About mattvr

Animator/Painting Guy/Pointless Waffler

Ray Bradbury passes…

Ray Bradbury, one of the ‘old men of Science Fiction’ has passed away at the age of 91.

Bradbury wrote in the era when ideas we consider tropes now were, well, ideas. When they thought there may be canals on Mars, before man had been to the moon. It was a golden age of science fiction writing.

When I was in my early teens I discovered a pile of old Science Fiction short story compilations in the shed. My Dad had read them back in the 70’s, but they were really stories from as early as the 40’s.

Bradbury was among them, telling stories with the twists so common to the form, but tying it in with heart, thoughtfulness and sentiment. His prose was almost poetic even while he built tension in stories like ‘The Fog Horn’, or bordered on the theological in ‘The Traveler’. My favourite by far though, and my favourite short story of any author is ‘A Sound of Thunder’.

Bradbury’s tale of vainglorious hunters going back in time to hunt a Tyrannosaurus and unwittingly affecting their future would, if published today, be considered a rehash, a cliche. Except Bradbury did it with such class, subtlety and so perfectly for the short story form, to me everything since seems trite.

In 1983 Bantam Books published ‘Dinosaur Tales’, an illustrated collection of Bradbury’s short stories about dinosaurs. Among them was ‘”Besides A Dinosaur, Whatta Ya Wanna Be When You Grow Up?“(alarmed grandfather looks for a substitute obsession when his grandson begins sharpening his teeth), “The Fog Horn“(a terrifying and mournful romance between a lighthouse and….. something ancient) and “A Sound of Thunder”.

And so came together my favourite short story, and my favourite illustrator, William Stout, who had provided the beautiful drawings to accompany the story. There’s little I can say about how much this double whammy affected me as a developing artist, except perhaps that one day I still want to make a short film that’s entirely true to the story and illustrations in that book. I’ve posted a couple of illustrations from the book below, both are by William Stout.

Queenstown Memorial Animation

Hi, just a quick post between many other things to show off a bit of 3D animation done recently to visualize a 10m tall sculpture proposed for a Park in Queenstown, Tasmania.

Proposed to commemorate a disaster which claimed 43 miners lives in 1912.

For the 3D enthusiasts out there, all work was done in Lightwave 11, it was my first test of using the new instancing feature in that software. Compositing and polish in After Effects.

Ignite Your Imagination TVC

Here’s a bit of TV Commercial animation I did for the launch of the University of Tasmania’s science events and info website: Ignite Your Imagination

Andrew from Atomic Blender supplied the storyboards, direction and 2D assets which I then modified and animated. Additional assets were built and animated in 3D. One of the nicest things was that I used multiple kinds of animation, and a whole bunch of software.

The sound effects were created by Nick Storr at Firefly Media.

The animation was then used again on the website via the talents of Matt Daniels who transformed it into a navigation element.

This project was the best kind, lots of fun and people paid me at the end!
Software used: Photoshop, Flash, After Effects, Lightwave 3D.

Yutyrannus, Metyrannus, We all Tyrannus….

Since the description of everyone’s new favourite tyrannosaur Yutyrannus, there’s been an absolute glut of depictions by anyone who can hold a pencil in the paleo illustration community.

And why not? A 6 meter long tyrannosaur with fluffy feathers! It’s weird and cool and just ever so disturbing in equal measure, a bit like like Yo Gabba Gabba.

Image

Not wanting to join in the frenzy I thought I’d take another tack and take a serious and in depth look at what this discovery means for anatomists, palaeontographical illustrators and nerds who like to draw dinosaurs..

Image

Spinosaurus Mum takes a break..

Well, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and kept throwing more time and energy into the Spinosaurus sketch! In some ways it touches back to the first paleo gig I did a few years ago for Tor Bertin who was reviewing Spinosaur material.

Back then I’d hoped to paint the living animal, but had to satisfied with doing some studies of the jaws instead.(I still had more fun than any sane person should have)

Recently inspired by the skeletal reconstruction by Scott Hartman with Andre Cau and Jamie Headden I thought I’d have a stab at painting the new look properly.

Hopefully I did the guys’ hard work some service, the new sail extends much further down the tail. The pose has no scientific verification, though I did opt for something different than the usual explosive action poses we usually find Spinosaurus in.(at least it isn’t beating up Tyrannosaurus!)

What can I say? It’s a mum, eating a snack on her break. With a cheeky Ornithocheirid pterosaur waiting for some scraps. You might have noticed the little guy has changed since the last post, well, I discovered there wasn’t really a way for it to be clinging on with the wings in that position. Here’s a before and after…