Sunday, 28 May 2017

Mr Masato's CGI creatures

Well before I cut down on blogging altogether, I had stopped writing about other people's projects regarding life on other planets. I did so more often when I first started blogging in April 2008, but then it was difficult to find anything about speculative biology. The 'speculative evolution' website that now caters for such needs probably started at more or less the same time (it says that I became its 42nd member on July 21, 2008). But in the following years the field grew, so I thought everyone would be able to find interesting work for themselves.

I will make an exception now, as I miss blogging. The main reason I chose to present the work of Mr Masato here is that it seems to have gone unnoticed, perhaps because it is shown on a Japanese website only, as far as I know.

His work can be found here. Oddly, that page will not take you to his speculative biology images; that is found here, or, without further clicking, here. You will find 30 images there, showing a love of strong colours, a fondness of cuteness that may be particularly Japanese, and a wide variety of forms, some odd, some less so. Mr Masato told me that there is no underlying story and that the images may well be from different planets.   

Speculative biology of the 'alien world' type is not his major interest. That is dinosaur work, as the other pages on his site show (I liked the page on Gallery 4 where he places CGI dinosaurs in Japanese street scenes). Mr Masata is one those artists who rely heavily on computer-generated images to produce his art. That approach has many advantages, such as that it is easy to take another view of a scene from a different angle, or change the lighting, etc. Once all such decisions are made, you set the programme to 'render', have some coffee, and there's the image. For some of the best work done along such lines, I recommend the book 'Dinosaur Art' (there will be a second volume too). But it is very difficult to get photorealistic CGI work to look convincing, oddly enough. Often there is something unnatural or even sterile about the placing of plants; the surface of water looks like it is made of jelly or of glass, rocks look like sponges, etc. Among the few people who can really pull it off is Marc Boulay, whose work I discussed more than once in this blog (for instance here and here). I personally do use CGI techniques, but only as scaffolding for a painting. Here is an example.

Click to enlarge; copyright Masato Hattori
Anyway, on to Mr Masato's work. I picked out three paintings. The first one is this odd head sticking out above the surface of the water. Well, I assume it is a head and not the entire animal. The hair is well done, in particular for CGI work, and the image as a whole is nicely mysterious. Notice the lack of background. In essence it's just the beast, but that scarce approach works well here.

Click to enlarge; copyright Masato Hattori
These 'armoured marmots' are rather cute, with their spectacular headdress. In my own creatures I often reduce the extravagance of such elements after the first sketch, but having looked at these daring shapes I should probably do the opposite once in a while. The rocks are interesting here; I think I can identify the texture from Vue Infinite that was used to make them. 

Click to enlarge; copyright Masato Hattori
I like this one because it is so full. It can be chore filling up a scene in a programme such as Vue Infinite, even though it has an 'ecosystem' features to help with that. There variety of plants helps top create a convincing scene. The tetrapod has very interesting rainbow colours, suggesting iridescence. The young animal again adds a cute element to the scene. The tusks worry me a bit: they look very slender, so they could break easily. With such a long neck the animal would have little need for them. The animal approaching the tetrapod seems to behave like a crocodile, slowly making its way towards its potential prey. The bony head with all those bumps reminded me of an uintathere. The best feature of this image are the wildly coloured blue flying thingies. Are they just there by coincidence, or do they have some relation with the 'uintacroc'? I like images that tell a story.


Keavan Ѳ said...

The 'uintacroc', as you referred to it, appears to me to have a set of eye stalks. Makes me wonder about the rest of it's biology.

ELINA said...

I wish all those New Hades books were real! I found this blog because I wondered about Wun Wun's elephant feet and how his body actually is quite realistic. Awesome blog!

Sigmund Nastrazzurro said...

Keavan: That made me wonder too, but it does not allow a firm basis to build a case on, it seems.
Elina: thank you!

samia hussain said...

nice post