Monday, 5 December 2011

Pictionory Jackanary

I tried editing and moving a few of my images from Visual Design projects but found they were either unsuitable for the task or I just couldn't get them to work in any other composition. 


(I tried moving some elements in this photo of Bradgate Park that I had taken recently)
Original Photo

Altered 01

Flipped Horizontally
Flipped Horizontally and Altered


So in addition to this I have taken a few photos to convey different visual compositions using the same elements -  

(I added a little story afterwards to help with the narrative ;p)

Tiger-Man wandered around, lost in a vast dungeon.

He cautiously keeps his weapons raised as he travels deeper into the unknown.

He pauses as his cat-like instincts become aware of eyes studying him from elsewhere.

His instincts are true as we behold he is being observed from above.

It appears he is being stalked by an armed adversary. 

There must be bad blood between the two
as the shadowy foe can barely hold back his contempt for Tiger-Man.

Ahead of Tiger-Man a shape detaches itself from the inky blackness.

It is his old nemesis Cy-Gorilla!

It appears the only way out of this dungeon is through Cy-Gorilla.

"Prepare for death, you overgrown puss!"

"You've skinned your last cat, Ape!"

The feline's goading sends the Ape into a red rage.

They circle one another in the narrow chamber daring the other to strike first.

The long feud between these two warriors leaves all sense aside
as a tumult builds in the stone surroundings. 

"What is this noise?" "More Cat antics?"
"I thought this was your doing, Monkey Balls"

Before the Ape can retort a great shape crashes through the chamber.
"DRAGON!" cries the Cat "Look out!"

The two warriors stare in disbelief as the Great Wyrm turns for another strafing run. 

The two old enemies quickly dive behind cover.
"This is your fault Vermin" shouts the Ape over the deafening roar of the Dragon.

They rise to meet their new adversary as it crashes to the chamber floor.

The Gorilla realises with some resistance that there is only one option.
"Although it pains me to say this. Our best hope lies in an alliance against this flying Lizard!"

He can't let the Feline think him weak for suggesting such an action.
"Unless you think you can escape here without facing me Scaredy Cat!"

Begrudgingly the Cat concedes.
"For once we are in agreement"
"We must combine our efforts"

Once again the two warriors ready themselves for combat. This time against a common foe. 
"If we perish this night Banana Brains, I'd just like to remind you that you stink!"
"Likewise 9 Lives!" says the Ape with a grin.


Apologies for the rather crude presentation.
I'm sure it is possible to rearrange these pictures to convey a different narrative.  

One of my favourite methods of visual storytelling is when your eye is directed to focus in certain areas of the image and is subtly held there whilst the scene plays out. 
It is only when there is a drastic shift from one scene to another that you realise you have been holding your gaze there for so long.

The most important thing for us to remember as artist is to keep in mind the rules of composition and to consider the equally effective use of Visual Mass within your compositions.

Certain elements of an image attract our attention more than others. This is essentially what Visual Mass describes.

Using the Rule of Thirds the most important elements are placed nearer or along the imaginary lines that intersect one another. These regions can now be used to better effect. 
For example, our attention can be directed to one side of an image rather than dead center. 

The red glow around the center of this image pulls our eyes to it like a magnet. 
This is a good example of Visual Mass. Colours can be great indicators of where we want our viewers to look.

A landscape painting can be given more breathing room by revealing more sky.
Or in the case of my recent painting of Bradgate Park cropped to give a better balance to the composition. 


After (16:9 ratio)
There was just too much empty sky dominating the image. 

Now the whole painting is more balanced and the key elements lay along the lines of interest.

Although I am still toying with the idea of adding a human somewhere. 
I read in a recent article that we are instantly drawn to depictions of human life in images. 
They become an instant point of interest. 
So I need to be careful exactly where I place them, if at all. 

Thinking about it now it would probably detract from the positioning of the dog.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Thumbnail Generator

I held off posting this until after Mitch Small's lecture. 

It has really hit home how important planning my workload can affect my performance. 
I'm still disorganised with regard to balancing the workload. 
I seem to focus on what I feel is more interesting than what is a priority. 
I have to consider the time factors for each project better so I can make time more available for the projects I want to focus on. 

After reading through the Mere Kat Process and Planning document it really shed light on some of my concerns. 

