Phantoms Of Surrealism

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.

Pools – The Human Environment Care Film Festival (HECFF)

Some great news today – Pools created in response to the Kick about on Reds Kingdom has been nominated in the Human-Environment category with The International Human Environment Care Film Festival in the Heart Of Pickering, Canada. The International Human Environment Care Film Festival has a special interest and preference in submissions that speak about the conservation of our planet as it reads “it is our belief nature is the mother of life, and its importance is undeniable. We wish to watch more films commemorating the value of the environment and nature. Films that speak on behalf of nature. Today environmental protection is the biggest challenge of humankind and we hope films can contribute to this challenge.”

Pools was discovered deep with the caverns of the forestry in Ireland where it was filmed and I may not be done with the footage and photography just yet, a recent wave of inspiration ignites the feeling of diving back in..

Artist-In-Residence: Graeme Daly #6 — Red’s Kingdom

It has been a long time coming since Phil Gomm with Reds Kingdom and myself had a long chat about all the creative endeavours underway. Everything from Pools, The Green Glider Animated short, The Lighthouse Keeper and delving into the freelance realm is discussed below. Have a gawk and a listen.

It’s been rather too long since artist-in-residence, Graeme Daly, and I sat down for a proper blether about his continuing adventures as a freelancer, film-maker and photographer. I keep up with Graeme’s various creative endeavours via his Gentle Giant blog and Twitter feed, but nothing tops an old-fashioned chinwag…

Artist-In-Residence: Graeme Daly #6 — Red’s Kingdom

Pools – 7th Siding Festival of Film

Some good news today – Pools created in response to the Kick about on Reds Kingdom has been nominated in the experimental category and will be screened with 7th Siding Festival of Film. The 7th Siding Festival of Film has a special interest and preference in submissions that are ‘Rural’ and or remotely produced locations outside of urban centre’s. Films are exhibited in 4 venues in Creston, including the single screen art deco style Tivoli Theatre first opened in November 1938!

The Lighthouse Keeper – Animated Short Progress #2

It has been a bit since an update for The Lighthouse Keeper. I have been continuing to film scenes during the early hours of the morning and after a failed attempt at butchering some fake tea lights I caved and found a better alternative for the protagonists all important emblem of caged light. Shadow puppet animation is a completely new realm for me and with it comes a slew of hurdles to overcome but experimenting and noticing the techniques of how light affects shadows is a really fulfilling. Here is some screenshots of some filmed scenes, more to come.

The Lighthouse Keeper – Animated Short Progress #1

This weeks kick about over on Red’s Kingdom revolves around the life and times of German animator Lotte Reinager who was the pioneer of shadow puppet animation. The responses from all the creatives offer an eclectic bunch of contributions to feast your eyes on.  When doing research for the Howard Sooley – Prospect Cottage prompt I came across the inspiring work of Reinager and since then I have been busy cutting, gluing and making for a shadow puppet animated short entitled The Lighthouse Keeper which centres around the peculiar landscape of Dungeness and a couple of burley blokes. Creating something for the sake of creating and figuring out the hurdles and bumps is what proves most enjoyable about delving into a fresh medium that I have yet to attempt. The stage is now set, the characters are ready to move, the lights are on and with it the sheer joy of seeing the cutout shapes and silhouettes lit up ablaze brings a smile to my face that makes the absolute bomb site of my shrinking bedroom all worth it. 

I am sharing the majority of the cut out shapes, the stage and silhouettes that will feature in the film as well as some lighting and staging tests that feature the main protagonist. I will be showcasing all the nitty and gritty process here, things that worked, things that didn’t and how I plan on animating elements that would require more than just my two hands.

Fundus Photography – Kick About #30

This weeks kick about over on Reds Kingdom revolves around Fundus Photography. When looking up images of fundus photography I was reminded of Olafur Eliasson and his otherworldly The Weather Project, but also the people that got to experience such an event. With all this in mind I have been yearning to do some digital painting as it has felt like yonks ago since I have held my wacom pen and got lost in some jazz music while painting away. I envisioned a blazing sun from a planet where the sun fills the air in a misty orange hue – a sprawling metropolis materialised with vivacious characters and stories between them, feeling so close but far away. It was a thoroughly enjoyable prompt to flex those digital painting muscles again.

