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Book review: The Art of Drew Struzan

The Art of Drew Struzan

As Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption – The Green Mile – the Mist) wrote in the foreword « Movie posters suck these days. »

He may have a point here, marketing people killed about everything removing the artists from the process of creating movie posters and the art of illustrators like Drew Struzan considered old-fashioned and too artistic to appeal for modern audiences *cough*

Although Drew Struzan is behind some of the most iconic movie posters (Back to the Future trilogy – Star Wars – Indiana Jones series), his name is still unfamilliar somehow.

The artbook is a wide selection of his work including lots of alternate posters (usually a mix of acrylic paint and aerography) and « comps », short for comprehensive: pre-work sketches and rough illustrations.

Rise and fall of movie poster illustration in Hollywood.

Besides the artwork, the book offers a glimpse of how Struzan was dealing with « the suits » as he used to call the studio executives, from handshake during his early work to tens pages of contracts when he retired.

The Art of Drew StruzanAnd anecdotes too, when he had a 24-hour deadline to illustrate the poster of John Carpenter‘s The Thing, a delivery guy was waiting for the finishing painting until he left with the canvas still wet!

While his very distinctive portraits are based on stills, we learn that he used to arrange shots being his own model for body references, with his wife and friends too.

A look back to forty years of work in which you can feel all the passion and the sincerity which, sometimes, bring some rushes of nostalgia.

The Art of Drew Struzan The Art of Drew Struzan The Art of Drew Struzan The Art of Drew Struzan


Title / Author : The Art of Drew Struzan / D. Struzan & David J. Schow
Publisher : Titan Books
Published : 2010
Format : Hardback 162 pages
ISBN : 9781848566194

Livre Les peaux mortes

Roman Les peaux mortes

Trois ans après son premier roman Ce qui sort des tunnels, Arnaud Touplain récidive avec un thriller noir, intitulé Les peaux mortes.

« Ce qui s’est produit avec l’agent spécial Terry Torrez nous a tous plongés dans un état de choc et de profonde tristesse. Personne n’aurait pu imaginer la tournure dramatique des événements. Pas même dans nos pires prédictions. »
(Déclaration officielle d’Alexander Spellmeyer, chef de section du FBI, Washington D.C.)

Le jeune agent du FBI Terry Torrez, spécialiste des missions d’infiltration, semble immunisé contre la peur. Son agent de liaison et ami, l’expérimenté Steven Price, tremble pour deux. Lorsque Terry ignore la mise en garde de son mentor au sujet d’une nouvelle mission aux résonances plus personnelles que prévues, Steven va devoir lui aussi faire face aux démons de son passé…

Après une première collaboration débouchant sur une couverture inspirée des affiches de films réalisées par Saul Bass, les idées directrices pour ce nouveau roman étaient une ambiance aux couleurs sombres, crépusculaires ainsi qu’un croquis d’un arbre mort 🙂

roman Les peaux mortes

N’hésitez pas à lire les articles et chroniques sur le blog d’Arnaud.

Roman disponible sur Amazon.fr


Titre / Auteur : Les peaux mortes / Arnaud Touplain
Éditeur : auto-édition
Publication : Mai 2016
Format : Broché: 492 pages | Numérique : Kindle
ISBN : 978-2955703106

Redesigning the TVPaint Animation interface

TVPaint Animation 11 interface (before/after)

At the beginning of the month, TVPaint Développement released the 11th version of its technology and from all the new features and improvements, we are going to focus on the major redesign of its user interface.

It’s no surprise, TVPaint dévelopement knew they had to rethink the look of TVPaint Animation (which comes from a long history back in the 90’s), the interface has been subject to discussion for years, since it doesn’t quite follow familiar UI patterns.

Everything in its right place

To make matters worse, the lack of consistency + overuse of gradients + loads of empty space did not make sense for new users who didn’t see the potential of the software at first.

Hence the need to refine the most of the interface, make it clean and organized, while keeping in mind a bit of restrictions related to the engine and development priorities.

TVPaint Animation 11 + Wacom Cintiq 27HD = (♥ヮ♥)Now, you have the option to scale the interface up to three sizes. This way, the icons aren’t too small in high resolution and it will handle future devices (such as 4K screens or latest Wacom tablets).

Engaging experience

Besides the entire icons redesign, a new color scheme called Orage has been done from scratch, a dark flat design that brings a more modern look and feel to get straight down to the point.

There are a lot of visual tweaks too and even if there is still room for improvement, this release is the most appealing version so far. 🙂

A couple of feedbacks after the official launch:

Keeping to simple design was the key, mission accomplished! \o/


TVPaint Animation is a drawing package for graphic design and 2D animation, used by students, studios and freelance artists around the world for feature-films, short movies, TV shows, advertising, storyboard / animatic, video games, …

TVPaint Développement is a human sized company (based in Metz, France) founded by Hervé Adam.

