Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Two Renders for Maya Tutorials

After fighting with my stupid move tool with its lovely way of being off axis compared with everything else and then forgetting about mirroring geometry and deleting the history........I came up with these two images I'm really pleased with the result and look forward to making environments on my own

Maya Town house

Here are the screenshots of my maya sorry they are late, I'm tired and unwell

The street is work in progress at the moment because my geometry is a little off as of one of my tools changing axis caused a few problems, hopefully I can get around it and provide the full scene soon

Friday, 26 November 2010

Final influence map


Avatar is a film directed by James Cameron about a paraplegic marine named Jake Sully who, after his brother's murder is invited to take his place on the Avatar programme. This programme is based on the planet of Pandora where the humans there aim to harvest a rare and expensive item called unobtanium. The only problem is the home of the main tribe of Pandora is right on top and the company involved would prefer to find a way of moving them in negotiating terms. This is where Jake comes into play as the Colonel asks him to report back to him on his findings when Jake is invited by the Na'vi tribe to learn from them in return for Jake to receive new legs. Jake begins to learn from the Na'vi but becomes attached to Neytiri. The Colonel becomes agitated and from Jake's infiltration realises the tribe will not move with negotiations and sends in a strike to force them out. Jake has to choose his race over the lives of the Na'vi and stop the crimes against them.

Pandora is an incredible world created by Cameron, full of life and very extravagant. The use of CG is incredible and nothing within the film looks out of place, it all seems so realistic and so integrated it is like the audience is transported to Pandora. Unlike many other films such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy the environments have been created by CG so it is something completely new and Cameron's sole envisioning but it never seems artificial. 'By contrast, Pandora is a whole new world of breathtaking beauty, exploding with wild new life forms that give soar, spark, prowl, pounce, gallop, and graze. Borrowing heavily, and brilliantly, from what he’s seen in deep-sea exploration, Cameron has built the most enchanting magic kingdom since Dorothy first stepped into Technicolor Oz. The first hour feels like something Terrence Malick might film in a rain forest in a galaxy far, far away.' (http://imagejournal.org/page/blog/dumping-out-the-toybox)

The problem however with Avatar seems to be that it casts out story for these CG effects. The acting is pretty average and story is so familiar (Pocahontas in space?) which is the reason why this film isn't the unique film that a lot of the critics believe it to be. 'Cameron’s screenwriting weaknesses are in dire evidence in Avatar. He peppers his story with ludicrous terms like the aforementioned Unobtainium and then oversimplifies the love affair and the social and military tensions in the film. The story isn’t terribly original, nor is it particularly well crafted, but if there is one benefit that comes out of a film as successful as this, it’s that if the diluted concept affects any of its audience and causes a shift in tone, then the film as a whole could be considered a success.' (http://www.cinemasight.com/Reviews/Annual/2009/Avatar.html) Therefore it seems that the triumph of Avatar is the use of special effects drawing the consumer in with a story tacked on.

The problem is that are we becoming fixated with the use of special effects to beef up the look of movies in exchange for a tacked on, generic storyline? Philip martin believes the film exploits our infant like characteristics: 'The chief importance of Avatar is that it’s yet another signifier of the infantilization of our culture. We shout and bray at each other, and consider thoughtfulness a weakness. We are entertained by crudespectacles and bored by adult conversation. We are mostly children these days, petulant and rude and convinced of our own specialness.' (http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2010/jan/29/film-mining-gold-20100129/)

Avatar is a wonderful experience, Pandora is beautiful but it comes with a warning. The story is generic and let's not hope this becomes the norm of films with them casting out narrative for shinier effects otherwise we will lose the independent side of cinema where the audience can concentrate on the acting which conveys a message.

The Dark Crystal

The Dark Crystal is a fantasy film directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz and is noted as being the first live-action film without the presence of humans on the screen. The film is set on Thra as the narrator describes on “another world, another time....in the age of wonder.” All of its inhabitants and environments are inspired by common folklore and were all illustrated by Brian Froud who was famous for his faerie and dwarf design. The story follows a Gelfling named Jen who is sent on a quest to find the missing shard of the Dark Crystal to restore balance to the universe and remove the power held by the Skeksis over the planet.

Concept Designer Brian Froud was behind all of the design that took place in the production of the film which in total took up five years of his life. All of the characters are breathtaking, even though there is no human presence within the film they are all believable and realistic engulfing the audience into the fantasy. Accompanied by the stunning backgrounds it all brings in a fantasy world to get lost in. Jim Henson found a copy of Froud’s illustration book which he said ‘I loved the style and richness of Froud’s illustrations. I knew intuitively that his work could be turned into three dimensional characters for our film- it was translatable.’ (http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=E5oTurPZbdUC&pg=PA34&dq=the+dark+crystal+froud&hl=en&ei=8jnvTKf6L4aphAe77MShDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CDkQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=the%20dark%20crystal%20froud&f=false Page 34)

The thing to notice about the Dark Crystal is that it is terrifyingly dark, where Jim Henson is well known for his cute puppets of Kermit and miss Piggy who share jokes and often involved in slapstick. The Dark Crystal is in the complete opposite direction from Kermit and co. Bringing something different to the table which Henson wanted to delve into. While Henson adored his young audience, he was never one to pander to the nose-pickers, preferring to challenge their eyes with visions of evil and the restorative effects of good; the ultimate war of destiny between the kindly Mystics (or urRu) and the wicked Skeksis.( http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/29457/dark-crystal-25th-anniversary-edition-the/ )The cruel Skeksis are definitely the culprits behind the terror, they look like a cross between a lizard and a vulture, which fits in with their horrible nature. 

