Jun 30, 2014

Doprah - "Stranger People"

Surreal pop duo Doprah hail from New Zealand, and they seem to be set to make some waves with their very distinct, 'sinister pop' vibes. The eclectic sound of this two person outfit, comprised of John Marr and Indira Force brings to mind the ethereal vocal style that made artists like Bjork so memorable.

The music video though is a different story altogether, offering what appears to be a warped take on Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's already unsettling Ponponpon music video and J-pop tropes in general. The final result could be best summed up as open to your own interpretation. If Doprah's curious sound piqued your attention, you can check out their EP over on their Bandcamp.

Robogal's Cute Mixtape - Something On Your Nose!

Monday, meh. Animals amusing me, not so meh. Some say they were made for our enjoyment, while others will heartily disagree. You can argue intent, but the outcome is still the same: They bring a hell of a lot of joy, and a harmless balancing act is no except. Usually left to the always-wanting-to-impress dog, we have found a few fun exceptions (whether they cared for it or not, is up to debate).

Check out more nose tricks after the break!

"Mother Brain's Revenge" By Leigh Flurry

Created for Streets Of Beige's 16 Bit Brawl exhibition, UK based illustrator Leigh Flurry created this most excellent tribute to arguably the best Metroid ever (In the side scrolling category). Featuring the likes of Mother Brain, Craid, Crocomire, Phantoon and all the other bosses in Super Metroid, his tribute is quite an eyeful.

Check out a breakdown of all the individual elements of Mother Brain's Revenge after the break, and you can view the rest of the entries for the Streets Of Beige exhibition over here. Enjoy!

"Diner Danger" - A Tale Of Modest Dogs, Tomato Sandwiches And Cannibal Lizards

Every once in a while desert dogs just want a tomato sandwich, but sometimes encounters with desert lizard bikers with a hankering for human BBQ inevitably gets in the way of fulfilling that desire. Tom Hunter's graduation short is absolutely top notch, and it actually felt like I was watching a pilot for an as of yet undeveloped Adult Swim show (That I'd absolutely watch).

Thomas Hunter created this short while attending RMIT in Melbourne, and has since gone on to work on projects including Adventure Time, Yo Gabba Gabba and a handful of pilots for studios including Adult Swim and Federator.

"Happy Unhappy"

Created by Jean Liang over the course of 8 months at Sheridian College, Happy Unhappy follows the ups and downs of a cat during his everyday routine. Every accident, rejection and moment which reminds him of his current situation ultimately leaves a mark. And once those marks add up to a certain point snapping is the only way out.

The geometric look of the environments and characters brings back memories of David O' Reilly's work, who's definitely inspired an entire generation of animators with ground breaking shorts like The External World.

Jun 28, 2014

"BEACON" - A Sci-fi Roguelike With Body Horror?

I've been an avid admirer of indie developer Monothetic ever since they released their first non-commercial mod project Black Snow in 2012. With its hope-crippling atmosphere and Carpenter-esque horror aesthetic, I've been patiently chomping at the bit to see what this young studio has to offer for their first commercial title. It looks I won't have to wait much longer as Beacon, a sci-fi horror Roguelike, is tentatively slated for release later this year. The game sounds like your average top-down action RPG, with one exception...

As in all Roguelikes, when you die in Beacon, you’ll be sent back to the beginning of the game, losing any weaponry and items you might have picked up along the way. However, rather than losing it, the DNA you harvested in that life is sent back to your personal clone bay (one of the few pieces of your ship still functioning), and spliced together with your own for your next life. This adds a level of  permanence to Beacon, as each subsequent life will stack more harvested DNA on top of what you had before, resulting in stat augmentations and (in extreme cases) full-fledged physical mutations. Be warned, however; not every mutation will be a positive thing.

If implemented correctly, this DNA element could result in a slew of compelling gameplay variations. A top-down action game that rewards trial-by-fire tenacity à la Diablo and Hotline Miami, balanced with a permanent trait bonus system that becomes deadly if left unchecked? Sign me up. Check out more of the mock-up concept art after the break!

Luke Parker's Cyborg Ninja Covers Are Amazing

Luke Parker is a UK-based comic artist whose pulp comic-infused illustrations proudly take after the dark angular aesthetic of Mike Mignola. He's also an avid Metal Gear fan, having completed a series of comic covers dedicated to Gray Fox, Olga Gurlukovich, and the ever-evolving Raiden.

The attention to detail and visual callbacks are proof of not only a love for the history of the franchise but the cultural maturation of comics as an artistic medium. The yellow frayed edging, the layers of wear-and-tear scratching, the "Luke Paker" comic code stamp. Not to mention the hilarious Metal Gear quotes embossed on the cover. There's a lot to love about this series. Poster-size prints are available through GameTee. Check out the rest of the series, including some sick-looking variants, below the break!

Jun 27, 2014

The Art Of Hooook

Hooook, aka 오우진 (Ohwoojin) is a South Korean illustrator with a fantastic painterly style prevalent throughout his work, mixed with a moody aesthetic that emphasizes selling an atmosphere above all else. His work is filled with mythological overtones with pieces dedicated to mermaids, minotaurs and shape shifters, although none of these pieces present these concepts in a way that's familiar.

