Shad
Miscellany

How realistic are the fantasy castles from films and games?

Shad M Brooks is a huge, huge fan of swords and castles, amongst other geeky subjects, all of which he enthusiastically explores on his YouTube channel, Shadversity. I’ve been really enjoying his castles playlist.

Skyhold from Dragons Age Inquisition apparently gets quite a lot right…

However, he’s less complimentary about the ‘castles’ of Skyrim, which get some basics right but completely fall apart when you look at the details…

There’s some praise for The Lord of the Rings, but also a lot about the castles that doesn’t make sense…

It’s worth starting at the beginning of the playlist with the first two videos on fantasy vs. reality and the names and terms of a medieval castle parts.

Honor Guard castle

In those videos Shad shows off and explains his own rather cool design for a more realistic fantasy castle he calls ‘Honor Guard’.

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Slice of Life logo

“Slice Of Life” is an original short Science Fiction film set in the Blade Runner universe.

While I’m not convinced that this will be a succesful a tonal match for Blade Runner, it has certainly nailed that 80s dystopian look. Most interestingly, this film is being made using old-school special effects techniques, like miniatures, matte paintings and rear projections.

For the huge advertising billboards we wanted to use rear projections. In a way because that’s how it was done in the 80’s, but also because if you film something with a camera it’s going to look much better than if it was added digitally. So we needed to design and animate a dozen of different advertisements, and then we project them on the buildings. It can’t get more analogue than that.

The Croatian filmmakers are uploading video production diaries as they go.

(via The Verge)

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‘Slice of Life’

Slice Of Life is an original short Science Fiction film set in the Blade Runner universe.

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Black MIDI songs will kill your brain and your computer

This Exists: Have you ever been listening to a normal song and thought, “I really wish this normal song had 280 million notes and took up 1.1 terabytes of data and was literally unplayable on any computer?” Of course, you’re only human. Black MIDI is the hypnotic madness you’ve been craving.

Black MIDI

Black MIDI is a sequenced MIDI file so dense with notes, it literally just appears to be jet black.

[Black MIDI] Nyan Trololol

See also

  • YouTube Poop…does YTP qualify as a “statement” of sorts? Is it a way to reclaim these pop culture symbols and create something that is truly our own? Or are they just the annoying byproduct of having video editing software and too much time on your hands?
  • Mechanical techno demonstrationMade at Lime Wharf Machines Room as part of Rhythm & Drone Research & Development residency, September 2015
  • The “millennial whoop” is taking over pop musicThe same exact whooping, melodic sequence has been showing up in a surprisingly high number of recent pop songs

More Black MIDI →

Mozilla logo

Mozilla’s new brand identity

I don’t do many posts highlighting new brand identity work, but I really like this. Some might reasonably argue that the design is too clever, but I feel like that’s fine for this company logo. If this were the new Firefox logo, that might be a different matter.

Mozilla logo variants

Our logo with its nod to URL language reinforces that the Internet is at the heart of Mozilla. We are committed to the original intent of the link as the beginning of an unfiltered, unmediated experience into the rich content of the Internet.

The font for the wordmark and accompanying copy lines is Zilla. Created for us by Typotheque in the Netherlands, Zilla is free and open to all. [The font will be made available later.]

Mozilla bespoke typeface

We chose to partner with Peter Bilak from Typotheque because of their deep knowledge of localization of fonts, and our commitment to having a font that includes languages beyond English. Prior to partnering with Typotheque, we received concepts and guidance from Anton Koovit and FontSmith.

Selected to evoke the Courier font used as the original default in coding, Zilla has a journalistic feel reinforcing our commitment to participate in conversations about key issues of Internet health. It bucks the current convention of sans serif fonts.

Anyone can create the Mozilla logo by typing and highlighting with the Zilla font, making the logo open and democratic.

The black box surrounding the logo is a key building block of the design, and echoes the way we all select type in toolbars and programs.

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Craft and creativity

Mozilla’s new brand identity

“At the core of this project is the need for Mozilla’s purpose and brand to be better understood by more people. We want to be known as the champions for a healthy Internet. An Internet where we are all free to explore and discover and create and innovate without barriers or limitations. Where power is in the hands of many, not held by few. An Internet where our safety, security and identity are respected.” — Mozilla

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The Fundamental Elements of Film Music

Filmmaker IQ: Explore the role of music in film from it’s importance in silent film to the elements and tools that modern composers use to create music for the silver screen. See how minor changes in momentum, depth and power can drastically alter the feel of a scene.

See also

‘Rooms’ by Jordan Bolton

These creative movie posters are made by recreating a film’s set design in miniature.

