Thursday, 30 May 2013

Modelling update...

Here are some shots of the cabin set so far. Initially i had built the set square based on the plans. The plans were used as a rough guide mainly for creating the warps of the wood.
The one issue with this plan was the floors were the incorrect size, but this was easily resolved. Composed in the modelling with the other objects (with some still to do) this was the following outcome:

It was nice to see how useful the early test was at indicating the full set up. The translation of drawn shape into the model was pleasing. However, the overall aesthetic was still flat. The 90 degree angles of the set walls contradicts the local shape of the individual objects that create them. The energy was being killed by the flatness. It also worked against the philosophy of 'uncertain' which i identifies 90 degree angles as being certain. So, excluding the crates and pipe work, i warped the whole set. A few thoughts emerged during the process.

Firstly, how the blend of localised sub-object sharpness against and overall, smoother world blend works so nicely in 3D, and as a process, something i am keen to get in touch with Gregor Louden to discuss about, as it was his style i highlighted as an influence. 

Secondly, by pulling the middle of the sets towards the camera, several things are being manipulated which will implicate the movement of the objects, or at least could change the subtext of the movement.   Firstly, it mimics the depth that the camera lens creates. The overall effect of this as an image remains to be seen at this moment in time. I may post some test later. However, the lens will warp everything in the scene. In this instance the table and chair (the crates) have not been manipulated. Their scale will need manipulation and this will most likely wait until the character has been design and modelled. Their shape sits a little uneasy which i currently attribute to the scale. However, their perceived movement will be an important fact that will reinforce the philosophy of uncertainty. When the camera lens warps the environments, the movement of objects which normally create a straight line appear to move straight but can be warped simultaneously (see the video below), to give the appearance of moving curves. The crates though, when they move, will not follow the curve, they will not warp and i hypothesise that the contradiction of curve against line might act as an unsettling and uncertain agent that reinforces the sense that the environment might not be measurable in realistic terms on the audiences behalf. The success of this will be apparent in the animation process. 

The energy retained by warping the scene has created a consistant inconsistency. Looking back at my initial concept drawing, i instinctively drew the piece with a wider view plane to accommodate both sides as viewable. Interesting that i would be lead back toward that initial drawing.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Quick modelling and shading test...

Im fairly pleased with how the modelling of the objects have retained the uncertainness of the drawings and how it has translated into 3d. The aesthetic ideally needs to look as though it is very refined but at the same time striving to be organic, i think the models represent that need. I was conscious whilst drawing that i needed to show restraint and hesitancy (change of direction). By having sharp corners, as opposed to smooth, the shape communicates the essence of a change but, absolute sharp corners, such as right angles are too certain, too assured, and drifts away from uncertainty. A positive result of this process is low poly models which will keep scene sizes low and will allow smoother running of software application, and reduce rendering time. The next stage, as i have designed the scenes now, will to be to draw them to scale, to size, ready for the final modelling process.

As you can see in the two image i have experimented with colour very briefly. The washed out look i am seeking contradict the energy of the models, and above, where i have increased the saturation of the colour, as well as the incandescence on the outline colours. This proposes two options, either reattempt to find a good colour palet and then manipulate mood with lighting - which i feel is important for an eerie environment, or i can go cell shaded, achieve the flat colours i am seeking, manipulate them slightly with ambient occlusion and lose the lighting. I think this is an issue i will come back to once i have designed the character and the to scale drawings of the environments.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Designs and colour tests...

Very simple test applying the mix of monochrome and primary colours to explore how the relationship might negotiate. The use of primary colours, lack of ambient occlusion and lack of a light source seriously implicates the test, however, these are early ideas, and i like complete blend of monochrome and single colour most. This could mean i can apply a single colour to each stage, so some subtextual research could be useful.

A couple of notes on the design front. The room is a fish eye just to give me an idea of how a complete room could look as opposed to drawing singular walls or a couple of walls at a time. There will be more crates added as extras and i have redisgned the pipe-work. Remember, the theme is 'uncertain'. The overall room will be warped like the crates have and everything else has. The Pipe that curves over in many ways is part of this uncertainty, as though someone building it got to that point and realise they may have gone the wrong way and simply went down. The Windows in the initial design are open, but i felt it would be truthful to the theme to have the wooden walls go through them, again, an uncertainty. The other thing is the blend of wood and mental. The door is like that of a submarine, something that could be sealed, as are supporting structures, pipework and windows, which clash against the wood which would not be able to withstand such intolerable circumstances, and again, represents uncertainty.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Aesthetic direction...

After some more thinking about my project, and more so about the defining word that could be used for seeking coherence, I think i may have found out what that is. 


