Archive for the 'movies' Category

2016 Director’s Reel

A long overdue update of my reel featuring some of my more recent projects…

The narrative is from an audio short story that supplements Gather Bones, and is available for download to my patreon supporters.

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2015 in Review

2015 was a busy year. Here’s some of the stuff I finished during our last rotation around the sun…

Sort of as an experiment in minimalism, I made this music video for a track in collaboration with beatmaker BLAQ MASQ

I also recorded several other verses for musical collaborations, such as this one (the others have yet to be released):

I also designed and animated several minutes of animation for a TV documentary about viking mythology. Here’s a short clip of some of my animation. I plan on assembling all of it as a standalone short as soon as I can find the time:

On the front lines of paleoart, I launched the #buildabetterfaketheropod hashtag along with a pile of art poking fun at the dinosaurs/science of some dinosaur movie that came out this year and was sorta big.
FTCryponychusWeb

Somewhere around that same time I went out to Moab Utah to photograph and explore the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trackway, which I then created an illustration of for an interpretive sign commissioned by Utah BLM Paleontologist Rebecca Hunt-Foster.

MCDTPaleoscape-MediaSauropod

Later that summer I traveled out to Utah again to participate in my first paleontological field expedition, again with ReBecca Hunt-Foster, her husband John Foster, Sharon McMullen, Mikey Schiltz and Matt Wedel to survey a newly discovered secret site, cluttered with mid mesozoic dinosaur fossils and giant petrified trees! That was awesome. But I can’t say more because it’s all still super secret and I’d be beheaded in sacrifice to our great archosaur overlords if I said any more.

Sometime after I got back from that trip I did these two drawings for an upcoming paper on Apatosaur combat I’m a coauthor on with Matt Wedel, Mike Taylor and Darren Naish.
Apato neck shove matchApato neck smash!

I then finished a mixtape of new raps about fighting you with animals in the jungle called JUNGLECAT TECHNIQUE, and a new self produced album called Gather Bones. If you like my music, I hope you’ll consider supporting it on bandcamp.

wise men

Also at some point I did this reconstruction of an early Cretaceous angiosperm called Frenelopsis for Nathan Jud’s paper re-describing the taxa:
TenontoFrenelopsisWebBoosted

And I also did a bunch of drawings and concept art for Earth Beasts Awaken part 3, and a pile of sketches as rewards for my Patreon supporters, many of which can be seen in the photo galleries over on the historian facebook page
Cavern Glower

And now (like right now) I’m working on another illustrated sign for another Utah BLM dinosaur trackway site commissioned by ReBecca Hunt-Foster. I’m not going to share it right now though, because you have to support me on Patreon to see the behind the scenes stuff that isn’t finished yet, as well as special bonus content videos like this B-reel footage of the Snow Painter creature from Earth Beasts Awaken part 1 that I put together for my new Patreon supporters:

For those of you who have supported my work by buying art, making a donation or just sharing and hyping the hell out of it, thanks for the support!!!

Oh yeah, and I also put a ton of art up on my new Redbubble store, so you can even support my art by rockin’ it in the forms of various interdimensional style armors!!

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EARTH BEASTS UPDATE

Despite what I say in the video I’ve been having some technical trouble with paypal’s recurring donation feature so really the best way to make a recurring monthly donation is through my Patreon page:
MY PATREON PAGE

OR, you can make a one time donation on Paypal:




I hope you’ll consider making a small recurring monthly donation to support my work on a monthly basis. Small donations add up, and it is entirely within your power as my audience to determine whether or not I can make my videos and art fully independently, or if I have to submit myself to the existing media structure in order to make a living.

Frame from footage shot for an upcoming Earth Beasts Awaken Video

Frame from footage shot for an upcoming Earth Beasts Awaken Video

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Earth Beasts Awaken Posters ON SALE NOW!!!

If you liked Earth Beasts Awaken part 1 and part 2 and you want to help part 3 be as epic as possible, you can help fund the upcoming video by buying some Earth Beasts Awaken posters!

The posters are 12″x18″ (30.48cm x 45.72cm) and are printed on nice heavy cardstock.

You can order them INDIVIDUALLY FOR $15 EACH, or if you scroll to the bottom of this post you can order ALL 5 FOR $65.

Prices include shipping within the United States. If you are outside of the US I’ll send you a paypal payment request for additional shipping once your order has shipped.

Old Mountain Back
Old Mountain Back:





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Finskull The Poisonous!
Finskull The Poisonous:





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Terrorsoar In Cave
The Terrorsoar in the Cave:





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The Snow Painter
The Snow Painter:





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King Gingko Crest
King Ginkgo Crest (to be featured in part 3!!)





