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About time for my annual journal update..! orz

Journal Entry: Fri Mar 14, 2014, 7:54 AM
Hope everyone's been keeping well!

I realise over the years I've gotten increasingly shite at managing my DA 'routine'. Quite frankly I find myself balacing my time with my client work, teaching endeavour(which is turning out to be a really fulfilling new chapter in life) and working on side projects that I actually find it increasingly difficult to sit down and respond to comments here like I used to. Its always been a thing of mine to respond as much as possible and I still aspire to do so when I can, but I guess I'm in a pretty frantic pace of life at the moment. And I hope that my lack of replies do not come off as apathy or worse. I enjoy reading all the comments and critique and am thankful for your time in letting me know how you feel about the work in general. Especially for my work on hardcore IP like 40K... the level of 'fangasm' as I call it never ceases to blow my mind time and again. You guys always light that fire under my ass and I hope in my own way I never let you down.

As such, I hope that its a bit more obvious that when it comes to posting work I've done, I've always put more emphasis into the description section-- elaborating on my thoughts and process to share as much of my personal experience in art as possible for those of you who are more keen to know. To my mind, its the best I can do to make up for not being able to respond personally to your often colourful commentary. :p

I'm very thankful for all the support over the past decade here on DA(wow has it been that long... u_u), so much wouldn't have happened without it, and I can't wait to share the stuff I've been working on the side in greater detail, soon enough. :)

Have a great weekend!

:iconartgerm: :iconkunkka: :iconmarcwashere: :iconwraithdt: :icondcwj: :iconyinyuming: :iconkaiz0: :iconluches: :iconchrisnfy85:
  • Listening to: 80s anime OSTs
  • Playing: risk of rain
  • Eating: LEGO
  • Drinking: Cortex Command

Soul Drinkers and Imperial Guards!

Journal Entry: Fri Jan 4, 2013, 8:58 AM
So today I received a treat in my facebook inbox from old colleague and now-kickass GW artist, Kevin "Kingmong" Chin:…

Right now, I'm still awaiting a response from the Black Librarians to see if I am allowed to post some higher-res versions of my 3 Soul Drinkers covers here on DA. Till then, this is all they have up on their blog and all I have to show for, for now! For you Soul Drinkers fans out there, I was told not to reference any notable characters of the SD lore and come up with my own designs.

The general brief for the 3 covers was to have a tactical space marine, a captain, and lastly a dreadnought (being awoken). I thought it would be a neat idea to compose all the covers from a similar worms eye angle, not just for theatrics but rather to literally show the life cycle of a Space Marine as he fights and rises through the ranks, leading his brethren and eventually being entombed within a dreadnought to continue his tireless fight. A mini easter egg I had going just for shits and giggles was instead of the main character on each cover becoming the character in the subsequent cover, it was the background marine that made the evolution, implying that maybe the 'cover' characters never survived the cut. Whatevs. :| I hope you enjoy them regardless!

Also! Hammer of the Emperor cover for Fantasy Flight Games' Only War series of books! Am currently working on a new cover for them, with some green in it :) I am really feeling the 40k love this season!

:iconartgerm: :iconkunkka: :iconmarcwashere: :iconwraithdt: :icondcwj: :iconyinyuming: :iconkaiz0: :iconluches: :iconchrisnfy85:
  • Listening to: Armored Core V OST
  • Playing: Planetside 2, XCOM, Minecraft
  • Eating: LEGO
  • Drinking: Cortex Command

Planetside 2 updates

Journal Entry: Wed Nov 14, 2012, 8:05 AM
I went with Connery(US WEST) in the end, suffering the nerfy underdog fate as a TR Loyalist.

Is it just me or does the NC not only have the most proper looking guns in the game as far as ballistic weapons go, best looking tank *cough* and nicest looking personal armour (at least once the camoflauge goes on)? The sound fx and music, imo, are cringeworthy but is a small price to pay for looking like badasses. There. I said it. Took me 9 years to even remotely praise the space redneck scum art direction. I sense some serious Higby bias...

Also, :iconaikurisu: , in "repayment" to me after I finally showed him how gratifying Liberator artillery runs can really be, suggested I give the Vanu a shot on Briggs(AU). What can I say. 16/0 with the Saron turret and Scythe in the first hour alone. Countless more for him as the Magrider pilot. And when we had to bail, which was once, I think I took out 3 NC with mah pewpewQQ lazarrifle that kills faster than my TR MCG before getting put down by a bolt driver. I think we're competent, but we're not even aimbot twitchy like the COD kids of this generation. It pretty disgusting how easy it is to dish out the hurt as Vanu. Feels like im playing some super TTK game like COD4. The kind of BS macross airbraking you can do with a scythe is also downright filthy.

All I know is I left Briggs with a really bittersweet taste in my mouth and its hard to fight the temptation to want to stay with what I see as a really butt ugly, Imperial Guard like faction that doesn't seem to do anything particularly well. Well.. save for the mossie and my repeater which is an abomination of game balance :) But that's hardly enough recompense, is it! :(

What are your thoughts, fellow TR players(who have actually played the other 2 factions)? I hate to turn my back on the TR and I'm hoping the devs find a way to make it feel less of a "master of none" faction.


So they changed the server structure... almost completely..

For some strange reason I'm experiencing more lag on AU than EU servers, as opposed to Beta. I can think of a million factors for this but was wondering if any fellow PS2ers know of a ping calculator for the servers?


Anyone playing on the Eurydom server? I play TR, mossie pilot mostly :)

I go by the handle DiveSignal there.

(I am 10% partial to playing an NC alt, only because my Reaver is there and the CAS30 looks sweet. But otherwise I'm pretty much decided on sticking with TR forever. Dakka dakka, and all that! Vanu could have been my #1 choice if not for the fact the design direction changed completely from Planetside 1's Vanu.. which I had really adored.)

Side rant: So I noticed the flak armour upgrade for the mossie.. you know that could have been the ideal excuse to make it just like the fully armoured cockpit in the concept art...and also as an excuse to remove the obstructive cockpit layout with the reasoning that the pilot be able tor see via 'camera optics' just like EVERY OTHER ENCLOSED GROUND VEHICLE?... I don't get the logic there? Now with the flak upgrade my mossie looks like its a white member with a black foreskin. Seriously, damn it. Why should pilots suffer visibility penalties when Tankers get away with it? Oh well. You still have my money, Sony.

Lastly, whoever designed the algorithms/shaders in Forgelight's rendering engine is a damned genius. Truly breathtaking at times. I actually find it incredibly inspiring as an illustrator how the richly diffused atmospheric/environmental lighting play such an active role in harmonising the factions' distinct and uncomfortably bright colour schemes into this beautifully visually balanced world of almost surreal hues and gorgeous tones. It is visually -from a gameplay standpoint- very playable and practical and from a purely aesthetic standpoint, also manages to hit the right notes in value and chroma for me at the same time, a near perfect match of 'pseudo' realism and post processing to give it that extra level of eye candy. It really is a welcome breath of fresh air amidst the dystopian, bleach bypassed look adopted by most wargames of this generation.

:iconartgerm: :iconkunkka: :iconmarcwashere: :iconwraithdt: :icondcwj: :iconyinyuming: :iconkaiz0: :iconluches: :iconchrisnfy85:
  • Listening to: Armored Core V OST
  • Playing: Planetside 2, XCOM, Minecraft
  • Eating: LEGO
  • Drinking: Cortex Command

Anyone here attending NYCC 2012? :D (OCT 11-14)

Journal Entry: Fri Sep 7, 2012, 4:01 AM

:iconartgerm::iconkunkka::iconukitakumuki: will be attending!

We will be over at the Artist Alley, tables U10-U11 and we will be selling some high quality art prints in limited quantity. (And unlike SDCC2011 we will have nice big visible banners so you shouldn't miss us  :) )  

If you are planning on dropping by to pick up a print or two, please go through our galleries and let us know what you are interested to see as prints (add your request as journal comment below). We will do our best to make it happen!

:iconartgerm: :iconkunkka: :iconmarcwashere: :iconwraithdt: :icondcwj: :iconyinyuming: :iconkaiz0: :iconluches: :iconchrisnfy85:
  • Listening to: Armored Core V OST
  • Reading: Rogue Warrior
  • Playing: Minecraft
  • Eating: LEGO
  • Drinking: Cortex Command


Journal Entry: Fri May 11, 2012, 8:04 AM

I've been waiting for this for forever!!!
Its a full 3D CGI film that promises a more true-to-Heinlein source material story and set pieces. Basically, lots of epic Power Armour, and lots of Bugs.
Nuff said.

