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

Rupert Fiction Book Covers

January 6th, 2016

Rupert Pollard’s Assassin’s Series

Mid 2014 I got contacted by Rupert and asked to do a cover for his Assassin’s Cradle book. The cover itself has a pretty simple setup and I some fun working on it. Mid 2015 then I got the chance to do the cover for the follow up book Assassin’s Escape. We decided to keep the look of the first cover but did go a more complex route with what is to see there. We ended up with a rather cool pic that has elements that surely leave some impression.

Both pics are mixed media and created with Cinema 4d, Vue and Photoshop.

The books can be found on Amazon.

Rupert Pollard Website
Rupert Pollard on Facebook

Cover #2 On:
DeviantartArtstationDrawcrowdCGSociety

Regards

signed

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Movie Review

December 24th, 2015

movie reviewEver since 1977 it was an event when a new Star Wars movie was released. Some things don’t change. It still is an extraordinary event when a new Star Wars movie reaches the big screen. I have the feeling that this time it will be the last time that Star Wars will feel new. Like it’s going off into new uncharted territories. In the next 10+ years we will be bombarded with these movies, much like the Marvel movies. The hope is that they will maintain the quality. Which I honestly have little doubt about. But Disney will milk that cow like crazy. That’s for sure. And that feeling of ‘something new’ will vanish. And this time that feeling is still there. That something ‘magical’ new is going on. This magic is captured by Star Wars Episode VII – “The Force Awakens”. I will completely avoid spoilers even though I bet everyone of you will see this movie anyway. I more want to talk about the movie instead of going too much into the story.

This movie does something interesting. When the end-credits rolled I had the impression that it completely leaves out the prequels (Episode 1-3). Not a single word about what happened there. And sure, in the timeline there has passed a lot of time since then. Still! Here and there a line about what happened in Episode 4-6. The movie starts, of course, on a desert planet. Where Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is on a secret mission, hunting down a map that is supposed to show the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker. Luke went into hiding when his attempt at rebuilding the Jedi Order failed. Things go a little wrong and Poe gets captured by the ‘First Order’ (which is basically the empire). He manages to slip the map into his robot buddy BB-8 and sends him away. This ‘First Order’ is what is left of the galactic empire. Which is a little mysterious since we never get a clou about how strong they are and if they are still a mighty force that is ruling star systems. So, have the rebels won or not or what the hell is going on?! We’re left in the dark about political developments of the past 20 to 30 years. I’m undecided if I like that. Since I would have liked to know how things went after the second deathstar blew up. Especially how the political situation is now in the new film. We don’t really get that. When Poe gets captured we also meet Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who is also looking for that map. Kylo is a Sith apprentice and a kinda sorta Darth Vader fanboy. He’s still very young and has problems mastering his temper more than once. But he is also powerful with the force and has some skills. He is an interesting conflicted character that, I hope, will get explored more in the upcoming movies. When captured Poe meets a stormtrooper who is also very conflicted and trying to get out they both decide to team up and flee. Poe calls him Finn and together they manage to flee. They still get shot down and crashland when Finn meets Ren. Ren is a young woman who is trying to survive by scavenging spaceship wreckages. Some very impressive pictures in that part of the film. She stumbles upon BB-8 and they become friends. Not long after they meet Finn, they get attacked by the First Order that is looking for Finn and the robot. Together they flee the planet on a rusty, old piece of junk spaceship. You guessed it… it’s the Falcon. A pretty fantastic chase sequence is going on then. From then on things start to fall into place. We meet old and new characters. A lot of lucky coincidences happen. A tiny bit too many for my taste. But well, things have to connect one way or another. So I’m fine with that.

I hear the term ‘Soft Reboot’ tossed around quite a bit. And I guess you could call the movie that. I would compare it to what the Jurassic World movie did. Where they take elements of previous movies, repackage them and put them into a new movie. While Jurassic World did that much more obvious (at least in my opinion), I think SW:TFA did it in a smarter way. There definitely are similarities to A New Hope and Empire here and there. We also get a lot of ‘fanservice’ moments that make every fans heart grow a little. But without making these moments feel forced. They’re fun little sidenotes that pop up every now and then to help connect the old with the new. The downside of a ‘Soft Reboot’ approach is that it becomes predictable. Since they’re making use of a formula that’s already been used. Granted, they remodel that formula, but at its core it’s still the same. And while the character plotlines in this movie are relatively open, you can still, very early on, see where the movie as a whole will go. So I wished the movie ending, regarding the bad guys, was not as definitive as it was and more open.

While this movie at its core is a little puzzle’ish put together with elements from other Star Wars movies, it’s the new characters that really make it all work for me. They casted some people who are relatively unknown and it really benefits the film. The chemistry between Finn & Poe and later Finn & Rey is very entertaining and brings back that feeling when we saw Luke and Han together for the first time. There is some nice back and forth between them in the dialogue scenes and more than once they sprinkle in some light hearted comedic moment that makes you laught or at least smile. The cast all around feels natural and not as artificial as in the prequels. Only Kylo Ren could have benefited a little with some less cheesy lines.