Quite opposite, there's an dark overtone to all his work- Characters faces are buried in darkness, subjects have their backs turned to the viewer, and an unnatural light seems to occupy the spaces that these creatures inhabit. Yet those choices are what make his retreading of such familiar concepts so refreshing..Simply presenting them in a different light goes a long way. Check out more of his awesome work after the break!

"The Gunfighter" - One Very Meta Western

The Gunfighter is a fun, tongue in cheek and very meta short directed by Eli Kissack, exploring the concept of what would happen if a protagonist all of a sudden was able to hear his narrator. Especially for anyone who's played The Stanley Parable, the entire short film becomes a matter of protagonist choices becoming inevitably driven by this voice.

While it starts off like a relatively tame saloon showdown, the narrator chooses to hilariously turn this affair into a very awkward, personal airing of everyone's dirty laundry. Featuring the smoky vocals of Nick Offerman, who depending on your outlook is either a straight shooter or plain out villainous in his homewrecking intent.

Glen Keane's "The Duet"

Legendary Disney animator Glen Keane (Tangled, Paperman) worked with Google on a project called Duet, as part of their Spotlight Stories initiative. Duet tells the story of Mia and Tosh, and how their individual paths in life weave together to create an inspired duet.

Created in collaboration with Motorola, Spotlight Stories is a creative endeavor intended to offer users a completely new, and creative way of interacting with their phones using technology like augmented reality, smart sensors and animation to create an all new narrative experience.

A very curious experiment, although I'm most interested in figuring out how the companies involved intend to apply the knowledge gleaned from this experimental project on a broader scope.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu - "Kira Kira Killer"

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu will forever be one of my strangest guilty pleasures. I'm not generally into bubblegum Jpop, but there's something strangely addicting with her songs. While the production work of Capsule's Yasutaka Nakata definitely adds an awesome electronic charm to a lot of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's tracks, her ability to pull multiple influences into her fashion and concerts is absolutely incredible.

With her newest album Pikapika Fantasian set to debut on July 9th, her newest music video showcases the new single Kira Kira Killer. It may not be quite as catchy as everyone's favorite PonPonPon, but it's certainly an entertaining song to listen to with another crazy music video to add to her library.

Kyary's choice of fashion is equally as awesome as it is ridiculous, with a set of clothing that some would assume to be directly inspired by the Michelin man. Along with a crazy dance routine and a beautifully crafted animated world, Kira Kira Killer once again sets some high standards for Jpop musicians to hit with future music videos.

SIRENS by Flight Parade

Director Simon Roberts delivers an absolutely gorgeous music video for Flight Brigade's latest single "Sirens". Featuring a combination of live action stop-motion and post-compositing, the video favorably brings to mind comparisons with the music video for The Shin's The Rifle's Spiral in its atmosphere and aesthetic.

Sirens follows the story of a boy and his family as the forest that they call their home is decimated in the creation of an otherworldly mountain of train tracks. The lighting and action perfectly complement the track, a beautiful folk-rock ballad about love, loss, family and sacrifice.

Jun 26, 2014

League Of Legends - "Summoners Rift" Gets An Impressive Visual Overhaul

What do you do to maintain your spot as the top dog of all MOBA's in an increasingly crowded space? You get to work on making a great game even better. The process of overhauling League Of Legends, which started off as an eye searingly saturated game with a hyper stylized look to it (I still remember how insanely bright the game was during the beta) has been an ongoing process as more and more talent has joined the studio with Riot's meteoric growth.

Night and day much?
And you know what, I absolutely love this new direction they're going in. It's not a small step towards turning their game to the next level..We're talking leaps and bounds here compared to what they currently have going on in the Summoners Rift. The new look is a painterly approach that brings to mind the environment paintings of Disney movies, with an overall feel that resembles a halfway point between World Of Warcraft and Diablo 3.

If you're interested in learning about what goes into executing successful art re-direction, there's a ton of great information here regarding the usage of saturation control and visual language differentiation to control gameplay and guide the players eye. Following the roll out of this update though, I'm sure players will start asking for the obvious next step: An extensive overhaul of the champions to reflect the changes to the environment. Very curious to see how other MOBA's in the market, including Dota 2 will respond to this update.

The Awesomely Stylized Art Of Mike Bear

Ever see an artist do a complete 180 on their style and really hit a solid stride? I kind of get the feeling that's the case with Mike Bear, a concept artist and illustrator that I've followed for a few years now. Sometime around the middle of 2013 there was a major shift in his work, which went through a period of feeling like it was experimenting with a more common realistic style.

I still remember the day he submitted Ancient Ravenskye (Above) last July, an environmental piece which really blew me away with it's amazing usage of color. Since then it's been a stylized path throughout, and he's been absolutely killing it. Mike has worked with clients include Rockstar Games, Popcap, Electronic Arts, Hasbro, One Pixel Brush, Big Red Button Games, and Lolapps. Check out more of his work after the break!

