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    Unhappy Seriously important video

    I typically hate it when people get generalized into two different categories, but in this case it makes a ton of sense. I just have to post this because it's so relevant. This video really sums up a major skill deficit I have with design. I know I'm not alone on this one.

    I seriously didn't really didn't get into sci-fi/fantasy until I found CA.org. This means I have only been developing a visual library for those two prominent genres since 06.

    Last edited by Raoul Duke; March 3rd, 2012 at 11:40 PM.
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    Having a big visual library still doesn't mean anything if you don't exercise translating it onto paper.

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    Um.


    Defecate - (verb) - to discharge feces from the body

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    Randis is offline ( ゚∀゚)/ ♥♥♥ おっぱい!おっぱい! Level 13 Gladiator: Retiarius
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    That is a nice theory but i do not agree.
    The older generations of artists did not have internet and there were not as many elaborate SF and
    fantasie movies on TV. In some countries most kids did not even have fancy toys.

    You guys are part of various art communities and you are exposed to a steady stream of art larger
    than any artist in the past could have dreamed of seeing in his life time.

    However, creativity does NOT come from consumption alone.
    A large visual library is simply knowledge and knowledge is NOT intelligence or experience.
    What some people lack is the skill to filter shit, some people are simply not able to tell good design
    from bad designs apart, it's just like that and its rather tough to train them and it has NOTHING to
    do with how much games and movies they were exposed to in the past.
    What helps best is doing studies, studies and more studies and with studies i do not mean studies
    in front of your computer. Study when you go out, study everything, learn how to observe things
    and try to understand what makes them beautiful, understand how things work, learn the physics,
    learn all basics.

    Now don't get me wrong, good things were said in the video but all that is IMO a given.
    It is only natural and logical that one has to listen to music in order to learn how to compose but
    consumption is NOT a substitute for skill.

    From my personal experience accumulation over the past 16 years in the industry working as a
    designer and art director i can tell that i have met large numbers of different artists and what IMO makes the
    difference in their development is a very different thing from what you hear in that video.

    the key is competitive and ambitious traits and you can see that a lot when you observe, young artists
    or kids in general.
    Some kids are content with whatever they create or do (arts, sports, music, gaming), they practice a bit but their main
    motivator is usually to enjoy whatever they do and if it is no fun hey eventually
    move on to something else. Those kids never progress in large jumps and the older they get
    the more rigid they become. There are lots of adults who simply can not keep up with dem Nerv der Zeit.

    Some kids however are competitive, at a young age already, they want to be the first,
    they want to score in sports and in arts, they want to draw robots and superheroes who are more bad-ass
    than the others. Those kids want to build larger and better sandcastles, those kids want to dominate
    at video games they play, those kids play to win.
    Please do not mistake this for the kind of people who simply want to win no matter what,
    this is not about kids who are a bad looser or a wise ass.

    Having ambitions and the will to compete is extremely important, because in order to win the kids
    needs to learn what it takes to make something better than the others, those kids are very
    observant and adaptive and most importantly, those kids are HARD workers.
    Where others loose interest those kids will go on practice even if practice is no fun.
    Those kids practice their sports, arts or whatever with a larger goal in mind, they practice to get
    better while most other only go as far as it is fun.

    This is what separates winners from quitters, its certain mentality and not your visual library.
    Discipline, motivation, ambition and intelligence is what it takes to become good in whatever you do.
    This is the stuff that separates those who lead from those who follow.

    However, it does not have to mean that only the ambitious kids can become great artists,
    the will to progress can develop when people get older but it does not have to apply to all activities.
    Ambitions are often triggered by experience of success, seeing yourself progress noticeably is a great
    motivation factor to keep pushing.
    If you were a lazy kid you still might shine at something, some day.

    Sometimes i get the feeling that some people see ambitions and being competitive as something bad.
    It is not.
    Having ambitions means not being afraid to fall sometimes.
    And as a artist you will have to compete with others no matter if you like it or not. In fact you
    have to compete with people in most professions.

    Again, accumulated knowledge has nothing to do with the ability to filter and use that knowledge (your intelligence).
    If you have trouble progressing, it is because of how your brain is wired, you need to change your paradigm,
    you need to learn how to learn the right way, you need the right mindset and most importantly you need to
    learn to question everything you read and see. Do not take every word of your instructors as a law of nature,
    not everything that seems right in their mentality can be applied to yours. Your teachers have obtained a lot of
    their knowledge from books and their teachers, certain information and mindsets can not be applied to beginners at all.

    No matter how old a book, it is still a book written by a person like you and me.

    and here is something important:

    Experienced artists have various routines, their minds have adapted certain processes and their workflow is entirely
    different from beginners. when those artists paint a picture they are VERY MUCH aware of what they do but they no
    longer have to form their thoughts in words. they do not have to stop and think, they simply do but that is not based
    on some instinct or random factor, this is all based on experienced and is calculated by the artists brain.
    Those artists DO NOT try to find random shapes in a texture because they do not know what to draw,
    there are no random elements. When painting the brain calculates a whole lot of shit, the artists take factors into account
    such as bouncing lights, refraction, reflections and so on and so on.
    When you doodle around randomly, it is not really random, it is your brain working, trying to shape your idea, it is your idea that needs to
    be shaped first. Not putting your though in words does not mean that you are not thinking.
    Painting is not as automated as the hearth muscle.

    Having the right skill and a strong routine a good artists will make it look so easy what for a beginner seems extremely difficult.
    Now, the thing is that many artists are not aware that their own mindset has changed that much over the years and when they give some
    high level advice to a young artist, they simply can not apply it to their own mind set because they simply lack all the basics.

    That is why so many beginner fail while more experienced students can connect better to the thoughts of their teachers.
    That is why people can not make shortcuts in learning art.
    Everything is based on basics.
    If people skip certain basics they will have to compensate for it and that will create dependencies and in the end
    limit them. (dependency on reference material for example)

    Last edited by Randis; March 4th, 2012 at 12:59 AM.
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    Excellent essay by Randis!

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    Randis...

    Nailed it. I couldnt have said it better.

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    "When you start getting into the junior high school. The seventh grade area...Lots of parents tend to stop doing all of this. They start to go into the academic stuff"

    It sounded to me like parents close their kid at age 11 in empty room with just math and science books . To me you never stop observing and reading books if you're into that stuff and it doesn't have anything to do with being controlled. Travelling and going to museums doesn't really have anything to do with certain age. If the family has money and enjoys traveling a lot then it shouldn't change after childhood.

    I agree with Randis that lots consumption is not entirely going to turn someone into good designer. I think it's more like being into playing with proportions and functionality of what you have on paper regardless of all the information obtained so far. It's wanting to construct things rather than recreate them on paper.

    As for the competitive and ambitious traits. If that's true then I wouldn't be where I am. I didn't have competition at school and I kept drawing just to entertain myself during boring lessons. I created my own designs (even though they were really poor in information and badly proportioned) before I knew that something like conceptart existed. My decision to go to art school came from the fact that I drew a lot and got some skills. The whole rat race competition thing came for the first time once I got onto forums like this one. However the mindset of filtering information and constructing things from scratch with their own prorportions and functionality observed from nature was before.

    Here's a drawing that has understanding, function, stored memory, balance and proportion. Still I don't think people would consider it cool . "Cool" is such a vague term.



    Last edited by Farvus; March 4th, 2012 at 06:28 AM.
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    There are some good points. Pop culture awareness is important.

    A few comments:

    Great design does not a story make. Storytelling is a major aspect of it all. I was not doing art much as a child, but I was an avid reader, voracious. Not all visual libraries are based in reality, or around design/shape. Some comes from developing imagination through reading and literature. That path also has the benefit of building understanding of story, which means deeper ideas...not just deeper design and pattern. In other words, some visual libraries are internal...formed from words. If I had not read so much, I would have not landed my first job or done what I have in the field. If you can tell stories about your designs, you have what is called "developed ideas".

    It is a big world...and there are many ways to develop talent and the mind.

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    Hmm. I'm half in agreement with the need for a "competitive" attitude, but I'm not sure it's as simple as "type A" kids versus "type B" kids... For instance, you get people who aren't competitive in most areas, but find one or two things that they DO want to excel at, so despite not having an overall "competitive" personality, they may persevere at those particular things competitively... And then there are people who are oblivious to the competition but who ARE obsessive-compulsive perfectionists, and want everything to be perfect simply because. They also tend to persevere. (Most programmers I know fall into this category... So does my dad.)

    And then you have people who are maybe over-competitive... The ones who constantly compare themselves to others and are more focused on becoming "great" or "rich and famous" than on actually doing the work, and who might not enjoy the actual work at all. People like that can become so bogged down with insecurity and jealousy that they simply give up, or at the very least their progress is severely hampered. You see people with this problem in these forums fairly often.

    Personally, while I guess I had a pretty competitive attitude compared to some kids, for me as a kid competition was primarily with myself. What was most important wasn't being better than that other kid over there, but being better than me, whatever stage I was at. That's still partly what keeps me going... Though now I have exposure to much more art and artists, so external competition is more a factor too now... But it wasn't much when I was a kid, simply because there weren't any other artists around, and i didn't have much exposure to visual material beyond what I could find in library books. So it was more like, "this still doesn't look like the stuff I see in my head, how do I make it better?"

    ...I guess that might be the obsessive-compulsive-perfectionist route, now I think of it.

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    I agree with having a visual library is good.

    However, not playing video games by watching them on youtube? Is he fucking retarded? There is such an intrinsic lack of understanding of video games as a medium in todays game development industry that it is the _last_ thing we need is to have a bunch of clueless designers making "fantastically looking" concepts which has no relationship to the end product at all in terms of cohesion in game design, storytelling or immersion. Bah frustrated.

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    To me the biggest wall you can hit is when you realize you are faking something. Now I see it comes from a void in the brain bank. Fundamentals are pretty direct, but design/story telling sensibilities aren't.

    I agree nobody is actually student A or student B, but the principal is true. I think it's a mix of what you were exposed to and what you reacted to. For instance I wasn't into sci-fi/fantasy but I was into fighting games in my teenage years and it shows in my work.

    Last edited by Raoul Duke; March 4th, 2012 at 05:21 PM.
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    Student A and Student B are used as what science would call "conceptual models", which are used to simplify complex phenomena so as to easily understand its functions. An analogy is to that of atomic models, which are obviously, realistically wrong, but nonetheless enables us to understand its quantum functions easier over a realistically accurate model with its fuzzy electron orbitals.

    What QueenGwenevere said seems to describe the Goal Orientation Theory. This classifies people into categories of ways of achievement, which is itself a conceptual model that does not necessarily reflect the real world with absolute accuracy(if there even is anything that can). The model described by Feng Zhu deals more specifically with the technicalities in the realm of art, and does not question the ambitions of students, as few here tries to argue. This is not to say Feng Zhu had all of this in mind during his commentary.

    So, what Feng Zhu tries to describe is true. A visual library allows for faster inspiration. Contrary to what most say, that you have no time to be inspired, but in actuality, anytime you come up with an idea, you are being inspired by a certain memory or knowledge, or as Zhu calls in his case, the visual library. Students who are ambitious or not, still would have to go through visual training; just because you are ambitious doesn't mean you will spontaneously become a great artist. If you asked Feng Zhu, he would agree that ambition is the key note, but that is not what he is discussing in the video.

    I inspire myself with dramatic music to get stories and sceneries into my head going, because music is linked to our emotions, and by triggering our emotions, our memories and knowledge corresponding to these emotions are triggered. People who have small visual libraries spend a lot more time searching for references, relative to their knowledge.

