Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pearls of wisdom from my Dad

You know, fathers have a way of saying things in a wise sort of way which actually don't really mean anything. I'm not quite there yet, but I'm looking forward to coming up with my own meaningless fatherly 'pearls of wisdom'.

This one is a favourite from my Dad's repository of wise axioms:
"If the dog hadn't stopped in the middle of the road to lick its arse....it wouldn't have got run over."

I'm not a pessimist, just a realist.

My Darling wife wrote affectionately on her blog about my natural tendency towards pessimism. This got me thinking about the fundamental differences that I think sometimes exist between
the sexes. I will, of course, preface this with the statement that I am completely aware that I'm probably generalising and that none of us are cut from the same cloth.

I have noticed, however, that we men generally don't expect technology to work. Women, on the other hand, interpret things at face value and if something is supposed to function a certain way, then that is the expectation.

I have an understanding with our lawnmower. I paid $50 for it some 5 years ago. I really didn't expect it to last much longer than a year. And so each time I go to start it I caress its spark plug, talk to its starter motor and tell it that if this is indeed the time for its passing I will respect that.
After a 10 or 15 minute ritual it splutters, then roars into life. My darling wife can't believe the amount of preparatory time I spend with this decrepit machine, telling me, 'Just buy a new one'. As if a 'new one' would perform any better than my old friend. I just know that if , heaven forbid, I buy this new, brash kid on the block it would have its own eccentricities and inconveniences.

This goes some way to explain why we blokes keep those old pair of shoes, go to the same crinkly old duffer who cuts our hair, insist on using paper clips and blue tack to keep some poor dilapidated thingy from making its way to our garbage bins. Sure it's imperfect, but that's part of the' rich tapestry of life.'

I have never owned an oven that has ever heated or cooked anything successfully according to the instructions on the food packaging. I accept that will be the case. I would be stunned if it wasn't. How can some food packaging author somewhere far away from my oven possibly know how long my oven takes to cook anything? The entire system is based on some funny little numbers painted on my oven's dial.

Not one of the many beautiful books I own is in pristine condition. At some stage every single one has either been stained, torn, eaten or creased despite my somewhat zealous protectiveness.
As one of those comic bookish types who love things to stay as they are in mint condition for the rest of all time, this really used to bother me. I think we men mature when we realise that there is nothing on this earth that can stop the 'rich tapestry of life' coming along and buggering the thingy you treasure most.
We sit back and say, 'Well done son' when he takes Darling Wife's hair dryer and glues it to a previously cherished collectible creating the latest and greatest avenger for truth and justice in his bedroom.

Decades of work and 3 billion dollars spent on the Hubble Space Telescope, of course it would be launched with a defect that causes focus issues brought about by confusion between metric and imperial units.
Overthrow a cruel, belligerent dictator and offer democracy and the free market, naturally Iraq would descend into anarchy and war.
More people voted for Al Gore than for George W. Bush in 2000, it goes without saying that W. would be in the oval office for the next 8 years.
Darling Wife and I order a new door for the laundry, logically the wrong one will get delivered.

It's the way things are, and how they will probably be next week.

If the instructions or label says that something works a certain way, women think it is perfectly reasonable to expect that to be the case. No use putting silly little small print disclaimers on things. If it's not supposed to work that way, then don't say that it does goddammit!

If there is anything arriving at close to perfect in our lives it's all down to my Darling Wife. Left to us men, doors would be held on by paper clips, certain buttons on the remote would be no go zones and irons would work only if held using a very specific grasp.

I often wonder if big world-changing negotiations were strictly 'women only zones' what the outcomes would be. Imagine a place where everyone, based on the logical and thorough arguments set out before them, were utterly convinced that process would work. No room for fudging around the edges: world hunger....do this, this and this. Financial crisis: put that over there, move that here etc.

No room for paper clips, blue tack or Saturday afternoons talking to old lawnmowers.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Trying to make up for the lacklustre post volume of last week.....

Xmas card for Mercedes-Benz....The concept is that Santa has eschewed the reindeer and sleigh for a brand new Merc!! Ok, so it's not quite in the Christmas spirit, but hey, neither is having your department store decked out with Xmas decorations as early as October! ...and don't get me started about having Easter eggs on sale in January!

These were done for a game my old buddy John P was working on. It's got a sort of cutesy style. The truck was yet another design for Jonny McCannick...

This concept was for the film Inspector Gadget 2 (yes they made a second one). I was lucky enough to work on it for a few weeks. I met a lovely guy called Brad Greenwood who, after having a very successful career as a VFX make-up artist, was turning his hand to concept design. He ended up working on the film Happy Feet.
Haven't posted for a while...life , the universe and everything seems to get in the way.
More 'Sidekick' designs. The good doctor was a sketch from the time, the color version is recent.

I like this guy.....

Thursday, October 9, 2008

BCF vfx breakdown from Pete mullins on Vimeo.

I thought this one was going to go bad. The client was really uneasy about us creating this ridiculously over sized television and all of the home theater gear to go with it. It's on of those things that seem simple enough, but don't take much to look completely wrong.
I originally had a blue screen erected on the wall for when our actor moves in front of it. As it turned out, he didn't move that much in front of it at all. In fact, removing the blue screen element from the shot was as much effort as integrating the CG TV.
You learn from your mistakes I guess. Anyway, the client liked the final result, his confidence in the idea restored.

2008 winner of the NY Tropfest award. All of it shot on a mobile phone. I think the guys who made it said it cost around $50 to make. Wonderfully simple idea, beautifully made.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Terrible Lizards of Oz finals from Pete mullins on Vimeo.

Before Dinos on Ice there was....The Terrible Lizards of Oz....

The animation and modelling chores were handled mainly by Bevan Lynch with some assistance by Andy Monks.
I textured most of the dinos and did the matte paintings and compositing. The ocean scene was Maya ocean with lots of particles etc. created in After Effects.

Once again, Ruth Berry was director/producer on the show. The documentary explored the variety of Australian dinosaurs that lived about 70 million years ago. I was particulary proud of the underwater sequences, considering that all the elements in those shots were generated in the computer.

7News 3D plane from Pete mullins on Vimeo.

Yesterday a Qantas flight from Singapore to Perth dramatically dropped altitude. Apparently the 'auto-pilot' went a bit 'funny'. Luckily they still man these planes with human pilots so a major catastrophe was avoided when the pilot took control.

I was asked by the network to animate this event. Our company is often called upon to recreate events that the video cameras missed. Michael Cox pioneered the approach we use for this style of 3D news recreation.

This style of news recreation reached an almost ridiculous stage when during the second Gulf War we were making animations with only the most limited bits of information.
As frustrated filmakers we approach each scenario with a cinematic approach. We would push the bounds of plausibility in order to make these small 'dramatic pieces'. Each time we would pump one of these out to the network we expected the hardened news producers to say 'Come boys let's keep it within the realms of reality'.

Not once did anybody have an issue with our outlandish bits of animation.

I remember once one of the Sydney news producers said: 'It will get to a stage where we won't need to come into work any more, we'll leave it to you CG guys'.

I think he was joking.....

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Quick post...more life drawing....

...and concept art for pal of mine Pete Ford. The project is called Wynter Dark...looks BIG!...check out his blog...