Monthly Archives: December 2015

Happy Holidays and stuff!

I’m currently snuggled on the sofa in my ridiculously fluffy new dressing gown and socks. I’m actually a little too warm… I hope everyone has had a lovely not-too-warm Christmas. I’ve had a great time with my family!

Now I’m getting a cold. Despite all the warm. My holidays are ruined.

Aaaanyway like I said, I’ve had a great time and am now very much looking forward to my boyfriend Jonah coming up to Beverley for New Years celebrations! Haven’t gotten much art done in the run up to Christmas, but I did crack out the oil paints to have a go at, since I have no PC/tablet. I tried to create a bunch of alla prima still lifes, and am hoping to do a few more before I head back to Leicester.

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I’ve got a lot to practise! I’d like to get better at oil painting because it’s a skill I really respect, and I’d be really proud to be good at oil painting. Also I think people love to buy a good original oil painting, and I want to sell some! I know for sure my mum wants one, and I keep refusing because I’m not good enough yet. I need to learn more about the technique, so I think Alla Prima by Richard Schmid is one to add to my reading list.

I still feel guilty for not doing any more art and prep for my FMP. *sigh*

I’m loving all the eating and chilling out, but I’m really looking forward to going back to Leicester in the new year and getting back into a routine with my FMP. Even though we haven’t started yet, I’ve still made a huge ‘to do/to learn about’ list, and I often lay in bed before sleeping thinking about where my FMP is going to go. I really hope it turns out how it is in my head, which is super awesome. I’d probably have doodled some ideas if I had a means to. Pencil isn’t colourful enough and hell no I ain’t using oils.

Speaking of which, look what I got for Christmas!

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It’s an iPad Pro (and an Apple Pencil somewhere in the post) for me to sketch on out and about! You may or may not recall that I bought myself and iPad Air and Wacom Creative Stylus to doodle with and generally use, and I’m really glad I bought it. It’s been a really useful piece of kit, particularly for showing my portfolio to people in London over summer. I did, however, find that the stylus is quite cumbersome with a really fat nib and dodgy palm rejection. I didn’t sketch much.

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So much clunk. Also I suck.

This rather large (twice the size…) upgrade should be great for drawing with. I’ve heard so many good things and can’t wait for my Pencil to arrive in 2016 so I can give it a go! I absolutely love the idea of being able to do plein air work or idea concepts in colour without the mess of paints, and them putting the PSDs on OneDrive to access on my PC and work on later.

I’m also looking forward to setting up my pretty new moodlight diffuser in my room, reading my 20th Edition Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb, eating tasty chocolate, and eating ramen out of my new bowl! …I like eating.

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The new year is going to be full of fun and terrifying new things, eeek! And I’m going to graduate MAAAAAAAAH. There are too many things to think about; it’s overwhelming, so I just don’t ha.

All I want to do is break down and freak out about how terrified I am for the new year and leaving uni and jobs and how much I’m going to have to do for my FMP and ah ma gawwwwwd what am I going to doooooo. Maybe I’ll write a more comprehensive, thought out blog about my thoughts and fears for 2016 and my final project. For now I’ll just say Happy New Year! And see you next year! (Maybe before, it depends how much of an urge I feel to unload my thoughts on you.)

BYE.

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Christmas Woes.

Handed all my work in a week ago, and since have proceeded to blissfully do bugger all, drinking copious amounts of alcohol, inhaling much food, and playing The Witcher 3.

This is all I’ve done all week unfortunately.

On Monday, I headed in to uni to present  my Final Major Project idea to the a couple of tutors and see if I would get the formal yes/no to go ahead. I got a yes! After some consideration we agreed that I could create 3 dioramas, rather than the initial 4-5 I had wanted to do. I decided that spending 3 weeks on each of 5 dioramas would stress me out, and probably leave me frustrated because I wouldn’t be able to reach my full potential with each. 4 dioramas was the next conclusion, but I later asked to have it whittled down to just 3 so that I could spend time making them a) gorgeous, b) super atmospheric, and c) lively with moving water, grass, sound effects etc.

Quality over quantity. I want something that hits hard in my portfolio and is super pretty!

If anyone has read Robin Hobb’s Fitz/Fool books, you probably know there are a whole load of weird and wonderful locations I could potentially turn into dioramas. I’ve chosen 3 that I think I am happy with;

  • Fool’s tent.

In the dimming light, the Fool’s colorful [tent] was like a blossom cast on the snow. Illuminated from within, the bright panels gleamed like stained-glass windows. What had seemed random designs suddenly resolved into dragons and serpents cavorting. … The glow had come from a tiny brazier, set in a small pit dug in the floor of the chamber. The silk walls caught the heat it generated and held it well, while the light seemed multiplied by the sheen of the fabric. Even so, it was not bright inside the tent: rather it was lit warmly and intimately. A thin rug covered the rest of the floor, and a simple sleeping pallet of wool blankets was in one corner.

  • Fool’s Buckkeep tower room.

