Archive for the 'Sci-Ficandy' Category

19
Oct
09

sci-ficandy: over organia

UF-Organia

Way back in 2001, Pocket Books commissioned me to author a Star Trek coffee table book of cool starship imagery (I bet you didn’t know that the Ships of the Line calendar series was created as a testbed for the book).  My concept was to feature moments from the history of Star Trek that clearly happened but for whatever reason were never actually seen (mostly due to budget constraints of the various series).  One of these moments was from “Errand of Mercy,” in which Kirk and Spock “negotiate” with the Klingons on the surface of a peaceful world while both Federation and Klingon starships amass in orbit, ready for battle… Continue reading ‘sci-ficandy: over organia’

08
Oct
09

coolest CGI shot of all time (with video)

fx-test-poster

A few months back we showed you how we created a brand-new CGI Viper from the original 1979 Battlestar Galactica.  Using a model built by the talented Derek Smith, I painstakingly recreated the lighting and studio look of the TV classic just to see how close a match we could get to the original.  But what about the Galactica herself?  Not too long ago, FX veteran Lee Stringer enlisted a few cohorts and spent quite a bit of personal time building an exact replica of the original filming miniature (as seen above – yes, he did this on his own time) so I thought I’d take a crack at creating a brand new shot of the girl and see how close I could get it to looking like a scene from the original series…

Continue reading ‘coolest CGI shot of all time (with video)’

12
Jun
09

bsg vfx: anatomy of an (ancient) cylon

Ancient_Cylon_poster2

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched the second half of the Battlestar Galactica’s 4th (and final) season, you may want to stop reading now.

After discovering the depressing wasteland that turned out to be Earth, the crew of the Galactica did some digging as part of their search for answers about the burnt-out planet’s past. One key find was an excavated, centuries-old Cylon head (as seen below in a scene from the episode).  This “ancient Cylon” was only on screen for a few seconds so viewers never really a very good a look at it… until now!

Continue reading ‘bsg vfx: anatomy of an (ancient) cylon’

05
Jun
09

new star wars trailer released, fans go apeshit

old_republic

A few days ago a trailer was released for The Old Republic, an upcoming Star Wars  MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Game).  It’s a pretty impressive piece of animation and while it doesn’t actually represent gameplay, it has served its purpose – to get people excited about the game.  For the most part, the mini-movie is an action piece pitting Jedi vs Sith and if you’re looking for a three minute fix of Star Wars  action, you’ll be hard pressed to do better.   Most of the comments being left by fans on the websites are along the lines of “wow, this is so much better than anything in the prequels, too bad the movies weren’t like this!”  But what do the folks at DarthMojo think?  Let’s find out…

Continue reading ‘new star wars trailer released, fans go apeshit’

25
Apr
09

sci-ficandy: stan lee says…

excelsiordm_poster

As we get closer and closer to the rebirth of our beloved Star Trek (two weeks and counting), I can detect the early stages of an illness, slowly brewing inside me.  But this particular viral strain does not manifest itself through elevated temperature, cold sweats or even a mild cough; no, the symptoms of this pesky bug can be far worse – in the past week alone, I’ve found myself dusting off a Phaser, replacing the batteries in an old Communicator toy and, believe it or not, actually watching episodes of Enterprise  (just to see if there were any good ones).   Try as I might, calls to 911 have proved fruitless – even the most skilled EMT on earth can’t do a thing for a patient exhibiting the signs of Star Trek Fever

Continue reading ‘sci-ficandy: stan lee says…’

05
Apr
09

how big was the colony?

colony_poster

Across the myriad of interwebs, i’ve seen a lot of comments from people wondering “just how frakkin’ big was the Colony?”  Truth be told, there may not be an exact figure.  See, Lightwave tends to choke if you expand the world into krazy amounts of kilometers.  The software still works, but it can get a little buggy on you when things get too big, so the CG model of the Cylon Colony was built to a scale far larger than the Galactica, but not quite as big as FX Supervisor Gary Hutzel imagined.  For the final shots, the size of ships next to The Colony had to be squeezed down to match his vision of the true enormity of the bad guys’ ultimate secret lair.  But don’t fret, here are a few images to give you the general idea, so click through for some high tech BSG action!