The environments and creatures are really what make the film and it is a shame that the main character Jen was very plain and the story needed to be explored more. ‘An extraordinary, often mesmerizing achievement of design and performance that's held back by an underdeveloped script and a milquetoast leading character.’ (http://www.grouchoreviews.com/index.php?module=Movie_Reviews&func=display&id=2904) Even though this may be the case the film still stands out and its design is entertaining and immersive. It has gained cult classic status and rightly so, Froud and Henson should be pleased in the risk they took on developing this movie because it shows attention to detail and has so much character.

3rd Piece

I'm not going to lie this isn't fully finished a refined, these few weeks have been hard from a panic which I managed to overcome and create a style. Landscapes are a difficult task and I feel that over christmas I should partake in practising the techniques of creating them in Photoshop to strengthen my skills. This is definately the weakest of my pieces but I am happy that I have got through the unit with not so many issues. Again time management was a slight issue maybe to do with me being too laid back with the theory unit. But again this is the second unit and I'm learning from my mistakes, I know I have two strong final images and I am happy how they turned out. Here are the stages in which I took to create the third piece

Final Concept idea 1 and 2

First 1

Then the second ones development

Dont' know which image result to go with on the second piece, light or darker........

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Adding a proper sky into a previous work

Just thought I'd add in my new technique for painting in a sky on this previous work.

Much better! I also took the middle line out of the cliff because like Photoshop Phil said it was cutting the image in half so poof its gone!

Friday 19th Photoshop lesson

This lesson was just a quick chat with photoshop Phil. He seemed pleased with the way my work was headed and said that I should incoporate more little details into my pieces such as little rocks within the piece. He looked at some of my thumbnails and picked upon one of a view of 3 rock structures sprouting from the ground and said that the image would work really well. I started to persue this in photoshop and here is what I had become to create

I think that the image needs a different colour skyline to stand out a bit more, also a bit more foliage round the edges to frame the image more and I feel that it this will be a very strong piece especially with the work put into skylines recently.

Another image that I began before speaking to Phil I chose from my thumbnail drawings was that of the encounter before the lake with the lava rocks and the bubbling black pit. Again nothing finished but something to work with a different colour to show the time of day and playing around with composition.

Phil suggested in adding more smaller details to add more to the image as it looked plain, I think this is suffering in my images. He said in the above image there should be an addition of smaller rock structures which I agree with my images need more going on in them. However this image was about playing around with a different colour for the rocks, this image being in night time and the colours I worked.

Photoshop Tutorials

Friday 5th November

This was when I was lost in what to do for this unit I didn't have an idea that was working for me and it felt rubbish. This piece was the beginning for incoporating a new style to my work which I use now and a little step into the realms of perspective to make the world I was creating into a believable one.

This I felt was getting much more results than my first attempt at creating a space. But to incorporate the style into the pieces I wanted to give the rocks a much more cartooney style linking in with my influences of Samurai Jack and Up respectively. Therefore I had an idea which linked to the viewing of Photoshop Phil in action on one of his concept pieces. By using the lasso tool he was able to create different depths with the rock faces giving them much more character and I decided to try this out on my work.

I felt that this would work much better in the piece and give it a different character and style to my work.

Adding these lasso lines to create a character to the the rocks really brings them out and I will continue to incorporate this into my work

Sky Pactice

So after working in photoshop I found that I needed to work on the sky that I created much more. They seemed to not integrate with the other part of the piece and so I decided to practice to work in photoshop on creating cloudy skylines in practice to strengthen my pieces.

I really like these pieces and think that they would integrate with my piece much more. I feel that this down to the very cartoony appearance to them especially the third one which will be expanded upon in one of my final images. The images were really easy to create again just by putting down a gradient layer then another layer on top for putting the white clouds on. I then used the smudge tool to make the clouds look more puffy and have softer edges. Then another layer on top to add a darker colour which again was smudged to make the colour softer.


Here are some of the thumbnail drawings. They are pretty simple drawings but just convey compositions I liked which will inspire the final 3 pieces that I will create.

Tuesdays life drawing

Tuesdays lesson was all about using tone to convey the model. I set out using pencils but I feel that my use of pencil hinders me as I tend to take longer and be cautious in drawing rather than being a bit more expressive. Maybe I should venture into the use of charcoal a bit more (Shudder) so I can try and utilise it in my drawing and create a stronger and more expressive set of images.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Quick Blue Sky and Clouds painting

Well playing around with watercolours made me realise how out of touch I am with them now which is frustrating. I can't seem to get the images how I envision them, so after giving up with watercolours I decided to try in Photoshop.

I really liked how this turned out it was really simple to make as well, just using a blue to white gradient, then lightly building up the clouds then smudging certain parts. This has given a nice effect which I will use in my previous piece to make it stand out much more and is such a big improvement on the felt tip looking sky..........

Influence Map, mainly Samurai Jack

This influence map mainly consists of Samurai Jack concept work. The skys of the images are all keeping in sync with the style of the rest of the piece, the edges seem to be sponged off to blend in with the colour underneath which works really well. I also have a picture from the concept art of Up as I'm not forgetting about that influence. I used the Up image in this influence map because the sky is very simplistic and looks as if it may have been created with the use of watercolour and dabbing certaing parts after applying the colour to fade some of it out.

From looking at the Up picture in the top left I think I will try out a few studies of using manual media and move away from photoshop to test out the uses of watercolour to maybe include in final images.

Adding a level layer into the Plateau

Just wanted to see how the levels adjustment layer would turn out on this drawing.

I love how the levels adjustment has strengthened the colour of the drawing however unfortunatly if I had done a better job on the sky then this would have made a much better piece. I will definately make the practice of skys a priority. Also come to think of it the tress don't have much of an effect now, I think i maye have to look into just sharpening up the rock structures rather than the trees....