Thursday, 24 February 2011

Session 5

The lecture for this week was Amos Marchant a self proclaimed Industrial Designer.

I was reluctant to hear about Amos because he was there to talk to the Product Design students. Now I don't like product design, I was tricked into taking it at AS level and have despised it ever since. Despite my negative attitude when the lecture started I found myself admiring Amos and his work. Though aesthetically boring his stuff had a deep thought process behind it taking into consideration on how things would be transported and optimised for each of their functions.
He called himself a "Problem Solver" and this indeed he was. I also respected how he had conducted himself as a freelancer, being a freelancer myself it was interesting to see how his working environment progressed to the point of having a very tasty looking work space in London he'd designed for himself.
My favourite piece of his was his magnet wall clock which I was unfortunately unable to get a picture of.

I spoke about modelling to Josh this session, Id begun my D'Gorath model but it was broken in some way. The thing Id created needed major clean up which Josh told me how to do.
Basically I believe that as I have been extruding edges and faces I was creating extra ones underneath them. These proved difficult to locate by myself until Josh showed me a way of viewing the poly faces that meant the centre of the face showed a dot. Once this was activated I was able to see where thin faces were hiding amongst the normal faces.
Speaking of normals Josh also showed me about backface culling which shows the way the faces are pointing by making them transparent the way they are facing and opaque when viewed fom the opposite way.
It took a good few hours to fix everything but thanks to the setting Josh showed me I havent since been caught out by hidden faces.
I managed to create the suit which I saved as a seperate file so that I could re-use it for Peabody.

Once the suit was created I began fitting it to the shape of D'Goraths body and added his wings, tail and his hands (which I'm especially proud of)

Then I made another file that contained the shoulders of the D'Gorath model so that I could create his head in the correct dimensions. Sadly I have yet to finish this but heres an image of the progress.

I bought a book illustrated by Simon Bisley at the weekend and after analysing his painting style I have come to the conclusion that it has the same basic principle as Josh's method, a deep undercolour with lighter colours on top to build up the shape of the characters. I am adamant that I will get better at digital painting this year. I had a speedpainting example that I showed Josh but I am having a problem in that I think my stuff looks too timid and that the brush strokes lack confidence.
Here is the speed paint.-

Josh suggested to use less opacity so I had a go and produced this-

Then at the weekend I bought a Slaine book entitled the Horned God which I remember reading when I was younger. The comic was illustrated by Simon Bisley and I immediately saw parallels between the way Josh works and the way that Bisley works.
Taking the Slaine book on board I began this piece-

Though I lost the will to paint after I got to this stage. I realise my folly in that I rushed into painting and should have spent more time planning. The layout sketch looked great but it lacked any solid background detail so Im thinking of scrapping that background all together and re drawing one and taking some TIME on it.

And finally here's a collab piece I did with two of my friends, I provided the layout and the line art for the little girl ENJOY :)

Monday, 14 February 2011

Session 4

The lecture today was delayed horribly and I wasn't inspired with confidence when I found out it was the guy responsible for 2D TV that would be taking it. I don't like 2D TV, as far as socio-political satire goes its about as good as this- "I'm touching Bush" and of course "Dear SUCKER, I mean customer!"
These clips were played before we even met the guy and my blood b
egan to boil and no surprise here that he had a mac, never would have guessed with his Microsoft
bashing. The actual funniest thing was that the shiny "awesome" mac took about 30 goddamn minutes to set up. Score one for Windows.
I was fully prepared to not listen to what the guy had to say but I am g
lad I did. The lecture he presented was great and full of interesting clips and quotes. I spent more time listening and watching tan I did note taking but I got a few things down.

The guy was called Tim Searle who works at Baby Cow an English based animation studio that's produced animated features and adverts for a wide variety of companies.
He talked little of his own work but mentioned they were concentrating on projects with a focus on narrative and that at least one project was in partnership with Disney.
He had a lot to say on Bob Godfrey who was his chief inspiration in g
etting into animation and showed us this clip of an animtion Mr Godfrey had worked on "The Do It Yourself Cartoon Kit" he also provided us with this quote
“Animation is around at the moment in rather a small way. In twenty
or thirty years time it will be around in quite a big way. It’s going to keep growing because we’re moving into an audio-visual communications era. People are going to learn from the screen as opposed to books.” a prediction which has become true.
He also mentioned Pete Candeland who produced the fantastic Beatles Rock Band promo as well as the Gorillaz videos.
There was a nice vintage cartoon called Automania 2000 by Halas and Bachelor. There was this quote from Halas " Animation is the most contemporary form of human expression combining the elements of motion, storytelling, sound and space" That quote now app
lies to video games too. Halas also co-wrote Timing for Animation which looks like it woul
d be a good book to grab.

