Saturday, July 27, 2013

Rock Giant

About 10 minutes into Pacific Rim, I felt like a 10 year old kid again.  I enjoyed the movie so much that I knew my kids had to see it as well. To me it felt like the kinda movie you see as a kid and talk about later in life when you're all grown up and feeling nostalgic. So I took my son to see the film a couple days later, and he loved the spectacle as much as I did.

Anyway, I was inspired to draw a giant creature of my own. I started doodling some designs that I wasn't feeling (maybe I'll post them as well) so I decided to bust out Alchemy for some scribbling. What I ended up with was something that felt like a big hulking rock creature.

I took this doodle into Photoshop and threw a quick color palette together, then finished the image in Sketchbook Pro.

I'm pretty happy with the design and texture I was able to get using Sketchbook's texture brushes. It's super easy and runs nice on my tablet :)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sick Bay: Attempting to apply color theory

For this iteration of the Sick Bay scene, I wanted to work on implementing the feeling I'm trying to convey: something went wrong and a patient has died.  Sure, this thing unfortunately happens every day, but I'm gonna go ahead and be a bit dramatic :P

The first problem I had with the previous iteration was the color palette for the room itself.  Having the primary splashes of paint be red was fighting me on a couple fronts.  First, in a medical setting, particularly in an ER or patient's room, you won't find bright red (at least that's been my experience).  Psychologically, I think this is to give the room a calming quality for the patient, red is an exhilarating color.  The red also left me little wiggle room when it came to ramping up intensity.  So I updated the color of the paint in the room to be a deep blue.  This shade of blue is intended to be calming, but also to invoke concentration for the doctors at work here.

Another big change in the scene is the lighting palette.  Using the deep blue paint color as my base, I chose 2 new light colors, an amber compliment to signify something has gone wrong (the opposite of my calming color) and a teal for the sort of neutral hue (derived from the color of doctor's scrubs).  I left the central computer lighting blue to help ground it as the central feature in the room (even though it's not really the focus of this scene).

After getting all this balanced out and adjusting the color grading to work better with the new scheme, I ended up with the screens below (captured straight from the UDK viewport).  In all, I'm much happier with the way this looks and feels.  There are still some things to tweak before it lands in my portfolio, but progress is good.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sick Bay Updates

I spent some time updating materials and lighting today.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sci-fi Sick Bay Environment

I started this a while ago, and have actually called it "done" a couple of times already.  With the revamp of my blog/website, I decided that I would take my time gathering together pieces for my gallery pages to make sure and include only my best stuff.  As I was going through the screenshots that I'd done for Sick Bay (rounds 1 and 2), I felt that it just wasn't good enough.  The initial story that I wanted to tell with the scene wasn't coming across, and the visual quality wasn't where I wanted it, in particular the surfaces and lighting.

So I decided to rework it, this time I will be soliciting critique from the Polycount forums, hoping to get this environment in good shape.  My end goal is to create a nice fly-through animation that, coupled with the updated lighting and surfacing, will tell the simple story of a failed emergency surgery procedure.

Below is my first pass relight and color palette adjustments, screens grabbed from the UDK viewport. There are a number of things that I already want to adjust, but I want to get some eyes on it.  I'll post back here with updates as I have them ready.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Speed Paintings: "Sleepless" study

In addition to breaking down my favorites scenes from "Sleepless", I wanted to do some loose paintings of a couple scenes to try and practice some of what I learned from the show. These images are kept loose and done quickly, in under an hour each. I did the paintings in Artrage, and eyeballed the colors (none of that tracing nonsense the software will let you do).

The first image is a shot of Preacher that demonstrates the use of an ethereal purple fill light to give the character an eerie, almost supernatural feel.

The second is a shot of Mulder and Krychek interviewing Sal.  I like how the atmosphere cools down the agents, allowing us to focus on Sal in the foreground.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Lighting Study: "Sleepless"

"X-Files" Episode: "Sleepless"

Director: Rob Bowman
Director of Photography: John S. Bartley

Preacher meets up with Henry Willig (~13 minutes in):

This scene is lit with hard, dramatic high contrast lighting, almost film noir style. Preacher is consistently lit low key with a strong back light conveying his intensity and making him feel pretty intimidating. There is also a consistent hard purple fill light that gives him a bit of a spooky feel Maybe also used to foreshadow Henry's death which is caused by the Preacher. Willig receives only hard, putrid yellow lighting throughout the scene. Yellow and violet blue create intense contrast, adding weight to the scene, you get the sense Willig shouldn't trust the Preacher. Willig's tired eyes are obvious in the high key lighting scheme. Seeing his sleepy blood shot eyes so clearly helps introduce the focus of the episode, and helps connect Willig to The Preacher and the other men with the same affliction.