So yeah, is it a flawless film? No. Is it the first truly good Star Wars movie in 30 years? Yes. Let’s be honest here. The prequels exist but they only scratch the surface of being good movies. They surely are entertaining on certain levels but they miss the point of Star Wars. And it’s fascinating how the initial creator of this beloved universe made these movies and missed the mark so much. And yes, I’m one of these people who blame Lucas. And the fact that there was no one around him who said “NO that’s stupid, try something else”! It’s a well documented fact that he had a lot lot lot of help with the first trilogy. But all the people who helped him back then, were not around for the prequels. That’s visible on screen. So it’s good we have fresh blood going into the new movies. Yes… I feel a bit sorry for that generation of kids that got introduced into Star Wars with the prequel movies. While this new movie should have been their introduction. However… this new movie comes with its own set of holes too. Some characters could have benefitted from a better introduction for example. Or the use of CGI where it wasn’t actually necessary. Yes, they did a lot of practical FX and it shows and works. Still, there are some questionable scenes where the CG work distracts a little. I can forgive that though. They did too many things right.

Yes. This is a real Star Wars movie. I enjoyed it and had a good time. When I left the theater I wanted to know how this story will be continued. The last time I had that feeling was with Lord Of The Rings (Fellowship). It will be interesting where Disney will take us with this. So far, it looks good!

8.4/10

Star Wars – The Force Awakens on IMDb

Organica

December 17th, 2015



Organica

This one started as an experiment. Like many other pics I do for some reason. I wanted to dig a little deeper into a tool called The Plant Factory (TPF). A software created by the guys who also run Vue. After finishing this pic I wouldn’t say I’m an expert in TPF… but I learned something for sure. To a point where it already helps with other projects. However… I used TPF to make roots grow all over the scene. To make it look as if nature decided to overwhelm this place to a certain degree. So ultimately this project was perfect for the then current ‘Organics’ topic of the Luminarium artgroup. It could be seen as a companion pic to my ‘Terraformer’ piece. Maybe it’s even the same planet!!!??? =)

The scene base was created with C4D and Vue. A lot of importing/exporting with The Plant Factory and tons of overpainting and fixing with Photoshop. The last part more than usual. Therefor I decided to play with a more stylized look and made it appear a little more painting like. A lot of time went into refining small elements to make it all look consistent.

Is this experiment a success? I’m undecided. While it sure does show something I had in mind for this scene, there are a couple of technical things I would do different today. Of course I would… because now I know the stuff I leaned from creating this picture. :D

6571×3000 – Vue – The Plant Factory – Sculptris – Photoshop

Plate
Scene Setup
Print Detail

This pic is part of The Luminarium’s 27th Exhibit. The topic was ‘Organics’. Amazing work by some great digital artists in there.
Check it out here!

The artwork on:
DeviantartArtstationDrawcrowdCGSociety

wallpapers available

Regards

signed

Movie Review – Monsters: Dark Continent

December 7th, 2015

movie reviewGareth Edwards, who moved on to do the 2013 Godzilla movie, got this opportunity because of his indie success ‘Monsters’ from 2010. There he explored what humanity means and how little it takes to turn humanity into chaos and destruction. For me it was something different with a nice message at the end of the film. So when I discovered that there was a sequel in the works, I was quite excited. Especially after seeing the trailer.

We follow a Michael Parkes (Sam Keeley) from Detroit and his group of close friends. We learn that they signed up for the military and all they want is to get out of Detroit. We learn that Detroit is not a great place to live and grow up in. The once proud and big working class city is nothing but a shadow of its former greatness. In this early stage of the film we get the usual tropes of a guy and his wife getting a kid and the last day party before shipping out into the middle east. Yes, the fact that the world is not populated with huge alien creatures, does not suddenly end all the wars that are going on. While the monsters in the first movie are limited to Mexico and parts of South America, they now spreaded into the Middle-East. Interfering with all the military operations that are going on down there. And that is where our group of friends ends up in. So we see them do their job with the occasional monster showing up here and there. Then they get called for a special mission and of course everything that can go wrong does go wrong.

If my written summary does not sound too promising then you read that right. This movie is a mess. Starting with all this cliche material in the beginning and the platoon leader being almost a caricature of the stereotypical military guy spouting his “shit rolls down hill” speeches. It’s all there and it’s not done very good. I’m not sure if it’s the actors or the script. I’m leaning towards the script since the actors, in some sparse fine moments, do deliver some good work. Which is a shame. Much like that really touching, eyeopening scene at the end of ‘Monsters’, we have similar scenes in this movie. Again one near the end. It’s beautiful, well done and poses the overarching question of who the real monsters are. There are a couple of scenes that ask this question. But they drown in the mess that is this movie. It wastes a lot of time with story elements that shouldn’t be there. Especially when it’s trying to make the audience bond with this group of friends (which did not really work for me at all) and then later feel with them when shit gets real. The movie’s runtime with 2hrs is far too long and several parts of the movie just drag on and on.

So while the first movie successfully focussed on smaller issues, this one tries to go a step further. What sounded rather interesting on paper, did unfortunately not really work on screen. Expanding the universe of that world, where giant creatures roam the the earth, could have been done differently. By expanding the story we get a lot of problems with plot holes that the first movie avoided by keeping the story very compressed. At least the visuals do work and they made it all look pretty good. The monsters do not make a hostile impression and more look like a herd of elephants. Nonetheless we bomb the crap out of them for some reason. Which is probably the more realistic element this movie has. You feel sorry for the creatures that basically just want to be left alone. On the other hand you can understand that there is action against them. But the movie misses to make that point of trying to convey why we fight against these creatures. For some reason this group of friends is also in the same platoon. Sorry, not gonna happen in todays military. They would be scattered all over the place in all kinds of different units. And that’s just two of the more problematic things going on in this film.

Closing words would be to only seek out this film if you really want to know the world of ‘Monsters’ a little better. Unfortunately the movie does not know what it wants to be. A military action movie or a film asking questions about humanity. Writer and Director Tom Green probably wasn’t the right guy for this material. There is a good movie in this one but it’s drowning in a lot of stuff that did not need to be in there. It’s too inconsistent throughout the runtime. But still… there are some great images in this film. Apart from the obvious shakycam syndrome, this movie suffers from, the overall camera work is nice.

5.5/10

Monsters: Dark Continent on IMDb

Terraformer

November 19th, 2015



Terraformer

What we see here is, what I imagine, an ancient kind of terraforming device. Left on this planet by some ancient civilization. In the back we can see some giant ruins and leftovers of what once may have been a city. Something must have gone wrong and the planet never fully terraformed. Now the big stucture on the left is still working to a certain degree. But it’s not powerful enough. So only the surrounding areas managed to build some sort of ecosystem that over time grew onto the terraforming structure. Imagine that thing to be like 1.5km tall. So it’s huge and massive. And what are these ships doing there? Maybe they’re doing some science work and measurements of the surrounding areas. It could even be seen as a continuation of my earlier ‘Fallen Sanctuary‘ project – where they explore the ruins we see in the background of this scene.

A more exciting scenario could be that this massive terraforming structure has a meltdown. =D And the ships shit their pants and try to get away. Sounds pretty cool too. =D

This piece gave me some headaches. I was playing around with lots of things even though I wanted this pic to have a more reduced look. Without overloading it with detail. Well, that didn’t entirely work. Even if it looks rather open, there still is quite some detail in the overall scene. More than I originally planned. In the end it may benefit the overall scene. It’s not a perfect piece but it has some neat ideas I think.

Technically it’s Vue that has been used to create the overall scene. The terraforming structure is a model by Nora Nirvaluce that I previously used in a different way in the earlier mentioned collab project. The tree/root like things growing on it were done with The Plant Factory. It has a neat feature where it lets you grow stuff on objects. Needed to learn how that works and this project helped. The feature was also used to give the rocks a unique touch with some strange roots all over them. The rocks were created with Sculptris. The fog/cloud bank was rendered in Vue and took (as expected) ages to finish. I needed the cloud plate for a consistent look though. After rendering it all… Photoshop helped to bring in the final touches, fixes and overpaints that were necessary to create the scene I had in mind.

6571×3000 – Vue – The Plant Factory – Sculptris – Photoshop

Alternative Colour Version
Plate
Plate
Print Detail

This pic is part of The Luminarium’s 27th Exhibit. The topic was ‘Organics’. Some amazing work by some great digital artists in there. Check it out HERE.

The artwork on:
DeviantartArtstationDrawcrowdCGSociety

wallpapers available

Regards

signed

Luminarium Exhibit #27

November 17th, 2015

The Luminarium Exhibit #27

Here we go with the 27th Exhibit of The Luminarium Artgroup. “Organic” was the topic this time and the interpretation of it amongst the artists in the collective spawned some nice ideas. The Exhibit features some of the best digital art that’s currently out there and surely is worth your attention. There is digital art, digital painting, 3d, 2d, photography! 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 – Organic.

The Luminarium: WebsiteDeviantartBehance

Regards

signed

Scifi & Fantasy Calendar 2016

November 2nd, 2015

Tigaer-Design Calendar 2016

Alrighty. Here we go. The calendar for YOUR amazing 2016 is now available in my deviantart store. Had a hard time picking the artworks for this one since they all work well for a calendar page. A nice look back at the pieces I did this year. Among a few older ‘personal favs/classics’ we have quite a number of new pieces in this calendar this time. For the calendar design I used Vue to create a neat looking cover image and plates for the month pages. Had some fun with it and hope it turned out eyecatching enough. :) Due to the format I had to cut off small parts of the images but tried to keep the main elements in frame as good as possible. I’m fairly happy with how it turned out this year.

Find it here: http://www.deviantart.com/print/38876699/

Regards,

signed