Bellubrunnus Work in Progress Animation.

Apologies for the lack of updates, I’ve been really busy in the background on various projects. Here’s a work in progress animation of the Bellubrunnus painting.

In retrospect I should have spent more time on the composition, it really could have used another animal in there for example.

Anyway, enjoy another peek at my scattalogical process!

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.

Science at Home: Multicoloured Flowers, ‘What crap will lizards eat?’ and the birth of Mothra!

I grew up on a diet of Attenborough documentaries(where I learned BBC does documentaries like no other), ‘In the Wild with Harry Butler’(where I learned to always put the rock back and drunk pygmy possums are easier to get along with) and some wildlife show that had Lorne Greene narrating and ‘Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring as it’s theme music but I can’t find reference to it anywhere (which taught me slow motion wildlife, Lorne Greene and classical music are pretty epic together). By the way, if anyone can remember what this show was called let me know!

My kids on the other hand are getting large doses of ‘Deadly 60’, ‘Barney’s Barrier Reef’ and a rather cool show called ‘Backyard Science’. The really great thing about ‘Backyard Science’ is that it shows kids doing experiments themselves and discovering how stuff works. It wasn’t long before Gabby was pestering me to try out an experiment I hadn’t seen. It involved taking a white flower with plenty of stem, splitting the stem in two and putting each side of the split into a separate cup. You then put water and different food colouring in each cup and wait overnight. This was our result:

Awesome! Of course the great thing about this is then Gabby asked why it happens. Then we had to find out!(it was almost like I was some kind of responsible parent or something)

Around the same time Isaac and I were encountering skinks in the backyard and he decided that we should feed them as the pesticide barrier or ‘Death Zone’ around our house meant they had fewer insects to eat. So in the spirit of scientific experimentation and being too lazy to chase moths around the back yard I checked what was in the fridge.

Left over Lasagne.

I can’t begin to describe the sacrifice we were making for science, just as words cannot do justice to the lasagne made in our household. Thankfully we didn’t need much as skinks are very small.

We placed the lasagne in places we’d seen the lizards basking and waited. It didn’t take long for the lizards to start chowing down! We were hooked!

The following weeks we tried sausage(eaten), cheese(eaten) and watermelon, filmed with inappropriate music below…

Yuh I know, it’s *just* like ‘Jurassic Park’! (this skink is smarter than T-Rex though, I’m pretty sure it can find something to eat even if the the prey stays still)

The kids are also curious about bugs we find, we’d look up different things uncovered from under rocks or beaten senseless against an outside light .

We’d seen some really big cocoons(10cm long) poking out of holes in trees lately and the kids and I were wondering what emerges from them. During a recent party at a friend’s place we stumbled across another cocoon which was full of what is scientifically known as (orange)goo. The occupant was sitting right next to it… MOTHRA!

To demonstrate how impressed Mothra was at being disturbed while it recovered from getting out of the cocoon it deployed a large tube from its underside and squirted the same goo a quite impressive 50cm or so. The kids didn’t love that part much.

Gabby really wanted to know what it was that had sprayed her with goo, turns out it was a Wood Moth.

I guess the point of all this is that kids really do value knowledge in a way I think many adults forget to do. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day routines of work and ‘civilisation’ and forget that there’s a whole lot of stuff going on around us that is worth knowing even just for the sense of wonder, if not the reward of understanding how the pieces of the puzzle of life go together.

Sketchbook: Muttaburrasaurus, is it cold in here?… and what the?

One of the benefits of rendering in 3D/AE is it gives you a little time to scrawl on your notepad while the computer makes a pretty picture. So I scrawled a Muttaburrasaurus.

I’ve been gestating this idea for a very long time and hope it’ll be an updated version of this physical painting… uh, eventually. Why is he fluffy? The highly scientific and evidence based reason that “it’s cold”.

And what the heck is this? Not a dinosaur…….?

..and what has it got to do with steampunk monkeys?

Kitteh in TerrorDactile!

Kitteh makes it’s return this week with more science documentary tropes and a special guest star courtesy of Dave Hone of Archosaur Musings, who supplied the highly accurate pterosaur reconstruction.

In other Kitteh news Illustrator Tricia of Tricia’s Obligatory Art Blog has created Kitteh fan art in the form of a (slightly disturbing) life reconstruction!

