Apr 18, 2014

Equateur - "The Lava"



Motion design collective Kadavre Exquis just put the finishing touches on their new The Lava music video for French band Equateur. Comprised of Romain Nouhi and Charles Rock, Equateur deliver a brooding breed of electro-pop sound that I instantly fell in love with.


Four months in the making, the visual landscape of Lava is an epic affair featuring long shots of monolithic landscapes and a really cool narrative about a race of sentient robots hunting down a dormant human specimen, the last of it's kind. Using a really clean CG look executed with bold shapes, we witness the arrival of the harbinger of a new era. Fantastic music video from start to finish, and an awesome introduction to a band worth checking out.

Squeezie



Squeezie is a collection of visually stimulating vignettes, rife with abstract imagery and patterns overlaid over dissonant dialogue. It's like the folks at Ploomers set out to recreate the essence of a corrupted or partially downloaded video, part of the glitched out aesthetic that's taken on a life all it's own in this day and age.

Apr 17, 2014

The Art Of Totto - Path Of The Fanartist

(Via)
Totto is a self proclaimed fan artist from Tokyo, who set out to learn painting and drawing in order to pay tribute to some of his favorite characters and franchises. Like many other young artists currently rising to visibility in Tumblr, Twitter and other social platforms, fanart tends to speed up the process of getting a following, more so than original work. Part of me wishes that wasn't the case, but I won't deny that it's fun to see different people's takes on iconic characters from movies, cartoons, anime and so on.

Nintendo is where Totto's fanart allegiance lies, with a bunch of cool pieces dedicated to Zelda, Animal Crossing and Super Smash Brothers, with a comparable amount of original work thrown in for good measure. With nice, warm color palettes and a visual style that resembles retro videogame concept art, Totto's an artist worth keeping an eye out for. More of his work after the break.

"Alien: Isolation" And The Lo-fi Scifi Aesthetic



At this point I'm convinced that the Aliens franchise has been cursed, as the last half dozen videogame adaptations of the franchise have typically been bad at best to absolutely atrocious. Alien: Isolation seems like another attempt to give the series a little justice, taking the retrofuturistic world of the original 1979 feature and adapting it into something a little more in tune with the vision of the original.


My main hopes is that they don't deliver an experience that is 6-8 hours of straight jump scares, hopefully opting for a more subtle, lasting tension that was present in the original feature. While the graphics look nice, a source told us that the current footage is still 'gameplay target' or prerendered footage that captures the mood they want to accomplish. Once October rolls around we'll hopefully get a better idea of how this game will play, but so far we're cautiously optimistic.

Omega - Scifi And Stop Motion Collide



Omega is an epic stop motion short directed by Eva Franz and Andy Goralczyk, fusing high-end CGI and photographic images, miniature sets and traditional stop-motion puppet animation to narrate a post apocalyptic tale about evolution. If there's one subset of scifi we don't see often enough, it's the bio-mechanical kind that artists like Geiger and Tsutomu Nihei have popularized over the years. At close to 20 minutes long, Omega is a highly atmospheric journey that takes us across various barren landscapes, inhabited by bizarre creatures and relics of a long extinct civilization.


The end of evolution awaits in a wasteland dominated by bizarre trash formations, dust and rock. From the scattered remains of a long forgotten culture an electric ecosystem rapidly evolves into the ultimate form of existence...

The mechanical life form Ohm inhabits a bleak and devastated planet. The thousands of mechanical creatures of this world share a single cycle of energy. In this cycle, Ohm is a rogue element. His nature is to devour and absorb others. When one day a gargantuan foreign object appears in the skies. Drawn in by mysterious creatures of light, the Ohm tracks them across the planet, changing the known order of matter, time and space.

Graine



Directed by Loris Pilorget, Graine (French for seed) is an awesome little fantasy tale about an afflicted wanderer seeking a cure for his ailment. Similar to Princess Mononoke's prince Ashitaka, a corruption is spreading throughout his body, which leads him to wander towards a holy mountain in an attempt to find solace.


Really dug the watercolor look that Pilorget captured and the dialogue less narrative, which is all played out using expressions. Graine ultimately leaned a bit on the morbid side regarding it's conclusion, but the overall aesthetic brought back reminders of Zelda and Team Ico games.