My main problem is that without a process I flounder about and fail to reach my potential. 
If I know what steps to proceed by, it's all plain sailing. 

If I still haven't walked through a stage when planning out, if I miss a step, it tends to float around in my head like a soap bubble. Always niggling for attention. 
So getting a reasonable amount of thumbnail sketches onto paper really helps dust out the bad ideas. 
You soon 
It also allows you to gain some momentum with your work and reference those stronger ideas when a problem happens to arise. 
Going back a step is never good in any industry so pre-planning is going to save both time and money. 

I used to feel like I had cheated when I used a pose from reference. I don't know why? 
Now that I think of it, it was incredibly dumb and counter productive. 
I must have thought that I wasn't a real artists unless I originated my own ideas. What an idiot! 
Maybe some bad advice when I was younger? 

Reading Mere Kat's thoughts on using reference to guide your work really dispersed all fears. 
How else would I learn? It's so obvious now. 

Having the privilege of seeing Mitch Small at work was a revelation. 
I feel that with more practice ( a lot more) I can produce work at speed that communicates my ideas. 
Which will in turn enable me to focus my results more efficiently. 


I have been tinkering around with an idea for a game since August. Initially it began as joke between me and Inez. 
I woke up one night and she was doodling an interesting little character on my PC. 
She must have lost faith in it because despite my pleading she saw fit to delete the image. 

Little did she know that my software auto-backs images to my desktop. I inspected the plucky little character once again and instantly felt inspired to create some friends for him. 


Inez gave me the go ahead to keep the image for reference. And so began the genesis of "MINIONS" 

All the MInions from L to R: Raid, Toro, Heinz, Armold, Vulc, Orbis,
Skracth, Croaxe, Grrrr, Bead, Ball, Sir Neigm, Furn, Dex,
Drake, Ventz, Ertz, Pot-Shot, Pinch, Crax, Mister Reyes.
Minion is himself a 'minion' of a 'Dark Lord' who has chosen to rage against the world. 
This stirs something deep inside Minion and causes him to revolt against his masters evil plans.
For his efforts he is cast out of the 'Dark Lords' realm, to a place where all the rejected minions reside. 

So it's up to Minion to rally the other Minions together to defeat their evil master.

This idea really took root in my mind. 

We had a great time firing game ideas at each other whilst waiting to go on rides at Alton Towers. A great source of inspiration which I recommend to all. 
Being in a positive sense of mind really accelerates your creative thought process because your full of enthusiasm. 

And being at a Theme Park is like walking through a Video Game environment. 
Everything is carefully constructed to maximise your enjoyment.

(Also having a whole Summer break was a big help. But completely unrealistic in the working world). 

Each character started out in my sketch book to then be refined by points of reference to where I thought these characters were heading. 
One of my main influences is 'Time Bandits' a film created by Monty Python comrades Terry Gilliam and Micheal Palin in 1981.

The Bandits with 'The Map of The Universe'

David Warner as 'Evil Genius'

Terry Gilliam. This pretty much says it all :)

And a rather odd game called 'The Misadventures of Tron Bonne'. 

This game is set in the universe from the Megaman Legends titles. 
The difference with this game is that the main protagonist is the villain. It's an enjoyable deviation from the usual path. 
Tron Bonne is a pirate that raids towns and dungeons for all their resources. The problem is your crew is an inept bunch of robots. 
To improve their performance you must specialize them in certain fields. 

I love how the Thief is pulling a pig behind him :D

Here are a few Servbots and their potential abilities - 

 A sharpshooter, he's known by his nickname, "The Gunslinger."

Location: Gym
Skill: Sniper
Give him the Comic found on scouting missions.

 Smart works in development and the field. He's a fighter and a scientist.

Location: Lab
Skill: Bazooka
Raise Attack and Brains ratings to 4.

 Strange has the kind of personality where you never know what he's thinking.

Location: Café
Skill: None
No skill requirement.

This is the quirk that I enjoyed about this game. Essentially evolving these little guys to be useful.
It's quite a positive endeavour. And fun too more importantly. 
One thing I always read about in the games industry, if it's not fun, it's not a good game. 

As the course goes on I would like to use what I am learning to try and expand this concept. 
It could be good or it could all just seem like a good idea in my head. 
I'll just have to find out.