Pools: Experiments that didn’t make the cut

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…

The Green Glider Animated Short 〰️ The Meadow

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.

〰️ The Meadow Render 1 〰️
〰️ The Meadow Render 2 〰️

〰️ Tom and Jerry Background Paintings 〰️

The Green Glider – Oasis Exterior Update

〰️ The Oasis Exterior Render 〰️

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.

〰️ The Oasis Exterior Render Process 〰️

The Green Glider – Metropolis World Update

〰️ The Metropolis Renders and Paintovers 〰️

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 Metropolis Concept Art 〰️

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.

Throwback – What If? Metropolis

〰️ What If Metropolis Establishing Shot Concept Art 〰️

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.

〰️ What If Metropolis Establishing Shot Render 〰️

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.

〰️ Brutalist Inspired Thumbnail Designs 〰️

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.

The Green Glider – The Oasis Update

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.

〰️ Render Layers Gif 〰️

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.

The Green Glider – The Oasis Painterly Update

〰️ Render and Paint-over 〰️

I have been playing about with trying to achieve a more painterly, soft feel for the Oasis with inspiration drawing from impressionist paintings where colour and light play a massive part in showing nature and landscapes. A lot of trial and error has gone into these tests, mainly because of the colour as a lot of impressionist paintings are influenced by vivid fauvism. I attempted to adopt and get into the headspace of an impressionist, by painting with quick brush strokes of light flickering the water, moving clouds and how the colours would merge together with incessantly moving light, always in a state of flux.

I decided to paint over the render to get the feel before I mend Maya to give me similar results, a lot of which will be achieved by rendering out chunks of trees then softening, blurring and painting over them and turning them into alpha maps that I can plop in place; some of which will be a lot more softened or more crisp to draw the eye to where it needs. I am still a bit unsure of the colour just yet, I don’t know if it’s too much so as always feedback is appreciated.

〰️Render Only〰️

The Green Glider – Flower Bloom Experiments

〰️Rendered Animation〰️

I have been experimenting with how I want to achieve the flower blooms within the story of The Green Glider. These blooms where animated using a mash up of different methods – mainly blend shapes which really in its name where you can blend from one object to another by duplicating the first original mesh editing it a tad and then repeat for a few more. It was tricky to animate as blending the blend shapes to their full extent made the flowers too large and angular so I had to go in and use deformers to bend the flowers down and not dial the blend shapes all the way up.

〰️Blend Shapes〰️

To make the flower petals pop and look more organic after animating using the blend shapes I selected each individual petal and key’d them to pop into place, the animation could be refined more but since the world will be populated with many of these blooming plants and much more abundant with flora I think the overall scene will achieve the vivacious life of the Oasis, tests of how the overall effect looks to come!

〰️ Mock Up Composite 〰️

The Kick About #14 〰️ Boogie Woogie by Norman McLaren

This kick about over at Reds Kingdom was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed injecting some colour into the greyness that is 2020. Dancing blobs, brush strokes and spirals got me out of a bit of a funk as I think it’s impossible to fret when listening to the tunes of Arnold Ammons who accompanied the vivacious animation by Norman McLaren – The whole Boogie Woogie genre is sure to make you smile.

It’s also proving worthwhile translating what I am learning from the Ersilia project into this little animation as the same old school paint effect techniques of those constricting ropes in which Ersilia resides is used in a much more colourful way with this approach. I apologise for the tragic quality of the video! for some reason it looks like I uploaded it with a microwave… but as this current version is a WIP hopefully I’ll figure out why the crispness is naught… or maybe that works well with the nostalgia of the music? I’ve attached some screen grabs and more experimental renders that are being edited in for the latter chunk of the song.

Screen Grabs

Experimental Renders