Monday, 24 May 2010

Modelling Stages.......The Stages Of Slime Mold

Ok.....so I only really fully devled into Maya Modelling today, after dealing with the odds and ends of buttons and zips....etc...

Fruiting Body:

 










Spore













Slime Mold

























Amoeba
I've also modelled sections of the Diagram, i.e, the pods where the Stages are selected, as well as the buttons, and stciky notes.....in terms of information....perhaps i could use trnasparent planse in maya to filter over and under, in a form of layering........I think in terms of landscapes and background, flat digital backdrops will be my best bet, with bump mapping for floor texturing.....

I'll be tackling the texture side tonight.....with photoshop.





Sound for thought......

So I began considring the delicacy of my animation, and how I could futher enhance it....through the use of sound, especialy after hearing Richard's AMAZING sounds......so I started with youtube, just randomly browsing for 'cute ambience' and found, well, one of my favourite pieces of instrumental music, and began to invison how it would convey my work.....



It's true, it does (if played exactly how it's in this file) affect the tonality of my animation, portraying a more 'emotional factor' but I feel if adjusted to the right levels, along with other sound effects....this underlying aspect could be manipulated to my point....

Also, if anyone knows of any good sites to get sound effects from, drop a link please, much appreciated x

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Concept Art: Re/Work

Okay....so here's the re-worked version of my concept art....

Top Fruiting Body Spore










I'm really glad I re-done this piece, especially the faint use of texture that adds that little mor depth....I also brought a landscape into the piece, giving more a sense of the world that it's occuring in, the purple backdrop consisting of more 'Fruiting Bodies' releasing 'Spores' as the closer ones fade out.....I also added a little hint of orange to bring the piece a finishing glow.

In terms of texture, I also added a few lines of orange to see how effective the 'thread' would look, as it breaks up the shape more...

Fruiting Bodies

I'm not going to lie...im still not happy with this piece, truth is, I spent the best part of 2 days trying to be, but I reached a stage where I felt like it was good enough to portray my world.....

Colour









So I spent ages trying to recolur this version, just trying to get a different effect, but after a while, it just felt like a I was slowly ruining the piece, although it has aloth more definition, it seems to be lacking that sense of depth, as well as the colour of the piece, drowning out the character i wanted to portray (though this give off a slime effect)

After creating the definition from the previous version, I decided to start over from what I had, stealing some of the detail from this peice, so all was not lost...

After a while building up numerous amounts of layers, to create depth etc...I decided to put some more half made 'Fruiting Bodies' to create  sense of communtiy, as well relation to my previous 'Top Fruiting Body Spore'....I added a lot more texture to this version also, giving the 'Slime Molds' more of a 'Fur' look, and the 'Fruiting Body' more 'Tree' like (which was a severe pain, for want of not losing detail and glow) as though 'Rooted' ....on top of this, I added alot more purple tones, to break up some of the objects, as well as the subtle lanscape in the back....suggesting again, the 'Community'.
Finally, to make the piece feel more complete, I tried adding the 'Thread' stich around some of the objects, again breaking up the figure, and adding charatcer...










I had alot of trouble with the harshness of the sky however, as it conflicted againts the objects, and colours, so after toning and painitng some opacity onto the objects, I was able to find a sucessful mix.





Relevant Textures

Found a really great site to try and sample some textures from.....














































Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Concept Art......

Okay.....so at the picth, I didnt really portray my 'world' as efficiently as I wanted, lesson learned.....

Truth is, It's probably becuase my concepts didnt feel complete enough as a stand alone example......

I really wanted to create a 'textured' world, wherein my characters 'slime mold's' would encapsulate this cuteness.....with buttons, zips, and stiching....as well as through the colours used.....highly inspired from my research and development....

So here's a few Sketch's I made for the Amoeba-Spore development:












(Notice I've cut down time one characters!!!!)

And here's two scene sketch's in contrast to the final outcome:

Fruiting Bodies......












Top Fruiting Body/Spore Release...

