Friday, 23 December 2011

Personal Branding Development...

Header Design:

Business Cards Design Progress (Double-Sided):

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Production Update...

I've been a bit out of the loop in the Bloggersphere recently, so here's an update on my progression so far...

Monday, 21 November 2011

Tavern Texture Test WIP 01...

I've been off the radar the past few days due to finishing up my dissertation draft, but thus, the texturing and lighting tests must contiue and with the dissertation out the way for a week, i'm hoping to really crack on and make up for lost time. Expect a lot more updated texture tests during this next week...

Friday, 18 November 2011

Technical Queries List...

- Texturing (How would i achieve a style similar to my designs without it looking like simple shaders?)
- Lighting (What's the best light setup for the texture tests? How would i create light coming from the street lights and wall lights?)
- Snow (What's the best and most efficient way of creating snow? Would it be possible to animate snow falling off rooftops/objects?)
- Cobble Path (What's the best way of creating a cobbled path?)
- Icy River/steam (How would i achieve this?)
- What are the best Mental Ray settings for high quality renders?
- What Render Layers should i use? (ie Ambient Occlusion, Z Depth etc).
- Street Lamp Reference( Correct Time Period).

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Texture Test Scene... WIP 01...

Here's a quick look into the texture test scene i'm putting together. It's based on my Tavern design, and i will be looking to integrate the style of my design into this 3D world as Alan has suggested...

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Shop Design WIP 01...

Here's some of the stuff i've been working on to develop some designs for the shops in my adaptation of the Pied Piper of Hamelin...

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Pied Piper of Hamelin... Pre-Vis Test v02...

Here's an updated version of my pre-vis with a couple of extra scenes included...

Pied Piper of Hamelin... Pre-vis Test v01...

Here's a quick test export of the pre-vis scenes i've put together so far...

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Poem Voiceover Auditions...

After speaking to Phil on Monday, it was decided i should get a voiceover artist to narrate the whole poem and then condense it down to a reasonable length for my animation. After receiving a good response from the people i sent my emails to, i decided to ask them to each recite the 2nd verse of the poem with their own interpretation, before deciding on who's voice will best suit my animation. Here are the voiceovers i've received so far...

Voiceover 01...

Voiceover 02...

Voiceover 03...

Voiceover 04...

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Street Texture Test Setup...

Here's the street scene i've put together ready to do some texture tests to see how to convert my world from the 2D storyboard panels to 3D environments.

Monday, 24 October 2011

The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning... Choosing an Excerpt for my Narration...

Hamelin Town's in Brunswick,
By famous Hanover city;
The river Weser, deep and wide,
Washes its wall on the southern side;
A pleasanter spot you never spied;
But, when begins my ditty,
Almost five hundred years ago,
To see the townsfolk suffer so
From vermin, was a pity.

They fought the dogs, and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cook's own ladles,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men's Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women's chats,
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.

At last the people in a body
To the Town Hall came flocking:
"'Tis clear," cried they, "our Mayor's a noddy;
And as for our Corporation—shocking
To think we buy gowns lined with ermine
For dolts that can't or won't determine
What's best to rid us of our vermin!
You hope, because you're old and obese,
To find in the furry civic robe ease?
Rouse up, Sirs! Give your brains a racking
To find the remedy we're lacking,
Or, sure as fate, we'll send you packing!"
At this the Mayor and Corporation
Quaked with a mighty consternation.

An hour they sate in council,
At length the Mayor broke silence:
"For a guilder I'd my ermine gown sell;
I wish I were a mile hence!
It's easy to bid one rack one's brain—
I'm sure my poor head aches again
I've scratched it so, and all in vain.
Oh for a trap, a trap, a trap!"
Just as he said this, what should hap
At the chamber door but a gentle tap?
"Bless us," cried the Mayor, "what's that?"
(With the Corporation as he sat,
Looking little though wondrous fat;
Nor brighter was his eye, nor moister
Than a too-long-opened oyster,
Save when at noon his paunch grew mutinous
For a plate of turtle green and glutinous)
"Only a scraping of shoes on the mat?
Anything like the sound of a rat
Makes my heart go pit-a-pat!"

