Monday, June 26, 2017

Inc The Robot Rough

A bunch of variations for the Inc The Robot design. We started with design 1, decided to keep the arms and legs as well as the face (since that's his soul), but we were going to modify the silhouette.

So first I photobashed together a bunch of alternate silhouettes, using lots of construction equipment reference (since he is a welder robot), all the time keeping our word list in mind. Inc needed to feel like a big toddler, innocent looking, a little awkward, his body could be many shapes, but the new shape needed to satisfy the story requirements exemplified by these words.

We then showed these images to a bunch of artist friends to get feedback. Most important when getting feedback is why they like what they like, because if you understand the why, you can fix the design issues in your own creative way, rather than it becoming a design by committee.

Many favored the taller robots, since they had the same height as design 1. One person pointed out that number 13 had a head too similar to "M-O" from Wall-e, so we nixed that one. People liked the chubby number 7, but felt he may have trouble getting through doorways or reaching for objects, he's supposed to be a little awkward, not super awkward. Number 9 and 3 were in the same chubby design realm, but a little more balanced. Number 2 kept coming up in people's favorites, they felt the big backpack made him look like a young kid going to school. People also liked 8 and 6, and the fact that you could see through the chest of number 12, which really made him feel robotic.

My favorite was number 8 (my opinion before we got feedback from people), so I went back and started with number 8, then modified the design based on what people liked and disliked in the other designs to arrive at the final number 14. For example, instead of putting the backpack from 2 directly on number 8, I scaling up his welder weapon and placing it on his back to served a similar visual purpose to the backpack.

Hopefully this gives you a little insight into the design process, how to start with a firm idea of what you need to accomplish for the story and for the character's personality, make a bunch of variations, get feedback from a large selection of people, and then use that feedback in a constructive manner to get the best design possible.

Inc Distant Mirage 2

“I know I have a tendency to get on your nerves,” INC said, “but our current water issue …” I handed him the jug. That would give us about two days to find the next source.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Inc Poster 1

Our first Inc teaser poster. A big mix of 3d, photos and hand paint overtop.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Inc The Robot 14 And Landis

Our two heroes.

Inc The Robot model by Neil Blevins, Landis model by Bill Zahn.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Inc The Robot Redesign

Here we are, the redesigned Inc The Robot. The goal with Inc's design was always to make him feel like a big kid. He had to be "cute", but still able to smash people when necessary. In his former career, he was a welder robot, hence his spot welding weapon of choice. But he has since been retrofitted by his new human owner Landis for a whole new function, which is where our story begins. Modeled and Textured in 3dsmax and vray.

And here are two turntable videos:

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Inc Redesign Has Started

The Inc redesign has started. We're keeping the arms and legs the same (since they are time consuming to re-rig) and the face the same (since that's Inc's soul) but the rest of the body is going through a major overhaul.

Monday, May 15, 2017

SoulburnScripts Updated May 14th 2017

The scripts have been now fully tested in Max 2018!

Updated 2 older Maxscripts:

circleArrayMaker: Fixed a bug where a rounding error would cause the copies to be rotated an incorrect amount.
pipeMaker: Added ability to fill a box with the pipes. Added ability to collapse the joints into your original pipe, so that moving the pipe will also move the joint.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Some Sad News

Hey there everyone!

So, we have some bad news. The Kickstarter for the Inc Book has been canceled until further notice.

On friday, we got contacted by a company that said the design of Inc the robot infringes upon their IP. Design is a complex process, make something too unique, it loses the audience. Make something too generic, it's boring. We had felt we had made a unique enough twist on a very tried and true design, a design theme that has show up in a number of robots throughout the years that we all know and love, that we didn't think anything like this would be an issue. We would never claim that Inc the Robot was created in a vacuum, we have always been very open about our inspiration and design process, and really weren't expecting or looking to step on anyone's toes.

