Rivers of toffee, homework that does itself or talking pets: Anything's possible in our imagination and no-one can change that. Our imagination paints the most colourful of pictures for us and really gets our creativity going. But what can we do with all these ideas? Put them to paper, of course. By hand! After all, it's our hands that bring ideas to life. Even in the age of computers, even if you're a 3D programmer or graphic designer. There's no better place to let your thoughts flow than on a sheet of white paper. So grab your pencils and get started!
Kudor, Lord of Darkness, wants to seize power and rule over mankind. His aim: To create a grey universe devoid of colour. There's only one who can stop him: Mars, Master of the Colours. Yet his enemies appear to be too powerful and danger lurks everywhere. He can only succeed if he gets help. Your help! Use your creativity to help Mars. Arm yourself with a coloured pencil and eraser and eliminate his foes. Bring colour back to the world!
STAEDTLER Mars computer game 'Mars – Master of the Colours', the first 3 levels:
- Level 1: 'Setting off'
- Level 2: 'On the roofs of the city'
- Level 3: 'In the catacombs'
|Minimum system requirements||Recommended system requirements|
|Intel Core Duo, 1.8 GHz||Intel Core Duo, 2.8 GHz|
|4 GB RAM||4 GB RAM|
|HTML 5-capable browser (Firefox or Chrome recommended)||HTML 5-capable browser (Firefox or Chrome recommended)|
Whether you're a computer fan or a dab hand with a paintbrush: If you like Mars or our 'Master of the Colours' game, we've got just the thing for you. There are lots of pictures from the game in our download gallery which you can save and use as a background image for your computer. Anyone wanting to add colour themselves, can download a variety of different colouring pages.
Our ergosoft coloured pencils are perfect for that.
A piece of paper can be brought to life – even without the use of magic. Together with Europe's largest studio for 3D animation and motion capture, we're going to show you how. By the end, our Mars figure will be alive and kicking – virtually, at least.
Philip Weiss is CEO of metricminds and a true expert in his field. He's put together all the steps involved in the process for us and explains how animation actually works. He's already let us in on the secret on what's important for getting started: "Regardless of how fast technology develops, we always need a sheet of paper, coloured pencils and a good idea to begin with. Only after that do we begin with the modelling."
Step 1: Modelling
'Modelling' is the term used for making the character's outer shell. This is done by a 3D artist who creates, or models, a virtual figure on his computer. 'Rigging' means we give the figure a skeleton or, in other words, an inner structure. From its little toes to its ears. These individual, small bones are what are used to move and animate the figure."
Step 2: Texturing
'Texturing' involves adding a texture to the virtual model; it makes our 3D Mars more realistic looking. We do this by printing out UV sets, or templates, which reflect the surface structure of the Mars figure. These are then coloured in using coloured pencils, scanned back in and superimposed over the virtual character. So, as you can see, this process unites both old and new techniques and art forms."
Step 3: Motion capture
'Motion capture' is next on the list. This is done by attaching motion capture markers to an actor. There are a total of 68 of these markers. The actor's movements are then captured by 32 cameras in the studio. This enables us to follow the 'movements' of the virtual figure on the computer screen in real time. The way the actor moves is how the figure will move later on."
Step 4: Motion editing
'Motion editing' is where we work on making the movements look as fluid as possible. In other words, it's where we do the fine-tuning. It's where individual figures are animated, their heads slightly turned or jumps perfected. We then take a closer look at the face. We use a reference video for this which shows how the face is to be animated. The eyebrows are usually where we start. We wait until we see the character making a distinctive facial expression and then model this expression onto the figure. The same is then done for the mouth, the cheeks etc. So, basically, the process is repeated step by step for each of the individual facial characteristics."
Step 5: Compositing
"We finish off with 'rendering' and 'compositing'. 'Rendering' is the stage where individual levels are rendered out or separated: One for shadow, one for colour, one for reflections. 'Compositing' is where the layers are placed on top of each other to give us better control over the different nuances later on. That's all there is to it! Despite the use of all that technology though, there's one thing we shouldn't forget: The figure created in a series of steps on a computer in actual fact originated as an idea on a piece of paper. And for that, you still need good coloured pencils."
We're not going to bore you with history - we're going to tell you an exciting story. A story about Mars. We're all familiar with the planet Mars of course, but the god Mars is perhaps a little less well-known. We'd like to enlighten you and tell you a bit about him.
The most important gods to the ancient Romans were Mars and Jupiter. That comes as no surprise seeing as it was common belief that Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus – according to legend, the founders of Rome. He was also the god of spring, responsible for flourishing crops and good harvests. In other words, it was Mars who helped people survive. Farmers honoured him as a result and prayed to him to bless their land.
If a winter was short and spring came early, they attributed this to Mars which is why they believed that he was a particularly strong and powerful god. He could, after all, drive away snow and ice. As a result of his courage and bravery, he became increasingly revered as a god of war.
Statues and paintings often depict Mars with a lance, shield, sword and helmet. So it's hardly surprising that the symbol for masculinity (a circle with an arrow pointing up and to the right) also happens to be the symbol for this Roman god.
Romans even named the first month of their calendar after this powerful god: March. He's also the namesake of the planet Mars. This red celestial body is still synonymous with energy, performance, strength and courage today.
As you can see: Mars stands for a strong will as well as the ability to assert oneself, to succeed and prevail – attributes each and every one us can identify with. In other words, we all have a bit of Mars in us. This is why, even today, Mars remains an excellent choice as company logo, as you will find out when you read on.
Today, Mars is our trademark (logo). That hasn't always been the case though. This task used to be assigned to a totally different planet altogether: The moon. A half-moon to be precise. Why? Well, in the year 1874, STAEDTLER was already doing business with oriental countries where the half-moon is a commonly used symbol. Having a crescent moon device in common made it easier to do trade with such far-away cities.
Mars didn't arrive on the scene until later. It was actually not until 1901 that the first Mars pencil went over the counter. In the following years, this model became so popular that the decision was taken to use the Mars head on packaging too. Though back then, it was still rather warlike looking with sword, shield and lance.
Ever since 1958, Mars has been part of our company lettering as he stands for strength and security. The design was revised and simplified repeatedly over the years until the current version of the logo was created – the one to be found on our pencils today. Recently, a new Mars has been created a virtual hero though, not a logo. He is an animated 3D figure who can't wait to show you his exciting online world – a world full of adventure and colour. So go ahead and join him now!