A second set of cosmos created initially from ingredients found in my kitchen and composited into orbiting planets and galaxies. What I loved about these experiments is that they were initially all accidents, I didn’t know the chemical reaction of vinegar, vegetable oil, alka seltzer tablets and some food colouring along with a bit of staging and lighting could produce something so other worldly. I distinctly remember feeling so elated from this practice and spending countless hours into the night snapping away.
This weeks fortnightly kick about creative prompt is the short film Powers of Ten 1977 directed by Charles and Ray Eames. This film made me think of how minute our little planet is and wonder about the possibilities of life many light years away. I wonder what those other planets could look like and the beings that inhabit them. I decided to create some Nebulas using the textures from a previous exhilarating kick about and stamped them onto simple 3D spheres, superimposing them atop those same textures while painting galactic elements to create milkyways that possibly maybe could be.
When reading about Sheila Legge’s inspiration behind her walking real life surrealist exhibition for this weeks Kick About and how she was so inspired by the paintings of Dalí, I decided to create some Dalí-esque dream-like landscapes while paying homage to Legge’s face full of flowers. The female models were downloaded and imported into Maya where on their heads I glued an abundance of multicoloured flowers- tiger Lilly’s, Dahlia’s, Delphinium’s, African Lilly’s and Daisy’s. Combined with a quick and dirty rig and skin of the figures as well as some mountains in the background to complete the scene and move the figures to my every whim. The rig on the figure on the left of the above image messed up and I loved how fluid and melty the resulting movements turned out – I tried to replicate this mistake with the other rigs but my efforts did not gratify, It was one of those moments where a mistake tuned out to be a blessing but could not be recreated.
This prompt also reminded me of one of my favourite films – Annihilation (2018). In particular when the team walk across a baron land called “The Shimmer” where their bodies start to turn into plant matter. It is a strange and beautiful film that left a lasting impression on me, much in the same respect that surrealist paintings do.
I completely forgot about these experiments that never seen the light of day when creating the pools film. I thought about possibly interspersing short elements of treetops that I filmed and have these otherworldly orbs float amongst and behind the tree trunks to encapsulate and cocoon the texture, colours and nature with the forestry into mini universes. These orbs were created by using the filmed footage from the Pools film and turning it into image sequences and applying them to spheres within Maya, then adding lots of depth to them by applying bump and displacement maps. Displacement and bump maps basically calculate the white and black of texture maps within a 3D space and in turn raise or decrease the geometry to extrude and add depth, without these maps the sphere would have been a basic sphere. As I was editing the pools film I knew they weren’t going to make the cut and it was best to leave it be. Still enjoyable to play around with though! Especially with its uncertainty and since the filmed footage is basically plugged into the spheres and changes frame by frame it would have been really interesting to see what happens when finished rendering I can imagine those water ripples causing Synesthesia like effects. Maybe something will happen with them in the future, even to just full-fill my curiosity…
I have always wanted to learn how to use cinema 4D as its stylistic animation possibilities seem endless, so I made these cute little houses as a starting off point and couldn’t help but turn them into sims houses with the famous green plumbob and using the parallel camera to render.
I was watching the very beginning series of Tom and Jerry with my niece and was completely blown away by the gorgeous watercolour background paintings while Tom and Jerry run amok in their usual debauchery. So inspired by the paintings I have decided to adopt a similar more analogue and painterly approach, I think bringing down the complexity of many previous attempts of skies that I painted brings more attention and focus to the foreground elements and works better, that same yellow and pink that Tom and Jerry adopted works well for the Meadow scene, which is a pinnacle part of the film and where the beauty of nature of this world needs to really hit home.
〰️ Tom and Jerry Background Paintings 〰️
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.
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.