Director Shinji Aramaki mentions how the original 1988 Japanese Starship Troopers OVA captured his imagination and made him an instant fan as a child, and now that he has a chance to pay some homage to his inspiration I really like how he references bits of the… 1988 armour design in the new powersuit. I'm also really excited to see what the Marauder exo armour would turn out to look like.... :excited:

Suffice to say, when I was in my teens and I saw this power armour design on the net, it blew my mind and left such a lasting impression that few post 80's mecha designs have come close to taking my breath away like the 1988 Powered Armour did.

Also just as a personal note: For the longest time I've found it interesting (and maybe its just me) how much HALO's master chief's bust/helmet design detail and colour plan remind me of the 1988 PA design and styling. :) Perhaps when looking for inspiration, Bungie stumbled upon Kazutaka Miyatake's work? If that was indeed the case, I wholeheartedly agree with their taste and direction :p And if not... then John 117 is still cool either way..!


CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: Electronica
  • Reading: Walden
  • Playing: LEGO
  • Eating: Minecraft
  • Drinking: Cortex Command


Journal Entry: Sun Jan 1, 2012, 11:45 PM
To think its already been a year! It felt like only yesterday that I posted my Martian Sidewinder Tribute to mark the coming of 2011!!! You know, for a fruitful year filled with so much, it definitely felt shorter than some of the dullest years of my life. Its truly ironic. Time shouldn't fly when you're happy..!


Here's wishing the lot of you a beautiful 2012, one that I hope would be filled with much happiness, love, and personal growth as can possibly be packed into the coming 12 months. Life is already short-- and it just gets shorter with each passing year. :') With that, my resolution this year is to foster a more adventurous spirit, and to teach myself never to regret anything because it is our sum experience that makes us who we are, and it should never be traded for anything in the world.

What are your new year resolutions?


CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: Electronica
  • Reading: Walden
  • Playing: LEGO
  • Eating: Minecraft
  • Drinking: Cortex Command

See you at SDCC 2011!

Journal Entry: Wed Jul 13, 2011, 4:16 AM
SDCC 2011

The lowdown:
* :iconartgerm::iconkunkka::iconsunnygho::iconukitakumuki: will be attending SDCC 2011!
* There we will be launching a special collaborative issue of Heavy Metal Magazine, which features 100% never-before-seen IFS sequential and pinup work.
* You can also find at least one of us at booth BB-01 along Artists' Alley, where we'll be selling and autographing fine-quality art prints so we can pay for our air tickets home

Hope to see you there my friends!

"From the groundbreaking art team Imaginary Friends Studio comes a collection of Monster hunting, zombie war journalism, gritty superhero action and
twisted existentialist fantasy stories with concepts inspired by the theme of Heavy Metal. "
Heavy Metal X IFS 2011

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: Electronica
  • Reading: Walden
  • Playing: LEGO
  • Eating: Minecraft
  • Drinking: Cortex Command

An Interview with Fantasy Art Magazine China!

Journal Entry: Sun Apr 10, 2011, 11:03 AM
I just received a lovely email from the Editor of Fantasy Art Magazine, Lizzy Carft, informing me that the latest issue containing my interview article has been published in China!!

For the benefit of those who don't read Mandarin Chinese I've decided to post the English version of the unabridged interview Q&A here. I hope you enjoy it-- because this has to be, by far, the most thorough and intimate interview about my art and career I've had the privilege of doing. Its truly been a tremendous honour to have been approached by one of the finest art publications in the world. Thanks again to the team at FAMC!

Here are 4 of the 12 pages from the article:


1.Please first introduce yourself

My name is Kai Lim, and I am a co-owner and senior art director at Imaginary Friends Studios I consider myself a conceptual artist and illustrator.

2.How did you find your way to becoming an artist?

I suppose it all started with the fact I came from a broken home growing up. In my younger years, my only solace was found in handicraft (playing with cheap oily plasticine, or even papercraft where I would build models out of paper and challenging myself to make them with as little 'wasted paper' as possible) and doodling every now and then on notepad scrap paper. I guess I didn't like drawing much because I never had access to 'plain paper' that every kid likes to draw on. I never had many toys. But even when I got them I preferred designing my own, so to speak. This is why LEGO is still my favourite toy to date, and in many ways it unconsciously influenced my passion in games and my growth as a concept artist. It was the perfect tool to fuel the imagination and indulge in your own ideas, having them instantly tangible and malleable at the same time. Most importantly, LEGO taught me that the better I designed my own toy, the more enjoyment I'd get out of the end product. It's a genius product with a great philosophy, and I'm thankful for it.

Growing up through the years, the influence of animation and computer games in my life made me take up Scale Modelling and eventually 3D modeling as a hobby. I joined mod teams that worked on game engines such as Half Life Source to make our own mods. In many ways I think that was an extension of my childhood love for craft and making tangible things by hand and being able see your creations come to life. Somewhere through the process of creating these models, I was introduced to the art of texturing (back then there was no advanced lighting algorithms or shaders in games that make them look as realistic or beautiful as they do today—so in many ways a well painted 2D skin was required to make the 3D model look 'even more 3D'. That fact in itself made me stop in my tracks, and totally changed the way I looked at working in 3D then. The amount of effort required to make a single creation 'presentable' did not appeal to me. Given my more impatient attitude at the time, I decided to pursue Digital 2D more because it seemed like the better medium for me to express my ideas given my terribly short attention span.

Of course, that's all changed now with the kind of amazing 3D tools we have at our disposal!

3.How did you get your first art job? What is the story of that?

I think my very first art job was a series of card illustrations that I never got paid for. I think the clients found me through my portfolio on DeviantArt.

Professionally though, IFS was my first real job. DeviantArt, again, served as the catalyst from which my would-be partners first found my work. Having kept in touch over the years we eventually decided to form a studio in 2005 with the mantra, 'By artists, for artists'.

4.How did you find your artistic style?

I would say one of my first major inspirations was the digital speed-painting movement itself. Craig Mullins and pioneers such as himself served as a beacon for budding artists such as myself. Over time, when the demands of professional work exposed flaws in my skillset, I began to see what the real idea behind speed painting was all along—a form of quick practice for adept artists to 'sketch' or test their skills. It was never a training tool and definitely not a place for beginners to get lost in. I consider myself lucky that I saw my 'foundation-related' problems earlier and worked to constantly fix my foundation skills, the skills that really matter for any artist to express their ideas responsibly, clearly and effectively. I would say my artistic style now, while generally leaning towards 'painterly', has tightened up a lot over the years and I am often myself experimenting with using more line art in my work and approaching it from a more traditional 'comic book' method, making the process more streamlined and focused at every stage, and it has been yielding results that I feel happy with. In general, I am never settled in a 'style' as a personal preference so long as it gets the job done, and the idea across. Maybe I just never cared to force a style on my work because it's often the 'concept' that I feel more attracted to, more so than the 'art'. So I like to think that art 'style' is just a means to communicating the concept.

5.Which artist has influenced you the most?

Too many to mention! I find myself more inspired by modern artists than historical ones, possibly because their work is more relevant to mine and the connection is easier to make. I am, though, always held in awe by the artistry and creativity of the 1980's, especially when it comes to animation and film production design.

6.How long does a new image generally take you to create?

It really depends on the complexity, style, and nature of the subject-- if it is a concept sketch, a quick mood painting, or a more thoroughly-researched and planned image like set pieces for film or games. It can be anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Of course, the more I learn the more I know how much I don't know, and that often makes each subsequent image slower in a sense, because I am consciously looking out to fix bad habits and make improvements at the same time!

7.What kind of training you did in the usual to keep your skill grow up?

Unfortunately I am not one of those artists who keep a sketchbook and work in it daily. There was a period when I was serving my mandatory military service that I had a sketchbook filled with pen drawings and ideas, but once I went back into the working world I just never had the time nor the energy to do 'additional practice'. All my professional work is treated like personal work and practice to be honest, and in that respect based on the stuff I've done over the years be it comic sequential art, 3D design, painting, all of that served as my training. On-the-job training, you could say :)

8.When starting a new work, what is the first thing you think about? Can you describe your work flow and process?