    What Feng Zhu didn't mention when he discussed about visual imagination and reading books, is the fact that you need a visual library prior to being able to have a visual imagination when you read a book that contains only words(much like when I listen to music for inspiration). Reading books are good for inspiration of mixing and matching your memories(e.g. you know how castles look like and you know what wintery landscapes look like, so as to be able to combine the two), but in no way can it install new visual memories, because you are recalling visual memories that already exists(But if you believe that the whole is more than the sum of its parts, you can consider the combination of memories as a new memory onto itself).

    One edge science and mathematics students have going into art, would be their experience with problem solving. Every time you decide what to use to tell a story, you are trying to problem solve. This also means being able to filter in the right ideas from the wrong ideas to maintain a consistency within a composition. As Randis and Feng Zhu exclaimed, it also means to allow the consistency of truth, that is how something would look like realistically or follow the laws of nature. This calculation is different than of what is done in mathematics, this is more or less a visual calculation, e.g. how would a drapery over a cone look like as compared with a drapery over a sphere.

    Last edited by Vay; March 4th, 2012 at 07:00 PM.
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    Yeah, An amazing artist definitely isn't always an amazing storyteller. Everyone I'm sure has come across those pieces where yeah the painting is well made, it's realistic or pretty but it doesn't draw you in because your sitting there thinking "Ok... .... .... what the fuck is going on here?"

    It's especially obvious in comics. Which is just visual storytelling. If you can't tell a story with your pictures your not going to make a good comic. One of the biggest obstacles with a comic imo is getting so wrapped up in making this pretty that you forget the storytelling. But it's a balance because there are plenty of comics that the art is just shit while the storytelling may be good but it's a balancing act.



    The art I get drawn into the most comic or not, are those that tell a story and draw you into the scene. If it doesn't it may be pretty but not very engaging.



    My 2 cents. (I find Joseph Campbells writings on mythology and such to be very interesting, takes you a bit beyond the story into the structure of it all)

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    While most of what Randis said is true or from a logical stand point appears to be true I do find that a visual library...especially in a domain of massive content creation like Concept Art is extremely helpful and necessary.

    This profession is a completely different beast all together and in world where visual stimuli can be got anywhere at anytime it's getting harder to innovate all of the time.

    So we have to resort to new ways of seeing an image, of blending textures together, of downloading a 2 gig file of worthless drivel to get that one reference image you'll need. to use programs in a way that defies logical sense, to sift through online galleries for hours on end to get the inspirational juices flowing.

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    I actually think Feng Zhu's video does make some interesting points, and the idea of a visual library is an interesting one. That being said, don't let yourself be deterred-- I'm a firm believer that at weakness can be turned into a strength once you recognize it in yourself. If you think that there's truth to his video, and that you don't have the visual library that you think is needed for the industry, you can go out and change that right now, today. Museums, photography, books-- there's all kinds of resources to start absorbing, except (in my opinion) you'll have the added advantage of not just seeing the 'cool castle' but actually bookmarking in your brain what makes it cool-- and that's something that someone with a long visual library may not really have, you know? Anyway don't be discouraged!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brashen View Post
    So we have to resort to new ways of seeing an image, of blending textures together, of downloading a 2 gig file of worthless drivel to get that one reference image you'll need. to use programs in a way that defies logical sense, to sift through online galleries for hours on end to get the inspirational juices flowing.
    Or you could just, you know, GO OUTSIDE... See the real world, go places, do things... I think real experiences make for a richer visual library and are more likely to lead to fresh ideas than looking at a lot of art related to the field you're in.

    Looking at a lot of art is good, too, but limiting yourself to looking primarily at the particular type of art you do starts to get circular... People start imitating each other, and imitating the imitations, and imitating the imitations of the imitations, and after a while you get an awful lot of stuff that all looks the same. (I see this happening repeatedly in fantasy and sci-fi art...)

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    Or you could just, you know, GO OUTSIDE... See the real world, go places, do things... I think real experiences make for a richer visual library and are more likely to lead to fresh ideas than looking at a lot of art related to the field you're in.
    Very true. But I think it has to be immersion rather than just a visit to stitch it together. It's not just about seeing, it's about experiencing. I think if you have a pet, then creature design should come more natural. Living in nature will show you how terrain rolls through interaction.

