Beasts Shall Rise

April 27th, 2016



Beasts Shall Rise

The initial idea for this one came from a commission I had finished at the time. I took the foundation of that earlier project and expanded on it. Since you can never have enough fantasy stuff in your portfolio, I wanted to go into it full throttle. And even while writing these lines I’m still fixing elements in the picture and tuning colours. I guess it’s one of those where I will always find stuff that could need some touch ups here and there. But at some point you have to stop. Because it looks good already and the stuff you fix are on a pixel level that no one will actually see. So yeah… I’ll stop now. :D DONE.

I guess the inspiration for this one came mostly from the commission but also a lot of Game Of Thrones or Lord Of The Rings of course. These properties kind of set a standard in the recent years. At least when it comes to a more ‘realistic’ look and feel of the fantasy genre. I’m a fan of cities that are built on a mountain cliff and always wanted to explore that theme. There went a lot of work into the fine tuning of the renders I used for a plate here. I used a wide range of tools from World Machine to DAZ3d to C4D to Vue and last but not least Photoshop. Lightroom as the final step of getting the colours and mood right.

Are the dragons attacking or just flying by? I leave that to the viewer. When I had the city pretty much done I felt that there was something missing. So I added some dragons because… ‘because’. They added a level of depth that was missing before. So I decided to keep them.

At the end I had a handful of different colourschemes for this one. I decided to go with a more aggressive and colourful tone instead of a dirty greyish realistic one. I think and hope the overall look, along with the colours, give a nice and epic impression. It at least works for me. =)

I dedicate this piece to two companions I lost over the last 5 weeks. You guys always made me smile when I was down. You’ll be greatly missed.

6000×2739 – Vue – World Machine – Photoshop – Lightroom

Creative Photoshop Process
Plate 1
Plate 2
Previz/Wireframe 1
Previz/Wireframe 2
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The artwork on:
DeviantartArtstationDrawcrowdCGSociety

wallpapers available

Regards

signed

10 Cloverfield Lane – Movie Review

April 11th, 2016

movie reviewThinking about todays market, how can you make a movie from a really good script, that actually has nothing in it, that makes an audience go “well, I need to see that!”. You create a connection to something else, that previously made people curious! It is very hard to tell if this film originally had a Cloverfield connection or not. Or if it was tacked on, to attract an audience. Because this film would actually work without the name Cloverfield in its title, as a standalone movie. But it’s only fair to assume that it would have probably ended up as a direct to dvd movie instead of a theatrical release.

If you want to know something about the story, without to spoil the movie for you, it’s best to watch the trailer. It’s a seldom case where the trailer was put together really intelligent, without giving too many clues about where the story will go. In the first minutes we follow Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who is leaving her fiance/boyfriend. On her way she’s having a car accident and soon wakes up in a room. There she meets Howard (John Goodman). The first impression we get from him is a little weird. We are with Michelle and ask ourselfes what exactly is going on. Soon we meet Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) and learn that we’re in a bunker, that Howard is a survivalist nut and something happened outside. But we’re never sure what exactly happened.

The movie has a really efficient structure. The buildup works great when it, every couple of minutes, throws something at you to chew on. That goes on for 85% of the movie. It’s a smart move not to overexplain everything and let the audience discover the truth along with the characters of the film. A good way to build the characters and make these connect with the audience. Which brings us to the actors of the film. All three of the main characters, Michelle, Howard and Emmett are thoroughly believable and at no point in the film fall into the usual horrormovie traps of doing stupid shit just to create tension or to move the plot forward. That’s one of the big things to appreciate in this film. No one is doing stupid stuff! A welcome thing in the horror genre these days. Every decision is relatable and smart. And all that can only work well with a strong cast and well written script by Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken and Damien Chazelle. Fantastic work by all of them.

Now I have a little history with Dan Trachtenberg the director of this film. By that I don’t mean ‘personal’. The first time I saw him was on a small online show called “The Totally Rad Show” in 2007. A show about Tv, Games and Movie reviews. Really enjoyed that show. Later he did a shortfilm about the game “Portal”. A very good showcase of his skills as a director and understanding of VFX. And now he made his first feature film. And it’s a really good one! It will definitely be interesting to see what’s next for him.

