Saturday, 30 January 2016

Adaptation B Story Idea

I had a little thought on a possible story if I do go through with making a story out of Colo Colo.

Starts with a tired-looking South American man who returns home. He falls into his bead, and that night Colo-Colo emerges from the wall, crawling along the ground and up to the bed (still deciding if it would actually levitate), making noises along the way. It examines its victim and, extending a long tongue, laps at the corners of the victim's mouth, this happens for several days until the character decides to visit a local Machi for help. The Machi returns, chanting a ritual to exorcise the Colo Colo, which screams as the exorcism sets it on fire and drives it from the home. After a good night's sleep, the man dumps the creature's remains in a waste basket.

Adaptation Discussion And Feedback

  I believe that Friday's discussion with Alan has helped give me some direction in my projects. The first discussion was regarding Adaptation A: I was informed it needs to be more snappy, and was shown Danny Rollings' "top 10 weird science facts" infographic to get an idea of what it involves ,as what I had currently was more like a narrative than information. With more work involved than was probably needed. Fortunately what is really needed ot be done is streamlining; cutting down the scenarios I have to short topical segments. And I already have some direction in art-style so Adaptation A is mainly a matter of streamlining.

  I had shown Alan some of the creatures I had looked at, but regarding where to go next. But what we had settled on was a case of more research as I had considered looking at Mayan culture and style, though further investigation on the Chiccan brought creative trouble as they are for the most part, snakes that send water to the clouds for rain. But any story feels la little thin on the ground. It was suggested that I look at Mayan artwork to help me visualise a style.

  Later in the day I felt terrible as some cold-like illness crept on me, getting so bad by the middle of the night that I was unable to breathe through my nose. But this led me to a flash of inspiration, as I felt more sure about a project revolving around Colo Colo.

  I had researched it in the early phases before but the similarity of my ailment has been what has driven me (lately I have considered that when it comes to escapism or a handicap, I should try and find way to turn it towards something productive). Performing some research I have come to understand that Colo Colo.is a vampiric being from Mapuche (a South American ethnicity native to  the southern regions of the continent) folklore. It is a creature, commonly with rodent, poultry or serpent-like features, born when a rooster incubates an egg. When it nests within a person's house it will hover over a resident each night (there is no description of it having wings so my guess it it levitates) and sustains itself on  the saliva of its victim, exhausting the person in the process which can eventually lead to death. People who suffer from Colo Colo's parasitic feeding will be exhausted during the day and their house will smell of faeces. When Colo Colo.is suspected to be dwelling there are two possible ways to get rid of it: Call in a Machi (a Mapuche healer or shaman) to exorcise it, but if that doesn't work then you will need to burn the house down. It has the cry of an infant or baby as well.

  Floating South American rooster-rat-lizard thing that thinks it's Dracula, lives off peoples' saliva, cries like a baby, stinks of excrement, and removed by either a native exorcist or setting your house on fire. It sounds interesting to me at least and there looks to be a project I could embrace the technological side of: Hybrid creature designs, particle effects, dynamics, sound design and animation for isntance. The information I have could be the groundwork for a tale about what Colo Colo. is, what it does and ending with how to get rid of it. Perhaps the story is told though one character meeting another who is currently suffering from it. I feel the need to at some point make something on the course that familiarises me with working with a voice artist.

References

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Adaptation A: Investigating Creatures to Adapt

  I have considered an alternative in creature design. So today I looked into a number of legendary creatures I could make into something for a project. I am still discovering what I might enjoy most but I have come to a couple of conclusions. I kept some rules for myself to keep the project interesting: Nothing from East Asia, nothing too humanoid, and nothing that would be too publicly known. Although the last one how well-known it is depends on what part of the world you live in.

  The following are creatures I have taken some consideration in:

Alkonost
  • Region of origin: Russia
  • Key physical characteristics: head of a woman, body of a bird
  • Key behavioral characteristics: evasive, largely benign, lays eggs on beaches then rolls them to sea
  • Key abilities: Hypnotic voice; can sing beautifully and entrance travelers into turning back and forgetting them. When their eggs hatch ,the act of hatching creates thunderstorms
Adlet
  • Region of origin: Hudson Bay
  • Key physical characteristics: Legs of a dog, body of a human, taller than Europeans
  • Key behavioral characteristics: aggressive, In conflict with humans.
  • Key abilities: Can outrun humans

Chamrosh
  • Region of origin: Persia
  • Key physical characteristics: body of a dog, head and wings of a bird
  • Key behavioral characteristics: Benevolent, said to have gathered the seeds of a great tree and cast them across the world
  • Key abilities: Uncertain, powerful wings
Chiccan

  • Region of origin: Yucatan Peninsula, Central America
  • Key physical characteristics: four giant water-dwelling reptiles
  • Key behavioral characteristics: Live in lakes that correlate to the four cardinal directions
  • Key abilities: their thrashing stirs the lakes to send water to the sky, the water is returned to earth as rain by other gods 
Colo Colo

  • Region of origin: Chile
  • Key physical characteristics: varies, common elements are of rats, snakes, feathers and other reptiles
  • Key behavioral characteristics: feeds off human saliva, lives under a person's house, has the call of a wailing infant
  • Key abilities: Those who are fed from by Colo Colo feel regularly exhausted, thoutr to bring disease, draining power can kill

El Pollo Maligno (Evil Chicken)

  • Country/culture of origin: Colombia, South America
  • Key physical characteristics: A chicken, large enough to devour humans
  • Key behavioral characteristics: feeds on human flesh, malicious towards hunters
  • Key abilities: Haunts hunters, driving them deep into wooded areas where they become its prey.
Encantado
  • Region of origin:Amazon Basin
  • Key physical characteristics: pink river dolphins that can transform into humans with blowholes on the crown
  • Key behavioral characteristics: Playful, like attending fiestas, seducing women, wear hats to cover their blowholes when in public
  • Key abilities: Shapeshifters, entrancers, can cast illnesses on people, can transform at dawn or dusk

Wolpertinger
  • Region of origin: Bavaria, Germany
  • Key physical characteristics: body made up of wings, fangs, tails and antlers of various animals all connected to a small mammal's body, often a rabbit.
  • Key behavioral characteristics: Unknown
  • Key abilities: None known, presumably some inherited from the animals it takes parts from
  • Related story from late 19th century Sweden of Skvader, a rabbit-like winged creature hunted by one particular man who hunted it north of Sundsvall.