Here was light, and flowers, and colors in profusion. There was a loom in the corner, and baskets of fine, thin thread in bright, bright colors. The woven coverlet on the bed and the drapings on the open windows were unlike anything I had ever seen, woven in geometric patterns that somehow suggested fields of flowers beneath a blue sky. A wide pottery bowl held floating flowers and a slim silver fingerling swam about the stems and above the bright pebbles that floored it. I tried to imagine the colorless, cynical Fool in the midst of all this color and art.

  • Stone dragon garden.

I glimpsed the green-beaded, trailing branches of willows coming into leaf and the rose-tinged trunks of paper birches presiding over a deeply grassed meadow. Beyond I saw the brown standing husks of last year’s cattails deeper in the vale. The lush rankness of the grasses and ferns foretold swampland as surely as the green smell of standing water did. … Before long we came to where an energetic stream had long ago washed out a bridge and devoured the road to either side of it. Now it trickled shining and silver in a gravelly bed, but the fallen trees on either bank attested to its flood time fury. A chorus of frogs stilled suddenly at our approach. … Blackbirds called and early insects hummed. … words seemed to hang in the still sweet air. Then I saw the dragon. … We stared at it, as unmoving as it was. Golden and green, he sprawled under the trees in their dappled shade.

I’ve chosen these places because I think they sound beautiful and all have very different atmospheres in my mind which will make each one stand apart from the others.

I can imagine them being incredibly surreal, and want to be able to pull off an enchanting mysticism through colours, sound, texture, composition, and perhaps most importantly lighting. I think this will be a real challenge to achieve in a tiny, enclosed diorama where you can’t have incredible vistas outside the windows and such. But I think the sense of intimacy I want to portray will hopefully overcome this.

I’m really excited to get going. My first task will be to work out a style through creating a set of very small style tests to work out how I want to model and texture my scenes. I’d really like to do this over Christmas, but with no computer back in Beverley that’ll be impossible. So… I’m hauling my oil paints and such home with me, to get some traditional art therapy instead. It’ll do me good, even if I’m guilting hard right now.

In the mean time I guess I’ll just… think about styles.

I’m a little stressed. I should just accept that I can’t work and chill out. *sigh*

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Deadline day, FMP time!

It’s been a while since I posted anything in my weekly blog, because honestly I’ve been too busy/tired. As part of my university projects, I have had to write a big blog post and a Word document every 3 weeks, and it’s just kind of put me off casually blogging for a while. I was just repeating stuff I’d already said in those documents. Today, though, it’s deadline day. I’m handing in the 3 projects I’ve created over the last 10 weeks and I’ve written all my ‘formal’ blogs (you can see them under the ‘submissions’ drop down at the top of the page if you want). There, you can check out my in-depth creative process and how badly I suck at time-management.

Now I’m going to try and enjoy blogging again! Yaaaaay!

Gosh, where do I start? Ok, so… in the last casual blog post I made, I mentioned briefly that I was finally getting somewhere with my FMP idea. Since then, I’ve discussed ideas with various people, and decided the best course of action would be to base my FMP on an existing IP- namely, a book series. This would save me buckets of time on the world-building/imagineering front which I tend to get a little too embroiled in. The idea of basing an FMP on my own world became less and less exciting to me as I began to consider this as a real possibility.

A series of books that I am deeply passionate about repeatedly popped into my head as pretty much the only IP I’d be willing to work from. I took the plunge and decided to email the amazing Robin Hobb whose Fitz/Fool books I have cried and laughed with for years now. She writes fantasy under a couple of aliases, but Hobb is where it’s at! I must have picked up Assassin’s Apprentice about 6, 7 years ago now? It took a couple of chapters for me to get into it, but after that… well. She’s onto her 8th book now, and I’ve read them 3 times. I have all sorts of editions, from super old ex-library copies I picked up on Amazon, to brand-new shiny hardbacks. I’m soon to be the proud owner of the 20th anniversary edition of Assassin’s Apprentice. Seriously, read her books!

And guess what, lovely reader? She said yes!

Cue over-excited meltdown.

I’m completely in love with the worlds and characters she has created, and have toyed with the idea of creating some casual fan-art illustrationy things for a while. What better than to create such work for university as my final project? And get marked on it! I derive so much satisfaction from creating small, concentrated dioramas in 3D that I think it would be the perfect project for me. Throw in some illustration and concept work and I could just about explode from excitement. There are so many places in the books to choose from, and I can’t wait to start narrowing it down.

WoW Diorama (1)

WoW stylised diorama from my most recent project.

Style-wise, I can imagine them been semi-stylised. Not to the point of my WoW diorama, but perhaps a halfway point between that and my market diorama from Summer. Who knows, though. I’m in the process of creating a moodboard at the moment to work out what appeals to me most, and I think I’ll end up creating a couple of really tiny style tests too.

So yeah, I guess that’s my awesome news for 2015. Next Monday I have to present my idea to the tutors, and they’ll give me more advice on the direction of the project so I can start really thinking about it over the Christmas holidays. So this weekend is going to involve writing a presentation, and rooting through Wikipedia pages and the Hobb books I brought to university with me to find all the potential places I could create in 3D. A big part of me wishes I had more time, to create characters and eventually entire vistas too!

Calm down, lady.

