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Paul Tobin's Scavenger Hunt Part 2

Wed Dec 17, 2014, 5:33 PM
72-img-00 by techgnotic

Avatar & Narnia: Inspirational Tutorials

Masterful Resources on DeviantArt


PaulTobin is a conceptual designer, illustrator and graphic designer who has worked at Weta Workshop of New Zealand since 2003.

He has worked on films such as Andrew Adamson’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, Peter Jackson’s King Kong and James Cameron’s Avatar and most recently The Hobbit.

A master illustrator who has had gallery showings of his own original fantasy and sci–fi art, he has become a spokesman and advocate for other New Zealand fantasy and sci–fi artists. White Cloud Worlds was the 2010 “coffee table” anthology edited by Paul featuring the works of 27 of his amazing fellow NZ fantasy artists.

Paul has recently been the subject of a series of DeviantArt tutorial videos in which he outlines his work as a conceptual designer in film production and describes his methods at Weta Workshop for developing the best original concepts for the prehistoric or alien inhabitants of other worlds of the artist’s imagination. These tutorials should prove an invaluable resource for deviants interested in pursuing careers as studio graphic designers and illustrators in fantasy films.

Read the full interview

Paul Tobin There and Back Again

White Cloud Worlds Volumes 1 & 2

With forewords and introductions from Guillermo Del Toro, Richard Taylor, Iain Craig and Wayne Barlow, these two lavish volumes represent the finest fantasy artwork from New Zealand.

Paul Tobin has graciously given us 20 copies of his books for a DeviantArt competition.

What you need to do

All you need to do for a chance to grab one of his books is to post in the comments below a link to a piece of art from the community that you think might inspire Paul for his own personal upcoming project about the lost city of Atlantis. Paul will then select 10 of the pieces and the deviant posting the piece will get a copy of one of the books as well as the deviant who produced the piece.

Paul will select his favorites on December 31st and we’ll post a wrap–up shortly after.

View the rest here

Paul Tobin's Scavenger Hunt Series

Leave your selections for Paul in the comments below

50-img-00 by techgnotic

Spots fascinate the human mind. It’s as if we’re born “knowing” on some molecular level that we’re not really “solid” but an electronically glued together quivering system of particles. Aristotle surmised as much by simply walking on the beach and lifting up a handful of that solid beach, only to have the countless grains of sand flow through his fingers.

Spots arranged in patterns represent order—and order creates life. Spots and circles are arranged by the artist or craftsman. The eye is fascinated. The mind is pleased.

Img-01 by techgnotic

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

—Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

The opening line of Jane Austen’s most popular novel, Pride and Prejudice (1813), readily reflects the established view of the early 19th century English gentry and the main theme of every single one of her stories—the pursuit of marriage and through it salvation from spinsterhood and dire financial straits. This was the reality of Austen’s world where being a woman meant having limited options in life.  A respectable middle or upper class lady would never have the option of working and had no means of supporting herself outside of the economic institution of marriage.

Without thinking highly either of men or of matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want.”

—Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Austen was born on Dec. 16, 1775 in Steventon, England into a large family of eight children.  She was the youngest girl.  Alongside her sister Cassandra, she was educated at home by her parents, growing with and immersing herself in her father’s library, as well as enjoying comedic plays staged by family and friends. At a time when being a “lady” meant almost universal disapproval of her pursuing a career as a professional writer, Austen was fully encouraged and supported by her family to continue her course towards becoming a published novelist.

A woman, especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.”

—Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen

By the age of 23 Austen had already written the first manuscripts for Elinor and Marianne (later to become Sense and Sensibility), First Impressions (now Pride and Prejudice), and Susan (eventually Northanger Abbey) with her father trying but failing to get her initial works published. It was ultimately her brother Henry Austen who successfully secured publication of Sense and Sensibility in 1811.  The novel’s emergence and popularity within the fashionable circles of society ensured the future publication of Austen’s work.

