Aug 22, 2012

10 years ago...

This whole growing up thing is weird. Time seems to just pass by silently, and events that felt recent suddenly were a decade ago.
One such event occurred roughly 10 years to this day. While it in some ways is a very silly thing for me to reflect on, it has been a constant flavour of, what I consider, my adult life.
It was the closing of the 2001 summer camp season, and I was wrapping up my third summer at Kamp Kiwanis my first long term job. What I didn't realize at the time was this would be my last summer at Kiwanis, while simultaneous the teaching program I got into would not pan out for another seven years.
However on this day, while finishing packing up my cabin two of my best friends of the era (one is still to this day) came to help and give me company. They brought with them a new game acquisition. One that would become an addiction for the next five times two years.
Having rehooked me on comic books some six months earlier, this new game would be far more dangerous than my old game of choice the Star Trek card game. The superhero miniatures game Heroclix.
Given that the game is celebrating its tenth year I thought I might do a few top ten posts about the game.
I promise to resume "normal" blog functions here shortly. Whatever normal is on this blog anyways :P

Aug 16, 2012

My New Art Logo

Well I'm truly an official artist now. I've just sold my first works to two clients (one museum and one fan). All I have to say is it is nice to have money to buy Heroclixs with that the wife can't complain about :P

An incidental idea presented itself as I was using Paypal. There is space provided for you to upload a logo. At the time I didn't have one, but now I might just have something to throw in there in the future.

My new art logo
Here is my new art logo. What do you think?
My new art logo
Here it is with writing. My only complaint is I can't for the life of me figure out to flip the web address in Corel Paintshop when wrapping it to the circle.

By myself (Craig Dylke)
Test with a recent piece to demonstrate the new logo
I'm thinking about using it as my watermark as well.

So does this work. Does it look semi-pro? Granted remember I'm not quiting my day job. I'm just a part time palaeo-artist still (I can't even go THAT crazy on the Heroclix :P)

Aug 5, 2012

Seems I just graduated to a real Palaeo-artist!

There has been some big developments in my palaeo-art "career" this past month, in that as of the past two weeks I now have a career of sorts to speak of!
During my last week of work I was contacted by a museum in New Zealand putting together an exhibit about Mesozoic New Zealand. If there is a topic I'm the modern specialist in (following in the footsteps of the far more talented Geoffrey Cox) it is prehistoric New Zealand. The museum contacted me due to my recent heavy online presence of New Zealand marine reptiles, but they also wanted to use some of my (comparatively really really) old Zealandia Dinosaurs.

Now I had a surprise in store for them on the Dinosaur front. I've been working on updating all my Zealandia Dinosaurs for a book I'm in the midst of putting together on the topic. Granted I only had some of them done, and no final pieces. However the museum was thrilled with what I had to show them, and said if I just bashed them into some New Zealand looking photos they'd be very pleased (the irony is most of the photos are from dreaded Australia :P).

So over the two weeks before my trip to China I had some composites to do (and a few minor model or texturing tweaks). I'm mostly happy with my output except the Sauropod in its solo piece (but that was the 11th hour critter, and the museum didn't care it was a super old inaccurate model).
Just before the end of my trip to China I have now been contacted by a European museum about the use of my Squalodon piece. Meaning as of now I guess I'm a "real" palaeo-artist...

A quick run through of my Zealandia output.
Zealandia Dinosaurs by myself (Craig Dylke)
This was an overview piece I threw together to show off what typical life in Cretaceous New Zealand would have been like. I feel kind of bad throwing the Titanosaur into the river, but I didn't have any descent photos with this sort of POV where it could be on the ground and not be behind a ton of trees (aka lots more photoshopping for me on a tight schedule).
Zealandia Hunt by myself (Craig Dylke)
This is a redo of one of my first ever New Zealand pieces. It was that original that really peaked the museum's interest in my Dinosaurs. While they said they'd be more than happy to use the 2009 version, I wasn't. The Ornithopods in that shot are of Traumador vintage, and thus cartoons. Not something I wanted as my official breaking out. I redid this version for the occasion. While I'm very pleased with how much better the Ornithopods came out, the Carnosaur isn't as awesome as the first version.

Part of this was a shader conflict I was having. The Carnosaur in the first looks so good as he is in direct comparison to the inferior Ornithopods. The instant I put that shading set in with the new Ornithopods we had a problem. You could suddenly see his shader was over 3 years old! I ended up (due to time) having to use the Gorgosaur textures on him, and while it "works" I'm still not pleased with it.

The other issue was the original Carnosaur is from my "wing it" modelling method era. This new version is properly proportioned and built to match a Carcharodontosaurid skeleton. This made the head smaller. In the original piece his head was probably 30-50% too big, and gave him a more impressive and scary maw. Here it's not as monster like. So while being more scientifically accurate and life like, some of the aesthetic appeal has been removed.

New Zealand Ornithopod by myself (Craig Dylke)
If I had to pick my current favourite Dinosaur model from my catalogue, this would be the one. I'm very glad I started reworking the Ornithopod last November. While I posted on the remodelling I was doing, I didn't post my further feather/fur additions to the model.

So this one I'm quite pleased with (though I might add footprints in the snow at some point).

New Zealand Ankylosaur by myself (Craig Dylke)
I'm also very happy with how the Ankylosaur ended up integrating into photos, despite his vivid and bright colour scheme.

New Zealand Carnosaur by myself (Craig Dylke)
I'm surprised this one worked out at all (I'm not 100% pleased with it). This particular shader only works in a pure forest. I was about to scrap it altogether when I upped the light out of desperation. Amazingly it worked if I matched the rough lighting of the canopy on the shader. So given my time constraints I kept it.

Oceans of Zealandia by myself (Craig Dylke)
I also threw together a redo of my oceans of Zealandia. I'm still very fond of my original 2009 seas of Zealandia series, and so this just required sticking in the Elasmosaur and updating the lights. A nice easy improvement.

New Zealand Coelurosaur by myself (Craig Dylke)

As time ran out so did the quality of my pieces. While this piece is not terrible, it is by no means good or great...

This fellow was the true dud of this current effort. With no time left I emergency tweaked my 2009 Brachiosaur to have more Titanosaurian proportions and rendered it. When I saw tweak that's what I mean. I only had a couple hours so textures, overall modelling, and mistakes all remained as they were in 2009. In particular the feet and claws are all wrong. In the future I intend to fix it for the book project.

So there you go. I'm now Craig Dylke palaeo-artist at large. Whatever that means :P

Aug 3, 2012

Transformers Ripoff #55

Monster King

While not strictly a transformer, it was a robot and the catch phrase in chinglish was too good not to post, as this fellow "fight the brigade"!

Transformers Ripoff #54

Missile Truck

This one is one of the best to come from China yet! It is the missile truck that "change into robot and missile eagle" no less...

Transformers Ripoff #53

Sun Sacred

Part of the "Super Change Series"

China's great miltary secret