Jul
29
2012

From Darkness Won Trailer UNLEASHED!

Finally, after months and months of work, busy schedules, bureaucracy and pipeline issues, I present the finished book trailer, released for the viewing pleasure of the public! Watch full HD with the sound up.

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Mar
26
2012

The Night of the Living Dead Christian – A Review

Wow. This was the craziest book, the funniest book and the most inspiring book I’ve read in a long time. Mix deep, vitally important theology, with off the wall humor and the undead (plus werewolves) and you’ve got this book by Matt Mikalatos.

The book follows the author himself as he attempts to rescue his neighbor Luther, a man torn by his inner werewolf … FROM his inner werewolf, all the while attempting to survive a Zombie apocalypse with the help of his vampire neighbor Lara, mad genius Culbetron and his crony the Hibbs 2000. But all is not well. Luther is hunted by none other than notorious werewolf poacher Borut. Through it all, Matt and Luther escape burning buildings, flee overzealous zombies that believe in the teachings of Dr. Bokor, and learn what it truly means to not just believe  in God, but to be a true Christian.

You could say that I enjoyed the book. Very much indeed. But first, you ought to inspect my motives for reading it, and see whether they were fulfilled. Honestly, I picked up the book expecting nothing like what I got. I expected one of three things. Either a book entirely consisting of humor, a seriously thrilling novel, or a book with deep theological meaning. And based on that, I didn’t get what I was expecting. I got all three. Which means, that not only did it meet my expectations, it surpassed them!

Matt Mikalatos has written another book, Imaginary Jesus. Sadly, I haven’t read it yet. However, seeing how much I enjoyed this one, I think that’s next on the agenda. I have one piece of advice, get it now on Amazon!

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. The others on the blog tour:

Gillian Adams
Julie Bihn
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Theresa Dunlap
Amber French
Tori Greene
Nikole Hahn
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Janeen Ippolito
Becky Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Leighton
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
Joan Nienhuis
John W. Otte
Crista Richey
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Shane Werlinger
Nicole White
Dave Wilson

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Feb
27
2012

Halflings, By Heather Burch – A Review

After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves Halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in the scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.

Yesterday, I got an ARC copy of the book, opened the package and handled the still cold book. Then, I sat down on a nearby couch and opened it. I read without interruption breaking only for chores, dinner and brushing my teeth. Then, I continued reading until 1:11 to be exact. The book was finished. Did I like it?

First of all, I’d like to remind you of the demographic the book is geared towards. Definitely young women more than young men. While I wouldn’t call this ‘chick lit’ it’s definitely closer to that than say… The Hunt for Red October. Target market aside, I would recommend the book to guys who aren’t afraid of a little romance. Now… another limiting factor, age. Due to sensuality (it doesn’t go too far, but let’s call it what it is) I wouldn’t recommend the book to anyone under seventeen. The two main characters, after all, are both seventeen. The age of the characters is *usually* a good gauge of age appropriateness. Now, it would be unfair of me to merely write off the book as ‘inappropriate’ without giving some qualifiers. Yes it is a Christian book. No, the main character is not a Christian, the other main character however is, or at least is trying very hard to be.

All that aside, would I ‘recommend’ the book to you? YES! It’s a well written journey (that’s funny, but don’t expect to understand until you read the book) that is chock full of thrills, mystery and intrigue. And romance. Can’t forget that. Go order it here: Halflings – Heather Burch

*SPOILERS*

Now. I had a minor point of confusion… the book makes it clear that it is an unpardonable sin for Halflings to marry humans, since they were created in Satan’s attempt for them to take over the world. So they are supposed to not reproduce unless on pain of hell. That of course makes it very dramatic for Nikki and Mace, when they fall in love, since she loves him and doesn’t want him to lose his soul over her, but he loves her and seems to be willing to sacrifice his soul for her. It all gets complicated when, near the end of the book, some Halfling girls show up. It is made clear that marrying a Halfling girl is NOT an unpardonable sin.

So my question is this, if God didn’t want them to reproduce, then why did he say they could marry themselves? It didn’t make sense to me. Of course, it is true that if they married themselves, as opposed to humans, they would taint the human bloodline less… but then they’d be a large group of people who all are going to be sorely tempted to marry humans. See?

Also… what DOES happen when a human marries a Halfling? Do you get a whole new race called the Fourthlings? Mwahahaha!

