Tuesday, 10 April 2012

A Fantasia Of Art Nouveau - Designing Compostions

It's been a few weeks since I've blogged any of my progress on my major project, I've just really been getting stuck in with the design part, which has been both enjoyable, and a pain. Taking on the style of Art Nouveau whilst trying to bring my own taste to the table has proven rather tricky, but it's clear throughout my designs my understanding is progressing with each image.


So to bring you up to speed with where I am at the moment, I've chosen Chopin: Nocturne, Opus 9 No. 1 as my music in my animation, as I result, this will have a direct effect on all aspect of design in my piece, from the the movement in the animation, to the environment and tone of my designs.


Some editing of the 6:09 mins piece will need to happen, which will help work out an animatic/previs , however I'm still in process of purchasing the correct licensing for this version. I've been trying to place imagery to the sound of the piece, in order to properly start making decisions for designs:

Cold/Midnight Hues

There is a constant change in the rhythm of this peice, which mostly evokes a downbeat tone however at times uplifts, causing varied expressions throughout. The majority of Chopin’s nocturnes adopt a simple A-B-A form. The A part is usually in a dreamy bel canto style, whereas the B part is of a more dramatic content.

I'll need to take the time to properly study the movement of the piece in order to imagine my final design moving, I haven't deduced a proper method for this as of yet, so here's some movements I feel it evokes in me so far.



Moving away from the Audio part of my project I began a long mission of gathering various shapes/photoshop brushes, following the method I perfected earlier in the project by producing cleaner brushes in Illustrator for Alchemy

Using these brush sets, I put together several initial compositions as a way to begin interacting with the style. Although quite raw, and complicated I took some influence from Beardsley, Clarke & Amano with their dark use of mark making, along with simple monotone pallet's with an 'Invert like' effect.

Taking these designs into consideration, I began to build on the imagery of Chopin's Nocturne into more recognised traits of art nouveau, taking particular compositional influences from Alphonse Mucha. I moved away from Mucha's 'autumn pallet' and focused primarily on midnight/cold tones, whilst trying to include imagery associated to symbolisms of a sexual nature (Lilies). Integrating some some patterns I produced in Alchemy, I grew in confidence with each image, working with more Blend Layers as time went on to take advantage of the 'Stroke' on each component.

Toward the final images, I took many influences from architectural forms infused with this style, such as buildings, gates, windows, ceilings, and Tiffany Lamps. Gathering images I felt I could use to portray the tones of this Nocturne, I began to Matte Paint some photo's together to create my desired environment, an use photo-manipulation techniques to create a more painterly effect on the latter pieces. I also overlayed paperish textures onto individual components, as well as the the overall image to move away from the clean, digital look.

I've felt that although the woman is indeed the focal point of my piece, nailing the design of the components around her will at this stage is the hardest part. She will have a particular look, Toulouse hair, flowing gown, however she will not differ too far from the preconceptions of this style and will need to integrate into the composition. Gathering some reference images of models that are posed in particular positions, similar to Pre-Raphaelite paintings, I began to play around with her position in some of my pieces to see what is effective, so I can channel my final design in a particular direction without complicating her design.

*Note* The stroke around the silhouette is a vital part of this style

My next steps after producing these will be to finalise my design, by selecting elements that are compositionally successful from my existing pieces and combining them with the symbolic traits of Art Nouveau, more floral designs, as well as a flowing gown that will help break up the background and silhouette. Choosing the right pose for the female will help shape the nature of the final composition design as well as her own.

Some feedback would be much appreciated :)