Friday, 30 October 2009


sorry for the delay in uploads, have had serious drama with my pc, but its back in action now, so will be uploading asap. sit tight people.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

this song is kicking ass

thought i'd share as its pumping me the hell up! as you can tell the red roosters really kicking in. and yes, student budgets don't stretch to redbull im afraid

final portrait here it is

well...this is it.
not much that can be said that i haven't said already. look forward to hearing what everyone thinks tomorrow.

Maya 2

Maya Lighting task. excuse the random order.

Some Maya work

I'm REEEAAALLLLY finding this difficult, so please everyone bare with me, I'm trying to get my head around some of this stuff still, being partially inumerate doesn't help, but it's not an excuse, i will get there. I've done some of the pieces which i found i could manage, as i didn't want to leave an empty space with no Maya work.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Life drawing

Please excuse the beatnik style of showing these to you, I'm just going to throw them all in at once, as i know they're quite delayed.
anyway, here they all are so far.

£5 to anyone who can tell me what the yellow paperweight in 2 of the pictures is really? :)

Final portrait complete!

Its taken a sweet load of my time, but it's done, and I'm really happy with how its come out!

Now, this may sound bizarre, but I'm planning on getting my tongue pierced tomorrow, and so I've been told, my speech could impaired for up to a week. so I'd like to use this space to write down the 'sustenance' of what may be missing from Fridays inevitable incoherent ramblings.

this is a sketch done with a graphics tablet in photoshop. I'm still fairly basic with the whole use of these badboys, but I'm slowly getting used to them, and have to say, they are truly amazing tools when used properly.

This portrait isn't based on anything, in other words, I didn't draw from a mirror or a previously taken photo, and the reasons are as follows:
  • a photo shows a mood or state at that given time, why would drawing it again portray anything new?
  • drawing from a mirror would be extremely pointless as it would be just a drawing, keeping a mood or theme whilst drawing and posing would be forced.
  • I wanted to show exactly what i was thinking and feeling at the time, it changed from the start of the drawing so i just let it flow and got my final result
  • this way, i was able to show the key points i intended, as mentioned in my previous entry.

Now the reason i haven't posted the actual picture, is because i don't want Phil to verbally bitch slap me and tell me its ''whack'' with only 3 days to spare. Kidding. well half kidding, but i am actually adding finishing touches e.g. background

anyway, it's all ready to go, so Lets crack on with the essay!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

As Promised, the before mentioned image.

I'd Just like to take this moment to thank All the staff at UCA who were kind enough to let a CG student use all their facilites, and Danny Bourke for his intense effort to help me get this shit right!

Mood & Lighting Choice Part 3

Keeping in theme with the before post, this next image can be seen in 2 ways if you ask me. again, not necessarily a subtle light choice, as the shadows are quite flat yet intense and can be interpreted in any way the viewer chooses.

The light quite obviously is coming from the left (viewer right) again, at a slightly lowered level but not as dramatically low as the previous shots. I've tried to keep the face as neutral as possible (excuse the glasses if you will, staring at spotlights from 9am till 3pm can really be a strain on the eyes) yet the subject is still quite isolated and hostile looking. I've not mentioned this before, but the hand positioning in most of these portraits are the same, a neutral hands to the front pose. in reflection, this is also in my opinion, contributing to the pernicious look to all of these shots. The fact that the subject looks tranquil and calm under these 'aggressive' poses and lighting scenes, suggests that he is happy or comfortable with it, that it is nothing new to him. perhaps this could go down well in the final portrait?

Next up, is a very similar portrait to the before shown, apart from a lesser intense shadow and a broader light source, made by using a filter cone on the lamp.

As you can see, the light comes in form the viewers right again, but is much more dispersed and has a larger fall off range. the subjects eyes although looking right ahead, don't ever seem to look directly into the eyes of the viewers like most onward facing subjects do (and please believe me when i tell you, this shot took almost 2 hours to get that desired effect) which gives a vacant feel to the portrait, that the person in it is really elsewhere.

it's not uncommon in cinema for antagonists to be shadowed heavily in certain scenes and promotions, as we already know, the darkness in a picture can give mystery to the subject.