Even if the Cloverfield title feels a little too much like a marketing thing, I think this could work out nicely. They could do more of these kinds of films, with a loose connection to the original. We’ll see what happens there in the future I guess. In any case it’s better to have movies like these than a neverending string of Paranormal Activity found footage movies.

So if you’re a fan of a smart character driven horror story, then this movie is definitely something to check out for you. Great characters, mood and look… combined in an intelligent script that’s been nicely brought to film. I enjoyed it.

7.7/10

10 Cloverfield Lane on IMDb

Fly Me To The Moon

March 29th, 2016



Fly Me To The Moon

This one was a commission done quite some time ago. It’s done for a young lady who wanted a special gift for her boyfriend’s birthday. She told me that he’s a very big Scifi fan and wanted something personal and special. The sweetest thing ever and the girlfriend we all dream of, don’t you agree? I ultimately was very happy to help her out and together we managed to create something everyone was very happy with. She very early on made clear that the pic should show a moon scene with a base and Earth in the back. I took it a step further and started to build a city.

‘Collins City’ is a mixture of DAZ3d models and modified 3d models. Everything arranged and setup with Vue. The challenge was to create a scene without using atmospherical effects. The moon has a very specific lighting going on and I wanted to recreate that as good as possible. The foreground required some extra time to get the microcomposition right. The lighting was a little tricky too. After rendering the elements I used Photoshop to fix things and overpaint a couple of elements. Also the mood and the lighting received some touch ups.

So in the end we have a neat scene where even I managed to learn things from. And a young couple that enjoys the result very much and has something I created as a symbol of their love. That’s pretty amazing.

6000×3000 – Vue – Photoshop – DAZ3d

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Creative Process
Earth Photo Credit

The artwork on:
DeviantartArtstationDrawcrowdCGSociety

wallpapers available

Regards

signed

Arrowhead Mountain Resource

March 11th, 2016

Arrowhead Mountain 8k Heightfield Package

This is a first try in offering some resources for you to play with. Maybe there will be more in the future. This first one is a freebie that you can grab here – you can either pay an amount you think justifies the quality/content or just enter a 0 to get this package for free. No one will hold it against you. :D The contents of this package are free to use for personal and commercial projects. Please check the included readme file for more info.

Beside the main terrain (8192×8192, 16bit) itself, this package contains a collection of masks (16bit) and colormaps that allow you to go into very fine detail when giving the mountain character by adding textures and materials. It’s best used with Vue or Terragen but can also be used with any other sophisticated 3d package that’s out there.

Arrowhead Mountain on Gumroad.com

Regards
signed

The Revenant – Movie Review

March 9th, 2016

movie reviewThree times I made the attempt to watch this movie and finally it worked out this week. First it was a timing conflict. Then I became sick literally the day I wanted to go see it. But two days ago I finally made it. Sounds like the odyssey Mr. DiCaprio’s character went through in this film! Well, maybe not exactly.

First of all let’s go into the contents of this film a little. The movie is set in the early 1820s, when brave men embarked onto the conquest of the western (what we now call) United States of America. These men were so called ‘frontiersmen’ or ‘trappers’. People who tried to make a living by exploring the wilderness of a then unknown part of the land. In the case of the movie these men were trading fur and pelts that were quite the commodity back then. The french had a hand in that as well and were a big competitor in that field.

