early sketches

Laying out my original thoughts in really rough versions, just so I have guidelines to work with. Also, as I’m adjusting this to a song, timing is important, so the relationship between the music and the duration of each scene has also been considered.

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eschatology

Eschatology is literally “the study of the end”.

This study can be either religious, which is often in the form of a doctrine and quite detailed, or philosophical, which can be more abstract.

I’ve been looking into both religious and philosophic eschatology, trying to find interesting elements to include that would give more depth to my animation. What’s interesting is how religions, even conflicting ones (ironic as they all kinda conflict each other…) have a lot in common when it comes to describing the End. Christian eschatology is the most identifiable to Western cultures but (and this is a personal opinion) its a bit uninspired and lacks the beauty of other religious depictions of the end. I will be using certain elements from christian religions, but I will also explore other viewpoints, mostly because I have no interest in presenting the End as something terrible filled with catastrophy and sorrow, but as something natural, recurring and beautiful.

There’s far too many to include here, so I will be posting the themes I chose gradually with each scene as the animation and this blog progresses. This is a good start for anyone interested however…

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another cool demo

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The Big Crunch

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Byzantine art

“If the purpose of classical art was the glorification of man,
the purpose of Byzantine art was the glorification of God”

“Icons are not ordinary paintings.
They are supposed to remind us of the temporarity of life on earth
and how to live in a Christian way to win the eternal life.”

http://www.ancientsculpturegallery.com/icons.html

The main reason I am interested in Byzantine art is because it is universally accepted in sign language. It is impossible not to recognize the connotation of any of the paintings above. Incorporating certain elements and visual strategies in my work will help establish a stronger connection with the audience and what I want to say.

The stongest elements I’ve noticed:

Color: Colors in Byzantine art are exceptionally bright and gold is always dominant. Additionaly, colors are often associated with figures. For instance, Christ’s clothing is usually depicted as green and red. While I can’t remember the exact reason behind that, the important thing is that they are used as symbolisms.

Pattern/Texture: The most common pattern is the mosaic, one I’m not sure I want to implement, but it is undeniable that it cries out Byzantium. Icon art is commonly painted on wood, which is what gives it this interesting texture.

Geometry: One of its most interesting elements, the geometry used is intentionally non-Euclidean because, as quoted above, the focus was not on the physical but the spiritual. Byzantine artists were trying to capture the divine and concepts that transcend human limitations. For instance, a saint might be depicted as someone who is both on earth but also on heaven and that is accomplished through distorted perspectives that might even appear hostile to the eye. I find this quite interesting and I will be exploring ways in which I can use this kind of geometry as a way of symbolism.

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The Decadents

There is much to be said about the contribution of the Decadents to art in general.  Instead I’m going to document what I have found trully inspiring about this small group of artists whose work was often scorned as horrifying and as mere “decoration”.

The Chimera

“These chimeras were lsitend to by poets and painters and some thought that they could tame them, in that fin de siècle which seemed to them to be dominated by the machine”.

Philippe Jullian in his book “Dreamers of Decadence” describes these chimeras as subjects of the Decadents, referring to them as legendary, exotic and mystical among other things. In a world that was being overcome by reason, these artists felt the need to escape it by dreaming of different and stranger times.

The curious creatures and beings portrayed in the following pieces, set in an often alien and dream-like landscape is what I find most inspiring. These artists have managed to capture the essence of other-worldliness, the metaphysical and the apocrypha, all of which relate perfectly to what I’m trying to create. Additionaly, iconic religious figures here don’t follow a specific doctrine: when it comes to their portrayal, it is entirely the artist’s interpretation.

Frantisek Kupka: Resistance-The Black Idol (1903)

The contrasts and scale here help create a trully dramatic effect. The lines guide the viewer to this statue/creature which leaves only speculation as to its proportions. While perspective is used, we have nothing to compare it against and therefore it helps create this other-worldliness mentioned above.

Jan Toorop: Fatalism (around 1890)

The lines in this piece have a sort of narrative to them, leading the viewer through the drawing. The figures are both hideous and beautiful and presented in with strong and simple lines, resulting in them looking strange and alien. It is not exactly clear what is going on but we are given the impression that we are privy to some secret forbidden ritual.

Jan Toorop: The Sphinx (1897)

This drawing has the same qualities that the previous one does, but it also takes them to extremes. The geometry used here is non-Euclidean which contributes to the presentation of the metaphysical. The use of color is also interesting. The dull colors bring out something ethereal to the figures. The brightest object, the Sphinx, is also the title of the drawing, a strong example of the use of Chimeras by the Decadents.

