nendil: (Default)
As promised, I'm here to give a thorough rundown and review of Jui Guoliang's Chinese Tarot deck. I'll be showing scans of most (though not all) of the cards, which are hopefully small enough to not err... incur un-fair usage... but I do encourage you to click through and take a look at the very nice artworks even if you don't read my humongous info-dumps (and I can't blame you for that XP).

Overall I like these cards very much as an art deck, though the tarot associations are not as strong as they could be. I would have used many more archetypal characters from Chinese mythology & literature (and even history), and I'll be explaining my own choices for each card down below. (Granted, I'm far from an expert on Chinese culture and a large deal of my knowledge comes from Journey to the West... but the most popularly-known cultural elements are the strongest and most archetypal, right?) Nonetheless, I think the deck has a relatively fair compromise between Chinese references and relatability to a Western audience - in fact, there are a lot of things that people without a Chinese cultural knowledge wouldn't get even after reading the included Little White Booklet. And that's why I'm making this post!

(Apologies for using Simplified Chinese in these posts. I would have used Traditional to match the text on the cards, but I tried to figure out how to type in the Traditional Chinese input systems a while back and failed miserably. I need my pinyin!!)

Major Arcana 1/3 )

This may be tl;dr for you to read but it's even more time-consuming for me to research and type out. :P More next time!
nendil: (boing)
Decent action, horrible cinematography, somewhat passable writing, deliciously gorgeous sets & costumes. Probably the best Ocarina of Time movie we will ever see. :P I am kind of tempted to cosplay as Princess Tamina but the embroidery/beading details would DRIVE ME CRAZY.

P.S. I think "Dastan" is kind of a stupid hero name. XP
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I swear aim to have that painting finished by the end of this week. If it doesn't happen, I will be sad. :<

This here is not that thing but it is a totally different thing that happened totally not under the influence of soju. Photo courtesy of [ profile] ctrl_a.

what is this i don't even )

Additional stuff:

* Saw ~2/3rds of How to Train Your Dragon tonight before the whole theater's power died (srsly) and I am already in love. Purchasing the soundtrack RIGHT NOW.

* Finally (finally) started watching Avatar: the Last Airbender with Kevin, and I'm glad I did because the movie's trailer was in front of Dragon and I was able to tell it looked great despite the jarringly lily-white Inuit kids :P I'm not that far in yet so the plot isn't amazing yet, but the quality, especially of the fight scenes, is already showing through. I will watch it all before the movie comes out! Because that's the reason that got me to finally watch it in the first place!
nendil: (boing)
Hahaha I just watched Resident Evil: Degeneration. I don't know how it was possible for a CG movie to be so high-budget and low-budget at the same time.

- Texturing
- Lighting
- Rendering
- Hair (albeit fairly static hair)
- Most of the action scenes (complete with A+B triggers)
- The occasional camera work

- Animation
- Plot (what plot?)
- Rigging, both skeletal and facial
- Animation of anyone who's not a zombie
- Acting
- People's ears (the only thing I'm an ~*expert*~ at modeling)
- Leon S. Kennedy's superpower of standing rigidly and not moving a single muscle for upward of 20 seconds. Also see: animation

So in short, it was exactly like a Resident Evil game cutscene. Except where was Wesker?


May. 16th, 2008 10:20 pm
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Went to see Bodyworlds at the California Scence Center today. Why is this extra credit for Kevin's biology class but not for my courses?

Funny thing: I actually had to get a "sketch pass" which involved filling out a powerless form and getting a pink sticker with today's date handwritten on it TO BRING YOU THIS. )

Highly recommend to all who gets a chance to see.
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Silent Hill was fantabulous.  I'd read some negative things about the plot - critics thought "WTF is going on with this nonsense", while hardcore fans thought "stupid freaking info dump aghagagaggagh".  But I felt that the explanation level was pretty perfect, much better than the "._. what" I was at after getting only vague vague clues for the whole game in SH1.  I was all prepared for a lame pandering block of exposition when the obvious scene came, but it was well-done and didn't ruin the flow at all.

