Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Maya Tutorial - 4/10/17 - Texturing: Eat 3D Head Model

Today's tutorial was focused on texturing and the different effects and levels of realism that can be achieved through the use of inputting different layer maps. Plus the new method for ambient occlusion. Here's a few screen grabs from the tutorial, and the final render once all layers were applied. We also began to take a look at nParticles, finished tutorials on those come.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Quick concept work for Bath Bomb

Bath Bomb - Second Draft

The pink glitter bath bomb goes splash and starts to fizz and the water clouds at once.

I lower my foot into the water. It’s warm - I should enjoy this but my heart is racing.  As my toes disappear below the surface, I start to panic. I feel the screaming itch spreading up my leg, telling me to get out. My mind races. I pull my foot from the opaque water, unscathed.

I take a breath.

The water rises. I peer over the edge and look down. I can’t see the plug.  How far down is it? A foot? A metre? A mile?

I imagine the bottom of the bath pulling further and further away from me. The roaring in my ears is deafening.  My chest is tight, I feel as though the crushing weight of the depths is already slowly squashing the breath from me. I'm finding it hard to breathe, my ribcage stubbornly refusing to expand.  I snap back, reach over and turn off the tap.

It’s a bath.
It’s just a bath.
I’m being ridiculous.
It’s not the water.  It’s not the deep. 
But I can’t see the bottom.
I can’t see what’s down there. What’s waiting for me.

A blinding flash of sunlight, a roar of rushing water, a small choked scream. Suddenly I’m thrown back to thinking about that day I don’t want to.  The day I nearly drowned.

I blink, shake my head, stand and take a breath. I close my eyes and steel myself; then step into the water, the soles of both feet firmly planted against the warm, smooth surface of the tub.

I'm okay.

When open my eyes again, I look down and in sudden realization: I can’t see my feet.  The smooth porcelain turns uneven, fuzzy, slimy.  The water darkens to a dull muddy grey and I swear I see a ripple of movement to the left.  Was that a flash of a dark fin breaking the water? There's something else down there. I know it. 

My breath catches, I blink, and the water is pink again.
"You're unbelievable", I tell myself and force myself down into the bath.

The warm water creeps its way up my arms, chest, neck. I lean back, pinch my nose and submerge myself completely.

The bottom of the bath crumbles away and I’m falling, falling, falling. I can’t see.  I can’t hear. I can’t feel.

I’m four. I’m screaming and everything is a crashing blur of dazzling sunlight and deep blue. Which way is up? Down? Where’s the edge of the pool? Where’s the bottom? Why can’t I stay up? Why can’t I feel anything around me? Why can’t I breathe? I’m choking on the bitter taste of chlorine and my vision is slowly dimming, everything’s getting darker. My skin is burning ice, rippled with panic, I’m a small being of pure adrenaline and goosebumps.

Help me.

Someone help me!

I’m still sinking. What’s around me? My mind sees a mess of snapping jaws, clawed fins, steel scales, bulging eyes. Surely I'll drown before whatever lies beneath ends me itself, at this point I'm not sure which I'd prefer.

I thrash my arms and they connect, hard, with the edges of the bath and I'm back, covered in goosebumps and spluttering.

I decide I should probably take a shower instead.

Bath bombs are overpriced anyway.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Maya Tutorial - 27/9/17 - Introduction to Arnold: Lights

Today was our first introduction to Maya 2017/18 and Arnold. I was pretty apprehensive going into the session, worried that it would all be pretty confusing and I would get lost, but I actually really enjoy Arnold and can see its a very powerful tool. We focused mainly on learning the basic render settings and trialling out some of the different lights Arnold has to offer on a pre-built scene, seeing what sort of effects could be achieved and how, and how to try and correct any issues, eg graininess, that can occur from using different lights together. I'm particularly fond of the mesh light, here's a few screen grabs from messing around with different bits.  

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Minor Project - Initial Concept Art

I wanted to capture, in simplicity, the feeling I get when looking into a body of water when i cant see the bottom, no matter what or where that water is, to try and translate my irrational fear to others, including those who possibly have never even heard of thalassophobia or what it really means before. Something as mundane and simple as a bath to some, to me becomes something else entirely. 

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Creative Writing on Thalassophobia - First Draft

Tentatively, I lower my foot into the cloudy water. Its warm - I should enjoy this, find it calming, soothing, as most people do - but my heart is racing. As my toes disappear below the surface, I start to feel that itch of panic, my mind is racing with possibilities of what could be below, automatically/inadvertently/subconsciously my leg tenses and my foot is pulled from the opaque water, unscathed. I take a breath, I'm ridiculous. The water is rising, getting deeper and filling with more possibilities every moment I wait. I peer over the edge and look down, I cant see the bottom, is it a foot, a metre, a mile? The water appears to darken, its depth seemingly endless, I imagine the base pulling further and further away from me. The roaring in my ears is deafening, my breath catches in my throat and my chest tightens, I'm finding it hard to breathe. I snap back, reach over and turn off the tap. Its a bath. Just a bath. Its darkening from the apologetically obnoxiously pink glittery bath bomb busily dissolving itself, not from miles of open water. I'm ridiculous.