Continue reading ‘how big was the colony?’

31
Jan
09

will the real viper please stand up?

bsg-viper-compare

So, you think you’re a sharp-eyed DarthMojo reader?  Do you have what it takes to spot the difference between real and CGI?  In the above image, one Viper is a frame-grab from an episode of the original 1979 Battlestar Galactica  and the other is 100% computer generated.   Can you tell which is which?  Click the image to get the full-size picture, put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and give us your best guess in the comments section.  On Tuesday, we’ll reveal the answer and give you a glimpse into how we produced the forgery!  May the Lords of Kobol be with you…

23
Jan
09

getty moon

gettymoon-poster

My friend Jin finally gave me a CD-ROM of a bunch of pictures we took high atop the Getty Center last summer, and this one turned out particularly tasty.   Late in the day, outside on the giftshop terrace, we noticed a crowd gathering and went to check out what all the fuss was.  We were greeted by the rare and breathtaking sight of a giant, amber moon, hanging over the purple dusk of the San Fernando Valley (click image for full, hi-res version).

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26
Dec
08

sci-ficandy: BSG by Apple (aka radiosity renders)

bsg-rad01

So I was digging though the BSG CGI archives and ran across some early renders that used a process called radiosity.  In most cases, renders like this are only used for tests and are never seen by the general public but I’ve always thought they looked pretty nifty so I thought I’d share a few.  After all, it’s Christmas and I can’t think of anything Galactica  fans would like more than never-before-seen pictures of the Galactica!   Click ahead for more images and an explanation of what this wacky radio-city-thingamajig is all about… Continue reading ‘sci-ficandy: BSG by Apple (aka radiosity renders)’

29
May
08

Sci-Ficandy: 1-7-oh-wonderful!

A fistfull of years ago, I did a few covers for Star Trek: The Magazine.  Sadly, this slickly-produced, lovingly written periodical folded in 2003, but as I was digging through my archives (in other words, as I was finally looking to see what was on a bunch of old CD-ROMS entitled “label me”), I ran across the original, hi-res renders created for the publication.   Knowing how bad I am with technology, it’s entirely possible that I put the CD in my drive and accidentally uploaded them to my blog, where anyone can download and enjoy them…  

Continue reading ‘Sci-Ficandy: 1-7-oh-wonderful!’

13
May
08

bsg vfx: anatomy of a cylon – extras

Wow, response to “Anatomy of a Cylon” has been overwhelming!  I’m holding  back tears of joy as I read all of your enthusiastic comments, emails and forum posts.  Pierre is so thrilled by the feedback I think he’s getting ready to hand out cigars as all of you fawn over his new baby.  By popular demand, I’ve been digging through the files to find a few more tidbits that didn’t make it into the main body of the article…

Continue reading ‘bsg vfx: anatomy of a cylon – extras’

12
May
08

bsg vfx: anatomy of a cylon

It’s no secret that I’m the biggest fan of the original Battlestar currently working on the new incarnation; you could almost say I’m the “ambassador” of the 1979 version, always looking for opportunities to include classic Galactica material on the current series. It was maybe two years ago that I was talking to [writer/producer] David Weddle and hypothesized, “you know, if we ever did a flashback to the first Cylon war (maybe something that showed us what Adama was like as a young pilot), it would showcase the original hardware! Remember the miniseries museum scene?” He thought about it for a second and said, “yeah, I suppose you’re right.”

Of course, a flashback like that would be a wet dream for any fan of the original series, but would it ever happen?

Continue reading ‘bsg vfx: anatomy of a cylon’

08
May
08

sci-ficandy: hi tech trek

Way, way back in the footloose and fancy-free year of 2001, fellow Star Trek visual effects alum Rob Bonchune and I created renderings for a book called “Starship Spotter,” a guidebook to the magnificent flying machines of the Trek universe.  We were both CG Supervisors on Voyager at the time and used the actual computer models from the various Trek series to liven up the book with all sort of tasty imagery.

Continue reading ‘sci-ficandy: hi tech trek’




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