Monday, 20 November 2017

Minor Project - Technicalities

I've been hung up a lot over the technicalities of how I would create my project, and it's been part of a larger issue of me holding myself back. I had a talk today with Phil however and have more ordered thoughts now. I need a few base 3D "props"/forms, over which I will 2D animate the major effects, I need to not get so hung up on the 3D aspect and treat it much more illustratively.

Drowning Key Resources

Body Shape and Movement Research

My project calls for imagery of a body swimming/drowning, with focus on legs/ hands, and rib cage breathing movement, so I had a quick research around for some key resources to get a grip around these movements to see how they would realistically look.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Childhood Imagery

I had a root through old family photo albums to find imagery that could be useful in the "flashback" part of my project, and managed to find photos from the actual holiday the incident happened, plus some others from the years either side, which I think can definitely be useful. I really like the innocence of some juxtaposed with the blurred and out of focus excitement, which can also be twisted to view as panic, in some of the others. 

Minor Project - Updates

Apologies for the lack of posting, last few weeks have been pretty hectic and I've been dealing with falling super sick, and a project crisis. Getting back on it now. 

I was shown this animation by Phil, and it made me feel that in my project I need to go deeper into how my fear affects me and makes me feel, and try and explain it further to my audience. This was solidified by having a very stressful week or so which resulted in me having my first full blown panic attacks for a long time, which actually gave me a mini lightbulb moment for the project and generated some ideas for imagery I could incorporate to help get across how my thalassophobia makes me feel. 

I have a mild case of pectus excavatum, hereditary on my father's side, which is a rib cage
deformity. In severe cases it can restrict organ function eg lungs and require surgery, but where I don't have a severe case it causes me no major issues. However, it does cause my rib cage to stick out awkwardly at the front and dips in the middle more than usual, meaning it looks like I'm holding in a deep breath causing my rib cage to expand, and have to forcefully push my ribs in to make them look "normal". Plus, when I take deep breaths the rib cage spreading is quite obvious as the dip deepens. 
When I have a panic attack a large part of how I feel is based around the feeling of feeling trapped, and being unable to properly breathe, being unable to expand my lungs fully and take in the air I need. My ribs feel like a solid object around my lungs, a literal cage crushing the air from me, leading me to panic more as I feel as though I cant breathe and causing a lot of panicked air gulping and therefore rib-cage movement. I also get very shaky and cold, goosebumps cover me, hairs stand on end and I feel as though there's a large block of ice crushing down on my chest. These are the same feelings I get when I find myself in water where I cant see the bottom and panic starts to set in. 

From these very visceral feelings I experience I feel imagery of a rib cage, lungs, and ice shards could be very powerful. Possibly the incorporation of ribs changing state to rock/ice or chains to show restriction, or changing again to seaweed tendrils or tentacles from below, to delve into my imagined horrors of the deep, as the fear is totally in my head and caused by an overactive imagination. Leading from that I want to incorporate more imagery similes to help get across my experience and make it more accessible, showcase my mental battle trying to psyche myself out of it, but becoming overwhelmed - and also tie into what I believe is the root of my fear, the near drowning experience when I was young. In short, innate and mundane/normal objects turning to horrors, back to cute/unassuming objects, then back again like the rib cage becoming tendrils, but possibly also bubbles turning to fish, then popping and becoming snapping jaws, reflections in the water darkening and being hints of colossal beasts below the surface, shines on bubbles becoming eyes tracking me.I want to also incorporate imagery from when I was younger, to bring in the two sided nature of my experience, in essence good vs bad. I've been through family photo albums and found a load of photos from holidays when I was younger/ the holiday it happened which could be fun to incorporate and play around with and showcase the pos/neg sides. 

I've also written a small block of text I think would be valuable to incorporate in some way with what I've already written, as it delves into the more mental side of my experience and how I know I'm being irrational and try and combat it, but eventually the fear always trumps: 

That's the thing about irrational fears, they by their very nature make no sense, they have no grounds, and you know that really, you shouldn't be afraid, you tell yourself that there's nothing to worry over, no reason to panic, and you set your mind to it, but when the moment comes and you find yourself in the situation, all logic evades you and the fear hits you like a wall of ice, knocking out any last dregs of reason, and the fear is real. Visceral and crippling and so very real. You're frozen, paralysed and unable to move, make a noise, you just are for a moment, though time is also a phantom that eludes you, and what may be a few seconds can feel like a year. You're stuck, floating, alive but not really living, experiencing, - just being, a veritable Schrodinger's human. 

