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The Art of Simon Stålenhag

Fantastic paintings by Swedish (concept) artist Simon Stålenhag!

Painting by Simon Stålenhag

(check out his portfolio on

These paintings work on so many levels. For one, I dig the idea. Dinosaurs and Mechas in rural Sweden?! How cool would it be to live in that universe!

I also like how the artist chose seemingly mundane events for his pictures. Kids strolling around outside, people with their backs to the camera doing some boring tasks or manual labor. Nothing about the presence of dinosaurs seems to bother the inhabitants of Stalenhag’s fantasy world and those giant machines that are littering the landscape are as thrilling as rusty tractors. Are they the remnants of a war? Or “just” the result of energy shortage or an economic downturn?

Painting by Simon Stålenhag

Stalenhag’s paintings are also a great reference for cg compositing or matte paintings! Take a hint from his lighting, reflections and usage of fog and haze to create depth. Especially the painting of those sun-lit towers in the distance is a great reference if you want to get some inspiration on how specular highlights should be affected by atmospheric conditions.

(via pixelsham)


Motion Control

Bot & Dolly is a San Francisco-based company that offers robots for motion controlled cameras. This mind-boggling video installation – where computer animation is being projected onto two large panels – shows off their hardware.

I’m guessing everything in this video relies on their robots: not only the screens but also the camera – despite its hand-held feeling – is probably motion controlled. In that case, all positions in 3D space would be known and video projections could be pre-rendered to match the camera’s point of view. It would be nice to see a making-of though. Did they use robots to control the projectors as well or are they stationary? Or is everything being rendered in real-time?

Anyway, what an amazing mix of analog and digital.

And speaking of motion control, here’s the other famous robot in the VFX business: Spike, a high-speed robot coupled with a high-speed camera.

Pacific Rim Fan-Art

Artsy pop culture site “blurppy” has a great collection of Pacific Rim movie posters made by various designers. Check out their two-part series by clicking on either thumbnail!

Pacific Rim Poster by Richard Davies   Pacific Rim Poster by Doaly

left one by Richard Davies, right one by Doaly
(found via Mech Love Not War)

Funny how many posters in the 2nd gallery take inspiration from Japanese iconography. The movie itself stars a Japanese actress but the plot takes place in Hong-Kong.

I wonder how that movie is received in China or if it is even shown there? From what I learned during my stay in Shanghai, only a couple of western blockbusters are admitted to Chinese theaters each year. Which is probably part of the reason why many big Hollywood productions are cozying up to that market (Emmerich’s 2012 making a statement about Tibet that made the audience cheer, Bruce Willis being married to Qing Xu in Looper).

Maybe there’s a special edit for that market with more shots of the Chinese mecha pilots? Because a Japanese girl defending Hong-Kong might feel to some people like Germans defending Moscow…

And here’s one more treat I found on blurppy: A fan-made trailer for Pacific Rim in the style of those good old Godzilla movies. I love it and vintage grading they put on top of that clip makes the CGI even more life-like in my opinion.

By the way, all of this creativity could be killed off by the ongoing trend of always tougher copyright enforcement and lawmaking. Update: a link on that would be nice, so here’s an article on techdirt that touches on that subject of fair use.

The Pixel Painter

Here’s a great short film about a 97 year old man who uses MS Paint to great effect. Touching!