Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Major Project: Gem Spike Animation Test #1

To make my crystal/gem molecule represent the idea of Anorexia better, it was suggested to me to look at ways to 'weaponize' it or to make it suddenly become dangerous and hostile. To do this, I experimented with animating the height so the displacement would become more extreme - causing the highest points of the map to become spikes. Unfortunately, I cannot preview the results unless I fully render it which took a while due to the reflections and refractions. It still came out quite grainy because I didn't want it to take forever but I'm going to need to keep this in mind when it comes to rendering because certain materials will need more time than others. I like how the texture looks even more so than before because I can actually see how the light appears within the gem (this has the same setting as Gem 018 only with slightly different colours).

Because of how displacement works, it appears like the object is smaller when it becomes spiny so I may do another test where I play with the scale of the object as well so it stays the same size or even gets larger as it becomes more aggressive. I may use a simple material for that test though so it doesn't take too long to render. I looked into previewing displacement in the viewport but it does not appear to be incredibly accurate. I followed this article to try and improve it, but even then it doesn't seem that the preview updates when you change the height values. I'll look more into this, but I hope that this preview well help me a little bit.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Major Project: Syrup 001-005 & Pancakes/Syrup Influence Map

Today I spent a bit of time testing out some textures for the line "When I see pancakes I see my Grandfather". I decided to work more with the idea of maple syrup for several reasons. One being I think that a shiny, caramel/golden coloured orb would be more appealing than the molecule being textured like a pancake. I also feel it'd be interesting to see what I could do with projections and transparency (so seeing the projections through the molecule). 

I also think if it's lit the right way, the syrup express the emotions that I want for this line in the poem (simple, sweet, homely, warm, clear). To me, maple syrup also reminds me of my time with my family in Vermont...the whole idea of maple, sugar, and autumn are all comforting to me and remind me of pleasant times of my childhood. I remember talking about real syrup vs fake syrup while making pancakes with my Grandfather. Overall, I feel that going for syrup rather than a pancake texture would be more pleasant to look at than a pancake texture and I feel it has meaning even if it isn't the pancake itself. 

I found it difficult to work with these tests, which I think is due to the syrup texture being transparent. Since it's in a large empty space (in the Maya scene, the sphere isn't near any walls), it's a bit hard to determine if it's correct since I can't see how reflections, refractions, lights, and transparency work together. I did add a deformer on to the orb just so I could try to get a better idea of how the shader was behaving, but I think it'd be useful to do more tests for this material but in the inverted room set so I can see how everything is looking more accurately. I also experimented a bit with putting a point light within the orb, but unfortunately I didn't save those images so I will need to recreate them because I thought they looked interesting. I think this material (once I get a better idea of how it's working) will be a useful one to test out different coloured lights/light temperature. 

Monday, 15 January 2018

Major Project: Syrup & Camera Tests

I wanted to begin playing around with the position of the molecule and the camera in the Maya scene. For this shot, I quickly tried to create a material that was maple syrup-like. This was made using Mental Ray, so I plan on creating specific glaze tests for that texture. I felt that smooth, shiny, warm-coloured material would be more appealing than a pancake texture. I also feel it'd be interesting to explore seeing projections through the sphere itself. I feel this particular line should be more about the projected images of my grandfather rather than the molecule since I think in most cases the molecule is the negative or unstable presence.

I find these tests interesting, but I find the camera movement relatively bland. The second test I played more with the focal length and the tilt of the camera, but I think there is more to explore with some lens filters which would be a good thing to test out once I migrate this over to Arnold. I also this shot would be good to experiment with colouring the lights, even if just slightly. I think adding a slight golden colour could help immerse the space in a more 'homely' or nostalgic feeling which is what this line is trying to express.

I do like how the syrup looks, although it looks a bit too watery and the jiggle deformer was a bit too extreme near the end of the tests. I also want to test out with the scale of the molecule more as well. I only adjusted it slightly in this test so it would cover the lens at the start of the film, but it might be interesting to make it more extreme so it took up a large part of the room initially, but then shrinks down. I might do a few pre-vis like tests even though I won't be able to see the material or the projections...from there I could position the projections.

For the projection, I spent some time in After Effects to add different types of distortion. I stumbled across the VR Digital Glitch effect which I thought looked interesting even though it wasn't necessarily intended to be used this way. I also drew some masks to create the distortion, but I think I need to spend more time on glitch effects to make it look better (I admittedly rushed it so I could get into Maya). I also think adding the VHS effect would look good on this if I were to do a cut in the film that was just the actual photo.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Personal Work: Olivier de Sagazan Digital Painting - Gareth Pugh S/S 18

Recently I've been trying to allow myself some time to draw and paint for fun. Due to how Dysmorphia, YPGTTO, and When has worked out, I haven't had much time or reason to draw. I'm trying my best to give myself some time to do this, because I enjoy it and I don't want to get too rusty. I tried my best to just have fun and not stress or obsess over making everything perfect. I've come to enjoy a more painterly style I think, I don't feel the need to smooth out everything (when I paint for myself at least). I like how it it feels more expressive, to me it's more 'meaningful' in a way. 

I decided to do a painting of Olivier de Sagazan again...I really enjoy painting him because of the interesting poses he takes, the way the light shines off of the clay, and the colours of the clay/paints that he uses. In general I find him a very interesting artist to watch. I decided to paint a still from the Gareth Pugh S/S 18 video rather than Transfiguration this time (the frame I painted was around 4:35). I started off with a pen sketch I made a few weeks ago, and built on top of it. I really enjoyed working on this and I hope I can make sure I give myself time to paint and draw for fun in the future.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Major Project: Gem 009-018

I continued experimenting with creating a gem-like object/material. I tried out a few different height/colour maps this time. One of them I created in After Effects (which is animated, but I didn't render out any animation tests) and the other I used some images I found online and adjusted the colours in Photoshop as well as clean it up so it tiled without any issues. This time I also experimented with the Scale Anisotropy and Dispersion Abbe number.

I quite liked how these settings changed the object, but I only tried out Dispersion Abbe on Gem 018 so I hope to play around with that more. Out of these tests I like 015, 017, and 018 the most. I found gems 009-012 really fake and plastic looking in comparison. I still also really like 004 and 007 from my previous test as well. I think I will attempt to create a more geode-like material as well, so it'd have normal rock with pockets of crystals in it. I want to keep the object relatively spiky I think... so it still looks dangerous but enticing.