"Come in!"—the Mayor cried, looking bigger:
And in did come the strangest figure!
His queer long coat from heel to head
Was half of yellow and half of red;
And he himself was tall and thin,
With sharp blue eyes, each like a pin,
And light loose hair, yet swarthy skin,
No tuft on cheek nor beard on chin,
But lips where smiles went out and in—
There was no guessing his kith and kin!
And nobody could enough admire
The tall man and his quaint attire:
Quoth one: "It's as my great-grandsire,
Starting up at the Trump of Doom's tone,
Had walked this way from his painted tombstone!"

He advanced to the council-table:
And, "Please your honours," said he, "I'm able,
By means of a secret charm, to draw
All creatures living beneath the sun,
That creep or swim or fly or run,
After me so as you never saw!
And I chiefly use my charm
On creatures that do people harm,
The mole and toad and newt and viper;
And people call me the Pied Piper."
(And here they noticed round his neck
A scarf of red and yellow stripe,
To match with his coat of the selfsame cheque;
And at the scarf's end hung a pipe;
And his fingers, they noticed, were ever straying
As if impatient to be playing
Upon this pipe, as low it dangled
Over his vesture so old-fangled.)
"Yet," said he, "poor piper as I am,
In Tartary I freed the Cham,
Last June, from his huge swarms of gnats;
I eased in Asia the Nizam
Of a monstrous brood of vampire-bats;
And, as for what your brain bewilders,
If I can rid your town of rats
Will you give me a thousand guilders?"
"One? fifty thousand!"—was the exclamation
Of the astonished Mayor and Corporation.

Into the street the Piper stepped,
Smiling first a little smile,
As if he knew what magic slept
In his quiet pipe the while;
Then, like a musical adept,
To blow the pipe his lips he wrinkled,
And green and blue his sharp eyes twinkled
Like a candle flame where salt is sprinkled;
And ere three shrill notes the pipe uttered,
You heard as if an army muttered;
And the muttering grew to a grumbling;
And the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling;
And out of the houses the rats came tumbling.
Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats,
Brown rats, black rats, grey rats, tawny rats,
Grave old plodders, gay young friskers,
Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins,
Cocking tails and pricking whiskers,
Families by tens and dozens,
Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives—
Followed the Piper for their lives.
From street to street he piped advancing,
And step for step they followed dancing,
Until they came to the river Weser,
Wherein all plunged and perished!
- Save one who, stout a Julius Caesar,
Swam across and lived to carry
(As he, the manuscript he cherished)
To Rat-land home his commentary:
Which was, "At the first shrill notes of the pipe
I heard a sound as of scraping tripe,
And putting apples, wondrous ripe,
Into a cider-press's gripe:
And a moving away of pickle-tub-boards,
And a leaving ajar of conserve-cupboards,
And a drawing the corks of train-oil-flasks,
And a breaking the hoops of butter-casks;
And it seemed as if a voice
(Sweeter far than by harp or by psaltery
Is breathed) called out 'Oh, rats, rejoice!
The world is grown to one vast drysaltery!
So munch on, crunch on, take your nuncheon,
Breakfast, supper, dinner, luncheon!'
And just as a bulky sugar-puncheon,
All ready staved, like a great sun shone
Glorious scarce and inch before me,
Just as methought it said 'Come, bore me!'
- I found the Weser rolling o'er me."

You should have heard the Hamelin people
Ringing the bells till they rocked the steeple.
"Go," cried the Mayor, "and get long poles!
Poke out the nests and block up the holes!
Consult with carpenters and builders,
And leave in our town not even a trace
Of the rats!"—when suddenly, up the face
Of the Piper perked in the market-place,
With a, "First, if you please, my thousand guilders!"

