Saturday, 20 September 2008

Astro Graphics Tardigrade

I had a look around at the mighty little Tardigrade. These tiny creatures are so hardy they can survive for some time in space, died out to 1% of normal and even heated to over 150 degrees. Anyhow, I can across this particular image of one on the Astro Graphics site, which once you get there then lets you casually browse through a while library of wonderful images. The electron microscope images and the like actually have a real 3D CG quality about them - but they are pure nature...


[Image of a tardigrade from the Astro Graphics site]

Friday, 19 September 2008

Seb4D Matte Painting

A really nifty site showcasing the work of Sebastien Gaucher, Seb4D has a host of imagery and tutorials to inspire. The tip to check out the work came via my concept art course as a reference for his tutorial on Matte Painting where he takes a photo of a house and creates a run-down version. The full tutorial has more detail and nicer sized images as well as an overlay of the original and final, below are small versions of the before and after to give you an idea:



[before and after matt painting exercise by Sebastien Gaucher from his site]

Butterfly Architecture WIP

Did a little bit of work on the Butterfly Architecture image - playing with the creation of a 'mother of pearl' luminescence for the first structure. The basics are there - will need to push the contrast and the shininess in the end - but it is telling the story.
I actually quite enjoyed pushing the background back with various levels of blur - photoshop has so much capability...

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Butterfly Architecture Sketches

For the next piece of concept art exploring our Butterfly/Moth conflict valley - I am looking at some of the hanging splendour of the Butterfly culture. There has been a subtext amongst much of the chat that the Moths are where the real beauty lies, that the Butterflies are perhaps too artificial. I am trying to keep that haughty feel while showing that they do indeed create majesty in the sky. Drawing on chrysalis forms blended with flowers, the sun and wings to create a glistening and magical city hanging gracefully from the soaring trees high above the flowerbeds on the valley floor.

Here are some of the leadup sketches and the final one that I have already brought into photoshop and had a 30 second play to create a proxy background until I get a proper one in there :-)



Cellular Automatons and Life


[Gospers glider gun animation from the Wikipedia entry on Conway's Game of Life]

I am investigating a new premise for my last Sound Construction project for the session. Taking the rule based generative visuals inspired by Conway's Game of Life and then layering my own audio. The idea is that though the visuals are dispassionate mathematics, our minds build their ow narratives and emotions from what we see. Using audio to heighten this experience will hopefully build a nice collaboration of media and ideas.
I hope to bring in a suite other pieces to the puzzle, without filling this blog with the full proposal - it should be fun.

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To get started, here are a few key references on Cellular Automatons to get the idea across:
Conway's Game of Life
MJCell Java Applet
Golly Software site
Cell-Auto site
Eric Weisstein's Treasure Trove


[MJCell in action - well a screenshot from it]

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I have done a few tests playing any music along with the patterns and it does add particular moods already - even without a tailored track.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Digital Architecture at FBE - Go Russ

A new video on the UNSW Youtube Channel shows off Russ' digital architecture bent. The large screens and our game engines really look the part. I think we need to create more of this sort of thing to show the stuff that our academics and students are doing. The idea of creating 'trailers' or 'showreels' seems sane to me.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

SPORE - plus generative music



SPORE is here and after a week of sneaking in short bursts of enjoying its wonders myself and of seeing the kids explore the scope I am still impressed with the majesty of the whole. It may be that each of the stages could benefit from a fully fledged game environment, but they are actually relatively simple sandboxes to explore some evolutionary pressure and to invite people to bring out their creativity a whole bunch of times.
I have enjoyed seeing the number of creations clime on the Sporepedia site to the near 17 million at the moment. I love the way it self builds upon the creativity of all the players, this is quite a change for gaming, bringing active participation in the design of a game that even the heavily modded games cant even aspire to.

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I really love the beauty of the cell stage and its simplicity is actually quite a nice intro for the long term ideas of your creature. I and the kids have had fun together creating a handful of weird creatures and seeing them explore a world populated by other peoples - awesome. I admit I havent had time to get into the later parts of the game yet - still plenty of fun to come.

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I have been looking at my ProTools Sound Construction assignment, which is planned out using the life or combat of a butterfly. But I am considering translating it over to the world of SPORE. This will introduce a new series of visuals drawn from the game - though I might 'draw' some as well. There is a rich set of sounds that I might be able to bring into the piece from and inspired by the game itself.

My Sound Construction course has mentioned the work of Brian Eno a few times already and so I was fascinated to find that he collaborated with Will Wright and his team on the generative music used in SPORE. There is a nice intro article on this collaboration at :
Gamespy: The Beat Goes on: Dynamic Music in Spore
I am quite amazed with the genius of the complexity which the generated music in the game. The team have created a game that allows not only a great deal of visual dynamics (physical and animated) but also spawned a world of sound that evolves with the gameplay.

Fora TV have a nice 98 minute presentation by Eno and Wright which explores this technology with a focus on SPORE and Generative Systems. Both very intelligent and evocative guys:










More vids to come in this arena

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Sooo, can I bring this to life in a sound construction piece - hell a full machinima creation at that?? This Newsweek interview covers the machinima capability as well as the generated music and audio.

Paul Gerrard Art

One of the artistic references I used in the creation of the Moth Staff was the work of Paul Gerrard. He has created a dynamic suite of imagery that is full of complexity that I love. Here are a couple of nifty pieces to inspire people to take a closer look.


[Paul Gerrard imges from his ButterflySoldiers website]

Moth Spiritualist Luna Staff Concept - Digital

After a few hours I have a fully rendered version of the Moth Civilisation's Spiritualist Luna Staff Concept. I used several background texture images to build a complex space for the staff to live in. Of particular importance in this endeavour were the great images of Paul Gerrard - great stuff.

Anyhow, here is the sketch and the final piece: