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Glasgow, United Kingdom
An illustrator and games artist living and working in Scotland. I have various hobbies: coding, travel, art and games; and I enjoy writing about them.

29 October 2011

Croc Concept Design

Hey folks! I have a special super cool surprise for you. I really wanted to wait until Wednesday to post it but to be quite honest I'm really proud of this one, considering how much time it took to complete.

The original file weighs 200Mb and is going to be a printed A3 bit of paper. Hope CHUNK are happy with it! As you might know Feng Zhu and Syd Mead are my heroes and my ultimate goal is to do production painting for games and film. So this is my first step in that direction.


26 October 2011

Model Finished!

That is said in the broadest of terms. The modelling part is finished. There is still the unwrapping and fixing the thousands of topology mistakes. However, I downloaded a penguin model from the internet, to study the topology and UV maps and HECK! I definitely feel ahead of the game.

I mean, really. And then I opened up the UV editor...

No further comments.

Anyway, let's have a look at my model.

I'm quite proud about that one. First proper 3D model that doesn't have any horrendous mistakes and crazy n-gons. Thanks to Adam and Darren for their advice!

The feet are a little bit broken, but I hope to fix it in the nearest future.

That's what we did in class yesterday. Rigging wasn't as scary as I'd imagined! Yet anyway.

Wheeeee! Happy headless penguin! The distortion isn't bad apart from a few places. Like for example it can't put his arms down yet, but again, that's gonna be fixed.

It was time to model the face! Truth be told, I avoided it as much as possible.

Firstly I looked at some examples of good and bad topology. Eventually I had one good image to work with.

Very useful.

The process has begun!!

And finally...

So there you go. As you can see the topology is far from perfect but I'd say it was a damn good attempt! The worst bit was when I tried to sew the head unto the shoulders. It simply didn't have enough vertices, so I had to add some and that pretty much broke it. Next week we'll fix it, promise!

In other news, I wrote the ten story beats for the animation. Here they are:

  1. Petrovich is walking down a corridor. His environment is sleek and high tech. He is reading the spec sheet for his new space ship.
  2. Petrovich: She is beautiful… Verteron Gravimentric Matrix, Second generation FTL engines, Modulated Superficial Field, 15 Magnetic Neutrino Accelerators, 10 Giga-Watt EM Singularity Lances and Atmospheric System Emission life support system. She is perfect.
  3. The blast doors open and the camera pans over into a huge hangar room where in the middle we see an old, battered, rusty space ship. It is contrasting strongly with its high tech environment and looks completely out of place.
  4. A part of the ship’s hull falls off clanking on the floor.
I've even modelled the environment!

As you can see, quite a busy week for Advanced Visualisation :)

Now onto Screenwriting.

To start with, as you may or may not remember, I had a huge, feature film sized idea. It proved too impractical and therefore I scaled down. Here are the story beats for a shorter idea.

  • A hunter sits down to have his lunch in the forest.
  • A curious creature approaches him sees the dead rabbits, grabs them and shoots off.
  • The hunter chases it through the woods because loss of food for tonight means starvation.
  • The fay leads him into the entrance to the magical kingdom where there is constant feasting and drinking
  • The man drinks and feasts for three days, finally realising that it’s time to go
  • When the hunter returns home he finds that he’s been missing for 10 years, his wife is remarried, his children are grown up and don’t remember him.
  • The man tries to find the way back into the magical kingdom and after months of wandering eventually does
  • The kingdom isn't the happy, cheery place he remembers. The king gives him some ceremonial wine and orders to slaughter some pigs for the feast.
  • The hunter goes out and comes by a small village he doesn’t know. There are pigs on an abandoned farm that he slaughters and puts in his bag.
  • Upon the arrival in the fay kingdom he opens the bag to find mangled remains of his wife and his children, whom he, himself killed.
Oh I can't wait to start doing story boards for these! Imagine Mike Mignola doing this and you'll see where my excitement comes from. To quote the great man who worked on numerous comics, films and animations:

"All I wanted to do as a kid was draw monsters"

Now for the group project. It's been two weeks now and we have a general idea we're all excited about. Chunk's brief said, "what is not seen" and we're playing with that idea. After some brainstorming we came up with an idea that you can put on different masks to see the world differently. For example some terrain can only be seen in green spectrum and some enemies only in red. We also really like the idea of tribal masks. Here are some concept drawings I did.

The timings for the sketches above go something like: 30min, 5min, 5min. I have to say practising digital painting and all those tutorials online is definitely paying off!

There is one more painting I did this week. Hope you like it.

I almost didn't post this one because it got absolutely ripped to pieces on, so I felt a bit self concious. But then I decided to post it anyway. Everything must be documented, not only the good bits.

Have a good week everyone!

23 October 2011


Tonight I finally finished my first ever digital painting. Critique is much appreciated because I would love to improve and get on the same level as Feng Zhu and Vitaly Alexius in a few years time :)

Wacom Bamboo Pen, Photoshop CS5, 1.5hrs.

19 October 2011

Post Pitch Week Madness

Pitch week wasn't all that bad! It went a lot better than expected. However, beware lecturers! Just because my work seems to be on the ball right now, it doesn't mean I have any idea whatsoever of what is going on.

This week was quite slow in terms of art to show off and also I just got back from work so I'm in no mood for typing. Enjoy the pretty pictures and apologies for such a short post.

A lazy 20 minutes doodle. I'm trying a new technique with the painting.

Another quick doodle. This time, working with line.

And that is me in my work clothes. Many many thanks to William Campbell for tips on makeup related issues, and giving me a job :)

Funny story. Our shenanigans with the zombie outfits actually attracted some attention. Our boss got interviewed by the local radio, today we did a photoshoot for the local newspaper and the science centre; furthermore we now filmed two videos to put on youtube. Here they are.

