Thursday, 25 December 2014

'The Christmas Cupcake Basilica' - Speed Painting Challenge

I tried to experiment a bit in these speed paints, tried to loosen up a bit and make everything a bit more painterly. I need a lot more practice with it, this is just the starting point.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Maya Winter Submission

1)      Intro to Autodesk Maya:
a         a  )      Modelling (NURBS and Polygon) -
b         b  )      Character Part 1: Modelling -
c          c )      Common Shaders -
d          d )      UV Maps -
e          e )      Character Part2: Texturing and Shaders -
f          f )       Lights and Shadows -
g         g )      Character Part3: Lighting and Rendering -

2)      Modelling 1: Digital Sets
a          a)      Modelling -
b          b)      UV Layout and Texturing Preparation -
c          c)      Lighting -
d          d)      Colour Maps -
e          e)      Bump and Specular Maps -
f          f)       Dirt Maps and Final Render -

3)      Lighting and Rendering1: Intro to Lighting
a          a)      Exterior Lighting: Midday -
b          b)      Exterior Lighting: Sunset -
c          c)      Exterior Lighting: Romantic -
d          d)      Exterior Lighting: Night -

4)      Visual FX: Visual Effects 2
a         a)      Render Layers: Software -
     b)      Depth of Field -

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Only God Forgives - Film Review

 Fig. 1. Only God Forgives poster.

Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives (2013) is an intensely stylized film that lacks a coherent narrative. Refn uses strong lighting choices to create an environment that feels out of this world, it’s a shame that the story doesn’t add to the strong style. It is possible that this is a film that should be mostly viewed for how beautiful the setting is, even though it’s filled with excessive bloodshed.

 Fig. 2. Lighting still.

Refn creates a world that isn’t what we expect to see, it’s a highly stylized world that is beautiful to look at. As Sexton points out in his review ‘Bangkok at night is made to look infernally coloured, soaked in red and neon.’ (Sexton, 2013). Sexton notes that Refn fills what is meant to be Bangkok with intense colours like red, It appears that the colour choices reflect the brutality of the film. The reds are overpowering at night when acts of rape and murder are happening, the lighting becomes a true reflection of the twisted minds of the characters that inhabit the world. Refn uses the stylish world to capture the viewer’s attention.

 Fig. 3. Mother still.

Refn’s environment contradicts the narrative as the environment is quite immersive, whereas the narrative tries to alienate the viewer. As Hainline says in his review ‘Only God Forgives is more about sensory immersion than about character-building or strict storytelling.’ (Hainline, 2014). Hainline suggest that the environment is used as an immersive factor, where the characters and narrative don’t immerse the viewer. The characters are used more to alienate the viewer; with hardly any dialogue the film relies on its strong visuals to immerse the viewer.

Another feature of the film that is strong is the soundtrack, it works well with the strong visuals to make the limited narrative watchable. ‘Coupled with Cliff Martinez’s buzzing, lowly pulsating music, it’s distracting and nulling. Yet the lighting, production design and score are by far the film’s most artful elements.’ (Calhoun, 2013). This suggests that the film itself is held together by its visuals and the soundtrack. It successfully creates tension when its required and even helps transition through the narrative.

Overall the films plot is very loose and limited, it requires highly on its stylised environment to capture the viewer’s attention. Excessive blood and gore fills the screen as red as the extreme lighting used, it’s not a film for the faint hearted.

Illustration List:
Refn, N W. (2013). Figure 1. Only God Forgives poster. (Accessed on 11/12/2014)
Refn, N W. (2013). Figure 2. Lighting still. (Accessed on 11/12/2014)
Refnm, N W. (2013). Figure 3. Mother still. (Accessed on 11/12/2014)

Calhoun, D. (2013). (Accessed on 11/12/2014)
Hainlin, R. (2014). (Accessed on 11/12/2014)
Sexton, D. (2013). (Accessed on 11/12/2014)

What If Metropolis - Crit Presentation

What If Metropolis - Creative Partnership Archived

What If Metropolis - Final Scene Breakdown

I decided to be a little bit creative with the breakdown of my scene, here's the result.

1. Break down of the scene
 2. Wireframe

 3. Shaded

 4. Ambient Occulsion

 5. UV Grid

 6. Final Scene

What If Metropolis - Revisited Orthographics

I re did my orthographics as Phil had asked in my OGR, I forgot to upload them.

What If Metropolis - Revisted Matte Painting & Final Scene

I got some feedback from Sam on how I could improve my scene, she suggested darken the foreground buildings in my matte painting to better match my scene, here is the result.

What If Metropolis - Matte Painting & Final Scene

I've arranged the final scene now and added in some lighting, I also spent the morning working on my matte painting, I decided to create a plane at the back of my scene and UV map it with a 4k map and then create my matte painting on that. Here's how it's looking

 1. Matte painting

 2. Matte painting build up

 3. Final scene lighting adjustments

4. Final scene

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

What If Metropolis - Last Tower Textured (woo)

Finished texturing all of the towers now, time to sort out my scene. Here's what it looks like and I also put them all together in Photoshop, they're one happy family.

What If Metropolis - Tower Five Textured

Only one more to texture, then I can focus on the scene. (Cream biscuit windows again.)

What If Metropolis - Tower Six Progress

I've modelled and UV mapped the last tower (woo), just got to texture two now and then I have to sort out the scene.

What If Metropolis - Tower Five Progress

I've now UV mapped tower number five so here's a gif of its progress.

What If Metropolis - Tower Four Textured

Another one down, the ring windows look like oreos to me now (what is seen cannot be unseen!).

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

What If Metropolis - Tower Three Textured

Textured my third tower, not too much more to do now!

What If Metropolis - Submission Disc Artwork

I printed my DVD case out today, I've come to realise that product design is one of my weaknesses. So I'm going to invest more time into it and improve upon it in the future.

Monday, 8 December 2014

What If Metropolis - Production Designer Profile - Cory Loftis

Production Artist Profile

What If Metropolis - Tower Five Progress

I've now completed the modeling for my fifth tower/building, only one more to model! (woo)

What If Metropolis - Tower Four UV Mapped

UV mapping is complete, on to the next one!

What If Metropolis - Tower Four Progress

I've finished the model for my fourth tower/building now, only two more to go! I'm going to UV this one now and I will try to get it textured tonight at home.

1. Wireframe, shaded and close up of the top of my fourth tower.

I added some planes to the top of my model that will make a lot more sense after I've textured it, if all goes to plan it should make the top spikes look a lot better.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Suspiria (1977) Film Review

Fig. 1. Suspiria poster.

Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977) is an Italian horror film that is visually enchanting but evidentially less focused on the overall plot. It’s got a variety of uncomfortable scenes which include a guide dog mauling its owner, however overall this is a film that is very hard not to become absorbed in.

 Fig. 2. Red lighting still.

The plot is rather lacking even though it has a strange twist near the end, however Argento’s use of lighting is what makes this film visually stunning. As Smith points out in his review of the film ‘And then there's Argento's masterful use of deep primary colours — the sets are bathed in garish red and green light (he acquired 1950s Technicolor stock to get the effect) giving the whole film a hallucinatory intensity.’ (Smith, 2007). Smith suggests that Argento’s use of overly saturated primary colours gives the film a hallucinatory effect. It is evident that Argento used such strong colours to mirror what was happening in the scenes, for example near the end of the film he uses vibrant reds to compliment the murderous scenes that are taking place.

Fig. 3. Green lighting still.

It is possible that the films ability to capture the viewer’s attention is mainly successfully due to its strong visual style. As stated in a Film4 review of the film, ‘Hailed as a European horror classic, Suspiria's bloody charm resides in its technical triumphs and visual style.’ (Film4, 2008). This implies that the films horror is achieved through its style. Argento was able to create a completely stylized world that still felt and looked convincing, he’s use of strong colours changed the overall mood of the film and helped create tense and horrific scenes. It is clear that the films lacking plot is redeemed purely by its style.

The soundtrack adds a level of tension to the film that makes it increasingly more scary, a magical melody is screamed as an indication that something bad is about to happen, it ties in with the plot twist of the film being about witchcraft. As Vaux points out, ‘The legendary soundtrack from Goblin gets under our skin immediately, aiming to unsettle us at the fundaments before the movie goes to work on us in earnest.’ (Vaux, 2014). Vaux suggests that the soundtrack is extremely effective at creating an uneasy tension from the start and carries on throughout the film. It is evident that the soundtrack becomes very over powering, during the film it’s sometimes hard to hear what is actually happening due to the screech power from the soundtrack. Like many horror films, the soundtrack gives the viewer a hint to when they should shut their eyes and expect horrible things to happen.

Overall Suspiria is an enchanting horror film that will leave you feeling haunted, through its use of extreme visuals and ear bursting soundtrack. With some scenes that will never leave your memory, it is definitely a must watch for any horror lover.

Illustration List
Argento, D. (1977). Figure 1. Suspiria poster. (Accessed on 07/12/2014)
Argento, D. (1977). Figure 2. Red lighting still. (Accessed on 07/12/2014)
Argento, D. (1977). Figure 3. Green lighting still. (Accessed on 07/12/2014)

Film4. (2008). (Accessed on 07/12/2014)
Smith, A. (2007). (Accessed on 07/12/2014)
Vaux, R. (2014). (Accessed on 07/12/2014)

What If Metropolis - Tower Two Ambient Occulsion Test

Following my previous post I decided to quickly apply an ambient occlusion texture to the ambient colour channel of each of my materials.

I put it next to the previous render for a comparison, I prefer the model with the ambient occlusion as it brightens it up nicely and gives it a similar warm feel that my previous tower had.

What If Metropolis - Tower Two's Breakdown

I textured my second tower today, I haven't applied an ambient occlusion to it yet but I think I may need to, so it is as bright and vibrant as the first tower.

1. Textures being applied to the model gif.

2. The base diffuse and normal maps.

3. The bottom windows diffuse and normal maps.

4. The door diffuse and normal maps.

5. The door frame diffuse and normal maps.

6. The middle windows diffuse and normal maps.

7. The top windows diffuse and normal maps.

8. The door handle diffuse and normal maps.

9. Production art & model.

I think I'm going to apply an ambient occlusion to the materials and compare the effects, I feel as if its no where near as bright and vibrant as it needs to be.