I didn't really create a third scene intially, I was thinking of visually showing how the 'Amoeba' calls out to the surrounding Amoeba's using the 'Chemical Release Signal' but couldn't quite sketch a decent idea, so due to lack of time management, and pre-viz, I wanted to somehow portray the concept of a diagram element...

Fruiting Bodies
I feel, although I love the angle, I've lost alot of the texture to the lighting....etc.....and definition to the glow.....

Top Fruiting Body/Spore Release

I foud this one to be more effective at portraying my 'felt/fabric world....though it still feel as though it's missing more to complete it, perhaps my  background could be altered more.....to a blurred effect....to show distance and solidness...


Life Of A Slime Mold


Again, in contrast to my Artistic Direction, although this shows the beginings, it still lacks what I would consider effective.....


I feel my next step at the current moment is to properly complete the feel of my concepts to a satisfactory standard, as well as apply my artisitic direction more thoroughly....after which, I want to finally crack on with modelling....etc.....then researching and tranferring these 'textures' into maya.....

Any comments welcomed in how you think i'd be able to texture these more effective....in comparison to my research....(was thinking of taking samples of material from the internet and applyingion another layer)




Monday, 10 May 2010

Little Big Planet, Concept Art....

Found some really lovely pices of concept art for Little Big Planet.....

http://www.littlebigplanet.com/en-us/media/concept_art/category/littlebigplanet/













































Old Schoooooool......Retro and New Games......

Whilst researching both 'Slime Mold' and 'Artistic Direction' I had a few thoughts, in paritcular to past games to felt reminsicent of 'Slime Mold's', for instance......

WORMS



I just love the way they move, even though there's no particular characteristics that make them unique, thier shape and texture, as well as their teeny voices....

Lemmings



Ahhhh, there was just somthing about the Lemmings that just encapsulated cuteness, and at the same time reminded me alot like the nature of the Aggregated 'Slime Mold'

LocoRoco



Generally just a lovely looking game, although 2-d, at has a very whimiscal undertone, along with a cute, pastel toned colour pallete

De Blob

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrUV5yMhjMs

A random game I found a trailer of when searching for 'Slime Mold's' on youtube, it was instantly captivating, the cute, rounded characters, alongside their voices, and uniquenes, completely appealed to me.....especially the in terms of colour, and subtlety of the camera movement....

Little Big Planet....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AMK0d-lUMw

The apple of me eye when it comes to this animation, this was the first inspiration that same into my head, I love the textures, colours, camera angles, sounds, tabs, everything that makes this game what is....

Nexus Animation Studio's

Whilst watching some of their work during a visting lecture, I noticed come of the work fantastic work could really relate to the 'cutesy' aspect im trying to portray within my work....



I love the colours used in this, as well as the sound effects, really lovely and child like...



Possibly the best song/animation to hit that year in advertisment, the colours, and simplicity of the advert, although made for a Hondo, it's beautiful and cuddly nature created a world within reason, through colour, movement, and camera angles....

Blue-Zoo Animation Studio....

Whilst having a lecture with an artist from the Animation Company 'Nexus', these guys were mentioned, so I decided to give them a check out, and found some really nice styles from them, I feel I could incoporate into my work......


Stich-Up Showdown
http://www.filminute.com/2008/screeningroom/index.php?id=23

Marching Musical
http://www.blue-zoo.co.uk/animation/video/show/49

I love the feeling of a flat, 2D world, coming together to create a 3D one, espcially whilst incorporating a cute, sewn-felt like matter.....very nice!

Yakult Advertisment

I remembered seeing this advert not so long ago, with it's light-hearted, informative messages about how 'Yakult is good for you', at the same time animating the results of drinking.....



Quite effective...

Scientific Animations......

After the epic fail of trying to find more Animated 'Think Boards' in the style of SquintOpeara, I decided to turn my direction to animations that portray more scientific theories, information....



A showreel from the said company, it has some beautiful imagery that captures it's desired result, with vibrant colour palette, it conveys the minature cell like structures in sceintifically correct, yet stylistic approach.