  There were a number of creatures upon my examination that didn't look strange enough or had quirks that I felt were inappropriate for a broad audience or contained some particularly gruesome facts about them. So far however I think my most confident inspirations are the Akanost, Colo-Colo and Chiccan.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Adaptation A: Storyboard


  The bulk of today was spent assembling the storyboard. I've worked out that in the rate I usually design, 30 frames is about maybe a minute but it can vary depending on what is going on..This feels like one of my shorter storyboards however, and I worked to keep the action snappy.

  The inclusion of the squirrel at the end came from a previous iteration, it was commented that the squirrel appeared at the end, referring to when the squirrel pops up in a post-transition snapshot. I figured I could include it at the end so that the ending card is not total blackness and simple text.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Adaption A: Reworking Storyboard and Script

  The script idea came from the feeling I needed to know what my story wasdoing in terms of length before committing to a storyboard. Partway though I had an idea however: I did not feel the current idea of action, shutter and then picture was a very good flow. So I went back and decided to characterise the main character seen as "Selfie Stan", or simply Stan, and the scenarios we woulds ee would be his misadventures.Above is the storyboard I managed ot get done before I realised the story I had probably wasn't working as well as I thought it would. So I went back to rewrite the script.
  After publishing this on Scribd I had a thought that maybe the shutter-close transition still breaks the flow. Given the abstract nature of an infographic, perhaps what happens instead is Stan "falls" from scene to scene. For instance transition one to two has him pushed into the GP's office, when the doctor jabs him in his rear end he and leaps up into the forest scene. When the squirrel jumps on his face and he flais about, he runs into the bar scene but escapes the squirrel. When he is then pulled into the cloud of fighting and falls into the teleporter room.

Those will be tasks for Wednesday - to add those into the script and rework the storyboard.

Adaptation A: Script Proposal

   Script idea for "when is the best time of day to take a selfie". There might be a little more time given the lack of dialogue but at present the animation contains a total of five scenarios, which might be a healthy quantity for this kind of project.

Adaptation A: Investigating Character Silhouettes

  Because my infographic is very mobile-centric I considered looking into a simple, but bold look to the characters. The contact sheet above is a look for an 'average' appearance within the animation, because of the variety of scenarios I might be able to play with the shapes, such as giving more muscular characters a more triangular torso. About halfway though the creation os this sheet I wondered about looking into the mascot for Android as an inspiration. It's a basic, humanoid build, relates very closely to phones but has a flexibility to it.

  I took one of the Android-related designs and looked into how I could play about with body shapes to convey characteristics about any included characters. I think the use of an Android-themed character works well with the intended message of the infographic. So my next task would be, along with working otu a storyboard, how to distinguish characters.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Adaptaion B: Considering Options

Figure 1: A Japanese Kasa-obake(Yokaihigh, 2014)
  I spoke with Phil today regarding the progress with Adaptation B, haven discussed over the weekend that my current direction may be a dead end. I reflected back on what I enjoyed most in visual design, remembering the enjoyment I got out of creating creatures. Holding an accompanying interest in anatomy I have wondered about travelling down the direction of creature design.

  Phil's suggestion for this was to look into what fantastical creatures I could bring to life though 3D design. An initial browsing though revealed a world of truly bizarre creatures, particularly from Japan such as a tiger-fish and a paper umbrella with legs and fed off spirits. There was also some discussion on the other creatures aside from the title beast of featured in Lewis Caroll's Jabberwocky (the main creature would be out-of-bounds due to portrayal saturation). The thing I came away  with most in what to look for was that whatever I looked for, don't go the safe option of the classic monster; look for something weird, bordering on believably (such as the monster umbrella) and bring it to life.

  My next step will be to narrow down the possibilities. I will investigate monster/creature ideas from around the world, picking out a few monsters of particular aesthetic interest that I will develop in the weeks of the next stage of the project. Depending on the complexity of the creatures I consider I may and up doing one or a few.


Image References

Review: Paprika

Figure 1: Theatrical Poster (Gateway, 2015)
  • Director: Satoshi Kon
  • Native Title: ăƒ‘ăƒ—ăƒȘă‚« (Papurika)
  • Primary Language: Japanese
  • Format: Animated, Colour
  • Year of Release: 2006
  • Budget: Unknown
  • Film Length: 90 minutes
  • Production Company: Madhouse, Sony Pictures Entertainment

  Released in 2006, Paprika is a Japanese animated feature film that explores the nature of dreaming, desire and unconscious fantasy. The story revolves around the efforts of Dr. Atsuko Chiba, a psychiatric scientist and her subconscious alter-ego Paprika as they and their colleagues at the Institute for Psychiatric Research investigate the theft of the DC Mini, a prototype device designed to read and codify dreams into a watchable format. However as a prototype, the DC Mini becomes a tool of sabotage as it is used to drive its users into an impulsive delirium, with more and more people join a strange supernatural parade that wanders though the dreamworld.

  The film juxtaposes the real world and the dream world with colour, detail and imagery. Much of the action in the real world takes place in the laboratories of the Institute, its offices, even the places Konakawa resides in such as his hotel room and his office are relatively plain. The film visits relatively few more colourful places and those that it does are connected to the dreamworld. But the dreamworld itself is vibrant, detailed, warm and full of things in the background. "The world of art and film, in comparison to the real world, is much more colorful and full of detail – according to the way dreams are portrayed in Paprika. It is full of inanimate objects and random – but dazzling – scenery. It is, perhaps, meant to express the pursuit many artists make for appreciating things otherwise unappreciated." (Mailloux, 2014). The parade is the best expression of this - it is loud, colourful, alive, full of nonsense, but yet it is not random. Depsite the sheer mass of detail, all of it tends to relate to what is happening or has some connection to a real-world detail. The room where Paprika is pinned to a table by giant pins holding down butterfly wings has every squire inch of the walls covered in framed butterfly collections. The luxurious dreamworld greenhouse the institute's Chairman is met in serves as a visual foreshadowing as he emerges from behind a bush with a tree trunk for legs. But this greenhouse wasn't random either; an earlier scene showed his office filled with plant life. The parade of objects that takes centre stage is a visual link to the institute assistant Himuro, the first suspected thief who had filled his flat from floor to ceiling with dolls.

Figure 2: Positively surrounded by metaphor. (Wagner, 2012)
  While the plot revolves hugely around the power of the dreamworld, there is a side element explored by the troubled recurring dream of local detective Toshimi Konakawa that plays out like a selection of greatest hits in cinema, with an ultimate agenda in mind. "Konakawa swings through a jungle on a vine like Tarzan, loincloth and all, only to end up tussling with a man in a genre thriller, inspiring one of the film’s most poignant philosophical riddles: Where do the movies end and our dreams begin?" (Dargis, 2007) as explored in the 2010 film Inception, dreams and movies often condense the entire event, skip the dull in-between parts of a story such as bathroom breaks, the journey to the event and often play out events that may challenge the realism of what is unfolding. In both film and dream, how realistically something plays out is often set aside for the sake of a message or the action.