Since a long drawn out battle wouldn't be good for anybody, we felt the professional thing to do was to re-design the Inc Robot for the project, and honor their request for us to take down the kickstarter. While Inc's design was intrinsic to the story we wanted to tell, there are other forms that he could have that can tell the story equally well.

We are not quite sure on the timeframe, or whether we'll do another kickstarter or use another channel to release the book, but we can promise that this is not the end. And we'll keep you informed when the future becomes more clear.

Thank you again so much for those of you who pledged for the kickstarter, for those who helped spread the word, for those who have helped us in our artistic careers in any way, you all rock, and we apologize that the road for this book has been far more complex than we ever could have imagined.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Inc Kickstarter Reaches First Milestone

Hey everyone! So first off, thanks again for everyone who has donated so far to the Inc Kickstarter. In fact, we recently got named by Kickstarter on their "Projects We Love" list, which is very cool indeed!

We just hit the $2500 mark, and I promised an image from the book, so here ya go, the aliens arrive through the warp gate. Please keep those pledges coming, you get an almost 200 page art book for $20, lets get this thing printed!

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"Once on the bridge, I looked out the view screen to see that we were flying past what would seem indescribable."

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Inc Kickstarter Has Begun! Order Your Copy Today!

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Inc Book Project Kickstarter has begun. Click below and order your copy today!

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Hardcover, 184 Pages, 10.25" x 8", 12 artists, a bold scifi adventure you will never forget.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

1 Week To Go Before We Kickstart

We're just under a week away from the Inc Kickstarter (Tuesday, May 2nd at 10am PST), and this update we'd like to share with you the initial rewards we have available. Of course, the base reward is the "Just Give Me The Book", which is a single book for $20. But we have higher rewards levels available, and hopefully we've come up with an interesting variety of rewards that you find tempting. If there are other rewards you'd love to see, feel free to comment, if enough people want something we'll certainly consider adding rewards.

We hope you will join us next week for the big event, let's get this book printed and released!

Thanks again for all the support, without you, this project would not be possible!

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Ship Jumper Starship Hallway 1

A test for my Space Jumper project. Decided to give myself a little challenge and try and create a full environment from a few equal sized blocks. I made 10 tileable greebled flat surfaces, 3 catwalk pieces, and 5 smaller greebles, and then assembled the pieces into the hallway you see above. Think of it like a more high tech minecraft. A lot of fun to make and figure out how all the pieces can link together to make larger more interesting patterns.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

2 Weeks Until The Inc Kickstarter

So we're two weeks away from the Inc Kickstarter, and first off a huge thank you for all the support we've received, all the messages, the comments, the feedback, the shares, all of it gives us so much inspiration to make this thing happen, and make the experience as special as possible.

We wanted to give you a small sneak peak at the interior of the book. A lot of time and energy has gone into the layout, and we'd especially like to thank our final layout artist Paul J. Salamoff, he took the earlier rough designs and really made them sing. His strong attention to detail and collaborative attitude was a godsend. The person who lays out your book is just as important (if not more so) as any contributing artist, and we thank Paul for all his hard work.

Next week we'll reveal some of the reward tiers for the kickstarter. The lowest tier of course is "Just Give Me The Book", which is a single book for $20. But from there we have a lot of extra special gifts to check out. More next week. In the meantime, thanks again for all the support!

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Kickstarting The Story Of Inc!

That's right, The Inc Book Project will be coming to Kickstarter on May 2nd! For those of you who have been following us know, we've been working hard to get the book through the publishing stage of the project. We've learned a lot from this process, but after too many delays, we've decided that the audience has waited long enough, and its time to get this thing printed and into your ever patient hands.

The book has 3 parts, Part 1 is an illustrated novel, which tells the story in the form of a journal with paintings of all the key moments in the story. Part 2 is the World of Inc, which shows off all the main characters, environments, vehicles and aliens of the story in the same format as any art of book. Part 3 is the Making of Inc, which contains tutorials showing how much of the artwork in the book was made. Also included is a link to over 2 hours of video tutorials. The 184 page book contains well over 200 paintings, sketches, and 3d renders. 12 Amazing artists and writers contributed to the book.

