Monday, 30 November 2015

@Simon - Window Frame UV's

I've been trying to model and UV these window frames, I tried making one and just doing the UVs then duplicating but I need to change the size so it gets all distorted. However, when I try to UV them after they are modeled in place it doesn't like being unfolded and goes all weird whenever I try so I need to do it with the automatic projection then slowly cut and stitch the pieces back together. This is taking a lot of time because I've needed to do it for each window so I was wondering if there was a way I could texture the frames on instead of model them?  I'm not sure how I'd figure out where the windows were if I did that or if it'd make it look too flat...but surely there must be a better way since I'll need to do the same thing with the frames on the other buildings? The oval windows themselves I'm going to use a shader to make look like glass. I'm just concerned because it's been taking me ages just to model one (technically two) buildings.

What the window frame UV's look once I finally cut and stitch them back together.

Maya Lighting & Rendering: Exterior Lighting Parts 1, 2, & 3 - Midday, Sunset, & Romantic

Today in our Maya lesson we went over three of the Lighting & Rendering tutorials. I found it useful since I'll be needing to light my What If? Metropolis soon, I liked how things were put together in Photoshop to finish it off. 

Friday, 27 November 2015

What If? Metropolis - UV's *Feedback please!

Although my buildings aren't modeled completely yet, I wanted to ask Simon how I was going to do the UV layout for this. I think I did an alright job (if I didn't, don't laugh at me please) but I'm unsure...there are a few seams, there's one that is right down the middle of the bottom chunk but that's not visible which is fine because of how my buildings will be arranged (or at least I think that's ok?). There are a few other visible seams but I'm hoping to add a wooden plank texture so I'm not sure if I should try to sew those pieces together or not. Feedback on how I did would be very very helpful for me. Thanks!

Animation & Character: Swing Animation

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

What If? Metropolis - Denoria Final Concept and Buildup GIF (Post OGR)

Even though I just posted this image, I thought I'd repost it with the GIF of the buildup. I'm happy with how it turned out even though I felt as though I struggled a lot with it at first. Now to model it...

@Phil - Smaller leaves and possible street lamps

I reduced the leaves on the ground and I think they look better. I also tried adding in some street lamps, I've tried multiple ways of arranging them but I think I like it better without so there's more space. That might just be because in my head the city/buildings are meant to be relatively bare and spaced out because of Deacon's work and how each sculpture needs its own I'm unsure. I didn't feel like it was adding much (I know they aren't super detailed but it was just a test) and if anything felt like a distraction (from my point of view at least). Opinions? I'm quite happy with how it is without the lamps. Also if I still need to make the leaves smaller let me know, I didn't want to make them too small because I still want them to be recognizable.

Smaller Leaves 
Street lamps

Life Drawing: November 25th, 2015

Today we did two longer poses and a set of five minute poses instead of doing a bunch of quick 30 second ones. We were also encouraged to use colour to emphasize where the weight of the figure is for the 5 minute poses. I tried to start drawing from a different part of the body than I normally do since I usually start from the shoulder.

What If? Metropolis - Denoira Updated

I've reduced the saturation of the ground, trees and sky which I think really helped my concept painting (thank you for that feedback). I've also finished adding some warm highlights to the windows and planks, I've added some extra shadows to the planks too. I've also added a few more sun rays and I decided to add some more blurry trees in the distance (after decreasing the height of the trees even more), which I think really helps add depth. I've included a gif of the buildup but also a gif to show how my original painting progressed into this one because I thought it was a pretty significant change and I thought it looked interesting.

Final Concept Painting Buildup
Different stages/versions of the painting.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Space Oddities: The Shining

One of the most iconic and memorable horror films created, Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' (1980) utilizes music, familiarity with inconsistency, and the questionable abuse of the actors to induce a sense of fear. Right from the start of this film, the music plays a vital role in the atmosphere and mood as the story unfolds. The setting and the characters are all rather ordinary but are paired with contrasting music and supernatural situations which makes it unfamiliar. The rather cruel treatment of the actors, while stressful for them, enhances their performances and makes it all much more believable and horrifying.