In short:

  • Knowledge of the irrational
  • Coping mechanisms
  • Body overpowers mind
  • Mind likes to play tricks

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Intro Bath Bomb Imagery

To help get me started I decided to get some real world imagery, I bought some bath bombs and had a little "bath photo shoot". These are a small selection of the photos and videos I took.

I found this bath bomb which is in the shape of a grenade and thought it fit very well with holding unspoken meaning for my project and also bought some pink ones to go with the "pink water" narrative. 

I chose this pink elephant bath bomb because it fit with the pink water I wrote about in my script/narrative, but also it really reminded me of the pool float I had as a child, and on the particular holiday the incident in my project happened, which lead me to consider looking out old family holiday photos to use as further visual resources. 

I really like how the innocence of the pink elephant is almost surreally creepy, and this can be upped my messing with contrasts 

A similar creepy aesthetic can be achieved by making the images black and white.

These next photos I've included here just because of how mundane they look, and to most wouldn't mean anything, but to me each of them conjures anxiety. The bubbles rising from a particular place from the unknown depth of the first, and the objects slowly fading into the depths in the other two. 

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Maya Tutorial - 4/10/17 - Texturing: Eat 3D Head Model

Today's tutorial was focused on texturing and the different effects and levels of realism that can be achieved through the use of inputting different layer maps. Plus the new method for ambient occlusion. Here's a few screen grabs from the tutorial, and the final render once all layers were applied. We also began to take a look at nParticles, finished tutorials on those come.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Quick concept work for Bath Bomb

Bath Bomb - Second Draft

The pink glitter bath bomb goes splash and starts to fizz and the water clouds at once.

I lower my foot into the water. It’s warm - I should enjoy this but my heart is racing.  As my toes disappear below the surface, I start to panic. I feel the screaming itch spreading up my leg, telling me to get out. My mind races. I pull my foot from the opaque water, unscathed.

I take a breath.

The water rises. I peer over the edge and look down. I can’t see the plug.  How far down is it? A foot? A metre? A mile?

I imagine the bottom of the bath pulling further and further away from me. The roaring in my ears is deafening.  My chest is tight, I feel as though the crushing weight of the depths is already slowly squashing the breath from me. I'm finding it hard to breathe, my ribcage stubbornly refusing to expand.  I snap back, reach over and turn off the tap.

It’s a bath.
It’s just a bath.
I’m being ridiculous.
It’s not the water.  It’s not the deep. 
But I can’t see the bottom.
I can’t see what’s down there. What’s waiting for me.

A blinding flash of sunlight, a roar of rushing water, a small choked scream. Suddenly I’m thrown back to thinking about that day I don’t want to.  The day I nearly drowned.

I blink, shake my head, stand and take a breath. I close my eyes and steel myself; then step into the water, the soles of both feet firmly planted against the warm, smooth surface of the tub.

I'm okay.

When open my eyes again, I look down and in sudden realization: I can’t see my feet.  The smooth porcelain turns uneven, fuzzy, slimy.  The water darkens to a dull muddy grey and I swear I see a ripple of movement to the left.  Was that a flash of a dark fin breaking the water? There's something else down there. I know it. 

My breath catches, I blink, and the water is pink again.
"You're unbelievable", I tell myself and force myself down into the bath.

The warm water creeps its way up my arms, chest, neck. I lean back, pinch my nose and submerge myself completely.

The bottom of the bath crumbles away and I’m falling, falling, falling. I can’t see.  I can’t hear. I can’t feel.

I’m four. I’m screaming and everything is a crashing blur of dazzling sunlight and deep blue. Which way is up? Down? Where’s the edge of the pool? Where’s the bottom? Why can’t I stay up? Why can’t I feel anything around me? Why can’t I breathe? I’m choking on the bitter taste of chlorine and my vision is slowly dimming, everything’s getting darker. My skin is burning ice, rippled with panic, I’m a small being of pure adrenaline and goosebumps.

Help me.

Someone help me!

I’m still sinking. What’s around me? My mind sees a mess of snapping jaws, clawed fins, steel scales, bulging eyes. Surely I'll drown before whatever lies beneath ends me itself, at this point I'm not sure which I'd prefer.