Figure 3: Konakawa explaining the Line of Action within a cinema within a dream. (Tunbull, 2007)
  The setting aside of realism for the story to progress is a popular element of a number of Japanese animated productions. Paprika demonstrates the use of animation to convey a deeper metaphor. and there is plenty of metaphor present. While the exploration of Konakawa dreaming a series of films is one, a further example of this could be the film's investigation of the similarities in dreams and the internet. "Many references are made to dreams being similar to the internet in that it allows individuals to find dark corners of themselves that they did not think existed, particularly those parts that could drive them to become manically obsessed with certain things." (Wagner, 2012) This was an emerging concern back in 2006, but with the explosion of internet culture, the online gaming scene and the widespread adoption of internet personalities that have come in the decade since. The parade that wanders endlessly though the dreamworld, absorbing innocent people and turning them into walking speakers of a single message uncharacteristic of their real selves could reflect the spread of internet meme culture while the depiction of people being "lost" in the dreamspace (represented by way of the DC Minis displaying only static) could be reflective of the vegetative appearance people take on when completely immersed for several hours in media such as World of Warcraft or League of Legends. The transformations of citizens into objects during the finale could also reflect the brain's ability to (when no other evidence is present) assume the various forum trolls or abrasive gamers it witnesses behave in real life as they do in the game, requiring conscious input to conclude whether their mannerisms are a byproduct of the empowering effect of anonymity.

Figure 4: This film predates Android by two years and here we have schoolgirls and businessmen who have become their phones. (One Movie Each Day, 2012).
  A cautionary tale steeped in metaphor using visually stunning and highly meaningful imagery, Paprika is a dream exploration story that also examines the possible dangers that could come from running away with fantasy. It also explores unconscious desires or the possible vibrancy of a world that might exist hidden behind the mask of someone plain and a thematic connection to the similar natures of movies and dreaming.

References

Image References


Sunday, 24 January 2016

Adaptation A: Influence Map and Scenarios

  I considered going for fairly straightforward art-style. Mr Selfie. and Dumb Ways to Die struck me as a bold ,simple but evocative style. Regarding the development of the story itself I want ot thank everyone who provided feedback to the survey to see which worked, and it seems the most popular scenario by far was a guy trying to take a selfie during a bar fight.

The considered scenarios are therefore:
  1. Running a marathon
  2. During a prison rescue
  3. Experincing a transporter malfunction
  4. during a medical exam
  5. In a queue
  6. In front of a wild animal
  7. During a bank robbery
  8. During an arrest
  9. When in a bar fight

That should be enough to cover a minute to a minute and a half, and depending on how the storyboard comes along a couple of these may be dropped. Alternatively there is using the principle of escalation:
  1. In a queue
  2. During a medical exam
  3. Running a marathon
  4. During an arrest
  5. In front of a wild animal
  6. During a bank robbery
  7. When in a bar fight
  8. During a prison rescue
  9. Experiencing a transporter malfunction

Perhaps the principle of escalation would make more sense.

Friday, 22 January 2016

@everyone Adaptation A: Compiled list: When Not To Take A Selfie

I decided it would be worth it to compile the ideas I had in one place. The important thing now is to work out an ascending order of hilarity. Starting with something mildly amusing and ending with the most outlandish.

As what is funny is subjective, I'd like to ask for help in working out which of the situations I have considered most people find funny in order to get the most potential out of this. So any suggestions out of this list are welcome.
  1. During a strong wind: (Loses phone to the wind)
  2. Experiencing a transporter accident: (Teleports away, phone arm is left behind)
  3. In the bath: (Enjoying oneself then phone slips out of hands)
  4. Waiting for a bus: (Guy using his phone, bus passes by, guy doesn't get on, looks up as bus passes and runs)
  5. Making dinner: (Stirring stuff in saucepan, drops phone)
  6. In front of a wild animal (selfie taken as character is running and about to be mauled)
  7. Swimming (Phone flies out of hand and lands in the water)
  8. Having dinner (Character is posing happily, parents unimpressed)
  9. When in a bar fight (selfie taken as character gets punched in the face)
  10. Waiting for a bus (Character too busy posing to notice bus arrives and leaves, runs after bus)
  11. Being abducted by aliens (Character holds up phone, but drops phone as he takes picture) 
  12. crossing the road (car horn blares as taker distracted by a good angle)
  13. Playing tennis (Tennis ball hits player in the face)
  14. Running a marathon (character gets passed and trips up)
  15. During a board meeting (speaker waits for taker to finish, gets annoyed, taps watch.)
  16. In a queue (Taker doesn't notice the line moves and the people behind taker push him offscreen.)
  17. At the beach (seagull pinches phone as taker is half-buried in sand.)
  18. During a medical exam (doctor sticks finger up patient's rear end, picture is of sheer panic by taker.)
  19. During an arrest (taker struggles as he tries to position his phone while the police wrestle him down.)
  20. During rush hour at a restaurant (taker is stirring pot, jumped by order, drops phone in pot.) 
  21. During a bank robbery (taker is on the floor, lifts phone, robbers spot him, fight with taker over phone, snaps.)
  22. During a prison rescue (taker runs though corridor with partner, has idea, takes out phone, photograph includes numerous scary guards about to jump on him.)
  23. Flying a light aircraft (taker at the pilot's seat, pulls out phone, struggles to get the right angle, light aircraft spirals into the distance and the ground.)

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Adaptaion B: Looking Into Alternatives And More Drawings

  One of the discussions with Alan regarding the adaptation project was to look into alternatives for what I could work on. I decided tonight to return to the source material to see if I could find a location or event that more closely ties with the novel's themes of death, rebirth and a war between numerous VR versions of Hell.

  I went back to an earlier extract, that described the opera house as that is where a key character dies (spoiler alert, although does it count if it is at the end of chapter one?) and is reborn inside one of the Culture's ships, a vessel called "Sense Amidst Madness, Wit Amidst Folly", unfortunately despite the  rather interesting name, the character spends much of the chapter she wakes up in a simulation of a bedroom. There's an endless continental European landscape outside her window but the room itself, while described doesn't sound like it could keep me going. Same goes for the landscape and we see none of the rest of the ship.

