Concept Art from Lecture

Posted by Sam Hayes On Friday, October 30, 2009 3 comments
Today we had the first class of our next set of Maya tutorials. Alan's scene, which we will eventually create, looks very impressive. It has a lot of detail and I'm looking forward to building it (But slightly nervous)

This afternoon we had our first concept art classes with Phil, which I thought was fantastic. He let us all loose with a tablet, which allowed us to get a feel for using it as well as trying out some styles and brushes in photoshop. Phil's work looks brilliant, and he showed us the process for creating our own high quality work.

I tried out some of the techniques on the tablet, below is what I came out with. I'm looking forward to cracking on with my project now.

I planon using my tablet this weekend to try and create some scenes.

Digital Painting Concept

Posted by Sam Hayes On Thursday, October 29, 2009 0 comments
EDIT: I added some colour to my sketch, just to show what I want the overall tone of the image to be when I create it digitally (Bright and vagrant) I didn't show the distant cliffs in this sketch, but I'll work at putting them into the final piece.

I've been takling the excerpts of Journey to the Centre of the Earth today to get some ideas in my head of what to create. After reading the book, it is all fresh in my mind, and I can picture the scenes, I just need to transfer that to paper.

Below i've posted my brainstorm ideas, which I sketched down while reading the excerpts.

After jotting down the descriptions, I have started a draft. My first idea is drived from Excerpt two, where Axel alongside Professor Lidenbrock, steps out of the Grotto to view the expanse of the underground world. I want this image to centrearound the ocean and rocks clashing against each other, but I also want to include some of the described wild plant-life, the Mushrooms. The sketch I did below, shows the vantage point I want it to take. The right-hand side of the image is still blank, I think I shall put more rocks with steam rising off and perhaps a stream flowing towards the sea. I also want the sky to be a main feature in this idea, as it is described in a lot of detail in book as bright, vibrant and wild.

Concept Art:

Posted by Sam Hayes On Wednesday, October 28, 2009 1 comments
I've been looking through some concept art for various films and games, looking for some inspiration for my essay. I would rather do my essay on the concept of a film than a game, but I would still like to look at some game art.

I don't play many games, but my favourite one from the last few years in The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. The whole design of the game was brilliant, from the story to the visuals, which is why I immeadiately thought of this title when looking for some art. Below I have posted some concepts from the game. I really love the style, it is simple but shows a lot of detail and atmosphere.

I have started to practice some basic ideas in photoshop using my tablet. As my text is 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' I am practicing creating some rock ideas to use. I think so far, I have the basic shape and colour, but i'm hoping as I learn to digitally paint, I can make it look more realistic.

Unity 3D

Posted by Sam Hayes On Wednesday, October 28, 2009 0 comments
I've been reading through some usual gaming websites and discovered that UNITY 3D has become available today for free rather than the normal price of $200

I've used this software before over the last couple of years after buying a license for it. It is a indie game development toolset, which compared to most others, is very easy to use. When I used to model in 3DS Max I would always take my models into Unity game engine to see what they looked like in a First Person setting. It was also possible to create complete landscapes and add your model to them (straight from Maya export)

Another great feature of Unity, is to export your game as a flash-based applet (With all the features of a standalone 3D Game) To see an example of this, and to download the engine, go here:

You'll need to install a web-player to view the demo, but it doesn't take long.


Posted by Sam Hayes On Tuesday, October 27, 2009 3 comments
Just read this back and it is a bit of a long post, mainly waffling, which coincidently I also ate for Breakfast.

Today we had another film lecture, where we watched the 1927 German film 'Metropolis'.Like yesterday's film, it had no dialogue but relied on the acting, captions and music to tell the story. The first thing I noticed about the film was how advanced the set design was, especially in the few city-scape scenes. The ciy was shown from above to be a living, breathing world allowing the audiences to see individual cars, planes and persons moving around it. For a film created so early on in Cinema, I thought this was very impressive. The acting (although quite dramatic) I thought was also well done, the main actor which stuck out in the film for me was the character 'Grot' the 'guardian of the heart machine', who I've found was played by Heinrich George.

I thought the story was great as from the very beginning I could tell it was building up to a disastarious climax and the end did not disappoint. I can see why Phil wanted to show us this film as it brought with it the start of so many conventions that have been used since. They were easy to spot, such as the bringing alive of the Doctor's robot, with the dramatic electricity flowing through the body and the large city with the tallest building as an emblem of power (Reminded me a lot of Blade Runner)

The audio I felt suited the scenes very well also, unlike yesterday's film, 'The Cabinet of Dr Caligari' the music was very well thought through. Although I don't listen to a lot of classical music, I noticed in some of the last scenes, there seemed to be a likeness (or exactness) to Tchaichovsky's 1812 Overture, even though the tune didn't quite erupt into the proper version, this might have just been coincidence, or perhaps the film was unable to use the original music. This was during the scenes of struggle and mayhem, I think that song was written commerating a battle where the the French troops were forced out of Russia at a large battle (Guessing from my memory here) so it suited the film's battle of the workers versus the upper class.

