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Thursday, September 30, 2010

SCANNING THE TRON LEGEND - PART 2

TRON Movie Preview continued

Here are recently released movie screenshots, along with a brief cast listing. On the left side is the movie character's name, and on the right side is the name of the actor/actress.

Kevin Flynn, played by - Jeff Bridges
Sam Flynn - Garrett Hedlund
Alan Bradley - Bruce Boxleitner 
Quorra - Olivia Wilde
Jem - Beau Garrett
Castor - Michael Sheen 


[You may need to Click on the "Read More" link to view the rest of this blog article!]

SCANNING THE TRON LEGEND - PART 1

TRON Legacy Movie Preview [plus a review of the original TRON]

I remember seeing clips of this sci fi movie earlier in the year and thinking... WTF?
Honestly that's exactly what crossed my mind. While seated in the movie theater anticipating an action flick, a very brief clip of the forthcoming TRON Legacy movie was presented. It looked more like a video game on the big screen to me, more than anything else. Somehow the comprehensive vision I got was that the movie was all just a big race at night, conducted by a spunky hero fighting droid bad guys that could shatter like glass.

But I have to admit that the futuristic motorcycles in the trailer looked cool. The neon glows etched into the machines and the bodysuits worn by all the characters was also a cool touch. And since the scale of the digital world where 90-percent of the movie takes place was extremely epic, the trailer did trigger that inner geek within me, tapping into the same well of emotion that gives me a longing to behold larger than life sci fi worlds.

So what is TRON? 
Released in 1982, TRON is American action science fiction film that was produced by Walt Disney Studios. It was definitely a deviant vision, an anomaly in the world of giant talking mice, crystal heels and innocent fairy tales.
TRON was directed by Steven Lisberger and it was one of the first films from a major studio to use extensive computer graphics in order to contrive the interactive world of the characters and the characters themselves.


The focal character of the movie was named Kevin Flynn, who was a young gifted software engineer that worked for a software corporation called ENCOM. Kevin was a video game designer with dreams of starting his own firm.
Kevin got screwed by his rival, another programmer named Ed Dillinger, and Ed presents Kevin's work as his own. Ed gets promoted and Kevin keeps getting demoted, till he becomes the head of a local arcade center, tied to his company ENCOM.
All the main characters in this movie have their real-selfs, and their digital-personas.

Kevin later tries to hack into the mainframe of ENCOM, to find evidence that will prove Eds duplicity. His digital worm program, named Clu, is discovered and erased by the Master Control Program, the MCP.
The MCP is in league with Ed; and it tells Ed that it wants to dominate the Pentagon, in order to control the entire USA.

But some guy that works for ENCOM called Alan Bradley [who was locked out of the mainframe the same time that Kevin was locked out] comes to confront Ed, and tells him that he, Alan, was working on a security program named TRON, and he really needs access back into the system.

Ed claims he'll look into it, but the MCP tells Ed that he doesn't want to be monitored by a security program.

With the aid of his girlfriend Dr. Lora Baines [her digital-persona is called Yori], the new guy, Alan, goes to warn Kevin about the vile schemes of Ed.
Soon the three heroes, Kevin, Lora and Alan [aka TRON] break into a laser lab at ENCOM headquarters, and try to hack into the system, in order to shut down the MCP. And from that point, the adventure in the digital realm soon unfolds.
Lora has designed a system for literally digitzing humans, making them virtual-personas. She attempts to transfer Kevin into the mainframe of ENCOM, but the MCP somehow intervenes as the hacking procedure is flowing; and Kevin is zapped by a laser and transferred directly into the digital world,  where he is both a slave and a competitor. Now Kevin becomes Clu, his digital-persona.

Following a series of battles, Clu meets TRON and Yori and they start working together to shut down the MCP's main operating system.

Ed's evil digital personal is called Sark, and with the aid of the sovereign MCP, Sark and his forces strive to crush the three heroes in the digital world. Later TRON has a showdown against Sark, and he eventually prevails [even after the MCP turns the loosing Sark into an evil giant], with the aid of his two allies.