Again, this is contextual. Concept work and personal work can be hugely different processes. I'll take concept work as the basis for my answer since I prefer that and in many ways it overlaps my personal work:

The first thing I think about is trying to wrap my head around the 'big idea'. From that point, try to come up with a visual and conceptual angle to present that idea to an audience. That forms the basis of how I select what elements, objects, themes, setting to use to help bring the idea across. Recently, I have been experimenting and redesigning my approach to a more traditional sketch>line>colours>render approach as opposed to painting straight onto the canvas, as a method of forcing my often 'creatively out-of-control' mind focus on what I already planned and not keep changing things as fresh ideas present themselves, as tempting as it seems. As mentioned in a previous answer, this approach hasn't failed me yet, and that type of approach makes perfect sense on a technical and practical level. My philosophy towards art and design, my "bottom line", is I do all I can to avoid 'happy accidents' because they don't make me feel good nor responsible as an artist or a designer. I want to know what I am doing and be in full control of what I can accomplish for my clients.

9.Do you listen to music while working? What kind of music is your favorite? How does the music affect your artwork?

Yes, but not often. This is because I tend to hyper-focus on what I am doing and drown out everything else –even the music. So music doesn't always work for me. Many times when I reach for my cup of water I realize the playlist ended 45 minutes ago. It's just the way my brain works. Music can help elevate a mood or quiet the mind but it has to be instrumental type for me, never lyrical. I find music a distraction most of the time, and because for the type of concept design work I often do, I am often mentally checking and re-checking what I am doing and hate going on 'auto pilot' or instinct, or worse, influenced by the flow of the music. I studied music and play the violin, so I know how much music can help transport the mind to places. It is especially helpful with 'instinctual/free flow' illustration, it helps the mind wander and therefore affects creative decision making where your unconscious mind can come up with surprising results. It can therefore be a real interesting tool to have as long as you know what to expect. That said I believe it can also rob you of the opportunity to be more consciously aware of what you are doing, thereby preventing you from achieving more mindful results. I would especially not use it with pure-design work where my mind has to be totally in tune with what I'm conceptualising. Its no secret Music is undeniably powerful, just that I don't believe it helps me all the time.

10.How do you usually find inspiration?

From the client's Brief, most of the time. ;) As for personal work, as can be seen from my pretty eclectic gallery of work, it can be pretty much anything that strikes me as interesting in any given moment. My personal taste tends to lean towards dark and gritty. Apocalyptic and Cyberpunk themes appeal to me the most.

11.What is your most difficult challenge when making art? How do you overcome it?

I have trouble staying focused on a single idea, and my mind is permanently a circus. Over the years I just used it to my advantage to work at a faster pace, or generate ideas faster. Digital speed painting obviously helped tremendously with that. Now that I dislike that approach because it feels so unreliable and inconsistent I've been struggling to design a workflow that forces me to focus my ideas and come up with a distilled and predicted end product. I find that satisfying.

12.How many companies have you worked for? What the peculiarity of each company your feel? Please simple introduce.

Around 30 notable companies and individuals over the past 4 years. Sony Online Entertainment and Zombie Studios are two companies whose projects made me grow the most as an artist. The majority of their projects were concept-design related, which made it especially thrilling for me. The individuals I had the honour of working with there were highly professional, adaptable and incredibly talented, and that in turn inspired me to give my very best for their projects.


1. Please talk about Imaginary Friends Studios, you was the co-found of this studios. Why you will found this studios? What the story?

DeviantArt served as the catalyst from which my would-be partners first found my work. Having kept in touch over the years we eventually decided to form a studio in 2005 with the mantra, 'By artists, for artists'. The idea back then was that a collective of artists would stand a better chance of finding work given our diverse skillsets; more importantly we could leverage on that and provide both a wide range of service and styles, and ultimately create opportunities for ourselves that would have otherwise been more difficult had we been just individual freelancers.

2. I head you had joined the army and worked with the Air Defenceweapon systems. Is that really? Could you tell us is that give some effects to your art?

While it was a bleak 2 long years for most (given the fact we were conscripts…not volunteers), I chose to approach it with as positive an attitude as I could. It also helped that the military in general was part of my interests, and in many ways it was a real life changing experience given how we could do things undreamed of in the civilian world. My time in the military gave me insight into the culture, organization and its philosophy, and allowed me to experience, first hand, the kind of hardships, training and lifestyle that the people in this profession go through. This completely changed my perspective on an often misunderstood and glamorised profession. I would say my experiences made me more aware of what the military is, and I use my personal experiences and knowledge to inform my military-themed art and design. I think that is why some of the professional soldiers who view my art appreciate it, because not only does it carry some sense of military realism, but subconsciously they feel they can identify with the art of someone who has been in their shoes, or should I say boots :)

3. What you did before you found the IFS?

Since I was 15 I was actively involved with game Mod development, doing 3D modeling and 2D concept art. Two projects I am particularly proud of were Hull Breach and Nuclear Dawn (which recently got picked up by a professional developer and publisher!). When I turned 17, I decided to pursue my interest in the gaming industry, but since there were no schools that taught that subject, I enrolled at Temasek Polytechnic School of Design in Singapore for 3 years, where I studied Interactive Media Design. It was a broad-based course, meaning it taught students Film/Broadcast design, Web/Interactive design, and Animation. I went down this path thinking that taking this course might still be beneficial, seeing how Film, Animation and Interactive fields all overlap and the knowledge gained would help in deepening and broadening my knowledge for a potential future career in the game industry. I am glad I went that route, because I experienced things I otherwise wouldn't have, if I had gone in a more focused direction.

4. I saw you had work for comic, concept art of games, character design, some illustration. I want to know which one is your favorite? Or you don't care the manner?

My favourite would be concept art in general, but no matter what 'manner' I work in, I strive to place more emphasis in the design aspect of the work. I personally find that design is the most important aspect of any art piece. Good rendering or presentation can't save poor design choices, but a good design can stand bare and still be appreciated.

As a sidenote, I've always personally felt the term 'concept art' in itself can be confusing, because any art can be 'conceptual' so long as the concept is presented in a clear manner. Adapting a great comic book needs no 'dedicated concept art' if the pages already present the ideas clearly, whereby the comic art itself serves as its own 'concept art' that is then adapted into other mediums. If anything, I feel fortunate when I can combine these different approaches to communicate my ideas. (i.e Storyboarding is also a form of concept art, yet it has its roots in sequential/comic art, right?) Each of the above 'methods' places different emphasis on expressing an idea: from narrative skill, to aesthethic design, to plain rendering and presentation. If all these methods were to be combined in a way that complements each other, you can end up with a greater result and an even more poignant expression of an idea. This is evident with a lot of successful productions (both film and games), in that they effectively make use of all these various disciplines to produce a work that is greater than the sum of its parts.

5. Why you most subjects is about the war or some peoples/machines in the war?

Perhaps I'm just a dark and twisted person inside? Haha :p Seriously though, I suspect my interest in that area first came about because my father was a passionate military officer, and because of the kind of media I was exposed to at a young age. Violence and conflict themes seemed to resonate with me, probably because I came from a troubled environment growing up. Those facts, combined with my appreciation for mechanical engineering, most likely helped solidify my interest even more because war themes as a whole carry all the physical and emotional elements I liked or could relate to.

6. If you draw just because you want to represent your imagining, so I have interesting to know what is your really care when you made the art. The moon? The character? The Design? Or the story that exhibited by your works? Why?

For personal work, the design aspect is most important. Though it always depends on what I am trying to express, really. Some images call for emphasis on mood, others an emphasis on character relationships. Each of the different aspects are equally important, so I really try to make them all come together in a nice balance to express an idea in the strongest way possible. On top of that, I strive to include a cinematic quality in my works, which is influenced by my admiration towards photojournalism. I like how it is equal parts raw information, equal parts sensationalism. I feel by having the right balance of those features, you can both entertain and inform the audience in a more 'complete' way and go a step further to suggest a bigger universe that exists behind the image. My favourite kind of art does a good job of making the viewer interested in the world behind the image- and I try to adopt this mindset in my works as well.

