Sunday, September 11, 2011

Term 1

An exciting and mildly sleep deprived ending to the first quarter of the Gnomon Digital Production for Entertainment program. I was told over and over again, "Say goodbye to your social life." How true... It's been very difficult to stay in touch with people, sleep, and eat non-vending machine food, but hopefully next quarter I will find a good balance. I do not at all regret applying to this program. Some of this term was review, but I found that all of the classes blend together very well. This first term I had Visual Communications 1, Intro to Maya, Texture Mapping 1, Storyboarding, Overview of Visual Effects and Games, and Intro to Compositing.

Visual Communications

This class was all about drawing things in perspective from a product design point of view. We focused on the primitive shapes for 70% of the term, starting with cubes, moving on to spheres, cones and cylinders, and then gradually learning proper line weights, value, shadows, and composition.

 After that we did a primitive sort of character using at least one of each shape. I really am surprised at how much time I had to spend on this class just to get some decent results. It usually took all day Sunday and on many occasions, all of Sunday night.

Our final was a fictional or non-fictional product design. My weird little brain came up with a toy for kids to interact with their goldfish. Goldfish are not the most exciting pets, so I thought, what if you could take it for a walk, or even a swim?

We had go from our rough concept sketches to our line drawings, value studies, and final renders showing a beauty shot, detail shot, and usage shot. I would actually like to see this concept get made, after a few design tweaks. The fish does get the short end of the stick and I'm still thinking of a way to make it a gentler ride.

Intro to Maya

This class was mostly review and I really was disappointed with the amount of time I spent on the homework. I definitely could have tried harder. As seen in this example: "The Love Toilet". Why not share your bathroom time with your loved one?

This class was pretty fast paced. For our final we had 1 week to model a room, 1 week to texture it,  1 week to light and render. Fortunately we got a bit of an extension. I'm still working on this but here's my work in progress. This is from that not so well done TMNT movie, and this is the sewer den.

Texturing 1

Texture Mapping was a lot of fun. Our job was to texture the provided models. We could make them pretty, clean new products, but its always more fun to make things rusty and worn out. We textured mailboxes, fruit platters, wine bottles, and for our final we had to do a fuel truck. I decided to go with an old Barbie branded truck. They exist, right?

I really had a blast in this class. As much as I want to be a character modeller, I also want to be involved with story telling. The first few classes were about camera angles, cinematic storytelling, and analyzing directors techniques in classic films. One of the exercises I really enjoyed was writing a story based on a provided image and caption.   

Uninvited Guests: "His heart was pounding. He was sure he had seen the doorknob turn".

This is a piece of what I came up with.

For our midterm we had to storyboard a script the professor provided for a movie called "The Pale Blue Eye". 

We also had to go to the zoo and do some animal sketches.

Finally, we had to pick a movie, in my case Fight Club, pick 3 different types of nonconsecutive scenes, and do 25 panels for each. I really enjoyed this project. I tried not to have the character right in the middle of the frame, choose interesting and relevant camera angles, and change the setting slightly. Here's one of the scenes.

Overview of Visual Effects and Games

This class was excellent to have for the first quarter. We got to take tours of several different studios and learn about how they run their business, communicate with their artists, length of deadlines, etc. It was great that this included some traditional studios as well. All together we saw Scanline, Legacy Effects, Schell Sculpture Studio, New Deal Studios, Rhythm and Hues, Blur, and The Third Floor. Blur was great because we got to talk to Alessandro Baldasseroni, a character modeller who was kind enough to share over an hour of Q & A time with us. Legacy was also very cool because we got to walk around a warehouse with basically life sized action figures.

Intro to Compositing

This class was an introduction to the program after effects which can be used to do anything from animation, to special effects, editing, color correction, you name it. Most of this class was review and I did get a chance to opt out, however some of the curriculum involved things I've never done before such as removing a green screen from footage and rotoscoping. Here are a couple projects I did for the class. 

Everything else
I have this compulsion to make bad jokes and if I don't get it out of my system, I'm pretty sure I explode. I am responsible for this very stupid joke. I apologize.