I stand and take a breath, then another, slowing my irrational heartbeat. I close my eyes and steel myself, another breath, I step over the edge and down, for a moment my foot is floundering, sinking into the unknown, and then I feel it connect with the smooth base of the tub. I'm okay. I add another foot to the water, and open my eyes. As soon as I see the absence of my feet my imagination goes into overdrive. The smooth porcelain turns uneven, fuzzy and slimy and unknown. The water darkens to a dull muddy grey and I swear I see a ripple of movement to the left. Was that a flash of a dark fin breaking the water, or just my imagination? There's something else in there. I know it.  My breath catches, I blink, and the water is pink again, the base smooth, the surface still, save for the small ripples around my legs. "You're unbelievable", I tell myself, and force myself down into the water. 

Reclining, the warm water climbs its way up my arms, chest, neck, until Im cloaked in the sickly sweet smelling liquid. I lean my head back to dampen my hair and do a sudden panicked double take to my left as I see something float past above my submerged shoulder... Its a clump of bubbles lazily drifting by. Rolling my eyes, I lean back further, pinch my nose and submerge myself completely. 

The bottom of the bath crumbles away and I’m falling, falling, falling into the dark depths. I cant see, I cant hear, I cant feel. I am open, exposed, vulnerable. For a moment, completely alone in the world. Before the terror of what lies in the deep grips me. Tendrils of miles long sticky whip-like seaweed come to grab at me, to drag me further down to the creatures that circle the depths. I cant breathe, the roaring is back but muffled and deafening all at once. Whats around me? all I can see is an endless black abyss, Somethings coming for me. Whats coming for me? My mind sees a mess of snapping jaws, clawed fins, steel scales, bulging eyes. Icy fear grips at my chest and I cant breathe, surely I'll drown before whatever is in the deep can end me itself, at this point I'm not sure which I'd prefer. I thrash my arms and they connect, hard, with the edges of the bath. I'm snapped back to reality, shaking, spluttering, covered in goosebumps and totally annoyed at my stupidity. My pride doesn't have enough strength over my fear though to stop me draining the bath and taking a shower instead. 

Bath bombs are overpriced anyway. 

Life Drawing - 20/09/17

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Year 3 - Initial Minor/Major Project Ideas

I don't have any real concrete plans, but I have been thinking about what theme/area I want to go down. I really want to make sure its something that I will be thoroughly interested in, rather than say something new I have an interest in now/recently, which I may become bored of throughout the course of the project/s, so over the summer I've gone through a lot of my old sketchbooks dating back through my foundation course, A-Level and GCSE art, looking for recurring themes. Unsurprisingly, I turned up lots of animals and nature, landscapes and natural forms etc.

Stemming from this I started brainstorming key themes I wanted to explore trying to include all I had discovered and came up with this basic map showing my thought process.

While going through my attic looking for old sketchbooks, I also unearthed my junior school choir folder, and I found a song in there called "Creatures of the Deep". Reading through the lyrics and remembering the tune, I had a very real light-bulb moment where I remembered performing that song realising how chilling it must have sounded. I managed to track down the company that licences the song here and also gives a small example of the lyrics and tune. We however were a young child choir, and we performed it with a friend of mine (quite badly) accompanying on violin and our teacher playing just the initial piano notes throughout, and thinking back, the high pitched voices and screechy violin, giving judges goosebumps for the wrong reason was probably why we came 4th in that competition. However something similarly chilling like that would be perfect to explore in this project and the memory served as a lot of inspiration for my idea.

 For as long as I can remember I have suffered from Thalassophobia, which is a fear of open and deep or dark water. My fear is fully around being unable to see the bottom, and as an extension from that, not knowing what's there. My imagination goes into irrational overdrive. To name a few things, being scared by the dark grates at the deep end of a pool as a child (and now still), I've always been terrified of seaweed, and my fear has actually increased as I've got older, to the extent I cant take baths with bubbles or coloured water that I cant see to the bottom of the bath in. I believe it stems from a near drowning experience when I was very young, which I still remember vividly. However at the same time, I've always loved the ocean and swimming. I was brought up on The Little Mermaid, loved going swimming, and on summer holidays, my dad would always take me out snorkelling with him from about the age of 4. I'm absolutely fine, as long as I can see the bottom, no matter the depth, and although its no secret I have a "thing" for animals and nature, sea life and scapes have always been a favourite. 

I've also always loved myths surrounding water, Loch Ness Monster, the Kraken etc, and the mystery of prehistoric creatures. A favourite book of mine growing up was 20,000 leagues under the sea, and even as a child I found a love for ocean documentaries, particularly ones around deep ocean exploration, finding new weird and wonderful species.

My idea is to explore deep water. As in, unknown and uncharted depths. Over 70% of the earth surface is covered by ocean, but 95% of the ocean remains unexplored.  I would like to explore creating a realistic mixed with fantasy environment and creatures that occupy the unexplored depths.