"Wonderzine Swimwear" Promo Is Strangely Unsettling

Now this is how you promote a swimsuit line. Employing a stop motion look enabled by the usage of rapidly alternating footage captured from two cameras set slightly apart, director Pavel Samokhvalov took this fashion shoot into an unexpected realm. Classical music plays softly in the background over the sounds of crashing waves, and the final result is a very Lynch inspired affair in it's surreality. Swimwear was created for Wonderzine, a Russian online fashion mag with a very distinct edge.

Making Of An Image - "Astrogirl" By Pac23

Awesome Miami based illustrator Francisco Perez (Aka Pac23) just recently shared a really cool process piece for his stylish Astrogirl piece, in itself a really cool hybrid style illustration. The choice of mixing graphic elements with painterly elements gives the piece a semblance of a self contained narrative - The organic nature of the femme versus the rigid, industrialized suit that contains her, the idea of her imagination and wonderment at what she's witnessing being reflected off her visor..Quite a few possible ideas come to mind.

You can check out the step by step making of after the break, and don't forget that Pac also contributed his talents to one of the shirts in our store!

"Camera Sim 3D" - A Clever DSLR Simulator

Surprised I haven't heard of this before, but I think it's absolutely genius. A first person exploration title with an emphasis on teaching users how to use a DSLR prior to dropping the money on one. The Unity based simulator is releasing relatively soon, and will serve as a really helpful too to demystify the incredible amount of features that come with most cameras of that caliber- Exposure, focal length, shutter speed, aperture, ISO..I remember feeling overwhelmed when I went in blind, and it took me months to figure out all the settings on my Canon.

While the creator of the sim, Jon Arnold emphasizes that this will never replace the experience of having your own camera and testing it in the wild, it's not hard to see that this will be an intuitive way of experimenting when the conditions aren't fit for venturing out. Look forward to taking this for a spin when it comes out. You can check out more details about Camera Sim on the official website.

Jun 25, 2014

Foster The People - "Pseudologia Fantastica"

Pseudologia Fantastica is an awesome animated music video by Hannes & Johannes, inspired by driving around the lesser known parts of countries like Cuba and witnessing the struggle of people trying to make a living in a truly beautiful land. In this colorful music video we witness a guardian angel rise and defend the people from an oppressive force that is actively keeping them blind and downtrodden. Quite a bit of political overtones here, but the visuals are absolutely awesome from start to finish.

The dreamy vocals and cosmic, airy synth treatment is quite a departure from what I've grown to consider familiar from the group. Think of Pseudologia an interesting mix between the Arctic Monkeys and Tame Impala.  The track is taken from their latest album called 'Supermodel,' which released in January.

"Home" - An Unsettling Scifi Short

Hugo Moreno's Home is not a long feature, but within a timespan of less than a minute it manages to generate an incredible amount of suspense, and in a style reminiscent of Kubrick's greatest work. Those establishing one point perspective shots that he employs throughout Home do a fantastic job of delivering an unsettling effect, with everything dead set in the center. If you've had a chance to study cinematography enough, you'll realize that the effect employed by Moreno here is a fantastic counter to the prevalent 'rule of thirds' philosophy.

That sense of dread also creates an interesting time distortion effect, making it feel like this short is much longer than it's actual running time, and it left us wanting more. So much is left to the imagination here, and I just want to savor more of this unnatural event unfolding before our eyes. Moreno's amazing retro aesthetic has been in place since his student years at Les Gobelins, so be sure to check out his Kubrick/Moebius inspired scifi short Eclipse and suspenseful encounter animation, Canyon.

"King Star King" By Adult Swim Is Absolutely Insane, And Now Online

King Star King finally premiered online in it's entirety last night, one of the first Titmouse projects to not make it to broadcast television for reasons as of yet unknown. After years of checking out what Adult Swim's had to offer, I have to admit I'm a little baffled that they opted for this curious online only approach. For anyone that's watched Adult Swim for long enough, it kind of begs the question as to whether the content was an issue.

Developed by J.J. Villar, a former Dreamworks artist, King Star King follows the exploits of a He-man like warrior and his intergalactic exploits (And his job at a waffle restaurant). The series' outlandish, psychedelic style reminded me of the absolutely incredible SuperJail, also created by the mad geniuses at Titmouse.

As of now the entire first season of King Star King is available to watch online on Adult Swim, with the series finale only being viewable if you manage to complete ten levels of Floppy King, the videogame tie in available on the website as well. Have to commend them for the novel approach, it's rare to see companies tie a full episode behind a challenge like that.

Jun 24, 2014

The Colorful Characters Of Andres Ariza

Andres Ariza goes by the artist name of 'Ariza Maquinita,' a reference to the two sides of his artist persona. On one hand, Ariza represents the quiet artist who appreciates the arts, videogames and film and draws inspiration from them. Maquinita is the machine that brings the vision and execution to the table, obsessively doodling and continuously creating new worlds and characters.