I thrash my arms and they connect, hard, with the edges of the bath and I'm back, covered in goosebumps and spluttering.

I decide I should probably take a shower instead.

Bath bombs are overpriced anyway.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Maya Tutorial - 27/9/17 - Introduction to Arnold: Lights

Today was our first introduction to Maya 2017/18 and Arnold. I was pretty apprehensive going into the session, worried that it would all be pretty confusing and I would get lost, but I actually really enjoy Arnold and can see its a very powerful tool. We focused mainly on learning the basic render settings and trialling out some of the different lights Arnold has to offer on a pre-built scene, seeing what sort of effects could be achieved and how, and how to try and correct any issues, eg graininess, that can occur from using different lights together. I'm particularly fond of the mesh light, here's a few screen grabs from messing around with different bits.  

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Minor Project - Initial Concept Art

I wanted to capture, in simplicity, the feeling I get when looking into a body of water when i cant see the bottom, no matter what or where that water is, to try and translate my irrational fear to others, including those who possibly have never even heard of thalassophobia or what it really means before. Something as mundane and simple as a bath to some, to me becomes something else entirely. 

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Creative Writing on Thalassophobia - First Draft

Tentatively, I lower my foot into the cloudy water. Its warm - I should enjoy this, find it calming, soothing, as most people do - but my heart is racing. As my toes disappear below the surface, I start to feel that itch of panic, my mind is racing with possibilities of what could be below, automatically/inadvertently/subconsciously my leg tenses and my foot is pulled from the opaque water, unscathed. I take a breath, I'm ridiculous. The water is rising, getting deeper and filling with more possibilities every moment I wait. I peer over the edge and look down, I cant see the bottom, is it a foot, a metre, a mile? The water appears to darken, its depth seemingly endless, I imagine the base pulling further and further away from me. The roaring in my ears is deafening, my breath catches in my throat and my chest tightens, I'm finding it hard to breathe. I snap back, reach over and turn off the tap. Its a bath. Just a bath. Its darkening from the apologetically obnoxiously pink glittery bath bomb busily dissolving itself, not from miles of open water. I'm ridiculous.

I stand and take a breath, then another, slowing my irrational heartbeat. I close my eyes and steel myself, another breath, I step over the edge and down, for a moment my foot is floundering, sinking into the unknown, and then I feel it connect with the smooth base of the tub. I'm okay. I add another foot to the water, and open my eyes. As soon as I see the absence of my feet my imagination goes into overdrive. The smooth porcelain turns uneven, fuzzy and slimy and unknown. The water darkens to a dull muddy grey and I swear I see a ripple of movement to the left. Was that a flash of a dark fin breaking the water, or just my imagination? There's something else in there. I know it.  My breath catches, I blink, and the water is pink again, the base smooth, the surface still, save for the small ripples around my legs. "You're unbelievable", I tell myself, and force myself down into the water. 

Reclining, the warm water climbs its way up my arms, chest, neck, until Im cloaked in the sickly sweet smelling liquid. I lean my head back to dampen my hair and do a sudden panicked double take to my left as I see something float past above my submerged shoulder... Its a clump of bubbles lazily drifting by. Rolling my eyes, I lean back further, pinch my nose and submerge myself completely. 

The bottom of the bath crumbles away and I’m falling, falling, falling into the dark depths. I cant see, I cant hear, I cant feel. I am open, exposed, vulnerable. For a moment, completely alone in the world. Before the terror of what lies in the deep grips me. Tendrils of miles long sticky whip-like seaweed come to grab at me, to drag me further down to the creatures that circle the depths. I cant breathe, the roaring is back but muffled and deafening all at once. Whats around me? all I can see is an endless black abyss, Somethings coming for me. Whats coming for me? My mind sees a mess of snapping jaws, clawed fins, steel scales, bulging eyes. Icy fear grips at my chest and I cant breathe, surely I'll drown before whatever is in the deep can end me itself, at this point I'm not sure which I'd prefer. I thrash my arms and they connect, hard, with the edges of the bath. I'm snapped back to reality, shaking, spluttering, covered in goosebumps and totally annoyed at my stupidity. My pride doesn't have enough strength over my fear though to stop me draining the bath and taking a shower instead. 

Bath bombs are overpriced anyway. 

Life Drawing - 20/09/17