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Like them all?? BUY ALL FIVE POSTERS for the discounted price of $65!





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Want to support the project but don’t have any wall-space? You can donate directly to the project here:





Thanks again to all of you for your ongoing support and feedback. If you can’t afford to support my work financially, sharing the link to this post is probably just as helpful. The more people who contribute, the less each individual needs to give. And of course, the more money I can raise, the more monsters I can bring to life. Thanks again.

-historian

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EARTH BEASTS AWAKEN part 2: CALL TO AWAKEN

EARTH BEASTS AWAKEN PART 2: CALL TO AWAKEN IS FINALLY DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Many thanks to everyone who helped make this project possible. I am honored to have friends who are willing to help me make things, and that there are people in the world who like my work enough to support it by sharing it and giving me feedback and buying my art!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BIG UPS!!!!!!!!!!

enjoy.

download Call to Awaken 2014 REMIX.mp3
(right click to download)

…And you can also download the instrumental (with monster SFX) here:
download Call to Awaken 2014 INSTRUMENTAL REMIX.mp3
(right click to download)

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In Mountains – EARTH BEASTS AWAKEN Part 1

Back in 2009 I released my first musical album, a project called Earth Beasts Awaken. I had basically no idea what I was doing, but I knew I really wanted to make music videos that incorporated epic storytelling, rap, thunderous beats, and giant monsters. It wasn’t made well – it was my first musical effort – but for some reason people on the internet didn’t totally hate it, and even a few people found it, enjoyed it, and let me know.

Now, years later, I’ve finally developed the skill-set and pulled together the resources to make those music videos. The video you see below is the first installment in three part series of music videos based on tracks from that album. The tracks have been re-mixed and re-recorded, and the videos are all shot on location with practical creatures and environments… Enjoy…

download In Mountains 2014 REMIX.mp3
(right click to download)

Thank you all for your ongoing support and feedback, especially those of you who bought the hand painted CDs I sold to get this project off the ground. It’s been immeasurably important to my development as an artist and has helped me to stay the course even through projects like this one that take many months or years to complete.

…and stay tuned for a teaser trailer for part two…

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HOW TO BUILD MONSTERS

STEP 1) IMAGINE THE MONSTERS.

The “Shellback” beast that will be featured in the upcoming Earth Beasts Awaken music videos originally started as a creature I came up with for one of the hand painted CDs I sold to help fund the project (which was derived in part from this earlier Earth Beast artwork for the initial album release).

Shellback Earth Beast Design Progression

Shellback Earth Beast Design Progression

As you can see, in the process of adapting that original idea into a costume design a few things change, and in adapting that costume design into the physical pieces that will be worn by the performer, things chance a bit more. I’ve found that the best end result is achieved when I can strike a balance between making the best physical shapes and textures with the available materials and maintaining the overall “concept” or “soul” of the character. I used to think it was kinda weak that my original concepts don’t look exactly like the finished sculpture or puppet, but lately I’ve been thinking it’s really important to let a character design evolve as you actualize that character, because then the natural aesthetic and structural strengths of the medium or materials you’re working with can add to your original design and ultimately make it into a way better design (both functionally and aesthetically).

STEP 2) BUILD THE MONSTERS OUT OF ACTUAL REAL STUFF.

Finskull Earth Beast Fabrication Progression

Finskull Earth Beast Fabrication Progression

One of the primary reasons I prefer to root my work in physical mediums as opposed to strictly digital is that the paper and ink, paint and clay all contribute something to the thing you’re making and (if used well) can actually make it much better in ways that no human artist would have ever thought of from the start. There is vast intricate genius in the fabric of every physical substance and no human could possibly think of all the little details and expressive qualities these materials naturally contain or produce. A paintbrush laden with water color, or a groggy clay, or sawdust sprinkled on a mess of paint and glue are all such immensely complex physical phenomenon that we artists should be humbled by them, and grateful for their contributions to our work.

STEP 3) TRY TO FIGURE OUT WHAT WENT WRONG AND TRY AGAIN. FIGURE IT OUT. REPEAT. AGAIN. REPEAT.

While this approach may require surrendering yourself and your vision to the limitations of physical materials the payoff is twofold: the final object being created is potentially richer in detail and life than you could’ve ever conceived in a sterile digital workspace, and the discipline learned from working with physical media can help develop your ability to creatively flow in concert with forces outside yourself, which for me has improved my life in general. I’d be willing to go so far as to say that an artist with total control of their medium, social circumstances and surroundings is neither learning anything from the world they are working in, nor has any reason to be an artist.

