I imagine that I’m gonna buy the snot outta this comic. Anyone who knows me knows I have a lot of love for dragons, and it looks like my favorite little dragon’s getting a comic! And if 1 (little) Spark is anywhere near as good and in-joke-ish as Seekers of the Weird, it’s gonna be awesome!
I encourage everyone to watch this heartbreaking documentary about the dissolution of the accomplished and lauded visual effects studio Rhythm & Hues (where some friends of mine worked), yet another high-profile casualty of the collapsing VFX industry due the turbulent, ill-structured quagmire that is the movie business. My old buddy Scott Leberecht did a wonderful job directing and editing this story. Definitely worth 30 minutes of your time, particularly if you make your living where art and commerce overlap.
I am not a VFX artist. I never will be. But I AM an artist. Even if I wasn’t, it’s undeniable the effect VFX artists have had in my life. I dare anyone to say they haven’t gone to at least one movie in their lives and were in awe of something that was done with VFX. What comes to mind first was me at age 9, sitting up looking at a screen with a Brachiosaurus towering over a paleontologist. Jurassic Park influenced my life. Everyone has a favorite movie, and so many include VFX.
My blog isn’t one about stances or politics. I’m no social justice blogger. And I typically don’t tell people to reblog. But I am constantly aware of how under-appreciated art is. Many artists undersell themselves to try to attract clients, making far less than minimum wage. Just look art commission prices. Here is a HUGE example of artists getting the short end of the stick.
Watch this. Reblog. Spread the word.
Please watch this.
VFX has changed my life, and has helped shape me as a visual artist. Seeing VFX companies struggle like this breaks my heart. I second everything Rebmakash above me says, and the fact that I had not heard of some of this means that it is not getting enough press.
It’s just a button click to help spread the word and help a struggling profession. So, while I won’t think less of anyone for not reblogging… really, what is there to lose?
Look at this adorable venomous ball of fluff.
Look at it.
I was clearing the drive today when this cute little northern short-tailed shrew was scooped into my shovel as it burrowed through the snow.
I couldn’t resist picking him up and getting a couple of photos before releasing him. Shame on me. Funny thing though, I’m all warm, so it didn’t seem too eager to go back into the snow afterwards.
This incredibly cool new study by Gossi et al, published today in PLOSone, has researched whether chickens walk differently if they have a long, heavy tail, reminiscent of the type of tail present in non-avian dinosaurs. Giving them such a tail artificially (while controlling for weight) actually changes their gait significantly, giving them more hip-driven locomotion and less knee-driven as in modern birds. Check out the paper, it’s open-access.
From the abstract:
Birds still share many traits with their dinosaur ancestors, making them the best living group to reconstruct certain aspects of non-avian theropod biology. Bipedal, digitigrade locomotion and parasagittal hindlimb movement are some of those inherited traits. Living birds, however, maintain an unusually crouched hindlimb posture and locomotion powered by knee flexion, in contrast to the inferred primitive condition of non-avian theropods: more upright posture and limb movement powered by femur retraction. Such functional differences, which are associated with a gradual, anterior shift of the centre of mass in theropods along the bird line, make the use of extant birds to study non-avian theropod locomotion problematic. Here we show that, by experimentally manipulating the location of the centre of mass in living birds, it is possible to recreate limb posture and kinematics inferred for extinct bipedal dinosaurs. Chickens raised wearing artificial tails, and consequently with more posteriorly located centre of mass, showed a more vertical orientation of the femur during standing and increased femoral displacement during locomotion. Our results support the hypothesis that gradual changes in the location of the centre of mass resulted in more crouched hindlimb postures and a shift from hip-driven to knee-driven limb movements through theropod evolution. This study suggests that, through careful experimental manipulations during the growth phase of ontogeny, extant birds can potentially be used to gain important insights into previously unexplored aspects of bipedal non-avian theropod locomotion.
*quiet, science-fangirl screaming*
… I feel like everyone needs this ham-ham band on their dash.
Today was one of those days when you wake up, shovel the drive, and Jack Frost whispers in your ear “Go have some fun.”
So, I went out and spent several hours freezing in the snow and building a werewolf snowman. Which I think is kind of funny, since I can shorten it to snowere, and it basically means snowman, but people would think of werewolves anyway.
The snow that fell last night was just wet enough to pack. Not great, but not bad. The nose fell off a lot, even though it has a stick armature in it. It’s been years since I’ve built anything out of snow… I’d forgotten how much work, but how much fun it is. I eventually had to call it quits and go in because my fingers just hurt too much XD
It’s gonna snow and I think I may take another crack at doing something like this again if the snow’s good for it XD
Sooooo, earlier this year, it occurred to me that in The Nightmare Before Christmas, Krampus would be the perfect intermediary between Halloweentown and Christmastown, and could carry letters and packages between the two… except on Christmas Eve or Saint Nicholas’ day, where he’d sneak out to scare and punish wicked children.
So, I decided to doodle a Tim Burton-ish Krampus. One horn is peppermint, the other coal, as sort of a naughty/nice metaphor, while his holiday vest is stitched from Christmastown textiles and Halloweentown materials. His sack can carry either packages or the naughty children who he kidnaps away to Halloweentown… likely, both at the same time. However, for the not-so-naughty children, he of course carries a gift of switches. The ribbon tethers around his snow-white reindeer legs and the ornament ball-and-chain are indicative of how the ‘evil’ Krampus is sometimes considered enslaved by the powers of goodness.