Jan 31, 2013

The Avengers - Concept Art By Phil Saunders

Though the film was released last year (and the world has moved onto the next big superhero film rumour) it's hard to deny the impact the Avengers had on cinema. It was a fun filled film with some of the best CGI in recent memory (Check out the ILM VFX reel if you haven't already, it fooled quite a few of us), especially as a comic fan. It's always interesting seeing each concept artists take on a certain idea, and what the art directors eventually end up going with as the final design. As a collective effort, this process of pooling from a large number of artists in an iterative fashion has always worked out well for studios that dedicate to the full process. We have featured a number of pieces from the film before and each one just gets more impressive.

Concept artist Phil Saunders just recently released some great concepts he created for The Avengers. Phil worked early on to create sketches and develop designs for the Leviathan, Quinjet, Helicarrier and Iron Man’s MK7 suit.  Check them out after the break!

The Art Of Jonone

Jonone, real name Ioan Dumitrescu is a prominent commercial freelancer based out of Bucharest, Romania working in the film and videogame industry. His style could best be described as conceptual leaning on matte painter, thanks to his prowess at incorporating photos into his paintings to provide much needed detail. His compositions soar vertically, showcasing fantastic worlds with post apocalyptic and fantasy themes.

The reality of being a freelancer, and most production environments is that due to the stringent schedules and demands placed on artists, techniques like these must be incorporated into the process to save time and keep up with competition. Ioan also organizes a workshop in his native Romania called Behind The Iron Curtain, bringing in some of the world's most renown artists from different disciplines to mentor participants. Check out more of his awesome work after the break!

Corridor Digital's After DayZ

If you haven't played the Arma II mod, DayZ, you should probably look into it, there's never been a survival game quite like it. While the game is heavy on Zombie survival, other players force you to watch your back for the constant threat of being shot, it's honestly the most stressful multiplayer game I've touched. The never-wracking nature of DayZ is something that immediately stands out, which is why I'm so impressed with this short created by the at Corridor Digital. I honestly didn't think it was possible to properly reenact the events of DayZ, but this 10 minute short perfectly sums up one's typical playthrough of DayZ without being your typical "LOL, VIDEO GAME YOUTUBE HUMOR" video.

I've always been incredibly jealous of the groups knack for both cinematography and in-house created CG, it's consistently top notch. Take a look at the video bellow for a better look at the guys' work process and be amazed at the amount of work put into a single gunshot wound.

Where Mary Lives...

Well, that was somber.  This haunting animated short by Shibabrata Chakraborty brings us the story of little Mary, a foster child with a past so horrible, that it turns her into a child enveloped by dark behavior.  Eerily similar to the story of Beth Thomas, it's certainly a very sad story, but well told and animated.  The art style was hauntingly beautiful with great textures.  It's definitely an interesting short, and highly recommended.  That said, watch some Winnie the Pooh or something afterwards...

Finding Franklin

Last June, this very touching short film by Alex Bohs was made a reality by a Kickstarter fund.  Recently, it was brought to light for all to see.  Created by Bohs with the help of his former Columbia College classmates, it is a wonderful film to transition the group from student filmmakers to independent filmmakers.

The heartwarming story follows a young woman who has recently lost her grandfather.  As she goes through the grieving process (the initial phone call, the gathering of the personal belongings, etc), and interesting and unexpected facet of her late grandfather's life is brought to light.

The feeling of nostalgia and remembrance is executed beautifully!  Touching on some of the same topics as shown in 'Finding Franklin', Bohs also has another short in the works, with just a few days left for funding over at Kickstarter.  Definitely give it a look.

C 299,792 km/s - Retro-futurism And Scifi Collide

'We have the knowledge and the means. All we lack is the will.' With these final words, Derek Van Gorder and Otto Stockheimer's retro-futuristic proof of concept came to a close, and we were left wanting more.

is the product of a crowdfunding initiative, having surpassed it's goal via Kickstarter sometime in late 2011. Fast forward to two years later and the short film turned out even better than I could have imagined, choosing a more subtle, retro narrative style and circumventing just about every modern movie convention out there. From their bold choice for a protagonist (Caroline Winterson), who perfectly played a calculating alpha female to the brilliant usage of a Carl Sagan-esque figure to provide exposition for the world in a lovely retro-documentary format throughout the short.

The short follows the exploits of Lieutenant Commander Malleck and her act of humanity aboard a warship called the Kestros IV, choosing to turn a weapon of mass destruction into an engine for the future (Literally). Is a feature length adaptation in the cards for these indie filmmakers? We sure hope so. Check out the original trailer below or comparison, as well as the original mission statement as the directors put it themselves.

Jan 30, 2013

Disney's Paperman

Edit: there's actually a really nice breakdown of the technology over here

After the amazing Wreck It Ralph I had a lot of hope restored for Disney's animation studio, sure it wasn't hand-drawn like "the good ol' days", but it still held that classic Disney charm. There is a still a long road ahead of Disney before I'll consider them the leading studio in animation like they once were, but seeing the quality of the pre-movie short 'Paperman' (directed by John Kahrs) really started to warm me back up. 

While no solid information on the technology used for the short has been given, the animation studio has used an amazing technique to seamlessly intertwine both hand-drawn and computer animation. It really becomes apparent when looking at the facial animation of each of the characters, there's just something about hand-drawn eyes and mouths that conveys emotion better than computer animation. I'm really hoping that this technology finds a home in feature length films, because Disney definitely has something incredibly special here.

Hit the jump for a few behind videos for behind the scenes

RoboGal's Weekly Cute Mixtape 2.0! Shiba Inu Fashion Week

True science.
Welcome to the overhauled Cute Mixtape! Eye searing new sugar barf banner and all! As part of our 2013 initiative to take our content to the next rainbow level, we'll be whipping our cute lists into shape!

Inspired by the brand-spanking fresh new site, Menswear Dog, I've decided it's time to class this place up a bit.  And nothing, I say nothing, says class like a dapper dog.  I'm doing what most fashion bloggers (yeah, that's me, wanna fight about it?) do by showcasing my own selection of the fabulous Shiba Inu alongside some of MWD's more seasoned models.  This ain't your average Sears catalogue (dear Lord, do those still exist?). On to the models after the break!

Music Video Roundup - Deerhoof, The Knife, Samantha Crain

Quite a few awesome new tracks this week. A recap:
  • Deerhoof - "We Do Parties" is an eclectic spin around some colorful areas in Tokyo directed by Michinori Saigo. Filmed in a rather guerilla style, if you like glowsticks, karaoke and watching people have a fun time in general, this music video is for you.
  • The Knife - "Full Of Fire" (NSFW) represents the return of Sweden's elusive grungy electro siblings  Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer following a 7 year hiatus from releasing studio albums (Their last was Silent Shout in 2006). Their trademark tainted, distorted sound returns in this music video, which embraces it's own wrongness with open arms. David Lynch-ian is the best way to describe this.
  • Samantha Crain - "Never Going Back was directed by our friends over at Lamar+Nik, who created this stop motion music video using 3,800 hand cut frames to create a seamless single take experience. The Oklahoma based singer delivers some soothing folk sounds with an earthy instrumental overtone. The track is from her upcoming February 19th album, "Kid Face."

Reminder: Kentucky Route Zero (Episode 1) Is Out And It's Awesome

While the beginning of the year is always incredibly slow for gamers, I still managed to miss the release of one of the most intriguing titles announced last year. It's incredibly difficult for me to explain the plot of Kentucky Route Zero without spoiling the game, but I can tell you that the visuals are absolutely incredible. The game, which plays as a point-and-click adventure game, focuses deeply on creating an incredible atmosphere.I found myself completely engrossed through my entire playthrough and I'd be surprised if you didn't as well.

Using a pseudo 2D art style, the game constantly shifts to some incredible 3D visuals while still retaining a 2D overlay. It's some impressive work and an amazing experience that I can't suggest enough.

You can pick up the first episode of Kentucky Route Zero now for $7 or pre-purchase all five episodes for $25 over here

MeTube - August Sings Carmen's "Habanera"

Some things are not meant to be understood. This video is one of those things, and things spiral quickly out of control in this strange tribute to the classic 'Habanera' tune. An attempt at an explanation from the folks over at MeTube:

'A homage to thousands of ambitious YouTube users and video bloggers, gifted and less gifted self-promoters on the Internet, has attracted international attention. No less than George Bizet’s Habanera from Carmen has been reinterpreted for MeTube and enhanced with electronic sounds.'

Jan 29, 2013

The Art Of Fightpunch

Fightpunch, aka Darren Bartley is a Frankfurt based artist (Currently working for Crytek) who's work mixes a healthy level of industrial design prowess with a tempered amount of playfulness. Using programs like Sketchup hand in hand with Photoshop, Bartley is capable of efficiently blending 3D and 2D into a seamless process. These types of tools have come into play as a result of harsher production environments, requiring artists to become more efficient in their processes.

Darren is one of the rare self taught artists out there, which is a pretty awesome accomplishment considering the type of competition that the field tends to offer. Check out more of his awesome work after the break!

Ad Collective Volume 3 - Nike, Deezer, Best Wishes, Neuron Fractal, YoyoMiracle

Ad Collective is a weekly spotlight on creative advertising projects that push the creative envelope. We're not talking mind grating, generic commercials for car insurance and laundry detergent here, rather a spotlight on individuals trying to elevate the art of advertising into more of an art form rather than an exercise in playing it safe and taking no risks.

This week's featured advertising campaigns, in order:
  • Nike's Vapor Trail advert, created by Wieden+Kennedy takes a literal approach to the 'force of nature' expression, showcasing just how much of an impact the all-star soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo has had on the sport.
  • McBess contributed his amazing art style to this kickass animated ad for Deezer, a French website for discovering and sharing music. Fyi, the track is Pop Levi, 'Wannamama.'
  • Eric Beaupré's Best Wishes 2013 is a claymation experiment to wish everyone a great 2013, created in a style similar to that of PES's now viral Western Spaghetti and Fresh Guacamole.
  • Born was created for the Korean advertising company called Neuron Fractal, using water to visualize their ability to bring ideas to life.
  • Macintosh Classic II by YoyoMiracle was an experiment in projection mapping using an established brand. Colorful, chippy and playful, these types of pieces are typically created as samples to sell clients on a companies abilities.

Grizzly Bear - "Gun-shy"

You can't help but wince at this brilliantly uncomfortable music video directed by Kris Moyes for the Brooklyn based indie rockers track from their 2012 album, 'Shields.' The idea for the Gun-Shy video came from the simple question: 'If the creative energy of any living organism could be seen, what would it look like?'

The whole concept originates from the fact that science has yet to prove where creativity comes from, and why some people possess a knack for music, drawing or other creative impulses while others have little to none. The video starts off with a very medical exploration of extracting the so-called creativity before shifting to a more metaphysical, abstract tone. Not for the squeamish.

The Centrifuge Brain Project - Mad Science At It's Finest

Scientists at the ICR (Institute for Centrifugal Research) have made a remarkable discovery: spin people around and their brain power increases. Researchers have seen the amazing effect that a carousel ride has on the learning curve of fouryear-olds, so why not let other people share in the blessings conferred by centrifugal force?

Since making this breakthrough, scientists have been working tirelessly on counteracting the inhibiting effects that gravity has on our brains, and they have come up with complicated prototype models called 'The Expander' and 'The Dandelion Clock.' Get whipsmart instead of whiplash: this documentary is a fascinating report about how funfair rides can be good for you. Check out diagrams of the structures here.

Jan 28, 2013

Hibou Blaster - "A Very Unusual Map"

Created as an initiative to promote animation and electro music in the North of France, BBBlaster is an initiative that originally started in Norway. Combining some truly beautiful, poetic handcrafted animation with a downtempo electro style, their performance art strives to create a truly unique atmosphere for any participants. I'd absolutely love to see these guys performing live.

Check out a compilation of some of their other gorgeous VJ visuals after the break.

Eyes on the Stars

Back in November we brought you the story/animated short 'Sundays at Rocco's', created by StoryCorps, the group that creates animated shorts based on true stories.  Today is sadly the 27th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster. 'Eyes on the Stars' is narrated by Ronald McNair's brother Carl; Ronald was a physicist  and astronaut onboard the Challenger during it's unfortunate last flight.  A rather inspirational story of a boy (and later man) who wanted to learn and become something more than he could have ever dreamed of.

Bioshock Infinite Goes All 70's In New Viral Video

I couldn't be more excited for Bioshock Infinite. The first game created one of the most deep and enriching experiences I've had. Whilst the second game couldn't recreate the experience I had with the first chapter, the third game in the series is suiting up to be something unique. Stepping away from the underground city of Rapture where the first two games were based, Bioshock Infinite takes to the skies with the floating city of Columbia.

This video, released by Irrational Games, starts to reveal certain storyline aspects of the game. The video is offered with a retro documentary style, offering some answers regarding the the mysteries of the floating citadel and it's disappearance. With it's sinister tone and talk about secession, I'm looking forward to more updates as the game's launch draws nearer.

The Master Art Forger

Mark Landis has a special set of skills unlike anything I've ever seen, copying art. Since a very young age, Mark has been copying art to the T and has only gotten better, in fact, Mark's talent has been refined so well that he's been known to successfully donate work to local art museums. It's really quite incredible the amount of work he puts into each piece and it really shows in the end result. 

This mini-doc gives a really awesome look into Mark's mindset as an artist and I can't help but enjoy everything the man has to offer. It's pretty incredible how some of the simpler things Mark has to offer really helps put life into perspective. For a little more insight on the life of Mark Landis I've also provided the "deleted scenes" below for your viewing pleasure.

