Saturday, 25 January 2014

Inspiration : Art books from three favorite productions

Figurines are a great inspiration (as I've said back on this blog entry), but something that is even more inspiring for me is the many art books I have here. Looking at concept art, model sheets and reading those stories that remind me why I love CG - its what keeps me driven and passionate.

In the last couple of months, I've gotten 3 - Pacific Rim : Mans, Machines and Monsters , Elysium : the art of the film and just recently Transformers : the art of Prime.

I felt a quick personal review would be a nice entry for the blog, and for those interested in these books. I like all three, but for those who were thinking about it - here's my personal take on each...

Pacific Rim : Man, Machine and Monsters

This is a nice book - its fairly large, and what's great is that it comes with a dust cover. Its an interesting browse. Inside is a little odd in that there are a lot of small pieces of artwork on removeable sheets spread across the pages.
Small removable sheets (like the one on the left) are spread throughout

I'm not sure if I should remove these (they are attached with easy-to-remove gum) or leave them. They sit over page artwork, and while I'm tempted to take them out - I'm also not sure where they would be stored (ie. to keep them with the book).

Great artwork, but those removable sheets (that blueprint) can get in the way.

Visual Effects and Special effects have various storyboards. But could do with more imho.

As expected, plenty of detail sketches and coloured artwork

Overall, this book is well written, and its got plenty of artwork and concept material. To be honest, as much as I like this book, I do feel it could do with more art and design sketches. Many of the photo's and imagery I've seen on the special features of the Bluray, or online.

However, its still a good look at the movie itself along with its production and design work.  I loved this movie, just for watching all that cool ass-kicking visual eye candy - its not a film I'd watch if I was after a meaningful and complex story however... lol!

Art of Elysium

This is a fairly wide book. Its a little awkward to browse through when sitting on my lap, but its a book that's well worth the cost if you're into the grungy design that Weta and Neill Blompkamp have bought to the cinema screen.

This book is very reminiscent of the District 9 art book I got a couple of years back at the Weta stand at a local NZ convention. Like that book, this one also features lots and lots of nice artwork, breaking the production right down to the small details such as the tattoo designs that the characters wore.

Right down to tattoo's, costumes and more - the books got plenty of great info...

Overall, as I said, there's a lot of great material in here. A mix of written material, with a good dose of conceptual artwork and sketches, as well as photo's.

As you'd expect - weapons and ships feature throughout.

The many, many sketches and paintings really show the amount of design that went on.

I'm a fan of both of Neill's films. I love the style, the stories and the gritty nature of the films themselves - Seeing the artwork and reading about the process just increases my respect for the amount of work that went into these productions...  Great stuff...

Transformers : The art of Prime

I'm a big fan of this animated show - and the book as well - its loaded with detailed images of characters, set designs, matte paintings and all the eye candy any self-respecting fan just has to see.

The overall dimensions (12.6 x 9.6 x 0.7 inches) make it a nice size that sits on your lap nicely without being too large or too small. The book has a nice matte cover, with the title text (and images on the back) in glossy print. If anything could have been improved on, it would (for me at least) have been a nice dust cover to protect the book itself...

Another thing I noted was that the cover, and the matte black paper that sits just inside of it are prone to picking up grease so if you're going to browse, make sure to clean those hands beforehand (you could say this for any book mind you)

The book is broken up into 3 sections on Characters & Props, Environments and Color and effects. Inside each section are chapters that break up the types of characters (ie. Autobots, Decepticons and Humans), locations and various effects and paintings.

Great glossy coloured print throughout the book.

The book content is broken into parts, each with sub-chapters...

A variety of conceptual art and sketches, renders, and illustrations with small paragraphs and comments inserted where they relate to the artwork are spread through the 200 glossy printed pages.

A good mix of details - model sheets, notes and colour art work.
I was quite excited to see just how much material was in here. Not only model sheets and coloured artwork, but many characters had a breakdown of their transformation sequences amongst other small details such as props or conceptual designs.

Good breakdown's of smaller details such as the transformation sequences.

Plenty of model sheets and sketches everywhere.

Added throughout the book are full interviews - from 3 to 5 pages, the interviews go into more depth with the core team behind the development of the show. There's a lot of interesting snippets of info within these, and of course a little more artwork to break apart the text.

With this book being mostly a collection of great artwork, I have to say out of the three its one of my favorite books.  This is most likely influenced by the show being a completely CG animated one and the fact I'm a big fan...

All three are great reads.  If you need more material to inspire you, check them out.

1 comment :

  1. Again many thanks for sharing...

    As Arnold said... I'll be back!