  What these earlier chapters did affirm was my estimation of Veppers' position - the man is confirmed to be the Sichultian Enablement's richest, most powerful CEO: a rather nasty combination of the wealth of Bill Gates, the playboy attitude of Tony Stark and the aspirations and the "I can buy my way out of a prison sentence" mentality of Lex Luthor. I also looked into more architecture for Iobe and got intrigued by the mention of cantilevers. Give nthe terraced nature of the city I am now thinking about the lower half being a series of platforms jutting from the cavern wall, supported by buildings that rise through multiple levels.



  However I did find a possible alternative in the following video. It is a construction sequence connected to a 2004 art project book for a structure called a Globus Cassus. A megastructure built using the material of the Earth's interior to create a shell with an internal surface area twenty times greater than the Earth's surface



  It is an ambitious design, and the ending card makes me wonder about making an adaptation of Globus Cassus. The current issue I face with adapting Surface Detail is that the amount of story I'm covering in comparison to the entire book is very little, while I could potentially portray the full construction sequence of Globus Cassus as a narrative. Perhaps starting by showing rockets or shuttles deploying the four initial structures and then various perspective shots showing the different phases. But this project already has an animation and possibly some publicity tied  to it which might limit creative freedom.

Maya Workshop: Omni Emitters

Today's Maya workshops focused on particle emitters. These are nodes that are designed to spew particles that when properly modified can be potentially anything. Our first use of them was the omni-emitter which spreads particles in all directions. We also had the chance to explore the use of colour and modifying the spread for different effects.

After this tutorial, while I was compositing the dynamite and the effects I thought I'd go back and touch-up the old alley scene, cleaning up the particle fog so it looks like fog and not a sea of massive clumps of dust by using a Gaussian blur. The effect difference that came from this change adds a much more spooky yet believable feel to the scene.
 

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Adaptation B: Influence Map


  I decided to assemble an influence map out of the images I had collected, looking at places like Dubai, China, Las Vegas, Shanghai, one of my main interests were in locations that lasted for a long time but might have experienced heavy tourist influence, a few bits of high society but also a commercial dominance, as Iobe City would be dominated by Veprine's commercial interests.

  I also considered the underground tunnels that were momentarily mentioned, looking at Montreal's tunnel network for inspiration, which like Veprine's Iobe-based system connects to the majority of businesses in Montreal.

Maya Workshops: Mudbox Pepper

Today was the first modeling workshop for Autodesk Maya. Simon instructed us on making a pepper although we were free to choose another fruit or vegetable (so long as it wasn't too simple like an apple or a potato) to sculpt, getting to grips with increasing complexity and then texturing. Despite being only an introductory fruit, this structure is made up of some 1.5 million polygons but with it I was able to get to grips with finer details that I might not have so easily achieved working with Maya. I am beginning to find the application of textures directly on the model, especially when effect shaders are involved, to be much more intuitive. There is a slight mottled texture on the model that was used in place of a shader to mimic the microscopic unevenness of skin

Monday, 18 January 2016

Maya Tutorials: Modelling and UVing Low Res Game Assets

  I decided to spend a couple of hours this evening working on Maya tutorials. At first I wasn't sure what I'd learn from these first phases, but I am getting ideas for how I could more efficiently build my environments during the adaptation project. 

  During the modification of UV maps I encountered a couple of hiccups with the UV editor. These were fixed in relatively smooth order although it did add to the amount of work I was performing this evening.

Adaptation B: Solidifying Iobe's look

   Over the weekend I looked into some ideas for city architecture or layout for Iobe Cavern city, with further drawings being made today. What I know of the planet itself is that it is a desert on the surface, light comes in from the cavern ceiling and some of the areas are indicated to be grand locations. So over the weekend I looked around the internet for images of ballrooms, facades, row houses, skyscrapers, near-equatoral cities, modern cities and boom towns like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai.

  There might be something here. I was intrigued while drawing by the image of buildings that had entrances at different heights; one foyer on a ground floor, and then another to open out to a street on a higher platform. Perhaps there are buildings that rise though cantilever platforms.

  Veppers' bedroom might be another  key environment to model. In the story he heads there during his visit in order to secretly travel by shuttle to a station hidden within the system's Oort cloud (a shell of icy rocks around a solar system, the source of comets). I imagine it to be lavishly decorated in a high-class style, with the large circular bed positioned prominently due to Veppers' opinion of himself.

  ALso tried thinking of some possible logos for the Veprine corporation. As a mega-conglomerate I might go for something simple, comparable to the Nike tick or Apple's part-bitten apple.

Adaptation A: More Infographic Scenario Ideas

I have considered some new ideas for scenarios of when not is the best time to take a selfie:

  • During a board meeting (speaker waits for taker to finish, gets annoyed, taps watch.)
  • In a queue (Taker doesn't notice the line moves and the people behind taker push him offscreen.)
  • At the beach (seagull pinches phone as taker is half-buried in sand.)
  • During a medical exam (doctor sticks finger up patient's rear end, picture is of sheer panic by taker.)
  • During an arrest (taker struggles as he tries to position his phone while the police wrestle him down.)
  • During rush hour at a resturaunt (taker is stirring pot, jumped by order, drops phone in pot.)
  • During a bank robbery (taker is on the floor, lifts phone, robbers spot him, fight with taker over phone, snaps.)
  • During a prison rescue (taker runs though corridor with partner, has idea, takes out phone, photograph includes numerous scary guards about to jump on him.)
  •  Flying a light aircraft (taker at the pilot's seat, pulls out phone, struggles to get the right angle, light aircraft spirals into the distance and the ground.
Like before not all are useful, some are funny, some are not so funny, some are funnier than others. There's still going to be the challenge of escalating unlikelihood or hilarity. I had wondered about ending with the following message:

Be Smart With Selfies.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Maya Tutorials: Particle Effects

  Today was my first experience with creating particles. While it took a couple of attempts to understand the features, I feel I may be getting to grips. And I think I might be able to use particle techniques in my current projects either to assist with light effects or for flowing water.







  The fog particle effect is taking longer to render, but with the knowledge of the first tutorial under my belt the assembly was faster. This effect could be something I could use in upcoming projects, due to the primary scenes I am building scenes set within caves.

Adaptation A: More Infographic Ideas

I have considered narrowing down my Adaptation A topic to "The best time of day to take a selfie", which will be a satirical informative infographic on when might not be the best time to not take one.

Initial thoughts are that the information will be presented as a scenario where an attempt is ruined, and perhaps will cut via shutter-effect to the image taken. Inspired by Dumb Ways to Die I might take a simple yet colourful approach to presenting the scenarios. I am tempted to start the animation with something dramatic, such as the following:

In our modern age of internet picture references, what can be believed as your picture can be diluted. Humanity's answer to this growing concern has been:

The selfie.

