Friday, 28 December 2012

Reindeer Run Cycles

Due to being phenomenally unhappy with my reindeer zoetrope, I'm redoing the run cycle on a flat surface, namely my computer screen, with hopefully more accuracy to actual ungulate motion.

Above is my zoetrope, with its floatiness and awkward leg action.

And here's my second attempt, minus ears, antlers and tail which will come later once everything's fixed up and tidied. The near front leg is still a bit floaty and not moving as fast as I'd like it, the head grows and shrinks a bit, and the shoulder blade doesn't seem to quite know what it's doing, but other than that I'm actually pretty happy with this. Eventually it'll be all cleaned up and neatly lined and everything. Eventually.

CGAA Speedpaint Challenge - Day 9

'The Ice-Castle of the Yeti King'
25 minutes

I'm speeding up! This was pretty fun; came about a bit saturated, but at least it reads as blisteringly cold. Wanted more of a fortress feel than a castle, with a small village populated by serfs providing labour in exchange for safety within the walls.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Weeks 13-20 – Traditional Painting & CG 'Carceri' Mission Statement

What with the whole 'already done the Storytelling unit with relatively few emotional hangups' thing, I shan't be participating in it this time around. Instead, I'll be focusing on the personal artistic growth that should have happened over the summer but mysteriously didn't. I'll have two projects on the go, so I can procrastinate on one by working on the other.

The first is a lot of studying of traditional painting techniques; making studies from the masters and suchlike. Alan recommended the book 'Colour and Light' by James Gurney, so I'll be learning about the mechanics of painting as well as the technique. The areas of my skillset I'll be focusing particularly on are a) speed, b) value, c) colour theory, d) composition and e) markmaking, and that's mostly what I'll be 'assessing' myself on when this is over.

The second is a full CG environment of at least one of Giovanni Piranesi's Carceri d'Invenzione, or, Imaginary Prisons. I discovered them when researching prisons for my abortive Environment project, and immediately thought 'holy crud I have to build one of these'. The Carceri have already been built in CG, by one Gregoire Dupond, but his depiction of them is to perfectly recreate the etchings so that the environment itself appears to be etched. On the other hand, I intend to build a mostly realistic interpretation with minimal stylisation.

Dupond's continuous panorama tempts me to stitch several of the plates together to form a larger environment, but the final decision on that one will be made once I've more carefully considered my time. I shall endeavour to avoid referencing Dupond, however, as I want this to be a personal interpretation of Piranesi (that, and Dupond's camera work and sound design make me want to weep). This project is going to rely heavily on my ability to make highly accurate orthographs, and given that I've never made any before I'm going to have to learn very quickly indeed. As the Environment project did not reach fruition, I want this project to be the unifying of everything I've learnt over my time on the course, and to prepare me as much as possible for the commission in week 21.

Monday, 24 December 2012

CGAA Speedpaint Challenge - Day 7

'Exclusive! Santa's System for Simultaneous Present Delivery Revealed!'
25 minutes

I dunno, man. It started out with the elf reading the paper and went on from there. As you can see, value is still not my strong point.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

CGAA Speedpaint Challenge - Day 3

The Gingerbread Palace in the City of Sweets
1 hour-ish

I told myself that I wouldn't take longer than half an hour on this one - see how well that worked. I'm not happy with the final result, courtesy of spending most of the time working on it fighting the values until I decided 'stuff it'. Should've started in black and white. Ah well, live and learn.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

CGAA Speedpaint Challenge - Day 1

'A Christmas Tree Jungle'
40 minutes

Okay, so it's more a forest than a jungle, but I am an absolute sucker for those old-timey Christmas cards with their scenes of Victorian-ish winter life. Besides, this is hardly the first time I've taken liberties with a brief.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Photo Paintings

 This week Phil had us working from photo scraps to make colour schemes and find shapes and compositions. Fun times!

'La ForĂȘte de Mille Coleurs', because everything sounds more artistic in French.

'Monstrous Pachyderm' - nice colour, but seriously unrefined. That gets fixed.

'A Misplaced Boat' - this one was fun with colour, but for some reason I lost interest once the forms were all blocked in.

And finally, 'The Elephant Queen, or, The Indian Elephant as Imagined by Howard Phillips Lovecraft'. This was far too much fun.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Modelling Progress

Making some headway with the modelling.

These little bottles are going to be everywhere.

 The good thing about boxes is you can pretend they're full of things without actually showing any of it.

No, it's not a toothpick, it's actually a very simple fertility charm from, I believe, Neolithic Turkey. Don't quote me on that, though.

A slightly Art Deco coffee table, perhaps from a cafe in a distant land.

 A writing desk, the simplicity of which implies that it's military issue.

A dog collar; I imagine it belonged to a dog he befriended, now long dead.

This is actually a Russian orthodox Easter egg, or an equivalent in whatever alternate universe in which the soldier lives.

One roundhead helmet, almost certainly stolen.

This is an inkwell, but it can double as one half of a cruet set.

Yes, it's supposed to have those ridged. I think it looks neat.

Shelves, because books need homes too.

There will be a cloth over this to make it look a bit comfier.

In honour of Chrissie, this teapot shall be blue. Also dear god I need to fix that handle.