Toddle over to Tricia’s Flicker for a look at Tricia’s reconstruction of Kitteh and his Mouse prey, as well as Tricia’s take on one of Kitteh’s natural enemies.

Poor Science literacy made worse by poor reporting of science… literacy….

Not my usual sort of post but I really wanted to write about this, I promise to post a pretty picture soon to make up for my rantishness.
ABC news recently reported that scientific literacy was poor in Australians, with 30% of people believing dinosaurs and humans cohabited the Earth at the same time.

As sad as this is, when the story comments were inevitably hijacked by Creationists, they were unwittingly aided by no less than Dr Cathy Foley, president of the Australian Scientific and Technological Societies. In the article, Dr. Foley had either chosen her words poorly, or was misquoted when she said:

“Unfortunately 30 per cent of Australians think reptiles or dinosaurs and humans were alive at the same time, for example, which is probably something I guess worries us.”

Emphasis is mine. Of course reptiles are still around now, something people with a beef with evolutionary theory were quick to point out. I can only hope the survey wasn’t as poorly worded.

So why am I going on about a little gaffe in a story that would have been a poor fiftieth choice after everyone had clicked on the latest tidbit about Lindsay Lohan not getting a pillow in prison?

Because science needs to remain relevant in a world awash with information. We have no better tool at our disposal for understanding nature yet it’s poorly understood, or worse, distrusted by a significant proportion of society.

Then of course, when it comes to Evolution there’s a definite movement in opposition from people to whom the very notion is against their belief system. These people make the most headway when science is poorly understood in the first place.

So little stumbles from prominent scientists become easy sources of misinformation.

More than ever, scientists need to make sure they have their facts straight, especially when dealing with the media and with something outside their direct field of expertise.

(even more so when you get this sort of nonsense going on in Australian schools)

Dead on Time… Squished!

The cover art for ‘Dead on Time’ was also used as the load screen. For those going for pure authenticity with their retro gaming experience the game will be available on tape where genuine insomnia relieving load times will ensure the artwork will be onscreen a while!
Of course because the game is for an old system there is a limit to the palette of colours to reproduce the cover art, a whole 16 colours!!!
It takes a bit of technology then lots of hand modification pixel by pixel to get it to look half decent. There’s no way I’m crazy enough to do this, though I did do this kind of thing when these games were around waaaay back when.
No, the particular crazy person in this case is Sylvestre Campin or ‘Super Sylvestre’ as he’s known in the retro community, here’s his site, which is in French.
Anyway, here’s the result of his labours:

Lots of crazy pointillism action going on there to get the colours to work!

You can check out some more info about the game here at Psytronic Software where you can also see how the cover art looks in the cover!


Dead on Time#6.. just in time!


After a week and a bit of sick kids, hospital visits and little sleep I’ve finally wrestled the ‘Dead on Time’ game cover into submission!(with thanks to Sanja for running interference with the kids this afternoon!)

It’s been a fun painting to do with the last few elements falling into place quickly (who’d have thought painting rocky mesas and cliffs would be so much fun?)

It’s still pending approval from Paul of course, and the text is tentative depending on what the publisher wants to stick in there.

I was wondering what to do about the aliens as retro game aliens tended to be pretty garish colour wise. This was so they’d stick out from game backgrounds, but also because of the limited ability of old machines to display many colours at once. In the real world it’s rare for large animals and machines to be really brightly coloured, so they tend to read as small or unrealistic.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to combine the bright colours with something I had to sell as ‘real’ until Gabby brought in a beetle from the back yard.

It’s a Christmas Beetle. The beetle appears to be either Red or Green depending upon your viewing angle and the angle of the light hitting it. So I decided to follow that effect for my greebly aliens, though it’s more suggested than over the top.

I think it also suggests ‘other worldly’ technology… ooerr!

I’ve got a couple of other gigs coming up that are quite different. I should be able to show one of them but the other is hush hush for now!

Once again, feel free to comment, abuse, laugh at or otherwise make your mark…


BTW: I’ve got a couple of back logged bits of concept art which deserve an airing as well.

I’ve updated the Dead on Time image with what I’m hoping is an embedded colour profile which will give a much richer image, not the poo-brown version I originally posted.