Tuesday, September 25, 2007

And Now For Some Social Commentary

This is a print-screen of what my Firefox drop-down tab for BBC News Latest Headlines contained yesterday morning.

That's right, the release date for Halo 3 ranks next to the UK tornado and the latest Middle East issues in terms of importance to the world.

It is now the next morning. That tab now lists topics dealing with Afghanistan, Disease Restrictions, US Integration...and still there's an article about Halo 3. No, I'm not a fan of Halo, but I would react the same if the release of StarCraft 2 makes BBC headlines.

Because no game, regardless of its parallax mapping or impact on the gaming industry blah blah, should be up there among the REAL news, the suicide bombings, the strikes, the natural disasters, the diseases, the things that impact entire nations, not just a few thousand baseball-cap wearing chimpanzees who spell their names with numbers in it and think violence is cool.

Okay, so it isn't all doom and gloom. Yesterday afternoon there was a headline regarding the weekend's Twenty20 cricket tournament, as well as one dealing with the current rugby tournament in France. Now, those headlines are gone. Moved over for something important. But Halo 3 is still there.

I feel that says something about modern Western society. Actually, Eastern too, if you consider that professional Starcraft players are regarded as celebrities over there and people get killed for selling virtual inventory items.

Yes, I play games, and there are some titles I'm looking forward to. But if they make BBC headlines I will feel sick.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Not Quite The Budget Of Transformers

'Life is a lot like jazz; it's best when you improvise.' - George Gershwin

And so we did.

While working on a pitch over the past weekend, we needed some background plate footage for two VFX tests. And so an animator (Gavin) kneeling on a skateboard became our dolly. After many crashes and a lot of laughs, we replaced it with a kneeling-posture-chair, pushed around by an editor and animator (Jaco and Kobus) underneath a nearby bridge. State of the art stuff indeed.

A guy with a camera on a chair, being pushed around by two other guys, filming a blank wall across the street.

Yes, people did stare.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

...But Wait, There's More...

This one came all the way from the Czech Republic, from the AniFest 2007 Awards back in May, for a job we did last year (which won a Gold Loerie back then, too) The first statue arrived shattered (it's made from glass), but the organisers kindly sent us another.

You can't read all the text on the base in the jpeg, but it says:

AniFest 2007
Mezinarodni festival animovanyeh filmu Treban
Cena za nejlepsi reklamu

The website clarifies: Prize for the Best Advertisement, Introductory Spot.

It's standing at reception now, and is doing a great job as a conversation starter.

Monday, August 06, 2007

We interupt this programme for some shameless self-promotion

Whe-hey! July is the month of Loeries, and Wicked Pixels brought back six of 'em!

Well, since this is the advertising industry you won't see us among the winners, but if you read the fine print for six of the winners, you'll see Wicked listed as the production company and/or animation company (basically the people who did the hard bits). Therefore, as the behind-the-scenes folks, we're entitled to our own statues. 2 Bronze, 2 Silver and 2 Gold ones.

MTN-Stickes, mentioned just below, won Gold for TV & CINEMA CRAFTS-Animation & Special Visual Effects, and Bronze for ADVERTISING-TV & Cinema Commercials.
I mention this one because it's the one I spent about 3 months working on, along with freelancer and ex-Pixel Dmitri. Well, glad all that effort was worth it.

Go check our site's News section for all the details.

No, I don't do autographs.


Looks like I spoke too soon. On the page for one of the bronze Loeries, our team is actually mentioned by name. Go look, my name is under the Animation section.

But I still don't do autographs.

Friday, June 22, 2007

...And Speaking of Flaming in Comments Sections...

I while back (up until last month) I was involved in a commercial for MTN. Officially, I'm not yet allowed to reveal what and how much we (Wicked Pixels) are responsible for. That will be revealed at the end of this month.

Bizcommunity.com features an article (which, I must say, does skew one or two facts a bit). Anyway, its spawned quite the flame war in the comments section, and it appears that Wicked has been taking the most flak.

The reason is that the commercial is inspired by a YouTube video of similar concept. But then, the entire new MTN campaign is based around YouTube, and doesn't try to hide it.

I've been able to distance myself from the whole thing, and forced myself not to get involved. But I do feel like I need to clear up a bit of confusion.

Wicked Pixels is an animation house. We animate commercials. We don't conceptualize commercials. That would be the agency's job. The agency responsible is Metro Rep (if you've read the article you'd know this).
I therefore fail to see why Wicked is being flamed for the concept. And yes, you could say the concept was 'stolen', and you might be right. But if you're gonna shovel around blame, at least aim it at the guilty party.

But hey, exposure is exposure, either way.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Among the sea of clips of 'kids crashing their skateboards' that is YouTube, you occasionally find a short animated clip. Now these animations have a real home, away from the Paris Hilton clips (and, hopefully, the juvenile flaming in the comments sections)

There isn't very much to see right now, only 95 public clips while I'm writing this, but it's certainly a site to keep an eye on.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


A while back I posted a test image from an animated short (about the animation industry) that I was working on at the time. That project has been on hold for more than 18 months now, and will most probably not be resurrected in the near future (if ever). But when I stopped working on it, I promised myself that one day I'd finish a short using that silhouette style.

My inspiration has been a combination of Tim Burton's animated films, especially Vincent and The Nightmare Before Christmas, Filmax Animation's Nocturna and a few others.

And just lately, Limbo.

It's an indie platformer game, developed in Flash, and it looks amazing. Especially the outdoor bits.

The foregrounds are just flat black silhouettes, but the grayscale backgrounds stretches far into the distance and gives the environments an epic scale, which you normally would lose the moment you work with an orthographic viewport and a silhouetted foreground (think of those Chinese shadow-plays). This nicely circumvents that claustrophobic feeling, and gives an essentially 2D piece a 3D quality.

The site doesn't give a whole lot of information about the game, but it does feature some concept art and a video teaser. Go check it out.