STEP 4) SLEEP.

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New Videos Coming Soon

Earth Beasts Update: I just got back from the mountains where I finished shooting the music video for ‘In Mountains’ from my old album Earth Beasts Awaken. I needed a few more shots that I wasn’t able to shoot last winter, and I am (finally) entering post production in ernest. I hope to have it done sometime in the next month or two. Here is a picture of the historian finding a mysterious blood-painting on a snowy boulder…

While I was in the mountains I also finished shooting a music video for my friend Steven Doman’s new album A Tertian Leap. The album is a spaced-out ambient mixture of instruments and electronic elements, so the music video we shot is an atmospheric sci-fi story about two people separated by an expanse of space. I’ve known Steven his whole life, and over the years he’s helped me with a ton of my projects, so I went all out on the video for him. Here is a picture of a crashed spaceship I built for the project:

So here’s the deal. I’m trying to make better and better music videos (like this one and this one), but as you may have noticed, better music videos take longer to finish. So, what I’m trying to do between finishing big projects, is to put out more regular quick rap performance videos (like this old one and this new one) and more frequent illustrations of dinosaurs and monsters and stuff like that.

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“Textured 2d” Cryolophosaurus Animation

This animation was created by first making traditional hand-drawn 2d animation, and then by digitally animating detailed textures (both hand drawn and digitally painted) in such a way that they match the movements of the hand drawn animation. As far as I know, 2d animation has never been done in quite this way before.

This is my first test animation, and although the techniques and look of the animation will have to be refined with successive animation tests, I am really happy to have come up with something that I think works pretty well, looks neat, and is different than anything I’ve seen before. I am excited to continue to explore the possibilities of combining 2d hand drawn animation with digital tools, and I hope you will stay tuned and give feedback as things evolve.

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Dinosaurs Reanimated

So here’s the deal: I’m fucking bored with all the CG dinosaurs running around on the TV box these days. So I’m teaming up with some dino buddies and we’re making a spec doc that we’re going to try to develop into a TV series. I’ve created a blog where we’ll be putting various production materials and giving/getting feedback. Check it out, read our mission statement, RSS it, and let us know what you think as we put stuff up. We’re open to ideas and we hope you’ll hold us to a high standard of quality and scientific accuracy:

Dinosaurs Reanimated Production Blog

Miragaia longicollum

Yeah, yeah I know, CG dinosaurs sometimes ‘look cool’ but very very rarely move well or act like real animals. Furthermore the docs that feature the CG dinos often present speculation as fact, make stupid shit up, and just strait up get stuff wrong. I call it ‘bullshitting’, and I generally don’t like motherfuckers who do it, especially to children.

Turns out, I’m not entirely alone in my weariness of CG and bad paleo docs. Paleontologists galore are also often regularly frustrated and disappointed by the shows they often advise on but have too little say in the creative process to be able to do anything much but blog about it. They work hard to discover rad stuff, and then give their time and energy advising on documentaries who often ignore what they say or even actively misrepresent them. It sucks.

On top of that there’s a diversity of talented animators out there who are skilled in a variety of mediums, who understand behavior, story and the drama of survival, and who could make much more interesting animation than the void-of-substance CG that has risen to ubiquity in recent years. With the advent of digital technology the push has been to digitize as much of the workflow as possible, and aim at an impossible level of ‘photo realism’ instead of figuring out interesting ways to hybridize and streamline beautiful traditional techniques with digital technology to (perhaps even more efficiently) present original art to the public. And that’s the thing – it’s all just ‘art’. It’s never going to look like the real animals because nobody’s ever seen the real animals. And from what I can tell, the only visual goal of ‘photorealistic’ CG is to try and look like something real THAT NOBODY’S EVER SEEN. That’s just fucking dumb. Stop wasting all that time and money.

Ultimately, what compels me most is that there are more certain truths about dinosaurs and other extinct animals that these docs could elaborate on in a gripping way, but that are completely overlooked in favor of that ever elusive “cool factor”. What I’m talking about is the fact that these were real animals, that went through gnarly harrowing shit in order to survive for millions and millions of years. They were parents, hunters, victims of natural tragedy and witnesses to the incredible beauty and vivacity of life. They struggled with so many of the same basic challenges that we do; trying to find food, a mate, a safe place to live, and they dealt with these challenges in amazing brilliant ways, many of which are actually recorded in the fossil record!

Mother On Her Eggs

Thanks for reading. If you have the time, check out our production blog – we need your critical input!

First Pass Storyboard Page 1

Dinosaurs Reanimated Production Blog

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