3dTotal – Feature & Artwork Walkthrough

August 19th, 2018

3dtotal.com Walkthrough

For everyone who cannot get enough about how to create a scifi cityscape, I wrote a little something for 3dtotal.com. It’s not a precise tutorial but I’m going through the creative process behind my ‘Halo Over Sunset City‘ artwork. The artwork is not as crazy sophisticated as my usual scifi cityscape stuff and comes with a fairly simple setup. More about that in the article. A cool thing to be featured on that site. Check it out for the walkthrough and maybe their gallery for some world class inspiration!

Find the article here: Making of Halo Over Sunset City

Regards
signed

SITE

August 15th, 2018



SITE

When I was creating my The Ghost terrain asset (quite some time ago now) I decided to play around with the materials I collected for the asset and experimented. This one is the result of such an experiment. Not too much backstory except that I always liked the natural shapes, patterns that you can see of landscapes when photographed from a very high altitude. World Machine in combination with Geoglyph 2 is able to create these natural patterns. I instantly thought it looked like an eye with all the veins going on and stuff. But also an alien planet surface maybe? I decided to add some ships and give it a more scifi feel with that. This one was fun to play around with.

6000×6000 – World Machine/Geoglyph 2 – Vue – Photoshop – Lightroom

The artwork on:
DeviantartArtstationCGSociety

wallpapers available

Regards

signed

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Movie Review

July 26th, 2018

movie reviewSo far I’ve seen every Jurassic Park (JP) film in theaters. I have some very personal memories with the 1993 film. So, of course, I went and saw the latest release as well. After the first Jurassic World (2015) film my expectations weren’t too high. Jurassic World (JW) being a soft reboot of the series, they recycled pretty much all elements from the very first JP film. As if they worked with a checklist (again). I’m quite certain they did. Now with this second JW film I was interested if they would come up with something original, or if they used a checklist as well. It seems they did. Right at the start the trained movie fan eye can spot a couple of scenes that very obviously address the main critiques they got for the first JW film. And while the first JW film appeared to be rather consistent with its plot, this film feels as if it suffers schizophrenia. It really does not know what it wants to be. A straight JP film with the typical elements (like the first JW film) or something entirely different.

The film starts with an official hearing of experts regarding how to treat the dinosaurs that are still left on Isla Nublar. Of course the Jurassic World park went out of business after what happened in the first JW movie. Now the question is if we let the dinos live or if we ‘retire’ (to use a Blade Runner term) them. We see a glorious Jeff Goldblum reprising his role as Ian Malcolm. “Life will find a way”. And it certainly does in this film. Next we get to Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) who was one of the higher ups, managing the Jurassic World park when went down in the last film. After what happened to her you could argue that she’s seen and had enough of dinosaurs and now probably needs psychological help to find sleep at night again. But no, she wants to save the dinos that are left on the island. For that she leads an organisation pleading to politicians to keep the dinos alive. She loves the creatures that, multiple times, almost killed her. Which is the first, of a number, of highly unrealistic things in this film.

The situation on Isla Nublar is criticial. Suddenly there is a volcano (we previously never heard of I think?) that threatens the wildlife and the dinosaurs. So there needs to be a decision fast. What to do with the creatures living on the island? Rescue them or let them go extinct a second time? Claire gets contacted by Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) who proposes to resettle the dinos onto another island. One that is perfectly shaped to keep the dinos in and the humans out. So Claire and two of her colleagues from that ‘save dinos organisation’ team up with a group of mercenaries and hunters to go the the island and rescue some of the creatures. But not without Claire contacting Owen Grady (Chris Pratt). Now Owen did get to the right conclusions, after what happened to them in the first JW movie. He’s seen enough of dinosaurs and wants his peace. He doesn’t care if they go down on that island or not. Only his connection and love (kinda?!) for Claire makes him join the trip. Then there’s Blue, one of the Velociraptors Owen trained in the first film. And Blue is also the creature our group of mercenaries is really after.

And here we are in full effect for the first half of the film. On the island. We get to see the park again, or what’s left of it after what happened last time. Constantly under pressure because of a volcano. This is the part that really feels like a Jurassic Park film. It’s the part I personally enjoyed the most. Some really nice landscape shots and the VFX are outstanding. Unfortunately the spectacle is slightly overshadowed by recycled plot elements of The Lost World (the second Jurassic Park film from 1997). And that goes through the whole film. The recycled parts are not as super obvious as in the first JW film but still very well recognizable. They tried their best to bring in variation/hide it. And in some parts they even succeed.