So...what is the best time of day to take a selfie?

  • In front of a wild animal (selfie taken as character is running and about to be mauled)
  • swimming (Phone flies out of hand and lands in the water)
  • having dinner (Character is posing happily, parents unimpressed)
  • when in a bar fight (selfie taken as character gets punched in the face)
  • waiting for a bus (Character too busy posing to notice bus arrives and leaves, runs after bus)
  • being abducted by aliens (Character holds up phone, but drops phone as he takes picture)
  • crossing the road (car horn blares)
  • playing tennis (Tennis ball hits player in the face)
  • running a marathon (character gets passed and trips up)
The information can be presented as an escalation, starting with something normal (like waiting for a bus) and reaching a climax of a rather outrageous scenario.

There might be opportunity for more but this is what I have considered as of writing

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Adaptaion B: Preliiminary Sketchbook Work

  I had some basic ideas for how the city might be laid out. I have discussed with Alan about taking a hybrid approach to designing the city; combining  scientific deduction with artistic creativity. I feel tempted when it comes to the model design to plan out other caves, to see what other parts of the city are doing in relation to the cave in the establishing shot.

   The city's architecture was a little more tricky. I will look into influences but so far I wondered about moving down South Asian or Arabic influences. Veppers is just one example of the species, and by the sounds of it he's the sport of person who desires a perfect body. But what I can tell is that he has golden skin and a large silver mane. Chances are other Sichultians also possess manes, maybe even other feline features. This, and the description of the planet being akin to a desert made me wonder about looking at more equatorial cultures for architectural inspiration.

  After all he features in the chapter, it proved difficult not to draw the man himself. Vain, wealthy,  arrogent, confident, possibly paranoid with good reason. He's a perfectionist too. Possessing gaunt features achieved with cosmetic surgery and even an artificial voice box. The Sichultian in 23 and 25 is Jasken, recognisable by the sunglasses he's wearing. I'll need to find out more about him but he's Vepper's right-hand man and is hardly ever seen away from the Veprine director's side. He also seems a little laid back, in chapter 18 when Veppers is going straight to business with Huen, Jasken is more willing to join in on the game Huen's child is playing, if only a little. But looking into these two does give me insight into Sichultians, their cultural opinions and their tastes (I doubt Veppers would dress his private hotel room in a style he didn't feel keen on).

Adaptation A: Narrowing Down Possibilities

Today I spent a little time trying to work out what to do for the Adaptation A project. Going though my head as to what to do. I feel set on a comedic twist but what I have considered originally might do with some work.

Best time of the day to - Post on social media/take a selfie

  • running from a bear: Selfie of character with angry bear in background
  • Getting mugged: Character is texting on facebook when a mugger prods him several times
  • During a bar fight: Poses for selfie during a fight
  • During a windy day: Loses phone to the wind
  • Getting abducted by aliens: Pulled up to spaceship up but drops phone as they are about to take a snap
  • Experiencing a transporter accident: Teleports away, phone arm is left behind
  • In the bath: Enjoying oneself then phone slips out of hands
  • Waiting for a bus: Guy using his phone, bus passes by, guy doesn't get on, looks up as bus passes and runs
  • Making dinner: Stirring stuff in saucepan, drops phone

Best time of the day to - Contact friends
  • After drinks at 2 am: Character receives gibberish texts in the middle of the night
  • When they are on a date: Girl receives text from friend, guy gets up and leaves
  • At bathtime: Character in bubbly bath gets phone call, Can't do anything
  • While swimming: Friend takes out phone while swimming, phone slips out of hand
  • In the shower: Friend reaches out from shower to reach phone, can't get at it
I'm starting to think being funny this way isn't my thing.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Adaptaion A: Getting ideas Established

  Since the presentation on Friday to work out what to do for an infographic I have been struggling with the question I had picked right of the hat The question being "What is the best time of day to [blank].

  A conversation with Adam made me notice; whenever I was asked asked what sort of angle am I trying to go for for my cinematic, the subject of humour always came up.when they asked. I have had my fair share of dark, disturbing on this course. Maybe I turn that to my advantage, maybe I try and move away from that. One alternative we discussed is that the infographic is more of a question, with a humorous twist: I pick one of the topics, then list the inappropriate times to be doing the activity, such as reading a book while being a goalie or walking across the road. Fortunately what I do have is a long list of topics that I could do. So I might go down this route.

  One source of inspiration clicked: In 2012, Melbourne Metro Trains, the operators of Melbourne's subway system, created a public announcement campaign called "dumb ways to die", a rather cute if morbid song/animation featuring stupid ways to get killed, the underlying message being "Be cautious around trains"
  The campaign went completely viral, appearing on international charts and the above YouTube video currently having 19.5 million views. With the whole thing developing sequels, translations andspin-offs.

  Like a lot of people who watched the video or heard the song on the radio, I was hooked by the charming lyrics. I think it could be a good source of inspiration, not for the morbid humour itself but for the way it uses comedy to say "don't do this". The artstyle also has a minimal yet attractive aesthetic. Though I might go for something else. Something minimal possibly but maybe not be so abstract with characters.

More will come in the coming days.

Adaptation B: Iobe City Aesthetic - Part One

  So far it appears I have a green light for adapting ''Surface Detail'', but the primary question that exists is what Iobe city actually looks like in terms of architecture. Aside form describing a bridge as 'ornate', Banks wasn't clear but he did leave clues dotted about.

  The first is Veppers' involvement. Veppers holds the position of "prime executive" of the Veprine Corporation. Given his arrogance and ideology that the self-made man is king, it is possible that the Veprine corporation is named after himself. What the corporation does however isn't cut and dry as throughout the book, Banks makes mention of the resources Veppers has at his disposal, and it appears that the Veprine corporation's interests include laboratory work, cybernetics, starship engineering, artificial intelligence and, oddly, tourism. Essentially Veprine is one of these can-do-anything conglomerates. Veppers is also so well-connected politically that it is possible the Veprine corporation has international clout. Chapter 19 makes mention that Veppers has numerous commercial interests in Iobe City such as ownership of the city's grandest hotel. So  in a sense his business has influenced the evolution of the city. The existence of a private hotel room cut into the rock on the top two floors, as well as a tunnel to a secret hanger, make it seem unlikely that the hotel was bought out by Veprine, upgraded and remodeled. This sort of engineering is best done during construction unless Veppers went through the trouble of buying out one of the wallside hotels, made it the best hotel in the city and built his secrets later. This seems too coincidental to be likely.