It does have a close association with the projects purpose and theme, confusion. But this is not the reason for selection, and i felt the other words, eerie, warped and fragmented as sub-diversions of uncertainty. There are several influences that actually led me to the word, and these are stylistic references which will inspire the aesthetic. Before i begin, please remember, I see the character as being in the space between memory and reality, and as we draw on past memories, our new experiences often warp, reshape, and redefine those memories, as does our active state.

Gregor Louden - 'Lost and Found'

The style of line in his illustrative work conveys an articulated certainty that allows the scenes to be fragmented, this is particularly clear in his book lost and found. NOTE: This is not the lost and found by Oliver Jeffers. What i find more impressive, is that, unlike Alex Pardee (although not his aim), he successfully incorporates that smooth flow in the overall perspective whilst retaining the subtle clash of local perspective between objects. The energy creates the eerie emotion i am seeking. The level of warp is exaggerated and witheld differently throughout the book. Although i like the black and white i do not think this stark contrast would be suitable for my piece.


A study in 2008 concluded that older people have more monochrome dreams than younger people. This they claim will be exposure to monochrome tv's and photos. When asking my grandparents they said they had them. A common devise in modern cinema being memories or past events being shown as monochrome. So, although i do not want a straight black  and white contrast, i am open to monochrome. But, in seeking aesthetic truth to the project, i'm not sure this best portrays uncertainty. 


So looking through the digital booklet reflecting on the production of the film i was able to extract their word. It was naturalism. The preservation of hand crafted artistry that one could argue gets washed out of Disney/Pixar inspired movies. The aesthetic of the movie is so appealing to my eyes. From watching the videos on the booklet and reading the quotes, i took the following notes:

Realistic in toned, but stylised. Rotting around the edges. Everything Slightly a-skew. Oddly shaped, but not be aware of the style. Nervous, hand-drawn, illustrated look.

I feel the shape of the objects, having retained the hand drawn line starts to generate the natural feel of the world but on a slightly exaggerated scale. I like the idea of incorporating that look into the project. The idea about authorship can be evoked from it in an almost contradictory way, as i seek to use this in aim of looking purposely warped and fragmented rather than natural. However, the colour scheme, in relation to my project is still too vibrant, and goes against the blend of dream and reality inspired aesthetic i am seeking.


Another Laika production however contains a blend of severely muted colours and the occasional warm colour. Although in this case it is to show she doesn't 'Fit in' the initial world and thus backs up her reason for seeking escape, i think this could be used as a way of projecting the uncertain nature i am seeking. That parts could be reality and parts could be memory. 

Friday, 10 May 2013

Developing an aesthetic style

Having read Basic Animation Aesthetics by David OReilly, i have developed a starting 'word' for which to develop the consistency of the production. Before i present this, i am going to list the some sections of his paper (available at: that i have found useful. 

- 'My central belief is that the key to aesthetics is coherence. In 3d we essentially create artificial models of worlds, i contend that what makes these worlds believable is simply how coherent they are; how all the elements tie together under a set of rules which govern them consistently. This coherence spreads to all areas of a film; dialogue, design, sound, music, movement etc. Together they create a feedback-loop which reaffirms that what we are looking at is true. The human eye wants this aesthetic harmony.'

- 'Aesthetic harmony comes from laws.'

- 'Style is a byproduct of following one's ideals, not an ingredient, it's something which comes out of a project, not goes into it. Style is often misinterpreted as a way to create an identity by superficially changing the look of one's work. The aesthetic choices in these works have little or nothing to do with the content and everything to do with looking different or current. This kind of thinking may be better defined as surface style.'

- 'Of course, originality is possible in any medium, and we all wish to create something new, something different and interesting, but this cannot be achieved by simply enforcing a look, it has to work from the ground up.'

- 'The technology of 3d animation is developing at a blinding speed, new tools and techniques are being added every year, and it is only a few films which survive this development and manage to appear undated. There is an effect relating to all this invention, lets call it rapidly expanding aesthetic library, which every animator and digital artist possesses internally.'

- 'An understanding of aesthetics gives the filmmaker the ability to observe a film both broadly and in detail and understand it. It allows him or her to make any kind of world believable by knowing exactly what works and doesn't work, and rather than feeling things seem wrong, to be able to point them out specifically. Finally knowledge of aesthetics is an essential key to originality. When we are forced to examine our aesthetic choices we lead ourselves to new ways of thinking and new ideas. Those who arn't fully conscious of the aesthetic fabric of their worlds will revert to default decision making, essentially to the common doctrine, or mediocrity.'

My 'laws' will derive from the words fragmented, warped and eerie.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Exist Version 05

Here is the updated script with supporting material.


A good example of solid, empathic storytelling without the use of facial features. The use of thinking time is significant, and holds upwell without the use of expression. 

PGD Presentation

Here is the PGD presentation i gave last thursday...