SCHOOL of ARTS BRANDING BEGINNING

Haven't posted in forever so here's a little look at something I'm working on at the moment for a new arts school opening up in the New Year.
The client loved the idea of having a badge that was easily transferable from print to apparel but something that is also timeless.





JOWETT CHEESE LTD.

My mate is starting up an awesome new business and I'm on logo duty. Thought I'd share a heavily instagrammed W.I.P. screen grab (yeah, don't judge me). Gotta simmer the hipster in me and stop with the ribbon/banner decals, I know, I know! Anyway I'm having hella fun on this wee project. Will update once we're at the final design.

TIDYING UP

While I was clearing out my room I found one of my favourite pieces I've ever painted and thought I'd share with you guys. Hope you like!

ANOTHER W.I.P.

Made a start on the interior of the apartment. Have tried to make parquet flooring a fair few times but this looks to be the most successful.
(So it bloody should be with all the cutting and pasting to get away from the obvious tiling repeats!)
Thought that the fireplace should be pretty old with a marble hearth so tried to create a cast iron jobby.
Rugs only have temp textures on hence the AA on the edges. The chaise is going to be much more distressed, I haven't put any maps on the cushion's materials yet.
Also put a couple doodles on the wall. Not sure whether they'll stay there but I like them for now.

FOUR FOR A BOY

Some MA students at BU have asked me to give them a hand on their latest film, Four For A Boy. Check out the series so far (http://www.magpiesfilmseries.com) they're awesome! 
Anyway, they're looking at the impact of technology on childhood. I don't want to give too much away but here are a couple of the concepts I've been working on at the moment.
Nice to go back to 2D, to be honest! Peace.



APARTMENT W.I.P.

Thought I'd share some of the prelim textures for the Parisian Apartment I'm working on. I'm started to get the hang of the Maya > Mudbox > Photoshop workflow which is pretty cool. Wanna get basic textures down before I start to stylise the model (mainly because modelling and UVing makes me mad and doing as little in one go as possible is always the plan!) Bare in mind this only the diffuse layer, hoping this will look awesome with some spec and bump on this.. stay tuned!

Oh.. there's also repeating because I've only modelled the one half of the window/roof so just duplicated over the group to see what it's gonna look like once done.


PARIS APARTMENT W.I.P.

Hi y'all. So since visiting Paris a couple weeks back I have been obsessed with the idea of making a cut-out apartment building just like the Sony Masterclass we did earlier this year (see previous post). I'm not great at modelling so wanted to get the design down first so I didn't have to change much stuff once in 3D. Reference-wise, alongside reference photos I took while out there, I also looked in detail at the sets of 'A Monster in Paris' (obvious, I know but it's so well done) and also in 'Moulin Rouge' as I was looking for a mix between the stylistic choices these movies both made. Here are some studies I did in marker and ink which I kinda wanted to amalgamate all together (excuse the rubbish photos, scanner's being a little bitch).




 So with all that I came up with this design for the exterior, pretty simple but plenty of room for some good texture detail, I think.

I'm going to make the interior the most geometry-heavy but needed to work out what the space would look like inside so I started blocking out the model: That's all I've got for now but will update soon, peace!

ANNECY ANIMATION FESTIVAL 2012

SO I haven't posted in the longest time but have been very busy with uni. Now however I've handed all assignments in and just trying to edit my showreel together.
Last week I went to Annecy for the animation festival and had such an awesome time. Thought I'd share some of my highlights with you. Obviously many of the films are not online but there are some trailers knocking around.

One of my favourite graduation films was 366 Tage. A story of a young paramedic and how he learns not to get too attached to his patients. It truly is a story worth telling and so beautifully done.
TRAILER

Another brilliant grad film  I loved, Ernesto, from NFTS. The story is about a  young kid who wants to loose his teeth so he can be cool at school. He tries to remove them himself but his teeth start to sing. It's hilarious!
TRAILER

One more film that had me in stitches was Una furtiva lagrima by former Gobelin student, Carlo Vogele. Opera-singing fish, I'll leave it at that.
TRAILER

Lastly, I fell in love with Disney all over again after seeing the premier of Paperman. The 2D/3D hybrid works so seamlessly and is so good to see software development that enables tracking of hand-drawn lines following the shape and movement of 3D geometry. It's going to be release with Wreck-it Ralph (which also looks INCREDIBLE by the way) but here is a look at how the team set about getting the desired look.
PAPERMAN DOCUMENTARY

On my travels I also visited Paris and collected a tonne of reference photos and can't wait to make something with it so should hopefully update soon with some new work.
Peace.

