Monday, 31 January 2011

Research into Mythology

I've spent some time gaining a better understanding of what Mythology is as a whole, and how different myth's have originated and effected the society they bore from. Here are some key notes on the subject, so this will prodomintly be again a text based post for reference

What is Mythology?
The term "mythology" is also often applied to the entire body of myths of a given culture; thus one may speak of Greek mythology, or Polynesian mythology. Such mythologies usually, though not always, consist of a large number of interrelated stories involving a pantheon of gods and goddesses said to have lived "long ago" and most often to have created the world and the first people to have ever lived. Sometimes these gods and goddesses may be said to live even today and to "inhabit" a sacred location or to be "embodied" by certain objects or animals.

Theories of Mythology:

A form of extended metaphor by which objects, persons, and events refer symbolically to meanings outside the narrative itself.  Thus, allegorical mythology is a way of reading the objects, persons, and events depicted in myth as symbolizing something beyond the story’s plot and the literal meaning of its words

The theory, held by Euhemerus that the gods of mythology were but deified mortals, and their deeds only the amplification in imagination of human acts, reaching god like status over time.

Myth-Ritual Theory:
The existence of myth is tied to ritual, this theory claims that myths arose to explain rituals, people begin performing rituals for some reason that is not related to myth; later, after they have forgotten the original reason for a ritual, they try to account for the ritual by inventing a myth and claiming that the ritual commemorates the events described in that myth.

That myths resulted from the personification of inanimate objects and forces. According to this, the ancients worshipped natural phenomena such as fire and air, gradually coming to describe them as gods. For example, the ancients tended to view things as persons, not as mere objects; thus, they described natural events as acts of personal gods, thus giving rise to myths.

Locations of Mythological Origins:

The entire African continent (including countries such as Egypt, Lybia, Algeria, Angola, Congo, Ethiopia, Liberia, Kenya, Morocco, Niger, South Africa, and many others).

The American continent. The area contains North America (including Native America, Inuit), Mesoamerica (Maya, Aztec), South America (Inca), and the West Indies/Carribean (Voodoo).

Asia and Asia Minor/Middle East (eastern part of Russia, India, Tibet, Indonesia, China, Korea, Israel, Iran (Persia), Mesopotamia, etc.) It includes major religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Islam.

The European countries, including Norse, Celtic, and Classical mythology (Greek and Roman). It also contains the western part of Russia.

Middle East
The region extending from the southeastern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea (including countries in southwest Asia and northeast Africa).

The collective name for the islands scattered throughout most of the Pacific Ocean. It consists of Australasia (with Australian Aboriginal), Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia.

Keeping these basics in mind, I will start to branch out into different area's of origin. For the purpose of style in this project, I can feel myself avoiding the familar, and perhaps choosing characters of mythology for research futher, from either America, Africa or Oceania.

Here are some useful websites that may help me with this:

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Transcription (Mythology/Character) Idea's Part III

Ok, so having a few  thorough conversations with Phil over the past weeks considering what direction I should go in with my transcription, and what I want this project to do for me in terms of progression, I decided to ditch the idea of transcribing a song into a character, which was a hard choice for me because I was quite adamant that was the direction I was going with, but after some hard truths, it was clear that in order for me to succeed in this project, I will need to have a strong start to kick off from, without trying to define things and losing myself in the world of 'Bob'

So it was obvious in order to do this, a text based influence was a good choice, as all the information pre-determined and ready to transcribe into my own version. However, over the last few months style has been a big issue for me, so after having a conversation with Phil about this also, it was decided that going in a direction which interests me, but at the same time is foreign to what I currently know, allowing me to grow as an artist

Considering all of this, I felt Mythology was possibly my best choice, because most contains a rich amount of visual and text based description, in which the depictions vary allowing me to add my own artistic license, and expanding upon different areas, taking some elements more 'literal' than others. On top of this depending what origin the mythology has, the style of that particular part of the world visual reference, and artwork will help me ground my character into reality.

My next few steps in this direction will consist of gathering broad, and basic information on mythology as a whole, and then depicting various types of mythology to focus onto, narrowing down my research, and hopefully having three various types of mythological characters for Tuesday ....on top of this re-adjusting my pipeline to fit the change of topic.

Friday, 28 January 2011

The Woman In Black,

A week ago after the massive Transcription hand in, I decided to go to London with my Girlfriend to watch a theatre production that we had only heard good things about, but not actually knowing what the story was about, which was quite an interesting element, as well as was both me and my girlfriends first time watching a 'Play' and not a 'Musical', which was quite a nice well as getting away from a computer screen.

After hearing rumours of how terrifying this play was, I found it very hard to believe sitting in what at first appeared to be a very small theatre 'Fortune Theatre, Russel Street' as well as hearing there were only two actors in the cast, but somehow the intimacy of the theatre, drew us in to the rich narrative. We were sat right at the very top, so we had an overhead shot of the stage, which was actually quite comfortable to watch from surprisingly, and the actors always kept the height in mind whilst playing their parts and facing the audience...

The way the in which the actors draw the audience in, allows them to disregard both cast and theatre size through very clever narrative techniques, such as manipulating our imagination by making us actually imagine the scenes and characters ourselves. Alongside this the use of lighting and sound (which the play clearly portrays as diagetic due to the narrative) plays a huge part in conveying what information isn't there on the stage adding to the atmosphere.