Again, another amazing exmaple of Animation in the Scenintific Industry, with beautiful lighting, as well as visually outstanding, and stylisitic.



Another company that focuses on animating the inner worlds of the human body for Sceintific Research....

Think Board Research/Diagrams.......Animated??

I think it's probably a wise decision to try and find some more animated think boards other than squintopera, or somthing of a simmilar style to try and widen my scope on the possible effects.....




Quite a cute, yet informative 'stop-motion' animation, conveying the details of Photosyntheis to a simple, yet effective highlighting information in boxes...



Just one simple diagram animated...

There seems to be a slight gap in the market for animated thinkboard, particulary intresting ones......perhaps a MONEY MAKING SCHEME?!?!? lol...or not.....as a result, I'm gunna focus this facet of research onto more scientific animation....

Target Audience/Artistic Direction.....Think Board???

For my project, i feel as thought both the Target Audience, as well as the Artistic Direction are both closly linked, as a result, dependant on eachother.

I've had to think about how the audience would react to certain portrayment of the information on Slime Molds, for instance, who would actually be studying 'The Life Of A Slime Mold', i.e, the age group, at the time, and what stage of the curriculum it would be involved in (mostly ranging between Secondary/High School Biology, to University Level)...

These elements come to directly influence the way in which I put across the information in my peice, as well as how it may look...for example, certain languages may not be appropiate, unrelated information may even confuse the target audience at a certian age (teenager's studying for exams, may have too much information to digest) and those of a higher level on the Biology line, might find the information to 'Simplistic'.

That said, I really feel like there is a delicate line to this particular aspect of the Animation, especially outputting the relative information. As a result of this, as well as many ide'as along the pipeline of research, I want to incorporate both Target Audiences preferences into the same piece, by means of tackling and combining both of the techniques informing.

This will inevitably effect my artistic direction, which I feel, the best revenue for this, would be an animation, in the form of a 'Think Board', containing simplistic, yet informative diagrams, conteracted with specific scenes animated, i.e, the point where the aggregated mass transforms into a 'Fruiting Body', a key development in the cycle. Along side this, in bullet-point manner, would of course be detailed information regarding the events....

A prime example of how I want my Animation to look, can be seen in some of 'SquintOpera's' work, how focus on Pre-Visual work, as well as Digital Stills....

Garden's By The Bay



Hueston



Schools Holloway




In hindsight to this, colours, shapes and sounds seem to be an important part of the artistic direction, especially in terms of my particular 'Think Board' Scenario, they have the both appeal to the auidence, as well as portray the information effectivley....as a result, I feel like the more simplistic, and 'cutesy' the Animation appears (incorporating the three main aspect together) the more the Animation will convey the information....detering from the feel of a lesson, and interacting with the audience on a more Audio, and Visual Level, in contrast to an otherwise, laborious text book, at the same time 'breaking' down the information, into more Bite-Size chunks.....

1, 2, 3 and Action! Slime Mold goes Hollywood

Okay, a bit dramatic there, but nevertheless, I've found some pretty amazing video's, that show the diagrams in action, that said, it's some pretty amazing stuff.....and the music plays a good part too.....

A more powerful, informative approach to the explanations of a Slime Mold



Purely a time lapse of how a slime mold can spread...



This one, although very infomative in terms of different types and movements of the slime mold, gives a light-hearted edge to the events



Finnaly, this video possibly encompasses the best movement of a slime mold, as you can see in detail it's inner parts....

Slime Mold Stages......Diagrams

I decided to check out a few more diagrams to try and see if there were any other points missed out from the one given, to try and gain a more visual aspect of the developmental stages....



[slime+mold+lifecycle.jpg]



Intrestingly Enough, I stumbled across an illustration of sorts whilst searching for some diagrams, that gives an even better insight (an somewhat stylish) view of  Twenty-two varieties of slime mold, represented in Heronymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights:

Slime Mold! Image References....

