Digital Makeup Chronicles 2 — The Life of Brian

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series The dMFX Chronicles

Practically Effective The addition of Digital Makeup in Falling Skies actually expanded the use of practical effects.  I know that may shock some of you to read.  In a time when computer Generated Imagery frequently replaces the practical world, this syndicated, wrapped series bucked the trend.  Practical makeup artists used the computer as one of their tools, not a visual effects studio, to improve what they made sculpting rubber and glueing it to actors. This series, the Digital Makeup Chronicles, explores these effects, and discusses how practical and digital worked in tandem. After all, it is not every day you… Continue reading

Lost Concepts: Part 4 — Transformers

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Lost Concepts

An Idea On Its Own During the production of Transformers: The Movie, I was asked to submit some ideas for poster designs, and other concepts to sell the motion picture.  I knew it was a Michael Bay film, and that he had a love for fast cars, scantily clad perfect women, and shiny metal objects, and I hoped to bring a fresh perspective — considering I had seen nothing of the film, or its designs — that was easy. I was concerned that the look of the film’s logo and advertising would be grungy, rusty, block letters  — which is the actual direction… Continue reading

VFX Between Shots — Get Up and Build Something Real

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series VFX Between Shots

  With Your Own Two Hands When I was a kid, I built things with my hands.  Clay, wood, paper, tape, wire, and film combined together were enough to make a movie. If you had a motion picture or still camera, you could forge the materials of this world into worlds of imagination. I would draw cartoons, and animate them with pages of typing paper, colorize black and white photos with an airbrush, and manually layout pages for offset printing or silk screened shirts.  Now I use a computer, on which I spend all day rearranging electrons, which are eventually illuminated by photons, but which… Continue reading

Lost Concepts: Part 3 — Falling Skies

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Lost Concepts

Concept Art by Johnathan Banta As part of any creative process, there are a lot of abandoned avenues and choices. When a final  design concept is approved, all other art is shelved and a final creation guided from approved art. It is an evolution, sometimes directed, and occasionally as a last resort. For television work especially, design and manufacture of these creations happens under a very tight timeline. The TNT series Falling Skies was no different in this regard, and several concept artists (Neville Page, and Aaron Sims among them) contributed.  As Digital Makeup Supervisor for this show, I also had some… Continue reading

Lost Concepts: Part 2 — Almost Human dMFX

©2015 Johnathan Banta — for MastersFX
This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Lost Concepts

The Lost Concept Series explores production designs by Johnathan Banta that never saw the light of day — until now.   There is always so much work that goes into an entertainment property that no one ever sees. Were it not for the books that chronicle the preproduction of Star Wars, the world would have never seen many of the concepts that led to the designs we love (designs which now grace the prequel universe of Star Wars Rebels).  Such is the case with some work I did for the Bad Robot television series Almost Human. MastersFX was contracted to do the… Continue reading

Lost Concepts: Part 1 — Almost Human

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Lost Concepts

  Almost Human Concept Art Occasionally a sketch can become something else.  I have taken to the iPad for illustration, as many have over the past few years.  it is convenient, and allows me to do more finished work as well as sketch on-the-fly.  Tasked to do some concept illustrations for the series Almost Human, I quickly re-purposed one of my sketches for varying concepts of android design for the (unfortunately) cancelled show.  Here are some of them: The unique elements in this were the hot-shoe attachment on the bridge of the nose, and detachable jaw kit for extra equipment packages.… Continue reading

AGsketchbook — Oct. 19, 2014

This entry is part 2 of 15 in the series AGsketchbook

Scribble Ships It is easy to fall into a pattern or style of illustration. To break the monotony, or creative block I occasionally like to apply an exercise I learned in Art School. The fact is, with a slight application of imagination, even a scribble can look like a face.  Therefore scribble on a page, and find the face. I figured this would work for spacecraft as well.   This illustration is named AXLE. It is the first scribble ship to be presented in the #AGsketchbook, but will not be the last. I like it because it has a James… Continue reading

The AG_Punkwerks Blog — Year One

One Year of Content and Cool Directions.   Well folks, it is officially the first anniversary of the AG_Punkwerks blog (Sept. 11 is the actual date, but it went live in October).  Thanks for your readership, and continued enthusiasm for the odd collection of things roughly hung from the limbs of a tree named VFX. Old stuff, new stuff, stuff nobody has seen, and stuff to talk about. You know, lots of stuff — eventually. What are the results? Many ongoing series: 1. Articles covering the VFX War raging between VFX workers/facilities and government kickbacks throughout the world.  More to come in… Continue reading

AGsketchbook — Sept. 28, 2014

This entry is part 1 of 15 in the series AGsketchbook

I Love A Good Sketch. Sketches have a raw energy to them that an inked line sometimes robs in final form.  Do not misunderstand, a fully inked final image when done right is a beauty (Frazetta and Kirby come to mind), but that initial idea and energy are in the sketch many times, and the final is a poor cousin. With computer scanning and painting it is possible to keep the best aspects of a sketch in the final image. This has been part of my illustration style for decades now — sketch on paper, scan it, and retouch.  I often… Continue reading