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Jan
30
2012

Replication by Jill Williamson – A Review

Premise:

Martyr—otherwise known as Jason 3:3—is one of hundreds of clones kept in a remote facility called Jason Farms. Told that he has been created to save humanity, Martyr has just one wish before he is scheduled to “expire” in less than a month. To see the sky. Abby Goyer may have just moved to Alaska, but she has a feeling something strange is going on at Jason Farms, where her father works. But even this smart, confident girl could never have imagined what lies beneath a simple barn. Or what would happen when a mysterious boy shows up at her door, asking about the stars.

I read a lot of books. I can’t review them all, but this one was certainly worth a review. If you’re into mysteries, thrillers, romance novels, what have you… this is the book for you.

Since this is not a ‘guys only’ blog, (much less a ‘girls only’ blog) not everyone is going to appreciate both sides. Yes, it is a thriller/mystery, technically. Yes it is a romance novel. Yes, you should read it even if you typically don’t like one of the two genres. It will give you an appreciation for the other. There may be some overly-sensitive girls who will be offended by the more violent/scary/mature content and there may be some underly-sensitive guys who will be offended by the romance. If you’re one of those, my advice is not, “Don’t read this book.” rather it is “Get a life and read the book.”

Moving on.

There were a couple of really awkward parts in Replication that made me laugh like an idiot. Very amusing. Imagine a romance novel where the guy knows as much about girls as a 2 year old. You’re welcome. :P

I would recommend the book to anyone over 15. I’d give it 5 out of 5 stars. Get the book!

A note to blog readers who are fed up with me not posting… EVER. I’m coming back. I promise. In fact, this site will be changing drastically in a couple months.

– L8on

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Nov
14
2011

Hiati Extremus!

For those of you who are ‘following’ my blog, profuse apologies for my neglecting it for so long! I’ve been heckuva busy lately with the FDW Trailer project (soon to be released!), building a portfolio, school, and lots of out-of-town visitors! (not to mention facebook and everything else distracting!)

I would suggest that you check out the Nightwing Studios page linked to above, and also the website: http://nightwingstudios.com

Recently I’ve been learning a ton of new software, and mastering advanced techniques for next-gen game asset creation! When everything slows down for me a bit, I’ll start work on a really REALLY big project that you guys are going to love. Keyword: Shroudlings. Mwahahahehehe!

Anyway, I’d better get back to work on the FDW trailer. Sorry for the shortness, why don’t you hit me up in a comment?

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Aug
17
2011

Kickstarter Project for the FDW Fan Trailer!

We’re on Kickstarter! Fans of Nightwing Studios and From Darkness Won, here is your chance to join us in this undertaking. Follow the link for more information and be sure to check out the cool rewards! If you are unable to back the project, please spread the word via facebook, twitter and blogs. You all are awesome!

On the page, it also gives a detailed explanation of what the funds go towards. Thank you so much for considering!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2046662100/from-darkness-won-fan-book-trailer

Thank you,

- Nightwing Studios

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Jul
06
2011

From Darkness Won Trailer Preview!

The From Darkness Won Trailer is scheduled to be filmed in September. We try to make each book trailer as epic and unique as we can, and this upcoming one is going to be a doozy by what we’re seeing with the pre-production.

The book From Darkness Won is the last book in the award winning Blood of Kings series by Jill Williamson. I highly recommend the series for any fantasy enthusiasts out there.

Here is the first of a series of renders that I will post on here.

All original content licensed to Nightwing Studios. Modeled in 3DS Max, hi poly in Zbrush, color graded in Blender and will be animated in Maya.

It’s a sea serpent / fish / octopus hybrid called a Tanniyn. I’ll post more as soon as permission is granted by Jill Williamson.

Any comments or questions are welcome.

Also, on a last note, if any of you want to find out more about Nightwing Studios, don’t try googling it, because our website is down right now. We’ll have it up soon. I’ll keep you all posted.

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Jun
14
2011

Blog Theme Update!

Hey guys, how do you like the new look? It’s almost been completely re-worked. I made a new header, as well as changing color scheme and adding a really cool background.

Also, I have news! I recently purchased Pixologic’s Zbrush for resumé purposes but it will also help with the Special FX in upcoming From Darkness Won trailer. Really excited about that. Anyway, back to the updated blog!

I added and changed several pages. For one, I changed ‘About SLY Games’ to ‘About Leighton. Let’s talk about that.