Jan 27, 2013

Voice Over

Voice Over is an absolutely fantastic short film created by French director Martin Rosette of Kamel Films, delving into the concept of how little challenges in life at times feel like the end of the world. Using a faceless cypher protagonist and a creative narration method, Voice Over places you in the shoes of various protagonists facing some truly insurmountable odds..Or are they? With a truly universal message, this short will undoubtedly bring a smile to your face.

Voice Over has garnered over 44 awards and close to 80 nominations interationally, including wins at the Tribeca Film Festival,  Spain's Academy Awards (Goya), Melies D'Or and countless others. Check out the making of and the official poster after the break!

Music Video Roundup - Shugo Tokumaru, Digitalism, Danny Byrd, Clubfeet,

Too many good music videos to count in the last few days, so it's time for another volume of music video roundup! The latest batch of videos hail from just about every corner of the globe, offering a truly eclectic mix of sounds and imagery. In order:
  • Shugo Tokumaru - 'Katachi' is a playful track by the Japanese singer-songwriter, who made a splash with his latest In Focus album (Released in the US by Polyvinyl). The playful, lighthearted sound is accompanied by an insane stop motion music video, created with thousands of cutouts that the animators described as an 'everlasting chain of memories.'
  • Digitalism - 'A New Drug' is an eye searing new music video from the German electro house duo designed to violate your retinas with it's epileptic imagery. Your visual cortex will be overloaded if you're not careful, although it's one of my favorite Digitalism tracks to date.
  • Danny Byrd - 'Grit (Feat. Roni Size)' is a breakbeat track that takes a turn for the bizarre when an appointment with a music producer turns into a full on puppet clusterf***, starring everyone from Yoda to Kermit from the Muppets jamming out to the track.
  • Clubfeet - 'Everything You Wanted' is the new music video from the Australian group, released around the same time as their new album: Heirs and Graces, which is still pending an international release. I can't even fathom how they planned this music video out, but it's a visual treat nonetheless.  

The Reward

This student project from the Animation Workshop in Denmark is one of the more awesomely original animated shorts I've seen in a while.  The dialogue-less story is told through emotion and the interesting art style.  In short, it's about two men on a quest for some sort of treasure.  The payoff is played out well, if a bit cliche.  But I think there's some truth in the story as a whole: Everyone wants to be a badass sometimes all the time.  In roughly 9 minutes we're given a pretty damn cool story, one that I'd personally like to see made into a mini series or full length film.

Jan 26, 2013

Smash TV - "Memorex" (A 50 Minute Odyssey Through The 80's)

Back in 2011, Smash TV's 'Skinemax' blew us away as a lovingly crafted, hour long ode to everything that made cinema in the 80's so memorable. Fast forward to 2013 and we're presented with the second installment of Smash TV's VJ odysseys, dubbed 'Memorex.'

Billed as 'the advertising industry's collective wet dream,' this 50 minute odyssey was sourced from close to 40 hours of 80's commercials extracted from a countless number of worn VHS tapes. Sit back, full screen and enjoy some nostalgia induced catharsis. Smash TV couldn't have put it more eloquently:

'Memorex is a deep exploration of nostalgia and the fading cultural values of an era of excess. It's a re-contextualization of ads - cultural detritus, the lowest of the low - into something altogether more profound, humorous, and at times, even beautiful. Digging up long forgotten memories for a generation who spent their formative years glued to the boob tube, Memorex is a veritable nostalgia nuke for children of the 80s. Endless beach parties, Saturday morning cartoons, claymation everything, sleek cars, sexy babes, toys you forgot existed, station idents, primitive computer animation, all your favorite sugary cereal mascots, and so much more. An ode to the hyper consumerism and sleek veneer of a simpler time.

The audio provides a perfect accompaniment to the warped and weirdly nostalgic footage, like finding your favorite cassette from childhood after it’s been baking in the sun for 25 years. An authentic audio/visual package, Memorex was designed to look and feel like the real deal. The ultimate VHS tape.

Is it a lost cultural relic, melted to the dash of an '83 Nissan Sentra?
Is it a sinister government experiment, designed to brainwash children into becoming consumer slaves?
Is it the pinnacle of blipverts, sent back in time from 20 minutes into the future?
Is it the holy grail of unlabeled VHS tapes, tucked away in the back room of an abandoned Blockbuster?
Is it live, or is it Memorex?
We didn't create your childhood, we just organized it for you. How to brainwash an entire generation. 

Bonobo - "Cirrus"

Bonobo returns with a beautifully crafted new music video, visually executed by the editing prowess of Cyriak. The track itself is an experience bordering on the mystical, thanks to the layering of delicate instruments comprised of chimes, xylophones and other percussive instruments followed by an eclectic beat to kick it all off.

The music video features a smattering of vintage clips starting off as separate entities before coalescing into an increasingly complex, synchronized organism that is sure to mesmerize you in full screen. 'Cirrus' is our first taste of Bonobo's upcoming April 2013 album, 'The North Borders,' which we're eagerly anticipating.

Steve Thomas' Wizard of Oz Travel Posters

I've said it a million of times, but I'll say it again: I absolutely adore the Wizard of Oz story and anything to do with it.  Illustrator Steve Thomas created these super awesome travel posters in homage to the story of Dorothy and her journey over the rainbow.  Clearly a nod specifically to the 1939 MGM film starring Judy Garland (as, say, opposed to the several other reincarnations), we're taken from drab Kansas to the bright lands of Munchkin City and, of course, The Emerald City.  Mr. Thomas is taking pre-orders on his site right now, don't miss out!

More after the break!

Le Zizi á Suzy

It's a story that's probably familiar to a lot of us: Little boy and little girl, curious to see the other in their, um, true form.This rough, simplistic yet bright animation from Loic Espuche and Xavier Sailliol is short and to the point.  It's a sweet and charming little piece that's sure to brighten up your day.  Well, maybe the whole day is over-reaching, but it'll make you crack a little smile, and perhaps remember the time when you were an inquisitive yet innocent little person.

Jan 25, 2013

The 3D Art of Darksiders 2 And Warhammer40K - And Some Clues About The Unannounced Vigil IP

With THQ dissolved and Austin's once prosperous Vigil studios rendered into a mere asset in a bankruptcy hearing (All employees were laid off following not finding a buyer this last week), former employees have started to upload their work to portfolio sites in preparation of finding a new job.

It's a shame to see the company go, because Darksiders 2 and other unreleased Vigil projects (Warhammer 40k, anyone?) were shaping up to have some of the best art direction I've had a chance to experience in a long time. Following the departure of creative director Joe Madueira and some bad decisions on the part of THQ in regards to handling their companies, it definitely didn't pan out for studio's longevity.