Her novels seem to draw from events and situations in her own life.  Holding “the mirror up to nature,” Austen used her comedies to reflect the truth in society as she had experienced it. Similar to the theater, society required every lady to play a certain role, one which unfortunately had been assigned to her since the moment of birth. By staying within established social theatrics in her novels, Austen gained the freedom to innocently introduce ladies who rebelled against convention, were confident, spirited, determined, and proved equal in intellect to any man. Her leading ladies raised no objections from readers because to everyone’s satisfaction and approval all the “loose ends” were tied up with her protagonists ending the show properly attired in wedding gowns on their way towards living happily ever after.

I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”

—Persuasion, Jane Austen

Over 200 years ago the world read Austen’s first published novel, though no one outside her family (and eventually members of the aristocracy) knew she was the author, as the byline read “By a Lady.”  It was not uncommon at the time for female authors to go by other names or, as in this case, even uncredited. Austen’s books continued to be well-received and her earnings provided her some financial freedom, though never sufficient to enjoying a comfortable lifestyle independent of her brother’s support. It was only after her death in 1817 that her brother Henry finally revealed the author’s true identity in the preface to Austen’s final published novel, Persuasion.

Today Austen is one of the most read authors in English literature

Her novels, and even her life story, have been adapted for film (Clueless; Becoming Jane), for television (BBC’s 1995 Pride and Prejudice; Lost in Austen) and most recently re-imagined through today’s technology (The Lizzie Bennet Diaries; Emma Approved), with each production recreating Austen for her current day audience. Even zombies have made their way to Pemberley (in the mash-up parody, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies). From gracing the Bank of England’s £10 note to her latest honor of having Dec. 16 declared worldwide Jane Austen Day by The Jane Austen Centre in Bath, the beloved novelist’s popularity only seems to grow with each generation. Legions of devoted fans, some called Janeites and others Austenites, continue to demand all things Austen, finding in her strong female characters the early echoes of today’s cries for gender equality. It seems the times have finally caught up with Jane Austen, a writer whose words were generations ahead of their time, but always speaking to her readers, especially women, as promises of a more egalitarian society to come.

It is only a novel ... or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.”

—Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen

Your Thoughts

  1. When reading an Austen novel (or watching a faithfully-adapted movie version) are you surprised by how contemporary the situations and heartaches her characters faced two centuries ago seem, compared with our own?
  2. Does it anger or depress you that the life decision conundrums faced by Jane Austen’s female characters 200 years ago are so much unchanged for so many women living today?
  3. Have you ever felt you had become a Jane Austen character in your own life?
  4. Which authors today are exploring the same subjects in women’s lives (e.g., marriage vs. career; financial expediency vs. romance) on a similar level of acuity, nuance and wit as Jane Austen?

Cosplay Friday: Harry Potter

Fri Dec 12, 2014, 2:42 PM
70-img-00-v2 by techgnotic

Nothing says happy holidays like the magic of Harry Potter!

Witches, wizards, and muggles alike grab your wands and get ready for the Sorting ceremony! We’re heading to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where deviants have mixed up batches of Polyjuice Potion to transform into their favorite characters from the beloved Harry Potter series.

Whether you’re a student from Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw or a follower of ‘He Who Shall Not Be Named,’ these crafty cosplayers are sure to cast a spell on you.

Expecto Patronum!

Your Thoughts

  1. If you could choose, what house would you be in at Hogwarts?

Collection: Tilda Swinton

Tue Dec 9, 2014, 9:15 PM
Tilda Swinton by arabdel

Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton has always been more types of wildly creative artist than “only” an actress. As part of a live performance art installation for the Serpentine Gallery in London, she was displayed in a glass box not much bigger than herself, doing nothing but occasionally sleeping. She’s well–known in fashion circles for her work with designers specializing in androgynous styles of attire. She starred in the art–house film “Orlando,” based on the Virginia Woolf novel, in which she switches gender half way through the time–tripping story. Tilda is now known mostly as an Oscar–winning actress in mainstream Hollywood movies. She may have become “legit” in the film industry’s eyes, but she will remain a shining icon of “pure” artistic creativity and experimentation to her fans worldwide.