Overall, I enjoyed the film, even though it was not fully finished (and never will be) I am looking forward to seeing some more recent sci-fi to see the connections.

I'm also on my last few pages of the book 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' for my project. I think this book was fantastic and I'm a bit annoyed I haven't made the effort to read it before now. I'm going to try and find 'Around the world in 80 days' in the next couple of weeks.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Posted by Sam Hayes On Monday, October 26, 2009 2 comments

After today's lecture, I took a stroll into town to pick up the text that I have been assigned to study in my next project: Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne. I have started reading it, and am already quite a few pages in.

It is one of those books that is hard to put down (At least so far) as the first few chapters are very fast paced, following the eccentric Professor Lidenbrock and his assistant as he tries to solve a puzzle from an ancient Norse book. I also am lucky enough to have a copy of the 1959 film on my computer. After watching about the same amount of narrative of the film as I have read of the book, I notice quite a few differences, the main one being that the Professor in the film lives in Edinburgh, Scotland rather than Hamburg, Germany. This has made me realise I need to stick to the book's vision for my concept ideas rather than stray into the film.

It may be a bit premature, but I think I may already have a concept idea. One early passage in the book gave me this thought of creating a picture of the outside of the professor's house in Hamburg. It could come with a slight narrative as I could show the light coming from his study (and perhaps shadows in the window) The text describes his house:

"The old house listed somewhat, thrusting its paunch out at passers-by, and wore its roof cocked over its ear like a Tugenbund student's cap and the perpendicularity of its walls left much to be desired, but, for all that, it held up well thanks to the ancient elm embedded in its facade which every spring snaked budding shoots past the window panes."

This wasn't portrayed as accurately in the film was I thought it would be. The professor's house in the adaptation is a Edinburgh terrace, although it does have vines growing over the outside wall (Picture below,which I captured from the video).

I think this idea might be good to create a concept for, as it would be very different to the film version, and I would try to stick true to the book's description.

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari

Posted by Sam Hayes On Monday, October 26, 2009 0 comments
In today's lecture, we watched the Cabinet of Dr Caligari. It is a silent film (Dubbed with music) from 1919. It was directed by Robert Wiene, a German director, whose films had a large affect on Early German (and worldwide) cinema. The first few minutes of the film I felt were quite awkward, as I had to adjust to watch the actor's expressions and movements to follow the story, as there was no dialogue. After the first few scenes I got more aquainted with it, and felt I could understand the story just fine, doing off the captions and actions.

After getting over the grim idea that the film was created when my Great Grandfather was a child, and that every person on screen died decades ago,I started to quite enjoy the story. It was quite a creepy and horror-filled plot, and although the technology was very early, i thought it still managed to be quite frightening and gripping. The main reason Phil showed us this film was because of the set design and enviroment, which I thought was very well done in most parts, and gave the film a quite eery feeling.

I was also surprised that the film was created when it was, less than two years after the end of the First World War, when Germany couldn't have been very enthusiastic about anything, let alone cinema.

Digital Painting Tablets

Posted by Sam Hayes On Sunday, October 25, 2009 3 comments
After looking at some of last week's portraits (Especially Leo's and Simon's) i'd really like to start to learn digital painting. I've seen countless styles people use to paint digitally and as our next project is centered around concept art, i really need to crack on. Problem is, I don't have a tablet (I know its possible to use a mouse,but i'd prefer to start with a good drawing tablet), will the course department allow us to borrow one for the project and practice? If not, does anyone know a good place to pick one up for cheap. I've heard about the cheap Wacom Bamboo (From about £35), apparently, it's a bit small.

Anatomy Finished

Posted by Sam Hayes On Saturday, October 24, 2009 1 comments
So, we finished Anatomy yesterday, with our final portrait presentations. I think mine went rather well, but there were a few things that I could have improved on. I think I did a good job with the essay, and am looking forward to seeing the feedback on it from Phil. Regarding my final portrait, I realise that I should have put the idea into practice sooner, before the interim review, so that Phil could have given me some advice on how to present it better.