A good example of the types of decisions that ultimately sank THQ and marked the beginning of the end, the neutering of the Warhammer 40k: Dark Millenium Online into a single player experience. Having had the chance to talk to some former Vigil folks, it turned out that THQ simply dropped a large scale MMO project (Based off a license no less) onto a developer with only one title under their belt and no experience developing massively multiplayer online games, let alone a team that could properly handle such a massive undertaking. Having to hastily put together a new team inexperienced with working with each other typically never goes very smoothly. Rumors also suggested that Joe Mad wasn't a fan of the Warhammer IP, which probably didn't help.

That said, the work that senior 3D character artist Tohan Kim, lead character artist James Brian Jones (aka 'BoboTheSeal') and character artist Crystel Land created for the entire library of Vigil titles, including the new work posted for Darksiders 1&2 is truly some amazing work, faithfully translating the concepts into awesome stylized models, down to the painterly texture work matching the concepts by Paul Richards, Joe Mad and other folks who once populated their concept team. The interesting thing is that Tohan also uploaded some 3D sculpts titled '???' in the last few hours, perhaps hinting that the work might have been from some of the unannounced IP's included in the THQ bankruptcy hearing. Check them out after the break, along with Bobo's awesome work, and let's appreciate the thousands of hours that talented employees at Vigil spent crafting the beautiful world of Darksiders, a franchise that may as of yet still have a chance of finding a new life at some other studio.

The Wedding

I typically prefer to aim for more upbeat fare on Fridays, but today is one of those exceptions.  Simon Cottee's 'The Wedding' tells the story of a sad young man, and his bizarre invitation to his father's wedding.  I could only imagine a story like this if I was sad and inebriated, and that's meant as a compliment.  It comes off as deep, yet nonsensical all the same time.  The animation is simplistic, and somehow crude.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have some Care Bears or some s*it to go watch.

Bravest Warriors - Dan Before Time (Episode 8)

This new episode of Bravest Warriors follows Danny, as he finishes his time machine in order to go back and destroy the "darkness" hidden with his childhood. Things may or may not go according to plan, but there are definitely quite a few giggles to stifle while you're at work or in class.

I feel like a new wave of Saturday morning cartoons are in-bound, instead of waking up early with a bowl of cereal we'll soon be able to sit back and relax on YouTube, watching new Cartoons series whenever we want. While we have some incredible flash cartoons, Pendleton Ward proves that animation of this caliber can also make it's way to the internet. Here's hoping we see more projects like this in the future, because it's great.

Les Gobelins FX Animations

Created by a few teams of students over at the famous Les Gobelins animation school in France, these bite sized films are vessels for FX animation exercises. FX animation entails the work that goes into bringing things like smoke, explosions and other ambient effects to life.

Light on plot but heavy on atmosphere, these team exercises are but a stepping stone towards their final animated projects, which we look forward to seeing in a few years time.

Teams and titles:

  • Shoot Out: Batiste Peron, Marlène Beaube, Eve Ceccarelli, Clément Doranlo and Maud Girard.
  • Opium: Marion Bulot, Elsa Boyer, Rayane Radji, Guitty Mojabi and Raphaelle Stolz.
  • Loosaur: Deborah Cruchon, Myriam Fourati, Jonghyun Jung-boix, Nadya Mira and Laurent Moing.

Jan 24, 2013

Aliens : Colonial Marines Gets A New Kickass Trailer (Aka How Marketing Can Work Against You)

Gearbox has been at it for a few years with Aliens: Colonial Marines, and I'd go as far as say that this game's been stuck in development hell, with it's development cycle starting around 2006. The concept for the game is solid, with a plotline spanning between the events of Aliens and Alien 3 regarding a search team with orders to investigate the U.S.S. Sulaco and figure out what happened to Ripley, Colonel Hicks and the rest of the team dispatched to LV-246. From a story sense, the game is so canon that the title is officially a part of the Aliens franchise.

But then came this 'Kickass trailer,' which has raised quite a few eyebrows among fans and even Gearbox employees alike. The trailer brings us dubstep, awful voice overs contradicting earlier trailers with a macho marine spouting out the types of phrases you'd expect from the latest Call Of Duty trailer. Over the years I've come to understand that game developers and marketing teams don't exactly work hand in hand, and this is a textbook example. This new trailer was so forced that the creative director at Gearbox took up to Twitter to reassure concerned fans that he had nothing to do with the dialogue for the trailer.

From a marketers perspective, their job is to appeal to as many people as possible in order to sell as many copies as possible, yet this borders into gray area when the title gets marketed as something it is not. This awful practice has been on the rise lately in the entertainment industry, with movie trailers especially deceptively edited to appear something they're not to lull people into buying tickets (Too many times to count in the last few years). To be honest, there's nothing that pisses me off more than being mislead by warped marketing, and I wish people creating these trailers would understand that it works against them.

Compare the above trailer to the actual story trailer released a few weeks earlier, above. Notice a 100% difference in tone, subtlety and attention to story? Notice how the protagonists act like real people, with a concern for their own safety  This is the type of trailer that gets me excited for an Aliens game, an honest trailer representative of the narrative driven experience you're going to get. So please, let's nip the dubstep treatment at the bud and not let this trend spread to gaming as well. Aliens: Colonial Marines is coming out on February 12th.

Buvette - Airplane Friendship

Chill yet trippy electronica artist Buvette has a pretty sweet single with 'Airplane Friendship,' but even better: The Swiss artist has an f*cking bizarre music video to accompany it. I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say it involves quite a few aspects that makes me ask "Why...?." Yet, there's really not much we need to know: We get a mellow, almost trance-like track accompanied by a slightly jarring video. Joining in on this eccentric and bizarre adventure is director Simon Wannaz.

Michigan's Real Life 'Wayne's World'

Nick and J.B. are two Michigan based public access entertainers who've been running their show 'Hot Tracks' for years. I recently stumbled upon the two's videos on a late night and couldn't help but watch every video that has ever been posted about the guys. While some have been quick to point out that the two have Acute Autism and that it's unfair to laugh at the two, I found it completely irrelevant.

These guys are genuinely hilarious, and the way they joke is unlike anything I've ever seen. As silly as it mind sound, I've found them to be their own breed of comedy that I honestly can't get enough of. Seriously, check these guys out and don't get too scared of Nick's evil eye and his """"""""PURE""""""""INTENSITY"""""""".

It seems that I'm not the only one completely in love with 'Hot Tracks', as Soapbox Pictures has taken it upon themselves to document the daily lives of Nick and J.B. to tell their side of the story. The documentary is set for the end of January and I couldn't be more excited.

Someone needs to get these guys a legit TV show, because there's definitely something special with them

Kuchao - A Gum Boy

Tokyo University of the Arts grad Masaki Okuda (now Montreal based) created this insanely unique animated short as his first-year film back in 2010.  With a distinctive art style, the story of Kuchao, or, a Gum Boy, is about a loner little boy.  The animation is slightly jarring at first, with it's shakiness that made me wonder if I was seeing things (or gonna have a seizure or migraine), but it's style and sing-songy narration kept me going.  Within the plot, I felt that little Kuchao's situation is one we've all been in at some point: the lone kid in a world all their own.

