The Age of Aquarius

This weeks Kick about over on Reds Kingdom is a delight of colour and symbolism! Firstly, I was gobsmacked by the age of Aquarius song from the musical Hair. It left the hairs standing on my arms with the booming lead singer’s voice being absolutely phenomenal. If this show ever returns to live audiences I would love to see it! The “hippie” people of this era wanted to show their respect and love for the earth and focus on the world around them, while doing it as a group effort to show a sense of community and togetherness. Aquarius is an air sign, and as a fellow air sign myself, they are known to be creative, free spirited, and always seek clarity.

The symbol for Aquarius being the ‘water bearer’, who eternally gives life and spiritual food to the world, while also washing away the past and making room for a fresh start is usually depicted as a mighty figure pouring water from a vessel onto the earth. When seeing the image of the water bearer, I wanted to focus on a previous experience surrounding water that ignited the Pools film from the Eugen von Ransonnet-Villez prompt, which gave me more respect for the earth and the little wonders that happen sporadically, if you are open enough to find them.

These photos show a snapshot of a spectacle that was for my eyes only, where a trickling of snow was melting and forming a mirage of colours in a shallow lagoon of water. It was a joyous occasion to just sit and watch this natural occurrence, and with its dancing display, it allowed me to stop worrying about everything and what the future holds and just be here in this moment. I think experiences like that are important for grounding you and bringing you back to your present reality, where worry has no place, as the hippies in Hair embodied this physicality here and now by dancing and moving their bodies like water…”

The Bogland – Ireland January 2021

I have been busy setting up an online shop for art photography prints and have been in the process of organising, selecting and editing a slew of photos to see what will make the cut. Here is some edits of photos that was taken back in January of this year, which feels like a lifetime ago. I can almost taste the clean air and feel my boots squelch in the rich peat filled trenches as my dogs watch cautiously in preparation for an almost face plant.

Short Film – Pools: Colour Grade Revamp

I have decided to give the short film Pools that was created deep within the forest a bit of a revamp. Since I had been mucking about with the photography taken where Pools was filmed and really liking how rich the colours ended up I wanted the film to reflect this more so I dialled the photoshop modus operandi to translate over to premiere and balance alongside the edits of the photos. Colour Grading is an untouched realm for me, I have never really delved into the colour editing user interface within Premiere pro or Davinchi Resolve but after jumping in with this edit I can see myself oohing and ahhing at the capabilities of different tones and moods that any different grade can accomplish. Although proving difficult to choose only one I went through a lot of different colour varied iterations and landed on this one which I think is a nice mix of the cooling blues and fiery reds that flourished from the photos.

Short Film: Pools – Photography Part 2

Another batch of photography taken from the lagoon deep within the forest that inspired the Pools film that can be viewed here. I am currently in the process of setting up an online print on demand shop, where large scale prints of those photos can be purchased. It is an exciting venture that I have always dreamed of delving into and I’ve decided to jump head first!

Short Film: Pools – Photography Part 1

Before plopping myself down on the earthy forest floor and hitting record on my camera to document the meditative ripples that transpire within the forestry lagoon that inspired the Pools Film, I took many photos that gave the same filmic effect and have superimposed them for that same elemental visage. With every falling drop of snow the resulting photograph is a drastic change from the last resulting in a plethora of different colours and textures – an addictive waiting game where I spent hours watching and capturing the unpredictability as it unfolded, listening to the many calming drip sounds so that I can snap away.

Short Film: Pools

This weeks kick about prompt over at Reds Kingdom being the art, life and times of the Austrian painter, Eugen von Ransonnet-Villez, and with it inspired an experience I had when I returned to the forest this past winter. I happened to come upon a small trench like lagoon deep within the caverns of the forest where the snow above was melting and gently plopping into the lagoon. The lagoon was shallow meaning I could see the dirt, grasses and flowers filtering about in the water with the slightest movement. The glare of the crispy winter sun projecting shadows of the spruces and firs, lighting certain areas of the undergrowth in a vibrant red, the trees and shrubbery being reflected upon the water causing a mandala of colours to be refracted and ripple as snow drops fell from above.

Experiencing this was one of most pleasurable tranquil experiences I have ever had. I sat and watched this private show for a long time and felt as though time had frozen along with my hands. I pressed record on my camera and although I didn’t have a tripod which meant for some shakiness It was an absolute pleasure to edit this film and with it I have attempted to capture that feeling of complete tranquility.  The song by Kris Keogh entitled “We Were Gone Further Than Forever” transported me back to that tranquil meditative state again, with sections feeling like time moving, flowing and reversing, correlating full circle to an eco system of nature where everything becomes one with the earth again.

Ersilia Film 〰️ Water Update

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.

Maya – Texture Deformer Tutorial

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.

Ocean Base

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.

Alpha Map water Test

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.

Maya Paint Effects Library

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.

How to : Video

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.

The Final Result