Fig. 1 'The Shining' (1980)

The film is an adaptation of Stephen King's novel, which is more about the supernatural than the film adaptation. It is a shame that the movie adaptation did not follow the novel more, perhaps it would have allowed the film to make more sense. In the film it is unclear if Jack (Jack Nicholson) is going insane and experiencing hallucinations or possibly being possessed by ghosts, namely Delbert Grady (Phillip Stone). Although Jack's son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), seems to be some sort of psychic or medium, the ghosts appear to have little impact on the actual plot,"Dead twins haunt Danny and then stop haunting him...the ghosts aren't quite subjective and they aren't quite real...the films most startling horrific images seem overbearing and perhaps even irrelevant," (Maslin, 1980).  It appears as though Kubrick couldn't decide between if he wanted to make a ghost story or a psychological horror.

Fig. 2 The Dead Twins
Although the plot may appear to be inconsistent at times, perhaps it was done on purpose to create unease. Kubrick doesn't want to create a sense of comfort or safety, but he also doesn't overuse jump-scares to shock the audience. Instead, he uses contrast to create constant tension and confusion which makes 'The Shining' an extremely effective horror film. He puts relatively ordinary characters, who are struggling with relatable and common struggles, into a generic, familiar environment. Jack is struggling with writer's block and possibly alcoholism, Wendy (Shelley Duvall) attempts to keep her son happy and healthy, and Danny (disregarding he is apparently a psychic/medium) just wants to play with his toys. However, the events that unfold within the hotel are anything but ordinary, making this film very unsettling and frightening. The randomness of the ghosts and/or hallucinations in this normal environment is part of what creates a sense of confusion and fear.

This unsettling clash between ordinary characters and environments with supernatural events and the mental deterioration of Jack is magnified by the film's sounds and score. Kubrick is known for his use of music to enhance the atmosphere of his films, and 'The Shining' was no exception. The score used gave of this feeling of an imminent and constant threat, no matter what the rest of the environment is suggesting. For example, the first scene of the film shows a serene and beautiful landscape as a small distance car cruises smoothly on winding roads. However the music does not match this environment, in fact it tells the audience that something very bad is about to happen before we even know who the characters are or where the 'bad things' are going to take place. Despite the bright coloured, open spaces in the hotel, menacing sounds prevent us from feeling safety in these normally familiar spaces, "...Bartok's eerily precise Music for Strings, Percussion and Harp extends over the bleak countryside through which the family drive, Ligeti and Penderecki underline the huge hotel's depopulated spaces," (Malcolm, 2014).

Fig. 3 Danny playing on the bright carpet.
On top of this, the real emotions and tension within the actors makes the horror of the situation even more believable and immersive. You can hear the tension in the actor's voices and see it in their performance. This is most likely due to the fact that Kubrick forced them to perform over and over again until they became visibly distressed, "...the actors themselves vibrate with unease. There is one take involving Scatman Crothers that Kubrick famously repeated 160 times...was it a mind game designed to convince the actors they were trapped in the hotel with another madman, their director?" (Ebert, 2006).

It is unclear if Kubrick kept the plot between the supernatural and insanity deliberately or if he just couldn't decide between the two. Like in 2001: A Space Odyssey, he presents scenes that leaves the viewer wondering why it was shown and if it actually had any significance. An example of this is the closing scene where Jack is seen in a photo from 1921. This is impossible because Jack became the caretaker some time after 1970, when Delbert Grady killed his wife and daughters. While this, and many other scenes (mostly ones involving ghosts) are questionable in terms of their usefulness, it remains possible that this was all done knowingly. Even though Stephen King himself dislikes Kubrick's adaptation of 'The Shining', it is a memorable and effective horror film even with its slight inconsistency and flaws.

Ebert, R. (2006) The Shining At: Accessed on: 24/11/2015
Malcolm, D. (2014) From the Archive, 2 October 1980: Stanley Kubrick's The Shining - Review At: Accessed on: 24/11/2015
Maslin, J. (1980) Movie Review The Shining At: Accessed on: 24/11/2015

Illustration List:
Figure 1. The Shining [Poster] At: Accessed on: 24/11/2015
Figure 2. The Dead Twins [Film Still] At: Accessed on: 24/11/2015
Figure 3. Danny playing on the bright carpet [Film Still] At: Accessed on: 24/11/2015

What If? Metropolis - Denoria Progress

So I think this is nearing completion now, I feel as though it just needs extra highlights and shadows on the buildings (especially around the planks) and touch ups. I've changed all of the windows, although I haven't finished adding the lights to them yet. I've added some subtle green onto the ground and I've also added a dirt path that's somewhat hidden under the leaves to help with perspective and to lead to the library. I've also shrunk the trees more and I've experimented with some clouds in the sky but I find that (in my opinion) it makes it look too stormy/fiery/aggressive when I want it to be more serene (maybe less red in the sky will help with this too). But I'm unsure because I quite like both so opinions on which is working better would be helpful.

Planks added, green on the ground, windows finished. Before tree-line size reduced and path.

With cloudy sky
Without clouds. With path and smaller trees.

Monday, 23 November 2015

What If? Metropolis - Changing and Refining the Windows

After getting a better idea of scale and adding more windows to my buildings, went back into my concept art to refine them more. I'm happy with how they are turning out, I think they look more like glass vs random glowing orbs now. I also started refining the sky more. I haven't added the wood plank texture yet and the library is the only building with the windows at the moment, but hopefully now I can just duplicate and morph the ones I've made already for the other structures.  I'm also considering making the trees a little bit shorter still. Feedback welcome like always.

New sky, windows and doorway.

Original sky/windows/door

Maya Digital Sets: Part 5 - Bump, Spec, & Final Composite

Finally I completed the Old Alley, although I found it challenging and confusing at times I'm happy with how it turned out. Hopefully I remember the majority of what was in the tutorial for when I model my What If? Metropolis set...luckily if I do struggle the videos are always there.

Final Image

Diffuse, AO and Glow Matt Passes

Sunday, 22 November 2015

What If? Metropolis - Scale and Windows

After getting OGR feedback I decided to put my front orthographs side by side so I could readjust the scale of my structures. I made the library bigger and decreased the size of the windows, I also added more windows so the structures would (hopefully) look like a large building vs houses.


Saturday, 21 November 2015

What If? Metropolis - OGR 2

I haven't finished my new concept painting but I thought it'd be a good idea to post my OGR with everything I have so I can get feedback. I still need to make adjustments such as refining the sky and finishing adding the wooden planks.

 For some reason, no matter how many sizes, colours, or file types...every time I try to upload my OGR PDF to Scribd it comes out weird and in low quality. It also is only letting me upload if I drag it into the browser, it isn't letting me select the specific document so maybe the website is just having issues. I've been trying for the last hour with no success so instead I've uploaded everything to my blog so it's easier to see. I'll try re-uploading it later in hopes it's just the website being odd.

What If? Metropolis - Orthographs

Here are my orthographs, I made them after we learned about Sketchbook Pro yesterday. It took me a while to get used to it, but I found it useful making these more so than Illustrator.

Building #1 (Left Foreground)

Building #2 (on left behind #1)

Building #3 (left behind #2) 
Building #4 (building furthest away)

Building #5 (right foreground)

What If? Metropolis - Production Art

What If? Metropolis - New Concept Painting Progress

It still has a bit to go, but I changed the colour, adjusted the size of the trees and leaves, and started adding some wood plank textures. I still need to do the sky and refine quite a few bits then add highlights to the wood planks.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Animation & Character: Bouncing Pumpkin Progress

For some reason the file wouldn't save properly as a GIF so it's smaller and lower quality than I'd like. I've included a video which is better quality but doesn't loop.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

What If? Metropolis - Denoria Concept Art

To me, this concept art is finished although if I notice any mistakes I will fix them. I'm really happy how it came out considering I found it difficult to achieve what I pictured in my head and kept getting frustrated. Photoshop not allowing me to use it until I updated it, then refusing to let me update it also set me back and made me a bit flustered but it's done and I think I achieved what I wanted to portray about my city. Feedback welcome.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

@Phil - Composition Tweaking

I moved around that building that was in the foreground on the right so you could see the rings better to make it more interesting and less like a random pipe/blob on the side...think any of these work better? I'm also unsure if the building on the right that's in the distance does anything or if it just looks like a random mass far in the my opinion it could do not being here but I don't want to make the image look flat.

What If? Metropolis - Denoria's Forest

Now that I've started the painting my final image so I thought I'd share how the ground and background are coming along. I'm really quite happy with it although I know they both, especially the ground, needs more work. I will still make colour comps but it's going to be more for the buildings since I am sure I want these autumn colours for the forest. Right now I'm leaning more towards a reddish/pinkish purple instead of a blue-purple but once I finish shading in the buildings I'll make the colour compositions.

What If? Metropolis - Final Composition?

Taking guidance from feedback on my previous compositions, I altered the floor plane to make it less flat. I like how it looks a lot better, if the city was in a forest I doubt the ground would be perfectly flat anyway. I think from here I'm going to paint over it and make some quick colour compositions before moving onto my final painting.

Before (Top) and After (Bottom)
Change in lighting and a few other tweaks.