The Art Of Rythm



Our lives revolve around rythms and patterns. The rythm of our heartbeat, the routines that we follow on a daily basis, the rythm we take on during a work day. We all set and maintain a certain tempo in life, and any event that leads to a disruption of that rythm is immediately noticed. This video by Dark Rye goes into the art of rythm, as well as exploring the philosophies of rythms through the eyes of a DJ who crafts them on a daily basis.


DJ Spooky, a Washington, DC-born electronic and experimental hip-hop musician whose work is sometimes classified as illbient or trip-hop, as he is a DJ who keeps the party moving with infectious beats and mixes.

Apr 16, 2014

Skip The Use - "Nameless World"



Directed and animated by Arthur De Pins for the electro funk outfit known as Skip The Use, Nameless World is a colorful romp into a very strange world inhabited by just about every supernatural entity in the book. Mummies, witches, vampires, zombies and pretty much everything in between.


The music video also serves as a promo for Zombiellenium, a comic centered around a theme park run by monsters only. Similar to Fables in the way that they took classic fantasy characters from literature and put them all under the same roof, it's absolutely worth a read. Arthur De Pins did an awesome job translating his designs into 3D, as well as offering some backstory as to how these cast members made their transition into a more undead state. Loved it.

Versatile - Finding Hope In Unlikely Places



When you find yourself in a rut, sometimes it's an external force that brings you back up to a better place. That is the premise of Versatile, a light hearted short by Margaux Lahuppe created as part of her fourth year at Supinfocom. Using a simple CG style that I really enjoyed, Versatile opens up with a girl heartbroken over a break up, ultimately choosing to end her life on railroad tracks.


Yet just when things are close to ending on a negative note, an unlikely force helps her change her mind. Overall it was a very cute short with a positive message, and I really enjoyed the Animal Crossing vibe I got from the female protagonist (Must be that triangle nose!).

The Art Of Jungah Lee - South Korean Scifi

(Via)
Jungah Lee's work took me back to the early days of anime, when the style of choice was all about hyper realism, cyberpunk and gritty scifi. The image above, simply titled 'return to the base' just evoked a lot of memories, especially that of reading Hiroki Endo's underrated Eden, which is still one of my favorite all time 'hard' scifi mangas alongside Mamoru Oshii's Ghost In The Shell.

Lee's work is highly experimental, and also typically presented in an unfinished state which made it really stand out during our daily art search. While some of his refined pieces show a masterful understanding of rendering and a painterly aesthetic, it's the looser work that was the most fun to look through. Using all the tools at his disposal, including Zbrushing, heavy smudging and some truly poppy color palettes, it's cool to see him experiment with new techniques on a piece by piece basis.

If anything his work just leaves me wanting more. There's a nice scifi/anime glaze to all his pieces that's slightly retro feeling, but also refreshing considering the recent hyper realistic military trends we've been witnessing in the concept art scene lately. Check out more of his awesome work after the break.

Legos + Acid House = Play House



Playhouse is a really curious automata developed by Alex Allmont, featuring dozens of mechanisms built in Lego Technic that generate slow acid house music. Powered by an algorithm that recreates the distinct, programmed squelched 4/4 beat, different parts of the mechanisms are triggered to layer complexity to the track and modulate simple bass patterns. Over 6 minutes you'll witness the functions of all the various systems of this curious device, which was commissioned for the UK's Audiograft festival.

Apr 15, 2014

CGHub Is Gone - An Industry Standard For Concept Art Disappears Overnight


The entire concept art community has been shocked to learn that CGHub, a website born out of necessity following the downfall of Conceptart.org a few years ago is now gone forever. Following a DDOS attack and a hack that redirected the website to Cghugs.com, the website made the announcement that it would be closing it's doors for good yesterday.

The entire mess spawned from a subset of users who were incredibly vocal and unhappy with the website announcing that it would roll out premium accounts to raise funds for the website, which had never charged it's users for their service. I actually paid for an account willingly as they've allowed us to discover many talented artists to feature over the years, so giving something back was warranted.