Jan 23, 2013

Sundance 2013 Shorts - The Roper

The Roper is a fantastically directed, thoughtful little slice of life documentary following the life of a Louisiana based cowboy called Kendrick and his struggle to follow his dreams while overcoming adversity. Directed by Ewan McNicol & Anna Sandilands, the mini doc manages to be a well rounded experience in under six minutes, offering an intimate portrait of a man with a humble heart and great ambitions, with interesting stylistic choices made in regards to sound and cinematography.

The final product nearly blurred the line between documentary and short film thanks to it's great presentation, and it simply left me wanting more. Here's to hoping that this might just be a proof of concept for a full length documentary.

The Kinetic Art Of Dao Caoan

Dao Caoan's art hit the spot for me, incorporating my a truly energetic rendering style reliant on a looser brush stroke style. Letting the strokes shine through implies a sense of movement or action, as well as carrying an emotional aspect typically absent in tightly rendered illustration work.

This school of thought brings to mind the work of Ashley Wood, who's work seems to move while standing still thanks to an expert application of this semi-impressionist technique. In my personal opinion, over rendering can easily kill any emotional weight a painting can carry, which is why you might feel that some of this artists 'tighter' works don't seem quite as successful as his looser pieces. Which school of thought do you belong to? Check out more of Dao Caoan's kinetic paintings after the break!

My Strange Grandfather

Dina Velikovskaya just released this beautiful little stop motion short called 'My Strange Grandfater,' a graduate piece revolving around a young girl and an eccentric old tinkerer with a truly unique gift of seeing beauty where others might see garbage. The dialogue-less short is truly charming from start to finish, narrating a bonding experience between a daughter and her grandfather via his ingenious creations.

My Strange Grandfather has mainly been making it's rounds on the indie film circuit, and has already garnered an award at the Montreal Stop Motion Film Festival. 28 year old Russian artist Dina Velikovskaya animated, directed, wrote and illustrated the entire short.

"Mad Max 4 - Fury Road" Production Footage Looks Promising

Did you know a Mad Max sequel was in the works? Dubbed as 'Mad Max: Fury Road' The fourth installment of the post apocalyptic franchise wrapped filming in mid December, and the slow trickle of production shots and concept art has started to trickle out to the public. This latest video features some on set footage from the shooting location of Namibia, showcasing a handful of deadly vehicles strutting their stuff.

Starring Tom Hardy (Bane) in the role of Mad Max, the new installment will take place 29 years after the latest installment, 1985's 'Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.' A few encouraging things to keep in mind for the 2014 flick:

  • George Miller, the original director for the trilogy reprised his role as director for the fourth movie. 
  • A sequel to Fury Road is already planned, 'Mad Max: Furiosa.' 
  • Based off of what we've heard from interviews, there's a definite emphasis on not opting for a CG heavy approach for the new flick. 
  • Mel Gibson will be making a cameo as a character called 'Drifter.'

V.E.E.N. - "Thyreoalis" (NSFW)

Brace yourselves for the premiere of an electronic masterpiece, courtesy of the London/Sydney based dance entity known as V.E.E.N. (Jackie Night). Thyreoalis is an incredibly solid debut from the artist, an intensely psychedelic piece of  synth pop that will undoubtedly be on repeat for a while, evoking memories of my first time listening to Crystal Castles and M83.

With an intense beat and equally striking visuals, featuring cult followers lead into a state of heightened awareness by their charismatic leader, this track hits all the right notes and delivers a fantastic experience from both an aural and visual standpoint. Stellar.

Jan 22, 2013

The Painterly Art Of Jung-Geun Yoon

Jung-Geun Yoon is a talented freelance illustrator from Seoul, and a damn fine one at that. Using his background as a fine artist and traditional painter as a rock solid foundation, Jung has made the transition into digital seamlessly, while still retaining that painterly touch.

Jung-Geun Yoon's abilities are most notable in the background elements of his pieces, beautifully rendered fabrics and an eye for subtle hue variations, as well as a great use of dramatic lighting schemes. Check out more of his inspiring work after the break!

RoboGal's Weekly Cute Mixtape

Call it the late January hump or something, but I've kinda just getting by.  The holidays are gone, and summer is still a million years away.  Which was why the internet was invented (yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever): For entertaining blah folks like myself.  And unless you're a heartless monster (MONSTER, I tell you!) then you'll be entertained by my offering of the sweet and adorable.
More after the break!

Amazing Fan Made Zone Of The Enders Anubis Mech

Zbrush Central user Ioannis_Kths just uploaded an absolutely stunning rendition of Konami's fantastic Zone Of The Enders : 2nd Runner Anubis mech, choosing to redesign the iconic Yoji Shinkawa robot with a grittier look. The amount of work that went into this redesign is absolutely insane, showcasing a true talent for hard surface (Inorganic) modeling using Autodesk's Zbrush 3D sculpting suite.

Check out a turn table and a dozen close ups of just some of the insane levels of detail that went into creating this labor of love. Pieces created at this level of fidelity typically end up scoring the creator jobs as cinematic modelers at some of the best companies around. I wouldn't be surprised if this guy ends up getting some offers from Blizzard, Blur or WETA pretty soon.

Xilent - "Boss Wave"

The bloody pixels flow freely in this wub wub track, filtered through a few Amiga's and NES systems (Who doesn't recognize that fireball sound effect) for an excellently chippy effect. The fantastically fun, nostalgia filled music video features a truly dedicated videogame fan bringing his favorite 1982 videogame mech to life and taking it for a spin rampage through his city. Directed by Kristofer Ström.

The Midnight Show: BWAAAHHHH

Inception may have been one of my favorite movie trailers to be released in years, but something terrible happened after the film's immense popularity, the 'BWAAAHHHH.' I know, I know, it creates some incredible tension as the trailer quickly jumps from scene to scene but I can't help but roll my eyes and laugh every time a trailer uses this ridiculously overused trope. Unlike the Wilhelm Scream which works as an awesome 'Wheres Waldo' style of searching through a films audio track, the BWAAAAHHHH needs to die a fiery and painful death.

Starcraft 2 - Heart Of The Swarm Trailer

Let the eye candy commence! Blizzard just released the new trailer for the second installment of the  Starcraft II trilogy, Heart Of The Swarm. Taking place two years after the events of Wings Of Liberty, this Zerg-centric expansion will focus around the now de-infested Sarah Kerrigan in her new role as both a protagonist and anti-hero.

