Monday, 10 September 2018

REAL painting .001

So I haven't propery touched the paints since the end of school. So that's about 15 years ago.

Along with my towering levels of admiration/love for Ralph McQuarrie and Syd Mead, I had long wanted to return to the traditional medium to attempt something similar. When Wayne Hagg released his Goauche tutorial, it finally gave me the kick in the butt to give it a go. I have 12 pages of A6 to fill and I may make it my mini project to have done by the end of the year.
Here are pics of my first ever attempt...
This is the final image scanned in. Generally happy but its an awkward reminder of the inexperienced me wanting to go too far with saturation. Hope to make the next one a little more 'earthy' and dulled down.

The small scale is typical of my attempts at traditional media and also not wanting to go so far astray on something over-sized that I feel out of my depth.

Often seen in behind the scene pics of McQuarrie and Meads work; a simple line drawing taped on top so I can keep in mind the original forms as I paint over the sketch.

Always prefer a toned base colour. Get rid of that nasty white paper :)

Working back to front so I can worry less about overspill

Nearly there. A contrasting vehicle for a focal point...

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

SketchUp feature

The guys over at SketchUpUK spoke to me about my use of their program in my day to day work...

Check it HERE

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Practice/learning. Interior lighting

So between projects (and partially becase of a current project) I felt I wanted to practice more with lighting within 3D space. As digital modelling isn't quite the same as switching on a normal light bulb, I wanted to play with settings to see if I could further grasp how to recreate a 'look' for my concept art.

My fundamental inspiration came from using a recognisable film frame and rereating a set rather than simply making something up and hoping it looked right. Also the first 20minutes of a great panel discussion with John Knoll at Star Wars Celebration 2016 gave a similar, more polished example of what I was thinking of.

So as you can see below, this is my current desktop wallpaper. A Star Destroyer hangar bay from Jedi I believe...

The first thing was to match the perspective and camera view which can be done pretty effectively using MatchPhoto in SketchUp. I began by blocking out the space that was visible. No point in building outside of the camera view. Let's be cost/time effective ;)
The red highlighted area is a note that I never intended on building outside of the hangar. It would be painted or photbashed in as a background element.

The foreground gantry really sits quite far back in terms of the shot but realistically you can recognise the forground element is actually shot footage on a matte.

Detail was never the intention with this practice build. I blocked in the notable forms and of course light sources. The Imperial Shuttle (below, red), I grabbed from the SU warehouse so kudos to the person who built it. Highlighted below in yellow is a very large spot light source (I should mention I was using Podium as my rendering software). The green scribbles are omni light sources. Used to light the general area they are placed without a specific direction.

A reverse view shows the model build and lack of any detail behind the 'camera lens' (red).

A cross-section of the build shows how the entire set was encased to remove any 'outside' light that may affect the interior space.


So the first render was literally to see what would happen before I turned on any lights. The main source of light came from 'outside' the set before I had taken the time to box everything in as described above.
It's pretty dark at this point, so lets turn on the lights.

The huge bars of light that go around the opening I set with 'intensity' turned on but for the vertical light panels on the side and blue glow from the elevator I turned on to something like '10' to see what would happen. As you can see it's a total blow out of light. Too much from that outside spot light (something daft like '64'). All way too much but a starting point. Now to pull it back.

This was better. the vertical lights I dropped down to '6' I think and the outside spot light went down too '44' and was moved back a tad. It was at this point I realised the outside space was affecting the set as well and so I blocked it in with a black box to resemble space. Playing with lights and numbers proved helpful when I purposefully started with too much as it gave me something to work back to rather than say starting at lighting strength '1' and going up from there. It would have taken too long.

Now I'm not a 3D modeller (hence my use of SketchUp). I'm not sure I could call myself a 3D generalist either. For what I do and my process. This (half a days work so far) is enough to work with in concepting up. There is a general feel of the correct light levels beginning to come through and once brought in to Photoshop I would be able to make minor level adjustments much quicker than inside the model. Again, the idea of this test was to practice lighting a space (in this case a very large one).