In this portrait of serial killer Micheal Myers, the same effect has been done. thin but dense shadow on one side, with an intense one directional light source, and although the subject is staring head on, his eyes are almost out of the equation, again giving the vacancy and hostile mystery to the piece.

Now for the final Photographic portrait. this one also took quite a while to get correct, partly due to vanity, partly due to the fact that i wanted to completely lose the eyes but not much else in the shadows.

Its not letting me upload it in this blog entry as I've used up too much space already, so the photo will be in a standalone entry after this.

Anyway, what this is basically showing is that no matter who you are, to get anywhere, you need to slay certain demons, make certain sacrifices including your own identity at times. Ask any friends, you very rarely see me out getting wasted, I'm usually at home reading up on my sport, learning, or at the gym getting what needs to be done out of the way. I'm not a boisterous man, yet have become even more withdrawn over time due to almost segregating myself from my social life.

To sum up, my final portrait really needs to show these key features

  • Hostility
  • isolation and segregation
  • sacrifice
  • loneliness
  • determination
  • restriction
  • and inhibition

Mood & Lighting choice part 2

Now, where were we?
moving on to the 4th lighting choice, I have to go out on one and say that, OK this one may be seen as a bit cliche', but hey, cliche's became what they are by 'working' so to speak.

As you can see, the ol' torch under the chin routine. well, its not that simple to be fair, i can assure you of that, but agreed, the effect is similar. back when i can even research, lighting below a subject upwards, gives an eerie almost supernatural feel. how many of our dads tried to scare us and our 4th grade chums that Halloween by gurning and flashing a torch under his chin? just me? oh... well the point I'm driving at, is that its almost instinct that we know this lighting position is ''scary''.

To be perfectly honest, I didn't think I'd ever use this lighting effect for fear of being ripped into by the platitude police. however despite this, I do have a few parodies in mind.

Swiftly moving on, I hope i won't earn myself the tag of a bromide, but this photo is similar to the one just stated: low light aimed upwards, however it is brought in a lot closer, so the light and shadow that is cast, is highly intensified compared to having a distant light source.

I've tried to make myself look as neutral as possible, as not evoke any type of reaction based on anything but the light source, and still i look like a baneful kidnapper. I'm seriously considering the surgery guys! In all seriousness, I will bring the lighting to blame.

Famous B movie Director 'Ed Wood' (who is an actual hero of mine i might add) was noted in saying: ''...A light underneath a malign character is so effective in the western world because we are all aware of the burning lights from hell that may, or may not shine upward through them...''

That says it all really doesn't it? that may be the reason we find that direction so menacing in the first place, and i think the stronger light source in this portrait only intensifies the vice that the subject shows. I may not necessarily use the upward angled light source for my final piece, but am considering using what i found with the stronger light source.

Sticking with this, as i did start to see something i really liked, i continued to use the upward angled light in an attempt to strengthen the balefullness that the subject gives off to its audience.

Now, it may take a second look to see what has changed (and no, I don't mean the topless chap, i mean the lighting changes) but all I've done, is once again pulled the light slightly away and angled it upward, however this time, I also angled the camera at the same gradient as the light source was coming in.

This effect is abundantly used in cinema, old and modern, and was commonly put to use when trying to portray the power or significance of someone or something in a scene.

This is actor Tom Hardy, posing for the film 'Bronson'. If you compare this to what he usually looks like, you'll be pleasantly surprised what a little lighting and make up can do to someone.

Hardly the tank he's made to look like in the film poster is he? now i know you could argue about the expressions on his face etc. but the fact of the matter is, the seedy almost sepia looking portrait is what makes Hardy look Malign. In discovering this, I'm quite entrigued to see how this could contribute to my final photoshop portrait of myself.

Part 3 coming up...

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Someones mood? and lighting choice?