With a persona like that, you can imagine that Ariza's work has a definite wild side, and I absolutely see that. Colorful, over the top characters with a penchant for wild street fashion make up the repertoire of Ariza's stable of creations. And it's not hard to picture these characters inhabiting the likes of wild animated Nike commercials, games similar to Jet Set Radio and plastered on colorful fashion advertising-The clean vector look, crazy color palettes and designs give this group a certain, refreshing pop that nearly seems wasted in a 2D image. More of his fun designs after the break!

The Art of Simetta

Simetta is a Japanese artist whose work heavily evokes the surrealistic melancholy tone of the films of Makoto Shinkai. Deep saturated flourishes of purple, youths staring wistfully off into the distance, and exquisitely detailed backgrounds that capture both the urban density and rural quietude of some of Japan's most iconic locations. His illustrations depict moments of ephemeral stillness that are equal parts intimate and inspiring, calming and exhilarating. Moments that feel lighter than air. Check out more of his beautiful work after the break!

Jun 23, 2014

"Hunger Games - Mockingjay" Propaganda Posters Are Quite Striking

While The Hunger Games movie adaptations haven't exactly been our cup of tea, you have to appreciate the work that the marketing teams have been putting into the third installment of the franchise, titled Mockingjay. These propaganda posters issues from the Capitol salute the various districts of Panem and their denizens, capturing the compartmentalized purpose of each area.

These eerie, nearly statue-esque posters do a great job in subtly conveying the Capitol’s warped belief that whatever dreadful thing is happening is simply another step towards the greater good. Check out the rest of these awesome posters after the break.

After shorting out, then quickly repairing District 3’s mainframe at the age of nine, Fibre Bissette, 32, has proven her fearlessness in the face of any challenge.

"Bartkira" - Volume 1 Has Landed!

Finally! After an entire year of organizing and production the first chapter of the crowd sourced Simpsons/Akira mashup comic is now live. The quality of the illustrations vary, but it's to be expected with a collaborative project of this magnitude. We can thank the existence of this project to 'Neo-Britain' resident Ryan Humphrey and Harvey James, who initiated this bizarre, amazing mashup.

At it's peak, the project had over 700 artists collaborating to execute the full recreation of the 2,000 page, 6 volume manga. Due to the obvious legal ramifications, the book will never be on sale in it's entirety, and instead released online for free. However, you can purchase a highlight book, featuring some of the best work produced from the 6 volumes from Floating World Comics for $15.

That aside, I really hope you guys have a lot of free time on your hands, because the first 350 page Volume is now available online for you to read over here. Check out our other Bartkira article over here, featuring a few of our favorite pages from the WIP project at the time.

The Photorealistic Art Of Doug Bloodworth - Snacks, Comics And Nostalgia

Doug Bloodworth is a definite card carrying member of the photorealism movement, but thanks to his choice of subject matter he's managed to captivate a much wider audience than your typical still life artist. Doug's work features junk food, comic books, games and toys that were prevalent in a pre-internet era, and it's painted so damn well that it typically fools viewers into thinking that it's a photo.

The inspiration to go down this path came from now deceased sculptor Duane Hanson, who was famous for his incredibly life like sculptures of everyday people. When Doug was younger he actually walked up to one of Duane's sculptures of a security guard in New York and asked him where the restroom was. The experience had a lasting effect on him that ultimately shaped his painting career.

Currently recognized as one of the premier photorealistic painters in the international community, Bloodworth continues to do what he loves, and everyone loves the unorthodox direction he's taken. Some of the content present in his work is drawn from a period before I was even born, but it's not hard to see where people get that nostalgic connection to his work from. Check out more of his amazing photorealistic pieces after the break!

"Fire and Earth, Ice and Snow" - A Look At The Cannes Lions Festival Opening And Closing Graphics

The Mill in Chicago collaborated with Juan Woodbury, Executive Producer at Leo Burnett, to create some awesome motion reels for the opening and closing gala events at the 2014 Cannes Lions Festival. Opening with the theme Fire and Earth and closing with Ice and Snow, the Mill artists created motion graphics that were projected onto screens in the event space.

You can check out Ice and Snow after the break, which was probably my favorite of the two reels. And to clarify, Cannes Lions is a separate event from the film festival Cannes. Cannes Lions focuses more on rewarding the best work within the creative communications space: Motion design, advertising and related mediums.

"Dry July" - An Animated Look At Hangovers

Directed by Andrew Newland, this animated short is an awesome analysis of those god awful hangovers. The black outs, the body aches, the throbbing headaches- Was it all worth it? Well this promo was created for an event called Dry July, which is a charity event that's currently in it's seventh year.

In an attempt to raise funding for cancer research, Dry July challenges the most hungover-prone folks to give up drinking for an entire month. 'Clear your head, make a difference.' If you know anyone who might fit the bill, we'd recommend redirecting their attention to the official Dry July website.

"Talking" - A Series Of Awkward Encounters

Talking is important. Even a salmon will tell you that. And that is the premise of Davedonut's (David Besnier) latest animated short, which is a series of vignettes about bizarre/awkward situations being resolved/diffused/amplified with a little talking. My absolute favorite was the debate between the platypus and the duck. Hodor from Game of Thrones also makes a brief, yet memorable cameo.