7. How do you think your work? I mean you are artist at this moment, you did many great works in your job, but most of them was created for client. And them maybe never become a painting that hanged on the wall in somebody house. It's just a great work, never great ART. Will you regret that you will never made some "really art"? Or just don't care? It's fine to do what we want to do?

For me, my mentality is that good art is good art, it doesn't matter what form it takes. If art is a form of expression, then my ideal form would be to have my designs come to life in the context of a game. In that sense, I get a lot more satisfaction when people are not only seeing my art, but derive pleasure from interacting with it!

8. You also a senior art director in IFS, could you talk about this job, what you do in the usually?

Depending on what the studio needs at the moment, I perform the roles of project manager, art director and artist. Most of the time, I help oversee the creative process to ensure a consistent level of quality aside from doing my own work for clients.

9. I sew the introduction on your page at the IFS, If you have a chance that building a biggest robot army to "across distant stars against seemingly impossible odds", what the "odds" you think it is? Will you command the batter at the same time drank the milk tea ?:)

Haha! Given the odds of that happening? You will definitely find me there, milk tea all packed and ready to go!

10. For a detail question, how do you design the detail of the mechanism? I mean, how do you design the structure of this mechanism? How do you make sure it looks just like this?

I have recently adopted the use of 3D in my 'mechanical' design work again, and that lets me engage in more complex designs than I would not dare attempt if I only had 2D to work with. Not being a good line artist by nature, and preferring painting volumetrically, I have always found it tiresome and impractical to paint and design at the same time, so when I have 3D at my disposal I can focus on purely designing and 'perfecting' the design without the worry that my drawing isn't clear or inconsistent with the idea in my head. Otherwise, I just stick to doing simple sketches for the design stage and painting really carefully for the finished image. : )

11. Please talk about your new toy design? What background of them? Why you made them?

I have to clear the air on this one. I don't consider these my 'toy designs' in any formal sense, they are not for sale, and they are simply a side project done for fun. I claim no creative credit other than the fact I was more of a 'fashion stylist' playing with pre-existing elements, than an actual designer designing from the ground-up.  

As for the designs themselves, I worked within a 'cyberpunk' theme, combining separate elements from existing toys that I got bored with, into entirely new character designs. It is part practice, part relaxation, but mostly a kind of self-parody of the 'kitbash' design sense that many adopt these days (Myself included if the need arises!). This is due to the nature of hectic production schedules and the emphasis on 'greater detail' designed to exploit the render capabilites of modern game engines. As a result, I feel that many designs today are often a incomprehensible and irresponsible mish-mash of old ideas or thoughtless detailing. As someone once put it, a kind of "bad recycling of yesterday's genius". While this method creates an illusion of effort, it is really a lot easier to accomplish overall, instead of having to consider every element within a design, to the point where everything adds to the whole, maintains harmony and has a purpose. I think this is why there aren't many iconic designs these days, and most great design still reside in animation, where designers are forced to deeply question and make the most out of simplified designs, due to the detail limitations often found in animation. Of course, this is just my personal opinion and while I admit to adopting that 'kitbash' approach on some projects where the art directors like it, I personally dislike it because I feel they are just making their product even more forgettable by making everything look incoherent and lacking a clear visual identity.

12. How do you think your Start War works? What you feeling when you work on this subject?

To be honest I am not a big fan of the Star Wars mythos, but I'm a big fan of the designs within the franchise. Namely the Imperial Stormtroopers. : ) I have always felt that they were incredibly cool designs that were not presented in a way that suited their intended purpose, and I had always fantasized about portraying them in a more grounded, realistic setting where you could see them as well trained soldiers and not amateurs like how they come across in the movies. So when IFS was approached to work on Star Wars by Sony Online Entertainment for their Star Wars Galaxies online trading card game, I was really excited in adding a more gritty twist to my favourite characters in the franchise. I was especially grateful, when I eventually got to work on the Stormtrooper design used in The Old Republic's "Hope" Trailer!…

13. Do you have some advices to younger artist who want become a successfully artist, just like you?

I don't mean to sound coy, but I would say 'success' is subjective. Self satisfaction is infinitely more important. I've been very fortunate these past years and I am immensely grateful for the opportunities that came my way, but like many artists, find myself straying at times with my artistic path. I guess only by doing and experiencing more will we find more meaning and focus in what we do, which in turn adds to our drive. That said, I never once consciously chased success, only my own sense of excellence in the things I do. I realize it's an old saying, but when I think back about my journey thus far, it appears to be the case for me.
So, if that is how you would measure success, then my advice would be to simply pursue individual excellence in what you love, and 'success' should find you. It works for most people, from what I've seen.  

14. What you plan for the future?
These past 4 years have been an incredibly hectic ride for IFS and myself, given how I take my work very personally. And while I am excited about IFS's numerous opportunities looming on the horizon, I simply look forward to taking a short break to recharge my batteries and get more balance in my life. 

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: Daft Punk
  • Reading: Walden
  • Playing: Minecraft
  • Eating: Raw Porkchops

Prints Shop updated!

Journal Entry: Tue Sep 14, 2010, 3:13 AM
Hi all! It's definitely been awhile.

Unfortunately I've been so busy with work, leaving little time for the personal stuff. I know, it's no excuse...

Anyways, I've updated my prints gallery with some favourite pieces of mine, hope you guys check em out and maybe buy a few!

Cheers :)

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177


Journal Entry: Sun Jan 3, 2010, 9:39 AM
Hah! Got you there didn't I :p

So anyways- random thought of the day, after browsing through Ian Edginton/Alex Maleev's Aliens Versus Predator: Eternal graphic novel for the 400th time...(can you tell it's only my most favourite AVP story? Along with the Original (Randy Stradley, Phil Norwood, Chris Warner) which was genius but not as mind blowing in concept as Eternal; [to be fair it was establishing the universe so its not really a comparison.])...

Wouldn't it be anal-bleedingly awesome if:

They had the AVP3 Film start with a jungle scene
with a corporate mercenary in Crysis-styled/Pred-tech stealth suit
with Weyland Yutani nametag
standing atop a treeline, looking at pred ships crashland in the distance
then he glances over his shoulder at the camera to the rest of his team and goes, "Lock and load gentlemen... its game time."

-in a homage line taken straight out of Ian Edginton's Predator: Eternal.

After all, that's what AVP:Requiem suggests with its ending right? When Weyland-Yutani acquires Pred Tech. Just a happy happy thought. Gnite. :sleep:

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Watching: cockroach on my toilet floor drown in liquid soap


Journal Entry: Mon Dec 21, 2009, 10:05 AM
[EDIT: ADDED section: Comments and/or Reviews by other Deviants!]

Just got back from a late night 3d screening. Honestly, I'm as disappointed by it as I was with the trailer. Maybe even a bit more so, now that I've had time to simmer and think through the reasons on the ride home. Before you go on, I'd like to remind everyone that this isn't a 'objective' review of the film so much as a rant about what I liked or didn't like. So that said, on to the fun stuff. I actually feel annoyed I have to spell it out to so many.

General impression: 6.6/10 [EDIT: I've found the ultimate three liner to express how I feel about the film, here goes:
"I came wanting to root for the cheesy one dimensional blood-thirsty all-consuming machine of man, and to express my hate for blue furry aliens. But by the end of the film I found myself turning my back on mankind and all I wanted was to hump hot blue Na'Vi chicks. I have never felt more confused and upset with myself ever lol."

[EDIT: Learned from :iconlegato895: that James Cameron told his Na'Vi designers to "make them fuckable." I stand free of guilt now! Just kidding. About the guilt part not the James Cameron part.]