What surprised us was that the roll out of a premium feature prompted some serious backlash that we witnessed on social media by high profile artists, accusing CGhub of having 'sold out' among some truly negative language pointed their way. Could the premium featured have been better though out? Sure. Was the reaction completely blown out of proportion? Absolutely.

A few days ago we received an unexpected refund for the premium account, around the same time the website went down in an apparent hacker attack. While people were initially confused at first, rumors started to circle about the fate of the website following rumors of financial difficulties and the founders being fed up with the attitudes some users had taken towards them making money off the website. If anything this entire experience just saddened me, as the discussions I saw on social media just showed off how self entitled some artists I really admired were. I won't give out names but we've featured quite a few of them on AwesomeRobo in the last few years.

What now? We're left with a complete void in the concept art website scene that needs to be filled. A once amazing treasure trove of networking and beautiful art gone. While I wish they'd taken another approach other than just unexpectedly pulling the plug, I can understand why they did after having their hands bit by a community that unfortunately expected a website to fund itself with money that appeared from thin air. The failure of users to acknowledge that these websites have staff and hosting costs to pay was a truly unfortunate one.

Even after the closure of CGhub, users took to attacking the team that supported the website, which was an absolute catch 22 moment. It kind of reminded me of the childish response that users had to Wikipedia shutting down for a day in support of an anti-SOPA protest last year. This is why we can't have nice things.

"Each Other" - A Korean Animated Short Film



Directed by Korean animator Lee Kyu-Tae (Aka Kokooma), Each Other is a very abstract animated short following a rather sullen man who finds himself cast into oblivion. The short is left very open for interpretation and I'm sure everyone will get something  different out of it, but it's quite successful from a visual standpoint.


To offer my own personal take, I saw Each Other as a tale of a man dealing with his loneliness. The large shadow creature that inhabits his home is a visual representation of that force, as well as it's constant attempts to grab him and keep him from leaving. Upon giving up all hope he's ultimately captured by a predatory bird, and rejects the attempts to be saved by his loneliness. Accepting his fate, he is eaten alive but ultimately resurrects following a spiritual journey. Returning as a new man to his original home, he realizes that this embodiment of loneliness still awaits him and ultimately decides to head off on a new path rather than embrace his past.

Queens of the Stone Age - "Smooth Sailing"



Work till you drop, party till you black out. That is the mantra of the Japanese salaryman, featured front and center in this new music video directed by Hiro Murai for Smooth Sailing, taken from last year's 'Like Clockwork' album. Featuring Josh Homme as the captain of a ship headed straight to debauchery, things slowly begin to spiral out of control as the evening progresses.


While the lyrics of the song are slowly spelled out on a dimly lit Karaoke screen, a steady flow of alcohol and drugs eventually lead to some truly unexpected events. The end result is something that would fit perfectly in a  twisted Japanese adaptation of The Hangover.

Bat.tutty.ry



Created by François Heysen over a 6 month period at the Supinfocom animation school, Bat.tutty.ry is a scifi short that emphasized visuals coupled with a simple narrative. Featuring a robot trudging through a barren wasteland in the hunt for a power source to recharge it's waning energy reserves, it unexpectedly crosses paths with a dormant war machine.


Despite the minimalist environment, Heysen did a really awesome job with the modeling and texturing of the robots. He recently also posted a modeling and animation showreel, which you can check out after the break.

Apr 14, 2014

I Am Alone, Walking On The Straight Road



Masanori Okamoto created this rather curious papercraft animation piece to commemorate the work of Taneda Santoka, one of Japan's most famous Haiku authors. While on an initial viewing I was a tad perplexed by what I saw, witnessing a man having a drink and slowly exhibiting all the subtle mannerisms an inebriated individual would, I slowly came to realize what this was all about. Aside from being a technically impressive short by Okamoto, who setup an experimental system for emoting with a cutout paper method, the short embodies everything that Santoka himself lived for.


Savoring the moment. Enjoying one's saké. Realizing that there is no destination, only the journey. Santoka embraced an unusual pursuit of achieving enlightenment, choosing to walk to achieve his own version of Zen. Over the course of 28,000 miles walked by foot he would record his thoughts and perceptions regarding everything he encountered on his way, which would ultimately immortalize him as one of Japan's literary treasures.