Rommel on Recon

That title sounds pretty cool if you say it fast.
Although, of course, it was never cool for Rommel to go on recon.
I can only assume it was very, umm, hot.
Anyway...some interesting pictures of a diorama shot in natural light. If you've visited my Imgur, you'll probably have seen these already. But I thought maybe they deserve some limelight on my homepage!

Give 'em a click to see the full image.

Rommel on Recon
Tamiya 1/16th Desert Kubelwagen


Think Big. Play Small.™

I've started a little project that really is quite little.

Right now it's just a tiny (unfinished) picture. But at the earliest opportunity, this tiny little image of a convenient two-thousand nine-hundred and twenty-five pixels will (hopefully) take on a new life, the likes of which you have never seen before.


Kudan 'Augmented Reality' Minecraft concept making a stir!

...Well, in two niche camps, anyway - The Minecraft community and the Augmented Reality community. Despite its raw simplicity, this video more than any of the other concepts I produced has made an impression. This is probably because, not only would many people love to see this happen for real, but they can believe that it is possible, and perhaps not even that far off.

With a simple camera move in the real world, a basic alignment of the Minecraft world, and an adequately synchronised step forward in both worlds, you have something that people can relate to the technology. Plus a little bit of wobble and blur to fend off the Hollywoodists and make it believable as a modern, slightly laggy AR engine.

As well as being Tweeted and +1'd by some brainy academics and innovators, this video has been posted by the authors of many leading Augmented Reality news sites, communities and blogs, including Augmented Reality OverviewAugmented ViewsAugmented Reality Layer, and Augmented Times.

Keep this idea in your minds, kids, 'cos there's a bigger splash to be made yet!


Official BlazBlue Continuum Shift trailer online...

Well now! Zen United, the official Western branch of Japanese game studio Arc System Works, have uploaded the official trailer for BlazBlue Continuum Shift 2 - which is coming to Nintendo 3DS and Sony PSP on the 4th of November. I took a 2-week break from Kudan's augmented reality fun to join Zen United (downstairs!) to edit this trailer.

As you can imagine, the most time consuming part was assembling the introduction scene, which involved browsing through Zen United's archive of game sketches and concept art for extended periods, selecting vaguely corresponding character poses and then filling in the gaps with stills from the final character art!

Unfortunately, there was no quick n' clever way to patch up these sketches into a fight scene. With the selected files at hand, I simply assembled them in Photoshop, frame by frame. Even (most of) the characters' slight movements were just down to the placement of the layer in each frame. With the addition of some random, Japanese notes from the sketches flickering around, I had a complete fight scene - totalling around 70 frames.
Exporting these frames as transparent PNGs to After Effects allowed me to do whatever I wanted with them - from changing and animating backgrounds, to masking and moving sections of the animation. Even the titles were just still PNG files knocked up in Photoshop.

I'm pretty pleased with how it came out, considering the short timescale. Safe to say there's loads more that could be done with more time. Before making this, we discussed loads of different options, more ambitious ones. Who knows, maybe Zen United will make more viral stuff soon!...


Kudan / Qoncept 'Digital Hijack' of the London Gherkin!

For a few weeks now I've been working an internship at Kudan, part of Clifton Cowley in Bristol. My job is to produce video mock-ups that represent the Qoncept marker-less augmented reality engine. This idea suggests something that could be used to promote good sexual health - or advertise condoms, of course... 

Watch the video (in 1080p!) and let us know what you think!


"Captain Gunner!" - Work in progress cheesy shooter game

After my final uni project finished, I started rummaging through my hard drives to see what creative projects I had started last year. Like most arty people, I have a tendency to get excited about and start new projects in my spare time only to exhaust my enthusiasm within a couple of months because there is no real ultimate positive outcome (as there is in a uni project, for example)!
Nevertheless, I often still like the ideas, even if I may never continue them again. To cut to the chase, I started making a 2D side-scrolling shooter game last September. Take a look:

I did this in YoYo Game Maker 8 Pro, which is an amazing piece of software for anyone who wants to have a go at making games even through they have no coding experience. Through doing stuff like this, you gain some proper understanding of how coding works, and many people have started out in this program before progressing to real scripting platforms like Java.

It's also a great program for making pixely/8-bit artwork. One of my classmates - Tom Clark - made his entire final uni project animated film in an 8-bit style, but he said that the only way he could enlarge his MS Paint drawings without them being horrifically blended out was to zoom in and capture a screenshot.
GM has a built-in graphics editor, which is basically like an advanced version of MS Paint. Fundamentally it works the same as MS Paint, but with tonnes of extra features, not least the animation feature. For my sprites, I drew them in Game Maker first, then exported them to Photoshop for some precise shading and weathering - which is surprisingly difficult with such a small number of pixels!

It was particularly challenging trying to make the train's wheels look like they are spinning fast - with only 5 pixels making up each wheel!

I enjoy using GM to test out ideas. It seems that I always spend much more time on the sprites (graphics) in the game, as that is what I am most interested in.

For the past month or so I've also been working on a new game. It's inspired by a 2D version of Minecraft; which itself is not particularly original, but all I am interested in is creating the blocky, destructible environment,  after which I will make it a game in its own right. Unfortunately I have spent all of that time working on the game's engine as oppose to graphics, so it still looks far too awful to show anyone...I am even using 'Billy the Garden Boy' from Lumen Soup as the character, because I haven't got round to drawing a new one! Maybe I'll post it here if it ever starts to look good...

Check out the YoYo Game Maker at http://www.yoyogames.com/


Duke Nukem 3D art - by 7 year-old me.

I'm sure you've heard of Duke Nukem before - ya' know, that hedonistic game character who shoots alien invaders - Either from the new Duke Nukem Forever or the old skool Duke Nukem 3D from 1996. Don't worry, there's nothing 18+ in this post!

I have been playing Duke Nukem 3D since it first came out - when I was 6 years old. Is that bad? Safe to say Duke Nukem forms a decent chunk of my childhood!

I recently uncovered a small gathering of Duke Nukem drawings I had done when I was 7 - about half a year after the games' release.

Click here to see the full album on Imgur.

The most inspiring thing about the game for me is the level design. 3D games before Duke Nukem 3D mostly involved endless, dull corridors as the setting; and not much better are the photo-realistic environments of modern games. Where's the creativity in that?
Duke's levels are an art. Not only can you explore the most wonderfully mediocre of settings, including police/fire stations, banks, subways and even a Japanese restaurant, but their layouts are simply brilliant.

Thanks for taking a look at this rather odd addition to my blog...if you like Duke Nukem 3D, don't forget to check out
DukeCraft - my Duke Nukem 3D Minecraft total conversion.


Meet Jazz.

She's my dog. And she doesn't really like tanks.

Watch in HD to appreciate how fluffy she is.

Swinkys Sweets Postcard Design

I recently completed a piece of work with Livvy under Lumen Soup's name - a postcard design for a delightful confectionery shop in Bristol called Swinky's Sweets. The main part of the front design is a little quick-style watercolour illustration which I produced with (vague) reference to photographs!

Lookout for the whole design soon - whether it's on here, or comes through your letterbox... :D


Did you know I'm a photography model?

I meant, a photographer of models!

I don't see my big-scale models very often, but when I do, I spend most the time getting rid of cobwebs, evicting various creatures from the gearboxes and making sure the electronics are working okay.

Since I got a new camera, I've also been trying to capture some interesting images of them. (Videos too - but so far not enough successes to elaborate on...)

In some cases, the level of detail that can be captured in a sharp RAW capture far surpasses the detail of my modelling and detailing skills! Well, you know it's not real, so if you're prepared to load up the full res, don't be shocked to see plastic!

Catch 'em all at my Imgur gallery.
More of these guys are coming soon.


Lumen Soup: Production complete!

It seems that I haven't posted on here in quite some time...however, as Lumen Soup is pretty much done, I'm making a comeback to my individual blog (but will continue to update Lumen Soup's blog too...so many commitments!)

So here's an overview...

The Lumen Soup project has pretty much taken up all of my time since Christmas, so head there to see how we've been filling up the time!

In a nutshell, we did some visual tests:

And some concept art:

Until we eventually ended up with a whole bunch of digital assets:

And after projecting, acting and filming the whole thing:

Ended up with something like this: