Illustration Friday: Routine [Drawing and Video]

August 28, 2008 at 2:23 AM (Art, Movies) (, , , , , , )

This week’s Illustration Friday topic is "Routine".  And when I saw that, there was only one thing I could think of — the song "Every Day is Exactly the Same" by Nine Inch Nails.  This is an amazing song, I can relate to it quite well (heh)!  Anyway, here is a page with more details on the song and the lyrics.  Without further ado, here is the drawing I did —

That’s Trent Reznor, the man behind Nine Inch Nails.  The picture was done with ballpoint pen on a small notepad actually!  You can click on the image above to see a larger version.

But wait!  That’s not all!  In addition to the above drawing, I did a bunch more inspired by the song and by movies that kind of follow a similar theme.  And what’s more, I filmed myself drawing them and put the footage together into a video.  So here’s a fan-made music video for Nine Inch Nails’ "Every Day is Exactly the Same", directed by yours truly, Karthik Abhiram —

You can go to the YouTube page here.  Feel free to comment either here or on the video page!

By the way, I’ve scanned the five other drawings that are visible in the video (one is visible VERY briefly, the others have considerably more screen time).  I will put them up later.  I actually did all this over the weekend but didn’t have the time to make this post.  Thought I’d go ahead with the Reznor drawing alone because I didn’t want to go too far away from Illustration "Friday"!

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Drew Struzan Website Updated

August 19, 2008 at 10:55 PM (Art, Movies) (, , )

I have written about movie poster artist Drew Struzan a few times on this site.  Today, I noticed that his website has been updated, and the best part is that high quality pictures of his artwork have been published there!

Above is a detail from Drew’s poster of the Kurt Russell starring, John Carpenter movie Big Trouble in Little China.  Amazing art, right?  Below, is a poster for Blade Runner

That image was used for the poster and DVD cover art for Blade Runner: The Final Cut (by the way, I bought the DVD sometime back).  According to the Drew Struzan website, the original art is done with acrylic paints and coloured pencil on 30" × 40" gessoed board, and can be purchased for USD 125,000!  The three posters for the Back to the Future movies are sold as a set, for USD 350,000.  Obviously, only very wealthy art collectors can pay that much for the originals — but I’d love to have large size prints of these posters.

You can have a look at his works here: DrewStruzan.com.

And, I also found this 7 min 30 sec video on YouTube: Drew Struzan: The Appreciation of an Artist, which is really worth watching — it has directors Frank Darabont and Guillermo Del Toro talk about Struzan and even shows Struzan himself working.  Really amazing stuff.

EDIT [23:08]: Speaking of DVDs, I should mention that Sekhar Kammula’s film Happy Days is out on DVD.  It is released by Sri Balaji Video (this company puts out good Telugu DVD releases) in a region-free NTSC version, in anamorphic widescreen, with English subtitles and a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound mix.  Unfortunately, there are no extras or special features to speak of — I kind of expected that a hugely popular movie like this would get a more special treatment!  Anyway the DVD only costs Rs 125, so I bought it.  I also got the DVD of this thriller called Anasuya.

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My new phone — Nokia N82

August 19, 2008 at 8:56 PM (General) (, , , , , , , )

I got a new cellphone yesterday.  This is Nokia N Series phone — the N82.

For quite some time, I’d been thinking of replacing my existing phone (a Sony Ericsson W700i).  I wanted to get a phone on which I could listen to music and watch videos (with the ability to rewind and fast-forward), and the camera was also important.  My brother’s friend has an N73 Music Edition phone, and seeing that in action in Bangalore was what inspired me to also get an N Series phone.

The current N82 is an awesome phone and is ideal for all the things I mentioned above — it has 2 GB of storage, supports various audio and video formats, and has an excellent camera on board.  By the way, the camera is comparable to a digital camera, and is superior to cameras found on most mobile phones.  This is a 5 megapixel camera with a Carl Zeiss lens and a Xenon flash.  It records MP4 video too, in a very decent resolution (640 × 480).  I didn’t have much time to experiment with the phone yet, but I will get to that, given some time.

The phone can use an existing wireless network, hence, I was able to browse webpages on it by connecting to our home network (by the way, we got a wireless router recently, so that our Tata Indicom connection is made into a wireless signal, with encryption of course).

One of the things I want to do on top priority is to encode my drawing videos into MP4 files and upload them to the phone.  This way, I can show them off to people very easily!  Perhaps later, I can also check out some of the SDKs available for these phones.  By the way, did you know, you can transcode video by using VLC media player?  The File » Open dialog has a "Stream/Save" option by which you can convert video from one format into another.