And at the end, Ed's initial scheme of intellectual property theft is revealed, the evil MCP is shut down, and Kevin is set to become the new CEO of ENCOM. I skipped a lot of details in this quick review, but I'm sure you get the picture.

[You may need to Click on the "Read More" link to view the rest of this blog article!]

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

MECHA DESIGN - PART 2

Here's the colored version of the Spider Mech Design:



The inked version is below in the previous post. Stay tuned for more cool designs and artwork.

EDIT:
More MECHA concept artwork is available here: http://dsngsfm.blogspot.com/2010/09/mecha-genre-preview-part-2.html

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

MECHA DESIGN - PART 1

Fusion Concepts.. and Robots that Defend the Universe
I recently showcased a MECHA review regarding the cool Tachikomas, from the Ghost In The Shell anime series. And the peculiar thing about mobile MECHs is that their mechanical designs can be based upon a variety of natural foundations, ranging from crawling and flying insects to quadrupeds and mystical creatures. Even prehistoric animals can be a blueprint source for designing advance MECHA.

[You may need to Click on the "Read More" link to view the rest of this blog article!]

Monday, September 27, 2010

DSNG ARTWORK SEXY ANIME PROMO VIDEO

Did this video last week... its the second of two AMVs [fan videos] showcasing some of my classic digital artwork, showcasing busty anime chicks. Both videos are available at YouTube. Just head over there and search for "DSNG ARTIST" .


DSNG ARTWORK AND ANIME AMV by johnnygg88

Video artwork role call:
Naruto, Hinata, Tenten, Betty Rubble, Wilma Flinstone, Tinkerbell, Haruka May, Sakura, Orihime & DSNG BOOK1 and BOOK2 Covers.
Most of the sexy / voluptuous pics are available in my old Deviantart gallery, as high-res images. But you may have to be a member to see some of the images archived at that Web site: http://www.dsng.deviantart.com/
 
[Yeah, Orihime was given big boobs in the pic above on purpose; consider it a publicity stunt, as the poster was used in an ad campaign last year, over at DA.]





   


 

More art available at the Blog home page: http://dsngsfm.blogspot.com/
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EDIT: [Updates Done in June 2011] --> More Pics have been added to this article, showcasing Naruto anime cartoon characters. And these classic poster/pinup images date back to 2008 and 2009:












    




List of the characters shown above: Naruto, Hinata, Tenten [or Ten Ten], Ino, Temari, Sexy Yoruichi and Nami from the One Piece Steampunk anime. More characters are below!

       

 


       

Shown Above, from top left to right: Mrs. Incredible [aka Elastigirl from Disney cartoon], Nel Tu from Bleach, Rukia [busty, big boobs] and Yoruich [big booty] - they are also from the Bleach anime.


Most of these digital pics are tagged as busty/sexy anime artwork, and they also fall into the category of Cheesecake art. I did an extensive blog article on that particular art-style, which was posted over here: http://dsngsfm.blogspot.com/2011/04/fanart-of-elena-eden-and-article-on.html

Check it out!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

SPACE COWBOYS

This particular sub-group of sci fi is extremely popular and it is often tagged as "Space Western". There have been several movies, books and cartoons that have focused upon presenting a fascinating fusion between American Western security officers set in futuristic worlds, where their mission is to maintain law and order.

[You may need to Click on the "Read More" link to view the rest of this blog article!]

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

THE MECHA GENRE PREVIEW PART 2 [PLUS MORE TRANSFORMERS]

New Mecha Artwork!
This is something I recently did; a sentient robotic morphing unit designed for my DSNG sci fi e-book series. Maybe it will be converted into a comic book instead... we'll see. The robot-mode and the vehicle-mode are shown, along with the inked prelims.