All the art is done, the writing is done, the book has been laid out, the only remaining tasks to do are to print the book and distribute it. And that's where you guys come in.

When you print a book, you pay an amount per book. The more books you print, the less you have to pay per book. And its not like a small discount, it's a huge deal. If you print 1000 books instead of 50 books, the difference in price per book can be 5 times cheaper.

We need to sell a minimum of 1000 copies of the book to make the math work, and get the price of the book down to the $20 sale price. We have already chosen our printing company, and have set up our distribution network, all we need now is the money to let us pull the lever, get the book printed and release Inc to the public. And we hope you will be a part of this goal!

As well as buying the book for the low price of $20, there will also be many reward tiers, stretch goals, incentives, all of the stuff you know and love from the kickstarting process. After the month long Kickstarter, if we fund, it'll be a quick 3 month wait to get the books printed, shipped to our distributor, and then shipped directly to you.

We'll post more details in the weeks to come leading up to the kickstart day, but in the meantime, I hope you're as excited as we are, and if you have any questions as all, please feel free to comment, we want to hear your feedback so we can provide you the best experience. Thanks for waiting patiently for us, we're biased of course but we feel it'll be worth the wait.

Friday, April 7, 2017

You've Waited Long Enough

Its time we took matters into our own hands...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

New Landscape Painting and New Starship Hull

My good friend the Spiky Alien Landscape has been getting a lot of grief lately, and I wanted to add my opinion to the chorus of people discussing the subject. The main reason its getting poo-pooed is because if your goal is to make a portfolio that will get you hired as a concept designer, filing it with Spiky alien landscapes won't get you very far. They don't really have much in the way of design. They can show you know how to paint or photobash. They can show you know a thing or two about light and atmospheric perspective. But as an actual IDEA goes, they tend not to be very deep. So I agree completely that a portfolio filled with these things is not going to get you that dream job as a designer. But that said, for practice, for fun, for relaxation, for sheer visual joy, the Spiky Alien Landscape is just what the doctor ordered. So don't stop making these landscapes, they have their own place in the world of art and I do enjoy them dearly. But just remember, design is about ideas, its about coming up with a new take on subject while still grounding it in reality, it's about function and how that affects form, and there are many many other subjects that show off these skills far better than the Spiky Alien Landscape. Use our Spiky friend wisely. This landscape was inspired by a painting I saw in the Louvre on my recent trip to France.

One of a number of starship hull test images. I made these images to explore variations in greebling and hull plate shapes and configurations. The tests are a little less practical and a little more abstract, but they have been really helpful, and should be a great source of inspiration and practical experience the next time I decide to make a full fledged 3d model of a starship, space station or even a mechanized planet. 90% of this is painted in 2d inside photoshop, some pipes are rendered from 3dsmax and then photobashed into place to create more complex configurations, and many patterns were inspired or produced by Darktree, Bercon Noise and Filterforge procedurals.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Thanks for everyone who attended the IAMAG Master Classes 2017

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to Patrice and Ben for organizing and inviting me as a speaker to the IAMAG 2017 Master Classes, I had a great time. Also a huge thanks to everyone who watched and gave me feedback on my talk: "The Story Of Inc: Developing Your IP with an Illustrated Novel", all the students who came by to get a critique, and all the other speakers, who not only gave excellent talks, but were also extra cool at the dinners and hang out events afterwards. Here's a few highlights from the show...