  That brings us to the technology and level of wealth of the city itself. Fair enough that there are a few buildings hanging from the ceiling, but the suspended ballroom is one of the more iconic examples outsiders would see of Iobe engineering. This structure is a premier social gathering spot hanging under the largest cavern opening by cables from the ceiling and possessing an iris-shutter roof in the primary  dance hall. So whoever commissioned it undoutably had a lot of money and Iobe's builder community would need some heavy-duty innovation to manage it. The other thing that struck me was the mention of how fliers (sphere-like flying cars) are moved about the city. Banks mentions that pilot-operated flying vehicles are banned in the city due to various incidents of destroyed civil property, the compromise used for the flier Veppers and his party ride in is that flying vehicles are "tethered to tracks in the cavern roofs and controlled automatically." (Banks, pg.357). These tethers are mono-filament wires that are attached four to a craft. Another example of complex engineering as the caves would effectively cris-crossed on the roof by metal rails holding something between a hundred metres to over a kilometre down.

  The third sign of technological capability is revealed when Banks explains what keeps the mercury simmering.

  "the volcanic activity wasn't natural either; several hundred thousand years earlier - long before the Sichultians arrived on the scene to find a happily habitable but sentiently uninhabited planet - a hole had been drilled down through many tens of kilometres of rock to create a tiny magma chamber that heated the base of the cavern and so kept the mercury simmering." (Banks, 2012, pg.361)

  When I first tried to understand the paragraph I was impressed but mistaken when reading that this chute was deep enough to perhaps reach the planet's mantle (real life drilling attempts have managed as deep as a little over 12km) but nothing like an artificial chamber underneath). But the paragraph also reveals something: The first colonists (or at least the discoverers) were Sichultians. But given the name (Iobe) compared to the only other non-Sichultian being in the chapter, Xingre, its possible that the name is Sichultian.

  Page 367 reveals another engineering quality: An underground network of private roads, practically all of which lead to buildings or facilities owned by Veprine with some going outside the city. Infrastructure like this implies that Veprine essentially has an iron grip on the city's commerce, as an engineering project like this would require significant investment, planning permission and foresight.  Perhaps also a little backroom dealing, given one earlier attempt of Veppers' to buy a Jhultian military vessel. But the prevalence of Veprine in Iobe would explain why the city authorities were the ones who organised a reception for him as Veppers would be a local benefactor. he might even have friends on the city council. But what this does suggest is that Iobe could be quite commercial, a tourist destination given the hotel, city bridges and ballroom and could be a prime source of business for Veprine.

  Thus, I am imagining busy city lights, billboards, parks, shopping centres, theatres and hotel chains being a focus, architecturally though, as well as lights I did wonder if the city's architects could have been inspired by the caves in which they live in: Sligthly organic but maybe a glistening quality to the material.given there is a central river and wet karst caves become quite glistening. Maybe a slight Arabic vibe, as Veppers has been described wearing a billowing cloak at times, there is some interest in chromed windows and mutipurpose pillows that can float: Xingre and his lieutenant sit on ones that feature translators and  Veppers' bed is a giant circular thing that features more floating pillows that can extend monofilament cables to hide what's going on inside the bed. Although that last one could simply be a disguised security feature.

One character under Veppers' care is also kept unconscious by a drug dispenser bulb on her neck disguised as an insect. An important note of this feature is that Veppers liked the visual touch (Banks, 2012, pg.367). Although he may have been primarily attracted to the innocuousness of a tranquiliser injector that looks like a tiny resting bug.

First Experience with Mudbox

  My first dession with Mudbox was definitely interesting. I will need to get a little more to grips with actual sculpting and importing from Maya. Other than this however I have quite enjoyed texturing, getting to grips with using layers. Painting textures onto the models is definitely a lot more intuitive than going in and out of Photoshop to create texture maps. Although for now until I become more familiar with painting finer details, I might primarily use mudbox for layer effects as the use of layer effects is what feels much more comfortable right now.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Adaptation B: Exploring Iobe Cavern City

  In my excitement for the new project I forgot about the blurb for Surface detail. Of which reads "Lededje Y'breaq is one of the Intagliated, her marked body bearing witness to a family shame, her life belonging to a man whose lust for power is without limit. Prepared to risk everything for her freedom, her release, when it comes, is at a price, and to put things right she will need the help of the Culture. It begins in the realm of the Real. it begins with a murder. And it will not end until the Culture has gone to war with death itself"

  It is a large read, with considerable escalation from start to finish considering it staarts with a single death and ends with a war ''against'' death. But I believe going in the direction the direction of environment design might help me make something more manageable.

  Speaking with Phil I decided to look further into Iobe Cavern city, as it sounded like a rather inspiring source to develop from. Later sections of chapter 19 detailed other aspects of the city. In my initial readings of chapter 19 of Surface Detail I passed notice of a lake of mercury. Upon further reading this lake is described to be an artificial formation half-filling a spherical cavern and heated from the bottom by a volcanic fissure. This heating made the mercury bubble and, according to the novel "these bubbles produced the gases that made the air in the chamber poisonous to pan-humans and many other biological beings, as well as next-to-impossible to monitor any vibrations through the air by laser or any other form of surveillance" Apparently the vapour played up with Veppers' Oculenses (a brand of vision-enhancing sports glasses that somewhat resembled insectoid eyes).

  Later paragraphs detail more about the city, as Veppers appears to be a local business magnate as "[He] had been coming to Vebezua on business for decades and possessed one of the finest mansions in the inner city; however it was being remodeled, again, so he elected to stay in Iobe's finest hotel, his suite of suites taking up the top two floors. He owned the hotel, of course, so making the arrangements, even at relatively short notice, had been trivial."

  One of these meetings was a reception at a ballroom "The Iobe city authorities held a reception for him that evening in a great ballroom complex suspended on cables in the centre of the single greatest circular piercing above the main city caverns. The ceiling was opened to the night.
Vebezua was uncomfortably close to its star and Iobe lay almost right on its equator; by day it would have been insufferably hot and bright in the ballroom with the ceiling irised back, but by night the full glory of the stars was displayed, a distant speckled wash of multi-coloured lights enhanced by  a large waning moon and the layered not-so-slow-moving sparkle of junk and hab light as the planet's various halos of artificial satellites rotated overhead."

  As for inhabitants, the planet is described as being on the furthest reaches of a civilisation called the Silchurian Enablement. Veppers and Jasken however, are a pan-human, a term used in the Culture novels to describe either humans or humanoids with characteristics similar to humans. Given that the Enablement is multi-species and that Veppers (a citizen and oftentimes representative of the Enablement) had extended commercial interests in the city for decades it is possible that the city isn't exclusively designed for one species. The references I have found to what the Enablement's species look like have been a little more tricky.