When the mercs got their dinos, as well as Blue, they immediately leave the island. Still leaving behind tons of creatures now doomed to die. Transitioning into the second half of the film. Which almost completely plays out in a big rich man’s mansion where the movie turns into a horror film. Again similar to the ending of The Lost World. Although they (like I mentioned earlier) tried to divorce it as much as possible from the crystal clear influence. And that is all I want to say about the story.

Throughout the film we see our characters thrown into different kinds of situations they have to deal with. It’s fun to watch them trying to solve these situations and most of the time the chemistry between the actors works as well. You could argue that Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt don’t have much chemistry going on or there is a coldness between them. But for some reason it works for me. The two characters they play had a failed relationship and they learned that it doesn’t work. Yet they feel drawn to each other. That reluctancy toward each other works since both characters kind of know that, if they come back together, it will probably end in tears and hurting them both once again. We also have Rafe Spall, James Cromwell, Toby Jones and Geraldine Chaplin in this film. Faces I always love to see appear in a movie. And they do a fine job. Even though Toby Jones is a little overacting at times here. Still liked what he added to the film.

Technically the film leaves a better impression than the first JW film. Camera, angles, composition all that works pretty much flawless in this film. We get some very nice shots and inspired camera movements throughout the film. The VFX are top notch and overall it’s a very pretty film to look at. No doubt. The director J.A. Bayona did the best he could. If only the script would have been better! Same goes for the score. What’s going on Hollywood?! Is Hans Zimmer the only one left who gets enough freedom to compose something memorable? The score in this film is so generic. First when the credits start to roll and the original Jurassic Park theme by John Williams plays… well… it shouldn’t have been at the end but at the very front of the film. It’s timeless and a masterpiece. John Williams is the man! Composer Michael Giacchino is not a bad guy for scores either – the contrary. Not sure what happened but for this film it was as unmemorable as it can be. A shame.

This film is incredibly stupid. All logic thrown out the window. Character decisions very hard to understand. Yet this film is entertaining. You could easily edit 10 minutes out of the last half hour though. That last half hour in general is so packed with stupid decisions that it almost hurts! Still… the film is weirdly fun. I always love to see Chris Pratt. His charisma just works for me. Bryce Dallas Howard is very easy on the eyes and gets some fun moments too. I wished we would have had more time on the island. I don’t really need to see the dinos outside their natural habitat. I want to be transported to a place I don’t see day in day out. But that’s me. Some people like the second half much more since we’ve seen the first half of the film, on the island, so many times now. Hard to argue with that.

Now with the obvious influences checked off the list, it will be interesting to see where they go next. There will be a third film. I have no doubt. I’ll probably see it. And if it’s just for Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt.

6.6/10

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom on IMDb

DIVIN

July 24th, 2018



DIVIN

Another, more experimental, piece that actually belongs to my ‘Splacement 1+3‘ series. The result of playing around with a nifty pattern generator. The tool is called JSplacement and free. I can only recommend checking it out. A lot of fun. Aside from that there is not much to say here. No big story when it comes to the meaning of the picture. A just for fun piece, created to just look kinda cool. =) In a square format that I’m not really used to working with.

The piece was first published in the online exhibit AURORA II – RED

8000×8000 – JSplacement – Vue – Photoshop – Lightroom

The artwork on:
DeviantartArtstationBehance

wallpapers available

Regards

signed

XFrog & Vue Ecosystems

June 22nd, 2018

XFrog & Vue Ecosystems Video

Stewart McSherry (founder of XFrog) asked me to do a short video about the Ecosystem materials that are offered by XFrog and how easy they make it to create a forest with a lot of variation and a very natural and real looking appearance. So I sat down and recored this video to explain the process a tiny bit. I wanted to keep it short and didn’t go into super crazy detail but it’s deep enough to convey how it all works. It also shows how easy the XFrog material make it to create a rather natural looking forest.

