We were lucky enough here to get a small sprinkling of snow, I headed out with my camera and the dogs for a stroll in the bogland where most of the snow dissipated apart from being laid on top of the rich brown peat – mimicking icing sugar on an overcooked brownie. Rust red ferns with melting snow was a swirly delight to photograph – like little leaf portals to a tree dimension, inspired by Phil’s latest stunning frost ferns seen in the latest kick about. I’m hoping we get a proper lashing of snow and that it sticks so that I can go for a gander up the picturesque trail of my neighbours field that overlooks the rest of the countryside, showing a patchwork blanket of varying patterns and colours of the neighbouring nature.
Some more updates of the Oasis world, I have dialled back the colour and added the grass paint effects as per the previous renders. A water reflection has been added as well as and the same painterly tree alpha maps to draw the eye central to the entrance as that will be where the Green Glider will plop Ash when he is introduced to the Oasis.
I have gone back and decided to do a paintover of the metropolis world for The Green Glider animated short. After playing about with the Oasis world by trying to adopt real world references with the render showing depth and field, focus and atmospheric perspective I have decided that I want the rest of the worlds to follow suit. With previous renders of the metropolis world the bubble cars that are crowded around Ash’s careworn car were too overpowering; even though this would follow theme with how the story unfolds it just didn’t look nice, to combat this I want the lights of the bubble cars to be brighter and more exaggerated with a bokeh effect of yellows and reds dotted around the meandering roads in similar vein to the concept art below.
The focus needs to be centred around the Ash’s car with the surrounding areas being blurred which I think can be achieved with render layers and a dark vignette to pull the eye right to our main character. A spotlight on top and pointing down onto Ash’s car will further draw the eye towards him for the opening shot. I also need to reel things back with this world as the render times are horrendous, over a few hours for a single frame isn’t ideal so I’ll have to do some tinkering.
The music of this weeks Kick About prompt over on Reds Kingdom felt very christmasy and warm indeed. To me nothing feels more christmasy than going for a walk in the countryside of Ireland where the invigorating air hits you with pure refreshment and the frost glistens the shrubbery and flora. I spent a lot of my time when I was a young lad outside building rickety hideouts and treehouses with my friends and cousins. Going for a walk near my family home always feels like I am dipping into my memory fault where walking past a particular tree will spark a memory of us building and climbing away, walking through the grasses of the fields reminds me of being cut by barbed wire and being so dumbfounded by having fun that I didn’t realise I was bleeding with barbed wire marks in my palms.
I remember the beehive that was camouflaged into the ground of a particular field in perpendicular view from the balcony of our home, when all us had awoken the beast I can only imagine the sight of seeing us all running and screaming our heads off from the balcony as we ran for our lives away from the angry hive. Memories like that are scattered around the countryside of Ireland, they will echo as I stroll past them and now that I am older I can really appreciate them. Although all the hideouts and treehouses are dismantled, the trails that were grinded down are now full of vegetation again, It’s the clean air and the bright stars that haven’t changed.
Although isolation has for now stopped me from revisiting those actual areas of my past I remember them as I walk through the bogland surrounding my Mams house where I know I would have been in my element too when I was younger. I am still drawn to those picturesque areas and the crisp clean air, and I really appreciate the little bird houses built into the trees to shelter the birds in the bitter winter. I still sometimes walk past a particular tree and think – that would have been a good one.
This week, the woods remain lovely, dark and deep, as dreams of snow and ice continue to characterise this suitably festive Kick-About, with new works inspired by the third slow movement from Hely-Hutchinson’s 1927 A Carol Symphony. The Kick-About has been running for thirty-four weeks and was started, in part, as a response to the first lock-down. Throughout this time, our fortnightly shindigs have been a constant source of anticipation, comfort and satisfaction and I just wanted to say a big thank you to all my fellow kick-abouters for your creativity, conversation and always, the surprises. A big thank you too to all those who comment, who participate, who browse and who share. Now go have yourselves a very merry Christmas!The Kick-About #17 ‘Andante quasi lento e contabile’ – Hely-Hutchinson — Red’s Kingdom
I’ve always known Ireland as beautiful, particularly the vast countryside where the earthy browns and rust reds of the bogland flora swish and merge in the gentle refreshing breeze. I remember visiting this bogland in the spring time where the now endangered frog spawn would have the time to flourish into full grown vivid green frogs that completely littered the bogland during a trip when it was lashing down, frogs would leap and ribbit throughout the high grasses landing on my wellies and the odd time ricochet off the fur of Prince and Rocksy our golden lab and boxer who were less than impressed. It was a moment something David Attenborough would be proud of and a moment in untouched nature that I cherish.
What if Metropolis was my second project in university and the first project where I really dived into 3D. All the students had to dip their hands into a box and pluck an artists name and deriving from that artist – create a city in response. Using the artists techniques to apply that to a 3D universe meant that it was quintessential to the project to not just model a city looking like one of the artists paintings, but learn and apply the reason for the artists techniques and fashion that around a sprawling metropolis.
The artist I plucked from the box was the cubist and fauvism painter George Braque. Braque being one of the founders of cubism alongside the wider known Picasso with cubism being birthed around the notion of observing and painting structures or people from different angles and breaking that object up into different perspectives to have them collate together and belong as one, resulting in unique art with a fresh view that resonated many post art movements.
Utilising Braque’s techniques of multiple views and angles I was heavily inspired by the shapes, structures and contours of brutalist architecture, where I always would imagine brutalist architecture structures moving and slotting into place to then move to a different and new structure once it’s inhabitants were sleeping. I feel like many of Braque’s pieces are puzzles; where you hold your gaze shows one thing with the slight change of eye showing another.
With Braque and cubism in mind I created the city that I thought Braque would have envisioned. A lot of Braque’s paintings feature warming colour pallets of yellows, burnt umbers and terracotta’s so I used a reminiscent warm colour pallet. To make the colour pop, it was decided a night scene brimming of moon blues and sea green rim lighting would materialise the oranges as more vivid.
I wanted to create something that felt romantic – a place of refuge away from the mundane, where the sax was heard from the jazz bar on the right in the foreground and where you could get a bite to eat at the restaurant on the left with museums and art galleries making up the background matte painting as the moon lights the little divots in the cobbled streets.
I have had this post in draft mode for a while but nowadays I can’t help feel a tinge of reminiscence to real world lands of equally warming colour pallets, particular to our first year course trip to Rome where I was mesmerised by the grandeur of the structures, those lit up colosseums plumbing with culture and history and the mild nights all which do feel like a worlds away at the moment and one that I really long for. I will have to look into the archives of one of my many external hard drives to see if I can dig up some of those captured memories.
I have been working on trying to achieve a more painterly style with the Oasis world of The Green Glider animated short. To achieve these current renders I collated together many bunches of the 3D trees and plants and rendered them out, I then brought the renders into photoshop and painted over them in three different versions, 1 being the original scratchy and more defined version with clearer visible brush strokes. The second and third iterations blurring them out so they could plop nicely in the background to add more depth. I also made cooler and warmer versions of each painted tree mound and painted some shapes to act as leaves to bulk out areas as seen below.
〰️The Oasis Painted Tress – Clear〰️
〰️The Oasis Painted Tress – Blurry〰️
I then brought those renders back into Maya as alpha maps and situated them accordingly within the scene and added in some of the original 3D trees for the foreground so that it gave more depth of field. To give me more control I used render layers where I added the elements in different collections and rendered them separately – so a render collection for the furthermost elements and a collection for the foregrounds and so on, it means I can have a lot more control in post production if I think something could be blurred further or possibly blend more with the sky colour to give more atmospheric perspective.
There was one caveat – previously all the grass was done with alpha maps which was causing a problem where the scene was so populated with alpha maps that light couldn’t render through them and meant that they were rendering black, I found out I had to dial up the render settings to offset this – the ray depth to be specific which resulted in ridiculous render times! So using what I learned about my Boogie Woogie Jive film and the ongoing Ersilia film, I had a muck about with using Maya’s ancient paint effects which worked wonderfully. Within the many keyframe achievable paint effects parameters there is the possibility to animate a slight breeze to the grass, I will definitely be giving that a whirl and see how to looks. I think with these many trial and errors the Oasis is starting to come to fruition, things can be pushed more but I think I am heading in the right direction.
Trying to find my bearings with some night time photography, I wish I got a hooded figure walking down the ominous staircase! I feel like that is what’s missing. I shall return and I’ll be attempting to catch such an effigy.
After the civilised environs of Eric Ravilious’s well-to-do High Street, our latest Kick-About goes off-road, heading into the deep wintery hush conjured by Robert Frost’s 1922 poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Night.The Kick-About #16 ‘The Woods Are Lovely, Dark And Deep’ — Red’s Kingdom