Thursday, 31 December 2015

Personal Work: Wendigo Fan Art

A few weeks ago I found 'Wendigo' on ArtStation by Leon Enriquez so on the plane trip back home from my trip to the States to visit my family I decided to do a quick sketch of it. Unfortunately one of my pens broke and the one I was using was low on ink so it's not exactly what I was aiming for but I still like it. My scanner is back at uni so I had to take a photo of it, consequently it might not be the highest quality image.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Giacometti - Pure Presence Exhibition

Yesterday I went into London with my mother for a day out since I won't be around with her for Christmas this year. We visited the National Portrait Gallery so I could see the Pure Presence exhibition about Alberto Giacometti - my favourite artist. I managed to do a few sketches in my book quickly before leaving, I wish there were more places to sit to sketch instead of standing awkwardly with my sketchbook in my arms but I enjoyed it anyway. The exhibition ends on January 10th and I hope to maybe go again if I have time when I come back from America after Christmas. I highly recommend going to see Pure Presence, I thought it was amazing.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

What If? Metropolis - Denoria Concept Art vs. Digital Set

I decided to put my concept art next to my digital set to see how they compared, I'm pretty happy with how I did! Obviously they aren't exactly the same but I'm proud of what I've learned and accomplished this term. Hopefully my family back in America will be too when I go visit them this Christmas.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Maya Lighting & Rendering: Interior Lighting - Sunset

It took a lot of time to render out this one and the screen went completely white at one point during my final render, but luckily it didn't crash and wipe all of my progress.

What If? Metropolis - Denoria Digital Set Buildup

What If? Metropolis - Texture Maps

I'm not sure if we were meant to include these or not, so I decided to make a quick PDF with all of my texture maps in just to be safe. They're not pretty but they worked.

What If? Metropolis - Updated Production Art and Orthographs

I don't think I ever reposted these, they're in my Crit Presentation and Art Of but I figured I'd repost on my blog to be sure they're everywhere they need to be.

Maya Lighting & Rendering: Exterior Lighting Part 4 - Night

I've finally finished all of the exterior lighting tutorials, now for the interior one.

Space Oddities: Only God Forgives

It is easy to see why 'Only God Forgives' (2013), Nicolas Refn's 'Bangkok Western' film, received such mixed reviews. The film, a masterpiece for some is a disaster to others is admittedly gripping at times, although it is incredibly slow paced. Perhaps it is gripping due to the film's confusing layout, it's sometimes difficult to determine what is going. The film's scenes feel inconsistent, one moment there is a prostitute sitting on a bed, the next Julian (Ryan Gosling) is getting his arms chopped off. Perhaps this inconsistency and confusion is what makes it immersive because people desperately search for an explanation.

Fig. 1 'Only God Forgives' (2013)
The characters themselves are puzzling and inconsistent. It is difficult to feel attachment to any of them, making the film a struggle to watch at times. There is no one the viewer is really rooting for and none of them are particularly relatable or likeable. Out of all the characters Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm) is the possibly the most interesting which is strange considering he's violent and manipulative. It's difficult to understand his motivations which makes the viewer wonder about him.

Chang expresses his disapproval to the father of a murdered underage prostitute for letting her sell herself. He then pushes the father to execute his daughter's murderer, Billy (Tom Burke) who is Julian's older brother. Chang then chops off the father's arms because he killed Billy. This contradiction makes the viewer question why Chang does what he does, "Is he an avenger who punishes people - for seeking revenge? He could be a Zen master whose lifelong vocation is payback against payback, and whose students graduate with the loss of a limb. He could be a kind of black hole, drawing violent people in, nullifying them, cauterising them," (Bradshaw, 2013).

Julian himself is a very odd and unappealing character. It's difficult to call him either a protagonist or an anti-hero, he is simply the 'main character' of this bizarre story. He barely reacts to anything around him, he's like a plank of wood or a slab of meat that just walks from room to room or stares into space. It is unclear if he is insane or not, as he walks down neon hallways seeing both Chang and his prostitute Mia (Rhatha Phongam). While it is obvious Chang is not actually there, it is more difficult to determine if Mia is there or if she too is just in Julian's imagination.
Fig. 2 Julian in the Hallway
Either way, Julian himself seems relatively unfazed even when he imagines Chang slicing his arms off. This deadpan personality doesn't make him mysterious, it simply makes him boring. This is even more bizarre when he has a random angry outburst at Mia when she comments on how Julian's mother, Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas) talks to him. These two seconds of anger is confusing and unexpected, "The acting is equally choppy (pardon the pun). Ryan Gosling is required to show emotion in exactly two scenes, surprise in one and anger in the other, but his performance is otherwise so monotonous that his outbursts work as clunky, unwelcome and hilarious intrusions in the dream-like atmosphere of the film," (Arikan, 2013).

