I often talk about how important drawing is to the creative process, but I don’t think people really understand….
Our Megafaces Pavilion for the Sochi Olympics won the 2014 Cannes Lion Grand Prix for Innovation. Created by architecture studio Asif Kahn Ltd, engineered by iArt and with art direction and graphics tech by yours truly, the project was a monumental collaboration that tied together amazing creativity and a mountain of technology to create a compelling visual experience for visitors to the Olympic park.
Find the official Cannes submission video HERE.
Celebrating the Grand Prix in the green room
My Mini Venus of Cupertino ipad docking station is finally available. Find more at: VENUS.io
I recently gave a talk to some young students and had to dig through my archives to find interesting things to show. This digital excavation unearthed quite a few clips, images and drawings that I don’t think have seen the light of day here, so I am starting a new series of ‘pastblast’ posts – showing older things that are still cool and trying to giving a little bit more background on the original project.
This old guy was an early character sculpt for the film Wrath of the Titans. The script called for three Cyclops – two brothers, and an aged father. Hopefully my design skills are at least good enough that you can tell this one is supposed to be the father!
My Hercules XIII tablet stand is the inaugural cover star over at DesignFizz – a new online magazine covering international design.
He looks great on the cover and this is one of my favorite photos of him – you can find the original, un-cropped photo here.
And if you would like to own a Hercules, you can find him at: VENUS.io
I am just back from the Sochi Olympics where I was working with the amazing teams from Asif Kahn and iArt on the “Megafaces Facade” for the Megafon pavilion. Over the past six months I have been providing creative direction for this crazy project.
I was asked to come on-board to provide expertise in computer graphics, lighting, faces, and overall aesthetics to the piece. The challenge from a visual design perspective was to take raw, 3d scan data from the ‘photobooths’ in the pavilion and then develop an automated solution, which we called the Creative Processing Pipeline (CPP), for coloring, relighting, composing and outputting the faces to the facade in way that, well, looks cool. It is a bit like composing a drawing or photograph, but algorithmically so that it always (ermm, almost always) produces a compelling visual result.
Every so often I get the chance to work on fun, creative visual effects projects. I was approached by Realise Studio in London to help them with a character design for a commercial – an Ogre. The script had potential – a father has been transformed into an ogre by the pressure of his day-to-day life, a much-needed family holiday transforms him back to himself. Short and sweet. The proposed methodology combined prosthetics with selected digital-face replacement, as good strategy to reduce the amount of work in post-production (as opposed to creating a fully computer-generated face for the entire commercial as in the Audrey Hepburn piece).
I recently had the opportunity to collaborate with legendary artist Jeff Koons on one of his projects – a larger than life-sized sculpture of Lady Gaga. After some absurd deadlines and a lot of sculpting, the piece was unveiled in New York at #artRave a huge launch party for Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP album.
It is amazing to finally see the piece finished and in public. From what I have seen it looks pretty impressive (if for no other reason than the monumental scale). I am still not sure what it means but I guess that is for Jeff to answer.
profile view (with Koons’ promotion)
Our Hercules XIII tablet stand was named one of the top 10 pieces at London Design Festival 2013 by the Times. This is quite an honour considering that there are thousands of designers exhibiting at the festival in locations all over London. It seems Hercules’ baroque design sense is an appreciated counterbalance to the simple minimalism emerging in things like Apple’s iOS7.
Find more on Hercules at VENUS.io
We just finished an exciting weekend at London Design Festival where I debuted my newest design – Hercules XIII, a universal tablet stand for work and play. Hercules, along with the lovely Venus of Cupertino, garnered many smiles and giggles of admiration over the four days. It was great fun seeing the public’s reaction, thanks to everyone who stopped by! more at VENUS.io
The White Horse is finally installed in London. This is the project of artist Mark Wallinger and was originally planned as a towering 50m tall horse (as tall as the Statue of Liberty) to be erected in the countryside of Kent and visible from the Eurostar. But around the big crash, arts budgets downsized and so did the scale of the horse. Now it is only a very average ‘life-sized’, but it is still striking in its crisp white finish and realism. About a year ago I worked with the team from Sample & Hold to refine the digital version of the horse, based on a scan of Mark’s actual horse. I spent time adding anatomical accuracy and life to the head, face, legs, and hooves (at the time my horse skills were primed, having just finished Spielberg’s War Horse).
After a bit of massaging the data was sent off for fabrication. Through a combination of 3d printing, CNC machining, and casting, the piece was brought to life – albeit at a scale smaller than originally intended. But if you are in London and want to check it out, it will be on display on the Mall (just off Trafalgar Square) for two years.
If you haven’t yet seen the Galaxy chocolate ad with the reincarnated Audrey Hepburn it is worth checking out here. The piece is bound to stir up controversy – bringing a beloved actress back from the dead to flog chocolate bars may not be everyone’s idea of good taste. However, the technical achievement is clearly impressive and full credit should be given to the visual effects team at Framestore for pulling it off with very tight deadlines!
I was involved in the very early stages of the project, helping spec out the requirements (which amounted to a host of very intimidating computer graphics challenges) and then sculpting the original likeness of Audrey. I passed this digital maquette of Audrey to the capable team at Framestore and then, because of scheduling commitments, had to wash my hands of the project. I waited with keen interest to see how they would handle the really hard challenges – facial rigging, shading, and animation. Knowing how difficult the tasks were in front of them, my expectations were tempered with a healthy dose of reality. But having just seen the piece, I am impressed. Does it successfully cross the uncanny valley? Pretty close, but I am sure there will be much debate on this. Regardless, I am sure it will be remembered, for good or bad, as one of the pioneering celebrity “reanimations” (along with Tupac and a few others) that kicked off the new trend in posthumous advertising leads.