Prints are available on Etsy and Amazon. (via ARCHatlas)

See also: The man who made some of cinema’s most iconic movie titles & these wonderful animated movie posters by Pablo Fernández Eyre.

Craft and creativity

Jordan Bolton’s miniature film set posters

These creative movie posters are made by recreating a film’s set design in miniature.

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Master Works: Rare and Beautiful Chess Sets of the World

The World’s Most Beautiful and Unusual Chess Sets

Atlas Obscura: Some designs, as with the Communist Propaganda set, arose from ideology. Some were born out of wealth, such as the opulent rock crystal and silver set from 16th-century France. And some were made from necessity, such as the cardboard pieces created during the 900-day siege of Leningrad in World War II.

Master Works: Rare and Beautiful Chess Sets of the WorldThis book brings together some of the most beautiful and unusual chess sets ever made. Over hundreds of years, from five continents, they are culled from private collections and museums, including: 200 year-old sets made by nameless Indian craftsmen; sets by Peter Carl Fabergé; sets from Soviet gulag prisoners; and sets by leading artists of the 20th century, including Max Ernst.

See also

  • Chess set architectureDaniel Weil has created a new design for the chess set which is making its debut at the World Chess Candidates Tournament in London.
  • ArchicardsArchitectural playing card designs by Italian architect Federico Babina.
  • D&D maps and cartography Dyson Logos is a prolific and talented creator of Dungeons and Dragons maps.
Craft and creativity

Master Works: Beautiful and unusual chess sets

Chess, one of the world’s most popular games, has inspired artists for hundreds of years. Though apparently offering a limited canvas – each set has 32 pieces, each board 64 squares – sets have nevertheless been designed in countless ways, using almost every imaginable material: from precious metals, to ivory and rock crystal.

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Sherlock: How To Film Thought

Nerdwriter: Today I want to look at how Sherlock gets from point A to point B-from problem to solution; mystery to clarity-in one of the show’s most extraordinary visual revelations. It’s a sequence that lasts 3 minutes and 42 seconds with a fresh, weird idea in almost every beat.

Other Nerdwriter posts on this blog

Epoch

By Ash Thorp

Epoch is an experimental film intended to take you on a voyage through our solar system and beyond. It is a personal project orchestrated to share our enjoyment and admiration for science fiction films and literature.

To optimize your viewing experience, Epoch is best experienced with a full screen, no artificial light intrusion, ample sound speakers, and an open mind free of predictions or expectations in order to allow the film to guide you on its expedition and take you to another place entirely.

See also: Wanderers — a short film by Erik Wernquist

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Epoch: a voyage through our solar system

“Epoch is a result of merging my love of design with space and moving imagery. It is a visual exercise intended to communicate that childhood wonder and enjoyment without any commentary. By primarily utilizing visuals and music, it will allow the viewer to experience the passage through their own imagination.” — Ash Thorp

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The Plinkett Test
Use your words

The Plinkett Test: How to sort characters from cut-outs

Game critic and writer Andy Kelly uses a clever test to identify if characters in video games he plays actually qualify as characters. This test is taken from Red Letter Media’s famous ‘Plinkett’ reviews, specifically the long-form review of The Phantom Menace:

Qui-Gon Jinn

Andy Kelly: I call it the Plinkett Test. To prove just how forgettable the characters in the prequels are, he asks a group of friends to complete the following mental exercise.

Describe the following Star Wars character WITHOUT saying what they look like, what kind of costume they wore, or what their profession or role in the movie was.

It’s a test that can be applied to video game characters too. It’s far from scientific, but it’s a good way to determine if a character is, in fact, a character, and not just someone defined by their appearance or actions. To be clear, the Plinkett Test isn’t a method for determining if a character is a good character—just that they are one.

See also: Other Places — A video series by Andy Kelly celebrating beautiful video game worlds.

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Still File

…is a series of 4 photographs recreating computer renderings as physical scenes by Skrekkøgle, a product and digital design studio in Oslo.

Cube, sphere and cone geometry with material textures mahogany, clear glass and white marble. Placed on reflective checkers plane.

Floating colored cube without environment. Low greyscale resolution creates gradient banding in background.

Three white Utah teapots – scaled, rotated, intersected and distorted. Diffuse lighting, composed on matte yellow plane.

Patterned spheres with pink metallic texture. Panoramic photo of a beach added on cylindrical environment, mirrored in both the base plane and in the metal spheres.

See also: Other posts tagged ‘3D’ and ‘CGI’.

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Still File: Real recreations of computer renderings

The photos’ artifacts, surroundings, camera settings and lighting has been shaped intending to resemble 3d graphics of different types.

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Zelda original game map

Take a look behind-the-scenes with design documents from The Legend of Zelda!