If you haven't had a chance to check out Besnier's blog yet, he's probably got one of the coolest interactive banners I've ever seen .

Jun 22, 2014

"The Game That Time Forgot" - A Thirteen Year Journey

Indie filmmaker and game developer Adam Butcher was awesome enough to put together a little retrospective on a title called Tobias and the Dark Sceptres, an indie title that consumed his life for 13 years. In The Game That Time Forgot, Adam Butcher does an in depth analysis of all the mistakes that snowballed a little game project into a mind blowing endeavor.

It's a trap that some fledgling developers fall into, consumed by the metaphorical albatross that prevents one from giving up even though there's no end in sight. Butcher created this video to coincide with the release of his game (Which actually is free to play), and to serve as a warning as to what not to do if you're venturing forth into the seemingly limitless realm of indie game development.

The fun thing is, I've even had the chance to see bigger gaming companies fall into this same trap..Unrealistic scope, overblown budgets, infinite reworks, missed deadlines. Wish I could share some stories from some of my latest stints with you guys.

Joywave - "Tongues Ft. Kopps" (NSFW)

If you're familiar with the work of Hot Chip, you'll definitely enjoy Joywave's Tongues, a brilliant layered music video featuring with plenty of layered synth throughout. The premise of the retro styled music video is probably one of the funniest parts, featuring a group of hunters tracking down a large pack of nudists with their clothing guns. Yet much to their surprise, they fail to realize that the nudists have a few tricks up their sleeves too.

Believe it or not, the ending takes a little page from Akira, and it's absolutely hilarious. The track is taken from Joywave's newest EP, titled 'How Do You Feel,' available now via cultco Music.

Jun 21, 2014

The Art Of Shinku - Mechatopia

Shinku is a Tumblr user who's been on a scifi kick since he started, and doesn't seem intent on stopping anytime soon. And the best part is, he's improving with every piece he does. Ranging from some truly creative scifi suit concepts to more environmental pieces, I get the feeling that Shinku is definitely employed in the gaming industry to some extent, but simply choosing not to share that information publicly.

Not that I blame him, being a concept artist on a popular project can lead to a lot of unwanted attention (Not a good thing if you're an introvert). Sometimes it's cool to just be anonymous and let your work speak for itself. More of Shinku's scifi goodies after the break, folks!

"Satoshi Kon" - An Animated Tribute

We lost visionary anime director Satoshi Kon just under 4 years ago after a brief battle with a deadly illness. Over the years his mind brought us some wildly imaginative features and shows, including the likes of  Perfect Blue, Millenium Characters, Tokyo Grandfathers, Paprika and Paranoia Agent. All which I remember fondly. Kon had a knack for creating compelling female characters in his work, always focusing on typically unexplored aspects of social stigmas and the human psyche.

At the time of his death he had just begun work on his next feature, Dreaming Machine- an as of yet incomplete feature that's currently residing at studio Madhouse..Founder Masao Murayama recently claimed, we still don't have enough money. My personal goal is to get it within five years after his passing. I'm still working hard towards that goal. As of 2013 only 600 of the 1500 shots required have been completed, so I'm hoping that this project will pop up on a crowdfunding site sometime soon.

Vimeo user HelloWizard put together a fitting tribute to Kon's animated work, covering a directorial career that took off in 1997 with the fantastic psychological thriller, Perfect Blue. Set to the creative opening track of Paprika, which was composed by long time Kon collaborator Susumu Hirasawa.

Saint Motel - "My Type"

LA based alt-rockers Saint Motel tapped into a dormant disco vein for My Type, a fantastically fun track with plenty of retro instrumental stylings throughout. The track is from their upcoming EP, which will be dropping sometime in July accompanied by an extensive summer tour schedule, their followup to 2012's excellent 'Voyeurs' album. Directed and edited by A/J Jackson, the music video beckons back to colorful 70's era aesthetics and cinematography. An awesome homage all around.

"Super Science Friends" - Making Of An Intro Animatic

If you've ever wanted to watch a show be developed from the ground up, you're in luck! We just stumbled into the development log of Super Science Friends, a show being developed in Toronto at Tinman Creative Studios. It seems like the show is relatively early in development yet, with this first sneak peek offering us a look into some of the potential opening sequences for this campy looking, Adult Swim-esque show. If you're interested in following the progress, give their Facebook page a like and you'll be there at ground floor as they work towards a pilot. Starring Winston Churchill, Nicola Tesla, Darwin, Freud, Tapputti and a young boy (Of course), that's one hell of a cast.

A team of super scientists travel through time fighting Nazis. They are the Super Science Friends! These are initial concept animatics for the show's intro.

"Hujan" - A Pleasant Backdrop Animation

Directed by Malaysian artist/programmer/designer McLelun Leeb Hujan is a pleasant rain themed background plate animation created over a few weeks. A background plate animation is in reference to animated elements that make up the backdrop of an animated short, at which point characters are typically added later. With the addition of rain, Hujan is all about those enjoyable fleeting moments.