Technology and CGI: 12/10 (mindblowing)
RDA Visual design (Human): 5/10 (-4 cause of the AMPsuit)
RDA Environment design (Human): 9/10
Visual design (Na'Vi and creature effects): 9/10
World design (Pandora): 5/10 (only because it doesn't seem as fresh as I felt they could have made it. Read Zeruch's review linked at the bottom of the journal.)
Story and Plot : -/-

Sci Fi film of the year still goes to District 9 to me. I cried once.. or twice? Can't remember. And no it wasn't because of the prawn suit. Okay maybe... Just once. The other was when Prawn Senior said, "3 years... I promise". I still remember my parting line with the cinema, "fuck me, James Cameron better bring it, especially with 10 times the budget"

I hate to be the (seemingly) only person in this room whose got something negative to say about the movie, beyond the obvious lack of coherent story (still a major understatement imho). But I have to say I felt pretty empty after walking out of the cinema. Here's why (I'll start with the bad, and end with the good, just so you don't think I'm a hater.):

{EDIT: Because I'm not a hater of James Cameron!! I'm a huge fan of Cameron and I think this movie deserved a better effort in some ways! But mostly I blame it on the AMPsuit! This journal would have never happened if not for the goddamnned AMPsuit! :p)

---------[spoiler alert -stay away unless you want to taste Na'vi dog piss from here on!]-----------------

The BAD with respect to the:

Visual Theme for the RDA:

I get the whole 'big idea' behind the Vietnam-era aesthetic for the military stuff. I do. But I still think its such a huge visual cop out, when you had the time and the budget to make something new and exciting and dare I say alot more relatable to the current generation (what about Iraq and more modern day tech as a reference for the future? I don't believe that Vietnam is the only conflict in history that showcases 'arrogance' and 'stupidity' as visual themes for the design, I think its the actions that speak for themselves, not the look...and its clearly holding the production design back, imho. The fact that the approach itself is so -literal- makes me feel insulted that they didn't want to try. I dunno, but it looks so... self indulgent. A bad throwback to Aliens perhaps. Problem is, it works even less effectively here than it did then.

Vietnam had Communist NVC and South Vietnam and the US + Allies fighting in a jungle setting on the same world, over containing the spread of communism. In AVATAR, you have an alien world, fantasy alien feline race, and 'private space military company' expeditionary force with corporate financial backing that is more Fern Gully meets a world purge in Warhammer 40k than anything else. Do you need a Vietnam era 'link'? Is it still valid? Does the audience care? What has the communist war of Vietnam to do with the story of a mega corporation running a village over to harvest a rainforest? I think it just limited the design potential and shot so many loopholes in itself as a result.

Exosuit..AMP suit:

Yeah, you knew I was gonna rip on it first right :)

1)Looks like retrofitted Apache cockpit with 4 limbs hooked up to an often over-emphasised motion capture system. Can half a billion dollars buy good taste? Suppose not. For a film that has its only excuse as a 'visual extravaganza with stuff you have never seen before', please don't shoot yourself in the foot. It is so uninspired, and... haha, i think I get it now.. that's the 'arrogant' look they were going for!! -_-

2)Awkward 'tech sense'. 1950s overall aesthetic, with civic-industrial limbs, with 1990-2000s gun and graphic design. Has better hydraulic and movement capabilities than its looks suggests. Fails at how to make design 'seem' efficient or even sensible given its PURPOSE, or failing which, how to simply make design interesting and exciting. Why does it look and move so clumsily, have such an awkward gait and silly firing stance that is GANGSTA STYLE FROM DA CHEST YO and ridiculous belt feed prone to jamming (when firing from the hip in a much more macho fashion and a large drum magazine would have sufficed)... and have a HUGE glass cockpit just begging for an accident to happen?

If they had armoured up the cockpit just a tad, it might actually be passable to me (I, like many fanboys out there have fucking low standards when I'm desperate to WANT TO LOVE JAMES CAMERONS STUFF). But since they chose to go hollywood retard and 'expose the rider! The audience needs to relate to the pilot!'... you get a big fat 0 from me. In short, it doesn't look and move and feel like a war machine. Please don't say they were 'modified civillian power loaders and that they weren't expecting heavy resistance. The fact they had what seemed like hundreds of gunships loaded for bear and even mobile fortresses with cute firing positions on its back are good enough reason for me to assume they were prepared for the worst. Simply ridiculous. You would think the mecha in such shows is the most futuristic, fantastical sci-fi idea that would visually catch the eye and win the hearts of fanboys like me. Well it spat in mine.

3)It's machine gun sounds far more 'realistic' and beefier in the Ubisoft Avatar game (that's what they call it despite it looking more like 20mm). Look at the damn muzzle brake on the thing. Why does it sound like it fires small caliber munition. Only chance to gunwhore the concept: fail. How can you fail at something so simple. I refuse to think its an oversight. Which means it had to have a reason. And that reason, is fail.

I get the pixel camo thing. Isn't that modern? What happend to Vietnam era plain olive camo...the theme they were obviously gunning for in the rest of the RDA design? I'm not even asking for pseudo vegation pattern here, I'm saying PLAIN? Also ignoring the breathmasks (which are perfectly fine civic looking design)... where are the helmets. They year is 2150 and life expectancy is down to 20 seconds? Is that why no need for helmets? Or body armour? stupid expensive AMP suits when you could have fielded more troops with proper body armour and greater survivability for the same price. Okay.

Weapons (namely the bullet firing guns):
I swear. The guns, of varying calibers and styles are beautiful, but all sound the same in pitch. The moment the 'forest charge' scene came up and the lead exosuit guy opens up... I was almost in tears. For a moment I thought he was firing his sidearm or something. From that point on I just couldn't help but notice all the guns sound alike...and weak. Even the M60 looking mounts on the side of the Scorpion/Samson(?) choppers... to the much faster firing dual miniguns mounted on the "Papa Dragon" dropship. For a film that seemed like the easiest way to feature gunporn (not to mention no limits since its fantasy)...really came up short. Designs looked brilliant, but the sounds are so sad and weak. Oh but the rockets and bombs sound great and thumpy and so full of bass. Not that I cared for rockets more than guns. As I'm sure most people do... they are so impersonal and 'cheap', even from a narrative point of view. I will never understand.

Environment design (nature):
What? For real? I think games like Lost Planet has more exciting, fantastical and yet credible environments that don't just create immersion but enhance the suspended reality you are already in. Games have better balance of 'real' and 'unreal' than this. I didn't pay serious money to see a pretty tame 're-adaptation' of a tropical rainforest, and even for one- a single page out of national geographic blows my mind more. I think I know why, because it seems to be portrayed so naturalistic at times, that it dumbs down on the awe factor. I know they apparently did fucktonnes of research and design, and I commend it. It just a shame that I didn't notice any of it between the rocket blasts and daisy cutter bombs. I'm sorry. OR should it be the other way around :p

USB link theme(my friend came up with that term, thanks Weiliang, you're a genius.):
The USB-hivemind theme that Nature/Ey-wa(?) shares is absurd. EVery fucking thing is plug and play via brain stem connection. Hi ma'am, where can I plug my brain extension? Up your **********? WOOOHYEAH LETS PARTAY!!! I'm IN CONTROL OF YOUR MIND BEEYATCH. LETS RIDE! No I'm serious. That's how they ride and TAME their horses and mounts. By mind-link. Okay. Animal rights? Nevermind.

-Yes I get the whole ham fisted point that everything on Pandora shares a sacred bond that transcends flesh. Question is did they need to make such an explicit reference to Native American tribe culture for the Na'Vi? 'Savages?' Wow.-

Except its obviously not done to the Navi, but rather to the unfortunate and pitiful inhabitants of the rainforest. The main irony is how all spirits are deemed equal in the eyes of nature, and yet they are used and abused by the Na'vi for their own food, warring and petty affairs (like horse riding when you have flying mounts. Right.) I got nothing against animal abuse in a fantastical context, I'm a really insensitive brute. But it is contradicting and confusing when you create this unnecessary layer that constantly attacks the fabric of the story and the protagonists you are trying to get me to root for.

Another irony here is that after they take down an animal with a NEUROTOXIN ARROW, and while its in its infinitely painful death throes, they pray, yes pray long and hard, and wish the spirit of the animal well on its journey to return to the tree of life and finish by stabbing them in the heart while the poor animal is writhing and gurgling in extended death throes.

Could you maybe kill it as fast as youfuckingcansoasnottoprolongitssufferingmaybe? THEN proceed to religious mumbo jumbo after? If i was a spirit the only thing i'd be doing when i leave my body is giving you a very long extended Pandorian finger.

Overall point I'm trying to make is if every sentient being is interconnected mentally and physically for so long and they are in many ways more evolved than us... why are they all 'immature' retards whose highest form of technology is bows and arrows? ACtually, I take that back. I suppose technology doesn't define the success or evolution of a species. Just intellect. So why are they still so barbaric when you have 'education potential' beyond comprehension at your fingertips. A Hive mind that's stupid and primitive. Doesn't add up.

