Monday, 16 October 2017

Major Project - Early Narrative and Film Concept.

Phil and I have been discussing the idea of what Airfix kits mean to me now and what impact they had on me when I was younger. I mentioned how in my youth I was a very accident prone child and didn't really have great motor skills so I would frequently break my own belongings by accident or mess something up I was trying to make. But I have also always been someone who prefers perfection, so I always tried to make things perfect and flawless but actually lacked the care and precision to make anything the way I wanted, so I would commonly reject the items and hide them away.

The way the project is heading at the moment is a mixed media animated documentary narrated by myself where I recall the experiences of when I was younger and struggling with my perfection stigma combined with my ham handedness, and how I now learned over those years to overcome my lack of delicacy and clumsiness and became careful and could control myself better, so I can now build something as perfect as I want as long as I take the time.

Here are some key images I put together that relate to the narrative, in order from left to right descending; A lego tower, messy paints, an unfinished Airfix kit, a completed Airfix kit, a messy drawing (lack of careful precision), a broken toy car, and an old action figure missing limbs.

And here is the first draft of the basic narration that Phil and I have made through email sessions based on my answers to questions about my past and feelings associated with Airfix modelling and my perfection obsession, I will use this as the basis for my narration.
Now I am beginning the process of figuring out how I can apply visuals to the narration in a way that fits the documentary style but implements the more artistic and symbolic parts of the story.





Saturday, 14 October 2017

Major Project - Mixed Media Examples.

Over the last couple of weeks Alan, Phil and I have been discussing the idea of my Major Project centering around the building process of Airfix Kits, and what they meany symbolically to me throughout my life.


A development that Phil and I have been deliberating is the concept of the of the project featuring a mixed media approach to the film, featuring a mix of real world footage and computer generated imagery. So before I have a script ready I thought I would show some examples of similar films that Phil and I have found. 

Tom Grigat - Stopmotion Model Builder.


The Model Maker from Callum Lawrence on Vimeo.

PESfilm - Stopmotion Studio.

Mid Credits Animation from Kubo And The Two Strings - Studio LAIKA

I have also included this Vox feature about CG animation that is made to look like stopmotion by respecting the physical rules of the objects they're animating, and using lighting and camera techniques featured in stopmotion fan films.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Maya Tutorial - Depth of Field Exercise


We rendered a scene using the depth of field settings in the Arnold tab on Maya, we then added a filter over the top to make a vignette using a ramp shader. Because of the way this came out I thought it would be fun to take it into Photoshop, give it a sepia filter and make it look like a scene from an old Noir movie.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Major Project - My History of Planes and my Family.

Apparently when I was a very toddler, I couldn't understand that I wouldn't be able to fit inside of toy vehicles, like I would try to get inside of a toy car or plane on the, even though only my foot would have maybe fit inside. 

For the longest time I can remember I have held great interest in different vehicles, I had a very early onset obsession with trains I remember as I used to compulsively watch my one Thomas the Tank Engine VHS Tape the entire way through while repeating every single line of dialogue (before I could even talk) and when old VHS tapes would reach the end of the recording they would automatically rewind to the beginning and play the entire episode in reverse, at which point I have been told by my brother in law that I would repeat the entire reversed audio as it would play because I'd watched it so many times. One of my most vivid memories from when I was very young was when my dad took me to a steam train yard full of retired trains, and I remember being amazed by the scale of them.



After that my attention drifted to cars, both my parents were racing cars when I was born, my mum retired shortly after but dad kept going until I was about twelve. Because of this motorsport is a big interest in the family, cars to a lesser extent. I've always found myself drifting towards older cars though, something about the timelessness makes them eternally cool to me, and I still frequently watch historical races mostly featuring cars from the sixties and seventies and the racing is still great because the cars are so basic, it really comes down to driver skill and how they throw these machines around the corner at their limit.