However, once meeting Crystal it's slightly easier to understand why Julian is a bit off, "Crystal is played by Kristin Scott Thomas, and the words 'as you've never seen her before' scarcely do the role justice: watching her in Only God Forgives is like waking up to discover your much-loved pet cat has morphed overnight into a saltwater crocodile," (Collin, 2013). While at first her bitchy attitude is understandable due to her son's death it soon becomes clear that she isn't just like this when she is 'upset'. She is so corrupt and merciless that she tries to persuade multiple people, including Julian, to murder people to avenge Billy.

Crystal is blunt and unforgiving in her dialogue, which makes her a refreshing character to watch compared to Julian, but at times it can be a bit startling. One example is when she meets Mia and criticizes her profession as a prostitute then goes on to compare Julian to Billy in a very inappropriate and vulgar manner. She is one of the more entertaining characters, as long as you don't mind very colourful language. Through Crystal's relationship with her sons the films delves into the Oedipus Complex, further explaining why Julian is such an odd character.

 It is believed that the main theme of 'Only God Forgives' is about the masculine crisis, that men fear incompetence. This is understandable considering the abuse Julian receives from his mother paired with his odd Oedipus-like relationship with her. The fear of not being good enough, although definitely not expressed by the emotions of the character is symbolised through Julian's hands/arms. He imagines Chang chopping off his hands and there are various camera shots focused on his hands/arms including a somewhat awkward scene where Crystal is seen gently touching Julian's arms. This symbolism can be easily lost especially if the viewer never heard of the film before. 

Fig. 3 Chang and Julian
While 'Only God Forgives' isn't the most celebrated film of all time, it has its strongpoints. If the viewer can get a grasp of the main theme, it makes for a deeper story. The lighting in the film is very colourful and vibrant, but even that is easily forgotten when the main focus is on relatively flat characters. It is a shame as the backstories of these characters could have easily led to very complex and fascinating personalities. Instead, the viewer is left with unrelatable characters in a neon environment with a very contradictory, explicit and awkward story unfolding at the pace of a snail. Perhaps more meaning would come of it after watching it a second time, assuming there is enough motivation to give it another try.

Arikan, A (2013) Only God Forgives At: Accessed on: 8/12/2015
Bradshaw, P. (2013) Only God Forgives - Review At: Accessed on: 8/12/2015
Collin, R. (2013) Only God Forgives, Review At: Accessed on: 8/12/2015

Illustration List:
Figure 1. Only God Forgives [Poster] At: Accessed on: 8/12/2015
 Figure 2. Julian in the Hallway [Film Still] At: Accessed on: 11/12/2015
Figure 3. Chang and Julian [Film Still] At: Accessed on 11/12/2015

What If? Metropolis - Art Of Denoria

What If? Metropolis - Final Crit Presentation

Thursday, 10 December 2015

What If? Metropolis - Final Render

It took me ages and caused me a lot of frustration but I'm very happy with how it turned out, I think it looks a lot like my original concept painting.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

What If? Metropolis - Denoria Texture Progress

It took me a frustratingly long amount of time yesterday to get the colour and overall look right but I think it's turning out really nicely now. I have to constantly re-adjust the lights and saturation of the textures because sometimes the combination made the colours go weird. I also have been struggling to make the wooden planks look nice on my oddly shaped buildings but I think I've done decent so far. Now that I've gotten the colours down it's going a bit faster. I'll probably redo parts of the ground... I just wanted something other than grey to work on to see how the buildings looked.