E-On Software – Website
XFrog Website

Regards
signed

Comcept 32 – Halo Over Sunset City

June 20th, 2018



Comcept 32 – Halo Over Sunset City

Welcome to SUNSET CITY! This one was a pure just for fun project. I was fiddling around in Vue when I stumbled over some atmosphere settings that created a solar eclipse kind of look. I thoroughly enjoyed that look and started to randomly add some buildings. That quickly turned into kitbashing all kinds of stuff into the scene… which lead to the results we can see in the final piece now. No specific story for this one. From what it looks like it appears to be some sort of space/port hub structure. Surely a place that could easily write its own stories – good and bad.

5000×2283 – Vue – Photoshop – Lightroom

Part of AURORA: AURORA Exhibit II

The artwork on:
DeviantartArtstationCGSociety

wallpapers available

Regards

signed

Solo: A Star Wars Story – Movie Review

June 17th, 2018

movie reviewI have rarely seen a film that the press covered in such detail before it came out. The film did have some serious production issues with the original director duo (The guys who did the Lego Movie) being fired shortly after shooting of the film began. Creative differences they said. They brought Ron Howard on board. A solid director with a solid track record (I love Apollo 13). Then there were constant bad news about the Han Solo actor Alden Ehrenreich. Reports that they gave him an acting coach because his performance seemed not appropriate and good enough. Then the fans that constantly voiced their negative stance on the production as a whole. Tumultuous would be a word to perfectly describe the history of the film so far. Now what’s the result? Is the end product even a movie?

Han Solo. One of the most iconic movie characters ever created. The decision to make a standalone movie about him was seen critical from the get go. Even if it was the logical next step for Disney to do a Han Solo movie. Everyone expected it and a lot of people still complained when it was announced and happening. I was indifferent. What I knew was that the film would at least end up being entertaining. I also knew that we would finally get a different perspective on the SW universe. Not the ever grand perspective of Jedi or Sith… Rebels or Empire… no, we wanted to see something of the every day/every mans life in that universe. This movie kind of delivers on that. And sure, why not? The character of Han Solo needs and demands that backdrop.

The biggest thing of course… who would be casted to play Han Solo? I have seen so many youtube video titles reporting about that… insane. And pretty much all of them complained about the casting of Alden Ehrenreich. These people haven’t even seen the film and base their opinions solely on news that may or may not be true. Who knows? And even if it’s a sacrilege… yes, I thought Alden Ehrenreich did a nice job! Eat it, you crazy SW fans! He did perfectly fine and I’ll stay with that opinion, no matter what. I don’t know what people expect. There’s no young Harrison Ford out there. You simply can’t replicate his performance 1 to 1. Ford even admitted that SW never really was his cup of tea. So even the performance of the original actor probably wasn’t the best. Even if we all loved it, it was just fine for the part, nothing more. So yes, Ehrenreich did a fine enough job too. The only thing I would have loved to see more of would be Han’s more sleazy side. The character of the young Han Solo as portrayed in this film is a little ‘too good’.

We start on Corellia. A SW location long overdue for a visual treatment. Young Han (Alden Ehrenreich) is part of a gang of thieves trying to survive. Together with Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) he dreams of leaving the place and make something of his life. Both soon get a once in a lifetime opportunity. Due to unfortunate events both become separated and are forced to go their own ways. Due to circumstances Han is forced to join the Empire. One of the more interesting parts of the film. Seeing an infantry war from the imperial side. Some good scenes here with dense (similar to WW1) war imagery. We all know that Han has problems with authorities and so the empire isn’t really his thing. During a battle he teams up with Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and his crew. Beckett is using the chaos of the battle to steal stuff from the empire. A desperate Han tries to join them. Before he can… we see how he meets up with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo). Han and Chewie join Becketts crew. Together they go on a heist mission that goes wrong. They have to justify their failure to a client called Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany). Dryden is a pretty big name criminal and a dangerous enemy to have. Much to Han’s surprise he meets Qi’ra on Dryden’s ship. Quite some time has passed and Qi’ra isn’t exactly the person we know from the beginning of the film anymore. Dryden gives them a second chance with another job and sends Qi’ra with them. In all honesty… I would have been fine with a little less Emilia Clarke in this film. She’s a piece of wood. I don’t really see her appeal as an actress. For said job they need a new ship and find out that a certain Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) loves to gamble a lot. Han joins a game and manages to win Lando’s ship. The Millennium Falcon. Now that the whole gang of small time criminals found together, they start to go for the job. The infamous Kessel Run! In less than 12 parsecs? How can that even work?! Well, they made it possible. That’s the part with the coolest visuals and some solid action pieces. Let’s just say they survive it and leave the synopsis there. Overall it’s a nice and fun plot that changes locations quite a bit. Which is a welcome thing to have as long as it doesn’t get confusing. Which it doesn’t in this film.

