The Legacy of Tron and Syd

There are a just a handful of movies that truly influenced me in life and are simply part of my DNA. Tron is one of those movies.

The visual impact of Tron and its computer-generated worlds drove me to take computer graphic classes, and ultimately end up working in the fields of comic books, video games, digital media and virtual worlds.

Now, over 25 years later, I’m thrilled to be watching this new footage from Tron: Legacy. The look-and-feel seems nostalgic and retro, yet modern and updated at the same time.

I can’t post about Tron without giving a bit shout out to Syd Mead for being such a rock star conceptual artist. Many of my all time favorite movies have his signature on them (Tron, Blade Runner, Aliens, 2001…).

Here is a nice video on the art and life of Syd Mead! A true visionary who I had the privilage of meeting at last years Comic Con.

Augmented Reality Comic Con

I just returned from Comic Con (my 15th year), where I was showing people our iPhone Augmented Reality demo (ogmento.com). I am happy to report that there is fantastic buzz on our application with lots of interest from the entertainment, gaming and publishing sectors. It’s clear many are ready now to take the AR plunge!

While I was walking the convention floor with our mobile AR demo, I was pleased to discover 2009 to be the first year AR was showing up at the convention.

Focus Features had an AR demo using a webcam for the movie “9” produced by Tim Burton. The poster for the movie is just a giant QR code, which will unlock the movie trailer. The AR demo had kids holding a postcard with a marker on the back in front of the webcam, and a static animated figure appeared.

Sony’s District 9 was also being promoted at Comic Con, and they have an AR exprience online promoting that movie too.

The most interesting official AR presentation was by Mattel, which introduced toys based on the movie “Avatar.” The toy line is being released with an augmented reality counterpart, as each toy comes with a 3D tag (i-Tag) which can be held under a webcam leading to an animated 3D vehicles coming alive on your computer. These vehicles can do battle as if you were playing a video game. Total Immersion developed this AR experience for Mattel, and they certainly are the reigning kings of the webcam-based experiences. The animations and audio were really nice, and the overall experience is a great bonus feature enhancement to the toy line.

I think this was the first entertainment convention where AR made a big splash. More and more people are now being introduced to Augmented Reality, and 2010 is looking to be a banner year as movie studios, toy companies and publishers begin to embrace the technology.

Michael Turner

turnerMy friend Michael Turner passed away Friday night (6/27/08) after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 37 years young.

Michael was a world class comic book artist best known for his work on books like Witchblade and Fathom. He had created numerous covers for both DC and Marvel as well. He was a truly gifted artists, and extremely popular with fans around the world.

I worked with Michael at Top Cow when he was first getting started back in ‘95. We became good friends, and over the years I had the great fortune to share many memorable adventures with him. We took trips together, spent New Years together, and more. I always admired his dedication to being the best at his craft, and his constant positive outlook on life. Michael was truly a rare individual who radiated with life and a postive energy. Even during his 8 year battle with cancer, he never showed signs of suffering. He was always smiling, and never gave up… right to the very end.

I will forever remember Michael. He was a rare individual who made a strong impact on my life, and on many others.

I will miss you my friend. I would say “rest in peace” but I know resting was never your style. You are more likley to be riding some “cosmic wave” like the Silver Surfer right about now; free from years of pain, and spreading your positive spirit even further throughout the heavens.