OK, this i think might be a long one, so put a pot on before you read this one.
So, without beating around the bush so to speak, lets just dive right in.

we all know about the almost cliche', colours in a portrait explain the mood. And yes to some extent this is true, but not necessarily always the case (blue and dark colours would certainly be used in a portrait of an Eskimo, but heck he might be happy right?) another important part of depicting the mood in a portrait is the use of lighting.

to try and get the right mood for my portrait, i wanted to some experimenting to some extent, to get that lonely, hostile feel in my portrait.

now before i show you these, I'd like to raise a point. A lot of my peers who have spoken to me about my blog almost complain that a lot of my research is photo based. yes it is, this is because i come from a photography background and it's what i feel comfortable doing. Don't worry, its not a cop out, there will be all my sketches uploaded within the next day or so, so chill out! and as for the photos taken today, it took 6 hours of lighting and rigging and editing, so please avoid thinking that I've slacked off, because that's far from the case.

Wouldn't want to meet that handsome chap in a dark alley! well, in all seriousness, the confrontational onward glare accompanied by the lower lighting immediately makes the viewer feel uneasy. just the feel I'm going for, i want to give the viewer a slight taste of the unease i feel in my job, the loneliness, the awkwardness and this shot gives a fare flavour of them all. I'm still on the fence though for this lighting.

I do not, repeat, DO NOT, want this to be given the redundant tag of ''this shows a dark and light side''. this portrait doesn't, so lets not go there. i gave this a distinct one sided light to give a feeling of motion, let me explain. the view of the subject is ahead, and everything to left is darkness's. on the right however is light, the escape if you will, the need to break the mould and change, only the subject is only just coming to realise this, it is only half apparent to him. this is the motion that i mean. it also gives a feel of loneliness, in the sense that, although yes i do socialise and are around people, this may be superficial (like the light source) and whats really going on has yet to be realised by the subject and the viewer.

This is my personal favourite. once again the light source is more dominant on one side of the figure although is slightly elevated this time. with the peak of the hat blocking out both eyes, you are already locked off from a large part of the subject, by not being able to judge the characters mood through their eyes. again, i don't know, cliche' or not, eyes are a major factor in giving away a story, police use the eyes as a human lie detector, so just think what they do for someone cemented in that moment. as soon as you remove them, you remove the safety of that, and create an enigma. this gives a strong hostile feel to the viewer, again something i was hoping to show in my portrait, something i wanted to someone to look at and not immediately think ''oh i can relate to him''.

Part 2 coming up....

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Vector nightmare

I'll be the first to admit that the whole technical side of this course could well be my Achilles, but i have been experimenting practically with this side of things quite a lot.

A Friend of mine wanted a tattoo designed, so I've drawn it up on paper, scanned it (the scan was taken a few weeks back) and tried to ''nice it up'' as it were

OK, so this is the original line sketch as you can see, nothing amazing, but still took long enough i have to say.

after a good 3 hours of pulling my hair out in photoshop, i finally accepted that the pen tool had beaten me, so i came back and kicked it's nib, i persevered and eventually became fairly comfortable with it.

Now, i know it's hardly breathtaking, but i just thought I'd post this to show that I feel as though I'm finally getting to grips with this thing! perhaps vector drawing is going to be the best way of going about my final piece?

Monday, 5 October 2009

food for thought/Phil

this is just for the purposes of tomorrows interim crit.

1. I've had trouble scanning and uploading any hand drawn sketches and creative development sketches, if they are necessary for this part, is it possible to bring them to you in person to have a look at, or could you see your way to looking at them on here around Thursday/Friday time? i really would love some pointers on this front.

2. although we spoke about the proposed essay question in today's seminar, do you have any other views on this which you think could beneficial towards the final piece?

3. when is the actual hand in date for all creative work and final pieces? and are these all to be uploaded on here or elsewhere? does this include loose leaf work also?

4. and finally, what is your honest opinion on the whole middle-east situation, i just assume you have some interesting views?

Husam Espino (artist)

As well as looking at the given artists, as you can see, I've been looking at some of my own (after all whats the point in everyone researching the same thing?) and I tried to take it a bit further than your plain portraiture.

take a look at the picture below and have a think about the artist and the subject, what do you think they were trying to show? etc.

Now, everything you just thought, throw right out the window and never even think anything as ridiculous again, think you can tell a whole pictures meaning by looking at it once? you make me sick!...sorry, one of those moments again. Anyway, you'll be surprised to find out that the artist Husam Espino is actually a prison inmate at an American penitentiary, and compiled this pastel portrait from memory of a ''woman i once knew''.

