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  1. #1
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    Wayne Barlowe's "Expedition" gets a TV series!

    Wayne Barlowe's "Expedition" gets a TV series!

    One of the most important books for any Conceptal-Designer's collection is becoming a series on Discovery. Now named "Alien Planet"

    Discovery Site

    IGN has an exclusive flash-site link: alien planet

    It's really really sad that they give Barlowe very little credit at all -- when he came up with all these creatures within his studio, instead they claim that scientists "colaborated"...

    Either way, this should be a lot of fun .... I still have my "Expedition" book I carried all through high-school, the thing's about to fall apart : )


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  3. #2
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    yes yes yes yes yes yes YES!!!

    How can one not drool over some alien species walking about via the Wayne Barlowe dialect/visuals...and yes I have to agree with you Sammy the way they made it look like a "scientific hypothetical collaboration" was a little perturbing. I guess the general public could not accept the fact that one man could fully conceive of something so solid...

    The good thing is, is that he got a gig through Discovery now that is just cool and all those that he knows and respects understand how much of this is his work and talent.

  4. #3
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    I beat you to the punch, Sammy.

    And yeah it does suck that Barlowe's getting shafted out of proper recognition. That's the first thing I noticed when viewing the trailer. 'Expedition' has been on shelves for some time now and we're now hearing that this what "scientists" think is out there? Not only is that statement unfair to Barlowe, but it's misrepresenting 'Alien Planet' as something more than a purely hypothetical product of a human imagination.

    What is interesting though, is that Wayne Barlowe actually does have a bit of a scientific background. He used to be a paleo-illustrator and I'm sure I don't need to tell you how tough and precise you have to be in that field. Basically his knowledge of animal physiology, evolutionary hierarchy and ecology all clashed with his love of fantasy/sci-fi imagery. What a cool mix!

  5. #4
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    I dunno, I find these kinda things a bit ...embarrasing almost. I'm sure it's great fun to think up 'fantastic but maybe plausible species with strange made-up names', I enjoy it myself cuz it's so easy. Combine a few animals, like a huge spider that tiptoes on hot desart sand, and has a plume like on a barnacle that it gathers night moisure with. Call it Pt'aarg (or make up a latin name), have it prey on the smaller Hnrukks.

    Although 3D is getting better at organic stuff, the fake documentary style they tend to be using always looks very fake, especially the movement of the creatures. These programs tend to get very boring because they're so slow paced in their description of the species too. Sometimes I get the feeling they're so proud of their renders that they have to show that... growling female 'Tnook' for like 30 seconds.

    I'm not sure if Alien Planet will be on Discovery Europe. I'll watch it cuz of the spaceship, maybe. It seemed to be a little overdesigned, bezier curves should be forbidden I tell you! It makes everything look... over-conformed to design. Maybe 3D/CAD is responsible for all the bezier junk currently being realized. Gaah I hate it! Hate it! KILL KILL KILL!
    Jamen jag tror att han skäms, och har gömt sig. Vårt universum det är en av dom otaliga spermasatser som Herren i sin självhärliga ensamhet har runkat fram för å besudla intet.

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    Prometheus, have you ever read "Expedition" ?? --- a good thing is that all of the creatures in the series are 100% captured from Barlowes' sketches, their designs really make a lot of sense in the book (a lot of it having to do with the gravity ratio of the planet)

    You should really check the book out --- it's very very nice 'cause Barlowe really rounds out all his concepts and avoids a good amount cliche's (especially for the 1980's)

    I do agree that creature design can be extremely easy, but it isn't easy to do what Barlowe did --- almost a decade spent on his Book 192 pages, with hundreds of illustrations ... Expedition is one of the most cohesive projects I've ever seen.
    The entire plane of Darwin VI is mapped out, and every ecosystem plays off one-another --- you can really see his paleo-art background in every little sequential sketch of animal walk-cycles and such.

    check out the first few pages on Amazon: expedition pages

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    I've seen scattered works from him. A lot of his stuff appears to be simple morphs and combinations of familiar anatomy. His 'Extraterrestials' stuff isn't particulary impressive. He's basically putting human arms on some animal shapes, shapes that often doesn't work too well together. It looks as if someone took an 'imaginative' noob drawing of an alien and colored it nicely.

    He's pretty good at rendering though and I do like some of the designs, mainly the nonhumanoid ones which arent as cliché.


    Discovery had a 'life on future earth' series a while ago, maybe that was Barlowe? In any way it was that series (and some dino ones) that set my expectations for this one. I have suspicions this series will be as constipated as the other similar ones.

    What's up with the Dali-esque spade fish on the cover of the book? It's supposed to be a working design?

    Maybe Barlowe spent a decade doing something easy? Of course the eco system must appear to work, but it's never actually tested if it does work. If they did some life simulation of it, they most likely had to tweak the variables to make it work. Considering the number of species designed for each map area 3-5, I don't think their simulations would be accurate anyways.


