19 October 2019

25 Years Later: new animation test shot

Working out textures, camera move and all those butterflies. It seems to work overall. Some textures, like the street and brick walkway need some tweaking and the position of the butterfly swarms could use some more thought before settling on a final composition. The Goulding on the right is fully made and textured so it can be used in another shot as is the car which will play an important role when one of the characters sees his reflection in the window. This set might be used in 3 to 5 shots in the end. Again it based on the entry to the South West Corridor park on West Newton Street in Boston but it isn't supposed to be a recreation, just have all the basic details so someone who knows the area might pick up on it.

The bushes are 3D objects but the trees are all image cutouts on a plane as is the building in the back, which I drew in Affinity Photo.  I have to keep the poly count down so render times can reasonable. With that in mind, I restricted some shading effects like ambient occlusion on the butterflies and bushes. I don't really go for photo real look in my animation shorts... just real enough.

18 October 2019

More artwork

It's the 60th anniversary of the Twilight Zone TV show this year and it's another show I can not believe I did not think of before when doing this icons series. Rod Serling is a personal hero of mine, as much as I have heroes. Not just his writing and creativity, but his moral and intellectual stances are all things we should strive to integrate into our lives. His war experiences coloured everything he did afterword and he suffered that trauma by being a better person and giving us fantastic art with messages we can still learn from.

I tried to give the items in the illustration a glow, similar to what we would see on out black and white TV when I originally watched the show.

Another in my acrobat series. I like these leaping about ones where the performers seem to be floating in air.

I have been injured and pretty much housebound recently, hence all the art getting done.

12 October 2019

25 Year later - progress

Almost done with the set pieces now, two more left. On top you see the Montreal interior shot which is almost 100% my actual home studio space. Pretty easy to make since for ideas I just had to look up from my desk. Even the bike is in the same place my bike is in right now.

Below is the Montreal exterior which is about 60% my street and home exterior. So much so my spouse immediately asked.. "Hey is that our house?".  This shot had a problem of being well over 3 minutes a frame to render, even without the character or any animation in it. I decided to use techniques I normally reserve for inserting animation into a live action video. I render the scene with none of the things that will animated in it as a single his res image and use that on a background object. I delete everything except objects that will need to have shadows or reflections on them, in this case it was just the street and project the same background image onto that. This eliminates all the rendering that needs to be done for 95% of the shot as pretty much only an image is being rendered with a few other items. It's down to 3 seconds an image now. The tree has moving leaves and to save even more render time I might render that out separately and add it in After effects later.

I added another step, something I really wanted to try for a LONG time. I painted in some elements like flowers and a flower pot. Since the shot has no movement this allows even more detail without have to render even more complex objects . I think it works and I'm encouraged to keep doing things in this direction.

09 October 2019

Drawing: another acrobat

So I finally did a colour drawing using the new Huion tablet and Affinity Photo. The last couple of colour drawings I have done were underwhelming and I have been questioning  whether I still had it in me to make stuff that comes out the way I imagined. So I went back to my old techniques and spent much more time sketching things out and experimenting with problem areas ahead of time and drew something I am happy with in the end. I draw in greyscale first, using the dodge and burn tools to create shadows and highlights, then colourize the section and add any needed additional colour or details on top. Getting sharp defined areas is hard to do this way and takes time, something I think I wasn't putting enough of in some previous efforts. I make a blue pencil sketch of the entire composition first, which is a throwback to when we would draw with blue pencil on paper and then ink it later as the blue was not visible on copy machines at the time.

I think I got the hair almost right with this one. Past attempts have not been very good. or at least not what I wanted them to be. Part of the improvement is the new tablet and improved pressure sensibility in Affinity photo, I think. I was surprised how close it was to sketchbook pro in terms the natural stroke when drawing.

06 October 2019

Icon project: Babylon 5

Yes. another. Babylon 5 is one one of my favourite science fiction shows. I re-watched the entire thing...  all 5 years, the movies, the spin-offs and the 3 short films that came out more recently on iTunes. The original show and movies really hold hold up which is amazing considering I think it was the first show to use 3D graphics for the effects work. All done on an Amiga originally, my old favourite computer system. The Vorlon was a challenge as I haven't done robes in vector before that I can remember.

I tried some different techniques and learned more stuff about creating in Affinity Designer. I also cheated when making the station itself. It is a really detailed object and I wanted to see how rendering the 3D model I have of it lying about in a folder would look rendered as a 2D image then traced to vectors. I did not want to go overboard with the details and I was able to tweak it in designer with some additional shading. The symbol on top is the Minbari counsel symbol... I think. The background  Shadow ships are super simple, I loved them in the show.

05 October 2019

Doctor Who Icons illustration

I was at it again, this time I added to my "icons" series which started with landmarks of places I had visited and morphed into TV and movies that I like in the same style. This one was more complicated in some ways as the older ones were a flat look and this one adds shading and things are turned angles giving it a much more 3 dimensional look.  I might have put a little too much detail fro the final product but I drew each element separately so maybe I'll use them somewhere else later on. I have done this sort of thing for Star Trek, Star Wars and a few other things, not sure why Dr. Who took so long to get on the list!

I did the work with Affinity Designer and it's something I might not have tried in Illustrator even though Illustrator is more than capable to do this, it's just not fun to work in. I was surprised how quickly it went. Vector drawing has been mostly for logos and some simpler drawing work for me, even though I do like the clean look of it. maybe I'll do more now that this went well enough.

02 October 2019

Welcome to Night Vale quote project

This quote hit me right and I thought it would be interesting to make a poster of sorts out of it. Since much of my design is dictated by my client's look and feel I don't often get to try new things. I did try and keep it in keeping with the Welcome to Night vale flavour and spent a little time making sure the logo was close enough.