Some further photos from my return to the Forest, this time deeper within the shrubbery and depths of the forest where much of the melting snow only reaching the very tops of the tree arches high above and open areas not secluded by the pines and firs. I particularly notice those grooves notched into the earth where stumps of previous trees once laid and where the dirt was laid higher along trenches for the planting of the tree life. The snow from the other side of the neighbouring land not having trees dotted on every inch but instead wide open meant that the brilliant white light of the snow penetrated through to our forestry – adding a white rim light like ghostly frozen fog to the already ominous scene and highlighting those curvy, warped grooves of the tree linings, trunks and tendrils. Pointing and staring towards the direction of the neighbouring snow makes the scene feel like an angelic view of a world not far from reach and one that you cannot help but float blindly towards, the many seemingly empty holes in the ground from badgers and foxes makes you wonder if they have come-hither towards the light too.
I promised I would return to this enchanted forest this Winter after reliving the memories that this forest holds with a recent kick about reflecting on the words of Robert Frost. I did return to the forest when we got a dumping of snow and I relished in all its sensory overload.
As I was editing these pictures I could hear the birds, I can feel the clean air through the bristles of my beard, I can hear the sound of melting snow dropping from the Spruce’s above into a water filled trench below, I can feel myself watching the water ripple as the drippings lapped the forest colours in a mesmerising kaleidoscope, I could feel the snow squelch beneath my boots as I walked further and further. I could feel it all as if the images from my laptop imploded into a projection around my room in an augmented reality of memories and senses.
This is where you do lockdown right, how you spend your time correctly in a worldwide pandemic. In a place and surroundings that don’t feel like it has been gripped by the turmoil of Miss Rona. It doesn’t feel like anything is starkly different here because in all reality, it isn’t. It is untouched and it always will be. I miss the sheer joy on my dogs faces as they jumped with glee to see that I was taking out the leash from the shed to go on another daily adventure. I miss my neighbours allowing me to hop over the fence in their yard and trudge through the shite in my wellies to find mini universes iced over in the ponds and lakes that weave amongst the surplus of trees. I miss the smells, I miss the air, I miss the peace. I miss it.
This weeks Kick about was Inspired by Ernst Haeckel and his botanical illustrations showing the intricate microscopic organic matter within nature that might otherwise go amiss. I have always felt sensitive to textures and colours but this year I actually had a camera to capture it with rural Ireland really ramping up my perception towards it. The merging of colours within a few feet of land can completely counteract the next a few feet further and always makes for interesting forms.
I love relishing in the patterns and forms that bloom on a log or that is sandwiched between the trenches of rich brown peat, losing a shoe in the quicksand esque mud with shite up to my knee to get some of these pictures is all part of the pleasure.
Witches broom deformities resembling sea urchins, little pastel snail shells with their inhabitants no more and reindeer moss resembling bleached coral reef all part of the treasures that are nestled within the designs resembling Haeckel’s pieces. Sometimes I would lie on the ground and aim up to the sky to get a certain shot of a branch, plant or twig without it being nestled with its family of flora so that it would be easier to edit and isolate the flora against a clean slate of sky.
A lot of the elements within my designs for this kick about were cut and pasted out of images like the ones above, then significantly editing them by changing the colour and then when all the elements came together I merged them as one and erased half of the image and then copied it one more time to then flip horizontally so they were in exact symmetry.
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.