Frantisek Kupka: The Conqueror Worm (1900)

Frantisek Kupka: The Beginning of Life (around 1900)

Victor Prouvé: L’ Automne

Paul Gaugin: Figure de Spectre

Max Klinger: Dead Mother (1898)

Jean Delville: Portrait of Madame Stuart Merrill (1892)

Jean Delville: Orpheus (1893)

Jean Delville: Trésor de Satan



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why the demoscene has inspired me

As someone who works in an almost completely digital environment, I can’t help but feel fascinated when watching a demo. The idea of people trying to constantly push the graphical abilities of computers to their limits is inspiring to say the least. In this digital age, the computer has become a part of everyone’s life and, for the illustrator, it is nothing more than a tool. Digital imaging has pretty much reached its limits in its current form.

Digital animation, however, is still developing and, while a demo doesn’t share that much with a clip of mainstream motion graphics, there are certain common elements. The most important one is, I believe, the fact that the digital provides for animation that would be impossible if it were to be hand-rendered.

This concept has inspired me to try and explore the potential of After Effects as a program as much as possible, taking advantage of the fact that the limitations that would apply to my work if it were to be hand-rendered do not exist in the digital realm.

But enough talk. Here are some of my favorite demos:

Keep in mind that if some of them look very low-fi, it is either because a) they are a few years old or b) they have been limited to work with certain fairly old engines (Amiga for example) and as a consequence are not allowed to exceed a specific byte size.

ASD – HAPPINESS IS AROUND THE BEND

Definitely my favorite as, apart from simply demonstrating beautiful visuals, it also includes a narrative that a wider audience can relate to.

CONSPIRACY – CHAOS THEORY

This masterpiece consists of only 64 kbytes worth of information.

Some other interesting ones:

KEWLERS – DEVOLUTION

UNITED FORCE VS DIGITAL DYNAMITE – BEHIND THE CURTAIN


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what is the demoscene?

I want to begin by talking about the demoscene as it has definitely been my main source of inspiration, not so much for the aesthetics or visuals strategies I will be using, but mostly because of its priniciples and its role in the computer art scene. So what is the demoscene?

A quote from scene.org:

“A demo is the result of the cooperation of multiple young programmers, music and graphics artists. They work as a group (demogroup) on a demonstration program (demo) in which they show their skills at graphics and algorithmic programming, computer generated graphics and music. With these demos the groups then compete with others at large parties in various competitions all over the world.

Most of the programmers and artists are university or college students who enjoy using the material they learn in real life. The demos they create contain unbelievable pieces of 3D programming and complex routines to create fabulous graphic effects. Some even rivalling computer game industry effects.”

Additionaly:

“Demogroups create demos to demonstrate their abilities in programming, music, drawing, and 3D modeling. The key difference between a classical animation and a demo is that the display of a demo is computed in real time, making computing power considerations the biggest challenge. Demos are mostly composed of 3D animations mixed with 2D effects and full screen effects.

The boot block demos of the 1980s, demos that were created to fit within the small (generally 512 to 4096 bytes) first block of the floppy disk that was to be loaded into RAM, were typically created so that software crackers could boast of their accomplishment prior to the loading of the game. What began as a type of electronic graffiti on cracked software became an art form unto itself. The demoscene both produced and inspired many techniques used by video games and 3D rendering applications today – for instance, light bloom, among others.”

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First

ok about time I get this started. Before I begin publishing my work, I believe it would help if I posted part of my learning agreement and then elaborated a bit further on it…so here goes:

“This project will be an animation that expresses the concept of Convergence by telling a story about the end of Creation and the merging of all life and matter into a single point of focus. This event is highly tied with religion, mysticism and philosophy, which is why the aforementioned will form a basis and act as a point of reference throughout the duration of the story. Dwelling on the above, this tale will present the notion of Eternal Recurrence which implies that if time and space are both infinite and non-linear, then the world we live in has existed before and will exist again. The aim of the animation is to create an esoteric experience and guide the viewer through a simulation of a religious revelation.

These concepts will be presented by use of symbolism and iconic imagery found in philosophical and theological teachings. Drawing inspiration from Byzantine art and the Decadents, the visual strategies and aesthetics employed in these two movements shall be explored as a means of informing my practice and successfully conveying the aforementioned symbolism to the audience. I intend to make the final outcome accessible through video-hosting services on the Internet, aiming for a mature target audience that either shows interest in the theme of the project or the technical skills that will be displayed in the video.

The animation will be produced digitally in After Effects. By doing so, I will pursue the progression of my technical skills and expand my career options as an illustrator. Film and animation theory shall be explored with the prospect of gaining in-depth knowledge and insight to the Motion Graphics industry. Additionally, I will be looking into “demoscene”, a computer art movement which focuses on creating inspiring visuals that demonstrate the potential of digital animation (among other things). Exploring the wide range of techniques utilized in this movement and using them as instructional material will inform my final outcome and help me make the most of working digitally.

Furthermore, I intend to apply the harmonious use of visuals with music by adapting my animation to a pre-existing song, in contrast to having a song written for it after its completion. While the former introduces a vast number of difficulties and challenges, it is essential to possess the ability to develop work in this way, as it is without doubt a necessary requirement in the Motion Graphics industry.”


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