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    OmenSpirits is offline Commercial-Illustrator in-training, NOT an artist. Level 13 Gladiator: Retiarius
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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    Hmm. I'm half in agreement with the need for a "competitive" attitude, but I'm not sure it's as simple as "type A" kids versus "type B" kids... For instance, you get people who aren't competitive in most areas, but find one or two things that they DO want to excel at, so despite not having an overall "competitive" personality, they may persevere at those particular things competitively... And then there are people who are oblivious to the competition but who ARE obsessive-compulsive perfectionists, and want everything to be perfect simply because. They also tend to persevere. (Most programmers I know fall into this category... So does my dad.)

    And then you have people who are maybe over-competitive... The ones who constantly compare themselves to others and are more focused on becoming "great" or "rich and famous" than on actually doing the work, and who might not enjoy the actual work at all. People like that can become so bogged down with insecurity and jealousy that they simply give up, or at the very least their progress is severely hampered. You see people with this problem in these forums fairly often.

    Personally, while I guess I had a pretty competitive attitude compared to some kids, for me as a kid competition was primarily with myself. What was most important wasn't being better than that other kid over there, but being better than me, whatever stage I was at. That's still partly what keeps me going... Though now I have exposure to much more art and artists, so external competition is more a factor too now... But it wasn't much when I was a kid, simply because there weren't any other artists around, and i didn't have much exposure to visual material beyond what I could find in library books. So it was more like, "this still doesn't look like the stuff I see in my head, how do I make it better?"

    ...I guess that might be the obsessive-compulsive-perfectionist route, now I think of it.
    <--obsessive compulsive over here. *waves*

    Last edited by OmenSpirits; March 5th, 2012 at 10:31 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    <--obsessive compulsive over here. *waives*
    *waves back compulsively*

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raoul Duke View Post
    Very true. But I think it has to be immersion rather than just a visit to stitch it together. It's not just about seeing, it's about experiencing. I think if you have a pet, then creature design should come more natural. Living in nature will show you how terrain rolls through interaction.
    Well, yeah, that is best. That's why I say go places and do things... Be involved with the world... Or, hell, at least immerse yourself in your surrounding environment and milk it for all it's worth.

    I don't know. Maybe I just worry about how many people seem to run to Google for everything in life... :/

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    Quote Originally Posted by CGMonkey View Post
    However, not playing video games by watching them on youtube? Is he fucking retarded?
    For a lot of people, myself included, it's actually a lot more fun to watch games being played than it is to actually play them. Sure you don't get to explore the levels and check things out for yourself, but you don't have to deal with the unnecessary frustration of 'mission failed', which wastes a lot of valuable time. When you're playing, say, a first-person shooter, you're concentrated on tactics and accuracy with little time to appreciate the art direction. And that stuff is fun too, but combat fun contributes very little to picture making. A lot of people disliked FEAR 2, but i loved it because i watched it on youtube and the art direction was very inspiring; the use of colour, weapon design, etc.


    There is such an intrinsic lack of understanding of video games as a medium in todays game development industry that it is the _last_ thing we need is to have a bunch of clueless designers making "fantastically looking" concepts which has no relationship to the end product at all in terms of cohesion in game design, storytelling or immersion. Bah frustrated.
    I can't stand design that's done for the sake of being 'cool'. For me, it has to look like it will function. And people say "oh its the entertainment industry, entertainment." Well, i am only entertained by something convincing. It must be something that could be physically made if we had the technology. And characters with big tits are not an element of design that's creating a good reputation for this industry. But then, the art direction is ultimately determined by what the consumers demand.