The Animated World Cup Collection

I'll give this years World Cup two things: A)It's been unpredictable as hell so far, with just about every popular team getting knocked down a notch (Or knocked out altogether..England) and B) This cup has probably had the most animated promo work out of any World Cup to date.

Passion London & STK Films collaborated with Nike to create a slew of animated promos starring the allstars. And by Psyop animated the above feature called Galaxy11 in collaboration with Fifa and Samsung to create a scifi take on the sport. While Galaxy11 and The Last Game opted for more long form narratives, my favorites were actually the bite sized shorts which augmented memorable live action goals with some over the top CG.

Check out all the Nike branded shorts after the break, and let's see who comes out on top for this World Cup. I've still got my hopes up for Italy despite that Costa Rican upset.

Jun 19, 2014

"Lumino City" - An Incredible Handcrafted Indie Game

Three years in the making, Lumino City is an upcoming game from State Of Play that chose a very unique, and exciting approach to their visual style. Crafting the entire game analog style using paper, cards, miniature lights and motors and then digitizing it, the end result ends up feeling like something Wes Anderson would come up with if he ever took up creating videogames.

The last game that attempted a similar feat mixed a handcrafted environment with the same premise that made Moon compelling- Facepalm games' The Swapper. And let's not forget The Neverhood, for you old school gamers out there.

Sequel to the award-winning game Lume, Lumino City begins where that game left off. Begin by exploring the city, and using your ingenuity piece together all sorts of puzzling mechanisms to help the people who live in its unique world. Discover gardens in the sky, towers marooned high on an immense waterwheel, and houses dug precariously into cliffs. To create the environment, a ten foot high model city was built by hand and by laser cutter, with each motor and light wired up individually, bringing the scenes to luminous life.

"Why Do Practical Effects Get Replaced With CGI?" - An Appeal From The Practical VFX Industry

If you haven't heard of Amalgamated Dynamics (ADI), you ought to get educated - An offshoot of Stan Winston Studios that was born in 1989, the studio has specialized in delivering the highest quality practical effects to at least a few dozen movies you've probably watched, including this year's Godzilla, Xmen - First Class, the Aliens Franchise and many more over the years.

Celebrating their 25th year in business, they've created a new video to explain some of the challenges that practical effects studios are facing in this day and age, when producers and studio execs seek to up the visual ante by over relying on CGI. The most famous example of this is probably 2011's The Thing prequel, which was supposed to be entirely shot with practical effects as a throwback to John Carpenter's original 1982 feature. In a move that soured many fans, studio execs opted to apply a CGI treatment towards the end of production, overriding even the directors wishes.

In the case of that movie, what made the original The Thing so frightening was the fact that the practical effects were so grounded, and 'real' that it instilled a deeper fear in audiences than what a computer could accomplish. That choice had quite the opposite effect, drawing audiences out of the movie when the afflicted researchers turned into rubbery, overly motion blurred CGI monsters that had a loose grounding in that reality. As one artist we heard from put it best, the best VFX is a balanced marriage of practical and CGI - There's a reason movies like Jurassic Park and Starship Troopers still look so good today. Think about it.

The founders of ADI offer a compelling case as to how things have gone a little too slanted in the favor of CGI as of late, and I kind of have to agree...An overabundance of CGI in any film, no matter how well it's done has a nasty tendency to distract rather than immerse. For an idea of just how far animatronic technology has come since the 80's, I'd like to invite you guys to check out the mind blowing work that Gustav Hoegen did for Prometheus's engineers. 100% Practical.

"Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes" Trailer Brings Us Apes, Guns, Explosions

I mean, how can you not click on this trailer? I have to give it to the marketing guys at Fox, they probably created the most irresistible thumbnail that's ever graced a video on Youtu--Wait a minute.

Scratch that, TWO of the most amazing thumbnails for a movie that I've ever seen/ever will see in my life. Andy Serkis reprises his role as Caesar, now the leader of a dominant force of genetically evolved apes as they face off against survivors of a devastating primordial virus. This conflict will ultimately brings both sides to the brink of a war that will determine who's actually on top of the food chain. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is coming out July 11th. Check out a collection of awesome posters, official and fanmade after the break.

"Edge Of Tomorrow" - Behind The Scenes Reel (Potential Spoilers)

It's a pretty rare treat to get unedited broll behind the scenes footage for movies, especially recent ones- but the folks at Screen Slam managed to get their mitts on just that. No highly produced quick cuts with dramatic music, no interviews, just some raw scenes shot at a whim during filming.

Ever wonder how they got those bulky exosuits to run fluidly? Just how much greenscreen they used on that battlefield? What type of attachment do they put on prop guns to simulate muzzle flash for post? Tom Cruise asking candid questions about his motivations to director Doug Liman? Plenty of juicy little tidbits from production present here. Also, if you haven't checked it out already be sure to check out the awesome Edge Of Tomorrow concept art post featuring the work of Kev Jenkins and Tim Browning.

20syl - "Kodama"

When meticulously planned out motion design and electro come together, magic like Kodama is spawned. Using a series of layered visuals and audio, mainly consisting of the artist playing a variety of various digital and analog instruments- We ended up getting this fantastic, eclectic lasagna of a track from 20syl's 'Motifs' EP. Directed by 20syl himself and Mathieu Le Dude, it's a fun adventure from start to finish.