Previously, I had started SLY Games for the purpose of creating completely by myself a full length video game. That video game was Wolf’s Bard, based off of my sister’s awesome book. I have come to the decision that I am not going to attempt that.

I have several reasons.

  1. An entire video game has never been created entirely by one person as far as I know, certainly not to my high standards.
  2. That is not my goal in life, and needs to not be treated as such by me.

WAIT! Don’t go away yet! I’m still going to make some of Wolf’s Bard. You may ask… “Huh… Why some?” and the reason why is because I need a portfolio.

And it just so happens… that a Wolf’s Bard level would the perfect place to showcase my skills! SO! You will get to see Wolf’s Bard the game and even play it for free! However, it will only be one level. :P

Still, it’s going to rock. Anyway, and in case you are wondering why I need a portfolio, the answer to that one is that I want to get a job as an environment artist at a video game development company! And they are going to need some serious convincing. That convincing takes the form of a demo-reel sometimes. lol

Also, I will be posting exponentially more and more of my work on here, so keep coming!

Thanks,

– Leighton

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Jun
10
2011

Autodesk’s Big Gamble

Autodesk Software LogosAutodesk recently released ALL of their expensive software for FREE for students. My response: “Wow… Why?

Great question, Leighton. Here’s a better worded question: “How does this benefit them?”

Before I answer that question, let me give an example of another company that did something similar. Epic Games, released their $700,000 Unreal Engine for free under the name UDK November 5th 2009. And why did they do that? Because then, see more people will be learning it and loving it, and then when those people have their own video game companies (or work for one, perhaps) they will want to use the Unreal Engine. One distinct thing that must be mentioned, is that the free version released, although not missing any features, (aside from several console porting options) it is basically ‘non-commercial’. Of course, with UDK you can pay royalties to sell it… and whatnot. I’m not getting into that. Anyone that wants to find more about UDK and check it out HERE.

Back to Autodesk. So? For sure they would want people using their software as students and then therefore wanting to use it as professionals… but wait… don’t all professionals use Autodesk software anyway?

Hmmm. What if… Autodesk feels that in the future, less professionals will be using their software if they don’t take extreme measures? (what they recently did)

Why would they feel like that? Hmm, maybe there is some other software that is stealing their lunch money. Some FREE software…

Enter Blender. Blender is commonly used as an acceptable substitute to Autodesk software. And with the new 2.5+ releases, it’s gotten quite the publicity and acclaim. The new user interface is insanely easier to use (once you are used to it) than it ever was.  It has been said that anything that Autodesk software can do, Blender can. Could Autodesk… be afraid of Blender?

Wow. This is almost like Microsoft watching the comeback of the company that was going down the drain several years ago. Apple. But this company … the Blender Foundation, is unusually unstoppable. Their prices are hard to beat. In fact… to beat their prices, you’d have to give away software with a roll of cash to go with it. LOL

I’d like to give Autodesk a big hand here for thinking smartically (no, I didn’t inventitate that word) and trying their best to stay on top of the ball, here. However, I’d like to warn Blender, that you guys will have less and less of the newer generation of people using your software… unless you REALLY pick up the ball here and go all out. Make your software WAY better than Autodesk, or your future looks bleak.

Business was cut-throat before… now it’s like trying to survive in a running blender.

- Leighton

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May
14
2011

CrazyBump — Are You A Communist?

To quote 3D artist Andrew Hilderbrand “Anyone not using Crazybump is a Communist.”

So true. Ok, so I’m exaggerating.

Still, this is the greatest application I have ever used. It demonstrates clear superiority over all other bumpmap and normal map generating software. I finally buckled down and bought the software after having downloaded the trial version a year ago, getting hooked and missing it ever since.

So. You guys want to know what it does, right? Here goes.

This is the image I started with. I downloaded this off CGTextures.com.

See that? That is a seamlessly repeating texture. But nothing more than a flat image. Here is what that looks like when mapped onto a sphere:

How EXTREMELY boring. It’s like a photo printed on a sphere. Nothing more! It doesn’t react to the light the way the real rock that was photographed originally did! Lets change that.

Enter: Crazybump!

Check this out:

And this, with the light moved, so you can see the difference!

WOW. How’s that for cinematic quality? This app is a lifesaver and worth more than it is being sold for. Check out CrazyBump!

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