The movie sets its tone very early on within the first 10 minutes. We meet Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his half-blood son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck) tracking down an animal. We immediately understand that these guys know what they’re doing. In the meantime we get a look at their camp of trappers and get introduced to John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) and Captain Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson). When out of nowhere an ambush by native americans starts. This scene in particular is shot with very very few (if at all) cuts/edits. While we watch the brutality unfold and chaos break loose, Glass and his son arrive back in the camp, right when the battle is raging. We also get a glimpse of how the character of John Fitzgerald is ticking. Throughout this beautifully executed scene the audience gets an idea of how brutal battles like these must have been. The camp gets overrun while a small group of trappers manages to board a small boat and flee. They took everything they could with them and as soon as they decide to go on land, they hide the furs and pelts, they managed to grab when the ambush happened. There we get a great scene with Fitzgerald that draws out his character a little more. Up to that point we also learned more about the background of Glass and Hawk. The group trusts him and while we don’t get to see how Glass earned their trust, it is very clear that this group of men respects his suggestions and knowledge of the land. Only Fitzgerald seems to question Glass quite a bit. Glass decides to go scout ahead the area since he knows this region of the land very well. Then this (now famous) bear attack sequence happens. This is quite a vicious part. The brutality of nature or the message that nature doesn’t give a damn about who we are and what we do… if it gets the chance, it will destroy us. Glass barely survives the attack and the group decides to take him with them on a makeshift stretcher. Again we see how Fitzgerald is kind of opposing that idea and it’s understandable from his point of view. Glass was barely alive at that point. Captain Henry insists of taking Glass with them. In the meantime we learn that the earlier ambush wasn’t just random. Natives called The Arikara are looking for their Chief’s daughter, that was kidnapped. Which builds a nice dynamic throughout the movie since they’re never far behind of our hero. Even if our group of trappers didn’t actually kidnap that woman. With glass on a stretcher, and the terrain becoming more and more difficult, the group gets to a point where they consider leaving Glass behind. Fitzgerald is all for that and again it’s relatable. The party decides to leave Glass behind. The Captain offers a payment raise for 2 people that are willing to stay with Glass and give him a proper burial, should he die. Fitzgerald and a young man named Jim Bridger (Will Poulter) decide to stay behind with Glass and Hawk. While the main group tries to find a way through the mountains, which turns out difficult without Glass’s guidance. While Fitzgerald and Bridger practically wait for Glass to die. Then some bad stuff happens and the movie turns into one of the finest revenge movies ever made.

Enough about the story and more about the film itself. To make it short, I really enjoyed this movie. It kept me engaged throughout its 2 1/2 hours runtime and I never felt bored. Maybe the Oscars did cloud my judgement a little bit though. Especially in regards to Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance. While I do agree that his performance is really good, and something different from what we know him doing, I’m not with the general hype that he definitely had to get his first Oscar for that. I would have loved seeing him get one for his Django Unchained performance. I found Tom Hardy’s character much more interesting in comparison. He at least got an Oscar nomination for supporting role as well. And while awards are always a thing to argue about, I would have probably nominated him aside DiCaprio for Leading Role. We do see DiCaprio’s character go through hell and what he does makes you really feel for the character. But from an acting standpoint I found Tom Hardy more interesting. Yes, DiCaprio had to do a lot communication through facial expressions alone and he does that great here! But the character of Tom Hardy’s John Fitzgerald had some nice facettes as well. You could argue that he did nothing wrong. He didn’t have the best life and (like he says in the film) just tries to survive in a rather brutal environment. I can’t hold it against him when he’s looking out for himself. Of course the movie has a couple of scenes that clearly position Fitzgerald on the negative side of the spectrum. And that’s good because we certainly need a bad guy. But more often than not it’s the bad guy character that is more interesting than the good guy.

On the technical side of things it is a through and through admirable job they did with this film. The gritty realism gave weight to even the smallest things. A lot of face close ups that make you see a little bit of what’s going on in the characters heads. Great acting through the bench. I really enjoyed Domhnall Gleeson and Will Poulter too. The camera and reduced use of cuts and edits made this film flow very well. Especially the camera and lighting work is remarkable. Natural lighting all the way. CGI only when there was no other choice. The colorgrading may have been a little too much here and there but that’s a nitpick.

When the movie is over and you had a minute to reflect you might end up asking yourself what the message is. Revenge is the strongest force in the universe? Well, that may be the ultimate take away from this film. And I’m sure you can agree that it’s not really a good message to take away from this film or any film.

So what I did was to watch “A World Unseen”, a 45min documentary about the movie. It was released pretty much at the same time the movie came out. It has some great images too and talks about what ideas and influences fuel the movie. And the film made a little more sense after seeing that. The movie references a lot of things that relate to the world we live in now. It shows how early stages of capitalism started to take its toll on the environment and the people of the time. How greed can transform people into monsters. Even without their own fault. It’s the world we live in that transforms and shapes us. The movie talks about a lot of things that aren’t visible at first glance and that’s something I can only applaud for. We also get some nice interviews with the native american actors from the film and their views on history and what their world has become. “A World Unseen” is very insightful and a clear recommendation to round up the experience from the movie itself.