"Vento" - A Vintage Animated Book Project

Resurrecting an old fashioned technique called 'ombro cinema' (Shadowgraphy), Virgilio Villoresi and Virginia Mori crafted a really amazing little book called Vento for Withstand, with a truly unorthodox device for driving the narrative. The old-fashioned technique uses a piece of acetate moved back and forth on an image to create the illusion of movement- magically bringing a static image to life.

Vento is the outcome of a dialogue between both artists’ imaginations. This project is the first of a series of animated, interactive books whose pages will unfold through time, giving the reader the possibility to construct and deconstruct the plot. As each image unveils its own story, the reader is free to imagine what connections may or may not exist between them.

Jun 18, 2014

The Art Of Kondo

The piece titled Ray's Dream (Pictured above) stopped me in my tracks when it popped up online. It had been a while since I'd seen anyone use negative space to such a cool effect, but Fukuoka based illustrator Kondo knocked it out of the park. Negative space refers to the space around and between a subject, and if you check out the treatment he did on this warrior's Hakama (Samurai robe), it's literally the same color as the background, but our mind fills in the blanks thanks to the implied dark sleeve and wrap covering her chest. When pulled off correctly, this effect gives illustrations a highly designed, graphic edge.

Kondo occasionally experiments with more painterly subject matter, but he mostly excels with highly limited color palettes, which result in some truly bold pieces that excel in a 'less is more' fashion. Check out more of his awesome work after the break!

"Good Morning" - An Early Morning Ritual

Anna O' Brian's Good Morning is kind of adorable, and brought back memories of getting woken up every morning to go to school. That light switch going on early in the morning on a rainy day, getting dragged out of bed to the breakfast table for a half awake meal - The typical ritual. And every once in a while we'd roll the dice and hope to convince the folks that we were sick for that rare chance to stay home and watch cartoons on a school day.

Such a simple premise, but so relatable. I really enjoyed Anna's choices of going the grayscale route to represent the typical vibe of one of those stormy mornings, and the awesome choice of music to offset the somber weather: Dainty Miss by Harry Breuer and His Quintet. Solid for a first year film!

"Tsume" - Her Grudge Remains

Haunted by a decision that ultimately cost the life of her classmate, Tsume narrates the downward spiral of a girl who makes a terrible error in judgement. A grudge is held, and this classmate comes back to haunt her and drive her insane over the course of this CG animated short.

Enjoyed the elements of Japanese horror strewn throughout Tsume (Fans of The Grudge will know what I'm talking about), including some subtle yet unsettling choices by the folks at Topless including making the end credits scroll horizontally to create a sense of unease.

Jun 17, 2014

Team Fortress 2 - Love & War

It's incredibly difficult to expect Valve to continuously up the ante in terms of quality, but somehow the Bellevue, Washington based studio always manages to blow expectations out of the water. After over a week of bread mysteriously appearing in teleporters, TF2 fans have been hot on the trail of the bread-filled ARG, with clues pulled from within the game's files to as far fetched as the 70's band Bread. Valve has always been fantastic at playing mind games with their fans, and the payout with their latest ARG endeavor is more than worth it.

The 15-minute long short, Expiration Date is by far the most entertaining TF2 short to date. The short not only explains the mystery of the bread but also fleshes out a cast characters that were once nothing more than canon fodder (not that they still aren't). One of the more interesting aspects of Expiration Date is it's inclusion of new characters, building a world around Red versus Blue in a way I would have never expected.

Along with the short, Valve has also released a slew of new actions to perform while destroying the enemy. With today being listed as day 1 of the Love & War update, it's safe to expect loads more content in the coming day. Fingers-crossed for bread themed levels. Check out the new content for day 1 over here.

The Colorful Art Of Bloody Pepper

Bloody Pepper had me fooled. We originally ran into her work on Japan's 2chan boards, and considering her style it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that she was part of the burgeoning Japanese illustration movement. Not the case. Bloody Pepper is actually a Mexican artist who's been around since 2004/2005 and has successfully assimilated into a whole slew of international art communities, where her art enjoys plenty of praise. Ranging from Pixiv to Deviantart to Tumblr, I feel like I've run into her art multiple times over the years.

How to describe her art? Eastern influenced, colorful, ornate, experimental. As we've mentioned many times before, this hybrid style that's been emerging in the US with young illustrators is a really cool mix of east meets west, a mix that I feel could be traced back to Korean concept art trends (Which had a pseudo-European influence thrown in).

I really loved looking through all her work, and if you're a Game Of Thrones fan, you'll get a kick out of her take on Arya Stark and her beloved blade, 'Needle.' Check out more of her work after the break.

"Time's The Charm" - An Excellent Animated Promo

Believe it or not, Time's The Charm is a promo for shoes. However it's anything but in your face- It's a pleasant animated romp with subtle references to the product being referenced, John Lobb's latest collection. In collaboration with the folks at Not To Scale, they put together a stylish animated film in which we follow a man's journey through London, accompanied by the excellent music of Northhampton's very own psych-rockers The Temples. In terms of pleasant, creative advertising I couldn't think of a better execution in recent memory.

