Saturday, 16 April 2016

ONE @ UCA 15th April 2016


The Viola District / Samantha Niemczyk

On the morning of April 15th, CAA had the pleasure of meeting Orchestra directors from Poland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Slovenia, France and Slovakia - aka the Orchestra Network for Europe.  Our job was to inspire them, to share with them our progress so far on our Kingdom Of Sound project - an animation-in-the-offing to accompany live performances of Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra.  I'm happy to report that our ideas for this animation were met with genuine excitement and even a round of applause!  Green light!



Speed paints into Maya / Research & development

The Flute District / Sam Niemczyk
Projection mapping experiment / Ethan Shilling


The Violin District / Heidi Grover

Speed paint interpreted in Maya / Ethan Shilling

The Double Bass / Eva Pinnington

Speed painting as digital set / Ethan Shilling

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

YPGTTO: Concepts in 3D - Another Double Bass!

I have created and rendered some more shots of the previous double bass environment, which I have put together with the music. Only one shot was reused from the previous test so everything else is new.


It turned out to be quite a fun diversion! I created a motion path based camera rig to make it easier to control. The very last shot demonstrates a mixture of path following, which then switches to track the central tower (whilst still following the same path in terms of position).

Apart from one or two hard edits I'm quite pleased with the outcome.

Ethan Shilling

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

YPGTTO: Concepts in 3D - The Double Bass District

Here is another test - this time based on the following Double Bass District concept.

Eva Pinnington / The Double Bass District



I have created several shapes and put them together to make up an environment. The textures for the towers, the floor and the backdrop were taken from the original image. It's still a work in progress as I imagine everything else should be textured similarly.

One thing that I only realised after bringing it all together was how flat the space was. The giant light coloured swirls were an attempt to get some height variety into the scene, together with the tall towers and tents. As things develop it would be good to think about how the architecture can be more intertwined or better integrated into the landscape.

What do you think?

Ethan Shilling

Sunday, 10 April 2016

YPGTTO: Kingdoms Of Sound Speed Paint Challenge #15 The Kingdom Of Sound


Speed Paint Challenge #15
The Kingdom Of Sound

This is it, ladies and gentleman: this is Britten's big finish.  Your challenge is to show us the Kingdom of Sound in all it's helicopter-shot-style glory.  We want to see the whole realm laid out before us.  It needs to be grand, majestic and super-cinematic!  These are the closing shots, expressing the power, potential and sonic excitement of an orchestra in full swing!






Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra, Op. 34 - Finale / Benjamin Britten

video

Need more inspiration? Visit the original YPGTTO brief here.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

YPGTTO: Kingdoms Of Sound Speed Paint Challenge #14 The Percussion City


Speed Paint Challenge #14
 The Percussion City


Percussion: The percussion family is the largest in the orchestra. Percussion instruments include any instrument that makes a sound when it is hit, shaken, or scraped. It's not easy to be a percussionist because it takes a lot of practice to hit an instrument with the right amount of strength, in the right place and at the right time. Some percussion instruments are tuned and can sound different notes, like the xylophone, timpani or piano, and some are untuned with no definite pitch, like the bass drum, cymbals or castanets. Percussion instruments keep the rhythm, make special sounds and add excitement and color. Unlike most of the other players in the orchestra, a percussionist will usually play many different instruments in one piece of music. The most common percussion instruments in the orchestra include the timpani, xylophone, cymbals, triangle, snare drum, bass drum, tambourine, maracas, gongs, chimes, celesta and piano.








You can listen to the extract (below) as many times as you like. We don't want literal images of the instruments associated with the extracts, but we do want your concept paintings to associate with the shapes, forms, structures, mechanisms, colours, materials and special characteristics of the specific instrument - and the moods evoked by the music extract itself.  

We do want to get a sense of spaces and places - of being 'within' these various districts of our Kingdom Of Sound.

Think of the relationship between the instrument and the extract in the following way: the structure, shapes, mechanisms and movement of the instrument gives you your vocabulary of architectural components, and the music extract gives you the art direction (i.e. the mood, colour palette, composition etc.)

In regards to setting up your speed paints in Photoshop - a few basic rules: can you ensure you're working at the following settings: 2560 pixels x 1440 pixels / 300dpi.

Feel free to go even more panoramic if your vision demands it and feel free to flip between landscape and portrait as your imagination requires. Once you've completed your digital painting(s), can you upload it to your blog entitled YPGTTO Speed Paint Challenge, and include the number and title of the challenge too:  YPGTTO Speed Paint Challenge 14 : The Percussion City

Please can you keep all your original Speed Paint files safe and sound in a folder, as I'll be collecting them in as an archive of the project at the end of the challenge.


Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra, Op. 34 - Percussion / Benjamin Britten


video

Need more inspiration? Visit the original YPGTTO brief here.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

YPGTTO: Concepts in 3D - The Beginning

For this project I have been tasked to come up with some 3D concepts / techniques to create 3D scenes based on the currently submitted speed-paintings.

Although don't expect anything I post to be considered final or even a work in progress. Instead it will be a collection of tests and ideas, which may or may not prove useful as we move further into production.

