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 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 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!
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.
⌇I have been chipping away at plopping out the worlds for The Green Glider. It has been a bit of a journey to get the Oasis up until this point, in truth I wasn’t a fan of the way the Oasis was sprawling out before me with a previous hodgepodge of attempts, The greenery of the world felt too CG, the treetops resembled blobby forms of plasticine and looked a bit sad. I decided to take a step away and revert back to my kit of tricks and influences, the first being taking a long and thoughtful walk in the crisp Autumn morning, when the air is fresh and the dew sticks to my beard…
I’m fortunate enough living in London that an open tree filled park being that of Gladstone park is a stones throw away from me. As I meandered my way among the many trees I took my time to stop and think about the canopy of trees above me; I noticed where I was going wrong with my previous attempts was that of two things, the first being – Light travels through trees, with the previous renders the greenery was a solid mass of geometry making it so that light couldn’t pass through and the second being… I am a bit baffled that I didn’t realise this, texture! When you really look at untouched nature, flowers, grasses and bark, it is bursting with texture that intertwine and lace to form brush strokes of patterns, Phil Gets it with photographs of his many excursions where the photographs end up looking like a painting filled with brush strokes of pure unfiltered texture.
〰️ Gladstone park 〰️
This can sometimes be something that happens with me and my work, I get so in the zone and have this pin precise tunnel vision of getting stuff done that I don’t take a step back, look and see if I am answering the question that this world is asking. When I was in uni I was modelling a car, I remember distinctly Alan Postings coming up to me and saying “the way that you are thinking is a problem” I needed to hear it because it was, the car was looking like shit because I was clouded by just getting it done. I always think it’s good to remind yourself if this piece is doing it’s job by asking those questions and using everything in your kit of tricks to get it that way – it is something I am getting used of catching and making the necessary steps to remedy, I think intuition gets better with age.
With this in mind I used another trick up my sleeve, my tried and true – alpha maps. I love alpha maps because they are like smoke and mirrors, a magic trick to the eye. Old school video games would use alpha maps to bulk out the background of a scene where the player isn’t supposed to go, so why use resource heavy plethoras of polygons when you can do the same job with just one piece of geometry? Thats the mentality I like to use when making these ambitions worlds in my head a reality, reeling them back to smoke and mirrors to make it look right but at a fraction of the time and when it comes to it – cost.
Making these alpha maps is simple, I used a single continuous line brush stroke painted in photoshop – 1 with colour and 1 with just back and white, then apply that to the geometry of the Trees and what’s lovely is because the geometry is a mound the alpha map wraps around it, it is always a pleasant surprise to see how it turns out! What it gave me was a lot of texture – a single brush stroke that looks imperfect, less CG and more true to nature. It also aloud other flora to peep through and behind it which rings true for my own excursion to Gladstone park.
Because I like that this world is teetering more into the illustrative side I am going to have to dial up the same illustrative style with the other worlds – The Metropolis and The Wastelandso that it all feels cohesive and that they do belong on one single planet – more on how that plays out later…
I was also really inspired by two artists that are also apart of my kit for this project (And many more that is on my ever growing Pinterest board) – Eyvind Earle and Marie-Laure Cruschi, Earles pieces are these stunning whimsical landscapes with a vivid, palpable colour palette, Cruschi’s pieces are these gorgeous illustrations with the plant life in these universes having chunks missing to show a lot of shapely charm.
Now that I understand how the Oasis will look I just need to continue to place the plant life on a shot by shot basis, and finally getting onto opening excel and planning out those shots. ONWARDS 〰️