Could it have been a better movie? Yes, it probably could have. I’m of the opinion that they need to give the writers more time to come up with interesting stuff! We don’t need two SW movies per year. It’s ridiculous. The good thing is that we don’t actually see how troubled the production of the film was. It has a good solid flow with some minor pacing issues here and there. The visual presentation was very dark at times. A look I would have wished for in Rogue One… but not really in a Han Solo movie. I’m sure they had their reasons for the dark presentation but more often than not it blocks the opportunities to see the rich detail of the sets and stuff in general. Which is a shame because there definitely is a rich detail going on. After some harsh critique for that… they might fix that for the Bluray release, I hope. Another downside were some cringeworthy fanservice moments. The film also spells out too many things. Seems to not have enough confidence in the brains of the audience. I liked the fact that the film had a rather quiet ending. Not the usual big battle.

To answer the question from earlier, yes it is a movie. It’s not even a bad one! But it’s also nothing more than ‘fine’ for what it wants to be. The film certainly has some glaring weak points. But the overall experience was positive and I’m certain I’ll revisit this first adventure with a younger Han Solo. And Disney… please do not try to re-cast Han Solo. Ehrenreich did a good job and he will most certainly grow into it over time.

No masterpiece but a solid and entertaining piece of film.

7.6/10

Solo: A Star Wars Story on IMDb

Shrine Of The Unknown Huntress

June 6th, 2018



Shrine Of The Unknown Huntress

“Many tales, in all kinds of shapes, forms and variations, covered the deeds of this fine lady and ignited a revolutionary fire which the galaxy will tell tales that will echo through the ages – even in thousands of years.”

Cassandra’s Book, 3:29

Here we have something highly experimental (for me) again. Much like my “The Hidden” piece, this one was done with help of Mandelbulb3d. I found a neat scene whilep laying with it, rendered out several passes of it and did some Photoshop magic. I also used Vue to bring in these monumental statues. The look of it is really different compared to my usual stuff and I really enjoy how it turned out.

When working on this piece, I decided to make a loose series, that is based on my “The Unknown Huntress” artwork. What if the lady belongs to an ancient old collective or cult of warrior ladies that kind of work from the shadows and shape the civilizations of the universe. A variation on the Assassins Creed story of sorts and not superbly original, I admit. But more based in a fantasy related universe. I found it tempting and decided to go with it. =D The location we see in this pic definitely belongs to a Scifi setting. Something completely different from the first (The Unknown Huntress) picture. Maybe a gigantic temple, honoring highly decorated members of the past. A place for the members to visit and gather some spiritual energy for upcoming missions or events.

7000×2996 – Mandelbulb3d – Vue – Photoshop – Lightroom

Mandelbulb Plate

Part of AURORA: AURORA Exhibit II

wallpapers available

The artwork on:
DeviantartArtstationCGSociety

Regards

signed

Aurora – Exhibit II

June 3rd, 2018

Project Aurora - Exhibit II

The Luminarium & The Cosmosys Collective invite you to a trip to boost your imagination and inspiration! Members of the two artgroups sat down and decided to do a crossover Exhibit. Represented is art created with all kinds of techniques in all kinds of fields. A healthy variety… how I would call it. I’m included with four pieces that definitely (hopefully) show some neat quality and variety! =D The exhibit has the extension RED because at some point someone in the group thought it would be a cool thing to focus the art on something. Overall the the exhibit is freestyle but most tried to do something with the colour red in it. This certainly gave us some great results! Thanks to everyone involved and especially the people who did the organisational stuff in the background!

Go check it out and share it!

Project Aurora Project Aurora Website
The Exhibit on Behance

Regards
signed

Avengers: Infinity War – Movie Review

May 21st, 2018

movie reviewThe very fact, that this movie even became a reality, can only be applauded at this point. I tip my hat to what Marvel Studios achieved in the past 10 years. They carefully crafted storylines for all these different superheroes to lead into this first part, of a two part (kind of finale), movie. Who would have thought that all these different superheroes would even work for an audience? Back then I was more than skeptical when they announced a Thor movie! Well, the first one wasn’t too amazing but still worked in bringing this universe closer together. The more fantasy and magic based stuff in the Thor storyline enabled a Doctor Strange movie for example. Another character that most people didn’t even know existed. Plus so many characters that didn’t get their own film and were introduced along the way. It very rarely did not work. And that’s fairly amazing. The downside is… you will be completely lost watching this film, without having an idea what else happened throughout the other films. The upside is… they did not need to waste time introducing characters and jumped right into the story.