Angel (light) by jameswolf

“Hush, my friends. Let me tell you of those gods whose lore has left our lands, of the long–dead songs of angels and demons; let your hearts brave the ill–luck of broken vows and breathe the influx of borrowed spells. Walk with me on the winds of a victory of kings, and tell me now: whose flock will be crushed under the blow of defeat? Will you bathe in the white solace of the banners of salvation, or burn in the fiery fire of the warriors of damnation?”

HtBlack, of theWrittenRevolution

About Realm-of-Fantasy

Fantasy, by it's core definition is: the free play of creative imagination. At Realm-of-Fantasy you are welcome to explore your imagination. From Fantasy to Science Fiction, Horror to Steampunk, Superheroes to the Surreal; it's all there just waiting to be discovered.

The Origin of Realm of Fantasy

Cities of the Future

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 7:44 PM
Metropolis KL 2210 by skian-winterfyre

What do you think your favorite city will look like in one hundred years?

Architect Rem Koolhaas has completed a “vertical city” complex in Rotterdam, bringing a new style of multi–purpose skyscrapers to the city skyline. Bennett Stein wrote about the new buildings for KCRW’s Design & Architecture blog, calling the creator “the Godzilla of architecture.”

Here’s an excerpt from Stein’s essay:

It’s a diva of biomimetics—you swear it’s a living, sentient thing that watches you as you watch it. And it loves itself so much it’s looking in the mirror all the time–wait a minute, it is a mirror. The building has a reflective shiny exterior of glass and steel which is repeated on the interior in planes of reflective glass and steel.

— Bennett Stein

We love imagining what the future will look like and how we will tell stories in this new world.

These new buildings are one vision of our future cities. On a page celebrating the completion of the massive complex, the architecture firm described the new design:

The three stacked and interconnecting towers of De Rotterdam rise 44 floors to a height of 150 meters and span a width of over 100 meters… Office employees, residents and hotel guests are brought together in conference, sport and restaurant facilities. The building’s shared plinth is the location of the lobbies to each of the towers, creating a pedestrianized public hub by means of a common hall.

Stein compared the building to the work of Swiss architect Le Corbusier. The 20th Century architect imagined rebuilding Paris with “tall, concrete cruciform towers set in green, wooded parks.”

In a famous essay about the future of the city, Le Corbusier wrote:

We must create a mass-production state of mind:

A state of mind for building mass–production housing.

A state of mind for living in mass–production housing.

A state of mind for conceiving mass–production housing.

Could you live in this kind of city? Or do you hope for a different kind?

There has always been a prejudice against the vertical (How many stories?) in favor of the horizontal (How many square feet, miles, acres?) in this competitive egos society in which more counts for more than better.

Men like big numbers.

As the generations and genders evolve slowly to higher fields of perceived self–worth, the zeitgeist is forever changing, And as always, this is reflected in our trends in architecture. Bravo to better living through functional ecologically inter–engineered working and recreating spaces. How many acres of unused plains dust in Texas constitutes George W.’s “ranch?” I’m sure it’s an impressively large number. I’d prefer to reach for the stars in my life unit not using up any more space and resources than is necessary for my happy, healthy, creative existence.

Your Thoughts

  1. Do you do any sketching/painting/designing/inventing of buildings and architecture? What sorts of things? Have you ever built anything three dimensionally?

  2. What is your hometown like (city, suburb, rural, etc.) and has it influenced your interest in being an artist?

  3. What do you think of the architecture of cities and their influence on our everyday lives?

  4. What is your favorite building in the world and why?

Collection: The Secret Garden

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 7:42 PM
The Secret Garden by MistaBobby

The Key is in Your Head

“The Secret Garden” was a serialized children’s story, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, written in 1910—11. It’s all about a troubled little girl coming alive in a secret place she alone has found the key to. Today, one’s “secret garden” evokes any place a person goes to be alone with their most private thoughts—that place sometimes existing only in mind in fantasy or memory.

Collection: The Dance of Fire

Fri Dec 5, 2014, 6:21 PM
Flamenco Feet by EyesLikeAbsinthe

The Dance of Fire

Flamenco is the dynamically measured music and flamboyant dance of the Spanish Romani gypsies known as “Gitanos.” It evolved around the campfires of a persecuted people always on the run from government authorities, a form of much needed release from constantly struggling to survive and not be forced to assimilate into the “civilized” populations of Europe. Flamenco is the dance of total abandonment to a unique guitar time signature that creates a whirling vortex of fire in the night, the dancers becoming inextinguishable human flames.

Terminator Movie Poster Remix

Thu Dec 4, 2014, 5:37 PM
62-img-00 by techgnotic

He lived up to his word He’s back!

Only Doctor Who has broken more laws of Time and Space. And in the wake of Star Trek, Jurassic Park and Star Wars, it was inevitable that The Terminator receive its reboot—next summer’s Terminator Genisys. Arnold Schwarzenegger, born to play the terminator robot icon will be back to hand off to whoever is coming to take up the reins next.

The new “T:G” motion poster has already been released, assuring us that the Terminator kill–bots will remain the same murderous machines we have grown to know and love and hate!

As Paramount prepares to release the next teaser in their latest version of the Terminator Universe, we thought it would be the right time to showcase some of the awesome remix movie posters from the DeviantArt community, each one with its own unique spin on the property. As these offerings attest to, icons like the Schwarzenegger Terminator would seem to be high–test fuel for artistic creativity.

Collection: Pugilist

Thu Dec 4, 2014, 1:53 PM
Crude and Ugly by lundqvist


Capturing the essence or the "sweet science" of prize fighting is a near impossible task for most artists. There’s more than the necessary knowledge of the anatomy of an athlete’s body in motion. There’s the underlying unknown life narrative of each pugilist: Was it a special talent and toughness or poverty and desperation that led to being in a ring trying to beat another person into submission? A bad performance doesn’t just mean bad reviews or early retirement, but possible permanent physical disability. On many levels these are our greatest athletes.

Few artists have experienced boxing before trying to express its agony and its ecstasy. Perhaps only actual warfare is more taxing to the inexperienced artistic imagination.

The Stock Market - No. 11

Thu Dec 4, 2014, 1:48 PM
Angel Stock by Reine-Haru

The inspirational magic of one image awakening the creative muse of hundreds of artists.

This issue’s stock image

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Spy Tools of the Future

Mon Dec 1, 2014, 9:06 PM
Watch Dogs by AcerSense

What if spies could decode sound vibrations passing through leaves, water and other everyday objects?

Spies of the future will use algorithms to gather information that humans could never dream of capturing. In an astounding breakthrough, scientists are learning how to decode "intelligible speech" by analyzing videotaped sound vibrations.

Science Daily has more:

Researchers at MIT, Microsoft, and Adobe have developed an algorithm that can reconstruct an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. In one set of experiments, they were able to recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag photographed from 15 feet away through soundproof glass. In other experiments, they extracted useful audio signals from videos of aluminum foil, the surface of a glass of water, and even the leaves of a potted plant.”

In this hypothetical future, no space would be completely sound-proof. To keep a secret, you would have to control your invisible vibrations.

This technology could also be used to reconstruct conversations from silent movies and Super-8 cameras.

But that’s not all. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell proved that they could use portable cameras on wearable devices like Google Glass to capture and decode passwords.

Wired has more about this breakthrough:

They could use video from wearables like Google Glass and the Samsung smartwatch to surreptitiously pick up four-digit PIN codes typed onto an iPad from almost 10 feet away—and from nearly 150 feet with a high-def camcorder. Their software, which used a custom-coded video recognition algorithm that tracks the shadows from finger taps, could spot the codes even when the video didn’t capture any images on the target devices’ displays.”

Since future dream research will soon be identifying future killers who can be incarcerated and exterminated in their childhoods before they can even imagine what criminality they were going to commit, and since nanotechnology will soon give us a world of super abundance in which all our fears about global weather change and peak oil and fracking will be silly memories of our silly do–gooder forebears… there doesn’t seem to be anything for a good citizen to get all outraged about these days.