THE REAL DIVA

Quick update on Diva Dreams short. Here's the finalised design for our 'real' Diva.. or Dreamer. 

NSFW! Hahah, but seriously we had a bit of a debate over whether our curvy babe should have nipples or not. We've included them in the design as we figured she will be covered with bubbles but it wouldn't look natural for nothing to be there. Anyway, I need to go and refresh my eyes with something pleasant after looking at numerous reference photos of naked Beth Ditto...  Safe x


SONY Games Environment Master Class


So here's what I handed in the end. Ran out of time with trying to fix the normal map but it works, just really harshly in some places.



The original reference was Russell Cotes' Art Museum in Bournemouth, narrative was that it had been turned into a pirate tavern and also a bordello/brothel.
First time working with texture maps and UV tiles (yeah, was pretty ignorant about the amount of files I used before!) Learned loads about the importance of good UVing, textured in Photoshop after a couple of resolution issues with Mari (which I totally want to try out again, I mean no seams!!)
Lighting priority was inside but in order to show what the textures would be like outside I had to drop in a huge horrible light but I'll do some nicer renders soon.
Had loads of issues with the normal map in a layered texture which is why it looks really puffy in places but I ran out of time.
(Also, I will upload a looped version as this is pretty crummy to watch through once!)

So after the project comes the inevitable, what could I have done more, etc, etc...
First off, it did confirm that I would never want to end up working in games. I mean, you pretty much have to create texture maps for every piece of geometry which sometimes is just really unnecessary (in my opinion). I'm more into the look dev. of a material and bothered about how it reacts to light.
If I could do the assignment again, I would definitely model in more detail as even though the scene was low poly, I ended up using only just over half of the 20,000 vert limit which I think really lets down some parts of the model that would benefit from better modelling, such as the bed, the roof and general pirate garb.
I did find it useful to bare in mind the game-player's POV and tried to give detail priority to things that would be seen closer up such as the floor and the tables.
I had never used a layered texture before in Maya which are actually hella useful. I don't think I'll be super quick to snap up UV tile efficiency (as I found quite a few problems with transparency and unevenness of bump/normal) but the possibilites it can bring with mixing procedural and artisan textures together is really exciting (nerd).
I also hadn't used zBrush very much at all before this project, I didn't end up using anything I created as I couldn't seem to transfer my maps but later on in the assignment I figured some stuff out and some of the features are pretty neat which I'll be taking forward to use in my Major project.

Now to spend some quality time with my other neglected projects and I'll soon update y'all on those.
Over and out x

CONTINUED ADVANCED ANIMATION TECHNIQUES WORKSHOPS

Like with Campbell & Suzannah, this week we've had the pleasure of Kevan & Robyn Shorey joining us from Dreamworks. The approach to the week has been much more enjoyable for me personally as it wasn't completely aimed at animation, but animation production which techniques could then be translated to your specialist area.. say lighting, texturing, previz..
What's hit home most so far this week is not actually to do with production but in how you approach presenting your work. Kevan & Robyn watched us on Monday present our WIP reels for our major pieces and the feedback we got was really honest and useful. I need to always think WHY I'm presenting something, what has changed since the last time we presented and always with confidence. Kevan pointed out that the confidence in how you present your work can affect your relationship with your director, or in our case, with our lecturers. This can have impact on how much they'll be willing to help, what feedback they give. If you're presenting something and pointing out all of the things that you haven't yet done then potentially that is all they will focus on. If you take the approach of talking about all the things you have done then it can be easier for a viewer to think of the big picture.
That comes on to the most important part of the week: think Big Picture. Us students tend to get so bogged down with little details and Kevan advised us that if there are little mistakes in our assignments, not to let solving them take up too much time. At the end of the day, we're creating a 2D image and if it comes to having to paint-fix a few frames at the end if your rig pops or something, so be it!

