Monday, 13 October 2014

First Post in Two Years

Blogspot still exists? I...remember...it's all coming back...

It's been two years since I blogged on any work, and in truth, that's because my blog-worthy output has diminished as I've pursued more private projects. Nonetheless, since I'm feeling nostalgic I've decided to whack something up. Given there are unlikely to be any readers left, this post is purely for my own selfish enjoyment.

Earlier in the summer I began playing around with a bunch of characters I devised as a school kid; 'Biggins and Company'. The three characters in question constitute my standard benchmark; whenever I think I've crossed a particular threshold of competence I reinvent them as a vehicle to employ my latest findings and assess the results. The envelope I've attempted to push this time relates to how characters appear from angles other than the classic three (a technique used by many artists including Axel Schaefer (the Gruffalo) whereby the design of a character limits the artist to drawing it from 1) face on, 2) in profile, or 3) an angle exactly 45 degrees between the two).

For years I've been stuck with knowing only how to draw from those three angles, and felt the time was right for a pathfinder project. To carry this out, I simply had to work on one character at a time, and experiment with drawing from several angles over and over again until I frothed at the mouth and/or bled from the eyes. I then loaded the results into Flash and created an animation of the character rotating. From this I could observe any vulnerabilities inaccuracies in the design and correct live on screen...there were hundreds! Here are a couple of examples from early on - the impurities are self-evident:




The whole process was surprisingly lengthy, but I've finally ended up with three characters that can be faithfully rendered from any angle and without breaking the illusion of physical presence/life. Here is an example of them being utilized in a single image:



In the following image I've used the above pose and compared it to previous attempts of the same characters from across the years to see if what I've learned has advanced my general competence. I think I can say I've improved.



In tandem with this I decided to try my hand at 3D software rendering in order to create the characters' space vessel 'Starhog'. For this I used a piece of open source software called Blender. While I'm far from being a pro, I had huge fun learning how the software worked and was able to create the following pieces:




So that's it. A completely selfish blog about something nobody but myself will have any interest in or ever read.

James

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