  Chapter 18 introduces us to Kreit Huen, a Silchurian described as "A tall statuesque woman, slightly oddly proportioned for a Silchurian, but still attractive in a haughty, formidable sort of way." the paragraph goes on to hint that Veppers has occasionally thought about using a simulacrum of her for erotic fantasies had he not a deep-seated prejudice for the Culture (to which she was an ambassador for). As inappropriate as this last bit may be for a university project, it does suggest that Silchurians might be another sort of pan-human, though I think Veppers himself may be Silchurian given his position and the Silchurians' dominance in the Enablement. At the time Veppers meets her in chapter 18 she also has a blonde-haired son/daughter with human-like hands in the office with her. However that is all I can get as the child spends most of the scene behind a large sofa. Another Enablement species - possibly the same species that operates the ship Veppers was taken to Vebezua on as it is a mid-ranking officer - is mentioned to have twelve limbs.

  Regarding the cave architecture I looked into what karst is. Briefest description could be "your average stalactite-laced cave" as they are made when limestone rock is eroded by flowing water. The cavern that the crew visit is the largest of many, which could lead to some interesting level design aspects as there could be platforms, columns or ledges to break up the tunnel. Or more vitally, openings into other caves - one of which being the mercury lake. The hotel Veppers stays in is also implied to be partially built within the rock - Veppers' personal suite being a grand bedroom carved into the cavern wall.

Figure 1: A diagram demonstrating common features of a karst cave network
  "the cave averaged a kilometre or so across; a huge pipe whose floor held a small winding river." the bold words give me an idea as to the shape and dimensions of the cavern. And what I am imagining is a slightly winding cavern that isn't strictly one kilometre across - there will be points where it is wider and narrower than that. Which is good for scale as from what I can guess, A kilometre is the breadth of New York's Upper West Side. But the inclusion of offshoot tunnels might help expand the scale of the city. That and the hotel, ballroom and Veppers' mansion are not strictly stated to be in the opening the group travel though, nor is it specific that this is the largest cavern, merely the one that connects to the mercury lake and the view that introduces us to what the city looks like.

  One thing I am definitely starting to build in my head however is Veppers himself - his wealth, indicated by the business dominance, the multiple mansions, the city council arranged reception, numerous foreign political connections, the enormous entourages and his leisure life is phenomenal, painting him as among the mega-rich mentioned in chapter one (If he is not, I'm not sure I can imagine just how wealthy the real galactic one percent are). Later on he manages to commission a customised "Murderer" class Culture vessel, while earlier on he is informed that the ship he arrived on (implied to be a Culture vessel) would realistically value at "More than the entire gross domestic product of the Silchurian Enablement", although there exists the strong possibility that Veppers was able to get a close friends discount on the Murderer.

Image References


Friday, 8 January 2016

Post-Stock-Take Additions

  While the deadline may have passed I do not see the harm in continuing some of the tutorials. Since the addition of the stock-take I managed to complete skinning the character and animated more of the lip sync. As well as publishing a couple of the animation videos for animating the character.








Maya Tutorials: Term One Stocktake

Lip Syncing
http://mstamp176.blogspot.com/2015/10/initial-lip-sync-animation.html
http://mstamp176.blogspot.com/2015/10/maya-tutorials-building-on-jaw-bounce.html

Pipeline One
http://mstamp176.blogspot.com/2015/10/maya-tutorials-pipeline-one-part-one.html
http://mstamp176.blogspot.com/2015/10/maya-tutorials-character-nose.html
http://mstamp176.blogspot.com/2015/10/maya-tutorials-ear.html
http://mstamp176.blogspot.com/2015/10/maya-tutorials-neck.html
http://mstamp176.blogspot.com/2015/10/maya-tutorials-character-neck-and-hair.html
http://mstamp176.blogspot.com/2015/10/maya-tutorials-final-stages-of-head.html
http://mstamp176.blogspot.com/2015/11/maya-tutorials-modeling-body.html
http://mstamp176.blogspot.com/2015/12/maya-tutorials-feet-hands-and-head.html
http://mstamp176.blogspot.com/2016/01/maya-tutorials-skinning-character.html

Posing and Animation:
http://mstamp176.blogspot.com/2015/10/maya-workshop-posing.html
http://mstamp176.blogspot.com/2015/11/maya-poses-for-animation.html



Maya Tutorials: Skinning A Character


  Been working to complete the skinning tutorials over the last day. I'm not fully finished but I am close. Posting these up now as the deadline is coming. I have yet to UV map the shoes and the belt but everything else is done.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

@Alan Adaptation Project: First-Look Extracts

  I feel exited about the new project.Speaking with Alan today I decided to look at what books interested me and pick out a few sections that I could possibly develop into an animation. The extracts below do have other accompanying text, but since I have considered focusing on environment design for this project the environments are what take centre stage in these extracts.

The first two are from the space opera novel "Surface Detail", a Culture-series installment by Iain M. Banks.
The second two are from the Memoir-style adventure tale "A Natural History of Dragons, A memoir by Lady Trent" by Marie Brennan.


  She tried to remember the size of the opera stage. She had been here a handful of times with Veppers and the rest of his extended entourage, brought along as a trophy, a walking model denoting his commercial victories; she ought to be able to remember. All she could recall was being sourly impressed by the scale of everything - the brightness, depth and working complexity of the scenery; the physical effects produced by trapdoors, hidden wires, smoke machines and fireworks; the sheer amount of noise the hidden orchestra and the strutting, overdressed singers and their embedded microphones could create.
|---|
   Only afterwards - mingling, paraded, socialising, exhibited - had she realised it was really just an excuse and the opera itself a side-show; the true spectacle of the evening was always played out inside the sumptuous foyer, upon the glittering staircases, within the curved sweep of dazzlingly lit, high-ceilinged corridors, beneath the towering chandeliers in the palatial anterooms, around fabulously laden tables in resplendently  decorated saloons, in the absurdly grand restrooms and in the boxes, front rows and elected seats of the auditorium rather than on the stage itself. The super-rich and ultra-powerful regarded themselves as the true stars, and their entrances and exits, gossip, approaches, advances, suggestions, proposals and prompts within the public spaces of this massive building constituted the proper business of the event.
--Surface Detail, ch. 1, pg. 5-6