Painting with Light – Ghosts #1

While experimenting with the use of objects for painting with light (one being a food strainer which ultimately was a massive fail), I continued to rummage through our overloaded store room where all the amazon boxes and no longer needed shite is kept, searching for more things to encase with light. I did however come across a mannequin torso that belongs to my roommates girlfriend – a fashion student. I previously bought LED strips that were far too bright to give the impression I wanted, but I thought covering the majority of its shining output could work in my favour.

The mannequin has a hole through its body where you can attach a pole so that you can hang the mannequin and alter the garments with ease, I was able to stuff the LED lights into the mannequin through this hole and even though it is covered in thick styrofoam the mannequin was now lit up like a freakish beacon effigy. I wanted to showcase the fact the mannequin doesn’t have a head so I stuck a fake tea light into its neck stump to add dramatic effect like some sort of headless banshee and attached a see through curtain to its diaphragm for some flowy movement. There is something about long exposure painting with light that feels as though you are capturing something that isn’t there but at the same time could be, some sort of residue spectres that reside in different frequencies and are only captured through means the naked eye can’t see, so it seemed fitting to try and capture some ghosts.

The mannequin in question minus the ghostly movement and before the tea light was added.

The Moon Did Not Answer – Kick About #29

This weeks kick about over on Reds Kingdom where artists from all across the lands provide a creative response is an exert from Haruki Murakamis 1Q84 where he describes the transcendent moon as a perceptive but mute watcher over the earth and all it encompasses.

I feel like with the words of Murakami, the moon has an element of ominous brooding and a spark of stoicism at remembering what used to be. The light I am capturing with these long exposure shots, which rim the highlights of ornate wood panelling and makes the hard wood floor sing with colour, makes me wonder who used to reside in this old house previously? Who wandered through the hallways? Who ran their fingers along the wood panels? Who tended to the rose gardens? Who hung up all the photos that still have a small circular imprint on the ancient stained walls? I imagine the original family in black and white or faded sepia, posed on an old chaise lounge, looking dapper but serious.

This old creaky house with its not so glamorous leaks and constantly breaking faucets still has so much charm to it, bursting with history as high as its ceilings. The mammoth floors above us are now converted into flats, but one wonders how it all looked in its original form? How would the moon have shone into those vast rooms above me? I can only fantasise.

The process of producing these photos was relatively simple. I used long exposure photography to take the initial photographs (seen below) – curbing my preference for large swings of a light source, instead opting for a central steady point so that the light source would not bleed out from where the moon would be placed. From the Scientific Visualization Studio site I downloaded a HD colour and displacement map of the moon which I then plugged into a simple sphere within Maya so that I could get some nice renders of the moon with depth and texture. I then plopped the renders of the moon on top of the long exposure shots and edited to my hearts content so that the makeshift moon look as though it is the original light source.

The Green Glider – Animated Short Update

It has been far too long since I have updated here the goings of The Green Glider Animated Short. Truth be told the rigging and skinning process of making an animated character move is a big ugly obstacle and the part of the pipeline that definitely is not my favourite, however it must be done! I had the usual array of fuck ups when rigging and skinning the main protagonist of the animated short – Ash. Pose space deformers would mess up out of the blue making it so that poor Ash would have tumours growing out of his asscheeks and elbows or one of the lovely glitches of Ash’s whole face sliding down his jowls in attempt to put him (or me) out of misery.

Poor Ash…
Ash – Body Rig

I am not out of the blue with the rigging and skinning process just yet, I have Ash’s body rigged and skinned and now it is onto the face. Just the sheer idea of seeing the multicoloured floating shapes hovering around Ash and knowing that he is able to move within the greyness of Maya is exciting. I can almost taste the much more enjoyable animation process in the near horizon and can’t wait to bring some life to his pasty face.