A thousand guilders! The Mayor looked blue;
So did the Corporation too.
For council dinners made rare havoc
With Claret, Moselle, Vin-de-Grave, Hock;
And half the money would replenish
Their cellar's biggest butt with Rhenish.
To pay this sum to a wandering fellow
With a gypsy coat of red and yellow!
"Beside," quoth the Mayor with a knowing wink,
"Our business was done at the river's brink;
We saw with our eyes the vermin sink,
And what's dead can't come to life, I think.
So, friend, we're not the folks to shrink
From the duty of giving you something for drink,
And a matter of money to put in your poke;
But, as for the guilders, what we spoke
Of them, as you very well know, was in joke.
Beside, our losses have made us thrifty.
A thousand guilders! Come, take fifty!"

The Piper's face fell, and he cried
"No trifling! I can't wait, beside!
I've promised to visit by dinner-time
Bagdat, and accept the prime
Of the Head Cook's pottage, all he's rich in,
For having left, in the Calip's kitchen,
Of a nest of scorpions no survivor—
With him I proved no bargain-driver,
With you, don't think I'll bate a stiver!
And folks who put me in a passion
May find me pipe to another fashion."

"How?" cried the Mayor, "d'ye think I'll brook
Being worse treated than a Cook?
Insulted by a lazy ribald
With idle pipe and vesture piebald?
You threaten us, fellow? Do your worst,
Blow your pipe there till you burst!"

Once more he stepped into the street;
And to his lips again
Laid his long pipe of smooth straight cane;
And ere he blew three notes (such sweet
Soft notes as yet musician's cunning
Never gave the enraptured air)
There was a rustling, that seemed like a bustling
Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling,
Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering,
Little hands clapping and little tongues chattering,
And, like fowls in a farmyard when barley is scattering,
Out came the children running.
All the little boys and girls,
With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls,
And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls,
Tripping and skipping, ran merrily after
The wonderful music with shouting and laughter.

The Mayor was dumb, and the Council stood
As if they were changed into blocks of wood,
Unable to move a step, or cry
To the children merrily skipping by—
And could only follow with the eye
That joyous crowd at the Piper's back.
But how the Mayor was on the rack,
And the wretched Council's bosoms beat,
As the Piper turned from the High Street
To where the Weser rolled its waters
Right in the way of their sons and daughters!
However he turned from South to West,
And to Koppelberg Hill his steps addressed,
And after him the children pressed;
Great was the joy in every breast.
"He never can cross that mighty top!
He's forced to let the piping drop,
And we shall see our children stop!"
When, lo, as they reached the mountain's side,
A wondrous portal opened wide,
As if a cavern was suddenly hollowed;
And the Piper advanced and the children followed,
And when all were in to the very last,
The door in the mountain-side shut fast.
Did I say, all? No! One was lame,
And could not dance the whole of the way;
And in after years, if you would blame
His sadness, he was used to say,—
"It's dull in our town since my playmates left!
I can't forget that I'm bereft
Of all the pleasant sights they see,
Which the Piper also promised me:
For he led us, he said, to a joyous land,
Joining the town and just at hand,
Where waters gushed and fruit-trees grew,
And flowers put forth a fairer hue,
And everything was strange and new;
The sparrows were brighter than peacocks here,
And their dogs outran our fallow deer,
And honey-bees had lost their stings,
And horses were born with eagles' wings:
And just as I became assured
My lame foot would be speedily cured,
The music stopped and I stood still,
And found myself outside the Hill,
Left alone against my will,
To go now limping as before,
And never hear of that country more!"