- Goro's VR talk: First off Goro is just the most enthusiastic guy ever, seeing him work in Quill in VR was just a pleasure, how fast and natural he was, he gives a really great sense of where the tech is going in the future. If you haven't painted or sculpted in VR yet, find a way to do it, it's fantastic.
- Dan Roarty's talk: Trying to pull off texturing a realistic human head in 60 min is no small feat. And don't worry Dan, mudbox is awesome, you don't have to apologize for not being a zbrush user.
- Nikolai Lockertsen's talk: I learned a whole ton of tips on using Procreate for my sketching. Love the perspective assist. And he's a super nice guy too.
- Sandra Pilny-Lockertsen: Many talented artists who didn't give a talk also attended, and had many great discussions with them about life and art. It was really interesting hearing about the similarities and differences making films in a small market like Norway vs the large US market. And just learning in general more about the story boarding process.
- Mike Blum's talk: With all the focus on big prominent blockbuster animation, it's easy to forget sometimes that there's a huge amount of smaller animation going on for Comedy Central, Adult Swim etc. There's a lot of talented people in this space showing off alternative styles and ideas that really should get more attention.
- Andrew Schmidt's talk on directing, I knew Andrew from Pixar but it was great hearing about what he's been up to since he left for a career in directing animated TV for dreamworks. A lot of great advice on what directing is really about.
- Ryan Church's talk: The sheer volume of quality work Ryan showed at the talk was incredible, honestly, only a hand full of images end up in the art of book, wish they were all there.
- Nathan Fowkes: The thing I've loved about Nathan's work for so many years is how rough and brushy it feels, he captures light with just a few strokes of his traditional or digital brush. And I found out he's also a big hard scifi fan :) Nathan does a lot of teaching, if you ever get the chance to take one of his courses, I can pretty much guarantee you will learn tons.
- Sadly, due to scheduling, I was unable to see all of the talks. I was able to see about 15 min each of Ash Thorp's talk and Jason Scheier's talk, Ash's talk about his current projects and inspiration started off really strong (and he's an Eastman & Laird TMNT fan!), and my wife who got to watch all of Jason's talk and she said it was excellent. The part I saw was great, I love analyzing film. I got to hear some of Allan McKay's talk from back stage, and he got into a lot of nitty gritty about the business of VFX, a topic that doesn't get discussed enough, it's so important. And I was really bummed to miss Marc Simonetti and Raphael Lacoste's talks because I was manning the portfolio review area, both are spectacular artists who I've followed for a long time, and I got a chance to hang out with Marc a bunch in the evenings and he's a super nice guy. Thank goodness we can watch the talks on video afterwards. Not as great as seeing them live, but will work in a pinch, I look forward to watching them all.

- Ian McQue's Q&A: It was awesome hearing this guy's professional story, a story of too many sequels that finally persuaded him to find creative freedom in his own artistic projects, and those projects ended up being wildly successful, which sent him down the path of fulltime freelance. A good lesson for us all.

Student Portfolio Review:
- I got the chance to review and critique dozens of student portfolios, and I found it really interesting. There's certain strong points that I saw in most of the portfolios, but also the same things that need work kept appearing again and again (cinematic lighting, variation in line weight, portfolio organization, etc). I have a much better understanding now of where the schools are excelling and where the schools may be lacking, and hopefully that knowledge will help me focus some of my educational materials a bit more to help out in those areas.

Also met so many other amazing professionals at the parties, students, people's significant others, people's kids. Thanks to everyone for coming. There was some discussion about whether the conference should expand (it was 21 presenters and about 300 people), but I felt that the size was kind of perfect, it allowed everyone to make real bonds with each other, get a chance to talk to each other frequently more than once, compare notes, it just felt more personal than say a 70,000 person siggraph.