My parents and my big sister before I was born

But of all vehicles I've found myself interested in, one has stood out and persisted for many years, I've always loved planes especially, I dont exactly know the origin of my interest of planes, from what I can piece together I can assume it was a co-effort from my Dad and Grandfather. When I was very young my dad would travel a lot for business so trips to Heathrow were frequent as we lived in London, being able to see the plane take off that you know someone's on is a weird experience, because when you're on the plane you don't really realise just how fast you take off and get altitude, you're gone so fast. Same for when you come back, this giant tube comes out of the sky and suddenly this person is just back somehow, a strong memory I have from one of these trips was when my dad was coming back from Ireland, so mum and I took pictures in a passport booth to give to him, and when he came out the terminal he gave me a replica model of the Aer Lingus plane I had just seen him come in on, to this day I remember how that model plane looked with a the four leaf clover on its tale.




My Grandfather has a great interest in historical aviation, primarily World War 2 war planes and early jet fighters, this reflected on my Dad as well as my Grandfathers favourite plane is the Spitfire (the plane that debatable won the war) and my Dads is the Electric Lightning, one of the most iconic early Jet Fighters.

The Electric Lightning (my Dads favourite plane)

My family originates from Dover so my Grandparents still lived there when I was younger, so I would stay with my Grandparents quite often. I remember the a room of my Grandparents house by the front door that was full of miscellaneous stuff and no one really went in there, but I remember seeing many framed photo's of paintings and pictures of planes and some old figures that undoubtedly belonged to my Grandfather. 

He would take me out in his car to some of the fields around Dover near the castle, I remember their being sheep in these fields that I was afraid of due to how many there were. But after he convinced me they weren't scary we would go in to fly the gliders and rubber band planes we had built before hand, some of them would go super high because of the strong winds near the coast, and when they got high enough it was almost like you're looking at a real plane, because you have no point of reference for size so its almost like watching a real spitfire fly over you.

I must have owned hundreds of these, such an iconic part of my youth.

There were some stories that my Grandfather told me and my Dad relating to the war, one was that when they were the Battle Of Britain film on location in Dover they needed a large fire for a Junker Dive Bomber prop to crash into, so they got my Grandads tire shop to make a large tire fire which my Dad helped with throwing tires into, and then they crashed the fake plane into it which features in the film.

But he had a really vividly cool story that he told us about when he was a child in the War that was evacuated in the rural area near Dover, he was sitting by a railway line and he was watching dog fights happening in the distance, but then he heard the infamous noise of the Doodlebug V1 rocket propelled bomb and spotted it flying over head in his direction, he mentioned feeling dread as he knew it wouldn't hit him but it was going somewhere and would cause serious damage. But then over the hum of the rocket engine he heard another louder sound building up, the roar of a Merlin V12 Rolls Royce engine, and only one vehicle sounded like that, from the clouds came a Supermarine Spitfire diving to gain speed in pursuit of the Doodlebug, prop planes weren't fast enough to catch up to the rocket propelled early missiles, so they had to dive to gain enough speed to keep up with them. 


V1 Doodlebug


So the Spitfire is now pulling up behind the V1 and gaining on it, one would assume the pilot would have then opened fire on the rocket and shot it down, but this could prove to be dangerous due to the intensity of the resulting explosion, but pilots had figured out an alternative method. The Spitfire pulled up to the V1 until it was almost touching it, almost in the burn of the rocket, and then started to look as if it was going to overtake it, so the rocket and the plane are side by side at this point. My grandfather then told me that what he saw next was the Spitfire use its wing tip to lift the wing of the V1 up, making it turn towards the ground, and as V1 didn't have a tail flap it couldn't recover from this action and started flying towards the ground near my Grandfather. 

The rocket hit a field near by and started sliding along the dirt, still propelled by rocket until it eventually hit the railway line near by and exploded, so in the end the V1 still caused damage and hindered the war effort by taking out a train route but that could be fixed relatively quickly and there was no loss of life. So this was undoubtably a very heroic act my Grandfather had witnessed and I can assume was a very large factor in his love of the war plane. After looking into the method that the Spitfire pilot used on the V1 I found out that they didn't actually touch the wing tip when they performed this, and they would actually just place the planes wing just underneath the rockets which would disrupt its airflow and cause it to spiral out of control as if it had been tipped.