The name of this robot is Buster SRM#05, and it is my original creation. It has 3 modes: sports car, hovercraft and droid. The twin blasters upon its frontal hood are retractable, and they are used as arm-mounted weapons in its droid-mode. Buster SRM#05 [or "Buster" for short] has one monocle, which I believe is a cool touch... and yes, my robot is cooler than Robocop :)



Got some inspiration for coloring styles in Photoshop CS3 from a guy named "Citiclown" over on Youtube. If you've got about 8 minutes, check out his work:




The tough thing about drawing MECHA/ robot art is that it takes time. And depending upon where you source your basic inspiration from, it may take you even longer to contrive your desired robot sketch upon a sheet of paper [or directly into your artistic software, via graphite pen & tablet]. For example, there are many classic robot cartoons that feature transformable MECHA, such as the Gobots, King of Braves and Transformers. And the Transformer franchise has shown over the years that it is possible to reinterpret classic robot designs in a wide variety of ways. In fact, after the blockbuster Transformer movie in 2007, a new category of robots tagged by fanatics as the "Bayformers" were introduced [named after the phenomenal film's director, Michael Bay]. And the very classic robots from the 1980s animated version of Transformers are called "Generation One" [or G1].
 
  

Pencil pic & an inked pic of Bumblebee I did earlier in the year; both are tied to the movie franchise. In the TF films, there is a tendency to display inner gears and mechanized sub-systems that coherently result in the giant robot's motion. It's a novel idea, but extremely taxing from an artistic perspective.



[Above: posters/wallpapers of Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. This version of Prime is based upon the classic cartoon version, dating back to the 80s. The two Autobots shown above are featured robotic characters in the forthcoming Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon movie slated for release in the USA on June 29, 2011].

Just take a look at the classic Optimus Prime [G1/Generation 1] and compare it to the ROTF* movie version beside it. [Note: I did not draw these two pics; they're presented here as references].

   



*ROTF = Revenge of the Fallen. Scroll down or search for "MECHA" and you'll see more art samples from my portfolio in this blog.

BTW, if you are curious about the true forefathers of the giant robot genre, then I strongly suggest you visit Wikipedia and read this article about a great Japanese man named Go Nagai [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_Nagai]. He was born in 1965, and he's still alive today. And he was the artist/author that created one of the first successful super giant robot comic books [a black and white manga series] featuring humans that sit within cockpits of giant Mecha units. And his manga series was later converted into a hit anime series. He created Mazinger Z, known as Tranzor Z in the USA.

The latest giant Mecha anime series based on the works of Go Nagai is called Mazinkaizer SKL [it is an OVA cartoon series, and its the 11th interpretation of Mazinger Z series, which was created back in 1972]. And this OVA is slated to be released towards the end of 2010.


More Transformers / Giant Robots Artwork in this blog: http://dsngsfm.blogspot.com/2010/09/mecha-genre-preview.html

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

WHAT IS SCI FI? - PART 3 [THE GHOST IN THE SHELL!]

More Classic Cyberpunk...  Ghost In The Shell

The Ghost In The Shell is an anime Cyberpunk action series that was based on an animated film created back in 1995, directed by Mamoru Oshii and it was sourced from a Japanese manga comic created by Masamune Shirow.

Initially based in the year 2029, in the GITS universe, the world is connected by a global electronic network, resulting in information overloads that make multiple cyber crimes a stark reality. The global population is a fusion of androids and humans, who look strikingly alike. And Tokyo has a reliable network security police force called Public Security Section 9. They are a band of stealth operatives, led by an old astute man named Daisuke Aramaki, who is often referred to simply as "Chief". The top field agent of the Section 9 division is Major Motoko Kusanagi, and she is a sexy, purple-haired, cyborg police officer, with a deep sultry voice and immense strength/agility. She is commonly assisted by a group of about 7 other operatives, and the second-in-command is a tough veteran Army Ranger recruit named Batou [who is also a full-body cyborg like Major].

