November 19, 2014


and it's quite a trip. Unbelievable, actually. It's called "Box" by Bot & Dolly in San Francisco with some direction from Gmunk. Thanks, Mauro, for turning me on to this. As they say at the end... indistinguishable from magic...

And here's the sufficiently advanced technology behind the magic:


November 6, 2014


Messing around with Cinema 4D's IK chains and Hair Module.


Before there was Prince there was Marc Bolan and his band T.Rex. Here he is with 20th Century Boy circa 1973 on TV in Germany's Musikladen. I know... so "last century" but damn' it's groovy.

October 8, 2014


"Fresh'n Up Gum"

"Good Hair Day"

"Lightbulb thinks it's a wet dog"

August 31, 2014


It's always cool, and often surprising, to see the art we have been working on for weeks or even months finally revealed. But it's rare to see the whole town plastered with it for a few days. Such was the case let week when vmworld 2014 took place in San Francisco's Moscone Center. The theme for this year's event: No Limits. It's vmaware, so virtual machines aren't far from the idea of breaking through walls, breaking through earthly boundaries or limits of the imagination and into space. The brainchild of Audrey Merritt, Thomas Whalen and the creatives at WHM Creative in San Francisco, we were entrusted with creating and rendering the final giga OOH imagery after having been a part of the early pitching and concepting...


We chose to create this art in CGI, since I couldn't find the used set from Miley Cyrus's wrecking ball video on eBay or Craigslist and you know what happened to the guy that borrowed a tank in San Diego. Chris Conroy who also introduced me to WHM shot a whole ton of reference (no pun intended) from an office park that was being demolished right next to his studio, which gave us a good closeup look at cracks and texture. To do this in earnest then, I got deep into dynamics, somewhat new territory for me, to blow up some walls.

Dynamics are an easy way to overwhelm your machines very quickly when going high-res. For some time I wasn't sure whether we made a mistake going the CGI route, as what passes as photorealistic in a fast action motion scene, does not hold up for a 12 foot banner, especially when you can walk up right up to.

Even with the Mac doing a lot of heavy duty physics lifting, we didn't get around long hours of painstaking detailing work, whether pre- or post-demolition.

Breaking pieces just so,retouching hairline cracks, adding subtle light and shadow to texture or fine dust and motion to have it feel like it's happening right now.

I think those hours have paid off and the art work was enough of a work of art for vmware to go all out with it.

August 12, 2014


So one of the things I heard was how Final Cut was supposedly wicked fast on the new Mac, a perfect opportunity to finally do a motion reel again. It's been five years, so it's about time. No lie, Final Cut cuts through HD footage like it's motor oil and everything is happening in real time, dialing in the audio and lining it up with just the right cut or trying out all kinds of different ways of cutting is no longer tedious, but actually... fun. Check out the final cut on vimeo or just download the high-res by clicking on the image below:

August 9, 2014


No, it's definitely not a trash can. Or even a cylinder. Open on both ends, it's a Tube. With a furnace inside and spinnning blades at the end. Just like a jet engine. To keep your coffee warm. Because you won't have as much time to go get coffee or sit and back wait for it to finish rendering. That new "PowerMac G9 Tube" rocks. And did I mention it's super fast?

My only peeve... It doesn't look anything like the renderings on Apple's site. It's neither matte with a shiny edge or black. It takes on whatever color your lighting is in the room and reminds me of a lipstick case or something from the men's hair dye color palette. Why not leave it at polished aluminum? Bet you it would develop a nice patina over time. Like an American Air Force bomber. Oh, well. I think I'll have to set up an appointment with these guys.

Anyways, kind of hard to believe that fourteen years have gone by since the first super computer in an 8 inch cube.

June 19, 2014


What does a living organism look like that's deadly, yet considered beautiful by those hunting for it? Hidden not within a jungle or a test tube, but within terabytes of big sequence and genome data. Finding the answer to this question was the essence of this recent assignment. A continuation of Big Data themes that seems to have been developing here at the Atelier. It had us venture deeper into the fairly new world of generative art, a trend that's been developing in parallel with the ever increasing power of the Intel chips and multiplying complexity and interconnectivity of all digital systems and our world itself. What I liked about it too, was that it called for the Image Design aspect of our offerings and exploring new CGI tools. Here's a look at some designs then...

May 13, 2014


H.R. Giger has passed away. One of my favorite artists and artist heroes. Quite possibly the greatest artist of our time. Maybe not with the art elite, but for all who art makes a difference and give shape, a visual of what so many can feel, but not articulate until an artist puts it in front of them. "Hans Ruedi" Giger—right up there with Helnwein and Sorayama—all of whom I got introduced to via Rock'n'Roll record covers. In his case it was Emerson Lake & Palmer's Brain Salad Surgery and of course I had my mind blown by the amazing Alien in the late 70s. I was just looking on the web to find the best version of this album cover image to add to my iconic images folder I've started when I came across the news… I couldn't believe this just happened right now. It's really sad. But with his art being all about death, poison, pain and skeletal remains, I guess you could say what they said about Alice Cooper… getting quite old for a guy who gets executed every night…

Here are some of my all time favorites… Weird, I just downloaded the iTunes version of this LP last week.

1973 ELP "Brain Salad Surgery" Album Cover Art

1979 Erotomechanics VIII

1984 Debbie Harry (Blondie) "KooKoo" Album Cover Art

You can read more about it in today's LA Times. or see more of his art on the Giger Museum Website.

April 4, 2014


Artec, the company that makes the 3D scanner we used on the Human Face of Big Data project just opened a retail store right across the street from Raygun to offer 3D scanning and printing. Sign of the times and what's to come. I remember the first laser printing service store opening up in Palo Alto in the 80s—it was called LaserWrite and offered the first desktop publishers a way to print their Mac creations. Then there was the first scanning, digital output and offset printing place, called Linotext in the 90s. Remember the term "Service Bureau"? And just a few years later AlphaCD Imaging popped up, a franchise too, offering PhotoCD scanning and converting your Syquests, Jazz and Zips to CD—alright, I think I've dated myself sufficiently. So now it's the 3D scanning, printing and face recognition retail store.

I had to check it out, of course. It seems that not only can you get the high end Artec scanning and incredibly detailed 3D output, but it's also tied in to this franchise called Shapify Me, with the idea that anybody with a xBox Kinect camera at home can scan themselves in and then have a small 3D sculpture printed for just 80 dollars there, or as the New York Times calls it—the 3D Selfie. There's definitely a connection to photography. I asked whether the sculptures are hand tinted, as they are reminiscent of the Märklin people waiting at the Black Forest train station, but not only is the 3D data captured but also a 3D photograph and printed as texture right onto the little sculptures. Very soft and Polaroid. But there is something eerily real about them.

For a few, well quite a few, dollars more you can have yourself scanned by the real deal—the $10,000 Artec scanner and then have a 6" replica of yourself printed in very high res with incredible photographic detail. That's for me! Or us actually. With the wedding anniversary coming up on April 1st, I couldn't think of a more unique, or for that matter a more geek memento. So I dragged Claudia over there. She didn't really know what was going on or what this was about, which was great and made it more of a surprise. Call it our Resin Anniversary ;-) Check out this 3D rendering of the model that came from the Artec scanner. I can't wait to see the print!

Want to see something crazy? Check out this UV map—the photo texture mapped onto the 3D scan:

March 8, 2014


I've always been fascinated by snakes from the days I went out in the forest as a kid to catch them and get a closer look. Intrigued and fascinated too by the Damien Hirst inspired sliced horse in The Cell and his For The Love of God diamond skull. Could snakes and diamonds go together? I wanted to find out...