Game on No need to don that vir­tual real­ity head­set. Sim­ply pick up this book and start ex­plor­ing the con­cepts be­hind the year’s most vis­ually in­no­va­tive film

ImagineFX - - Contents - Au­thor Gina McIn­tyre Pub­lisher In­sight Edi­tions Price £34 Web­sighte­di­

The Art of Ready Player One goes un­der the Imag­ineFX mi­cro­scope.

The ‘art of’ ti­tle is fully jus­ti­fied here, with plenty of paint­ings on show

The film adap­ta­tion of Ready Player One was a mash-up in the true sense of the word. It com­bined live ac­tion, mo-cap, an­i­ma­tion and VR tech­niques to cre­ate two film worlds in one: a ‘real’ one and a vir­tual one. How that vi­sion was put to­gether is the fo­cus of this cof­fee-ta­ble read.

The ‘art of’ ti­tle is fully jus­ti­fied here, with plenty of paint­ings on show through­out the book’s 160 pages. We see con­cepts for some of the film’s key scenes, such as the big race, the vir­tual bed­room of vi­sion­ary cre­ator James Hal­l­i­day, and the fi­nal show­down. And there’s also great con­cept art for el­e­ments that didn’t make the film, such as an un­used de­sign for lead char­ac­ter Parzi­val’s hair that re­sem­bles a 1980s rock star, and some al­ter­nate de­pic­tions of how The Shin­ing se­quence might have played out.

Such paint­ings aren’t the whole story, though. The im­ages here are pretty evenly di­vided be­tween con­cept art, stills from the film and be­hind-the-scenes pho­tog­ra­phy. And when it comes to the text, this is just as much a ‘mak­ing of’ book as an straight­for­ward art book.

Ac­com­pa­ny­ing a fore­word by Steven Spiel­berg and an in­tro­duc­tion by the orig­i­nal book’s au­thor, Ernest Cline, there are de­tailed break­downs of how each char­ac­ter was con­ceived and an in-depth ex­plo­ration of the mo-cap tech­nol­ogy. There’s also quotes from some of the film-mak­ers, in­clud­ing pro­duc­tion de­signer Adam Stock­hausen and cos­tume de­signer Ka­sia Wal­icka-Mai­mone, as well as chap­ters on the VR suits, the en­vi­ron­ments and some key scenes.

If you’re ex­pect­ing this book to be purely art-fo­cused – in the nar­row­est sense of the word – then you may be dis­ap­pointed. While the con­cept artists are, hap­pily, cred­ited, they’re hardly men­tioned in the text and their paint­ings are not the main vis­ual fo­cus. If, how­ever, you en­joyed the film and want to know as much as pos­si­ble about how it was made, as well as ex­plore a great range of vi­su­als, then you’re go­ing to ap­pre­ci­ate this thought­ful, de­tailed and beau­ti­fully pro­duced book. And if you truly loved the film then you might also be will­ing to pay the – in our es­ti­ma­tion – slightly over­cooked price. Harsh real­ity, in­deed.

Aaron Sims’ stu­dio de­signed many of the avatars that pop­u­late the film’s vir­tual worlds. New avatars are spawned on the planet In­ci­pio, as de­picted here by ILM’s Stephen Tap­pin.

Con­cept artist Kirsten Fran­son’s take on the fa­mous DeLorean from Back to the Fu­ture.

Do­minic Lav­ery painted this early ver­sion of Wade’s VR gear.

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