Next week I’ll probably have an FMP update and maaaaybe, just maybe, some personal work. Geez, what even IS personal work?! I’m hoping over the 2 weeks that I’m away for Christmas I’ll have chance to do some traditional art since I’ll be PC-less. That’ll be refreshing. Anyway. I have a life to get on with… apparently it’s Christmas in two weeks and I’m attending the midnight release of that Star Wars movie next week? Hm. Until next time!

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Submission Project 3 04/12/15; Stylised Blizzard Diorama

Name: Anya Elvidge

P Number: P1321360X

Email: P1321360X@myemail.dmu.ac.uk

Project Title: Stylised Blizzard Diorama

Overview: To concept and model a stylised diorama that you could expect to find in the world of Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. The diorama should include rocks, trees, a structure of some sort, grass, and props. The models should be low-poly and the textures hand-painted. Display the model in UE4 using a maximum of 15,000 tris and 4 x 1024 maps.

Sketchfab: https://skfb.ly/JpzJ

Research/Design/Moodboards:

I tried to make research for this project as quick as possible so I wouldn’t make the same mistakes as before and get behind schedule. I looked at existing WoW worlds, texturing methods, and inspiring existing dioramas (particularly those by past winners of the Blizzard art contest).

2- Early Moodboard Condensed

Condensed Pinterest board

FUCK YOU

Foliage reference

Development:

I pushed through concepting as quickly as possible and came to a finalised idea. This process was sped up by the fact that I was working within existing worlds where the architecture, modelling and texturing style, and colour palette were already decided for me.

1- Early Scribbles

Quick scribbles, was quick to find an idea I felt I could take further.

3- 3D Overpaints

Created slight variations and chose my favourite.

4- Colour, Mood

Trying colour palettes of different WoW areas.

5- Colour, Mood Development

Chose two and played about with those a little.

6- Elven Architecture Development

Took on feedback and updated some aspects of the design.

7- Concept

I decided to create my final concept as B&W line art because I had already come up with a colour palette in the previous stages, and I wanted to iron out the details so I wouldn’t agonise over it later.

Wireframe (UE4):

WoW Breakdown

Unwraps:

Untitled-1

Lantern, Tree, Rubble and Broken Edges, Uniques. The vast majority of my textures were tilables or planes. It’s part of the reason I feel this project was a success.

Textures:

Albedo

(Grass (alpha), stone path tilable, rope tilable, leaf particle (alpha), lantern (alpha), grass tilable, flowers and vines (alpha), tilable trim sheet 2, tree, tilable dirt, under arch trims, rubble and broken edges, tilable river bed, tilable trim sheet 1, tree leaves (alpha), uniques.)

Texture breakdown

Beauty Shots:

WoW Diorama (6)WoW Diorama (1)WoW Diorama (5)WoW Diorama (3)WoW Diorama (4)

 

 

Conclusion:

I feel that this project has been the most successful of my Style Matrix work over the past 9 weeks. I’m really happy with the colours, texture consistency, and atmosphere of this piece (at least moreso than the shopfront). I was very quick to realise that my initial method of modelling and texturing (model > unwrap > texture) was probably slowing me down quite a lot and so I changed my workflow to; create tilable textures and trims > model > map tilables to model > texture remaining uniques separately. This meant that I created a small amount of textures that I could reuse over and over across my scene, particularly if I felt short on time. This workflow was also much more fun, because I really enjoy hand painting interesting textures without the constraints of obscurely shaped unwraps.

My favourite aspects of this piece are the overall atmosphere and composition. I wanted the diorama to have a mystical, self contained feel that didn’t feel like it had been pulled randomly out of a larger environment. I tried to achieve this by creating elements that led the eye round the piece; bottom bridge, up stairs/ tree trunk, round base of canopy, down tree lantern, round to left hand shrub, and back along the grass to the bottom bridge. Unfortunately, I didn’t include the campfire I had considered adding to the scene in my time management. It would have worked really nicely as an additional focus point.

Once again time management was a slight issue, although it was much much better than in other projects. Ultimately my main problem is over-exerting myself and being unable to complete all my aims despite working very long days. I made a very conscious effort to not include too much work in my plan (hence omitting the campfire and other assets), although I still spent too many hours working on this scene. I tend to over-estimate what I’m capable of and not actually think carefully about how long an asset or texture may take me.

As a result of having to rush towards the end of my project, there are some aspects of the diorama that I am not pleased with or could do to spend more time on fixing, such as texture seams (dirt texture), models intersecting weirdly (note grass planes and tiling grass/dirt texture), unfinished textures (some vines and ferns are not finished and hence omitted, various other textures not complete to ideal standard), and rushed models (tree). Unfortunately I will most probably be busy working on my Epic City project during week 10.

Despite the problems I encountered, the amount of mistakes I made during this project is greatly down from my shop front. I know I’m improving and learning a lot, and hopefully I’ll be able to take this further onwards to my FMP, where I have decided to make a series of dioramas. I’m really looking forward to seeing what I’ll produce for it.

Overpaint:

I did a very quick overpaint to illustrate things I’d do if possible;

Overpaint

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