Available for Microsoft Windows, Apple OSX, Linux and Android

Royalty Free Game Interfaces Bundle

Royalty Free Content Pack - Game Interfaces Bundle

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Your graphic designer is reported missing and you are stuck with your project?

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Five 2048×2048 sprite sheets full of buttons, icons, energy bar, level select screen, achievement, score, you name it:

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Remastered Music from Amiga games

Tim Wright - Strix Memoria - 26 tracks from Awesome, Lemmings, Shadow of the Beast...2013 seems to have been a particularly creative year for the video game music composers, judging by the releases of three albums of classic 90s Amiga tunes remastered from Psygnosis, Team 17 and Factor 5 games.



Tim Wright, aka CoLD SToRAGE | Strix Memoria :

This Psygnosis tribute album features his best tracks from games such as Awesome, Lemmings, Shadow of the Beast II and III (to name a few), with brand new instrumentation and new arrangements.

This collector’ steel tin (now sold out, check the link below for digital download) contains 26 tracks + bonus track put in a 4Gb USB memory stick in the shape of the Psygnosis famous owl head (from the logo designed by roger Dean).




Allister Brimble | The AMIGA Works :

Allister Brimble - The AMIGA Works - 27 tracks from Alien Breed series, Project-X, Superfrog...
A double CD album packed with 27 tracks re-enhanced (Alien Breed series, Project-X, Superfrog, Full Contact,…) to studio quality and giving the tunes a more creative highlight.

According to Allister, this will be the last time these tunes will be re-created.

Not sure if there are still physical CDs available (limited edition), check the link below for digital download.




Chris Huelsbeck | Turrican Soundtrack Anthology :

Chris Huelsbeck - Turrican Soundtrack Anthology

A comprehensive four volume collection of music from the Turrican series of games, faithfully recreated, arranged and updated with high end studio sounds to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Turrican Soundtrack.

If you missed his successful and massive Kickstarter campaign, check the links below for digital download.


Strix Memoria / Tim Wright : Listen / Download
The AMIGA Works / Allister Brimble : Listen / Download
Turrican Soundtrack Anthology / Chris Huelsbeck : Listen/ Download Vol1, Vol2, Vol3 and Vol4.

Fostering a culture of free

blahThere’s no such thing as a free lunch.

I naively truly believe in this popular adage communicating the idea that it is impossible to get something for nothing.

But, how did we end up to the point where people genuinely wants everything for nothing?



Let’s start with Ciaran Jones writing about his own experience and his introduction into the culture of free : Generation Y-pay and the culture of free.

Once again, I was getting for free something I would have quite happily continued to pay for.

Looking back on all that, it seems like there is a curse of availability. As soon as something is out there, freely – meaning both widely and free of charge – the temptation to actually dip into your pocket and pay for it is substantially reduced.

The demonstration is quite excellent but sadly pessimistic, somehow.

How can companies survive such intense competition and attract a paying public when you can read all over TEH INTERNET:

Do not want ads!
Freemium games are sneaky!
Why is it not free?
$1.99 is expensive for an app!
No trial version? kthxbye

Spec, carrots and crowdsploitation

On the other hand, what about the curse of crowdsourcing?

Of all the invisible wars simmering within our collective unconscious, the battle waging closest to the designer’s homefront is over crowdsourced design. CrowdSpring? 99designs?

Granted, if your design practice is communications oriented, this is a hotspot you’ve scratched before; if you’re an architect, you may find this model analagous to industry-specific practices you take for granted; if you’re a designer just out of school, you may see this as stepping stone to rewarding work and employment; and so on and so forth down the line. Despite strong positions for and against crowdsourcing, it’s always tempering to remember that different lines can be drawn over what constitutes unacceptable practice.

Ever heard of speculative work (well known as spec work)?
Let’s watch this brief introduction to understand why work produced on a speculative basis is wrong:

For more information, read this website created to educate the public about working on spec work: http://www.no-spec.com

The designers in essence work free of charge and with an often falsely advertised, overinflated promise for future employment; or are given other insufficient forms of compensation. Usually these glorified prizes or “carrots” appear tantalising for creative communicators just starting out, ending with encouraging examples like “good for your portfolio” or “gain recognition.

Another point of view by Mitch Joel You Should Work For Free. You Should Not Work For Free.

Over the decades I have done a ton of free work. I’ve worked for others, consulted individuals, offered to be an intern, been writing this unpaid blog for close to a decade, and more in the hopes of not being paid or eventually getting full-time employment from these companies, but as a way to increase my experience and make me more valuable in the marketplace.