The stage itself has very little, with minimal amounts of props that double up in uses throughout the play, but has some suprising layers to the set. The play makes this plausible because of it's start which focusing on an elderly man, wanting to tell his horrific tale to the world, asks a young performer for help, however he suggests instead of reciting his story and boring his audience, they decide to act it out.

The story then progresses as they switch between the retelling of the past events, and the stage setting where they are practising, Without wanting to give to much away, there are a few chilling twists and turns in the performance, which will literally make you jump, but I feel it really is a must see to simply experience how very little is needed in terms of props and special effects to put a fright into you.

Maya Experiment: Using Hand Painted Textures Part II

Ok, so here's another attempt at trying to experiment with hand painted textures in maya. I adjusted all of the bump maps, making the darker parts lighter and more grey-scaled in comparison, so there is more of an overall texture, taking away some of the flatness of the dark sections, giving a fuller sense of texture. By adding a dust and speckle filter, and blurring out some of the more 'grainy' textures, I was able to cancel out some of 'braile' effect.

Although the sphere shape has warped the texture, it still shows the bump mapping around the surface to some degree, though I think it may be more effective on a flat surface, a plane for instance.. I think proper lighting would futher bring out a better effect of these.

*Note* Blogger appears to take out some of the finer details of the bump mapping :(

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Maya Experiment: Using Hand Painted Textures

Here's an experiment i've been waiting to try out, with hand painted acrylic textures taking from my Journal Development book, where I keep my personal research and develop outside of the course. Using left over paint from certain images I've created, I always tend to use the remaining unused paint, by placing a colour ground on a page in my book, I feel it's such a terrible waste haha. Some of the pages I use as ground for other images and text, usually have notes written on the already, from past lectures , so it adds quite a nice quality I feel.

Before I covered some of my more recent grounds in my book, I thought it would be worth scanning them and perhaps using them as an experiment for maya as possible textures, leaving them raw and unedited to find a nice effect.

Here are the scanned textures, most of which are green from my 'Epitaph' painting's leftovers:

 Here's is the result of a few of the textures, with bump maps also, applied to a simple sphere shapes.

I feel these look pretty nice, though properly lighting and some adjustments could really make them pop. Any feedback of how I could go about this would be appreciated :)

Monday, 24 January 2011

Maya Tutorials...Car and Character

Here's the point I reached with both the car, and character, Obviously these arent anywhere near finished, due to failing to balance my time properly, as well as the lack of maya at home over the Christmas period.

Car Model

Character Model

I know this probably isn't enough to reach the criteria, however I feel I have learnt alot in terms of geometry flow in comparison to last year, and even though the deadline for them is tomorrow, I will definitely carry on the character model throughout the next week to prepare myself for the next project, as well as brush up on some older tutorials to shake off the doubt of myself in maya.

Void Canvas' Attack Of The 50ft Alien From Toyland Trailer

So after 15+ weeks on this porject, here is our final collective piece, I hope if speaks for itself when I comes to the amount of effort put in. You'll also find the Ident which me and Earl worked on, sound from my end, animation/modelling on his.

Looking back at the Retro-Fest....Void Canvas parts ways

Although the project went on for what seemed like forever, I am slightly sad that my group wont be working together anymore. of course there were times more often than not where we didn't agree with things, but at the same time I liked the fact that it was touch and go, and being able to create something that we all had a say in. I feel I had one of the better experiences of the narrative project than other groups, and one of my favourite experiences of this was sharing idea's with other studio members, spinning them on their head with their contributions,  and genuinly getting excited about each other's work. From this experience, I feel I've grasped how a CG group should work, and I'm actually looking foward to another oppurtunity to do so.

I do feel as though I didn't put as much effort and time into the Maya production side of things, in that respect I took a back seat and played more of a design role in the group project, and thought I have work that I feel I've improved with, this was the opportunity to step my game up in the Maya world, with support from my group, which I never took advantage of, I feel this is possibly because I didn't want to let anyone down in terms of my skills, but I realise now this project should have been more about learning then playing to my strengths.

Finaly I would just like to thank Yola, Ethan and Earl for putting up with me, and helping to put together a great piece of work as VOID CANVAS!

Refresher of my contributions to Void Canvas Part II

In regards to the toyland sign, my scene/work overlapped slightly into Earls toy factory, so without claiming it as my own, here's some versions of the sign, along with the end results with one of our 300 dpi stills of the toyland factory, and our work in unison.

Design Concept


Texture/Shader Development

In-Scene Version

Still Of Toyland

Although this took me a while to produce, I was also playing the part of 'texturer' for some of the group, which I really quite enjoyed, and felt I learnt alot in terms of making them suitable for maya. Here's a selection of the textures I created:

 Welcome Sign




Alien Leg Claws

Alien Leg Skin

 Harpo Box Cheerful

Harpo Box Neglected

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Refresher of my contributions to Void Canvas Part I

I was initially going to post a bi-weekly summary of my progress with Void Canvas, but I started to feel like I began to repeat myself posting similar work in both blogs, so I let my personal blog take the back seat for a while, and waited for the right moment.

Towards the end of the Void Canvas' Attack Of The 50ft Alien From Toyland Post-Production, I began work on a 'Making Of' book, where I summarised what work people created from Pre-Production, straight through to Post-Production, acting as though a visual pipeline of our development and detailing our thought process.

From these pages, I felt It would be more appropriate to post the sections I had a part in, as thought I making of from my point of view:

Alongside these, there was of course the fabled 'Toyland Sign' which took far too long for too long for me to complete, as well as some other loose ends such as texturing, and the ident, as well as the final piece itself, which I'll include in the next post.