I’m digging the modo’s real-time preview. It’s like auto pixelart. I should make a movie rendered in it.
Call me crazy, but I like Berlin. And one of the – okay, Heribert, you can stop calling me crazy now – and one of the things I most like about it is the diversity of museums and zoos. Seriously, there are museums everywhere, from bauhaus to Islamic Art to computer games and all sorts of history – and two zoos. There’s also a sort of fierceness about the role which culture plays in lending a city identity. So when I encountered this call for a new Berliner souvenir I had to play out the idea of creating something that pays this aspect of Berlin some respect. If we’re to feed into the consumer-craze of tourist tokenism, I’d rather take it up as an opportunity to point to this unique Berlin offering. Souvenir doesn’t mean character, but it includes character…
My take is a Giraffatitan in toon form called Boomboom. He loves Islamic patterns, Nefertiti’s nose and – while he appreciates an evening of fine opera – his acoustical culture of choice is dubstep … wouldn’t that be great to animate!?
There would be a realistic Giraffatitan outdoor life reconstruction in scale 1to1 at the Park at Nordbahnhof, adding a physical attraction between the Mauer Museum and the Museum of Natural History and tie-ins to the graphic character for printed beer krugs and back packs, stuffed figures, the whole 9 yards… and a percentage of profits going to the cultural institutes of the city.
I’m really interested in feedback, particularly from anyone familiar with Berlin. I’m not sure if I’ll enter, as this would need a good deal of work to make it presentation-ready and I don’t think this really has a chance. The souvenir competition is all designy… and I don’t read the call as the beBerlin folk looking for cultural plugs. It could propagate some awareness for what I consider to be Berlin’s true stars, though. And my only other idea for a fitting Berlin character is a cute little devil character that barfs when you squeeze him.
A bit frustrated that I haven’t been free to indulge in what I want to the last few months, I interrupted my scheduled work for a speed paint. Not sure who the diners are, but the buffet is Supersaurus. I’d like to get a larger therapod coming in from behind and a smaller pterosaur with piqued interest in the overlooked tongue up front. Or maybe that would be too much.
So, one of the things which has been dividing my attention… wood floors, ceramic tiles and an endless list of things to do. Houses are fun! I’ll be at he EVA meet-up tomorrow and Friday, then off to renovate once again, with bouts of acquisition and concept work in between, won’t come up for air until the new year. But then, my friends, the air will be so sweet!
Hot off the presses: I’m proud to announce that I’ll be giving a talk at the Senckenberg International Convention in the afternoon on the 6th of June. Needless to say – I’m psyched. Will have to be at the top of my game to justify the kind of company I’ll be in. Topics revolve about digital assets and experiential learning. More from me later… and there’s lots from Senckenberg: check out the Project Senckenberg facebook pages and pencil the day in on your calenders.
In case you’re wondering, I’ve been incredibly busy of late. One of the things I’ve been doing is herding massive swarms of lo-poly houses. Well, high-poly too. But here’s a glimpse of things to come… today’s tech test.
Thought I’d share a glimpse of one of the things that I’m grappling with at the moment.
I’ve had this done for some time now, but only got around to rendering just now. It’s my tried and true Kentrosaurus ala Heinrich, but now with the lessons learned from the elephant gait analysis. Can you see the difference from my old walk (from way back when)? Beside the background color?
The difference is very subtle but has the effect that while the back two legs basically biped along with 4 frame overlap, the front legs are asymmetrically shifted so that – instead of an alternating left / right stance – there is more time with three feet on the ground. Once I’ve seen both, the symmetrical one looks laughably wrong.
In my quest to truly understand gaits, I’ve dove into the study Biomechanics of locomotion in Asian elephants by Genin, Willems, Cavagna, Lair & Heglund. The graphic below is from the paper, and you can see that they are interested in calculating the forces on each of the joints. While that is interesting, I’m after the visual effect as represented in a walk cycle. So I took that bottom image and created an animated gif. It should run at .2 seconds a frame on most current computers, which would be in keeping with the given speed for this gait. I’ve doubled the walk so that – on the left – the elephant is stationary, on the right the ground position is. I want to do both gaits and eventually develop a system so that the footfall pattern can determine a non-linear, hand-animated sequence.
This sequence will – hopefully – be based on a simulation that Heinrich is trying to squeeze into his busy schedule, so that it would be specific for Kentrosaurus. Rock’n'roll.
Stand from last Tuesday (been on the road since then). It’s… getting there. Need to do some modular studies of footfall patterns.
Hi guys. This is Kentrosaurus. Or at least it will be… bear with me and some very rough w.i.p’s. But look at him. What a freaky, dragon-like beast! What I love about this is that I never would have thought of a Kent moving like this. I mean, I read the svpow lying neck posts like everyone else, I know how vertically stiff the tails must have been and the size of this guy at the museum is just… chin-height. But sometimes it takes a scientist to kick you in the ass and actually try out what all that might mean. And then – despite all its unpolished keyframes and problematic deformation – a noble, strolling dragon appears. Who’d a thunk it?
Apparently, Heinrich. More to come.
Over at artEvolved, Scott Persons has called for illustrations for his talk at the Hadrosaur Symposium. What fascinates me about this is the spirit of a scientist asking for caricature to help communicate the message of his study – even proposing a human with a starting pistol next to a Trex and a Hadrosaur about to race for – no, not their lives – but for a bit of athletic pride. One of the orthinischian home team, so to speak. Almost makes you want to put a sauropod rooting for Trex – the saurischian jock.
As such, this puts communication of concepts in the front seat – ala Bakker’s illustrations – as opposed to specimen geek-out ala Paul. And as I’m a total fan of Bakker, I’m in. May even finish all three, whether Scott wants them or not. here’s nr. 3: the hadrosaur triumphantly busting through the finish line and an exhausted tyrannosaur plodding up behind. My Trex is beyond plodding…. he’s beat.
Brian Switek plugs Heinrich’s Kentrosaurus paper at the Smithsonian blog, and my illustration is there, front and center. Heinrich’s write-up is at Palaeontologia Electronica, again, with my illustration. It’s worth a read (as are the other papers there) and I suggest you hit the link and head over.
This illustration is a landmark for me. It’s the first full-fledged illustration that I’ve done of a dinosaur – as opposed to speed-paints, concepts and sketches. It shows what my intentions are – I want a detailed, lush imagery with science at its core, something that generates excitement without being spectacular.
Did I manage all those things? No. Stylistically, it’s a bit too ambiguous in style between realism and illustrative. And it could read better in a few parts, compositionally its too uniform in color and the main Kent’s pose could be more dramatic. Lesson learned. What I discovered is that I enjoyed the challenges of creating an environment that felt like a huge creature has been ravaging through the foliage – and feel I’ve been successful. The ravaging isn’t by the Kent, by the way… there are already young fern fronds indicative of stage one recovery. The Kents are browsing through a path previously trampled by a sauropod herd.
And that’s what I enjoyed most about making this: and where I am in fact happy with the result. The image is suggestive of a story, and the story explains the science. There’s a rearing Kent, then the foreground Kent who’s been disrupted, and an Allosaurus feigning indifference up front. That’s what makes me look forward to future projects, such as finishing this one. It’s begging to be an animation.