I have two main test pieces to show today.

For the first, I have taken the following concept by Sam Niemczyk, of The Flute District...


....and projected it onto a single sculpted 3D mesh.


I could have spliced the painting into layers and modelled each part separately, but I didn't want to over complicate the test. This of course means the foreground and background elements appear to be glued together, however the main thing I am trying to demonstrate is what a 3D environment might look like if everything is painted in 3D. There are no lights or shaders in the scene, other than what is actually painted, so it is quite literally a 3D painting.

The second test was based on the following concept by Heidi Grover, of The Violin District.




It's not an exact match of the original concept (which I don't believe is important for this project anyway), but it shows how the style of the painting could be recreated in 3D, using a backdrop, and some 3D strokes and spheres with flat shading.
I imagine a combination of this and some painted objects much like the first test could create an effective 3D painted environment.

What follows next is a mixed bag of unfinished tests, which I decided not to take any further since they were (in my opinion) not going in the right direction.

The original concept of The Clarinet District by Sam Niemczyk.


Pieces cut from the original to make a simple mock-up...


... and added some 3D objects with toon shader.


Various toon shader tests.





Generally speaking, toon shaders have a tendency to look very artificial and cheap so I'm not entirely convinced by these tests, but it might be something to consider if we used them in conjunction with painted textures. What makes them interesting is how they allow you to control the final colour of the shaded object based on light falloff (rather than using a single colour or texture with a realistic light falloff).

It's still very early days, but I think one of the biggest decisions we will need to make is whether we want to create a very literal CG painted 3D environment based directly on the concepts (perhaps picking one style to apply to them all), or whether we want to go for something more realistic in the sense of, how would we create the environment out of real materials like an art & craft project. ie: re-creating models as if made from painted cardboard, clay or paper etc... so imagine something that you could see being physically assembled, yet still completely abstract in it's design (and animation).

For example, I started to sculpt one of these tree things from The Bassoon District concept painting by Jack White...


...to look like it was made from modeling clay.



OK, it's just a super detailed blob, I know, but you get the idea!

Despite spending a lot of time on exploring the possibilities of 3D painted environments, I feel that maybe keeping the final renders a bit more realistic and 'touchable' might be the right aesthetic for the project.

Any thoughts on this?

Ethan Shilling

Sunday, 3 April 2016

YPGTTO: Kingdoms Of Sound Speed Paint Challenge #13 The Brass City / The Trombone & Tuba District


Speed Paint Challenge #13
The Brass City / The Trombone & Tuba District


Trombone:  Brassy, brilliant, powerful, overpowering, solid, tense, penetrating, dramatic, hard, full, sinister, soft, round. 

Low register: Dark, weighty, dense, somber, threatening when played forte, mysterious and full when played piano. It is used for weighty and portentous themes and as bass in harmony sequences.

Middle register: Metallic sound, mighty, sometimes blaring and heroic when played forte. Grave, sustaining, full, mysterious in piano. Very short and barely sounded notes through sustained chords.

Upper register: Here the sound becomes more brilliant and can reach sweeping intensity. The mellowness increases. The tenor trombone, now sounding more metallic, more definite and brighter, shares this register with the French horn, which sounds playful and magical.

Tuba: Round, calm, hearty, loud, robust, ponderous, sustaining, soothing, earthy, sonorous, majestic, cavernous, rumbling, unfathomable, grave, weighty, broad, resonant.

The tuba has a smooth round full tone, deep and sonorous enough it can fill an entire hall. The range of the tuba is quite vast, the lowest notes reach down below the range of the piano and the highest reaching upwards of F4. It's lower range can be loud, raspy, and describable as "flatulent" in nature, while the upper register can be rich, smooth, and sweet sounding.


Trombone

Tuba





You can listen to the extract (below) as many times as you like. We don't want literal images of the instruments associated with the extracts, but we do want your concept paintings to associate with the shapes, forms, structures, mechanisms, colours, materials and special characteristics of the specific instrument - and the moods evoked by the music extract itself.  

We do want to get a sense of spaces and places - of being 'within' these various districts of our Kingdom Of Sound.

Think of the relationship between the instrument and the extract in the following way: the structure, shapes, mechanisms and movement of the instrument gives you your vocabulary of architectural components, and the music extract gives you the art direction (i.e. the mood, colour palette, composition etc.)

In regards to setting up your speed paints in Photoshop - a few basic rules: can you ensure you're working at the following settings: 2560 pixels x 1440 pixels / 300dpi.

Feel free to go even more panoramic if your vision demands it and feel free to flip between landscape and portrait as your imagination requires. Once you've completed your digital painting(s), can you upload it to your blog entitled YPGTTO Speed Paint Challenge, and include the number and title of the challenge too:  YPGTTO Speed Paint Challenge 13 : The Trombone & Tuba District

Please can you keep all your original Speed Paint files safe and sound in a folder, as I'll be collecting them in as an archive of the project at the end of the challenge.


Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra, Op. 34 - Trombones & Tubas / Benjamin Britten


video

Need more inspiration? Visit the original YPGTTO brief here.