ZERO Gore but plenty of 'R rated implied violence':
Where. is. the. gore. When goes into a cat persons body, I want to see cat person fluids in the camera. We deserve it. Gore doesn't make the world a worse place. NO GORE makes it obvious we are restraining ourselves and coming across as pretentious in a film that is ALREADY A VISUAL INDULGENCE EXTRAVAGANZA for teen types that are old enough to watch HOSTEL. PLEASE, we kill nature and burn whole forests and stab alien dogs in the face and light alien horses on fire but we can't show some good ol' BLUE CATGUTS... O M F G!!! ANGRY.

I know its James Horner. What makes it even more worrying is how it sounds like Enemy at the Gates at times...most of the time. You know the 4 note motif.. that unsettling arrangement. Its practically the main motif in AVATAR as well. I know, beats me. I hate having to keep telling myself to ignore it when all the 4 notes says to me is "caution, danger ahead, cause Ed Harris is waiting to blow you the fuck away with a godly sniper shot while you're making a 6 foot running jump." when they are in an EPIC SCENE SUITING UP FOR BATTLE. GAWD!


Na'Vi and Creature effects:

STUNNING. I was actually turned on by Nayfiri. Zoe Saldana voiced her anyway. I don't want to sound like an anthro lover but damn it her body just looks like Angelina Jolie's. And she has an open back thong and no shirt. Okay? And her face just looks so Jolie. Jolie + Cat girl + Open thong, squatting legs wide open over a Panzer Dragoon looking mount. Please try to see what I'm seeing. I dare you.

Creature designs not stuff that blows me away in the originality department, but is clearly the strongest aspect of the film's aesthetic to me. Simple and thoughtful, nothing overly complicated. Very...'refined'. I'm glad the creatures 'only' look that cool, its almost as though the creature designers were looking over to the RDA department going *lol, come on guys.. catch up, I can't make this any cooler or it'll really make you look bad* Hat's off again. I think Neville Page did alot of the creature work? Awesome.

Aside from that, the acting/animation/mocap and facial animation is nothing short of AMAZING, I was totally immersed and there was little need for 'suspension of disbelief' effort on my part. It was that real, that good. Hat's off to the animators. Especially that 'mega dog'(Found out its called a "Thanator") scene where its scratching wildly at the base of tree to get at Jake Sully. Holy shit was that raw!

Transportation design:
- Generally liked it all, except for the Vietnam theme thing which I really don't think makes for 'cutting edge shit you've never seen'... but i've explained that above and I don't want to sound like a broken record. For what it's worth, I think the 'vehicle' design is more successful because it has alot more sense packed into its details (and I'm betting a much easier time in designing since they practically rip style and elements off Hueys and Cold War era stuff.)... What I'm more impressed with though, is how they manage to make the silhouettes and profiles so attractive and simple at the same time. Even the dual cockpit on the 'Papa Dragon' dropship. Senseless, but made up for by cool fierce aesthetic (like a double headed turtle of some kind)...and functionality factor cause apparently one pod is for navigators/weapons crew and the other is for the piloting crew. Maybe its 2 pods to increase survivability. Once again demerit points because clearly the designers never cared about 'wow that sure looks hard to CLEAN and maintain'...which subconsciously affects people's view towards design, whether they realise it or not. But thats 1 demerit point to a 10 point design. Also it has what I think is a close in weapons pod in front, with dual miniguns. That's made of win. I'm that easy to please. I know :/ Come to think of it, why isn't it on top to let it do its job better? SEE THIS IS WHAT I HATE about writing this thing about Avatar.. some of that design is always shooting itself in the foot!

-Rogue 1 (Michelle Rodriguez's Scorpion)..that's what she calls it in her last moments right? How apt. Rogue 1 stands apart because it is the only bird that has 2 wire cutters in a 'devil horn' configuration. I thought that was pretty cool and gave her real character. I seem to notice such things. ^_^  [edit: just found out ALL of them had it. -__- Thanks Mike.]

-"Daisy Cutter use" trans-atmospheric shuttle had makeshift fire positions bolted on its back in the final assault. Along with 'sandbags' made from supplies and gear just quickly strapped together . I totally dig that. But then I realise that to have done that they would have guessed that they'd be attacked from above. So why did the entire wing fly at the same altitude, eventually still low and vulnerable to attacks from above. Wouldn't a small detachment of defender craft helped by giving more effective support fire from a higher alt? Just thinking back to WW2 and B17s and some 'military authenticity'. Plus its not as though the would've changed the inevitable outcome right? Details, details.

-I think I spotted different variants of the dragonfly as well. I think I saw one with a much sleeker, thinner profile more akin to a AH1... in the hangar scene. If my eyes weren't playing tricks on me, then well bloody done for a detail.

Environment design (human):
Holy. Wow. Probably the only reason I stayed awake through the show. The amount of detail, not to mention attention to the corporate theme, is just mindblowing. Its hardly ever overstated (unlike the military design in the show... sniff) and it makes so much sense. Nothing much more to add other than brilliant. Did I say brilliant? Even the animal cage setup they have for the Avatar's in training. That is just.. bizarre but so.. fitting, like your pet that you still don't trust to stay home : ) Brilliant detail.

I think I'm done, if I think of anything else I'll keep editing the text, but that's really it from me, I'm all spent.

Reason why there isn't a proper 'closing statement' is to reflect my exact sentiments after watching the movie. Because there is no real sense to the story, you then seek out the next best thing, the art. And I think I broke it down here pretty neatly. So its not hard to be aware of what one likes or dislikes, and that is often the saddest thing, when you really want to love a work of cinema in totality but end up scraping the bottom of the barrel or picking scraps from the table to fuel your reason to love it. OH and thanks for all your comments. Some were unfortunately rude, even from people I thought were mature, but otherwise a nice balance of lovers and 'non-lovers' as I will call it. :)

Please share your views if you care to :) Would love to hear what everyone has to say about the film. Cheers and goodnight! :sleep:

ADDED section: Comments and Reviews by other Deviants!

:iconzeruch:…;<------please click on Zeruch's original link to view the images. Unfortunately the formatting doesn't carry over and so the links don't appear as they should. Remember to view the original source!!!!!!!

"For those of you so enamored with “Avatar”

…what in bloody hell is wrong with you?

It is a good (not great) B-Movie with mostly C-grade scripting and D-List acting.  Was it a decent adventure-y film for a Sunday night? Sure.  Was it the grand cinematic experience its been hyped to be? Not even close.

Here is a rundown:

    * Just to get it out of the way, yes, the effects are staggering in places, in particular the aerial scenes.  On that front, and that is the only one Cameron seems to have any skill at, he scores.
    * He gets one-dimensional performances out of actors that can do so much more, including one of my favorites, Sigourney Weaver.  Seriously, the acting only works when it comes to cretins like the big Marine guy, who is supposed to be one-dimensional in terms of having a focused area to root against.  By the end of the film though, you almost start hoping he wins and scorches the planet into a burnt cinder. Giovanni Ribisi is so pathetic, he almost wins out against what I have long thought was Cameron’s worst casting blunder, Paul Reiser in Aliens.  Talent like Weaver and Worthington deserve better.
    * The scenery in much of the film is at best an homage and at most a full blown pillaging of the Roger Dean library.  Seriously, look at things like Arches, Dragon’s Garden, Sea of Light and one has to wonder.  Apparently, I am not the only one who thinks this either.
    * I’m sorry, but while some of the facial mannerisms and such of the Na’vi are impressive, the overall idea of a bunch of androgynous, gigantic smurf/elvin hybrids as things one could feel empathetic to, I am wondering if Cameron has joined some kind of bad anime-cosplay-furry commune and otherwise lost the plot of reality altogether.  The idea that there is any emotional heartstrings to pull on when two of them get it on in a supposedly sacred religious site is also kind of baffling.
    * The ecological and political themes of the film are so hamfisted, so overbearing and telegraphed, it almost insulted the intellect.  Its not that expect big cerebral concepts in films like this, but even by that standard Avatar is just one drunk and clumsy epic.
    * The use of some circa-1995 grade font to subtitle the weird Mezo-American/Urdu/Bantu miasma of a language the Na’vi spoke was just an eyesore.
    * An element actually called Unobtainium?  Are you…never mind.  Maybe you thought you were being ironically funny.  Hint: no.