Pay the Writer!

And last words from Harlan Ellison (who has a reputation for being abrasive and argumentative, how surprising?) with an excerpt from feature documentary « Dreams With Sharp Teeth ».

Priceless.

Conclusion

This post is more a reader digest, a glimpse of my point of view than a proper well-organized article.

Support developers, respect the value of creative work, do not work for free and say no to spec work (it would seem absurd in most other professional industries but hey…).

I have now finished my rant, cheers! 🙂

Livre Ce qui sort des tunnels

Ce qui sort des tunnels - cover - close-up


Amateurs de thrillers fantastiques, Ce qui sort des tunnels est le premier roman de mon pote Arnaud qui, à cette occasion, m’avait demandé un visuel à la Hitchcock.

Où est passé le train?

Le 22 octobre 2013, le TER 833295 à destination de la gare de Châlons en Champagne pénètre dans le tunnel de Tavannes pour ne pas en ressortir.

Le train et l’ensemble des personnes à son bord disparaissent.

L’ensemble des personnes à l’exception d’une.

François Mercier sort hagard du tunnel sans la moindre explication à fournir aux autorités.

Comment faire confiance à un homme qui prétend ne se souvenir de rien? C’est l’une des nombreuses questions que se pose Max Lenoir, commissaire de la DCRI.

North Liberty. Une petite ville américaine perdue au coeur de l’Ohio. Maria Perez aimerait s’y croire à l’abri.

A l’abri de ce qui sort des tunnels.

Mais sait-on vraiment ce qui sort des tunnels?

Arnaud avait suggéré l’utilisation d’une silhouette comme celle de l’affiche du film Vertigo (Sueurs Froides en France) et l’idée de faire une couverture reprenant l’esthétisme de Saul Bass collait parfaitement avec ses intentions.

Saul Bass?

Vertigo Hitchcock

Vous ne connaissez peut-être pas son son nom, mais vous avez probablement déjà rencontré son travail à travers des logos (United Airlines, Minolta, …), des affiches de films (West Side Story, The Shining,…) ou des génériques de films (Anatomy of a Murder, Psycho,…).

Les indications pour le poster illustrant la couverture du livre étaient de remplacer le tourbillon par une forme très schématique représentant la bouche d’un tunnel d’où s’échappait une forme humaine affaiblie, en difficulté.

La composition finale est un format conventionnel A3 300dpi, le tout a été réalisé avec TVPaint.

Un marque-page recto-verso a également été réalisé.

Ce qui sort des tunnels - romanArnaud qui enseigne l’anglais en lycée, avait déjà écrit quelques nouvelles auparavant (dont certaines figurent à la fin du livre) et s’est enfin décidé à franchir le pas de la grande aventure de l’auto-édition. Supportez-le 🙂

Son livre est disponible sur Amazon.fr





Titre / Auteur : Ce qui sort des tunnels / Arnaud Touplain
Éditeur : auto-édition
Publication : Juin 2013
Format : Broché: 244 pages | Numérique : Kindle
ISBN : 978-2746661332

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Action-oriented Tower Defense : AR Defender 2 by int13

ArDefender 2 | multiplayer tower defense game developed by int13

Months after their bullet hell Shogun: Rise Of The Renegade, int13 is back in town with a new production published by famous mobile game specialist Bulkypix.

Available for smartphones and tablets (iOS and Android), ArDefender 2 is a multiplayer Tower Defense game with Augmented Reality (that’s the « AR » of the title) capability.

You can play either in solo or co-op mode, up to 4 players (via Wi-Fi), choosing six specialized heroes (each with their own skills) to help you to defend your position.

How does the AR work?

ArDefender 2 | AR TagThe game uses marker visual printed on paper (you can draw it too) called « AR tag » and the camera tracks the symbols to hold the whole game steady in your real-life environment.

This is the best Augmented Reality that you will find in a video game. Full stop.

Not your grandma’s tower defense

ArDefender 2 is not that only a tech demo that works wonders, above all, it is a very well balanced gameplay.

In AR mode, the way to play is quite challenging too, because when you decide to pilot a turret, you have to directly aim the enemies (by moving your device), collect the coins, upgrade your weapons and so on.

You can clearly see that the developers have worked hard on every detail of the game.
On iPad (Retina display), it does look freaking good!

On a side note, if you don’t give a damn for the AR or you are afraid it drains the battery, you just need to turn the option off since the game provides several backgrounds too.

Oh, and the icing on the cake, AR Defender 2 is FREE with in-app purchases (to unlock contents but fully playable without).