Following the fracturing of the Zerg hordes without their leader, the expansion will follow her quest to reunite the hordes and get revenge on Arcturus Mengsk. If you've been following us for a while, we also posted a leaked teaser trailer back in 2011 starring the Terran Ghost character Nova hunting down  Kerrigan on an unnamed facility. Check it out here. Brace yourself for more RTS madness on March 12th.

Disney Infinity - Jumping Into The Skylander Arena

If you live in the US, you've probably seen Skylanders in some form or the other. The idea was pure genius, mixing the concept of Pokemon with a tangible collectible aspect. The idea of getting both a toy and videogame character in the same package just seemed diabolically ingenious. And for close to two years the Skylander brand has grown, garnering the unlikely title of top selling console and handheld videogame worlwide, with sales of over 30 million toys in 2012 and sales of over half a billion dollars, from the mouth of Activision's Bobby Kotick himself.

Whereas most people were busy enjoying AAA franchises like the latest installments of Call Of Duty or Assassin's Creed, Skylander's made the smart move of aggressively capitalizing on a younger niche widely untapped by developers. This feat went widely unnoticed, until Disney's recent announcement of a near identical concept just a few days ago: Disney's Infinity.

By harnessing the power of decades of established IP's from both television and movies, Disney is looking to get a piece of the cross-market (Toy/Videogame) pie with a seemingly fool proof plan, using the success of Skylanders as a springboard. Launching this June, the cross platform game will come with a $75 price tag, add ons will run $35, and character toys will run $13 each. The figures will come with their own worlds catered to the franchises they're from, and the game will also incorporate a Minecraft-esque build your own world system called 'Toybox.'

It will be interesting to see what effect Disney's arrival to the 'toy to life' arena will have on the game industry as a whole. On a historical basis, where success thrives, many others tend to follow suit. I personally wouldn't mind seeing a version of this concept more catered to adults, although I'm sure Infinity will draw in an older fanbase due to the intoxicating effects of Pixar/Disney fandom.

Jan 21, 2013

Flying Lotus - "Such A Square”

Created as a proof of what Moog's new synthesizer could do (Dubbed the 'Sub Phatty'), 'Such A Square' is the result of Flying Lotus getting first dibs on taking the synth for a spin. Coupled with a mind melting music video by Adam Fuchs. Download the track for free over on Soundcloud.

The Art Of Yakonusuke

Yakonusuke (Aka Jacob Eirich) is a talented German illustrator/freelancer who has spent the majority of his career on the indie gaming route, contributing to a variety of startup projects as well as starting a few of his own, including the promising looking Skyjackers: 40,000 Fathoms High project.

With a penchant for Steampunk, Eirich has also contributed to some comic book projects, including Steam Noir, an as of yet German only comic book in progress. Check out more of his painterly work after the break.

The Amazing World Of Gumball - The Proof Of Concept

Ben Bocquelet just recently uploaded a proof of concept trailer for The Amazing World Of Gumball, a Cartoon Network show that impressed many with it's usage of a mixed media approach to bring each character to life, ranging from 3D, stop motion and hand drawn characters. Fun fact: The show developed it's hodgepodge visual style via Ben's idea to throw a dozen rejected commercial characters from other projects he'd worked on into a common setting.

The appealing show has done well since it's debut in 2011, garnering favorable reviews and a slew of awards including BAFTA, Annecy and Annie awards. The show is currently scheduled for it's third season sometime in late 2013. Check out some of William Laborie's character designs for the show after the break! (A lot more on his website)

Jan 20, 2013

Monarchy & Dita Von Teese - "Disintegration"

Dita Von Teese, best known for being Marilyn Manson's muse joins the UK based electro duo Monarchy for a rather electrifying teamup in this surreal music video. Using heavily distorted, ethereal vocals and a bassy undercurrent, the music video narrates the story of a housewife embracing her more carnal desires as her picture perfect facade slowly disintegrates around her. Absolutely loved the art direction by Roy Raz, who perfectly intertwined the surreal visuals with the haunting sound of the dance track.

Making Of Gollum, The Goblin King and Azog - The Hobbit By Weta Digital

With Peter Jackson's first installment of 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' garnering three FX related Oscar nominations for visuals, New Zealand's famous WETA workshop just recently released a few featurettes explaining how they advanced the visuals to an all new level.

The videos showcase how they improved the tech for Gollum, allowing Andy Serkis' amazing character acting to come through even further, Azog the white warg rider and the memorable Goblin King. If you happen to have an iPad, WETA also just recently released an 85 page iBook for free related to the making of the film.

Jan 19, 2013

Work in Progress trailer for Quentin Dupieux's "Wrong Cops"

Very recently we posted the trailer for Quentin Dupieux's 'Wrong' and while the film definitely looked like a surreal and strange experience much like his film 'Rubber', it looked leaps more cohesive. It looks like Dupieux has been incredibly busy as seen by the above trailer for 'Wrong Cops', which is being shown as a 45-minute preview at Sundance.

On one hand I really dig Dupieux's push for such surreal experiences, but I can't help but feel a little bit uncomfortable watching such dry dialogue. Featuring Marilyn Manson (what?), Eric Warheim (what?), and Jon Lajoie (oh, okay), this trailer is completely absurd, I definitely yelled out "what the f*ck" a few times throughout the trailer.

Sundance Short - The Idea Apocalypse

When you think of the end of the world, the scenarios that typically come to mind include meteor strikes, deadly viruses, the nuclear option..Heck, some people even hold out and hope for that zombie outbreak. Written and directed by Andrew Zucchero of Green Card Pictures in New York, the short presents the most foolproof apocalyptic concept possible, one that would pretty much wipe out every semi-intelligent organism out there in the blink of an eye. Brace yourself for a rather messy chain reaction.

Urbance By Steambot Studios

Created by Steambot Studios, a mixed concept outsourcing studio/educational facility a la Massive Black or SixMoreVodka, Urbance is a stylish proof of concept that has been over three years in the making. From the mind of Joel Dos Reis Viegas (Known in concept circles as 'Feerik'), the project is a collaboration between a handful of artists and Busy P of Ed Banger records (Justice).

A synopsis:

'In the big city, gender war rises. Sex is prohibited because of a genetic deadly virus. Ruled by hate and anger, boys and girls grow up apart from each other, forming rivals gangs.
Among these lost teenagers, Kenzell and Lesya will fight adversity and defy all the rules in order to live their love and restore peace. '

Despite it's rather odd premise of severely pent up, gender segregated gangs, the visuals and presentation are so damn well executed that I'd totally support a Kickstarter to get a few episodes made. The folks at Steambot haven't disclosed what their plans are with this IP just yet, so stay tuned for updates.

Mercury - "The Man"

Swiss duo Mercury just recently released this interesting music video for their bass-centric new track (A  recently released EP from Gomma). The excellent video starts off slow and gradually picks up in pace, featuring Krassen Krastev's transformation from a dour looking fellow smoking a cigarette in an alley into a graceful interpretative dancer and ballerina.