The hit animated series, Ghost In the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, takes place in Japan during the year 2030. And it follows Major and her crew as they haunt a clandestine cyber-hacker known as the Laughing Man. The sci fi series originally ran for 26 episodes, from 1st of October 2002 to 25th of March 2003.
And an intriguing second season called Ghost In The Shell: SAC 2nd GIG [link: Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG ] ran on the Animax channel from 1st of January 2004 to 8th of January 2005.

There are several OVAs based on this series, and the last anime movie so far for the franchise was titled Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society, and it was released in 2006.



 
 The first pic above shows Major and Batou, and the second shows Saito, the team sniper. And the last pic showcases the logo of the notorious Laughing Man, a sort of corporate cyberspace entity...

Fast-paced action, high tech gadgets, futuristic vehicles, advanced Internet interfaces, mobile MECHA units of various sizes and cybernetically enhanced interactive ports throughout the inhabited cities created a plethora of fascinating sci fi features within an extremely entertaining future version of Japan.


This anime was well planned by its creators, and it was one of those series that forced its audience to think... in fact, at one point in the second season, fans complained that the presented theories intertwined into the central plot got too complex.

Yet the Cyberpunk concepts of dubious hackers, sentient AIs, thinking machines, human-like cyborgs, duplicitous mega-corporations and high tech weapons created a truly modernized arena of thought, where the futuristic detectives/police officers of Section 9 were forced to use both their brains and their gadgets to not only out-think their foes, but also practically predict their next moves, in order to apprehend them while keeping collateral damage to a minimum.

Stock price manipulation, external brain overrides, illegal electronic infiltrations, kidnappings, terrorist raids, and realistic droid impersonations were amongst the issues that the stealth operatives of Section 9 had to tackle constantly. And per the dynamic nature of the series, the action scenes were always fascinating. The antagonists [and in some instances, their enemies as well] possessed nano-engineered rubber-like bodysuits that granted them invisibility, enabling them to dart about unnoticed by the human eye. And most of the high tech weapons utilized by the cyborg characters could be tuned into the nanotech-created interfaces within their brains, so that they could target precisely with their eyes, while seeing cross-hairs and dynamic live data within their minds.

[Batou, one of the main characters, with a heavy machinegun /Gatling gun]




Neural implants with diverse functional ratings and capacities are very common in this series. In fact, some characters were able to record/watch MPEG files through their eyes, by issuing direct thought-commands to their cybernetic implants. And this sort of human enhancing technology definitely meant that data could be created, stored, accessed and stolen at extremely rapid rates.




There were peculiar robo-vehicles in the series that operated as manned mobile armory and tactical units [although these units also had engrafted AIs that gave them unique personalities], and these MECH units were called the Tachikomas. Having bubbly personalities and youthful personal voices, they were almost like mechanical spiders with roller-blade wheels and large-caliber machine guns [I'm talking about anti-tank weapons here, perhaps even approximately the 0.50 BMG cartridge]. They possessed three-fingered grapplers of various kinds on their forward appendages, and they were also capable of "zooming" or "walking", according to what the terrain demanded.



If you take a close look at it, you'll note that the Tachikomas were the basis of many futuristic tanks, seen in video games and comic books. The rear boxy compartment is where the navigational cockpit is located on each Tachikoma, and the spherical frontal hub houses the power-core, optical radar sensors, and the fuel cells of the mobile unit. Most of the ammo cartridges are probably stored within the rear of the extended shafts that look like frontal limbs.

And the word is, a live-action movie from this series is in the works. Hopefully the franchise licensees in Hollywood will hire a writer, director and cast members that will do it justice...




 


Blog home page: http://www.dsngsfm.blogspot.com

Part 1 of this Sci Fi article: http://dsngsfm.blogspot.com/2010/09/what-is-sci-fi-part-1.html

Sunday, September 19, 2010

VISUAL PUNCTUATIONS

Defining a Futuristic World...

Intergalactic trade and starship travel between terraformed planets and space colonies have always been popular themes utilized when defining sci fi environments. And the presence of alien species [presented as either allies or enemies, and having familiar or unfamiliar phenotypes] are also quite common in sci fi movies and literature. Yet these issues, despite their standardized relevance, are merely the crest of the iceberg.