Alas, alas for Hamelin!
There came into many a burgher's pate
A text which says, that Heaven's Gate
Opes to the Rich at as easy rate
As the needle's eye takes a camel in!
The Mayor sent East, West, North, and South,
To offer the Piper, by word of mouth,
Wherever it was men's lot to find him,
Silver and gold to his heart's content,
If he'd only return the way he went,
And bring the children behind him.
But when they saw 'twas a lost endeavour,
And Piper and dancers were gone for ever,
They made a decree that lawyers never
Should think their records dated duly
If, after the day of the month and year,
These words did not as well appear,
"And so long after what happened here
On the Twenty-second of July,
Thirteen hundred and seventy-six":
And the better in memory to fix
The place of the children's last retreat,
They called it, the Pied Piper's Street—
Where any one playing on pipe or tabor
Was sure for the future to lose his labour.
Nor suffered they hostelry or tavern
To shock with mirth a street so solemn;
But opposite the place of the cavern
They wrote the story on a column,
And on the great Church-Window painted
The same, to make the world acquainted
How their children were stolen away;
And there it stands to this very day.
And I must not omit to say
That in Transylvania there's a tribe
Of alien people that ascribe
The outlandish ways and dress
On which their neighbours lay such stress,
To their fathers and mothers having risen
Out of some subterraneous prison
Into which they were trepanned
Long time ago in a mighty band
Out of Hamelin town in Brunswick land,
But how or why, they don't understand.

So, Willy, let you and me be wipers
Of scores out with all men—especially pipers:
And, whether they pipe us free, from rats or from mice,
If we've promised them aught, let us keep our promise.

RED = Possible Excerpts

Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Pied Piper of Hamelin Animatic v02...

Here's the second version of my animation, taking on board the feedback from Alan and Phil during the week. It was evident after the first version, that the animatic was a bit 'aimless' and lacked any progression or build-up. Alan suggested the best way to tackle this problem is to break down the narration into an opening shot, middle shot, and end shot; filling in the gaps after i've established these three key sections. We also discussed how i don't want this to just feel like i'm presenting a modelled environment, but an environment that clearly derives from an adaptation of the story. To tackle this problem Alan has suggested using foreground, midground and brackground elements/objects as metaphors, linking to the themes portrayed in the Pied Piper. The examples that Alan has suggested were a doll on the window ledge of the opening shot to suggest it's a child's bedroom, as well as the crutches in the end shot leading up to the cave, which represent the lame boy who gets left behind. We also discussed 'dressing' my environments with objects/elements that represent the aftermath of the rat infestation, these will fill the street scenes of my animation. In essence, i would like the animation to feel like it's leaving a breadcrumbs for the audience to follow, that not only presents my environment but also enables you to connect it to the story of The Pied Piper.

Friday, 21 October 2011

The Pied Piper of Hamelin... Opening Title Sequence Test v01...

Whilst working on my animatic, i decided it would be nice to work on an opening title sequence instead of using a boring black background with some text. Here's the title sequence i've produced so far, i aiming to develop it some more during the production stage to make it look better visually.

Monday, 17 October 2011

The Pied Piper of Hamelin Animatic v01...

Here's the first rough version of my animatic for my environment design adaptation of The Pied Piper of Hamelin. The music is only temporary as i will be producing the sound in Soundtrack Pro, as well as using a voiceover of an appropriate excerpt from the poem during the opening shot. I already feel that the pacing is off, and i'm going to need more variety in the shots and compositions, but i'm beginning to imagine the eerie atmosphere of the piece and wanting create an uncomfortable feeling as though you are being watched, or shouldn't be there.

Just a quick note for Phil, sorry i can't make it to have a chat today, but i've picked up a virus and i don't think anybody would appreciate me sharing it with them...

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Concept Art/Storyboard Panels Development 01...

After speaking with Phil on Monday, we decided it was full steam ahead and my target is to produce an animatic by Monday. In preparation for developing my animatic, i sought after plenty of reference images for cinematic and photographic compositions i could use in the narrative of my environment design. Using these images, my silhouettes, and other reference images, i am layering everything in Photoshop to begin to consider how my town/world might look, thinking particularly about the types of shots i will be using in the piece. Here's some early progress images of the work i've produced so far...

The first panel represents a lovely shot i've seen in the trailer for 'One Night in One City', a Czech animation by Jan Balej. This shot begins with a window open in the distance with curtains flailing from the wind. The camera would slowly zoom in and begin to reveal the environment outside of the window as we get closer. The second panel focuses on perspective and will capitalise on the long and narrow street scenes i aim to model. Panel three represents a rooftop shot and the camera will pass through foreground elements like the chimneys, to create a filmic effect. These are just ways of visualising the shots i have in my head, contemplating what works and what doesn't, before i start to produce my animatic...

