Thursday, January 29, 2015

Keep the Aquatics Flying part II: Taking Risks, Then Failing

(The last piece from JP Targete's creature design class at Gnomon)

      This was the last piece from JP's creature design class over at Gnomon. I almost didn't post it. Then I remembered the purpose of the blog was to track my development every shitty step of the way. So not that this piece is a complete failure, but it just fell very short of what it could have been. Rather than toy with it, noodling over it here and there, I decided to just cut it off and move on. Sometimes when working on personal pieces it's the right thing to do, the lessons learned can still be applied and executed on whatever comes next. 

 (The project was very open in regards to design criteria, the result was a pretty exploratory thumbnail phase. The aim was to try and reach in different directions with each iteration while maintaining a similar mood.)

     Above is the original thumbnail sheet. This branched off of the visual development for the Landria character posted previously. Instead of picking one out of such a wide range of thumbnails, I split the character into two and developed them side by side. Which may explain some of the shortcomings. It could have been better if I focused the time and energy into just one of them. All things considered, it was a very challenging creature with lots of light sources, material changes and movement. It was a little over my head in regards to rendering but turned out to be very educational. As is the case with most things, a lot of growth comes from rough terrain. 

 (The disappointment in all it's disappointing glory. Look at it, flying all disappointmently.)

     A lot of energy was lost during the render process, at the same time a lot of the flaws I overlooked in the sketch were exposed ten fold as the render progressed. Since this piece, I've developed a much more extensive checklist of design and technical principles. The checklist is pulled up during schedule review times that are now much longer than before. A quick minute or two doesn't cut it. A good 10 minutes, blurring eyes, away from the desk and checklist in had. Doing this will slowly bring a lot of the issues out of hiding.
     One major issue with this creature: way to busy. There is almost no rest. Too many materials, light sources, too many fins and too many wings. A busier design can work but it needs a lot of finesse to pull off. There wasn't much iteration on this design and if there was I'm sure a lot of the excess would have been addressed. The cost of rushing a piece without having a concrete work flow established.

(The notes featured above are just the tip of the iceberg and are written in much nicer language than what I hear in my head.)

     So just a quick (er) post this time. I'm considering posting some things in mid-development as it may be interesting to see things come together in a "live" sort of way. The idea of opening up the iterative phase to feedback on here could be interesting as well. 
     There are new works and other opportunities for better execution during the render phase. As discouraged about this piece, there are plenty of new pieces in the works that are encouraging. This month has been about getting back to a more rigorous visual development phase before rendering. The the idea is to merge what I learned last Fall with designs that are much more thorough. So hopefully sooner than later there will be plenty of stubborn beasts, homeless aliens, flying hot rods, and disgruntled mechanics populating the blog.

I'm going to go breathe somewhere else now. 

An inspirational message from Danny Glover....
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