Monday, 17 November 2014

Project 2: Master Concept Complete

     After much time and commitment my concept piece for Project 2 is at a stage I consider it complete. There was a minor setback in that I had discovered earlier this night that the work I had done after I got back from university on Saturday had vanished into thin air, meaning that my work on the sky I had done the night after open day had vanished without a trace since I remember browsing images of clouds and sunsets during the evening. This is a shame because  I thought I had done great with the clouds in that one. All I had as evidence was a dithered GIF frame that I thought would be stupid to use given the extremely low resolution (both in scale and smoothness) of it compared to the piece itself. Although the replacement sky I think is more volumous and closer to being a sunset. Nevertheless, I think the concept piece at a good enough stage to be considered finished:

    I largely spent most of today working on orthographic drawings of several key buildings. And have managed to put what are possibly the most complicated buildings into an orthographic blueprint ready to build within Autodesk Maya. I got to firm grips with Photosoph's shape tool while working on this, discovering I could make all kinds of amazing shapes by warping and combining circle and square shapes (when two shape layers are combined, Photoshop removes the borders of adjacant and overlaying shapes).

    Some of the buildings I have yet to draw out I am debating whether to model them or keep them as a flat plane (such as was suggested to me with the two-section tower in the foreground) but other thn this I largely feel I am well on track towards the pitch this Wednesday and I feel confident I should have the essentials assembled and put into PDF form by then.

     Saturday evening I also looked into reworking my travalogue due to the considerable redesign the city has goen though since my first OGR of this project. Unfortunately I am a little stuck and perhaps a paragraph or so short of 1000 words but the following is what I have for the city so far:

    “After travelling through oriental jungle, across undulating terrain and though humid valleys I arrived, for within the valley below me was the city of Yiqianhuabanliuyu; “Thousand petal valley” in the local Chinese dialect. Crossing over the ridge and entering the city for the first time. my eyes were met with shining towers that glistened a beautiful amber in the morning sunlight that peeked over the valley I had passed through. While the wilderness I had passed though was wild and undulating, the outskirts of the city still bore a sense of civilised life, the signs became clearer as I approached for the locals still tended to terraced paddies, orchards of exotic fruits and manned boats that cut the waters of the river that cut like a knife though this geometric city, catching all varieties of fish. Further in from the fringe of this pocket of civilisation, open paddies and blossoming orchards gave way to twisting, curving shapes sat with sharp, geometric daggers down one of the main roads I walked down. 

    It was almost like something from a dream, perhaps one could suspect that pixies or elves or some other creature of the fey to be the inhabitants of this place but no, one can see human beings on every street corner, in every paddy and every boat gliding across the water. The interior is perhaps more spectacular than the exterior, as entering the promenade from the city’s entrance all nostrils are immediately filled with the smell of spices, fried fish, shrimp and hundreds of perfumes. Buying from these stalls were people dressed in outfits as committed to mimicking to the organic forms as the buildings that surrounded them. Women walked the street wearing hats with rims broader than their shoulders accented with feathers of various birds that reached beyond the body itself, their bodies draped in silken fabrics that were embroidered like delicate veins to create blossoming viny patterns. And the men are just as extravagant with shirts of the most luxurious lavender and hip-length cloaks of dazzling linen adorned with embroidered floral patterns as exquisite as any Persian carpet. My eyes were drawn to the shops they visited, further explorations revealed hundreds of herbalists, doctors’ surgeries, tea shops, florists and above all perfumers who made residence in the thousand-petal valley, taking every advantage of the region’s namesake and using them to their fullest potential.

    Every corner of the city could be likened to a celebration to the tastes of mother Gaia. Cherry-blossoms lined high-culture streets, which would flood the city in a tide of sugar pink come springtime. If you were to look up, or if you were lucky enough, you could rise to the skyline and discover that the inhabitants did not restrict their obsession with horticulture to the soil, for even up high on rooftops plants blossom in gardens and flowerbeds, neatly arranged, balconies that reached out of the artificial cliffs and into the air formed shrines to nature’s beauty and were homes to numerous cultures; peonies, roses, orchids, more cherry-blossoms, it is as though the city was captivated by a flower’s delicate beauty and took every effort to surround themselves. Building a city that was rife with the hundreds of scents perfumers would make from these delicate little things to fill the nostrils of anyone who walked the streets.  But this is what surprised me the most, as on occasion I found myself in a public space, talking to locals atop the roof of one of the many structures. Rooftop gardens converted into public gathering points, a garden many stories above the ground where below I could see a river cutting though the city, flanked oddly enough by lush jungle. Perhaps the residents decided that the river was too important to them to build up to? Perhaps on its banks grew a flower or a plant so vital or beautiful it was left to grow naturally? Local citizens still sailed out on boats to fish and to gather its bounties.

    The more the structures that flanked the banks were looked at the more I began to notice on the closer buildings; woodgrain veins, drapery, these were not the building materials for such large buildings we are familiar with. These buildings were not cold or rigid, they glowed with their own dynamism that is hard to explain, and they throbbed with a feeling of life independent of their occupants. Some of them one would think “perhaps the local flora inspired them?” It is not too much of a stretch given what is already here. It became difficult to find an angle that wasn’t accompanied by a curve, a point not joined by an arch somewhere on the building. Or for that matter, any design made popular by the architects of old.”

    I wondered about adding a little hint that Huabanliuyu (a possible shorthand name for the city. Literally "petal valley") isn't as idyllic as I have currently indicated that its inhabitants dress in extraordinary fashions, live in these exotic and possibly expensive buildings, wander rooftop parklands and cover themselves in the various perfumes made from the city's flowers so its possible that a number of its inhabitants are quite shallow or perhaps the entire city is a representation of the lotus flower as interpreted by certain Buddhist philosophies; pure and beautiful on the outside, empty or hollow on the inside. It might be a good balance ot add some negative ot this otherwise positive travalogue and could tie in to the explorations of "fear of the Other" I am recieving from certain film in the film studies group or certain Contextual Studies lectures.


  1. That orthograph for the star-balconied hall is impressive!

  2. Thanks. I think that might be my hero prop. Either that or the spherical;building behind it.