The scientists (well, a distinct fraction of them, and I’d like to examine their diplomas) and nerd “futurologists” seem to be bringing everything to order in a much more orderly and “feel–good” fashion than Adolf and Benito ever came close to achieving. So why spend the workers’ tax–revenues on “vibration translation” rather than autism? Could it be that as new models for “income reform” supplant dated “capitalism,” our less–than–1% ruling class needs new ways to survive and thrive beyond their splintering old economic and military models? Secrets in our heads just might be the next great natural resource to be tapped by our controllers. And whether by pension check, policemen, drones or knowledge of our every desire—this world is still about the controllers and the controlled.

Your Thoughts

  1. How could spies of the future use these new technologies?

  2. How could people keep secrets in this kind of world?

Collection: Warm Woolen Mittens

Mon Dec 1, 2014, 9:05 PM
Snow Dance by jaelise

Warm Woolen Mittens

Snowball fights, snow angels, building snowmen and skating (with or without actual skates) on naturally frozen ponds and lakes. These are the universally enjoyed activities of wintertime. They are the joys that off–set the woes of the hazardous driving, the colds and flu, and the heating bills. Encourage your children to pursue their winter fun activities just as tenaciously as they do their school studies. The greater the multitude of happy winter memories banked in youth, the easier it is when the arthritis arrives, shutting us indoors, with only our colds and flu and heating bills. That’s when having the fullest possible bank of happy holiday memories is of such incalculable value.

Storytellers of the Future

Thu Nov 27, 2014, 2:02 PM
Storyteller by hyenacub by techgnotic

What kind of new narratives will 21st Century storytellers create for our changing world?

Brain Games host Jason Silva tackled that question in a two-minute video called "Lucid Dreaming," outlining the tremendous opportunities (and challenges) facing 21st Century storytellers. As our relationship to technology evolves, the stories we tell each other will change as well.

It’s always fun to imagine what the future will look like and how we will tell stories in this new world.

Silva used culture writer Erik Davis' description of immersive storytelling, a way to create a sort of lucid dream for the reader or viewer:

Immersive works of art or entertainment are increasingly not content to simply produce a new range of sensations. Instead, they often function as portals into other worlds."

— Erik Davis

Silva also quoted Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace by Janet H. Murray, a scholarly book looking at the future of storytelling. Silva explained how readers and viewers interact with a story:

So powerful is our desire to be immersed that it's not just that we suspend disbelief, but that we actually create belief--using our sophisticated intelligence to reinforce our belief in the story world, rather than to question it. We actively metabolize belief through story ... The narratives of the future have the potential to transform what it means to be human to employ landscapes of the mind and turn subjective experience into a living, breathing painting; a wake-walking dream.”

— Janet H. Murray

Murray's book was published in 1997, but it is still very relevant for readers, viewers and creators. She raised questions that still need to be answered as technology evolves.

Here is an inspiring passage from her book:

I find myself anticipating a new kind of storyteller, one who is half hacker, half bard. The spirit of the hacker is one of the great creative wellsprings of our time, causing the inanimate circuits to sing with ever more individualized and quirky voices; the spirit of the bard is eternal and irreplaceable, telling us what we are doing here and what we mean to one another. I am drawn to imagining a cyberdrama of the future by the same fascination that draws me to the Victorian novel. I see glimmers of a medium that is capacious and broadly expressive, a medium capable of capturing both the hairbreadth movements of individual human consciousness and the colossal crosscurrents of global society.

What do you think? Who are the writers leading this storytelling revolution?

The wonders of narrative immersion possible through new tech advances are truly amazing.  My only worry is that as with every other academic subject our youth are slipping in due to disuse, the intellectual muscles that created the worlds in which we as young readers had suspended disbelief are beginning to atrophy.

Children’s stories, or for that matter stories for any age group, should not rise or fall on how well the illustrators and animators built the backgrounds I see in my 3D virtual reality wraparound glasses.  At a certain point, pure storytelling (great writing) is going to begin becoming just another element in the overall narrative, and with its primacy reduced, become all the weaker and mundane.