Zombies are everywhere this year – WWZ, Plants Versus Zombies (2), the Walking Dead, the Last of Us, and on and on. They are taking over the world and I am partly responsible for this zombie apocalypse as I developed some of the early concept art for World War Z.
Here are a couple of the zombie “studies” I did for the film. Perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but as someone commented on my Facebook page, there is touch of Giacometti in them. Yes, I try to bring art to zombies.
click for larger
I am just back from a three-day Facial Anatomy workshop at the legendary Valve Corporation. It was great to be back in Seattle for a return visit. As many of you know, Valve is an incredible company with a very unique studio environment, so it is always fun to work with them for a few days.
The Valve crew had just wrapped the 3rd Annual Dota2 International, a five-on-five tournament with a first prize of $1.4m (more than quite a few ‘traditional’ sporting championships), so there was a bit of a Dota theme running through the place. Donkey couriers greeted me in the lobby and then the impressive Aegis of Champions turned up later. If you are at all curious to see how videos games are rapidly becoming a spectator sport, watch one of the final games and check out the crowd on hand at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.
My Venus Lamps (and one Venus docking station) are headed to 94 Baker Street today in preparation for the launch of the Apple Apartments – 5 new luxury apartments in the Beatle’s Apple Corps building. Images from the apartments after the launch.
I am just back from a great visit to Ubisoft’s Toronto studio where I ran a two-day facial anatomy masterclass for throngs of their artists (animators, riggers, concept artists, and character artists), followed by a day of intense portraiture and facial expression sculpting in ZBrush for only the character artists. Over the three days we covered a lot of juicy facial anatomy stuff, all of which will be covered in my upcoming online course. So if you are interested in a deep understanding of portraiture check back soon (or join the newsletter for announcements).
I get a lot of requests to post more ZBrush timelapse sculpting sessions on my website, so here you go, straight from the Toronto workshop.
I am a little embarrassed by the attention but there is a seven page interview with me in Issue 54 of 3DArtist magazine.
I talk about art, design, visual effects and the importance of artistic fundamentals (drawing, anatomy) to the creative process. There is also a bit on ZBrush technique, 3d printing, and a peak inside one of my sketchbooks from War Horse.
I am just back from giving an intense but enjoyable week of anatomy masterclasses to a talented group of artists at Sony’s Santa Monica studio. These are the guys and girls who have the enviable job of crafting the God of War franchise, a series of amazing games steeped in Greek mythology, a theme after my own heart.
Over four days I covered a ton of anatomy for the character artists, concepts artists, animators and riggers at the studio. But by late in the third day everyone was reaching saturation so we had a little fun trying to update my infamous Gallery Abominate with some of their work from God of War Ascension. The most interesting discovery from the week though: cervical ribs occur in approximately .2% of the population, and one artist on the course had this ‘neck rib’, making him officially a statistical outlier. Exciting stuff .
The Eaton-Houdon Écorché is my update of the classical anatomy figure by 18th Century sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. His original l’Écorché sculpture, produced in 1767 during his time in Rome, has been used by artists studying anatomy for centuries. It is celebrated for its balance, gesture and proportions but, to the trained eye, has always contained a handful of anatomical inaccuracies. Combine this with an overall loss of detail resulting from centuries of re-casting and the piece was in need of both an accuracy update and a sharpening of details. The result is shown above.
The sculpture will soon be available as an 18″ anatomy figure for desktop reference, hopefully continuing the centuries-old contribution this piece has made to artistic anatomy study. Subscribe to the newsletter to receive updates!
Anyone who has been to VENUS.io recently might have noticed that my Venus iPad Docking Station needs companionship. The good news is there are a couple new docking stations in the works, so she will have company soon.
But now there is talk around the studio of making a sweet little (big?) desktop lamp to add to the Venus range. My sketchbooks have been bubbling with ridiculous and absurd variations on the theme. Here is one of the more presentable…
For updates join the Venus mailing list.
The Venus of Cupertino, my iPad docking station, is just back from a busy week at the London Design Festival. She received countless oogles, smiles, and appreciation over the four days. She was even chosen as the top design at the festival by a prominent online design & lifestyle magazine.
Now that the Venus of Cupertino is almost all grown up, most future posts and updates on the Venus project will be found at: VENUS.io There you can follow all the gossip, blogs, & tweets. And of course you can order her there as well!
I have recently returned from a great week of lecture and workshop at Ubisoft Montreal (legendary for their work on the Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Prince of Persia series). The topic for the week was Portraiture and Facial Anatomy and we covered a huge amount of secret knowledge for constructing faces. If you are interested in going in-depth on ALL the important aspects of portraiture and facial anatomy for artists, then check out the workshop I run in London, OR stay tuned for the online course coming this Spring! Sign-up to the the newsletter to stay informed.
The Venus of Cupertino, Scott’s iPad docking station is finished. Here she is with all the creative mess generated taking her from the early prototype to the final functional docking station: a short stack of sketchbooks, a pile of 3d-printed grip and charger tests, wads of spent sandpaper, a few files, and of course a couple iPads.
The Venus of Cupertino will be at London Design Festival in September. She will be in attendance as the iPad docking station you see here but there may be a couple other surprises as well. If you are near London on September 20-23, stop by Tent London and see her in person.
The Venus of Cupertino is now available to order at: