“DREAM” for the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival

This morning while drinking my coffee I read interesting article on the Huffington Post site about how humans are close to killing off two-thirds of the wildlife on the planet within the next fifty years.  Kind of a depressing way to start my morning, but still an interesting read.  Then this afternoon while cruising around on Vimeo I came across the video below, which is kind of a depressing way to end the afternoon. None the less it is a beautiful animated short for the WWF and it ties directly to what I read this morning. Produced by Zombie Studio “Dream” was featured in the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, showing four animals that are facing extinction. They tell their stories through the words of “I Dreamed a Dream” a song you might recognize from the musical Les Misérables. The animation and styling of the short has a great look and feel to it, and while at times it can get a little heavy-handed, the message is still very powerful. If you have a large monitor and a powerful enough system, run it full screen or watch it on your large TV.

James Lovelock’s Tool Kit For The Future

Well this will definitely be going into the personal library. When I was a kid this is the kind of book I would spend hours reading and re-reading, especially if it was filled with gorgeous illustrations like this one is. ” The big picture James Lovelock’s tool kit for the future.” By Taschen is illustrated by Jack Hudson, a British illustrator with a particular interest in scientific subjects and the interaction of macro and micro scales, and features contributions by quantum physicist Lisa Randall, Astronomer Royal Martin Rees, Pulitzer Prize–winning biologist Edward O. Wilson, and Nobel Prize–winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel. The book was Conceived by James Lovelock, inventor of the Gaia theory, this illustrated essay collection brings together an all-star lineup of thinkers and scientists to offer essential understanding about who we are, how we live, and where we might be going.

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The Gatekeeper.

Shige San is one of the truest examples of a public servant and personal savior. The video below tell the story of  a retired police detective that now dedicates his life to preventing deaths at Japan’s suicide cliffs, providing emergency assistance and counseling even as tourists flock to the site, attracted by its notoriety as a popular suicide destination. This is a wonderful short film, that tells an extraordinary story and worth taking 40 minutes to watch it.

I suggest if you have an AppleTV or a smart TV with Vimeo available you watch it on the big screen. The experience is so much better than on your computer monitor or tablet.

Paypal Cut Paper 3D Animation.

The video below from Sehsucht is one of those great examples of where technology and craft come together to create something that makes you question if it is 3D animation, stop motion, or a blend of the two. It turns out it was all done on the computer, but the effect is fantastic. Botht the finished video, and the making of are below showing you how it was done. The finished video looks like animated cut paper and is surprisingly convincing as something that was done with physical materials by hand. The animation was built using Cinema 4D and if you watch the making of video you can see how the team developed the sequence from storyboards, to style frames, to some intense animation sequences that capture the look of layered paper cutouts. Great stuff.

“PayPal isn’t just an online payment method, it is a licensed bank as well. Die Botschaft and SEHSUCHT Berlin developed a nice concept to communicate this and other facts about PayPal.  Our main Character Mr. PayPal is explaining that PayPal is more than just a bank and shows the benefits of using it. We really had fun bringing him to live in this beautiful 3D paper cut world. The goal was to animate everything exactly like it would be done if animated by hand with stop motion techniques. This was a tedious and mind-bending challenge, but fun and every frame was worth the love and passion.”

Poilus – The Hairy One.

Once again I am absolutely blown away by the quality of work that is being produced by students these days. I know the hardware and software are better than it was even ten years ago let alone twenty plus, but there is more to it than the simple mastery of your tool set. The story telling level is better, the understanding of atmosphere, and how to build tension, the editing, etc. The animated short below was created by a group of seven students at ISART DIGITAL, the Video Game and 3D Animation / VFX School for their graduation film The title “Poilus” means the hairy one. It is a term of endearment for a French WWI infantryman the main character of the film. This is really solid work, and I have no doubt this crew will go on to great things as they leave college and embark on a career in animation.

3D Animation : Guillaume AUBERVAL, Léa DOZOUL, Simon GOMEZ, Timothé HEK, Hugo LAGRANGE, Antoine LAROYE and David LASHCARI
Music & Sound Design : Aina ANDRIAN, Paul BARRET, Gabriel DALMASSO, Auriane FATON, Elio GERMANI and Lesly VERDEROSA

My Annual Photo Weekend

Every year I take a five-day trip to Estes park Colorado to hang out with a couple of friends and just relax. The trip consists of staying at my friend’s house (Aspen Grove), hiking in the woods, taking photos, drinking beer, and eating too much red meat over the five days.

The trip is in some ways creative renewal, but mostly it’s just letting everything go, and focusing on having fun and trying to get a few good images while we are out hiking around Rocky Mountain National Park. This year the three of us changed things up a bit and hit the park the first week of October instead of mid-May, and we still got snowed on. The weather wasn’t exactly cooperative, with almost the entire 5 days filled with off and on rain, snow hail, and overcast. It’s all good though. You make do with what you have and just keep shooting.

This is a baker’s dozen of images shot on my Olympus OMD EM1. Not all of the photos were taken in Colorado, and few were taken at Monument Rocks in Western Kansas about 20 miles from Oakley. And yes, every single image has had some form of post processing done to it, The original images were all shot in RAW format and processed in Lightroom and Photoshop using a number of tools and techniques. That is part of the fun.















Let Led Zeppelin Help You Forget About The 2016 Elections.

After watching the second presidential debate last night, and reading all the fall out this morning, I decided I needed a break from politics 2016. Below is a trippy, mind-bending video from BlinkmyBrain” featuring Led Zeppelin and some crazy CG work.

It helped me not think about how screwed up this election is for a few minutes, and that made me think others might not want to think about the election for a bit either. So I am sharing. Turn off your mind, tune into the Zeppelin, and forget about this year’s elections for a bit.