Check out this comprehensive review of the phone.  I read this before buying the phone, hence was very happy with my decision.  The pictures in that review are of the grey/silver N82 model, whereas I got a black one.  That’s me in the picture above, with my new phone.  That photo was obviously not taken with the phone, but with the webcam on my laptop.

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Varun has moved to Bangalore

August 19, 2008 at 7:27 PM (General) (, , )

My brother Varun recently moved to Bangalore.  He was recruited on campus by Wipro Technologies, and he recently got his joining date at the company.  He was asked to report to Bangalore on 13 Aug, and his training began yesterday.  My parents and I also went to Bangalore for a few days, to help him settle down (hence, I’d taken a few days off from work).

We reached Bangalore on 13-Aug-08 morning (Varun and his friends reached there a day earlier), and looked for some accommodations in BTM Layout and in Koramangala.  Varun is now staying in a place in Koramangala.

The above photo was taken at Pizza Hut in The Forum Mall.  Varun, three of his friends, myself and my parents are in the picture.  By the way, it was my treat!

I hope Varun has a great time in Bangalore.  He has taken my old laptop with him — it served me well, and I hope it does the same for him too (we put in a 160 GB disk and added a GB of RAM before he took it).

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Hostel and Hostel: Part II (Drawing, Review)

August 11, 2008 at 4:16 AM (Art, Movies) (, , , , , , )

I watched both Hostel (2005) and Hostel: Part II (2007) back-to-back, this weekend.  The first movie begins with three friends, Paxton (Jay Hernandez), Josh (Derek Richardson) and Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson) heading out to a hostel in Bratislava, Slovakia, in search of beautiful women who will "do anything" with an American tourist.  Once there, things take a turn for the worse when one-by-one, they disappear — we realise later that they’ve been abducted by an underground "Elite Hunting" club, who kidnap tourists and offer them up to rich people to torture and kill in any way they see fit!  The sequel is more-or-less a retread of the first film, except this time we have three female lead characters — Beth (Lauren German), Whitney (Bijou Phillips) and Lorna (Heather Matarazzo) who go to the Slovak hostel, and we get to see more of what happens "behind-the-scenes" at Elite Hunting.  Both films also have the appearance of the "Bubblegum Gang", a group of little kids who are very, very dangerous.

Both movies come from writer-director Eli Roth and are executive produced by Quentin Tarantino.  The movies became well-known due to their extremely violent and bloody content — these two, along with the Saw movies are commonly referred to under the "torture porn" genre.  Of course, both are well-done movies and if you like this sort of thing, they’re highly recommended!  I thought the Saw movies were a notch better than this series, though.

I did a drawing today based on Hostel and Hostel: Part II.  It was done with ballpoint pen and I added some colour to it on computer.  The drawing features Rick Hoffman as the "American Client" from Part 1, the Bubblegum Gang leader from both movies, Lauren German as Beth from Part 2 and Jay Hernandez as Paxton from Part 1.  You can click on the images to see larger versions (warning: black and white image large version contains profanity).

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Wanted (Drawing, Review)

August 10, 2008 at 10:32 PM (Art, Comics, Movies) (, , , , , , )

Wanted is a movie adaptation of a comic book miniseries by Mark Millar (writer) and J G Jones (art).  James McAvoy stars as Wesley Gibson, a nobody who leads a pathetic life as an office worker.  Life seems to be going nowhere for him (this part of the movie reminded me very much of Fight Club in terms of dialogue and tone, which was awesome — plus, one sequence has the Nine Inch Nails song "Everyday is Exactly the Same" playing in the background!), until one day, he meets Fox (Angelina Jolie).  She tells him that his father was one of the greatest assassins in the world, and that he was killed the previous day.  She leads him to an underground "Fraternity" of assassins, led by the mysterious Sloan (Morgan Freeman), and this is where his training begins.  Wesley is trained to be part of the Fraternity, so that he can avenge the death of his father.  Of course, the movie has a few twists up its sleeve as well, beyond this.

The movie is a loose adaptation of the book — some of the elements are retained, while much of the fantastical elements are removed.  In the book, the Fraternity are actually a group of supervillains (all superheroes having been eliminated in 1986), and there are a group of warring factions within.  Some of the scenes from the book make it intact into the movie (for example, some of the training montages).