  Veppers, Jasken Xingre, half a dozen others' of Veppers' retinue plus the Jhulpian's principal aide and a medium-ranking officer from the Ucalegon were sharing a tethered flier making its way through one of the great karst caves that made up Iobe Cavern City. The cave averaged a kilometre or so across; a huge pipe whose floor held a small, winding river. The city's buildings, terraces, promenades and boulevards rose up from the riverside, increasingly precipitously as they approached the mid-way point of the cave, where buildings became sheer cliffs; a few went even beyond that, clinging to the overhanging curve of the cavern's upper wall. The flier tether-rails were stationed further up still, cantilevered out from the cave's roof on gantries like a sequence of giant cranes. A series of enormous oval holes punctured the roof's summit, letting in great slanting slabs of withering Vebezuan sunlight.
|---|
  The flier zoomed, rising to avoid a high bridge barring their way. |----| Iobe city had banned flying machines entirely for centuries, then allowed fliers to be used but suffered one or two accidents which had resulted in the destruction of of several notable buildings and brized historic cross-cavern bridges, so had compromised by allowing fliers but only if they were tethered to tracks in the cavern roofs and controlled automatically.
--Surface Detail, ch. 19, pg. 356, 357

  This stood cloaked in pines nearly as tall as the ancient stones, but the trees had no foothold on the gateway itself. The central figure strode out boldly on an outcropping of solid rock, its huma nfeet planted on the ground, its draconic head staring though the clear mountain air toward Chiavora. Vystrani winters had been harsh to the mighty sculpture; its features were so eroded as to be almost indistinguishable, and the lintel of the right-hand passage had fallen, leaving the unknown god with only one wing. The damage somehow made the figure moreinspirinf; nowadays we may carve as large as the Draconeans - the archangel in Falchester is even larger - but no amount of artistic "weathering" can counterfeit the sheer weight of time.
|---|
He went on talking, something about double gateways, so characteristic of Draconean architecture, and theories as to their purpose (My favourite, the one promoted by Mr Charving, the great urban reformer; that the Draconeans regulated traffic into their settlements by guiding arriving riders and carts through the left gate, and those departing through the right. It is utterly fanciful, as no one has ever discovered evidence of sufficient traffic at these ruins to require such measures - but as Mr. Charving parlayed this into a very successful scheme for the regulation of traffic in Falchester, where it very much was needed, I cannot but applaud his rhetoric.)
|---|
  A little further inward lay the pylons of the temple's front wall, too massive even for time to collapse them. Like the right-hand half of the gateway, the lintel between them had fallen, and an accumulation of debris and dirt raised the passage to nearly a third the height of the wall. Astimir assisted Lord Hilford up this slope, then bent to aid me. My skirts caught on the undergrowth, and one wicked thorn tore a long rent in the fabric, but I did not mind. From the top of the passage I could see into the hypostyle hall, now open to the elements, the thin stones of its roof long since having relocated to the ground, where they lay nearly as buried as the paving in the courtyard.
--A Natural History of Dragons, ch. 12, pg. 179

  I knew little of the menagerie, except that the king's late father had established it on spacious grounds downstream from Falchester, and the son had spared no expense to see it stocked with every exotic creature that could be persuaded to survive in captivity. It existed primarily for the entertainment of the royal family, with occasional public days, which I, growing up in rural Tamshire, had no chance to experience. As Andrew could guess, a tour was a rare treat for me.
|---|
  The tour was disappointing in its organisation, for people wandered in and out of the various gardens and glass-walled rooms. few paying even the slightest attention to Mr. Swargain's speeches. I wished very much to listen to him, but didn't dare single myself out by being the only the only one to attend to his words, and so I caught only snatches before we stopped before a pair of very grand doors.
  "in here" the naturalist said, in ringing tones that drew more eyes than usual, "we keep the crowning jewels of His Majesty's collection, only recently acquired. I beg the ladies to ahve a care, for many find the creatures within to be frightening."
  One may measure the extent to which I had cut myself off from my old interests that I did not have the slightest clue what the king had acquired, that lay beyond these doors.
  Mr. Swargain opened them, and we filed through into a huge room enclosed by a dome of glass panels that let i nthe afternoon sunlight. We stood on a walkway that circled the room's perimeter and overlooked a deep, sand-filled pit divided by heavy grates into three large pie-slice enclosures.
--A Natural History of Dragons, ch. 3, pg. 45-47


  At present I am perhaps most drawn to the description of Iobe Cavern City, an underground metropolis from Surface Detail. Although while it only serves as a means to set the location, the opera house described in chapter 1 of the same book is also appealing due to the elaborate, if perhaps somewhat broadly-described interior architecture. At one point in the chapter there is mention of a town-house and personal estate owned by Veppers but that only appears as the woman the section's perspective comes from momentarily wonders if he was moved after being drugged (she wasn't moved, merely confusing a theatre backdrop she lay against for a new environment).

  At first I thought there was an entire section describing the city of Falchester, but this was not the case for two reasons highlighted in the book that both come under 'not relevant':
  • Lady Trent was in Falchester to take part in Courting Season, and the conventions of the season never interested her. So she only covered events that were relevant to her expedition to the Russia-like nation of Vystrana.
  • As a memoir of her life for students or fans, Lady Trent writes little of Falchester likely under the assumption that if you want to learn about the city, you're probably reading the wrong book.
  While there isn't much detail in one place, there is fortunately enough that a loose image of the city can be constructed: City parks, wealthy districts, a giant archangel statue, one or more city gates, dual carriageways running through the centre of the city, a central river, plenty of social venues for the courting nobility, outlying parks and a royal menagerie downriver. All with a lively annual season where the nobility flocks from all over. The combination of a peerage magnet and royal property were what made me assure that Falchester is the national capital.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Group Project: Wednesday Animation Work


Much of this afternoon was spent creating a basic animation as well as putting together all the assets to show what Forge has so far created.

I ended up making more footage than I needed, so I decided to upload a full video of what I had made. This footage is useful as it shows the total progression of the scales as they grow across the Fish's body.
Before the textures were rendered and before the scales were applied, I took a test recording to see how effective the camera was.

Narrative Project: Animation preview screenshot

  I was able to pull out a screenshot from what was being play-blasted. No time for a proper render but something is better than nothing.

Personal Work: Sketching a Skyscraper City

   Currently playblasting what I can make for the Narrative project. Since I neglected to add update screenshots, I decided tonight's update could be some more sketchbook work.

  Currently exited for the Adaptation project that I will receive a brief for tomorrow. Thinking about what the project could focus on I have considered maybe looking at a cityscape. These drawings were for an idea, long ago for a city partially inspired by Coruscant from Star Wars. However one of the focuses I put on this idea was a case of "could it work", so I considered the tier system to allow sunlight to reach the lower levels and reduce stress on the foundations. These elevated ground planes could be used for farms and parks in order to make the city more livable.