    Maybe the following paragraph isn't relevant to this thread, but i would like to express my views on what a lot of people interpret 'mecha' to be. Along with the possibly irrelevant mislabeling - "that's such a cool mecha!" - mecha = plural, mech = singular. I am bothered by this but the point is, giant robots that are more like superheroes with no relation the way machinery works. That pisses me off. A mech is generally a bipedal or multi-legged military war machine, a tank. This is practical for combat situations because it combines the mobility of infantry with the armour and weapon capability of a tank; weapons like a plasma rifle cannot be used by infantry because they are too likely to backfire and melt the user; it's too risky. It will be a long time until a railgun can be developed into something portable; the energy source is too large/heavy, and the recoil would throw the user forwards into the ground. But this can all be mounted on a mech.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Challie View Post
    For a lot of people, myself included, it's actually a lot more fun to watch games being played than it is to actually play them.
    And sometimes there's no other choice, like I personally start to experience heavy motion sickness if I try to play a first-person game usually around five to ten minutes in, but if I only watch, I may not get motion sickness at all (as it largely has to do both where I concentrate watching and how the camera moves, meaning that I can't play Gears of War 2 because of the running camera either...), so though I could never hope of playing the new Deus Ex, I can keep the video rolling while I draw. Because sometimes I really am interested in the story and the looks and designs of some games, but I don't want to play a game that makes me throw up or faint.

    And sometimes there's games that you can't get anymore, or in your language, or ones that you really don't want to play or are for a console you don't have, but still are interested in them and how they work.

    Last edited by TinyBird; March 6th, 2012 at 03:49 AM.
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    Wow, i have never experienced that. Interesting.

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    "That pisses me off. A mech is generally a bipedal or multi-legged military war machine, a tank. This is practical for combat situations because it combines the mobility of infantry with the armour and weapon capability of a tank; "

    Actually there are a lot of reasons why tanks dont already have legs; you can blow a leg off easily, tracked vehicles are very low so can hide behind things, theyre easy to fix, and can travel fast over most terrain.

    I love running machines and firmly believe one day very soon small machines will be as graceful and fluid in their motion as any leopard, but military mechs just dont make sense, sorry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Challie View Post
    That pisses me off. A mech is generally a bipedal or multi-legged military war machine, a tank.
    I grew up on Robotech and Star Wars, so legged military machines are a favourite of mine too!

    But Velocity has a point. You couldnt do this to a treaded tank:



    But man, I still love me those AT-ATs.

    Last edited by Star Eater; March 6th, 2012 at 05:12 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity Kendall View Post
    Actually there are a lot of reasons why tanks dont already have legs; you can blow a leg off easily, tracked vehicles are very low so can hide behind things, theyre easy to fix, and can travel fast over most terrain.
    Yes, legs would be blown off easily unless the components are made out of a material like Graphene, which would be too expensive anyway. Not that there's many problems destroying tanks these days; I wouldn't want to be in a tank rocking up to a sniper encampment.
    Multi-legged walkers would actually be more effective when it comes to crouching; they would have the options to heighten themselves when necessary, drop the inner-leg portions for a normal crouch or spread the legs wide for a deeper crouch. Designs like the Tachikoma are equipped with wheels in their feet, although it would be harder to incorporate three different sets of wheels & tires for different terrain. But the designs could be adapted the environment; urban, desert, snow etc.
    The main problem with mechs like this is the power source; we just don't have an energy source sufficient to run the entire machine and hold all the weight, rotate the top portion of the vehicle and AI potential, let alone lofty idealism like energy weapons.

    I love running machines and firmly believe one day very soon small machines will be as graceful and fluid in their motion as any leopard, but military mechs just dont make sense, sorry.


    @ Star Eater: The AT-ATs have the advantage of their height = greater range, without being equipped with weapons to strike over those distances. They had the potential for long range barrage yet were applied to local combat situations, without having the visibility & area coverage. But Star Wars was always more of a dramatic kind of action scifee, yet with enough tech thrown in to satisfy geeks like me.

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    I'm always looking for arty things to watch/listen to, and this is episode 52, where can I find the others?

    the dream would be to fight wars with robots, not human lives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barefoot View Post
    I'm always looking for arty things to watch/listen to, and this is episode 52, where can I find the others?
    Here you go: http://www.artbyfeng.com/tutorials.htm
    Or just subscribe to his Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/FZDSCHOOL
    I really enjoy his videos!

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    I just figured I should post the follow up video.


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