Supermarine Spitfire

My Dad and Grandfather took my to a lot of air shows when I was younger, and in 2002 we were at one where a Vampire Fighter Jet crashed very close to us which was a little traumatic. But I still enjoy air shows and try to go to ones near by and visit air museums when i have the time. As I got older I would frequently find myself investing in airfix model kits of fighter planes I had seen in films and at air shows, something about being able to build this thing that I liked so much was just so appealing, like you'd produced something even though you were just following the instructions. I was always afraid of painting them though because I doubted my own abilities and didn't want to ruin something I loved so much so some times I just left them unpainted. But it was just being able to hold something that you only really see from afar, and investigate all the small details and see every panel that made up the plane that was so appealing to me. 

Today when ever I'm feeling a little down and out about something, or I'm just feeling like I have nothing to do but want to be productive ill usually get one of my old kits out I was too afraid to finish when I was younger as I have more confidence I can do them now, which is a nice feeling to be like, yeah I can do this and be able to put the finished model on my shelf. 


So finally before I came to university I originally wanted to be a pilot for an airline, so I had planned to join the RAF Cadets and start doing what I needed to get my pilots licence, but then I found out a short while later that I was colour blind, which prohibits me from being a pilot unfortunately. So instead I decided i wanted to design planes, so I started to work towards become an Aerospace engineer, so that I could also potentially work on the Aerodynamics on F1 cars, but when I got to college I found the process of designing them to be less about free form expression and design and way more about physics and maths, which I managed but found incredibly boring. But using the cad skills i learned on that course I decided to instead become a 3D modeler, so that I could design any planes I wanted and not have to worry too much about exact sciences, and potentially make planes for films or games based on my own designs or of historical ones, or maybe even fictional flying vehicles like the spinners from Blade Runner. So its almost like i'm still making my airfix but on computers, and I haven't looked back!



I was testing myself last week to see if I could remember how to draw a Spitfire without reference, I feel like I did a pretty reasonable job capturing the look of the specific features of the plane as to make it identifiable, so I feel comfortable in my ability to do full concept pieces featuring them.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Maya - Shading and Lighting Tests,

Today we were doing some tests with Arnold shaders and material settings, we used three shaders today: The Wire-Frame Shader, The Ambient Occlusion Shader, and the Skin Shader with textures and assets from EAT3D


Wire-frame

Ambient Occlusion 


Skin Render

(Head Asset supplied by eat3D.com)

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Major Project Idea's

Here are the three primary idea's that I have thought of to develop into a year long project.

All of these idea's will include a rough synopsis, title, and what I would hope to develop.

IDEA 1: The Impractical's/Zero


Initially this idea started as a short film about super heroes, but not just your run of the mill, save the world types, these super powered humans are The Impracticals. Essentially the idea was that all of the characters would be parody's of different hero tropes from comics, but instead of them being accepted into society, all these heroes powers would actually make them more of a detriment. For example one hero idea I had was Captain Kaiju, a Japanese business man who was imbued with the power to turn into a giant godzilla-esque monster at will (tribute to Bruce Banner/The Hulk) but because the monster is so big, just transforming would cause incredible collateral damage. Another idea was a Superman origin hero, but instead of conveniently looking like an handsome human, he looks more realistically like a monstrous alien (think the Predator)

So this idea for the film was originally going to be all these characters being interviewed in a 60's style Area 51 manner, featuring small clips of each of there escapades.

This idea also spun off into a animation about a world where Superpowers human's have been outlawed, and if you develop them you're sent away. So when an average man riding going through his day, starts to develop a power, he tries his best to hide and understand what he is a capable of, and the responsibility of having it.

IDEA 2: RetroFit.



So far this is my favourite project idea, as this would mainly focus on me designing a triple A character and vehicle design, as I want to specialize in modelling and character design in software such as Mudbox and Zbrush.

The idea I have for this project is that of a post apocalyptic world made of scrap, but featuring hints of sci fi tech that may have put the world into the state it is now, the main character is an engineer and survivor, trying to find away out of the dangerous wasteland. Her daily routine consists of scavenging for parts and old world tech, and then taking it back to her workshop to fix her project all while avoiding bandits. The idea I have for this is a World War 2 fighter plane, that has been repaired with scrap metal and odd parts, but featuring the old world technology to power it, so they'll be a nice contrast of the old, the scrap and the very new. 

 I was thinking that in this project I'd end up with a character with a vehicle that fits her personality and becomes part of her character, examples of this idea are vehicles like the Blue's Mobile from Blue's Brothers, The Interceptor from Mad Max, and Ripleys Mech from the end of Aliens.

 


I would still like to animate the character though, so I was thinking I could animate some small proof of concept sizzle reel animations that could show off her personality, like these short animated intro's from the game Overwatch:



I would also still like to tell a this character's story, I thought a fun way of doing this could be through an interactive motion comic, that I could also print off and display.

IDEA 3: Dungeon Crawling

I like the idea of the scrap world aesthetic so I developed another idea utilizing this style, but this is a world where society collapsed and all technology has seemingly disappeared. But in a world with no technology, what are the youth of the future meant to do for fun?

This is an idea for short film, I came up with this story last year, but over that time I started to fall more towards 3D modelling than animation, and was advised that I might be better suited to focus on the former than the latter, but I still like this story so I felt I should include it.

A group of kids are bored and restless, so their Grandfather sends them on a quest to find a relic of the old world to entertain them. On this quest they fight a pots and pans robot, and scare off a bear, but not without realizing they are being followed by a something. At the end of this relatively safe adventure they run into some real bandits, the kids, thinking they can take them on but are clearly out matched are saved by a mysterious cloaked sage, who defeats the bandits and then retreats before the children can thank him. They finally reach the end of their quests and find the board game Dungeons and Dragons and head back home.

They tell their grandfather about the adventure and start playing the game, but realise that it was actually more fun exploring the world than sitting around. It is a this point the audience see's parts of the pots and pans robot and the cloak from earlier, implying that the old man had set up the entire adventure like a Dungeon Master and was watching over them the whole time.


Maya - Arnold Test Renders

We were testing out some lighting settings in Arnold yesterday in class, I went to remake the scene at home but found this weird powdery effect from the lights, almost like you can see glitter around the image.

Overall though one I have it all figured out I feel that Arnold will be a very Powerful tool.



Thursday, 21 September 2017

Brad's Inspirational Spotlight and Study: Wes Anderson's "Isle of Dogs"


I've been a big fan of Wes Anderson's work for a long time now, and I was elated to hear his next film would be another stop motion piece. Wes being a director who clearly goes out of his way to have his sets and cinematography comply with his iconic style and aesthetic,  I'm guessing that after Fantastic Mr Fox that he realized he could not only control the set of his film's in stop motion, but the entire world. So now instead of making the interior of a room or a train look symmetrical, he could make everything on screen visually perfect for him, as seen in Fantastic Mr Fox, thus giving really bringing his style alive.

One of many great shots from Fantastic Mr Fox (2009) showing an entire symmetrical landscape.


I'm also excited to see this film adopt a Dystopian, and not too distant Japanese future setting (although visually the design of the universe seems to be old mixed with new, reminiscent of the Fallout games series) which is a world and culture I always find interesting to see western portrayals of. And also I just love dogs a lot, so to see all these great characters in these dogs is just fantastic!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Butch Auntie Internship - Heart Model Exterior

I was tasked with modelling a heart that can be projected on to a stage, the way it will be shaded will give it an X-Ray look that when projected will give it an almost holographic look.










Monday, 22 May 2017

Clay Sculpting Work Shop - Jotaro Kujo (from JoJo's Bizzare Adventure)

This term we took part in a clay sculpting work shop that was lead by Alan, I was unsure what to think about this as I had no prior experience when it came to this kind of art, but I was hoping that due to my interest in Mudbox and Zbrush that some of what I learned/enjoyed would carry over.

Over the next four weeks I would attempt to sculpt the head of Jotaro Kujo, protagonist of Hirohiko Araki's 80s cult classic manga, "JoJo's Bizzare Adventure: Stardust Crusaders"


The reason I chose this character was due to Araki's famous style at the time, which features very broad characters, with sharp and square features. I thought that it would be interesting how well I could convey this look in 3D physically while keeping it looking as real as possible, also part of this characters design that makes him so iconic is his hair, which blends into his hat making it look like they are connected, I was keen to see how well I could capture this.

Overall I was very happy with how this workshop went, I learnt a lot and I hope to make more in the future. I also feel like the lessons Alan taught me will really carry over into my future designs in Mudbox and Zbrush.

Reference


For reference I used the character sheet from the 2014 animated adaption of the Manga.

Week 1



Week 2




Week 3




Week 4 (Final)