[You may need to Click on the "Read More" link to view the rest of this blog article!]

Thursday, September 16, 2010

THE MECHA GENRE PREVIEW [TRANSFORMERS, GUNDAMS AND GIANT ROBOTS]

Those who grew up in the 1980s know what it's like to be fascinated by giant robots, inspired by toys and cartoons with origins in Japan. The truth is, the lines of reality and science fiction are completely blurred, when one considers a cybernetic organism that can completely think for itself and interact in a fully cognizant manner with human beings, while being able to change its form at will, in order to blend into the modern society.

But as geeks at heart, we all love to believe the phenomenal... and our belief is the sole portal through which concepts like Transformers, Voltron and Gundams are given enduring life. Not only do we accept them as cool and intriguing, but we also rapidly generate emotional attachments to the toy merchandise, believing that they are extremely valuable; and in our minds, our toy idols are linked to the far grander creations that we only get to observe on TV, perhaps on Saturday mornings or on weekdays after school. Collecting the MECHA figures can actually be a very fulfilling lifetime hobby... as long as you don't mind spending the money on the merchandise and the shelves to host them...

These four images below are sample portfolio pics I recently did, showcasing a peculiar genre of sci fi, which I'm tagging as MECHA [short for Mechanical]. The two popular Transformers shown are Optimus Prime and Bumblebee.



   


There are a plethora of feature films, books and comics that depict giant robots, which serve as defensive/offensive vehicles within structured national military forces or shabby militant factions. And most of the time, these tales are set in the future. Often these giant robots [which range in size from about 10 feet to over 100 feet in height] are piloted by specially trained humans, while in other instances they possess independent sentient minds of their own, and are capable of cogitative reasoning. There are a lot of cartoons that have depicted this sci fi genre; ranging from Voltron, Robotech, The Gobots to Robotics back in the 1980s, GAO GAI GAR, Gurren Lagann, Godannar and Gravion in the 1990s, to MEGAS XLR, IGPX and  Eureka Seven in the 2000s.



Above from left to right: Meg [the adventurer, sweetheart], Jo [the muscle, gunslinger], Mai [the leader, clan mother] and Amy [Tech support, computer whiz]. They are the four main characters from the Crazy Burst Angel anime, also called "Bakuretsu Tenshi", which was released back in 2004. Their giant robot is called Jango. The dynamic team of girls are mercenaries-for-hire working in a rather dystopian sci fi society, even though it isn't really dark or completely cyberpunk themed. Their futuristic world features mega corporations that dominate the society, while utilizing deceit, brute force and corruption to rule their corner of the world. Their anime had a two-season run with 24 episodes. And here is the intro to their Anime OVA series, [which was never produced]:




GAO GAI GAR ANIME OPENING:



Dangaioh [shown below] is a giant robot / MECHA series that has been reinterpreted over the years. The original anime series was produced by Anime International Company studios and released in Japan back in 1987. Dangaioh featured character designs by creator Toshiki Hirano and mechanical designs by Shoji Kawamori. There have been some extra OVAs and Spinoffs of the series, which only ran for 3 action-packed episodes. And one of the subsequent interpretations of the concept was called Great Dangaioh, which was released in 2001 and ran for 13 episodes. The original 3-part series had a very catch song that turned into a karaoke phenomenon in Japan, tied to the shouted phrase "Cross Fight!". 


DANGAIOH / CROSS FIGHT ANIME THEME SONG & ACTION:



Core plot of the original Dangaioh series: Brought together by the mysterious Dr. Tarsan, four powerful psychic warriors -- Mia Alice, Lamba Nom, Pai Thunder, and Rol Kran -- can unite four powerful fighter jets to form the robot called Dangaioh; the most powerful weapon in the universe. Using their combined psionic forces, the Dangaioh team embark upon a mission to stop the bloody tyranny of the alien pirate Captain Garimoth and his trusted henchman, Gil-Berg. 
 