Heh, having spoiled myself beforehand about what happens during Pyramid Head's second appearance, I thought it was going to be The hardcore gory moment in the film (aside from the ending) that was all "OH GOD WHAT DID HE JUST DO THIS IS NOT RIGHT" for the audience but after seeing all that had happened in the first half of the movie, it was just all in a day's work for the P-man. =P

Anyway, I think the movie was perfectly done for a casual fan like me.  The atmosphere, both visual and audio, couldn't have possibly been better.  I also really liked that I was able to discuss with my friends afterwards about what various aspects of the film could mean, just like the deep amounts of symbolism in the games.  The ending climax was the only thing that slightly disappointed me - I thought it was a bit over the top and unnecessary, plus the CG at that point gets just fake-looking enough to break my immersion.  Director Gans watches just a tad too much anime, I'd say XP

Must watch again at any available opportunity.

(P.S. not enough Pyramid Head)
nendil: (boing)
Goblet of Fire was so damn gorgeous, I liked it even better than PoA (which I thought was leaps and bounds above the first two). Maybe the fact that I haven't re-read the book in a long time helped that I wasn't missing all the things that were cut out, but I felt it did a pretty close-to-perfect job of cramming in all the most important parts of a freaking 700 page book. [ profile] ctrl_a, I think you'll even enjoy it since they trimmed off all the fat they could manage.

I was getting all emotional at the parts from the book that the movie did so perfectly, like the Quidditch World Cup stadium and the Durmstrang ship rising out of the lake and the whole graveyard scene... Ohh, I'd love to watch this again, but who knows when that'll be. Wonder if I can catch an IMAX showing at the Tech when I go home for winter break? ::drool::

And then Narnia's coming out in a couple of weeks, and then King Kong! Too many good movies to watch! ^___^

Edit: I like how they slight movie spoilers )
nendil: (boing)
VG dorkiness! )
nendil: (boing)
I'm too lazy to cut for spoilers, because I got out most of my comments to [ profile] summercomfort already, so I will just be brief and very vague.

I still (mostly) believe in Snape.  It's not like he could've acted any differently.

Harry's shipping was decent but I'm still not happy that it came out of whoa nowhere.  Bad development, Jo!  Am content with the pairings otherwise, though.

The writing was cliched and unsubtle at parts.  (Even though I still overguessed myself.)  The emotion was very good, though.  Much better than I felt at the end of the last book.

Also, looks like I'll have new tarot assignments!  If Ravenclaw turns out to have a wand, I'll probably include the artifacts in illustration(s) of some cards like The Magician, but I'm not changing my suits, [ profile] theropicus.  I mean, Gryffindor as Swords?  Please.
nendil: (boing)
We watched this series called Beck in anime club today, about some Japanese students who meet a (Japanese) guy who's the guitarist for a popular American rock band. It's the somber, nitty-gritty post-modern type of series that wouldn't usually click with me, except for one thing: the realism. You can see it in the opening and backgrounds: store fronts and brand signs and graffiti that's perfectly rendered, exactly like the streets you'd see everyday in America (in the OP) and Japan (in the episode), not blurry-glossed over or parody brand names or nonsensical Engrish like in most anime.

But the *best* part of the whole episode is when the protagonists run afoul with some burly gaijin thugs, who bellow in virtually perfect American-accented English, "What the f*** are you doin' to my car!?" and continues the tirade with strings of flawless slang and obscenities. And then the rocker guy makes his entrance and tells off the thugs, and his English is also smooth and natural (though a few times he didn't quite make sense...) but he speaks with the slightest hint of a Japanese accent. Perfect for the character, perfect for the setting.