The bigger weakness of all the past movies were the villains, the bad guys. In this film we finally get a baddy that comes with the full package. Thanos (Josh Brolin) has a compelling backstory and a motivation that is relateable. That instantly makes him much more dangerous because you don’t really know what he’ll do. He’s not a cliche. His set of motivations can lead to different outcomes and his relationship to Gamora (Zoe Zaldana) is almost heart breaking. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) still struggles with PTSD from what happened in the previous Avengers films. And rightfully so. A lot of stuff happened and some deal with it better than others. So there are some real life issues tackled by this film. Which is always a good thing to have, since it allows the audience to connect much better with the material they see now and have seen in the past. Every film made the previous films better. Most of them managed to build on each other and overall made the universe as a whole richer.

The film starts pretty much where we left off with Thor: Ragnarok. Right off the bat we are confronted with Thanos and get a taste of his powers. Thanos is looking for six infinity stones. Each stone has a specific power that would allow him to literally control the universe and what its made of. We follow Thanos collecting these stones. Which actually makes him the main character of this film. The Avengers themselfes often feel like they aren’t actually the main part of the film. The heavier and more meaningful parts always include Thanos. I really enjoyed the depth they gave him. Of course we get to see our heroes do their hero stuff and it’s fantastically choreographed action sequences. I rarely lost oversight of what was going on and the way they shot these sequences works nicely. A lot of ‘tag team’ action where our heroes combine their abilitys and powers. They did that very nicely in the past and continue to do that here in the best possible ways. To get all these characters into one big film is a task. Especially to give them all something to do! Naturally some are more reduced to just being there, while others get larger moments to shine. Captain America (Chris Evans) felt very flat this time. Which he never was in the past. He was always one of the more interesting characters. So looking at the end of the film it can be argued that the old guard will get their moments in the second film. While the newer characters got their action in this first movie to take a step back in the next. Due to all these heroes doing stuff, the film jumps around quite a bit too. Lots of different locations. Which, in other films could have been problematic, but here it kept the whole thing fresh, in regards to the long running time of the film, another accomplishment. The different locations also helped to keep the heroes divided (which normally sucks but was clearly necessary here) into groups. These pairings were thought out very well and enabled some inspired scenes and interactions. They clearly had their fun writing these parts.

I wasn’t super hyped for this film. I still haven’t seen Spiderman: Homecoming and Black Panther. I even contemplated not watching Infinity War before I watched these two. I figured that I haven’t watched all the other films (over 10 years) for nothing and that I really deserved watching Infinity War in big and with superb sound. The theater was almost empty and it was perfect! =D I also thought that the two films I missed did not seem to have a too big story impact on Infinity War. Luckily I was right. This film worked for me.

Are there some negative points to this film? Yes. It is very long. 150 minutes were definitely needed to tell that story but it’s still very long. The ending feels very abrupt. Thanos is entirely CGI and in some parts it does show. Even though they did a very good job for most of the time. Half (if not more) of this film is entirely CGI… why not go full CGI at this point? I ask the same question with the Transformers film every single time. Near the end there is a scene with Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) in the Hulkbuster armour and it looks like shit. Sorry, whoever worked on that part, it looks really really badly integrated. But I digress. I’m still no fan of the music/score in these films. Yes, the Avengers theme is somewhat memorable but the rest is/feels like noise. I don’t like the Avengers theme. It doesn’t feel epic at all. It’s just good enough to serve its purpose. Like pretty much all the music in these Marvel movies. That’s still a shame.

So yes, this movie is the spectacle everyone wanted and even a little more. My surprise is Thanos. I liked him a lot. I know, he’s the bad guy but still, finally a bad guy that has some gravitas. I saw the film in 2D and Dolby Atmos sound… it was perfect. No 3D needed. I’m event interested in the upcoming Captain Marvel and Infinity War 2 now. Another accomplishement!

7.7/10

Avengers: Infinity War on IMDb