GREAT DANGAIOH:



Giant Robots can take various forms, ranging from humanoid to animal-like interpretations. There was a series of toys known as Zoids produced by Takara Tomy Co., first released in the early 80s. And these giant quadruped robotic creatures later became a franchise, eventually resulting in several anime series that aired around the world via satellite/cable cartoon channels. In the anime series, Zoids are considered as "mechanical lifeforms used by humans as workers or weapons". And some of them are capable of fusing together to form stronger robot MECHA units.



Yet the most popular of all these robot based feature productions is the Transformers Franchise [contrived in 1984 by Hasbro Inc. and Takara Tomy Co.], which was rocketed back into the mainstream spotlight due to the two blockbuster movies directed by Micheal Bay [released in 2007 and 2009 respectively].

The Evangelion anime series was a commercially and critically successful Japanese anime series that began airing in October 1995. The series was highly influential, and launched the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. The anime was created by Gainax, written and directed by Hideaki Anno, and co-produced by TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems (NAS). Evangelion is an apocalyptic mecha action series, which revolves around the efforts by the paramilitary organization called NERV to fight monstrous evil beings called "Angels", primarily using giant mecha called "Evangelions" that are piloted by select teenagers, one of whom is the primary protagonist. The anime ran for 26 episodes and there are several toys and manga spin-offs from the original series.





Some other popular animes that showcase MECHA manufactured on a large scale are Godannar, Evangelion, Mazinkaiser, Code Geass and Gundam. Each of these futuristic Japanese cartoons feature giant robots controlled by human pilots [these pilots commonly dock within cockpits located in the head, chest or back region of their robot unit], and they regularly showcase phenomenal battle sequences that take place both on earth and in deep space environments.


  


[Kinera Foxx from the DSNG Series, wearing two versions of her sexy MECHA concept armor]


Gundams; the High Tech Signature of Japan.

Gundam is a near endless metaseries created by a Japanese company called Sunrise Studios. The metaseries started back in April 7, 1979 as a serial animated TV show called Mobile Suit Gundam. And its has snowballed at extremely high velocity from then. It became a media franchise with time, spawning a giant web of products that encompass video games, movies, toys, comics [manga] and other items. There are multiple timelines and a diverse array of robots in the Gundam metaseries. And the products from this sci fi masterpiece are sold all around the world.

         

The two posters above are from the Gundam franchise, showing Gundam Wing and Gundam Seed robots respectively [those are two distinct cartoon series with diverse characters and unique combat robots, although all heroic Gundams have striking resemblances to one another, per their basic alloyed exoskeletal form and heads]. Some Gundams actually transform as well, becoming giant cannons or sleek spacecrafts.



[Above: Cool Gundam Mecha Sci Fi Wallpaper]


Clip from Gundam00, the latest anime production:




When analyzed from a realistic perspective, the level of nanotechnology required to produce such efficient elaborate fighting machines on a grand scale is quite astonishing, per the level of maneuverability that the crafts have to maintain both on land and in the air.

The viable power sources for these gigantic war machines is definitely a topic of speculation, and the amount of heat and friction generated by the multiple gear subsystems and varying turbines, actuators and relay systems that are needed for constant dynamic functionality would truly equate to a short life span for such contraptions. But alas, sci fi at its best is all about pushing the envelope and causing us to believe the impossible, for the sake of exhilarating entertainment.

As of January 21, 2008, the Gundam franchise is a 50 billion-Yen trademark. And it is truly a symbol of how addictive MECHA/robotic sci fi concepts can be, when channeled masterfully.
On July 11th 2009, a true-scale giant Gundam statue built by production partners of Sunrise Studios was erected in Shiokaze Park on Odaiba Island in Tokyo Japan, and it attracted over 4 million visitors. Check out the pic below to get a feel of just how large the giant robots are supposed to be; and on the right is a MECHA concept design that I did for the DSNG Sci Fi Series:

 
And check out Concept art from the new Transformers: Fall of Cybertron video game: HERE!

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