What If? Metropolis - Matte Painting with Build-up Gif

Monday, 7 December 2015

What If? Metropolis - Ambient Occlusion, Lights, and Beginning to Texture

Today I finished setting up the Ambient Occlusion and my lighting (for the most part). It took me a long time to get the lights the way I wanted to, and the glass was causing me to struggle a lot because it'd just disappear into the building due to the frames around them. However, I added extra lights that only affected the windows and I also added a little glow to them to make them pop. I started to texture the ground to see what it would look like, but I'll most likely change this later on and add more leaves using alpha channels. I like how it is looking so far, the background annoys me but like in the Cottage Lighting Maya Tutorial, I'm going to use Photoshop to remove the backdrop and add in my matte painting so I'm trying my best to ignore it for now.

Friday, 4 December 2015

What If? Metropolis - Finished Scene Setup (Untextured, UVs, and Wireframe)

I finished modeling/UVing the ground, the pathway and the plane for my matte painting. I also set up my camera and took some renders of it untextured, with all of the UVs and I followed a tutorial to get the wireframe image. I'm happy with how it looks and I'm excited to do the lighting and then texture it. I'm not 100% sure how I'm going to make the leaves yet, I might try some alpha channels but some people have also suggested doing some really low poly models and duplicating them a few times. I could just paint the leaves on the texture but even with bump maps I feel like it'd be too flat and boring. I'm going to see how it goes once I finish the lighting and texturing the rest of the scene, I'll leave the ground till later on once everything else falls into place. Any suggestions/tutorials/anything for how I could do the leaves would be helpful and appreciated!

Animation & Character - Swing Animation Progress

It doesn't look like a whole lot has changed but I've added a few more frames. Since I'm not doing a keyframe animation and I'm just going from one frame to the next I feel like it's taking me longer but it's forcing me to think more about how the body moves.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

What If? Metropolis - Library Modelled with UV's

And finally the library is done (I still need to scale some of the UVs on this so some of the checkers aren't tiny), it got a bit complicated because I had to merge two shapes but luckily Simon helped me again. I think I've gotten better with laying out UVs...although it's caused me a lot of stress I hope it's helped me learn a lot. Next is to set up my camera then play around with the ground/path and UV that which hopefully shouldn't bee too difficult in comparison to the buildings. Also, if anyone reading this post knows how to get an image of the wireframe - please comment and let me know because I know I can UV snapshot but I wasn't sure if there was a better/higher quality way to do it.

What If? Metropolis - Left 4 building modelled with UVs

Now for the library and the ground...

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

What If? Metropolis - Wood/Dirt Texture Experiments using Crazybump

I decided to go ahead and watch some tutorials about Crazybump and then try it out with a few textures I've made. They aren't tile-able at the minute, but I plan on changing the dirt texture so it is...I'm not sure if I'll add leaves to it or if I'll try using alpha maps/channels like Jordan suggested to me the other day but I'll experiment with it. Hopefully I'll have enough time to watch some tutorials about it after I also watch tutorials to learn how to do better glass with orange/yellow highlights. I still have the library and a small building in the distance to model along with the ground but after a long day of Maya I thought it'd be refreshing to do something different before everything I see starts to look like rainbow checkerboard grids. Seeing how these quick experiments look is encouraging me to continue trudging forward with modeling and UVing.

What If? Metropolis - Left 2 and Right building UVs

I modeled and finished the UV maps for two more of my buildings (again, I know one is mirrored and that is because it is a duplicate, I will fix this later). I reused the rings, windows, window frames and the door from my previous building which sped up the process. Some of the UVs look stretched...some of them are, but it was the best I could get them because of the organic shape (I also checked with Simon to make sure they were ok). While some of the squares appear to be distorted from one angle, they aren't in another because of the the places they are actually stretched I can hide/adjust my texture in Photoshop to fix (I hope).

Different angles (I know the seam is visible in these images) so its easier to see the shape/why some squares seem distorted.

Life Drawing: December 2nd, 2015

Sadly today was our last life drawing lesson of the term. We worked on foreshortening, which I struggle with especially when it comes to the human body. Since I knew it was going to be a challenge and that it was our last lesson until after Christmas I decided to work with charcoal. I'm not used to using charcoal and I tend to avoid it because I feel like I have less control and I don't like how messy it can be...I hate having my hands dirty. However, I enjoyed it because it allowed me experiment more with what I was doing. We did a few 15 and 20-25 minute poses and a set of 5 minute poses.