 Those legs are almost certainly not military issue.

 I will probably 'fill' this with planes with bump maps attached to cut down on modelling (and render) time.

 Because vases are easy to build.

 And the beginning of the actual lair itself.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Rhymes With Nantucket

I have two weeks left, a bunch of stuff to do, and absolutely zero patience left with this painting. I can read it, I'm not being graded on it and I have stopped giving any tosses at all about it. I'll figure out the surveillance room on the fly. Let the building begin.


Friday, 30 November 2012

Photoshop Speedpaints

Photoshop Phil had us working at ludicrous speed today - 15 minutes on each set of three sketches, or 5 minutes/sketch. It was pretty fun, and you can see my work loosen up with each sketch.


We then grabbed our favourite of the panels and worked into it for ten more minutes; amazing the difference a deadline makes! Phil showed me how to make crisp snow shadows with the lasso tool, which not only sped me up but immensely improved the final outcome.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Not Dead... Yet

I've basically lost the past week thanks to a flu-y thing that's knocked me on my backside, but I've got a bit of work to show for it.

Step one of that painting (contextualisation has been worked out, I'll be incorporating the surveillance room into the shot, but for now this is what I'm going with). Super blurry and loose, apologies for that, should be finished by Monday.

Then my brain decided it couldn't focus on Photoshop so I tried making a few 3D assets for the scene instead.

 Well, this isn't so bad...

Easy! Let's try something a little trickier...

Ugh... edges. H'okay, maybe something a little simpler...

Oh god, oh god! Abort! Abort! Mission failed! All units, fall back! Oh god, there's triangles everywhere! Fall back!

So yeah. Unproductive week, courtesy of my immune system not caring that I have a deadline.

Friday, 16 November 2012

OGR Will Be Late

Hey, at least I'm honest.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the inside/outside problem, so until I have a fix my OGR will exist only in hypothesis. Everything else I need for the OGR is existent, however, so here are the last of the requirements, minus trhe obvious final painting.

My visual concept for the scene is the juxtaposition of a cold, military imprisonment with the resilience of the human spirit. The environment is bleak and hopeless, but still happy. The cell is well lived-in and filled with life and colour, attempting to emulate the outside world, and though the walls themselves are hard, stern concrete the atmosphere is one of a home.

The room is bright and well-lit, not just to show off the Soldier's impressive hoard but also to make it welcoming. The installed lights are cool and sterile, but the Soldier's own lights are warm to further separate him from the military existence. The Soldier's collection will be of various colours, but the overall colour scheme will be towards the red end of the spectrum to further warm up the scene and to contrast with the lifeless walls.

The scene must look busy; there must be no flat surface uncluttered, but similarly it must not look messy. It is the home of a slightly eccentric prisoner, not a dumping-ground. The disorder must look endearing, not off-putting. To get this effect I will reference so-called 'Bohemian' interiors (that is, the slightly rustic cosmopolitan chic Bohemian, not the actually-from-that-bit-of-the-Czech-Republic Bohemian) to create as much disconnect as possible between the room and its contents.

Atlas Final


And the atlas is done. I went for a sort of world-tree/Yggdrasil motif for the cover, rather than text. It was almost a Celtic knotwork tree until I realised that I don't hate myself quite that much. Also, the reason #5 looks good is because I've seen it before. I have no idea where, but I am 98% certain it already exists.

EDIT: Figured out where it was from. Apparently I was channeling Ursula Vernon.

There are worse people to channel.

Hero Prop Concepts - Atlas Mundi

The Soldier's hero prop is an atlas. Basic structure of it is done, it's codex-bound to suggest being ancient (and thus almost certainly stolen). The covers and inside maps haven't been designed, so that's what's coming next.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

@Phil - Requesting Opinion

I'm attempting to expand the space of the bunker to show that it is, in fact, a military intsallation like you suggested. I'm tied between #7 and #8 - #7 clearly shows the bunker-type environment but I'm still unhappy with the idea of the space having windows. #8 immediately shifts the location from somewhere quiet and peaceful to something a bit darker, but I worry that it's a cop-out. Opinions?

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Figuring It Out

Two more concept painting sketches. These two were disproportionately difficult and time-consuming (you can see where I got bored and frustrated), and after I gave up on them I worked out why. Neither of the two paintings looked like the space I wanted them to be, because I already had figured out and put down that space; I just didn't realise it.

Obviously it will take some tweaking and refinement, but at the very least I now know what I'm doing.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Initial Colour Thoughts

Starting to think about colour. None of these feel particularly 'right' to me; perhaps it's just the low level of finish, but I have no doubt it's also my innate struggle with surface colour and making them work together in realistic lighting.

Clockwork Soldier Thumbnails, Part the Third

Even more thumbs. I'm leaning towards an old, venerable atlas for the soldier's hero prop - it's big and I can make it distinctive against all the 'filler' books, and encapsulates how he misses the outside world. Beyond that just some more fiddling with cell shapes, general clutter and shot angles. Practically speaking I prefer the angle in #28 - it shows everything off nicely and gives a good sense of the size of the space. Purely as an artist I like the angle in #30, as it really emphasises the soldier's clockwork nature and puts the focus onto the workbench. Unfortunately, such a low angle means you can barely see anything else.