We've been given our briefs for the next unit - 'Space'. The folder I was selected for contained pages from 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth'. I have never read the book, but as the next five weeks will feature around this (Or at least I expect so) I will pick it up next week, probably in the charity bookshoop,where the owner, an old man, tends to point me towards his latest batch of Bernard Cornwell books (The result of this is that i've read them all)

The next project seems to have a higher workload, and now I've witnessed the last minute rush of a project, I'm going to try and get off to a quick start.

Final Portrait : Role-Model

Posted by Sam Hayes On Friday, October 23, 2009 0 comments
After a lot of thought earlier on in the week and looking through my portrait ideas, I settled on one for my final concept and image. I have created a final piece,which, although limited by my knowledge of photoshop, I think turned out quite well, I am quite happy with it.

My concept is that there are many things that define who you are that can be used in a self-portrait. Some artists, bring their family members into the piece, some people composite different images of themselves from the past into a portrait. My idea, was to use a different aspect of a person's self, that could be represented, their role-models or heroes. I believe that the role-models that a person follows shows a lot about them, I tried to show this in my image by adding certain features of my heroes to my image.

The image above, is my final piece. I began with a photograph of myself, which I then composited famouse features of my heroes onto. My nose, has been replaced by that of Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, as famous for his bent nose as he was for defeated Napoleon. My shoulders have been given the uniform of Guy Gibson, Flight Commander of the Dambusters Raid and I have been given a cigar, the object associated with Winston Churchill. The background, a clock, shows that perhaps I think too much of the past, and am always mentally living in it. The black and white was to give the piece a vinatage look, perhaps even to make me wish I was in a different time altogether.

Life Drawing : 4th Week

Posted by Sam Hayes On Friday, October 23, 2009 0 comments

Maya Texturing Problems

Posted by Sam Hayes On Friday, October 23, 2009 1 comments
I have spent roughly 4 hours battling with my copy of Maya over texturing. I am trying to do the UV Poker Chip Layout tutorial and the whiskey bottle tutorial, but it really isn't going well.

I can layout my UVs, Bring them into photoshop, and save a final texture, but when adding that texture to the materials editor, it will completely distort the image, as shown below. I have no idea why it is doing it, and it has put a bit of a kink in my maya work, as Im missing two pieces. I'm going to try one last time. As you can see, I tested it with a simple image from photoshop of just a red circle, and it rendered as a complete mess. I will have to complete these on the Uni computers I think.


Posted by Sam Hayes On Thursday, October 22, 2009 0 comments
So far, so good. I completed my essay yesterday and have been working through my last few Maya tutorials. I still have the texturing ones to do, which I will complete this evening, and will upload tommorow morning (I don't have internet at my house at the moment, so will need to use the University internet )

I have decided to completely re-do my final portrait this evening (Sticking with the same concept, but improving it visually) so I have a busy night ahead of me. Hopefully i'll be pleased with it by the crit tommorow morning.

Last Few Maya Pieces

Posted by Sam Hayes On Thursday, October 22, 2009 0 comments
Sci-Fi / Horror /Fire Scene

Detective Desk

Toaster and Magnifying Glass


Common Materials

Essay Research: Modern Retouching

Posted by Sam Hayes On Wednesday, October 21, 2009 4 comments
Although my essay is about the history of retouching, I still have included a couple of pieces about modern photo manipulation, mainly to compare their reasoning with the retouched images from the past. Below I have included a couple of examples that I found while researching.

This image shown above is the front cover of GQ from February 2003. Its shows the actress / model Kate Winslet in lingerie. At a regular viewing, it looks like a normal studio photo, however, the actress hit out at the magazine after it was published saying:

'I don't look like that and, more importantly, I don't desire to look like that...I can tell you that they've reduced the size of my legs'

This shows that not only have the magazine retouched the actress and misled their readers, they have also manipulated the image without Kate Winslet's consent. This could be discussed from a ethical point of view, but in the theme of retouching, it shows that the magazine will alter an image for more profit or recognition.

The image below shows Keira Knightley in the 2004 film 'King Arthur'. The image on the right is the actress in the final movie poster to advertise the film, whilst on the left is the original studio image.

Apart from the obvious background effects, when put side-by-side the retouching of the image becomes apparent. The actress' chest has been enlarged, while her waist slimmed. This could have been done for a few different reasons, though most likely, it is to try and appeal to the male audience. In this case, I believe the main motivation for retouching is profit.

Essay Research : History of Retouching

Posted by Sam Hayes On Wednesday, October 21, 2009 1 comments
As my essay is investigating the question of whether retouching is a new phenonemon I have been researching the history of retouched photography. Below, to include certain pieces that will go in my essay, I will discuss some of these.