With a very quick drop in of the background and a little adjustment you can see the beginnings of a set being concepted with a strong light source that is effective and realistic enough to work with...

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Top 5 of 2017

That time of year again! So, there were many titles I'd have like to have seen (happens every year, of course) and am guessing may have even made the list (Get Out perhaps? Girl with All the Gifts? Raw?). But alas, my top and bottom 5 are based on this year’s viewing habits.

5. Hacksaw Ridge
When people in power make mistakes, it's rare we let them forget about it in this modern age, let alone forgive them for it. I feel it's safe to say after the better part of a decade Mel Gibson made a deserved comeback with this film. Like him or not, the film itself is a very strong entertaining (if you can call war just that) tale based on the humbling truth of a soldier who didn't give up on his beliefs. Like a lot of war titles, it displays the best (and worst) in people. If you don't feel like doing 'the right thing' after its viewing, you have missed the point...

4. Baby Driver
We were promised speed, colour, action and lightning fast dialogue and for a first time experience it didn't fail to deliver. Subsequent viewings have yet to occur so I'm interested to see what life the film manages to take on past this year (if viewed more times, I may have placed this at no3). But for now, a vibrant original film with loving references to 70's car action has been a welcome distraction to the familiar OTT car-nage of the FATF series amongst other tentpole action films with too much bang for its buck. Enough talk has been made on its kinship with its soundtrack.

3. Logan
So, we got the Wolverine western we'd been asking for (apparently). A pretty fitting and respectable end to a character/actor many my age have grown up with. The noir edition is a nice touch for those interested. In time I feel my generation may look on this first 'wave' of superhero films the way older generations debate the best Bond era; typically championing the ones we grow up with. There may be better or 'more-like-the-comic' versions of Logan in the coming years but Jackman's portrayal will no doubt set a benchmark for the conflicted elements of a worn-out anti-hero that we, and certainly I, hold as one of my favourite of all fictional greats.

2. IT
The hype machine on this was selling the best thing in a long time in horror circles. Up front I cannot claim to be anything of a King fan or that of previous telling’s of the IT story so I entered this with no preconceived notions or expectation. I was all-round entertained, suitably chilled (never quite scared) and importantly left eager with the promise of a concluding part to this film. A tale more about youth, growing up and its fears and friendship then simply some bulbous headed clown killings. Great casting makes this film work.

1. War for the Planet of the Apes
This film was THE experience for me this year. The hope to enter that dark room and be taken on a journey for 2 hours that leaves you with something is always what I want from a cinema experience. This film managed that beautifully. Already a great admirer of 'Dawn' (less of 'Rise') the conclusion to this Cesar-arc was handled greatly by Matt Reeves who really has proven himself again and again with big budget film. A war film that brings to mind many a great title from Bridge on the River Kwai and The Great Escape to more harrowing moments that I can't help comparing to Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List. Good company to be amongst no doubt...
I expect Dawn and War will be played often in my home over the coming years.

Honourable mentions go to Blade Runner 2049 and Life, two sci-fi's just shy of my top list. Also check out the documentaries called One of Us, which can be found on Netflix about the Hasidic Jewish community; and Five Came Back (also Netflix) about the pioneering directors of Hollywood who served during WWII.
The ultimate mention goes to Stranger Things season 2. If I wasn't so strict about my list being films, I'd have this as the no1 thing I watched this year. I feel I could write forever about the strengths of this show but for now all I say is this; in a time where spectacle is measured as being "epic!" and "awesome!", few things are ever "wholly satisfying", and Stranger Things is satisfying as f**k!

My bottom 5 in no real order or importance because nothing here is overly harmful. In fact, this year’s post really doesn't warrant a bottom list as I didn't see anything that was painful enough to call rubbish

5. Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge
4. The Babysitter
3. Death Note (Netflix)
2. Beauty and the Beast
1. Ghost in the Shell