If you didn't attend, you can buy access to the recordings of the talks here: Learn all about how the team made the Inc Book Project, and 20 other great talks by professional artists!
I can only imagine next year will be even more kickass.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Neil Blevins At IAMAG Master Classes In 1 Week

Hey everyone. So this coming Sunday (March 19th) is the weekend I'll be at IAMAG 2017 in Paris France giving an hour long presentation called "Developing Your IP with an Illustrated Novel". It will cover the creation process of the Inc Book project, I will be discussing how we made the imagery, wrote the story, talking about all the things you need to know about making your own book, working with publishers, business considerations, showing off a ton of never before seen art from Inc, and if there's time at the end, perhaps a live painting demo. The conference will feature 21 artists in total, some amazingly talented people will be there (Ryan Church, James Clyne, Ian McQue, Raphael Lacoste, and many more), artists from all different walks of life. Check out the official site below, come grab a last minute ticket, and hope to see everyone there!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Ship Jumper Super Robot 1

Working on a new IP called Space Jumper, more on that in the future. In the meantime, here's a Rough Line Sketch and Rough Painting for a giant robot that will feature in the property. All painted in photoshop.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Inc Aliens Warp Gate 2

“We were now heading straight for the mothership, hugging it as dangerously close as possible, sending the remaining probe smashing back into the huge ship that had launched it.”

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Megastructures 7 Star Lifter

A star lifter removes mass from a star for either raw materials or to change the nature of the star itself. For example, you may remove mass from the star to collect hydrogen or other elements. Or you could remove mass in order to extend the life of the star, to make the star dimmer, or reduce the chances of a super nova.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Art Education and CG Tools Email Lists Moving

So after a successful move last week of my Art email mailing list, its now time to do the same to my Education list and my Soulburn Scripts list.

For anyone who doesn't know about the lists every month or so I send out an email letting people know when I've added new material to my website. I have 3 lists, one for Art, one for Education, and one for Tools. Some people sign up for all 3, some just for 1 or 2.

While social media is great, a lot of social media sites don't show you all of the posts from the people you follow. So the only way to be sure to see ALL of my updates is my mailing lists delivered directly to your email address.

Just visit these pages and put in your email to subscribe. It'll send you a confirmation email to make sure you're not a robot, and you should be all set.

For my Educational Material:

For my Tools (3d assets, materials, Soulburn Scripts):

So sign up today, it just takes a minute of your time.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017 Art Gallery Mailing List Is Moving!

Yes, after 12 years (May 13th 2005 to be exact), its time to move the mailing list to a new provider. For anyone who doesn't know about the list, every month or so I send out an email letting people know when I've added new artwork to my gallery. While social media is great, a lot of social media sites don't show you all of the posts from the people you follow. So the only way to be sure to see ALL of the artwork I post is my mailing list delivered directly to your email address.

Just visit this page and put in your email to subscribe. It'll send you a confirmation email to make sure you're not a robot, and you should be all set.

As an extra incentive, I will be releasing some new artwork on Wednesday morning that will be exclusive to this new mailing list. So sign up today, it just takes a minute of your time.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Monolith Artifact 1 3D Sketch

Another Oculus Medium experiment, our intrepid explorers come across a giant alien artifact, a monolith stuck in the earth like it had been dropped from the sky.

This software has possibilities beyond creatures and characters, it could also be used for previs and sets. The artist can sculpt a previs scene, then invites the director into the vr space. The director looks at the scene, makes comments, the artist can sculpt ideas and make changes in realtime, and the director can move around the virtual set taking snapshots of potential camera angles. Basically, a more flushed out version of what James Cameron was doing on Avatar. The potential for a more collaborative realtime environment is immense.

See turntable here:
See in Medium here:

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Inc Oasis Wall 1

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 "We cautiously made our way closer to the city built in the shadow of the Citadel. What at first appeared insignificant now seemed impenetrable. Tall walls circled the place, and guard towers served as a reminder that you were watched at all times."

I decided that another painting of the Oasis wall was in order, this time with a more dramatic camera angle to show off the perspective and to illustrate the rough sands blown by the winds. All painted in photoshop with the exception of Inc the robot, which was originally a render that I swiped from another painting then painted over to change the pose and lighting.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Oculus Medium Sculpt 2

Took an old creature drawing from 10 years ago and went to town in Medium.

See turntable here:
See in Medium here: