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'Thinking Outside the Box'- The Bob Animations

I give you the first of 'The Bob Animations.' I hope you enjoy this little animation. The next one is already in production!!!

Friday, 28 February 2014

CG Artists Toolkit: Dynamics- Sketching Particles and Particles Grids

A fairly simple tutorial this one and thoroughly intriguing into how particles work within Maya. I quite liked testing out the making of a cloud. The only criticism to my video is that for some reason the Blue background did not render out. And on inserting one in after effects I was made aware of a rather angelic halo around the cloud. Its probably a case of re-rendering, but for the sake of viewing particle effects as an object moves against them I think it is fairly successful.

Here is a rendition of Fog using grid particles. Once you get past the temperamental magnetic tool when creating the grid of particles, its plain sailing. I am amazed at how quick and simple it is to create a foggy outlook and the result is quite atmospheric.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

CG Artists Toolkit- xNormals, Photoshop and Viewport 2.0

Well, its done, complete, finito. Below are the various print screens of the progression to the final render. I forgot to take screengrabs of the modelling of the sword. I strangely found that a bit of a challenge what with trying to keep the geometry to a minimum.

When it came down to creating the texture and diffuse maps I did find it difficult matching up a few seams so the overall map on the sword is not perfect. I do quite like the overall look of the object, especially when situated with a twin in the scene.

Behold the final render

Monday, 24 February 2014

CG Artists Toolkit- Wood and Metal Diffuse Maps

Armed with xNormals I managed to finally add the texturing effects to the wooden planks, the anchor points and metal rings. I also went back and added some directional and ambient light to the scene so that previews from 'viewpoint 2.0' could really show up the normal map textures. (The added bonus of adding lights being the inclusion of shadows which really make the scene 'pop'.)

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Adaptation: Photoshop Experiments

To follow on from the physical experiments I tried out creating environments in photoshop. I got as far as the experiments below, struggling a fair bit as I went. I then realised it might be easier to create a big old list of objects and junk easily found within an attic and redesign those objects with several texture environments in mind. Like the image of the lamp below. 

When I eventually decide on the texture theme I would like (possibly as a result of these experiments) I can continue to create the objects in that style and when I complete the list, assemble the objects in a photoshop scene (or block it out in Maya) until the environment is as I like it.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Adaptation: Experimenting with Physical Models

To try and get in the zone for creating an attic with a child like style to it I created a 3D model using some of my creative materials, cardboard, felt, sequins and the like so see how I could go about creating the space.  Its partly to help me work out what objects I could fill the space with as well. Below are a few photographs of my trial runs

Friday, 21 February 2014

CG Artists Toolkit- Diffuse Maps Fabric Flag

I rather enjoyed this tutorial despite getting very confused and doing a lot of 'baking'. In this tutorial a flag was created to be flown on one end of the stone bases. In order to create that however a high resolution and low resolution version had to be made. Here we utilized the wonder that is Autodesk Maya's nCloth. by anchoring two points on a plane and leaving the animation to play out over a few hundred frames a lovely drop in the CG fabric was created. (It never ceases to amaze me and its strangely nice to watch it flow with this sudden introduction of gravity) In any case from here, for me, things got a little irritating as I had issues baking out my normal maps for a short time. As it turns out I had to adjust and add a little geometry to my low resolution flag. With that completed the remainder of the tutorial was pretty simple and resulted in the below.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Adaptation: Shedding Some Light on the Attic

'Attic: A space or room inside, or partly inside the roof of a building'

The attic. Its often an empty space that ends up packed with stuff in most domestic homes. One great description form wikipedia being 'they are known for being awkwardly shaped spaces with exposed rafters and difficult-to-reach corners.' Which is most definitely a trait people can associate with. Its usually a cluttered uncared for space. Unless the house owners appear to be economical and decide to turn it into a viable environment, converting the space into a bedroom, a study, games room and so on. 

Baring in mind the text I would like to adapt. Shel Silversteins nonsense poetry couldn't be more at home than in a cluttered attic. I am partly inspired by his cover sketch indicating the 'attic' is a metaphor, for the mind. 

So to get a feel for the space I sought out a few attics. Some fabricated through CG, some genuine spaces. Each and every one is very different in shape, size and lighting.

Finally another thing I will have to consider is what will be in a nonsense attic. In all honesty you can find just about anything in your average attic let alone a nonsense one. It might be all down to the most random and mundane selection of objects, stylised in a certain way that will really bring the place together as a whole. Something like Harry Potter's room of requirement is another idea to take into consideration. Treasured things, unwanted objects, cast out broken things, stacked and piled high.

Whatever I choose, I will still need to fit in the characters that feature in Silverstein's poems, such as the Baby Bat, or the Shapes.

Adaptation: Crafty Textures Investigating (TV shows)

Within this idea of craft based world there are a fair few children's programs in the same league. The first that sprang to mind were 'Morph and Chas' from my days of watching the CBBC children's art show, 'SMart'. However the little Plasticine stop motion characters pre-dated that show by almost twenty years. Morph was first brought to life by 'Aardman Animations' accompanying the famous TV presenter and artist Tony Hart from 1977 onward. What's to be noticed about their little universe is exactly that. Its little. The characters interact with everyday objects that tower above them. A nail brush doubles as a pet dog to these characters (as seen in the clip below.) Also they play on the fact that these characters are created from Plasticine reshaping themselves to tell stories, play games or simply just to get around to the environment.

Morph 'and Chas'

Alan pointed me in the direction of an eighties TV show called 'Button Moon' using puppet characters made of (and based on) kitchen utensils. The main character Mr. Spoon travels to Button Moon every episode in a rocket ship he made himself (One that bares a remarkable resemblance to a baked bean tin) And his family sometimes appear in various episodes. (Such as the one featured below) Much like 'Little Big Planet' entire worlds are created from various found objects.

Button Moon

A few other TV Shows of note with interesting background/environment choices, or general material theme.

Of course there is the felted, fuzzy world of 'The Muppets'. A puppet by Jim Hensen and first created in 1955. It became a very popular franchise spawning into many films as the puppets go on their adventures. They have large theatrical sets, but its the puppets that are the most interesting with their zany whacky brightly coloured designs.

'The Magic Roundabout' was a French invention from 1963 by Serge Danot. The original series was too difficult to translate so the BBC had a new version made (using the original stop motion) with English scripts. It was broadcast in the UK from 1965-1977.  The environment is intriguing because of its abstraction and 2D nature and the bizarre colour combinations.

'The Herbs' was another kids TV Show, created by Graham Clutterbuck and broadcast in 1968. It was a fantastical garden world that was inhabited by a mixture of humans and creatures with herb based names.

Finally here we have 'The Clangers' a stop motion animated series consisting of knitted alien characters who live in a Blue Moon.The first episode was broadcast in 1969. One of the most memorable features was the way in which these creatures communicated with one another. They did it in whistles that represented a language. But the gestures, body language and a narrator would usually guide the way as to what was happening in the story.

It would appear the majority of inspiration for my adaptation project will be in the older of kids TV shows and the cute with regards to gaming. I am sure an art style and theme are o be found somewhere in these influences that will really make my Attic environment sing of the nonsense, dreamt up by Shel Silverstein.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Adaptation: Crafty Textures Investigating (Games)

After another tutorial session, the plan is to build off of this idea that the environment/world is created from a theme/texture. My first examples include 'Kirby's Epic Yarn' (by Good-Feel and HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo) on the Wii or various worlds featured in 'Nintendoland' On the WiiU (By Nintendo)

Kirby's Epic Yarn

Here's an example of the gameplay for 'Kirby's Epic Yarn' (Please note that the commentary does contain expletives and a few gimmicks that might be offensive to some people.) In this game, the developers really took advantage of the environment and the way the characters interact within it. Characters Kirby and Prince Fluff morph and change shape because they're made out of yarn. Various stitches and buttons in the environment space allow different areas of the game to become accessible or visible. Evidence can be seen in the video at around 3:20 with the pulling of a cord. Another nifty play, seen at 2:38, is when the characters are enabled to slip under the appliqué patchwork of the world to access the next area and add another dimension to what is essentially a 2D platformer. There are a few other examples throughout the gameplay but you get the gist.

Nintendo Land

The Nintendo Land game was designed to be a Nintendo based Theme park with different mini games as the 'attractions'. Interestingly the look of a few other 'attractions' have cute/textured looks not too dissimilar to Kirby  but in a 3D environment.

Nintendo Land: Animal Crossing Sweet Day
Here's a video of how this particular game works and offers a better look at the world in which the characters run around. 'The Animal Crossing Sweet Day' attraction, combines cute patchwork quilt with brightly coloured Candies. And the enemies run around with a knife and fork for weapons, offering a different look at the scale of things.

Nintendo Land: Legend of Zelda Battle Quest

A little more form the same Youtube channel (Dazran303) shows a play through of Zelda BattleQuest also offering a great look around of the stitched up universe. Note a few landforms created by zips and buttons.

Nintendo Land: Takamaru's Ninja Castle


Finally another attraction within Nintendo Land would be 'Takamaru's Ninja Castle', (again a link to another play through by Dazran303.) The design has an origami theme, mixing up cardboard and paper characters and scenery of a first person (throwing-star) arcade game. It is very simple in its design, great use of coloured/textures papers to add a thoroughly Japanese look to the scene. In some of the settings you can really see the corrugated cardboard.

Little Big Planet

'Little Big Planet' is a game created by Media Molecule and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. (The video linked is a play-through that really showcases how the game works as its the tutorial stage) Its is a puzzle-platformer game that can be played solo or in multiplayer mode. Adventure levels can be played, but the freedom to design worlds and share them are what makes this particular franchise iconic. 

There is a really nice, strange, mashup compilation of textures. There are stickers, the background is constructed from various materials such as paper, card, fabric, wood and stone. Its like one giant collage inhabited by sack people characters. Another feature is the scale of things. Sometimes the background paintings imitate a real environment such as a garden seen from an ants point of view. Indicating the characters are very very little.