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Pied Piper of Hamelin... WIP Concept Art 01...

So here's some WIP pictures for the development of my first concept for the environment design of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. So far i have combined my extracted shapes of Bavarian houses with a matte paiting i found in my reference images and some of the more intricate shapes i produced in Alchemy...

I aim to have a few various compositions for concepts that i can take into Photoshop Phil's lesson on Friday and develop into more refined and resolved pieces...

Bavarian-Style House Silhouettes...

After having a discussion with Phil yesterday, we decided i need to step up a gear with the pace of my work and start pushing forward. I decided to extract the shapes from Bavarian style houses and buildings to start to look into the buildings that will fill my town and streets. Here's the results...

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Minor Project Individual Tutorial... Week 3...

So after my discussion with Alan yesterday, he feels that it's best if i go back to the spotlight silhouettes to get some sharper and more rigid shapes, as the Alchemy silhouettes have become quite 'blobby'. Once i have got some more silhouettes from the spotlight technique, i will begin to combine the more organic silhouettes from Alchemy with the spotlight silhouettes to form the buildings of my town. This will then enable me to take the silhouettes and paint onto them in Photoshop, beginning to consider how the would convert into a 3D environment and where they would be situated in my town. The town is something i need to go back and consider as i've lost the street elements in a lot of the silhouettes i've produced. To enable me to develop the silhouettes as concepts and coloured thumbnails, i'm hoping to start attending Photoshop Phil's lessons, to pick up some tips and techniques.

Experimentation... Alchemy #3...

Whilst listening to a recitation of the Pied Piper on YouTube as well as listening to some flute music, here's a selection of the silhouettes i produced using mic-shapes in Alchemy...

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Experimentation... Alchemy #2...

So i've got stuck into Alchemy again today, this time looking to create clusters or groups of shapes for the town, almost like a skyline silhouette. Again, i was using mic shapes to create the scenes, this time using flute music as an influence. Already, i can see certain shapes standing out amongst the silhouettes. I'm also going to doing a video recording of the process, so that you can physically see how the music and sound is influencing my designs. Keep an eye out for that soon, but for now, here's the results from today so far...

Minor Project Individual Tutorial... Week 2...

So i had my second individual tutorial with Alan yesterday, and it was a great insight into the progress of the project and in what direction i should take it. Alan and Phil are both keen on the idea of using the poem itself to create the expressionistic shapes in Alchemy, with Alan suggesting to recite the poem to create the shapes for the town/city, and using flute music for the design of the hills and natural enviroment. Looking at the work i have already produced Alan suggested seeing three different elements within the shapes; shapes that can be used to produce street plans, shapes that can already form expressionistic buildings, and shapes that can be combined to form expressionistic buildings. The next step after forming more shapes, will be to take them into photoshop and begin to create concepts for the town and buildings.

I also took the opportunity to ask Alan if he could recommend any films or sources that i could research into for my dissertation on screen violence. He introduced me to a documentary called 'Snuff: a documentary about killing on camera' which has some really interesting stuff on the subject matter of Snuff films and this idea of pushing the boundaries of reality in screen violence. It looks into controversial films like 'Cannibal Holocaust (1980)' and 'Flowers of flesh and blood (1985)', and how people have believed they were snuff films because the violence was so convinving; so photorealistic. He also suggested looking into Ronin, for its high bodycount in the background of the scenes, Death Race 2000, for the concept of the film in which the characters earn points for hitting pedestrians in their races, and A Clockwork Orange for its use of ultraviolence.

Friday, 30 September 2011

An Adaptation of Cats the Musical...

Below are some wonderful design ideas and reference images for an Adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats. There's a lot of expressionistic influence going on in some of these, and some of the camera angles in the thumbnails are extremely cinematic and theatrical. The black and white images that look like woodcut, are actually done by 'painting' onto black cardboard with white tippex...