Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When I worked at ArcFX with Bevan Lynch and company I completed a couple of concept pieces for The Spierig (Undead) brothers' film 'Daybreakers' . The ideas didn't go much beyond this point, but it did inspire me to do a few more monster designs for other people.

Most notably: these werewolf designs.

What's great about working at this concept phase, particularly in the low budget world, is that initially the sky's the limit. As the realities of budget, time and investor confidence start to take precedence of course most of the high-falutin' ideas crash and burn.

Still, I really enjoy meeting people with new ideas and I love trying to interpret those ideas on paper...or...these days...on screen.
A while ago I worked on the pilot for a show called 'Thriller Science' for Discovery Channel. The basic idea was to take a premise from a thriller novel and investigate the scientific merits of it. Throughout the doco we would cut to dramatisations of events described in the book.

Because of budget and time constraints we opted for a 'blue room' approach, using CG to flesh out the backgrounds and environments. I used mainly Lightwave for 3D and AfterEffects for compositing.

The show ultimately didn't get picked up for a series, as is usually the case with most of the pilots I have worked on.

ThrillerScience from Pete mullins on Vimeo.

ThrillerScience VFX breakdown from Pete mullins on Vimeo.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The ABC program 'Catalyst' ran the 'Dinosaurs on Ice' stuff for a story about polar dinosaurs. The show has been to air already, but the story is available on their website.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

For the geeko Apes fans out there I found this intriguing online comic. Ok, I admit this one is probably only for me and Dazzlin' Daren W. The rest of you go off and make a cup of tea or something.
I was at a miniature and model makers expo/convention the other day looking through those beautiful Osprey books on historical costume and militaria. The one artist whose work always seemed to leap from the covers of those books was Angus McBride. As I expressed my fondness for Mr. McBride's artistry to the fellow behind the stall table, he informed me that Angus had indeed passed away last year.
What a great loss to the world of historical illustration. I even remember his contributions to a very influential magazine in my youth 'Look and Learn'. I've known quite a few history buffs who cite McBride's work as the most trenchant and, above all, the most beautiful. It's great that I can show my kids his paintings of ancient Rome or the Crusades and they immediately respond to them as alive and relevant.
Now to my stuff...My old buddy John Passfield and I have worked on quite a few different things together over the years. Most, alas, never went beyond ideas and drawings. This one: 'Jonny McAnnick' was a sort of parody on the Mad Max (and its clones) road warrior concepts. My favourite character is the sexy babe down the bottom, only because my darling wife came up with a brilliant name for her: 'Jealousy Burns'.Colour storyboards for a game concept. I actually took these into After Effects and did an animatic trying to impart a stylistic sense to what would be the opening video to the game.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Looking at Eddie C's 'The Amazing Remarkable Monsiuer Leotard' got me thinking about the whole circus pastiche. It reminded me of a job I did a while ago for a local radio station ad.

The brief called for a fully fledged circus environment. Suffice to say, circuses are bit thin on the ground these days. In fact, finding anything remotely resembling the sort of old style circus look we were after proved so difficult we opted for a CG/composite approach.

Raw Footage

The shot started with the actors, a few bails of hay and a blue screen. We purchased an elephant CG model and I did a fairly basic rig and animation for it. ( I certainly don't consider myself a character animator, but I knew the elephant wasn't going to do a whole lot).

I then sourced a whole bunch of other bits and pieces (trailers etc), blending it all together. The tent was a separately filmed element. I wanted to give the fella picking up the trash a bit more to do so I added the posters on the ground as a final touch.

Final Composite

I saw the trailer for the film 'Igor' the other day with the kids.

I did some designs once for a computer game idea that involved the long suffering mad scientist's sidekick getting into all sorts of trouble. It was an idea Rob (bigkid) Watson (who was working at Krome Studios with me at the time) had come up with. I thought it was an absolute corker of a concept...plenty of scope for silliness. He's kinda lovable don't you think?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thank you for the kind comments about the work.

Special thanks to Eddie Campbell whom I have had the pleasure to work for in the past. I learnt a lot from Eddie in those years. I mean, there was all the artistic stuff, but I really think his legacy to me went way beyond that. Above all, he taught me the wisdom of discipline.

There is always that point in any creative process where the temptation to run out the back door seems all too great. Eddie has the ability to push through those bullshit fears and get the thing done. He manages a whole team of Eddie's in his head, each with an assigned task.

I remember when he was doing the monthly Bacchus book keeping up a furious page rate (with me always running to catch up), he had this A4 piece of scrappy paper. On it was a list of twenty or so things that had to completed that month in order for the book to go out to the printer. Well, just one of the items on that piece of paper said "do the work".

You see, I think Eddie realised a long time ago that just being a 'creative genius' is only a small part to the story. You must make your 'bargain with fate', what you sow is what you will ultimately reap. You will, in other words, 'get what you deserve'.
Obviously things go pear-shaped from time to time. And only a fool would think he can control everything. I think it's about trying to live true to your higher nature. Not selling it short, regardless of whether you fail or make mistakes.

I try hard to live by that concept, but it ain't always that easy....

I really miss those years working for Eddie. It was by far one of the most rewarding creative experiences I have ever had.

Now... only a couple of art pieces this time. After twenty years or so, I decided to take up life drawing again. I seem to remember it being a wholly frustrating and demoralizing process the last time around. Thankfully this time I seem to be in a happier place with my work. I really try hard to produce a least two good pieces out of the evening (I go at night, once a week).

What I love about about these life drawing sessions is in some ways time has stood still. The same sort of dilettantes, fringe dwellers, young geniuses and big hearted harlequins still make it an environment deliciously vibrant and warm. I feel at home there.