Year 12 A-Level Artwork
As my mind-map above shows I have multiple areas of inspiration. Some of my favourite childhood books and films, The Little Mermaid, The Pagemaster and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to be a prominent few. 

I based my year 12 A-Level art coursework project on the exploration of the beauty of sea life, my year 13 coursework on North American animals and landscapes, combining elements of both together, exam piece on crystallisation and fossilisation of dinosaurs, and work during foundation on camouflaged animals and creating "realistic" deformed mythical beasts, all of which I feel would be helpful in my exploration of creating imagined creatures that live in the depths. 

Year 13 A-Level Artwork

Foundation Course Artwork

There are also these photos which I took at London Aquarium and London Aquarium, I have plenty more and from other places too from visits over the years but these serve as a pretty good base of inspiration for now. 

London Aquarium 2012

London Zoo 2015

Subnautica is also a good inspiration source for me, its one of my favourite games purely because of its beauty. I feel the creators also love the ocean and life as I do as the game is bursting with colour and the places you get to explore are incredible. However though playing the game I've also discovered my thalassophobia is so bad it actually effects me with this too, when I swim over an edge in game and I cant see into the depths below, I get the same tight feeling in my chest and need/itch working its way up my legs that I get when swimming in real life and I cant see the bottom, and I've actually turned off the game and taken a step back before because this feeling/panic gets so strong. 

What I do with this created world and creatures is the question, I have a few possible ideas: 

1) Have an explorative look around the created world, set to a song or poem, similar to Creatures of the Deep, showing the environment and creatures. 

2) Have some sort of story/narrative. Possibly have an explorer, akin to 20,000 leagues or subnautica, delving into the depths, places that have never been explored before, and discovering completely alien areas and species. Or perhaps looking for a fabled creature. 

3) Combine 1 and 2, either find a poem that fits or create one (or song) either from a story/fable or again come up with one myself, and have a "main character" that explores the world through the narrative of the poem/short song.

4) Possibly attempt to make it more of a personal project, and relate my thalassaphobia to my experiences with anxiety/depression in some way. Use one challenge to help explore and explain another. 
My thalassophobia I definitely class as a fear of the unknown, as its not depth that matters, purely whether I am able to see the bottom /around me. This summer I went snorkelling off a boat in near 7m deep water, but it was crystal clear, I could see the ocean floor and I was fine. However if I looked forward into the endless blue expanse of the open ocean rather than straight down, I definitely felt the icy grip of panic in my chest, and the needing itch in my toes working its way up my legs to get out of the water. The grip of panic in my chest is the same I experience when I am overly stressed and also can lead to having a panic attack. If I'm in water and I cant feel the bottom, I feel vulnerable, exposed and very alone, and this is how my anxiety makes me feel. I am isolated and cannot see past my immediate vicinity, which is just a blur of the unknown - in water causing me to just panic, shut down and get out, - and regarding stress (usually around work), casing me to panic, and shut everything out and try and ignore the issues. (terrible coping mechanism, I know, but something I have been trying to work on). These similarities between my thalassophobia and anxiety I feel would be something I could definitely draw on/work into my project, but I'm not entirely sure how just yet. Potentially incorporating elements of 1-3 with this too.  

Friday, 19 May 2017

Submission - Maya Tutorials and Film Reviews

World Animation Film Reviews

Maya Tutorials

Lighting and Rendering 2

Pipeline 1: UV Layout

Pipeline 1: Skinning

Acting Classes
Weeks 1-6

Sculpting Classes
Sessions 1-3

Pipeline 1: Skinning - Part 4: Blending the Upper Body

Lighting & Rendering 2 - Mental Ray Part 8: Displacement Maps

I think I messed up a setting here somewhere because my renders kept all coming out rather blurred, I eventually gave up and left them as is. I did have some issues with maya on another scene before this tutorial and reset a bunch of things/changed things, and I'm not sure whats happened or how to fix it, but these are the renders I have for this tutorial for now, I think I'll probably come back to this over the summer as well as finishing off the others that Im just not going to get done on time once I've sorted my maya (as it just keeps getting more temperamental but I don't have the time to try and sort it right now) and see if I can get some better results. 

Lighting & Rendering 2 - Mental Ray Part 9: Ambient Occlusion

Lighting & Rendering 2 - Mental Ray Part 5: Portal Lights

Lighting & Rendering 2 - Mental Ray Part 6: Mia Metarial X Shader

Lighting & Rendering 2 - Mental Ray Part 1: Samples & Quality Control

 Final Render

Pipeline 1: 3D Head Modelling - Finished Model

 I have been unable to locate a large amount of my "making of" screenshots for the head model, I assume I deleted them from my OneDrive to free up space thinking I had already downloaded them to my computer when I actually hadn't. Here however are screenshots from my completed and cleaned up head file, where it is ready to be exported onto my model. Again hopefully this will serve as a lesson for me to keep up regular blogging in the future, and actually upload things to my blog once they are done, so I don't accidentally lose something again in the future.