Saturday, April 7, 2012

Term 3

Allow me to sit down and catch my breath. This last term was quite a handful. Still the usual six class schedule, projects more difficult, and expectations ever climbing. After lots of all nighters and naps in the car after classes, everything got finished and I'm happy with the results.

Panic nap
Character Sculpture 2:
 Once again I had a sculpting class, but this one's structure was very different from the last in that it was more of a 'follow along with the professor' course. The first half of the class we worked on a standard male head, about half the size of a real one.  The proportions were all based on an Andrew Loomis drawing. Starting with a basic skull shape, we would begin to cut in the details, keeping the form very rigid, and polygonal.  In the end, there wasn't must smoothing that needed to be done. The second project was a standard male torso. The style of both were very chiseled with exaggerated musculature.

Andrew Loomis

Final Sculptures

Character Design:
 This class was a big challenge for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I don't think I've ever drawn so much in a 10 week period. Every week we had to do about 40 pages of drawings in our sketchbook, each page with multiple characters. I've never had such a hard time coming up with ideas and executing them. Our professor, Brett Bean challenged us to think about all that needs to go into a character, having reasons for the shapes chosen, creating characters that compliment and echo design. Characters that have a story.
Random Sketches

For my final I decided to redesign the main two characters from The Iron Giant. I decided to change the boy Hogarth, to a girl (Hogatha?), and change her idol from Superman to Captain America. She wears her father's old army helmet, and carries a dart board with a star stapled to it, to act as her shield. The Giant's eyebrows can rotate down and split open, doubling as eyelids.
Concept Sketches

Iron Giant Redesign

Hard Surface 2:
  This modeling class was definitely a step up from the last term. On top of creating two models, we had to learn some new 3d tools, Nex and zen tools, which in the end were very helpful on our finals. Max Dayan really motivated us to create perfect models, and very patiently broke it down for us, making us all very aware that we were constantly over complicating our topology. The midterm model had to be an existing vehicle, weapon, or some other inorganic thing, so I modeled my own Mazda 6 2008. Just the act of getting into my car became a daily reminder of all the little pieces that I had not modeled accurately. I gained a new appreciation for the people who need to model cars for a living. There's so much subtlety in the curves and its very hard to get that looking perfect.

The second project had to be from concept art so I stumbled upon an awesome looking robotic chess set, designed by Luke Mancini (Mr Jack). Concept art is awesome, and when it comes to making it 3d, there's an extra challenge in interpreting details, and what might be going on, on the back of the object. This one I had less interpreting to do on the back side because of its repeating pattern. This was a lot of fun to model, and I'd like to do the rest of the chess set in the future. Painting this model will be a project for another class.
Concept by Luke Mancini
Final Model

Lighting and Rendering:
The main focus of this class was the principles behind digital lighting using a render engine called mental ray. We spent the term going over every aspect of mental ray, shaders, lights, and compared with real world examples. The homework had us play with color, materials, spot lights, out door lights, and matching the mood of a photograph to renders.

Glass test

 Digital Photography:
Although I have taken photography classes before, none have been digital, and none have been as informative as this one. The class used Canon cameras, which took a while for me to get used to. I realized early on that I have a compulsion to center everything, which took a few weeks of habit breaking to get over. The assignments varied from color correction and self portrait, to lighting and green screen removal. The self portrait assignment was a blast, and if you are friends with me on Facebook, you can see that weirdness for yourself: Self Portrait Gallery.

We were fortunate enough to have a field trip to a movie shoot. It was neat see how they lit the blue screen and how the production crew worked with the camera man (professor Phil Holland).

For our final we had to remove a model from a green screen background, and place her in an environment that was entirely made up of our own photos.

Final Composite

Environment Design:
This was one of the classes I was looking forward to. I've not yet had a digital painting class and this finally allowed me to learn how to do so in Photoshop. The homework for this class was 15 master studies each week. I particularly enjoyed doing studies of Shane Devries artwork (original on left).
Original by Shane Devries on left
The first half of the term was black and white only. The midterm allowed us to paint any environment we wanted. Mine was oddly created while listening to a song. This being my first environment painting, I was very pleased with the result.
Environment Design Midterm
Once we started using color it was surprising how difficult it was to paint accurate colors, especially during the master studies. Our eyes play tricks on us, and a color can appear entirely different based on what is next to it. For my final I chose to take my Iron Giant redesign, and put him in the environment. The theme was opposites so I chose to put a monstrous mechanical character next to a small furry creature. The environment had to tell a story. The giants design makes him look timid, his head barely coming out of the turtle neck-like collar. The creature is obviously isolated on a floating island, and bravely steps on to the giants finger as he curiously examines him. This is still a work in progress and I still need to go back in and add the giant's eyebrows and small environment adjustments.

Environment Design Final
This next term will start to get more character oriented which is exciting. I hope that I can keep calm under the stress, and produce great work. A big shout out to my friends and family for being super supportive and most of all, patient with me.