No James, you are not King of the World.  The only thing I can really thank you for is that in having  helped the 3D camera tech you used in this film, real directors like Ridley Scott will be using it to make actually great films.

In all fairness, 5.5 out of 10."


"I completely agree with your visual design analysis. Always in the back of my mind was the thought, why doesn't this leap out and grab me like star wars does? It certainly had a bigger budget. The throwbacks to random parts of earth history were unexpected and irking. It just didn't strike me to be as rich and unique as I expected it to. The excessive saturation of everything completely detracted from the visual look at ALL points, where to the stage there was the slow motion desaturated scene and I went "Hey, that looks more realistic". Some points I was so enamored with the beautiful glowing and oranges and greens that I wasn't paying attention to how sad the scene was meant to be. It was too bright and lovely for me to take it seriously. I know it's over-cliche to desaturate when there's chaos, but damn, man, I couldn't see the war for all those gorgeous trees.

For me, I noticed some different stuff. The lack of backstory killed everything for me. We had no idea until twenty minutes in that this wasn't the first time they had tried the avatar program. And the character development was weak at best. The process of identity crisis and self definition, and his monumental choice to change permanently into his Na'Vi body, was made insignificant by the fact that we know nothing about his past, and what would motivate him to change his identity at all. Sure his legs were a nice cop out for motivation, but I felt no emotional investment in the character at all. He was a stranger to me.
I think perhaps Sully was meant to be the blank slate character that people can step into the shoes of and empathise with, a sort of video game protagonist who you identify yourself with...but I wasn't after an introspective experience. And even then, if that was their intention, then it would only serve to make me feel more confused about my identity because i don't have the option of changing bodies. If you want to call that a moot point, go talk to my friend jacob, he empathised with the character and now he's depressed because he wants to reidentify himself, but doesn't have the option to change bodies. A small psychological point to most, but it irked me.

There are some other things that annoyed me. First of all the film had the worst transition I have ever seen, where the two main characters press their faces and breath in, which was supposed to segway to the sound of the engine in the next scene. I felt myself slightly jump when the shot changed. Who the hell gave the green light on that transition? I expected fluency from a budget that huge.
Organisation of story to provide immersion seemed...flawed at best. Sully is our protagonist, so why is it that the first time we journey onto the most beautiful parts of the planet in a helicopter IS A TWO SHOT SCENE? Jake is discovering the beautiful vistas of a new world for the first time, and seeing a place he'd heard about back on a dry earth...and yet we are not granted the cinematic glory that such a moment would provide? We see two shots from a neutral, "God" point of view which show the helicopter...and yet we can barely see the vistas which some visual designers spent weeks working on? Just a waterfall they fly over?
What in the ******************

As an amateur filmmaker, scriptwriter and film student, this film brought minor irritations on so many points. I'm presuming it was for the sake of time that these sacrifices were made. I understand that, but I still disagree with it.

The music was uninspired and repetitive, reminiscent of the composer's previous work. I was not impressed. At all. As a musician, songwriter and absolute music lover, I found the compositions and the implementation to be...uninteresting.

Let me get this straight. I can't do a better film. But people who are getting paid thousands to this stuff, THEY SURE AS HELL CAN DO A BETTER FILM. Having seen District 9 and Dark Knight most recently, both technical and cinematic masterpieces, I feel Avatar has fallen short of its intended calibre. And maybe I would have enjoyed the film more if my friend hadn't spent three days trying to convince me until I eventually consented when he offered to pay the ticket and transport - his hyperbole was so desensitizing that I became pessimistic about the film. I was pleasantly surprised and I enjoyed the film a lot, but it did not live up to the hype in my opinion.

Ironically, I'd give the film 7/10 - I did enjoy it a lot, as a movie experience, there was a lot to be had there and the explosions were tasty. I just had to get all the negative stuff off my chest because I'm sick of people claiming that this is better than star wars and halo etc. ><"


"FINALLY someone with a critical review of Avatar! And FINALLY someone who's equally disappointed by those bloody awful mech designs! The really painful thing is; how often does mech combat get a decent budget and a huge audience? They obviously had tremendous artistic resources available so what's their f*in excuse, huh? Epic epic mecha FAIL. Gimmie 5 minutes and I'll pull 20 amateur artists from  who could have come up with better designs. C'mon, Cameron, really? District 9 did a better job in that department -and the difference in budget is probably close to the gross national product of Sweden. Obviously, this film is a huge and wonderful technical achievement, and deserves praise where it's due -but that just makes weak designs in one area seem all the more incongruous and unforgiveable. This ain't no B movie Robot Jocks right? So WTF?

Can't comment on the rest, cuz I actually haven't seen it yet.  But I really appreciate this in-depth analysis and your brutally honest perspective.  "


I agree with you especially on the lack of creativity inherent with the Vietnam-esque etiquette to their designs and themes. You'd think that Cameron would've moved on to more original ideas after using that style in Aliens, but hell maybe he figured if it worked then during confused times in the real world then it would work again in today's climate. Really expected more out of that.

And I'm really glad I'm not the only one who kept wanting scream at someone over the 'glass windows' on the mechs. They really were screaming "kill me here-->" with that one.

Oh and lets not forget your mention of the retarded 'lanetary USB network.' To be honest, I was hoping they would have some kind of mind-boggling plot twist concerning the origin of that. I mean come on, if any living organism can communicate by simple contact with a fucking ponytail isn't that a big deal there?? I couldn't believe they left that completely unexplained. The sheer lack of real plot development/twists beyond the cliche and mentally numbing was a real downer for me.

I think I'm going to use your description of the movie from now on whenever I describe it to somebody: "Fern Gully meets Warhammer 40K purge" Hell that would've probably turned out better actually.


I agree with your points. Personally I found Avatar to be cliched from the moment I figured out the storyline from the trailer; I went expecting eye candy. I watch movies on two levels; an analytical level and a suspension-of-disbelief level. Some series, like HBO's Generation Kill, are done so well that analytically I don't see anything wrong with them*, except for I believe two things in the example of GenKill. I feel that they could have conceptualized Avatar a lot better and I would have enjoyed it far more. The sound effects completely lost me; it's an important thing to consider that unlike the United States, where most of the civilian populace has no idea what heavy weapons sound like, many other countries have mandatory military service. I believe you've served, and I know all of my Finnish, Swiss, and Norwegian, friends have - they too noted the very weak weapon sounds. It was pretty bad for one of them, who is the assigned gunner of a Pasi 8x8 APC; he spends a lot of time behind a KvKK 12.7mm HMG.

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  • Watching: cockroach on my toilet floor drown in liquid soap

So... what did you think of Terminator: Salvation?

Journal Entry: Mon Jun 1, 2009, 9:03 AM
I for one, hated the fact that Danny Elfman didn't use Brad Fiedel's melody from T1 and T2. I mean... c'mon! Seriously! Terminator is not Terminator without the Brad Fiedel theme!!! I don't care who MR Elfman thinks he is... Couldn't they at least play it during the credits?! DAMN IT!!!

Overall score... 4/10. I won't be sharing any spoilers this time. Why? Cause the entire movie is a spoiler by itself. <: / *weeps*

CSS Journal Coded by FleX177

  • Listening to: Terminator 1 Score
  • Watching: cockroach on my toilet floor drown in liquid soap
  • Eating: popcorn still stuck to my shirt after T:S

Leave long lensflares and prosper

Wed May 13, 2009, 9:38 AM
  • Listening to: Two Steps From Hell- Freedom Fighters
  • Watching: cockroach on my toilet floor drown in liquid soap
  • Eating: popcorn still stuck to my shirt after Star Trek
Just caught Star Trek. I think it's a good movie, beautifully shot and art directed in general. Its got great colours, and due to the lighting effects, seems almost like a painting at times. No kidding. I almost believed my coke had traces of LSD in it at the start of the film.

So anyways... I suspect the director of photography has a slight...infatuation with lensflares of the anamorphic kind. I can almost imagine him in the post production stage where he's just screaming and throttling the lighting technicians, "BRIGHTER! BRIGHTER DAMN YOU WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE! Can't you see its a bridge scene? With two people talking about losing their loved ones?! SAD SCENE. LENSFLARE. WE NEED LENSFLARE. The toilet scene too when he's pissing! LENSFLARE the &^%#& out of it! We need to flare the stream of piss, even the shit needs its own flare! I want blue and yellow ones to go with all the red in the uniforms!"

