Saturday, May 31, 2008

Creating Jordan's Avatar: 2

Here's the second version of Jordan's avatar. Whoa, big change. This one is a better fit and has less of an exaggerated look. It also took longer to make.

The first step was just to doodle until I came up with something that felt authentic. Then I made notes on the doodle for later. In fact, because of time constraints, I went ahead and ignored the notes. :)

My first pre-digital, post-sketch tactic was to establish a feel for the scene in my head. Based on that feeling, I knew I was going to need a green light in the background. It's weird how these things come to you! My 3D lighting experience really informed that decision, though.

To ensure that I didn't get derailed while working, I put the lighting cues into the scene first. They're just colored circles without any depth cues. My goal was not to be completely true to the lights (how annoying is it when people notice and make mention of that little fact?) but to let the lights have their place in the design. It's important to know which part of the spectrum you want to end up in.

So here's the pre-final with lighting cues (the final version is at the top of this post). There are some goofy curves and things, but overall the time spent was very effective. I think a large part of this was the help lent by lighting cues.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Displacement, we love ye

Holy crow, you should see that video at 1280xwhatever. The visual energy is incredible.

So anyway, this demoscene compo entry sent me wandering through displacement-land to find a combination of procedural modules that create some fantastic, keyframe-able displacement effect.

For non 3D-ers: Displacement is the spiky things in that video doing the spiky bits where spikes jump out of the donut things.

I haven't found the displacement effect I want quite yet, but I found something else. I found an interest in animation that somebody left laying around. I haven't done animation much up to this point because I really wasn't into it. Yeah, making stuff move around, OK. But can I do it on my own terms? Can I do it in a way that supports real creative people, not just megacorps that sell creativity like it's something you place on your desk to stare at all day? Can I do it in high-res and spill it all over the internet?

Yep, OK, done. And I built it out of discarded e-trash using an over-scholarly manual written by a small group of bored 30-somethings from around the world. (Ouch, stop hitting me!)

So in short, expect to see more animation from me in the future. And no, that's not even close to saying "watch this space." Not even close. I would never say that to anybody I actually cared about.

Also, lately my students at Mendo College have been rocking. They rock so hard, one of them even brought me some guitar strings (no, really). I've seen them doing work that college students shouldn't be allowed to do. Like, genuinely GOOD design work. Another student just sent me a guide he made on constructing a fancy camera flash using metal mixing bowls. How is it that I get to hang around with cool people this much?

Also, you should read In the Sargasso Sea if you haven't had any nautical adventure in a while. Or if you like cats, boats, pirates, perfectly innocent protagonists with copious amounts of engineering knowledge, that sort of thing. Seaweed.

Related Posts