    I enjoy designing life/creatures too, but I don't enjoy other peoples work in this area, mainly because the designs can be completely arbitrary. 5 legged (radial) insect with eyes on the kneecaps? Why not? Flying balloon-crab that drop sleeping gas eggs on prey? Sure. Worm with a spit cannon? Allrighty.

    Knowledge about arbitrary design isn't really knowledge, so I'm not interested in learning about such a universe, unless it comes with an interesting story and/or game.
    Then knowing about the Sarlacc or Alien facehuggers becomes a bit more interesting as it's supported by other things.
    Last edited by Prometheus|ANJ; May 14th, 2005 at 12:11 PM.
    Jamen jag tror att han skäms, och har gömt sig. Vårt universum det är en av dom otaliga spermasatser som Herren i sin självhärliga ensamhet har runkat fram för å besudla intet.

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    Prom, you should check out barlowe's Inferno, and Brushfire books. I think they would be something right up your alley. I totally agree that story supported art and design makes for a much more interesting and enjoyable piece, and that is exactly what he does with his Inferno project.

    they are all paintings from a made up hell that he created, taking pieces here and there from pre-existing religions hells, but also trying not to make it lean towards any one particular religion more than another, and make it unique unto itself. Really really interesting the work he has made for it so far.

    Inferno is a collection of painting depicting different characters and places in hell, and he provides an interesitng descriptions of the subject matter, giving back story, and making the piece you are looking at much more enjoyable than if you were to just see the image.

    Brushfire is done as if he were a portrait artist in hell, plucked from earth by one of the higher demon generals, and forced to paint various characters in a portrait style settings. All his descriptions tell of the experience of painting that particular demon, the type of conversation they had as he was painting them, the aura of hate that overwhelmed him as he was painting one particular demon, things like that. Definetly worth checking out. I kind of agree with you that some of his alien stuff looks to be a mishmash of random anatomy at times, but I definetly hold his inferno paintings to be much much better in concept and execution.

    Heres some of his paintings with descriptions, from his website

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    hm, I missed the first airing this weekend, but it's being shown again on Thursday night.
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    Dammit Prometheus, you stubborn jaded bastard!
    How can you be so critical of such rare entertainment --- the day you publish a book, I'll be there to buy 20 of them just to support your niche

    Quote Originally Posted by Prometheus|ANJ
    Discovery had a 'life on future earth' series a while ago, maybe that was Barlowe?
    Yea, the "Future is Wild" series wasn't based on Barlowe --- it was based on Dougle Dixons works (Future man, New Dinosaurs, etc.) ... interestingly enough Dixon plagerized Barlowe numbers of times for the "Future Man" book.
    "Future is Wild" might not have had the best budget in the world -- but it was extremely fun and lengthy for what it was ... and they put forth a ton of effort in explaining the evolution and links to current animals.

    "Expedition" did actually have a rather interesting story to spice it up as a mockumentary --- It was told through journal entries of one of the scientists/sketch artists on the expedition. Much of the story helped to push along the finding of new species.

    that being said - the show really did a better job of the storytelling.
    The show was nicely done --- a good 95% of it was all computer animation/composit, and a small percent was actual video-interview.
    Though the show only covered about 10% of the actual species in the book - what was shown was great, especially for TV.
    The story was much nicer since they went with mechanized AI (looks like Robertson designed them actually) rather than Barlowe's old humans exploring in vehicles (his vehicles were always a very weak part) ---
    I'll definatley be getting the DVD to support this kind of entertainment.

  11. #10
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    Well, I'm probably getting old and grumpy, but being critical helps me improve.

    You know what would be crazy awesome? If they made a documentary style movie of a 'hard science fiction' book. Those contain a lot of information about physics and astronomy. Hal Clement's ideas about life on a huge spinning gas giant could be interesting for example, if not too lengthy.

    Maybe each episode could be about different planets, and ideas scientists have for life under certain conditions. Stanley Weisbaum had a charming idea of a species that exhale bricks instead of air (because it's not organic), and then it uses those bricks to build an armour.

    This page is a good source of ideas. It seems like it's put together by laymen though, so there may be inaccuracies. Be sure to check it out anyways. there's tons of pages (use the forms) with useful information.
    Atomic Rocket


    As for drawing deamons, it's something I've wanted to do for quite a while, with my intrest in mythological creatures and such. It would be great fun to lay out the architecture of hell and the different deamon classes.
    Jamen jag tror att han skäms, och har gömt sig. Vårt universum det är en av dom otaliga spermasatser som Herren i sin självhärliga ensamhet har runkat fram för å besudla intet.

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    The thing on the cover is a "rugose floater", actually one of the minor animals in the book, I never understood why it would be on the cover. They're huge, slow things that drift through the air, with eggs breaking off from them. Not very interesting.

    What I like about Expedition are the various adaptations the animals have considering that eyesight and jaws don't exist.

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