Searle often spoke of comedic timing which ties into my latest project, I can manage comedic timing in a drawn sequential sense but the trick will be to translate this
into something that is almost animated. He gave Astronauts by Matthew Walker as a good example of comedic timing and good use of resources.
And to end this section a nice quote from TS Elliot that Searle sold us
"If I had more time I would have written you a shorter letter"

And with that quote ringing in the air we can go onto the sequential project I'm doing. It's looking like the story will weigh in at around 5 minutes long possibly less. I could h
ave drawn out the fight scene between Peabody & D'Gorath and the Spring Heeled Jack but I decided to keep it short and somewhat unsatisfying to hopefully grab a laugh.
I was quizzed as to when I would be starting the 3D models and reali
sed Id been putting it off out of fear of the possibly mammoth task ahead of me. It helped however to think of a check list of what I needed-

1- A model of Peabody
2- A model of D'Gorath
3- A model of the Springheeled Jack
4- A model of Jack's son
5- A model of a room in the orphanage
6- A model of the roof top of the orphanage

Now with resources in mind I have come up with some further ideas.
Peabody and D'Gorath both wear suits that are pretty much ide
ntical. With this in mind I will work on the suit first and save the file so that it can be altered then to fit each character hopefully saving me a lot of time.
Ill be building the body of the boy and two heads that will fit on it, one will be normal and the other will be the fanged transformed head.
The scenes will be limited to two locations so 4 or 5 scenes will take place in the same locales. This will cut down on the amount of work I need to do.
I need to start creating these things ASAP as it'll be a lot easier to have to do the drawn comic sections at the nth hour than the modelling!

Interestingly today one of my students showed me a technique in 3DS Max that I'm hoping might have a Maya counterpart. Its a physics bomb that would be useful for a glass smashing scene I have in mind.

And here are the final two character turn arounds.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Session 3 (a)

A few character turn arounds I did.

Sessions 1,2 and 3

So having been internetless for the past month or so I've let these blog posts pile up. Ill try to do my best to recount the past few weeks of the course.

Session 1

Session one was a simplistic affair.
It began with a simple introductory lecture from Steven Bennet who unfortun
ately won't be around this semester as he's too busy. I found Steven's attitude to his undertaking in the Masters quite refreshing so it'll be sad not to see him around so much.
This semester we have to complete a diary (hence this blog still going) and a review and reflection of the lectures we will see this semester.

The session with Josh was good, I received feedback on the previous semester and a reality check as to what I should be doing this semester.
Since starting this course I had a plan. That plan was to learn how to 3D model, learn how to animate and then get a job in the industry as an artist.

What a fool I was

Josh rightly pointed out that I simply wouldnt have the experience to compete for a job
especially against people that would have been doing it for much longer.
He suggested a diorama project, self contained scenes that told a story, he used the fantastic money show for the cadillac massacre in the Goon trailer as an inspiration point (which can be seen here
The dioramas would be done in Maya with ZBrush touch ups to make them nice and dynamic.
With this in mind I set out to plan my masterpieces.

Session 2

The lecture this sessions was told by the delightful Claire Norcross.

Claire studied an embroidery degree and started her career with a grant from the arts
council. During that time when she was dying nylon cloth she pondered as to what would happened if she dyed other types of nylon, mainly nylon zip ties.
The result was this lamp-

Soon she was approached by Habitat to sell the lamp in massive quantities and off the success of that landed a job as Habitat's lighting designer.
He work is a mixture of recycled materials and natural forms. The most interesting of her creations in my opinion was the lamp shade called Aperture-

Here we can see it fully open but the aperture has a few different forms that alter the amount of light it lets though and brilliantly it's made entirely of paper.
Its worth noting aswell that the lecture was not only informative but well presented and clear.

The second session with Josh and I still had nothing of worth to show. I couldn't figure out what to do for the dioramas but I had attempted Zbrush and found it to be an infuriating and unintuitive program to use. Josh pointed out that Zbrush is very much a progra
m that uses you as much as you use it. Here's my effort anyways.

I'm surprised I got this far with the program being as arsey as it was.

I took the opportunity to be taught a painting style by Josh as well as I wished to get better at digital painting as opposed to using flat colours. He showed me a method where you build up from a dark colour to a lighter shades gradually to give form to the image.
I had a go and it didn't work so well but I intended to practice some more.
We also chatted about the subject of the dioramas and settled on my characters Peabody and D''Gorath to tell a tale about.
I needed an antagonist for the project. originally it was going to be a horde of some sort of
creatures and I began doodling a scene where a creature had stolen a child and was perched on a lamppost above the duo as they looked for it. For some reason though I didnt like the idea of a horde of creatures as the idea began to form in my mind and instead I decided to look into the Springheeled Jack, a Victorian urban legend I knew about. The Springheeled Jack was a man shaped creature that looked like a gentleman with glowing red eyes who could leap over buildings in a single bound. I began to scribble down a character sketch and then inked it up-

I had a villain now I just needed a story.

Session 3

This session we were talk to by Richard Hooper assistant professor of fine art and design at Liverpool Hope.
He'd certainly led an eventful life having exhibitions and commissions around the world though the lecture itself wasn't as thrilling as its content. He produced a variety of aesthetic furniture with some of his more interesting pieces being interpretations of mathematical equations and natural forms. Of note were the pieces that were produced in CAD and CNC Milled.

One thing of note he mentioned was to not be bogged down by your BA work and to constantly produce and try to better yourself.

This session with Josh I spoke to him about an idea I had regarding my models that will tell a story. Id puzzled out through the week as to what the story could be and came to the conclusion that Id need more than a few models to tell a story. This led onto an idea about mixing 3D and 2D. It would be a comic with a few of the panels done in 3d. The story would be narrated and voice acted like old radio serials (or radio serial parodies with a theme song included. The
video would go from panel to panel with the narration then would fall into the 3D modelled sections which would be key panels in the story.
Josh liked the idea so I began plotting the story and simplified it into something that should take no more than a minute or two to run through.
I also practised some digital painting over a picture of Peabody and D'Gorath I had-

I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out and am going to attempt to get the 3d models to have the same texture as this picture.