Mulder meets with his friend on the inside (~19 minutes in):

Upon entering the construction site, Mulder is bathed in hard red light. This is potentially intended to convey danger to Mulder or to convey his intensity going into the meeting. He also passes through an unnaturally purple swatch of light with diagonally slashing shadows, helping to set a mysterious and ominous tone for the scene. The informant remains low key and mostly in shadow with purple and green splashes and slashes behind his silhouette. In contrast, Mulder is well lit with simple shapes in warm tones behind him, almost as if to ground him in contrast to the informant's spooky feel. The informant is dropping some heavy stuff on Mulder, the scene makes him feel almost like a ghost.

Two cops shoot each other (~22 minutes in):

Upon arriving on the scene, Mulder and Krychek are surrounded by sickly yellow hues. As they near the scene of the crime, they're silhouetted in front of red light that's illuminating a stairwell at the end of the hall. This sick palette is very similar to the colors used in the scene where Preacher visits Willig. Preacher is seen in blue violet light as he hides in the alley outside the crime scene, maybe a visual clue that he is responsible. The low key lighting on Preacher also helps convey that he is out of sight, hidden in shadow.

Scully types her thoughts regarding Mulder's reports (~23 minutes):

This scene opens up in clean white light, focused on the reports Scully is reading. Scully's lighting is very stylized in the shot. While her face is mostly low key, her eyeglasses glow blue with the reflection from her monitor. Maybe the idea is to sell just how focused she is on the material. With her glasses being full blue, it's as if we are seeing what is on her mind. Her focus is entirely on the report she's typing, and it's for the moment completely consuming her.

Mulder and Krychek interview Salvatore (~26 minutes in):

When the three men sit down to talk, Mulder and Krychek sit silhouetted while Sal is lit full bright. This hints at the idea that he's being interrogated while also drawing attention to his tired eyes. Sal tells an intense story, giving a great performance. Lighting him high key in this way allows us to read his full face during the performance, full of emotion and driving home the terrifying fact that these men hadn't slept in 24 years.

Mulder thinks he sees Preacher (~ 32 minutes in):

Upon entering the train station, there is a large amount of red in the lighting, adding tension to the scene. Upon introducing the Preacher, splashes of green join the palette in a big way. The Preacher's backdrop is predominantly green, as is Mulder's just before the strange incident. This may help convey moments when Mulder is under Preacher's influence. There is also a fair amount of purple in the crowd's wardrobe, potentially foreshadowing what's about to take place, Mulder falls victim to one of Preacher's mind tricks. Upon waking up, the scene around Mulder is bathed in blue violet light, as if to hint that he has just fallen victim to the Preacher. The light directly on Mulder is slightly green, almost to convey that Mulder is ill.

Preacher deals with Dr. Girardi (~35 minutes):

The lighting in this scene is low key on both characters, with intense back and rim lighting. The environment is pierced by sharp daggers of light, really giving the setting a dangerous feel. This scene in particular carries a lot of weight in the episode as it's the moment when Preacher gets revenge on Dr. Girardi. As he's preaching to the doctor, Preacher is backlit in an other-worldly purple before moving into shadow to let his vision take over. As Girardi closes his eyes in acceptance of his punishment, a restful blue haze appears behind him. I could be way off on this, but I think it's meant to convey that Girardi wishes to atone for what was done to the soldiers (he was only following orders).

Krychek's affiliation with Cancerman (~42 minutes):

Throughout this scene Krycheck is softly, high key lit while the Cancerman and 2 others are fully silhouetted against smokey shafts of light. This scheme gives us the sense that Cancerman is a powerful and mysterious man, even a bit sinister. Fully illuminating Krychek gives his “confession” weight and sincerity for the audience. The red chairs may represent the power in the room.

In conclusion:

I loved this episode.  The style and execution of the lighting really helped convey the tone of the story.  I think the style also gives the episode a nightmarish feel, which suits the the story nicely.  This has been a fun study, and I feel even if I misinterpret some of the intention of the lighting, it's given me plenty to think about while doing my own work.