The video is also interspersed with scattered shots of painful activities and dangerous creatures, including knife games (Five finger fillet), rug burns, bullets, snakes and holding lit firecrackers for fun. The mixture of masculine imagery and an art form which most men typically eschew as overly feminine adds to the video's message of breaking societal norms. Check it out.

Jan 18, 2013

Hammer & Hand

It's short, but definitely pretty sweet.  From the work of Creative Director/Animator Colin Hesterly comes the animated short about a man, just a regular man. But one who sets out to create something, well, let's say it's larger than life (like all good innovators, eh?). This short kinda gets right to the point, and ends on an interesting note.  I'd love to see a longer version of this!

Huggtopus - "So Much Love"

Aww yess, gimme that Friday! The F-word alone bumps my happiness levels at least 10 notches (Not that F-word... Well, maybe...). Which means I wanna share something super cheesy and adorable. And what do you know, I found it in this music video starring Huggtopus of the Kimochi plush toy line. After drawing a comparison to the Care Bears (love! feelings!), I felt that this was just cheerful enough with a bright, colorful art style to do just the trick.

Killer Is Dead Official Trailer

Have I died and gone to heaven this week or has Suda51 been too kind? After Famitsu's reveal of my most looked forward to game this year I hardly expected to be treated with something like this. This new trailer for Grasshopper Manufacture's Killer Is Dead really pulls no stops, as it not only introduces the basic premise but also introduces a handful of characters along with some f*cking incredible looking gameplay,
This game truly looks like the developer's potential Magnum Opus (let the overhype begin) as it perfectly sums up the past 10 years in one brilliant looking trailer. From the noteworthy art-style of Killer7 to the over the top sword play and violence of No More Heroes to even what looks like some third-person gunplay a 'la Shadows of The Damned, this game looks like it has it all. Honestly, even if you're not a fan of Suda51's work and this somehow doesn't get you a little excited you should probably take a step back and assess your life.
As the trailer says, we should all be expecting the game in Summer, and by that I truly hope that means full localization otherwise I'm going to drop far too much money on an import.

Jan 17, 2013

Pillowfight: A Collab Between Dan The Automator, Kid Koala and Emily Wells

Here's something that seemingly slipped under my radar. Pillowfight is an incredible hip-hop collaboration between Dan The Automator (Gorillaz, Del tha Funkee Homosapien), Kid Koala, and hip-hip violinist, Emily Wells. The beats are what you'd expect from a collaboration of this proportion, smooth and groovy. I've already given a listen to the online streaming of the album a few times and I'm definitely on board for picking this up on day one.

Check out the sample track bellow and then hit the jump to get a stream of the full album, also might I suggest picking up the album on January 22nd, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Ad Collective : Amnesty International, Quad, Hawks, Impactist, Johnnie Walker

For our new readers, Ad Collective is a weekly spotlight on creative advertising projects that push the creative envelope. We're not talking mind grating, generic commercials for car insurance and laundry detergent here, rather a spotlight on individuals trying to elevate the art of advertising into more of an art form rather than an exercise in playing it safe and taking no risks.

This week's featured advertising campaigns:
  • Amnesty International's powerful Death Penalty uses a wax based art style to narrate the end of the practice, directed by Pleix.
  • Quad's Acciona features the Phoenix like destruction and rebirth of an indvidual as a smarter, more efficient business owner with a touch of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory.
  • Comedy Central's tongue in cheek faux-documentary promotion for their new channel in South America focuses on the ever more sedentary lifestyles of hawks. Created by Wieden+Kennedy.
  • Impactist's promo for their upcoming 'Undercast Is Overrated' album is an awesome play on using a retro children's book aesthetic and flat shapes to show a daily commute going terribly wrong.
  • Johnnie Walker channels it's inner Shadow Of The Colossus, with a giant awakening in Rio De Janeiro so he can 'Keep Walking(R).'

Scratch Massive/Koudlam - "Waiting For A Sign"

Filmed in Thailand and directed by Edouard Salier, this haunting music video features a group of boys wandering around in a state of stupor, stripped of any sense of innocence. Following a harrowing encounter on a bridge with a remorseless soldier, the video will inevitably make you ponder how our environment shapes our behavior, and ultimately influences what we grow up to be.

With an underlying heavy, brooding synth sound reminiscent of early 80's horror movies, the tone ultimately matches the sobering subject matter of the video perfectly.

Fresh Prince - Google Translated 64 Times

This is the type of video concept that is born after a few too many drinks and a healthy dose of Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air nostalgia. The fun video features the classic opening track from the show translated up to 64 times (Every single language on Google Translate) and back to English before being performed by the folks at Creative Cadenza. The end result is completely nonsensical, but you've got to applaud these guys for coming up with such a bizarre concept.

Jan 16, 2013

RoboGal's Weekly Cute Mixtape

I'm a million years behind, but I'm back! And I've brought my arsenal of cute and fluff with me.  Take a break from you New Year's resolution (who am I kidding, it's already halfway through January, what resolution?), and enjoy the simple things in life.  Like puppies and kittehs.  Yeah, because they're just so simple...

More after the break!

Martin Klimas' Porcelain Fighters

Created by dropping Chinese porcelain figures from a height of 3meters (approx. 10 feet) and a high speed camera to greet them at the bottom, German photographer Martin Klimas captured some truly spectacular explosions of lacquered porcelain, with statues of Shaolin fighters frozen in a state of dismembering combat.

As Martin put it: 'The porcelain statuette bursting into pieces isn't really what captures the attention, the fascination lies in the genesis of a dynamic figure that replaces the static pose.' These 'temporary' statues capture the birth of a dynamic sculpture from figures stuck in an otherwise static pose, which makes the concept behind this set truly unique. Check out more from the photographer after the break!

Suda51's Killer Is Dead Might Fill The Gaping Hole Left By Killer7

(Via Famitsu and Polygon)
I should warn you, anything that Suda51 touches instantly engages a very deep and very dark side of myself that no one should ever see. I don't think there has ever been a developer out there that makes me squeal the way Goichi Suda does, and while it's bordering the line of creepy and fanboy it's all with good reason.

Last April, Grasshopper Manufacture announced it's upcoming title Killer Is Dead and other than a brief plot synopsis nothing else was known about the title. Japanese gaming magazine, Famitsu has finally broken the silence on the title and released a huge slew of information that was thoughtfully translated by Polygon for all to read.

Seeing the visual style of Killer7 in full HD is basically all I've wanted this entire gaming generation, and with it nearing the end I wasn't expecting anything like this. Goichi Suda states "We're trying to make a game that we'd only be able to make right now, at this point in time. The result is seen in our unique high-contrast shading seen in the graphics, as well as the high speed wrestling-like action" and goddamn did they do a brilliant job.

Hit the jump for a few screenshots of the game and then head over to Famitsu for the full gallery.