If you get a chance to see this film on the big screen. Take it. The images alone are worth it.

A clear recommendation.

7.9/10

The Revenant on IMDb

Com-cept 21 – Battlegroup Selcior

February 29th, 2016



Comcept 21 – Battlegroup Selcior

This one was a plain just for fun thing, started quite a while ago. When playing around, I started to like it and things fell into place for the final result you can see there now. It was a quickie and nothing overly complicated. Even though I (as usual) got carried away a little. Originally I only wanted some scifi fighters sweeping over a landscape. Soon there was a larger ship added. And I when that ship told me it felt a little lonesome… I added another larger one. So everyone is happy now. However, I wanted to keep it simple. Thus it became a perfect entry into my comcept series.

Now what are we looking at here? Could be a group of destroyers flying off into a battle. Ready to deal some damage! :D Nothing too special.

Created with Vue, Worldmachine, Photoshop & Lightroom

Print Detail

The artwork on:
DeviantartArtstationDrawcrowdCGSociety

wallpapers available

Regards

signed

Webinar Recording Available

February 15th, 2016

3d art direct - Live webinar

For everyone who missed it or is just interested… the webinar, where I discussed and deconstructed the creation of my ‘From Here I Can Almost See The Stars’ piece, is now available (digital download in FullHD quality).

Find more info and the download here: https://digitalartlive.com/p…/vue_and_photoshop_masterclass/

It’s recorded in HD and has a runtime of 102 minutes.

Hope to see your there!

Regards
signed

Highland Ridge

January 25th, 2016



Highland Ridge

I started this one very late 2011 and thought I finished it early 2012. Well, not so much. While it was a rare attempt at creating a snow scene, with me actually being rather happy with it, I struggled with it a long time. Everytime I looked at it I found stuff I wasn’t happy with. So I fiddled with it over the years. However, it’s time to finally lay it aside and call it done.

The picture does not have a specific story behind it. I just wanted to try myself on snow. I’m fairly happy with the result and again learned something while working on this project. As usual I started with a plate I created with Vue. Rendered out the scene as well as various additional elements and combined it all in Photoshop. A lot of overpainting and fixing happened there (as usual).

Right now it’s really cold around here in Germany and a sweet little romantic snowy mountainside scene may lift the mood a bit. Snow can be a cool thing. Not so much in the city though. :)

Hope the pic makes you wish to be there as much as it makes me wish to be there. Winter in the city can be quite depressing. =)

5000×2334 – Vue – Photoshop – Lightroom

Plate
Print Detail

The artwork on:
DeviantartArtstationDrawcrowdCGSociety

wallpapers available

Regards

signed

3D Art Direct – Live Webinar

January 23rd, 2016

3d art direct - Live webinar

Here we go! On Jan. 30th I’m invited to talk a bit about the creative process behind one of my personal favourites. Looking back at making “From Here I Can Almost See The Stars”, it probably belongs into my personal category of ‪benchmark‬ projects. A project where I wanted to push myself as well as the hardware I had back then. I finished this picture early 2012 and learned a lot with it. Diving back into the world of this piece is like ‪#‎timetravel‬ for me. And the cool thing I discovered is… not much has changed! I’m still using the same techniques. With slight variations here and there of course. grin emoticon

In this ‪‎webinar‬ we will take a look into ‪Vue‬ and how the scene is set up. We will also risk a look at how the scene was rendered. Let me just say that it took multiple runs before I had all material I needed. Last but not least we risk a look into the ‪Photoshop‬ process of how it all was put together.
Lots of stuff to talk about and questions are more than welcome!

Follow this link to sign up for the event.

Get 15% off by using the promocode: makingof15

Hope to see your there!

Regards
signed

The Big Short – Movie Review

January 22nd, 2016

movie reviewEvery now and then it’s good to see a movie on the big screen that is not a spectacle event kinda thing. But a movie with a serious topic and something that makes you think. The Big Short is that kind of movie. At the end it makes you wonder about a lot of things. And there is a good chance it makes you angry. Very angry.