I mean, why go through all that effort to composite in pretty backgrounds and implement rich and detailed set design into a production that ends up 'simplifying' the image with tonnes of, I dare say, unwarranted lighting effects? It technically reframes all the shots that I think were fine to begin with(making it unnecessarily tighter and almost uncomfortable at times), having faces and body parts cut or obscured by saturated lines running across the entire length of the frame, forcing my eyes around all the time. It almost makes me want to believe that the raw footage was poorly shot, and needed some sort of after-effects to draw the attention away from all the 'ugly detail'. Maybe they needed a handy, clever way to harmonise the many colours appearing throughout the film. Either way, I thought it could have been done more subtly. Personally, I thought all the lensflare-less shots were really fantastic, offering some much needed visual "breathing room" between the spasm inducing action sequences.

Anyway. Extreme use of lensflares aside (which I am obviously, shamelessly a big fan of) it was still a very nice movie for me, and I think even non-trekkies (like myself!) should go watch it!


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Pepper Project Artbook Now Available!

Journal Entry: Fri Dec 5, 2008, 2:29 AM
The Best Christmas Gift You Can Get

Pepper Project

The new IFS online shop is now open with brand new Pepper Project artbooks, new Imagine Prime and other attractive bundles. Click this to start your Christmas shopping!

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Devious Journal Entry

Journal Entry: Sat Oct 18, 2008, 4:01 AM
Life's a bitch, and you only get to do it once... :)

Devious Journal Entry

Journal Entry: Thu Mar 13, 2008, 9:54 PM
Life's a bitch, and you only get to do it once... :)

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IMAGINE PRIME Ships Internationally!

Journal Entry: Thu Nov 29, 2007, 11:11 PM
Exclusive limited edition autographed artbook!

UPDATE: Friends outside USA can now get their hands on this fabulous artbook. :)

Imagine Prime

** To preview the content of the artbook, please click this… **

Special bundle offer is also available for those who wanna get both of the artbooks. :)

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IFS is hiring

Journal Entry: Fri Oct 5, 2007, 12:47 AM
Want to be an Imaginary Friend?

Hi everyone!

Imaginary is a studio created by artists for artists. We are looking for people who work hard and play hard, and who have the talent, experience and passion to take things to another level.

Our studio is well structured and open. Collaboration is a critical part of the process.

Everyone has a say and quality always comes first.

This is a not a business. It’s a movement.

We now have tremendous opportunities for talented artists to come on board to work on high profile projects in comics, games and major motion pictures.

We are now hiring the following full time positions:

Concept/Production Artists:

    * Must have outstanding digital illustration capability, and a broad conceptual scope
    * Knowledge and application of Animation/3D applications a plus
    * Game/film industry experience preferred

Comic Artists:

    * Both Line artists and/or Colorists
    * Ability to deliver realistic art style
    * Experienced, with published work preferred

All applicants must be based in or willing to relocate to Singapore or Jakarta

If you think you’d make a good imaginary friend, send your application to

Please include the job title in the email’s subject header.

Have a kickass portfolio?

Please don’t email it to us

Set up an online portfolio and send us the link with your application.

We regret that only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

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More than meets the eye

Journal Entry: Thu Jun 28, 2007, 9:24 PM
Friday, June 29 2007 [11:40am].

I just caught the movie. Call me oversensitive, but-

This is an official humbled apology for every time I cussed under bated breath when I saw any of the TF redesigns (sorry Mr Feng Zhu, I was one of the punks sniggering in the back there save for maybe Blackout)...

...cursing the general art direction or storyline[which by the damn way, happens to be very bloody decently fine], the productions "misinformed" decision to not pay a more obvious, albeit surface-level homage to our favourite iconic characters, with their minimal silhouettes and forms that we all know and love, wondering why it could have been in a different chronology, why the infamous Vince DiCola 80s synth and orchestral beauty or heavy metal choruses of "you've got the powaaaaeerrrr~" weren't making a comeback...

well now I know, and it really arrives as a smack in the face for being such a defensive fan-prick in the first place.

You have to experience it understand. It all comes together -the good, the bad- and when it does you'll understand there and then, quivering with delight and convulting with ecstacy when famous one liners are delivered, the cheese moments, or when every hair trigger second of frenzied high octane choreography comes to life -the effort, the demands of thousands of blood hours put into a production of this caliber.

Now THAT in and of itself is THE real tribute that I for one surely overlooked, and I'm SORRY. I'll take that back right now. Hell I took that back in the first 4 minutes of the film. Shoved it back down my throat like the popcorn that went untouched for a good 20 minutes.

I wasn't exactly glued to my seat (okay i lie), nor was I screaming and giggling like a giddy schoolgirl at some Korean popstar's concert. Okay maybe twice. Thrice? But still...

I've never felt so strongly or good about a film that really took peoples expectations AWAY at first. And returned an even GREATER one. One that is truly respectful of canon, one that doesn't take a property and screw it three times over, one that REMINDS people that there is always a DIFFERENT way to tell a story, to see a universe-

-And that there is always something more, than meets the eye.

You're allright Mr Bay. Very allright.  :thumbsup:

Also this comes as possible spoiler material but:


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What defines me?

Sat Nov 11, 2006, 12:43 AM
  • Reading: Loving the Machine, Timothy N. Hornyak
  • Watching: 2 years in Shitbet
Saturday, November 11 2006 [04:00pm].

The Infernal Question:

Answer this, please:

"From an academic and purely technical viewpoint. What is the: Ukitakumuki touch/flourish/look/feel/thing, that so many have come to describe. What makes it different? At least in the eyes of the few?

Clearly, what evokes sensations in someone not necessarily has to set off the same sparks in another, and I so dearly wish to know what it is you guys see in my stuff. The bad, the good,everything... please! What identifies with you, and more importantly, what defines my work, in your many eyes.

Thanks all, :heart:.

An Explanation
///begin rantsmission

I've recently looked at my stuff over in severe disdain... am I burning out? There are so many ideas in my head just raring to be drawn, painted, pooped.., which according to some of my good pals, is due to 'stifled creativity' because of my conscription/mandatory military fricken servitude to the Republic of Singapore Air Forces and lack of my old formal, slacker, content, [stable] lifestyle. Whatever. The point is that its so difficult for me to get all those ideas down, for some reason. A mental block perhaps? A lack of direction, maybe.

Loosing Focus
Everytime I start a personal piece, it starts with at least 5-6 separate speed paintings, of which each spawns 5 others. I'm sure in that sea of scumpaintings, there are those that warrant saving or a continued, fully explored 'life'... but strangely enough it also points me back to one sad fact I've had to live with, and that is my very unstructured and loose-cannon approach to the way I do my work. Spontaneous, some might call it.

The problem is... the sheer addiction and nature of speed painting means in the same amount of time it takes a normal-painting to succeed; the speed-painter has probably achieved 4 separate variants of the core theme. This can go two ways: one, you heartily enjoy and relish in the moment of freedom to express, and learn...

...or Two, you feel completely shat because you just successfully took the red pill (or was it blue?) and went apeshit with the idea in your head initially, loosing focus and ultimately, VISION.

Personally and frankly speaking, aside from concept art that I wholesomly enjoy, fine-illustration wise, I always seem to have this evil habit of being impassioned with a certain theme, in the spur of the moment type situations, nontheless.

Then it all falls to pieces with the whole "omg this horse looks.. like a DRAGON.. omgwtf... lets try.. a tail... hehehh- oh look! that cloud.. a neon missile happy meal." NOW as far as I know, I don't have an attention deficiency disorder... but for those who know me, I am definetely very jumpy and perhaps overly playful with ideas and concepts. Just wondering how things will look, turn out, feel... that is a really intense sensation that always sets me back a little, and I constantly have to catch myself before I go off the deep end on something. And, as easy as I get passionate about something, I blow cold, as soon as I stem my own yearning for that pleasure. Does that suck or what.

Unless guided by a decent Brief, or some measure of vision and direction, I find it hard to make meaningful work. Did I just state the bloody obvious? I guess it does to most of you. Maybe I'm just being retarded at this point in my life. No points for guessing why.

Your imaginary friends.