Did I mention there is what appears to be a Frankenstein-made dog? Okay, that's not realistic. That's just weird. =P

Anyway, I'm quite interested in what this series is going to do, but even without that, I'd watch it just for the sheer amount of meticulous effort that's obviously gone into the show. And it's so refreshing to hear non-Engrish in an anime... =D

I, Hungry

Jul. 18th, 2004 11:12 pm
nendil: (boing)
Didn't like I, Robot. Liked looking at all the futuristic-ish technology and gear - the art direction and design for the movie was good. But the script was a lot of nothing and obviously written by someone who knows next-to-nothing about computers and programming. Lots of stuff I could rant about, but at least I got out most of it to Diana, so I shall just say:

Sound directors, stop feeling the need to apply a "mrow" anytime we see a cat on screen! Cats only make sound when they want something, certainly not when they're happily rubbing against you or when they're trotting away. And if they just got dunked in a pond and there's a building being blown up demolished behind them, they're gonna fight tooth and nail to bloody bolt, not sit docile-y on some stranger's shoulder!

Oh yeah, and three blatant product placements within the first five minutes. Four in the first fifteen. Fantabulous.

...anyways. Working on something for... one of mah communities.
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Oh, worship Alfonso CuarĂ³n. Prisoner of Azkaban was so cinematically gorgeous, and so different from the first movie... it was like the enchantment of stepping into the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley for the first time again. His wizarding world is so much more magical than Chris Columbus's, down to the tiniest little detail and the simplest of establishing shots.

Movie spoilers, in chronological order. I was taking lotsa notes in the dark =P )

Major props to the CG team for Buckbeak, a moderate-decent model but a fantastic piece of animation. Major props to the art team who painted the not-entirely-realistic-but-perfectly-ethereal matte moons throughout the movie.

Overall, my only quibble with the movie was that it was a bit too fast-paced at times, and lost a lot of exposition, especially the important stuff at the end, thus confuzzling newbies. But oh god, it was so smoothly placed together, a much better piece of story-telling than the must-show-off-landmark-scenes! first movie.

More movie spoilers )

Whee, taking brother to see it when I go home! MUST drag mom along too. ^^ Pray for director's cut DVD with more exposition!
nendil: (boing)
We got to the theater at 8pm. There was only one other group there, though decked out in full cosplay regalia they were. WTF? Where were all the fans? XP

Well, the line sort of made an effort to form by 11:30, and the theater was just about filled up, but overall not a very enthusiastic crowd. Oh well, more for us XP

Massive spoilers. Although, if you have me on your friends page, you've probably seen the movie, or even heard my opinions, already. =P )

Overall, I simply can't wait for the extended DVDs, not just for the extra scenes but to see the documentaries on HOW THE HELL they did it all. Just amazing amounts of work.
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A friend showed me these two websites, asking for my opinion. Wow, it's fascinating what people will buy...

The first one is pretty impressive in raw technique, upon first glance. However, the artist's style is fairly cramped, and he offers little artistic interpretation in terms of composition, lighting, color balance, mood/emotion, etc. It pretty much looks like he's very good at copying photos, but not much else. I'd like to know what medium he uses--I suspect computer, but can't see enough detail to tell. If that's the case, then I find it even less impressive--not because I think he's using filters or cheating or anything, but because it should be easy to achieve better effects with the tools of a digital medium.

Those photos of the artist presenting his works to the original actors just make me kinda sad and amused at the same time, because the art layman would probably be thrilled with something like that. But I'd love to see what Viggo Mortensen would think of it. He's an artist too...

The second one appears to be trying to give a little more artistic interpretation through the use of "vague" brushstrokes, but since he's still just copying photos it just looks like he didn't bother refining or finishing his paintings. His technique is underwhelming to say the least--the Legolas painting in the LotR "preview page" actually makes me physically queasy (I didn't know that was possible!). And that Argonath picture is pretty much an insult to the original matte artists of the movie who DID have to paint that scene, just with much better execution than he did.