That's it from me for this week. Artsy, over and out.

12 October 2011

Military, VR and other fun things.

Hey all! Here is to another productive week! I'm cutting down on writing and bumping up the cool pictures and videos this time.

First of all I'd like to share some of my research into the use of digital media by the military.

Did you know for example that current US Army Research and Development (R&D) budget is $1.2bn whereas Microsoft's is $3.8bn? Turns out we're spending more on developing aps, computers and games than keeping the soldiers safe! Read more Entertainment Technology and Virtual Environments in Training and Education by Michael R. Macedonia from US Army Simulation, Training and Education Command. Double points to the guy for sounding the B&J ice cream flavour!

And here is an amazing thing called the VirtuSphere! The full article is called My Virtual War  on Scientific American magazine website. Watch the video for awesomeness.

So as you can see there are plenty of military simulators for vehicles and combat, but aren't that many for specialist roles, like engeneers and intelligence guys. Furthermore companies like Quantum3D often pop up to try and get some cheap cash. I mean, look at this video. Anyone who is even vaguely familiary with Valve games will see the problem straight away.

There are even some commercial computer games that were modified from battle sims for civilian use. However the main problem with that is that by the time things like that are declassified and modified, they are usually extremely out of date. Like it is in case with Pandemic Studios' "Full Spectrum Warrior".

And that's all research I managed to gather today. Tomorrow, a hot date with the library book shelf is on the agenda.

Unfortunately I haven't managed to do a lot about Animation this week, due to the fact that the sketches I'm going to use for modelling are in my sketchbook and the university doesn't have a scanner. It actually does but it never works, so it's as good as not having one. The quest of finding a friend with a scanner continues!

Not much progress on the screenwriting front either. However I did read some sources that said that hesitation to start writing is usually the hardest thing to overcome, and so tonight I will start. Promise.

And finally...

Yup, that's right, you just read that in Professor Farnsworth's voice. But it is true, the groups are finally sorted and ready to kick off. We're meeting unoficially tomorrow to get to know eachother and get some bonding done; and by "bonding"  I mean drinking.

And finally, finally, here are some paintings I did last week.

 Funny story. I was told off by a guy for drawing this badly because I missed out some trees from the original picture, because he liked the original so much. Go figure.

 I was having a day off. Give me a break.

Most ambitious project so far. Notice that there isn't a photograph in the corner, which indicates that, that's right, I'm finally painting stuff on my own steam! Progress!

I hope you all enjoyed this week's blog. See you next week!

6 October 2011

First steps

This has been an extremely productive week for me. I started on my character for animation, decided on the research question for interaction and have a layout of an entire Act 1 of my story for screenwriting. On top of all that even managed to make time to do two more value paintings with my new, shiny, sexy, lovely, amazing Bamboo tablet!

Let's get down to business. Animation! After sitting down with my a very good friend of mine, and a great artist may I say, Stuart, we came up with an awesome premise.

"A daring captain of a space fleet, a penguin names Petrovich, lands on Earth with the task to establish contact with budding new civilisation. Unfortunately there is a mistake and he lands in the Antarctic, into a snowy environment filled with penguins. He tries his best to complete his mission but it soon becomes apparent that penguins are quite dumb. He gets increasingly frustrated and eventually leaves with nothing."

Even though the story itself might no work out due to technical restraints (i.e. I'll have to animate over a hundred penguins, build the terrain and many more), the character itself is extremely appealing and it was time for concept sketches. I might also need to mention that his name is Petrovich because I'll be voicing him, and my sexy Russian accent is, unfortunately, cannot be concealed. So here are the pictures.

The first concept drawing of Petrovich.

Emotion: giving character to a rigid beak is harder than one might think.

The design sheet for Petrovich which later turned into profiles
of his crew. Note the two drawings at the bottom left, 
that's where I got bored.

Final character sheet. This will be the reference for 3D modelling.

That was Animation. Things with Interaction were a lot more difficult. Firstly, how can one choose a research question when there are so many things out there? Just with the media, there are phones, computers, TVs, tabs and god knows what else out there! However after some thought and brainstorming the choice was narrowed down to one solid research question which I think I will enjoy working on. Here it is:

"How can interactive 3D environment can help the training of the military personnel, be it combat roles or other specialist?"

Look forward to next week when I'll be bombarding you with my first information gathering on the topic!

Almost done. For screenwriting I came up with an entire story and spent the last week thinking about the character, the conflict within the story and the main themes. The underlying theme of the entire story, I decided, will be of loss. The loss of his grandmother, his loved one, his sanity. However smaller themes will be played out as the story progresses. In Act 1 it will be about human relationships and how we, as species, are unwilling to accept anything that is different. In Act 2 the protagonist will be the victim of circumstance, lose everything he has and end up on the brink of insanity. Act 3 will have him redeem himself and tie up any loose ends.

The character itself will be a likeable one, however as the story progresses I want him to become less and less so. Not entirely sure how I'll pull that off just yet, but the semester is young, I'll have plenty of time. As he will be more and more alienated from the audience the spot light will be more and more on the people who surround him, simply to avoid the audience lose interest and dissociate from the story.

I've also decided to write a short story about a man in the 1700s who goes out hunting, encounters the small folk who live under the mountain, and comes back 10 years later to find his wife with another man. However he claims to be gone only three days. As you can see, the usual fairy tale.

And now for some more fun things. I've been getting into the whole swing of digital painting and have to say, the more I do it the more enjoyable it becomes. See for yourself!

40 minutes

40 minutes

See you all next week! Maybe I will even venture slightly further with my digital painting skills and try a bigger piece. Thank you FZD School!