Monday, 13 October 2014

Its Alive!!!


I call him MKII, but he answers to 'Blinky'!

video

The first movement test of the HumanIK rigged Mark II robot head, with additional facial / head bones.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

CGI Update-to-the-update...


Last-but-not-least of my CGI (slightly retro) robots, this is the Overseer robot; with classic 'evil' red colour scheme. 

He's not evil, he's just following orders!

Dark grey joints added.

Rear view.

Sometimes three eyes are better than two.

Sketching Update October 2014

Sketching Update September 2014

I thought that it was about time I updated my sketching work on the blog; so here are some of this years scribbles. As you can see I have finally started to use watercolours in my work and great fun that is too!

Victorian House entrance / porch; Denzell Gardens, Altrincham

Ancient Farmhouse, Gozo, Maltese Archipelago

Dilapidated dry stone building, The Burren, Ireland.

Adding line-work and aqua pencil shading after dark..
Typical Burren limestone rock and fauna...
A few weeks ago I got to go sketching in Salford Media City with the wonderful Manchester Urban Sketchers. Over a couple of hours on a very windy day I got a couple of sketchers done, the second one literally being blown out of my hands. Fortunately I caught the sketchbook before it was blown into the dock.

Media City , Salford Quays.

View of Salford Quays landscape; windswept!


Manchester Urban Sketching group sketchbooks.

A week in Dublin gave me the chance to do these nice urban sketches...

Small quick sketch of a Dublin House

Final larger sketch, with Monica in the window.

Monday, 29 September 2014

CGI update



Lots of developments since my last blog post. I have given all characters a huge overhaul after attending the 2013 BAFGame festival in Bradford. There is an interesting difference in a game festival compared to Animation festivals; animation festivals you get to watch tons of animation, which is cool and you see a few speakers. With a game festival its nearly ALL speakers, and they have a lot of very interesting things to say, most of it relevant to the animation industry as well, not just game makers.

I learned a lot from some very talented professionals. Mike Bithell, creator of Thomas Was Alone showed us how much empathy you can feel for a character that is no more than and flat block of colour...




Art Director Viktor Antonov ( Half-Life 2 / Dishonored) talked about cities as a character which either aids or hinders a character...



While Brian Horton; Senior Art Director of Tomb Raider, showed how a characters animation reacts with environment and how character movements echo the closeness or space of that environment, again turning the environment into another character.

ANd not wanting to leave the animation festival out; Felix Massie's superb film 'In the air is Christopher Gray was another minimalists tour de force with simple single colour skinny characters, almost stick figures; but they ooze appeal...


...also a good example of simple backgrounds with highly polished atmospheric lighting...


And that is how I went from this over complicated, visually confusing mess...





...to this simple, iconic, easily readable form...






Complicated joints are no longer necessary as the mind of the audience automatically fills in the gaps giving the impression of a whole character. There are several examples of this but I always remember the work of Dudok De Wit; bodies and feet with nothing in between.


I even designed a robot several years ago using this design strategy but at the time I never did anything with the design...


The construction robot went through a similar redesign; this being the original design...


...this being the thumb ail sketch for the rebuild...


So this...


...became this new, cut back version...


I started to make environments using very basic blocky shapes, with the hint or a curved edge to catch the light in an aesthetically pleasing way;




...combined with atmospheric lighting and the right lens settings to give the image a shallow focal depth when needed...


...and plenty of shadows; deep shadows in areas of no detail...



Lenses; I want to use a good mix of lenses, from telephoto to wide angle, based on standard cinematic principles.


Lots of film noir techniques being used. Areas of deep shadow that do not actually contain anything. Film Noir came from studios having very small budgets. Areas of shadow disguised the absence of set; don't build it if your not going to see it. This made productions much cheaper to make...





It even has some nice under floor lighting coming out of an air vent, through a slow turning fan and then up through grilled flooring; again to create beams or light coming up and a great view looking down.



Beams of light play an important part in the environments, and this will be more dynamic as ceiling and floor light shave constantly rotating fans blades in front of them to give constant movement to the thin beams of light, and mesh patterns in front of the fan to give myriad fine beams of light.

Put this all together and you get an environment that has the appearance of being much more highly detailed than it actually is. Great for the production schedule!



And this environment will perform like an additional character, either helping or hindering the hero...

All in all I think this is getting interesting!