Dark Side of the Sun

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mundus Substantioso (III)

"Venus" is a stunningly beautiful porcelain sculpture by Kate MacDowell.

Note: The Mundus Substantioso posts show images of things connected, one way or another, to my short film Substantia, without implying that such connections are anything but coincidental.

If you find anything "Substantious" around you, please, send me the link/picture!

These are the two previous posts:

Mundus Substantioso (II)

Mundo Substantia (I)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry XMaxScript - Stick Locator v1.2

Merry ChristMax everybody! Guess what Santa brought for you? Yes, you... if you are a 3ds max user, anyway:

I just released a new MaxScript tool I made for myself, and which I have been using a lot for a while, called "Stick Locator". What Stick Locator does is create a point dummy (I called it "locator", please excuse my late Maya influences), which will "stick" to a reference object's specific vertex. You can also have it stick to its geometric center.

Since I am specializing in FX these days, the main use I have for this tool is to attach particle/fluid emitters to specific parts of a character, or any deforming/moving geometry which has been "baked". But I'm sure you can find new uses for it, like attaching props to a character's bodypart or... well, it's free for you to use in production (with proper credit, please), so if you find any interesting use for this script, do let me know!

For more information, and to download the script, check out my website's Scripts section. You can also find it on ScriptSpot.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ridley Scott's "Robin Hood" 2nd trailer

You can see the "World Exclusive" second trailer at Yahoo! UK.

It shows a more complete picture of the whole movie and its story.

Avatar, an archetypal story

The most frequent criticism I have heard against Avatar is about the story. Even some people who loved the movie say things like "It's amazing, although the story is not". Well, I disagree.

I agree that the story is predictable and not specially original or witty. It's a story told a hundred times before, and it all looks very familiar. But it's the kind of story that great classics are made of. It's a strong archetypal story, full of archetypal characters and archetypal symbols. It is not a story to be intellectualized. It resonates with the deepest instinctive storymonger in us. There's the chosen one/hero, the mentor, the rite of passage, etc... And that makes it work in many, many levels: visceral, instictive, moral, intellectual, spiritual.

I will issue a warning here: "Archetypal" does not mean simple or superficial. I also think that it's a story masterfully told, with all characters carefully and sklillfully built, and every one of their actions adds to the meaning. If, as the great storytelling mentors say, your story is your character, then Avatar's story is excellent, because it has excellent characters. All of them. I cared about and related to all of them, and every single one of their actions had great meaning and importance to me. Even the pitiful and mindless obsession of the "bad guy" to destroy everything, because that's all he knows how to do. It's the dark side of every human-being.

I am the kind of guy who doesn't flinch at the scariest scene in the scariest movie, or who doesn't even get watery eyes when everyone else in the room is buried in handkerchiefs. When watching Avatar, I had goosebumps more times than I can count, and had tears to my eyes more than a couple, and not specifically on sad or happy moments. Has a movie ever had you almost crying of rage? Avatar was the first for me. And I know I am not the only one. I could feel it in the people around me. For almost 3 hours, the silence was absolute, and heavy with emotion.

I could keep elaborating about many more arguments to make my point: the way that every element in the movie (art direction, the music, or even the other stories it reminds you of) reinforces the story. But I will just state my position simply: My opinion is that Avatar is an example of very skillfull cinematic storytelling. In every single character. In every single action. In every artistic choice. Anyone who wants to learn storytelling should study Avatar. Thoroughly.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

First teaser for Ridley Scott's "Robin Hood"

The first international teaser trailer for Ridley Scott's "Robin Hood", the movie I am actually doing the VFX for, came out today:

You can also watch/download it from Apple Trailers in glorious HD.