Noon presents us with a world frozen in a state of permanent geographical darkness and light, the result of a man-made catastrophe destroying the concept of day-night cycles. This amazingly executed proof of concept short was created by concept artist turned art director Kasra Farahani, who offers us a fantastic little taste of what might someday be a refreshing full length feature.

Whereas quite a few proof of concept trailers we've seen choose to paint in broad strokes, Farahani chose to execute a specific scene from the screenplay encapsulating all the elements of this ravaged world. These elements range from small visual tastes of the setting to an exploration of the moral ambiguity of the protagonist, conflicted about his role as a 'Coyote,' a smuggler specializing in people.

The setting and complexity that Farahani managed to imbue into a 15 minute preview left me wanting more, especially with the short ending on a massive shot of NOON, the now permanently sunny North Pole colony protected by the power of shade. From an art perspective, I found it refreshing to be given a taste of a more grounded version of sci-fi in the not too distant futures, while movie trailers as of late present us with technology akin to that you'd find at a futuristic version of an Apple store, clean and sterile (Oblivion comes to mind).

On a final note, shorts like these are fueled by the power of public interest, so we'd like to encourage you to share Noon if you're interested in accelerating the possibilities of Kasra's vision coming to fruition. Check out some concept art created for the movie after the break.

Begun - "San Francisco"

Filmmaker Borja V. Conde's explanation of the inspiration for this warped, kaleidoscopic music video was truly fascinating, originating from an experience with a condition known as paroxysmal positional vertigo: A more advanced version of vertigo resulting in a constant spinning sensation and sudden visual distortion of nearby moving objects.

The track was created by Gunsal H. Moreno, a Barcelona based producer deeply grounded in the wonderful world of chillwave. Enjoy the mellowness, mild NSFW for a little chest nudity.

Anime Figure Licker (NSFW)

The internet: One of humanity's greatest accomplishments in recent memory, also regarded as a double edged sword offering near infinite knowledge, as well as acting as a means to enable people to share things never meant to be seen by a sane human mind.

We've seen a lot since the debut of this website, but I don't think anybody was prepared to watch a seemingly normal German looking fellow (From Switzerland) in his skivvies display his unique way of 'appreciating' his vast anime figure collection...For 24 minutes. This is pure, concentrated Otaku distilled from the finest in discarded anime film cells. You've been warned.

Jan 15, 2013

The New Metal Gear Rising Revengeance Trailer Has A Case of Batmanitis

As you may know, Metal Gear Rising Revengeance (god I never get tired of typing that) was our pick of most satisfying game of E3 last year and time is quickly counting down to the games release. To pump up fans even more, Konami has released a new trailer revealing the return of 'Jack the Ripper.'

While the trailer does exactly what it intends; Pumping fans up for the ridiculously over-the-top action, I can't help but cringe at Raiden's dialogue. Maybe I need to go and play Metal Gear Solid 4, but I don't seem to remember Christian Bale playing the role of Batman playing the role of Raiden. Still, despite the cringe-worthy beginning the trailer is still badass and I can't wait to get my hands on the full game February 19th.

Do Computers Dream of Electric Sheep?

Sent to us by French filmmaker Benjamin Bardou, I was absolutely amazed to find out that this experimental short was created using a mixture of found footage and shots captured in Grand Theft Auto IV (With some Aftereffects treatment).

The title, a play on Philip K. Dick's massively influential Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep, best known for beign the literary foundation for 1982's Bladerunner. The short is an absolutely stunning, atmospheric affair, accentuated by a minimalist electroacoustic score created by Steve Moore.

The Art of Elna

Elna is a Chinese illustrator from the Fujian province currently residing in Iceland (Most probably working at CCP), who initially caught our eye with her incredible fanart pieces for Assassin's Creed and Devil May Cry. Applying a more painterly aesthetic, her work is most notable for the mood she captures and her unorthodox color schemes.

Fast forward a few months later, Elna just recently put out a wonderful set of illustrations set around the mythos of Merlin, which you can check out after the break.

Finger Puppets

Created for Sydney's Opera House's Graphic Festival by Ryan Kirby & Alex Grigg, finger puppets is an adorable short about blobby, colorful little finger puppets doing what they do best: Jiggling about. Depending on just how far your mind is in the gutter, this might also come off as an extremely vulgar short, which the creators have already denied. The puppets were created using a mixture of dynamics systems (To simulate jelly-like movement) and hand keyed animation.

Jan 14, 2013

Half A Pantaloon

Today is Monday. The Day of Tired and Melancholy.  But there is hope!  In the form of this adorably fun animated short about a man who has a habit of wearing "half a pantaloon" (i.e. manly short shorts). With it's whimsical art style and Dr. Seuss-esque narration, we can't help but find ourselves in a slightly improved mood. This is the second short in the series 'Beastly Bards', the first being 'Typesetter Blues' which we featured back in October.

Where Nintendo Power Once Stood, A Phoenix Arises

It was a sad and gloomy time the day Nintendo Power closed it's doors for good, after 20 years of publication the Nintendo-centered gaming magazine came to an end in December of last year. For myself, Nintendo Power was what originally sparked my interest in both reading and writing and after 222 issues it felt like a legacy was cut short. While many of us are still mourning the loss of a great childhood friend a new face has risen, intending to the fill the massive void left after the departure of our dearly beloved.

Nintendo Force is an entirely new publication, filled to the brim with exclusive Nintendo content much like Nintendo Power. While Nintendo Power failed to provide actual online content, Nintendo Force provides a digital options for each issue, insuring that Nintendo Force is here to stay. I have to say, I'm really digging the first issue, it still feels like Nintendo Power, but presents a streamlined reading experience that I really appreciate.

If you want to help support the magazine I suggest picking up the first issue from their website over here. Unfortunately there's no subscription options just yet, but according to the FAQ, it's coming.

The Lost Half-Life Alpha

I couldn't be more fascinated with alphas, tech demos and canceled versions of games, and the recent unearthing of a tech demo of an early version of the first Half-Life is one of the most fascinating things I've seen in a while. The Alpha, dubbed version 0.52 is a tech demo version of the game which was released on 9/4/1997, a full year before the release of the actual game.

The alpha was leaked via a Redditor called jackaljayzer, who claimed that the early version of the game was released on a disk intended for press purposes only. The preview disc featured a preview of various areas showcasing the type of graphical feats that the heavily modified Quake engine dubbed 'Goldsource' could accomplish, as well as an early version of multiplayer modes.

We're talking pre-Source here, during a time in which geometric transparency, tactical AI and heavily scripted sequences in first person shooters were close to nonexistent, aspects which made the game nothing short of revolutionary at the time. I still get a warm, fuzzy feeling when I remember playing the game for the first time.

If you're familiar with the original game you'll be nothing short of staggered by the vast amount of differences in this alpha version, which is the equivalent of a rare videogame relic. If you're hankering for a shot at playing the game, you can get it over here!