Sunday, 1 January 2012

A Massive Change

Today is rather unique for me as an artist. In fact I'm pretty sure that such a fundamental seismic shift in style doesn't happen to artists very often. Many of you have read and seen me banging on for years about how sculpting isn't all I can do. But I've shown very little evidence of that...mainly as I rarely get a chance, to being quite honest.

I always remember as a teenager a mate and myself were watching a documentary on the life of Pierre Mondrian on TV and being amazed at how basically he woke up one day and went from being a traditional artist painting normal stuff to painting fucking coloured squares and lines in the space of a single nights sleep. It just didn't appear to make any sense...well it does to me now. I totally understand how it can happen to an artist. Maybe that's being overly dramatic but I think releasing what I have done today and a total change of style that goes with it allows me that privilege. PMSL

I'm known as the 'Mudbox guy' or the 'creature guy' or 'that annoying git who sculpts really fast' or 'that guy who moans like a bitch on his YouTube videos' or variations on that theme. From today I'd like to think that changes maybe just a little.

You'll have noticed the main site ( has have a major facelift and a massive load of new content. Very few of the images added are monsters or what I'd call my 'usual work' that you have seen for over a decade now. So watch the following video before you read any further.

While talking with Mike Seymour from FXPHD a month or two back about what my next course for them would be, we got talking about the other things I do that I rarely, if ever show. We decided maybe it was time to start showing one of those 'hidden skills' of mine as part of the course I'm giving this term at FXPHD. It is called MOD301 3D Digital Enviroments. For more details on the course I'd strongly advise watching the zero day video introducing this and other courses this term at FXPHD. Those of you that know the way they rate course difficulty at FXPHD know that they have 3 levels, 100, for beginners, 200 intermediatte an level 300 which is far more advanced. If there was a level 400 course,then this could be it, this will not be an easy course I can promise you that, but you will learn a lot.

So in preparation for the course I was tasked by Mike Seymour to basically produce a few full 3d non projection / non 2.5d mattes that used none of the usual tricks and could support any camera move needed. So I did ...and sort of went a bit nuts in the process with joy making a total of over 40 different mattes in a 30 day period (that included the xmas and new year period). I've picked a handful of these for the video, the course promotion and my site.

Now as you can imagine, Mike had only wanted a couple or so when he started multiple finals most days he got a bit of a shock lol. The poor bloke probably feels like he's been under siege. He even dropped a few hints about what I was doing on the last FXPHD podcast and said some very nice things here : (hint: its in the last 5 mins of the podcast)

For a while I've started feeling creatively bored with creatures and whatnot and wanted to put more 'art' into my art. I felt I was being overly limited by the 'mudbox guy' and 'creature guy' label. One thing that I took from the whole episode of making my short 'Of Gods and Men' that I pulled , was that no one realised it was a mix of both real back plates and full 3d back plates.... (Now maybe people were just too busy watching the crappy dragon animation I had to do in 10 mins after being let down by the guy who promised to do it months earlier lol).

It was intentional that I never told people what shots were 3D, or even if there were any full 3D shots in it, or even what was 'proper' footage. Mainly this was as I wanted to see if people would be able to tell if they were not told in advance. If they did, then they never said, so on that score those shots hit their aim of being invisible as 3D. :)

Back then I came up with a workflow that now allows me to create these full 3D matte's very fast using a combination of Mudbox, Vue and 3D Max. (now, 'Matte' is probably the wrong word really as these are really full 3d environments capable of any camera move a director wants to throw at them and not just static scenes or plates) Although the ones you see that I've released today are all created using 3dmax, the course will be using Maya as its used more in high end film production. (...and many of those guys regularly take FXPHD courses.)

When I 1st started 3D I started in apps such as Bryce and Vue, but back then and to some point, even today they weren't seen as 'real 3D apps'. Its only in the last 2 years that we've seen Vue especially become a hardcore production tool and my bet is nearly every film released in 2012 that has effects work in it will have had vue used somewhere. So the time is right to make sure you know it well.

Yesbefore you ask I'll still do my speed sculpts and other sculpting stuff, but now I'm starting to show the other areas I can do things in. So I have a feeling this will be an interesting year.