Okay, so I'm well aware that there are literally thousands of different references of slime mold, i feel as thought there some sort of celebrity in the Science Industry, which in hnindsight is probably a good thing, giving us a good deal of photo's to work with, but there just tooooooooo many......so I'm just going to pick ones I feel are informative, and just give a good scope in the stages.....

Some Usefull Image Sites:

http://izismile.com/2009/09/22/stunning_slime_mold_74_pics_1_gif.html
http://englishrussia.com/index.php/2008/09/23/slime-molds/


 


Stunning slime mold (74 pics + 1 gif)
Stunning slime mold (74 pics + 1 gif)
Stunning slime mold (74 pics + 1 gif)Stunning slime mold (74 pics + 1 gif)

Researching the context....Background Info on The Mold In Question?!?!?

After deciding to choose to animate 'The Life Of A Slime Mold, it became obvious, that I'd need more than a diagram to try and translate this information, that said, I myslef would need a futher understanding in order to create a more sucessful, and informative animation , to project onto my auidence, as well as combine the research into the scenarios within....

Within the actual scenario itself, there are two possible paths I could take whilst exploring the life of a 'Slime Mold', one, the sexual cycle of a slime mold, the other focusing on the formation of mulitcelluar structures known as 'Fruiting Bodies' from which release spores....the latter seemingly more intresting than the prior...

As a result, I'll be focusing my research material primarily on the 'Fruiting Bodies/Spore' aspect of the cycles.

Interestingly, there are two main subdivions within the slime mold catagory, known as Plasmodial, and Cellular...along witha third, known as Labyrinthulomycota or slime nets.......

Plasmodial Slime Mold (Excerpt):

Plasmodial slime molds, like Physarum shown here, are basically enormous single cells with thousands of nuclei. They are formed when individual flagellated cells swarm together and fuse. The result is one large bag of cytoplasm with many diploid nuclei. These "giant cells" have been extremely useful in studies of cytoplasmic streaming (the movement of cell contents) because it is possible to see this happening even under relatively low magnification. In addition, the large size of the slime mold "cell" makes them easier to manipulate than most cells.

To expand upon what was said, Plasmodia are able to grow to the diameter of several inches, often brightly covered. Thier main food supply consisting of Microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeasts, as well as decaying vegetaion. they ingest solid food particles, envolving a process called 'phagocytosis'

Prior to enterting the reproductive stage, the plasmodium searches for a drier, better-lit place, for example, on top of a log, then when the suitable area is found, the plasmodium transforms into a more reproductive structure known as a 'Fruting Body'

Each Fruiting body consists of a stalk topped by a spore-producing capsule that resembles the reproductive structures of many fungi. Eventually the cellulose-walled spores are released and dispersed; they germinate in wet places, releasing naked cells. In a typical plasmodial slime mold the germinated spores go through an amoeboid or flagellated swimming stage, followed by sexual fusions and cell divisions. The diploid ameboid cell (i.e., the zygote) grows and its nucleus divides repeatedly, resulting in the formation of a new plasmodium. Under adverse conditions a plasmodium may be transformed into a hard, dry, inactive mass called a sclerotium. Resistant to desiccation, it becomes a plasmodium again when favorable

Cellular Slime Mold (Excerpt)

Cellular slime molds, spend most of their lives as separate single-celled amoeboid protists, but upon the release of a chemical signal, the individual cells aggregate into a great swarm. Cellular slime molds are thus of great interest to cell and developmental biologists, because they provide a comparatively simple and easily manipulated system for understanding how cells interact to generate a multicellular organism. There are two groups of cellular slime molds, the Dictyostelida and the Acrasida, which may not be closely related to each other.

To expand upon this futher, the Cellular Slime mold spends most of it's life as an individual amoeboid cell, howver, once a chemical signal is released, the invidual cells aggregate into a great swarm, which can consist of up to 125,000, flowing together, forming a multicellular mass knwon as a psuedoplasmodium, closly resembling a slug, crawling about, ingesting simmilar food types as the 'plasmodial' slime mold, prior to searching for a loaction with suitable warmth and brightness.