The earliest retouching in a photograph I could find is that of Abraham Lincoln in about 1860. At this point, Lincoln was soon to become the President of the United States, so political and social image would have been very important. The image is below:

The image on the left is the final piece of Lincoln. As you can see, his head was composited onto the body of another man, a politician named John Calhoun. I think this was done as the pose that Calhoun is in looks very powerful, and in the quite early stage of photography that this took place in, it would be hard to replicated for Lincoln.

Another retouched photograph which I found interesting is from a later period. The image shows Joseph Stalin, the Russian Dictator on a boat with a group of men, one being a Commisar of Stalin's Government, Nikola Yezhov. The images below was taken in 1937 and shows the before and after editing of the picture.

As shown, on the left (The final image) Yezhov has been erased. This was because shortly after the picture was taken, Yezhov fell out of favour with Stalin (And was later shot by the Soviet government) I think that this image was retouched to keep Stalin looking powerful, as a method of Propaganda. It has been retouched to not show him next to a future enemy.

A very similar picture to the one above, is the doctored image of Adolf Hitler below. He was originally pictured alongside Joseph Goebbels, Chancellor of Germany. Once again, Goebbels fell out with Hitler, resulted in him being removed from the image, much for the same reason as Yezhov and Stalin.

I will explore these images more in my essay, however, I still am researching and trying to find evidence of manipulation in portraiture. I will go back to my lecture notes from Phil's lectures to see if I can find a suitable example.

Third Portrait Idea

Posted by Sam Hayes On Wednesday, October 21, 2009 0 comments
Today, I am to drink a bucket of coffee and write an essay. I had written some of it over the last week,but after yesterday's (very helpful) essay writing lecture, it needs to be completely re-vamped. We had life-drawing yesterday, where we concentrated on the negative space around the model to create a figure. It was hard to picture at first, however, by the end of the class I was finding it much easier.

I have created a third portrait idea, which, like the other two, I don't think I will continue with, not because I don't think that its a good idea, but I wanted to create something more personal that I can explain and link to myself better. The idea behind this portrait is showing a person's ego alongside their body. In the picture, it shows my normal self, along-side my inner-self. The ego is portrayed as made out of glass, as I have not accomplished anything to inflate my Ego yet, therefore it is easily breakable. The idea would progress and I would think that the viewer would assume that as I go on in life the material of that other self would change and harden.

Portrait Idea- Unfinished Drawing

Posted by Sam Hayes On Sunday, October 18, 2009 1 comments
I posted my original idea on my blog a couple of weeks ago, I wrote:

"My third idea's main theme is highlighting the fact that I have not yet made all of my choices in life. As I am creating a portrait of my 19-year-old self, I think the portrait should portray the fact that I am unfinished as a person and my path undetermined (Which could be said for any age, but especially for someone young). The main idea is that there is still a lot of me to be defined."

I have created a draft of this idea, using a basic image of my face as well as sketching my body. I haven't decided whether I'll carry this idea onto my final piece, but I suspect I will leave it where it is, as I cannot develop it much further. I think I have shown all I can with this idea. The image is below.

Annie Leibovitz

Posted by Sam Hayes On Saturday, October 17, 2009 0 comments

Over the last few days I've been doing a few different things towards my project. I've completed a few maya tutorials, written a draft for the introduction of my essay and tested a few ideas out in photoshop. I still have a busy week ahead of me (As expected for the final week I suppose).

I have amended my essay question to make it easier to answer and more direct. As my essay is focused on retouching in portraiture, I thought it would be useful to research celebrity photographers which led me to Annie Leibovitz.

Annie Leibovitz
Leibovitz is a famous photographer, she worked for Rolling Stones Magazine and also Vanity Fair. She photographed many celebrities in her career however she was best known for photographing John Lennon on the day of his death for Rolling Stone. She also took the famous image of Demi Moore naked in pregnancy for the cover of Vanity Fair. Other celebrities who have been photographed by Annie are Micheal Jackson, Bruce Springsteen , Bill Gates and Sting. Queen Elizabeth II was also photographed on her visit to the United States.

Leibovitz will feature in my essay as her photography puts across a truthfullness and honesty, which is the opposite of a retouched image. Leibovitz does not modify or change the appearance of the people she photographs, which is not the normality in the media. Annie Leibovitz said "I've always been more interested in what they do than who they are, I hope that my photographs reflect that."

Below I've included a couple of her most well-known photographs.

Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair

John Lennon and Yoko Ono for Rolling Stone

Maya Lighting

Posted by Sam Hayes On Saturday, October 17, 2009 1 comments

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I'm a student studying CG Arts and Animation at the University for the Creative Arts, I'm living in Kent.

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