With the recent success of Robert Zemeckis’ Beowulf, and the growing power of the gaming industry, it’s no surprise that computer generated characters are growing more and more popular. The good news for connoisseurs, though, is that these characters aren’t just becoming more prevalent, they’re also becoming more impressive. And no one captures the true heart of cutting-edge CG art like the folks at Ballistic Publishing. Based in Adelaide, Australia with offices in Melbourne, Australia and Tampa, Florida and proclaiming their publications asÂ the “Finest digital art books in the known universe,” Ballistic Publishing constantly manages to push the envelpe of CG character collections.
Their newest publication, EXOTIQUE 3 (the third collection in their series of the “world’s most beautiful CG characters” features 192 crisp, quality pages of computer generated images.Â That’s 292 images from 197 artists in 45 countries… but who’s counting, right? “EXOTIQUE was conceived as a vehicle for the truly great character artwork that overflowed from our EXPOSE annuals,” say Managing Editor Daniel Wade and Publisher Mark Snoswell about their popular image series, “Just three years later EXOTIQUE now stands beside EXPOSE as the industrys best collection of character art.”
One look at the cover image, the stunning “Umbrella Sky” by Marta Dahlig from Poland, and it’s clear that these guys aren’t simply tooting their own horns. Displaying all varieties of characters, fromÂ Silvia Fusetti’s Lord of the Rings-esque near-photo realistic portrait of the “Barbarian Warrior” to the imaginative artistic imagery of Lauren K. Cannon’s “Bloodstone,” there’s something in this book for any lover of art. Turning the pages, the images don’t one-up each other so much as constantly leave viewers in awe. Each character is entirely different from the last, and yet equally remarkable.
There are too many stunning images to do justice, but a few stand out as especially memorable in this monumental collection of images. Though no amount of words can do these creations justice,Â an attempt must be made simply to allow readers to begin to conceive of the pages in this book.Â Doris Mantair’s “Red Queen;” a portrait from the waist up of a scarred but beautiful woman deftly grasping a sword in her right hand, while her left lightly touches her chin as she looks mournfully to the ground. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Per Oyvind Haagensen’s simply titled “Satan” features a grossly disfigured, horned, eyeless beast with ragged flesh and a triple snake tongue clutching a headless nail-ridden human in its left hand with a barren wasteland sprawling out behind it.
They say a picture says a thousand words. These breathtaking images sometimes manage to say a few more. One glance at the various demons, princesses, robots, and strikingly normal people (including Kobe Bryant) sets minds wondering just how far CG can actually go. EXOTIQUE 3 is available from Ballistic Publishing for $45 and in a special collector’s edition for $99.
Zach’s Rating: A-
Perfect For: An art-lover’s coffee table or bookshelf
Stay Away if: The price tag is a little too steep, even for art