Into the Massive Black
A Review of Ballistic Publishing's Massive Black: Volume One

Massive Black Volume One is a collection of the works of Massive Black Inc., known industry-wide for their concept art and illustrative works. Having secured a long list of clients in video games, film and television, it is impressive just how much this team of artists have grown, starting from merely a small group of artist friends with a simple vision back in 2002.


Book Spread

Titled as Volume One, this collection covers a good deal of the work of Massive Black Inc. in its first five years, and showcases what they have accomplished in concept art, illustration, 3D models, and even animation. The work is predominantly dark, and suits the book cover well...you guessed it: black.


Dead Head Fred early concepts, 2006
Concepts for the PSP title “Dead Head Fred”.
Vicious Cycle Software, Inc./ D3Publisher of America, Inc.
Photoshop
Bruno Nox Gore

The selection of images I've chosen to include in this review, were meant to show the breadth of the work that Massive Black Inc. has done. Yet, still, there is so much more to discover within the book's pages. I must say, what is presented in this book is incredible, and I can hardly wait to see Massive Black Volume Two!


Thurdeye, 2008
Poster for “Revelations”, the 2008 Massive Black/ConceptArt.Org International Art and Design Workshop in Seattle.
Massive Black/ConceptArt.Org
Photoshop
Jason Chan

One thing I love to see, is the inclusion of the software used, in addition to work title and artist name with each piece. In this particular book, Photoshop is the predominant program used, followed by Maya and ZBrush. However, it is interesting to note that there are also a number of works included that list SketchUp.


Pushing Buttons, 2004
HP Hype Gallery
Photoshop
Bruno Nox Gore

The images showing animation cycles are very interesting, and include a description of the action taking place, and sometimes describing what the movement was meant to convey.


BeeHive Spawn Animation, 2008
The Bee flies into attack and picks BeeHive up, dragging his body through the air and bringing him to life.
Massive Black IP
Maya
Animation: Erik Kling
Rigging: Sergio Sykes

You'll find a diverse range of work in this book, from early concepts in pencil sketch, to illustrative pieces, to untextured base 3D models. Final finished concepts and promotional posters are also showcased. The environment pieces are among my favorites in this book, though up-close character details are also amazing.


The Puzzles Will Be Revealed, 2008
Promotional poster for “MothHead”.
Massive Black IP
Photoshop
Dirtyiron

It's impossible to look through this book too quickly, and without an image stopping you and pulling you in for long periods of time. Some pieces are composite of many parts and very complex, but even the most basic is absolutely beautiful.


Transient: Babyhead Hits The Streets, 2008
Compositing shots using photographic elements with 3-D models.
Massive Black IP
Maya/ZBrush/Photoshop/Photo
Compositing: Justin Coro Kaufman
Model: Wu Chenwei
Texture: Justin Coro Kaufman

And as usual, I cannot say enough about the top-notch quality of the books that are produced by Ballistic Publishing. From the image selection, to the book layout and presented information, on to the high quality printing, this is an absolute must-have.

Pricing:

Slip Cased - $59.00 (USD)

For more information, please visit Ballistic Publishing, and be sure to look at their Book Previewer to get a good look at the content before purchase.


About Ballistic Publishing

Ballistic Publishing is the leading, award-winning, independent publisher of books for the digital arts industry. Dedicated to producing the highest quality publications celebrating the talents of digital artists worldwide, it is setting high standards in all areas of publishing from the quality of content, design and delivery to its responsiveness to the market. Ballistic Publishing shares a strong affiliation with the digital arts community through its sister organization The CGSociety (The Computer Graphics Society). Ballistic Publishing is based in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia, with offices in Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) and Tampa (Florida, USA).


All supporting images are copyright to their respective artists, and used with permission from Ballistic Publishing.
All content and images cannot be copied, printed, or reproduced in any manner without written permission.

Nick C. Sorbin is a digital artist, sculptor, writer, and Managing Editor for Renderosity's Front Page News.
Renderosity Homepage

 

March 30, 2009

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Member Opinions:
By: Sarte on 4/2/09
They have good concept art, but the majority of the games in their portfolio are merely mediocre.


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