"Guardians Of The Galaxy" Gets A Fresh New Trailer, A Little More Exposition

The latest trailer for Guardians Of The Galaxy is filled with as much eye candy as ever, but offers a little more backstory as to the origins of the brash protagonist Peter Quill and the general plot regarding Ronan's attempt to reclaim what was his. We also get to hear Rocket Raccoon speak up for the first time in this trailer, and are offered a few glimpses of Groot, Gamora and Drax in action. For anyone wondering, Blue Swede's Hooked On A Feeling is sadly absent in this trailer. The feature will be dropping August 1st in the US, July 31st for most overseas locations.

Awesome fan poster by Rob Csiki.
An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits—Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand—with the galaxy's fate in the balance

WETA's Greg Broadmore Takes A Stab At Beer Labels With "Umami Monster" And "Mecha-Hop"

Incredibly prolific artist, illustrator, raygun creator and tinkerer Greg Broadmore just released these awesome new illustrations for the Garage Project- A New Zealand based brewery with some highly experimental tendencies. The above label was created for Mecha-Hop, a beer brewed with refined hop oil, refined yeast and industrialized ingredients to create a mighty concoction that only those with robotic tendencies might enjoy.

The more organic Umami Monster is an even more compelling brew, brewed with the likes of sea weed, sea water and bonito flakes. I would have absolutely enjoyed trying this while watching the western reboot of Godzilla recently. Even if I found the beer disagreeable, I'd love to get my hands on a few bottles of these brews simply for artistic purposes. If you're looking to enjoy some more Greg Broadmore goodies check out his incredibly scifi proof of concept project, Keloid.

"Grounded" - Going That Extra Mile

Created by a group of 13 students as part of Sheridian's year 3 animation program, Grounded is a seriously cute animated tale about a bunny and his brother getting caught in an unexpected adventure during a fair. In an attempt to ignore his fear of heights when his little brother wants to go on a carousel, an elderly rabbit attempts to distract him by winning him some balloons. The plan ultimately backfires, as you'll see.

The final result felt like a mix of Animal Crossing with a dose of Up, and there's even a fair amount of drama present when their adventure unexpectedly goes a little awry. Loved the colorful style and the teams success in delivering a compelling tale with no dialogue.

"Birdman" Trailer - A Surreal Journey Into A Washed Out Actor's Brain

How did we end up here, in this dump? You were a movie star..Remember? That inner dialogue resonates throughout the entire trailer of Alejandro González Iñárritu's incredibly curious looking film called Birdman (Aka The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance), an upcoming movie being released by Fox Searchlight films.

Starring Michael Keaton as a washed out actor best known for playing a hero called Birdman on the silver screen (No correlation to Hanna Barbera's hero of the same name), this film looks like it will take us deep into a twisted psychological journey rife with insecurity, regret and mental duress. In a few choice scenes in the trailer we witness Michael Keaton (Who famously played Batman back in the day) begin to blur the line between his real self and alter ego as a superhero, a very clever casting choice by the director that might draw parallels with the reality of an actor losing their luster with age.

If Iñárritu doesn't ring a bell, he's a Mexican director who's delivered some truly amazing movies throughout his career, my favorite being 21 Grams and Amores Perros- So I'm actually pretty excited to know that this twisted dark comedy is in the hands of proven talent.

Jun 16, 2014

The Art Of Maekake

Bravely Default, Shadow of the Colossus, Final Fantasy Tactics..These are just a few games that have been beacons of light in the at times creatively tenuous gaming scene. Bravely Default was pretty much the unofficial Final Fantasy reboot we'd all been waiting for, and is visually probably one of my favorite titles I've had a chance to enjoy in years. So when I ran into the work of Maekake, I initially thought I'd hit the gold mine- Akihiko Yoshida's very own art gallery..Until I saw the wide variety of tribute art to the franchises I listed above.

Maekake provides a very good emulation of these different games' distinct art styles, channeling Yoshida's sketchy style and muted color palettes, Team Ico's more moody look and Tactic's ultra stylized characters- the highlight being an awesome portrait of Ramza that could pass as official concept art.

Shame that he currently only resides as a hobbyist, as I feel that he'd make an awesome concept artist if he wanted to with his versatility in stylistic emulation. Check out more of his awesome work after the break!

"Big Bang Dog" - From Creation To Civilization

United by destiny and unified by their desire to escape monotony, Matias Vigliano and Dante Zaballa created Big Bang Dog as part of their newly formed Parquerama Studios. Featuring a cosmic dog that appears at the moment of all creation, we follow him on a truly remarkable inter-dimensional journey. It's pretty surreal and a little nonsensical, but I found it hard to look away throughout the duration of the short.

Is it possible that it happened yesterday? He disappeared right before my eyes and everything remains just as different? Why do they multiply and divide? Only the dogs take this as a natural fact. Please don't go into the wrong door. They are the only suspects.