After cosying up to suitable habitat, the Cellular Mold follows simmilar pattern to the Plasmodial, by creating a more reproductive state known as a 'Fruiting Body', releasing spores that mecome single amoeboid cells, tha again, feed indiviually until straving cells release chemical signals, causing aggregation into a new pseudoplasmodium once again repeating the process.


I think from researching the two types of slime mold, that each could house different scenarios, but I feel that the 'Cellular Slime Mold, with the whole 'Chemical Release' stage, just has the upper hand in terms of making the piece more intresting, and has room to play with...so that would be my choice out of the two....


Sites used as resource information
http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/protista/slimemolds.html
http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/S/slime_mold.html

Friday, 7 May 2010

New Project.....Quick Start 'The Life Of A Slime Mold'

So, whilst still having to finish area's of the last project, i've decided just to push through all that reamining work, and really begin to crack on with the new unit, especially since 'Time Mangement' is key....

Whilst being in the breifing lecture last week, and going through all the possible project area's, I felt quite compelled to the first one, which.....after the interactions between lecturer and lecturees (hugging) to explain the development of cells......in a clearer manner to an otherwise 'oblivious' audience....which lighten the otherwise heavy mood....

This sparked of a few thoughts in my head at the time, thinking about both target audience, as well as tonality of the subject....spurring me of again, into another direction im ususally less likely to take...in this moment....cutesy....lol....

But to offically start this project, here's a basic picture, of the explaination to 'Life Of A Slime Mold'


Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Okay......(Bathtub Animation Concepts)

So, it's been ages since posting, seeems like i've been caught in some external funk, which has trapt me into not really feeling like doing much, but it's offically time to pull my finger out and crack on with my work....end of.

So this is just going to be a simple post in regards to my previous project, the bathtub, where I pretty much made my main focus the character aspect, which in hindsight really.....messed up the rest of my time mangement, plus the issues with paper, and a pegbar.....nonetheless I do feel like although i didnt reach the hand-in date for all of my work, i did achieve some developing points in regards to building character within context.

So here's some of the more basic shapes I developed, focusing on both Rhino, and Tortoise trying to use aspects of the bath's features to portray the animals character:



And here's another one in reagrds to Elephant features:


















After these, I went on to futher develop aspects that translated these aspects more effectively, at the same time adding inviduality to each design:















As effective as each one was in there own right, I still couldn't shake the Rhio concept off of my mind, as I felt this was the one that could really portray my characters drive more distinctively than the rest. From this after choosing the top peice, I decided to develop a more 'whole' version of the character:
















Although this is reall effective detailed, in reality, drawing the same shading, and intricate design over and over, whilst trying to keep the saem registration, would not only be time consuming, but would be also harder to achieve the said look, so after some thought, I decided to play down the designs, and go for a mixture of shapes that still portray the wanted effect...
















Once finally having a more fuller picture of my character, that was easier to translate....I decided to get a move on with the animation, and draw out a short thumbnail/storyboard.....



















In basic terms, the Bathtub wakes up in a DIY Showrrom, not knowing where he came from, who he is etc, but see's people buzzing around him, like flies, because he has slow mannerisms, he takes life at a slower pace in reagrds to noraml people, as a result, he trips into a narcaleptic state from al the dizziness, and falls into a hallucenigetic dream, built of of subconcious thoughts, such as the water gushing from an eye, onto a secluded island, which is built from old 'bathtub' parts, as he ascends to to top, is chased out by a huge boulder, to finally wake up, in real-time, in a dump, where he has remianed after being bought, and thrown away 'attaining a comatose state' meanwhile....

All in all, it's not a very 'fulfilling' story i must admit, and to be honest, that's really what I wanted in hindsight to my last project......I feel in each one I'm focusing more on certain aspect, and developing myself in different ways.

Here's a simple walk cycle I also developed in regards to the animation...