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.
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.
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!
I am busy designing a pitch document for a fund with The Green Glider with the first page being an eye catching poster that showcases the story of The Green Glider in one vibrant fun image. I am almost done with the pitch document which was really enjoyable to put my designers cap again and I really like how the poster turned out.
When this past weeks kick About was revealed I knew I wanted to make a film that was quick and spontaneous, what I didn’t know is that it would be bursting with colour and that it would feel very cathartic and fun to work on. A lot of the stuff going on in the film was a bit of a fluke with the music driving the animation, serendipity was definitely sought after with this film and I for sure felt that; feeling giddy when the renders had finally finished. I’ve always wanted to muck about with Maya’s motion design plugin – Mash and I learned a lot about it with this little animation as for me I think the best way of learning something is to jump straight in and try and make a film out of it!
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.
Ersilia is starting to flourish as I continue to work on it which is a refreshing way to go about things as in this manner figuring it out as I go is proving enjoyable. I really love editing to music where a piano cord or violin screech effects how I interpret the edit, making it so that the music drives the edit and overall feel of the film and that is very much the case with the music accompanying the film created by Sergey Cheremisinov. The song which is entitled “Sleepwalker“has sporadic, creaks, fizzes and pin drop like spot sounds which adds another layer of texture to the music and invigorates a visceral response when animating the accompanying visuals.
The music starts off slow with a mesmerising hum that gradually builds up to water and bird song heard in the distance before transforming into something more violent and throbbing with surges and pulses echoing throughout. I am about to move into the more complex scenes which is the second half of the film and where the music swells and grows as will the visuals and is the part I’m most excited about.
I think because this film doesn’t have any moving characters and isn’t plot driven I want it to feel more ambiguous, more abstract and up to the viewers own interpretation. What I want to accomplish with this film is to feel like you are just experiencing the music, like the film is rhythmic and an extension of the music to embellish the song and work in tangent with it. It is all completely new territory for me and one that is proving invigorating.
Dance of the Happy Shades – a previous kick about over on Reds Kingdom was one of the most enjoyable Kick About’s thus far. I loved this prompt because it came very instinctively where I ended up making a little micro short, filmed from the inside of my bathroom’s poorly painted cabinet in my dingy west London apartment, where the light was shining brilliantly through the dusty bathroom window and in through a crack in the cabinet. I used my phone to film the light as I repeatedly opened and closed the cabinet door – making the light flow across the cabinet and then bringing those clips into after effects and mucking about by using some blend mode trickery, where lights and shadows started to materialise interesting shapes. To the precise eye some of them resembling a shodowy effigy.
The music discovered and accompanied this prompt is by Sergey Cheremisinov, which really drived this short and remembering that I went back to Sergey’s catalog to see if anything would fit the current short that I am working on. I found a piece that made me smile and shiver and after hearing the score it changed the periphery of the film into something a lot less dark, which I think works better (2020 is dark enough!) probably more sombre but I think that will be up to interpretation. Something about Sergey’s pieces with all its the creaks and fizzes overlaid sporadically invigorates a visceral reaction that make it feel like some thing is alive that shouldn’t be. I envision a lot when I listen to his music and like his music I want this film to have a replayability factor, so that really is the mission of this film and a whole new territory for me and one I’m excited to give a whirl.
I have been toying around with how to come up with the water elements for the Ersilia film that is currently in the works. The majority of Maya water tutorials tethers on the realism realm which is not the style that I am after. I did however come across the following tutorial by this gentleman who completely cuts through the bullshit to get to the point of making water in a handy and effective manner with the possibility of making it more stylised.
Since the world of Ersilia revolves around those constricting ropes I wanted the water to feel the same as the previous bunch of renders in my last post and consist of ropes growing and lapping along the ocean and have those growing ropes utilise Maya’s old school paint effects.
To attempt to get that same feel I followed the above tutorial to create the base of the ocean and fiddling about with the settings to give me the desired results for the water base shown in the video below.
I then decided to give Alpha Maps a whirl by laying out the UVs for the Ocean base and applying the alpha map as a material for the ocean. For once alpha maps didn’t make the cut! I didn’t like the look of the brush strokes, they looked too flat compared to the thickness of the paint effects in the previous renders so I needed to figure out a way to make the paint effects follow along the moving water base, which I thought would be a bit of a struggle to figure out but was relatively simple.
To get the paint affects used, in Maya in the modelling menu go to – Generate – Get brush which then gives you a mammoth library of paint effects to choose from! it has everything from fire, trees, eyeballs and fingers (picture below) I went with the simple rope brush.
To paint the chosen rope brush along the geometry of the water base you simply make the water base paintable by selecting it and in the Modelling menu under Generate again chose – make paintable, and then paint to your hearts content.
When you are finished with your paint effect brush strokes you then turn the paint effects into polygons by going to modify – convert -paint effects to polygons; it took me some tinkering to figure this out as if left as just paint effects it wont follow along with the movement of the water but oh the joys when the paint effects started following along with the water! You can then simply hide the water base by putting it in a layer and making it invisible. I’ve attached a video below of the process as I think its easier to see rather than read.
This process is really opening up my eyes to its possibilities, Previously with my last Green Glider post I mentioned that I wanted to dial up the illustrative style of the worlds and one thing leaving me scratching my head (and beard) was how the fuck would I manage making the water look illustrative? as there’s a lot of water in all worlds of the Green Glider but nada on illustrative Maya water tutorials. This method is definitely the key and I am excited to jump back into the Green Glider to translate what I have learned from this side project a whirl and make it suit the painterly aesthetics of The Green Glider.
Another kick about is over at Reds Kingdom with a smorgasbord of offerings from artists across the globe. I put forward this prompt over at Reds Kingdom as Calvino’s Invisible Cities is something that has always inspired me, it was my first digital painting project of my first year at Computer Animation Arts and with I started to quickly fall in love with digital painting and because of that it’s one of my favourite creative practices.
With digital painting I do find that their is a “shite zone” where things look like shite for a time before some golden nugget clicks, Whenever I am very deep In the shite zone I remember back to the invisible cities project and just how curious I was about the vast possibilities that photoshop has when it comes to digital painting. I found myself trying every tool within photoshop to see what it did and because of that I wasn’t worrying about the final outcome but enjoying the process and visualising the possibilities as they started to materialise. I always try to mimic that feeling with everything I do nowadays so that an accident or just mucking about with something can leave something interesting.
With this prompt Calvino describes a city made out of strings – “In Ersilia, to establish the relationships that sustain the city’s life, the inhabitants stretch strings from the corners of the houses, white or black or grey or black-and-white according to whether they mark a relationship of blood, of trade, authority, agency. When the strings become so numerous that you can no longer pass among them, the inhabitants leave: the houses dismantled; only the strings and their supports remain”
I originally was thinking about doing a piece of concept art or traditional art but I was itching to do something a bit more abstract and a bit uncanny. The Uncanny is always something I’ve wanted to take a proper bash at, inspired a good few kick about’s ago where I went into detail about the eerie nature plumbing from my Dad’s basement and in that basement Dolls inhabited the darkness along with the spiders and the pungent dust and how it all horrified me – in the best way; remembering that I decided this kick about was the one for such imagery.
The film is currently still ongoing, I am thoroughly enjoying doing something aesthetically completely different to anything I have ever done before and also learning the technical elements to achieve the look of the film, which aren’t that technical and a bonus! The whole film is rendered with Maya software which is glorious because it is rendering quickly and means that it doesn’t take long to see the results, I choose this option for that reason and also because Maya software renders with the moody lighting I was after. Until the film is ready to be released I have attached some of the renders from the film below.