The movie tells the story of a couple of men who invested (or bet) a lot of money against the banking establishment and their common practices. We all know what happened in 2007 when the housing bubble collapsed and sent the whole world into a financial crisis we still have not recovered from. And how things look now this crisis in 2007 may have just been the indicator to much more troubled times that lie ahead of us. But that’s speculation on my part. The thing is that we all know that something bad happened back then, but only a few people really understood the why. For most of us it was enough to know that greed driven banks and bankers caused this collapse, that made a lot of already poor people poorer and even homeless. The Big Short is now trying to explain the background to the ‘why’ this all happened. And it does a fairly good job.

The first one to discover that there was something fishy going on was a fonds manager named Michael Burry (Christian Bale). He’s someone that has a great eye for numbers and calculations. He recognizes that banks handle certain housing businesses in a very suspicious way. He soon understood that this construct will not hold forever and that a lot of money will vanish into nothing. Except if you invest money (it’s crazy that this is even possible) into the logic consequence that this crash will eventually happen – no matter what. It’s basically a bet against the house (or the banks). So Michael sees his chance and invests everything he can on his prediction that the housing market will collapse. He goes around visiting other banks and tells them what he’s going to do and gets laughed at for his foresight. This is the time when other folks get wind of his idea and start to investigate. That’s when Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) finds out about it and also tries to find people to bet against the banks along with him. He finds Mark Baum (Steve Carell) and his gang of traders. They are very suspicious at first and start to look into the housing market. It doesn’t take them very long to understand that there is a bubble, full of very thin air, that will eventually collapse in on itself. So they decide to trust Vennett and look for investors as well. In the mean time we learn a lot about how this market works and what all went wrong.

The characters in this movie are for certain no heroes. They are a big part of the problem that is explained in this film. Even if they’re working their whole life in that business, they still cannot believe how fucked up the situation had become, when it was presented to them. All it needed was to take a slightly closer look at the material. Most bankers were too lazy to do that. No interest because… the money was flowing. No one wants to ruin a party, right? So some of our protagonists really struggle with their decisions. And the movie does a good job of explaining why. In the end you could argue that our protagonists are the same breed of assholes that originally created that housing market bubble. Because what kind of human being would set a bet on the fact that a lot of other people will have ruined lives. These guys may be rich now but are they be able to really enjoy the money they made?

The movie is directed by Adam McKay who previously directed the Anchorman movies. The first Anchorman is a comedy classic and the second one was alright (in my opinion) too. So he took a 180° turn with the decision to tackle a movie like The Big Short. I have to applaud him for that. This movie wasn’t an easy task but he certainly made it work. Not only with a serious topic but also entertaining and fresh. The film presents itself with a lot of kinetic energy, quick cuts and jumps, with an almost documentary kind of feel here and there. You need to watch this film with open eyes though. Otherwise I can see how you would end up very confused in a rather short amount of time. The more than 2hrs runtime fly by though. You are bombarded with information and background knowledge about the market and how it all works. I cannot say that I fully understood everything the movie was trying to explain but I was certainly sure how most of it worked by the time the end credits rolled. It was frustrating and leaves you shaking your head. All this ignorance and greed at display there. A harsh reality.

The trading business is like Las Vegas. There is a set of rules for all kinds of different games. But still almost unlimited ways to lose or win money. The sad thing is that no one learned from what happened in 2007. The practices are still the same. And the people who already have nothing, still pay for what the banks do and end up with even more nothing. So the big lesson of the movie seems to be that the system certainly works (in it’s own corrupted and mutated ways). It’s just how we treat that system that makes it counterproductive for all the people who are not in that business. And that’s a lot of people.

If you have a chance… go see this film. The film does get criticized for its appearance. Yes, it’s loud and shiny and in your face… but it needs to be. That’s how you get an audience today. It definitely needs more people to know how banks fuck up our world and continue to do so. I was very happy to see lots of poeple showing up to see this film. All of them left entertained and frustrated at the same time. But also a little more understanding.

8.0/10

The Big Short on IMDb