Anyway, with some tips in mind we started our first exercise: The Blank Page. We had the choice of a few animals and the brief was to plan approx 5 secs of motion for this animal going from A to B (fixed cam).
So with this vague brief, first things to think of were:
-Specific direction?
-Intent of the shot?
-Is there a subtext to the shot?
-Where was the character before?
-Where is it going?
-How can we make it unique?

YouTube delivered some pretty handy reference footage for the mouse that I chose. I observed that this mouse sniffed around everytime it changed direction, it looked pretty inquistive due to it darting around in a zig-zag.
I doodled some thumbnails of poses I liked and thought I could use.

videoNext exercise was beginning to explore our ideas. Kevan showed us how easy it can be to convey an idea to a director without spending a lot of time..which can obviously be expensive.
Here is my 10 minute go at staging of my mouse's movement using just a cube.

Obviously, my animating still sucks BUTT I'm keen to apply this technique to my areas of interest. Next time we present our project, it'll be with hella gusto and we won't be mentioning anything we haven't done yet..

In addition to creative advice, I spoke to Robyn about getting employed in the US which is ideally where I want to be. After talking to someone in recruitment before they came over, she advised me to first work in London, ideally on a big-name film and then try the States after that so that they have some point of reference for me and be more willing to sponsor a visa etc.. Life-plan sorted, dead happy. Anyway back to work. Safe x

*EDIT - feedback from Kevan & Robyn: when presenting, don't actually avoid talking about what you are yet to complete but be thoughtful in the way that you do; be positive. Even when presenting on shot level think Big Picture. Awesome week, many thanks!

SONY MASTER CLASS ASSIGNMENT

One of our briefs for this year is industry-set. Out of a choice of assignments I chose Sony's games environment. I have not intention of going into the gaming side of CG however I figured it offered a mix of all of the things I enjoy: design, modelling, texturing and lighting.
The assignment was to choose a location in Bournemouth and give it some sort of narrative and then to design and create a cut-out diorama of the location. I chose Russell Cotes' Art Museum which is a pretty neat building in itself but I decided to treat it as if it had been taken-over by Pirates (being so close to the sea and all). The general look I want to achieve is similar to 'Tortuga' the pirate port in Pirates of the Carribean. I designed Russell Cotes' as if it had been made into a Tavern.



For our first hand-in we needed to hand in a perspective design (right) and a colour study (below). The feedback I got from this was positive and suggested I play on the theme more by introducing more 'piratey' merch..treasure, swords, rum, etc and also to collect some good reference of peeling paint and damaged plaster. Going to hopefully find some abandoned house near Bournemouth (open to suggestions..)






Tonight I started on the modelling. I started with a the timber frame as I wanted to make all the beams lined up properly and for the major beams, this will be less render-expensive than displacement maps, however I'll most likely use bumps for the less important beams.
As this assignment has games in mind, I'm trying to make sure everything is as low-poly as possible so I've been going through a mind-numbing process of merging verts and edges and believe it or not the model below took over two hours (JEEZ) Once this part is all set then Everything else will be able to be slotted in and will all fit perfectly. With any luck.
Vertex-merging aside, this assignment is pretty ace so far and I'm hyped to continue, texturing this bad boy should be super fun!
-- Laters








TWENTY TWELVE

Well Happy New Year to start off, feels like the holidays have just flown by but still managed to squeeze a fair amount of work in alongside trying to earn my rent for January and eating more turkey/ham/beef than I prefer to disclose.
Anyway before I came home for the break I had just started rigging the Diva character and Matt completed modelling for both of the sets. I am still on my third revision of the rig after plenty of swearing, screaming and beers I'm so glad it's nearly done. The painting-weights is the bit that always goes wrong however, nearly there now and have sent over some quick sketches to Matt for the face blend-shapes so with any luck we should have a read-to-animate rig for the Diva by Monday.
Talking of Monday, we have Kevan and Robyn Shorey from Dreamworks coming to spend next week with us at the NCCA for another intensive week of master classes. On Monday, they'll be attending our Major Project WIP Screenings so I really want to some awesome stuff to show them.
I have begun texturing the bathroom too and here's a screenshot  of it so far. I totes want to get into the bath, it looks dead comfy!
Happy 1st Tuesday of 2012! Peace x