Nintendo: It’s The Legend of Zelda’s 30th anniversary this year, and so we thought you might appreciate a look at some illustrations created during the development of the first The Legend of Zelda game, originally released on the Nintendo Entertainment System!

These design docs include a video of the hand drawn overworld map and show how some of the original dungeon sketches translated into the game.

(via Gamasutra)

See the video showcasing the Zelda overworld map →

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Nintendo’s design documents from The Legend of Zelda

Some of the hand-drawn maps Takashi Tezuka and Shigeru Miyamoto used when designing the original Legend of Zelda. A fascinating glimpse at Nintendo’s game design process from days gone by.

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Anglo Saxon London Map

A map by Matt Brown at Londonist: In 2011, we put together a map showing the London area in Anglo Saxon times (roughly speaking, 500-1066AD). It’s pieced together from many resources, showing our guess at the roads, rivers, forests and marshland that characterised the region.

Anglo Saxon London Map

The main purpose was to highlight the many villages, hamlets and farmsteads whose names are still part of modern London. For example, the map shows ‘Wemba Lea’, the land belonging to a local chieftain by the name of Wemba. We know nothing about Mr Wemba, yet his name is familiar to millions, perhaps billions, through its continuation into our own times as Wembley. Similarly, Croydon is a corruption of Crog Dene, which meant something like ‘valley of the crocuses’.

See also

Progression and regression

Anglo Saxon London, mapped

The map comes with a few caveats. We’re attempting to show a period of several hundred years in one map. Some features might not have been present for the whole of that time span, and names changed.

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The Mammoth Pirates

Amos Chapple (RFE/RL): With the sale of elephant tusks under close scrutiny, “ethical ivory” from the extinct woolly mammoth is now feeding an insatiable market in China. This rush on mammoth ivory is luring a fresh breed of miner – the tusker – into the Russian wilderness and creating dollar millionaires in some of the poorest villages of Siberia.

The Mammoth Pirates

This 65-kilogram tusk, photographed a moment after it was plucked from the permafrost, was sold for $34,000. The two men who found it unearthed three more in just over a week, including one weighing 72 kilograms.

Ravaged landscape is the obvious result of the tusk hunters’ methods, but the impact on Yakutia’s waterways is far-reaching.

See also

Progression and regression

The Mammoth Pirates

On condition that he not reveal names or exact locations, RFE/RL photographer Amos Chapple gained exclusive access to one site where between bouts of vodka-fueled chaos and days spent evading police patrols, teams of men are using illegal new methods in the hunt for what remains of Siberia’s lost giants.

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Star Trek Original Series Set Tour

Boldly Go to Upstate New York to Board the USS Enterprise

Wired: [In] Ticonderoga, New York, in a former supermarket. There, at 112 Montcalm St., a valiant would-be commander named James Cawley has constructed a precise replica of the original starship set used for Star Trek: The Original Series.

Cawley began construction in 1996, crafting set pieces in his grandfather’s barn-turned-workshop. Over the past 20 years, he has spent an “astronomical” (he said it, not us) sum painstakingly rebuilding the Enterprise. Some items, like Scotty’s wrenches and a Klingon costume, are originals from the show. Others, like Captain Kirk’s chair, Cawley built from scratch.

The Star Trek Tour is permanently housed in Historic downtown Ticonderoga, New York. The sets are full recreations based upon original blueprints. The recreated sets achieve a high-degree of accuracy based on original blueprints, hundreds of hours of serious research and thousands of photos – both period images and images culled from extensive review and capture from latest Blu-ray images.

See also: Other posts on this blog tagged ‘Star Trek’, including many on the restoration of the original USS Enterprise model at the Smithsonian.

Craft and creativity

Tour replica original Star Trek sets in upstate New York

Visitors can sit in Captain Kirk’s chair and punch buttons just like William Shatner did 60 years ago, or perhaps gaze into Spock’s scanner and search for signs of life. Everyone has to make that decision at some point. — Wired

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Beautiful Wooden Lego

Fubiz: French designer Baptiste Tavitian (aka BTmanufacture) made these gorgeous wooden sculptures of Lego ‘minifigs’ and bricks.

Made entirely by hand, the little figurines resemble the famous minifigs, and exist in several sizes; The largest measuring 80cm, and are manufactured in very limited edition.

See also: Lego sets are getting grayer

Craft and creativity

Beautiful wooden sculptures of Lego

“Bringing life to peculiar puppets with my own hands, I work in a small workshop with the concern of underscoring the material. A special attention to details and a touch of eccentricity are my ingredients; for I like my artisanal creations to be unique and singular.” — Baptiste Tavitian

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