Yet these folks present themselves as professionals. At the least, they make some sort of living off it because the common fan doesn't have enough artistic sense to know any better. It gives me hope... >P
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Arrived at Mann Village Theatre at approx. 3:30pm to a gathering crowd of a couple hundred or so. Obediently we got in some sort of line for not-quite-sure-what. An elderly man behind us inquired about whether we commoners would have any chance of getting in to see the film. Local vendors traversed up and down the sidewalk, handing out fliers for their pizza.

At approx. 4:30 or 5pm they called for ticket holders to go up to the front of the line. Were surprised to find out the old guy behind us was one of them. Wha--?

By 6pm there was probably a thousand or more people. At that time our queue on the sidewalk was allowed to "board" the bleachers set up on both sides of the red carpet. RotK music was piped in through surrounding speakers. (Must get soundtrack.) There was a guy dressed in an elaborate, rhinestone-studded Elvis costume, with words spelled out in sequins on his cape. He's the Return of the King, see.

Being on the top level of the bleachers didn't help much when the limos started arriving. Am surprised at how well I recognized people's faces from 100 feet away on tiptoes. Ian McKellen was one of the first to arrive, and thus starts the chaos.


- Peter Jackson is really short! =D He wasn't wearing shorts or sandals though.
- Liv Tyler is incredibly gorgeous in person. The cameras don't do her justice, impossible as that is to believe.
- Apparently Sean Astin was a UCLA alum, we did the school cheer for him =)
- Orlando Bloom has, like, hobbit hair now.
- Elijah Wood apparently never showed up. Aw...

At 7:30 they were all rushed into the theater, including a tardy Dominic Monaghan who didn't have time to make it down the full length of the red carpet. Since the press was leaving, we figured there wasn't much action left for us. Instead we'll go home and watch the madness once more on the evening news...

Edit: Apparently Elijah did show up, 45 minutes after everyone else. Oh well ^^;
nendil: (Default)
U-hoy... didn't write for a little while, didn't have much to say for a little while. Well, I don't think listening to me ramble about emulated DDR would have been very interesting. ^^;;

Watched Legend today, courtesy of Elwen. Quite a visually gorgeous movie, and the influence Miyamoto took from it for the Zelda series is clear as day.

...But that's about all that was good about it. ^^;; The acting was weak (except for Tim Curry, of course), the character development was nill, and the storytelling was CRUD. The sequence of events seemingly made sense, but if you actually think about it, the movie really didn't explain anything. Oh well, t'was good for eye candy... except Tom Cruise was far, far dorkier than Link. =P
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(Sorry Elwen, mom wanted to do stuff today. But if you want I can probably still go see it again Sunday morning.)

Brother Bear and The Incredibles. Two separate, spectacular-looking previews from Disney and co.

The short before the movie was truly amazing. They were doing this level of work even in 1989?

The textures of materials, from fish scales to turtle shell to metal chain to aquarium scum. 100% realistic, yet still faintly surreal, so that you can tell it still has the magic of an animated film. Most remarkable.

Did enjoy all the scientific details in the movie, where I caught that the animators did their research and weren't pandering to cartoon physics. Of course, there are still things that weren't real-life accurate, but hey, it's a movie.

I wonder if they rendered the whole view of Sydney? It looked awfully detailed... And I won't even go into all the water.

Buzz Lightyear's cameo <g> The nervous tiny fish <beg>

And last of all: Mine!?
nendil: (Default)
8 hours later...

Upon reading the first page: My, but JKR has gotten wordy. Can you say "bloat?" (She does get better when not describing settings though.)

Blimey, Harry, lay off the Caps Lock. Those fifteen-year-old hormones are no good for him at all.

HAHA! I'm one of the few fanartists to get Cho's hair right! HAHAHA!

I see JKR's smart enough not to pull the "Harry can't quite place where he's heard the name..." for long; she knows we've all scrutinized the books long enough to memorize every single detail. =P


And last of all, regardless of any other flaws in her writing, kudos to JKR for capturing the teenage mentality perfectly, as usual.


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