to hammer down an opinion on the viewer but it’s kind of trying to explain how the old stuff can still be good. First of all the whole thing about photo negatives. Only true hardcore photographers are still working with film. I know a few of them and I can totally relate to their reason why they are still on film. It’s a very special look and feel that digital will never ever have. We get told that some things need time and patience to get good results. In our digitized environment nowadays you can get so many things so fast that we sometimes need a reminder… to sit back and enjoy the ‘moment’ for once. Then there is the magazine undergoing the transition from print to digital. Which might be a necessary step for the magazine to survive, but still leaves so many hard working people behind, losing their jobs. I liked this background theme. But thinking about it… it could also be the main theme of the film. That’s up for debate though. I guess everyone can find an own main theme in this movie, depending on what story element you can relate to.
This movie is a journey. It goes a lot of places and if you allow/let the movie take you by the hand you will have quite a fun ride with it. There I am really happy I decided to go see it in the theater. There are some really awesome nature/landscape shots, along with some spectacular lighting, in this movie. Yes, the movie has a some back and forth scenery jumps but I had no problem with it at all. Even though I must admit that it did hurt the storytelling a little bit. On the other hand I don’t have a suggestion on how to make it better. It all works just fine. The movie isn’t all serious as well. There are a lot of funny moments in it. But not stupid funny like in so many Ben Stiller comedy movies. Here we have a lot of heart in them and they serve a purpose. It’s not just funny just to be funny.
The film didn’t receive very good reviews and splits most opinions 50/50. There are the folks who really enjoyed it, are able to relate to the characters and what the movie wants to say. People who don’t like it for the most part seem to have a problem with how the movie tries to get its message accross. They argue that the movie beats the audience over the head with a message hammer by placing all these obvious hints at what it’s all about. And yes there are these obvious moments and I totally recognized them. But I never thought it was just done to make sure the audience really gets what the is movie about. The movie wants to be a message so why should it hide its intentions?
Is it a movie I’ll rewatch any time soon? Probably not. But still, I think it’s a film that you should see at least once. It got something to say and some really beautiful moments.
Mid 2013 the German publisher Galileo Design approached me asking if I’d be interested in writing a Workshop for an upcoming book release. I previously worked with them on a Video Workshop project which turned out really nice. After a short time thinking about the offer, I sat down with them and talked about what we could do for the book. We ended up with my suggestion to bring interested people a little closer to what’s all possible with Fractals. In my eyes Apophysis deserves more exposure since I find it a very inspiring and creative tool to create some really cool looking stuff. Just today I noticed that my last released Fractal piece was 2009. A far too long time! So it doesn’t surprise me how much fun I had creating the piece I did for the Workshop. The book itself comes in truly top shape quality. Especially the paper quality surprised me and is really worth every cent. Also a big thanks to everyone involved for their advice and help during the writing process!
If you are good with the German language then maybe the book might be something for you.
I cannot believe that this is the first fractal piece since 2009. Where the hell has time been? Anyways… this one was done for a book workshop. I haven’t had the chance to go for a fractal picture in a while and really enjoyed playing with this one. Goal of the workshop was to show how to work with Apophysis, create some nice fractal plates and then to go with them into Photoshop to combine them into something cool looking. I hope the workshop will open some new creative ways for the readers since Apophysis, from my point of view, deserves more than the niche it’s in now.
Here I want to thank Georg Kiehne, the creator of Apophysis 7X, for the help and advice. Also a thanks to the crew at Galileo Design which is always a pleasure to work with. Beside my fractal workshop entry there are also workshops for Photography, Painting and Manipulation in the book. Even some stuff that I can learn, which is a good sign for quality, in my humble opinion! The book itself comes in really good quality paper and is pretty heavy. You know you are holding quality when you have the book in your hands!
So if your german is any good then I recommend checking out the book here: