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 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.