The director of the movie version is Timur Bekmambetov, who made the Russian films Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor) (2004) and Day Watch (Dnevnoy Dozor) (2006).  Like in those movies, the visuals are stunning here — there are some jaw-dropping and "Whoa!" inducing action sequences.  The movie has a nice demented sense of humour too (one example which you can see in the red-band trailer — Wesley smashes a computer keyboard on the face of a coworker, and momentarily, as the keys fly out, they form the words "fuck you", the last "u" being a tooth!), and one point that is to be really appreciated is that they didn’t tone down the violence — there’s quite a lot of bloodshed here.  The acting is all good, and fans of the "Watch" films will be glad to see Konstantin Khabensky in a small role here (he played Anton Gorodetsky in those movies, and appears as a character called "The Exterminator" here).

I watched the movie in a theatre and had a big grin on my face when the movie was over.  Highly recommended.  Rating: 9/10.

And that brings us to the drawing above — which I actually did before watching the movie.  It was done in pencil, and I added the brown colour in the background in Photoshop.  You can click the image for a larger version.

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Tetsuo: The Iron Man (Drawing, Review)

August 10, 2008 at 6:06 PM (Art, Movies) (, , , , , )

Tetsuo: The Iron Man is a film from Japanese director Shinya Tsukamoto.  It begins with a character called the "Metal Fetishist" inserting rods of metal into his body.  Subsequently, the Metal Fetishist is run over by a Salaryman (an office worker).  What follows is a bizarre sequence of events and images, where the Salaryman apparently starts mutating into a metal creature, with wires and other objects of metal emerging from his body.

This is a nightmarish film that is shot in black-and-white, with very little dialogue and a grungy, decayed look.  Shinya Tsukamoto wrote and directed the movie, and also stars as the Metal Fetishist — which makes one question his sanity!  One could compare this with a David Cronenberg movie, where "metal is the new flesh".  The movie is well made and has some very good effects and visuals, all accomplished on a low budget.  It is one of the weirdest movies I have seen (the weirdest would be David Lynch’s Eraserhead, but this also comes close), and I would recommend watching it if you have a taste for stuff like this.  Beware though, that it contains some explicit content and is definitely an adults-only film.  Shinya Tsukamoto made a sequel to this, called Tetsuo II: Body Hammer which I have not seen.  Rating: 7/10.

And as you might expect, I did a drawing based on this movie which you see above.  It was done in ballpoint pen and shows the Metal Fetishist on the top right, with the Salaryman in an advanced stage of "metal mutation" on the bottom left.  You can click it for a larger version.

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Doom II: Delta-Q-Delta — An OverClocked ReMix Album

August 9, 2008 at 12:24 PM (Doom) (, , , )

"This should be played at a high volume, preferably in a residential area."

Delta-Q-Delta

Saw on Doomworld last night that OverClocked ReMix has released a free album, called Doom II: Delta-Q-Delta.  This contains 14 music tracks (13 tracks plus one bonus track), which are all remixes of songs from the Doom II soundtrack.  It’s a follow-up to the 2005 album, Doom: The Dark Side of Phobos, which was a 2 CD album with remixes of songs from the Ultimate Doom soundtrack.

These albums can be downloaded from the respective websites.  Delta-Q-Delta can be downloaded as individual MP3s, or you can get it through BitTorrent — the torrent release is 805 MB in size and contains the tracks in MP3 as well as FLAC format.  As is the case with their earlier album and with recent album releases by Nine Inch Nails, they’ve thrown in a few extras as well — including album art and a desktop wallpaper at different resolutions.  I downloaded it through the torrent, but skipped the FLAC tracks.

I’m listening to the tracks now, all good stuff.  I guess one can usually depend on these remixers to deliver quality stuff — I’ve been keeping track of OCRemix releases more or less from 2001 I think, and have enjoyed listening to their takes on music from Doom, Doom II, Final Doom, Duke Nukem 3-D and a few other games.  Hence, if you have some time and bandwidth to spare, put this torrent for download and enjoy.

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Karthik82.com temporarily offline, will be using this blog for some time

August 3, 2008 at 7:56 PM (General)

For the next few weeks I will be making updates here, on my WordPress blog.  Karthik82.com is currently offline.  The domain has been renewed, but I am planning to change the host, and for that I would need to transfer the domain from the current registrar to the new one.  And apparently, if you transfer the domain within 45 days of renewal, you lose one year of validity when you transfer it.

Hence, I thought, rather than letting the updates completely stop, I will keep writing stuff here.  The new host offers the possibility to set up WordPress, and I was thinking of using that as opposed to my custom-written blogging platform (by the way "custom-written blogging platform" sounds way more elegant than needed).

So, this will take some time to settle down.  Until then, please keep visiting this blog for further updates.

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