The point I'm driving at is, does a portrait of someone have to even be of them? who says it has to be this person, or that person, who says it has to be anyone, a painting showing a fictional character is still going to be called a portrait right?

A portrait of someone else ie. not a self portrait, could in fact be the thoughts and ideas of the artist as is in this case. although the picture itself is showcasing a very beautiful woman from Espinos past, underneath this we are given the messages of regret and sadness. we feel Espinos longing to meet up with this person again one day, as he feels abandoned through his own actions no doubt.

This portrait is somewhat similar to the previous one shown, it showcases the same (or a very similar) woman, however shows a lot more of the subjects energy simply by pushing more into the background. we get a feel of the lost sense of freedom that Espino shows us in this piece, it has a strong way of depicting real life beauty but almost in a horrible way, as it something that cant be had, at least not by this artist.

Espinos work is available to buy online at the link below, although it is limited at this current time.

Essay Question?

Now this is the part where I'm probably going to end up doing my essay on this very blog, so to avoid that, I'll keep this short.

A lot of what i do, in design and in my own life, boils down to the modern day fantasy of 'the ideal physique' as it were. basically, the question i want to ask is:
Has the portrayal of man in portraiture changed within the last century?

without answering my essay here and now

an example

An old Henry VIII portrait would surely have depicted him as being powerful right? being heavy set and hairy was once seen as the way a real powerful man should look.
now look at a portrait of Hitler (bare with me on this one), assuming he wanted to look powerful in his images, he was shown as a slender man with very little manly structure. yet always had a straight face. what is different? this is what i intend to find out

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Real body manipulation (short)

Anyone who's known me for a while now, knows that not that long ago, i was a pipsqueak pencil neck... i haven't always been this size (i know ladies hard to believe.....just realised this is the CG course...very few ladies....phew)

Anyway, i thought it would be good to show you a sort of before and after kind of shot. after all, through weight training and diet, i managed to manipulate my entire body's frame in time, ask any dedicated bodybuilder, and he'll tell you ...
''it's the longest art from but the shortest sport there is.''

the first picture is in year11 at school, so roughly around 3 years ago. I was about this size
(frame not height obviously) all my life.

Now, the Elly you all know and .... erm ... are ok with today....
(Edit: this pic is actually about a year old, but i haven't got any more recent that are as flattering)

I had an interesting comment from Tutor Phil, on an earlier blog entry : ''why are you building your body?''

Short answer: I like what follows the built body i.e. the competing, the training, the diet, i enjoy it all

Long answer: when i first began bodybuilding, i wasn't in the best place of my life, without going into too much detail, i needed to have something to set my mind to, so i chose something I'd pondered on doing for a while anyway.

as soon as 6 months passed and old acquaintances would say ''blimey elly, u 'narf got big'' I fell in love with what I'd created! almost like an addiction, i got bigger and bigger...each session the weights got heavier and heavier, even to this day they still do!

after competing for the first time, i realised, this is who i am, it's not just superficial, i love the training, i love the early mornings and the late nights, the sore backs, the swollen legs and kneecap blowouts, it was finally something that i had to call my own.

Just as an artist draws inspiration from another, I have mine for this. Lee Priest.

Lee's about 5ft 3', a tiny guy, but what he lacks in height he makes up for in determination and brawn. a true champion, and you couldn't meet a nicer bloke if you tried! really down to earth guy, and an amazing 'sculptor'.

A fine example of his work, I think i still have a bit more to do however :/ ... thanks Lee

Rob Sacchetto (artist)

I've always been fascinated with the occult and all thing mysterious, that's why the chance to get graded for facial manipulation is quite a big deal to me.

as shown earlier in my blog, there is an, albeit poorly executed, zombie type drawing of myself. i drew inspiration from a little known artist known as Rob Sacchetto.

Sachettos style is a standard cartoonist way of drawing and colouring, nothing extraordinary there, however, it's when you look at this style, and how he uses it you begin to see something quite interesting.

when you think of a cartoon, you usually think of happy childhood memories, simple, harmless animation right? the fact that Sacchettos work is rather cartoon like, already makes it interesting, as his medium of showing us his work is something that a child would or should enjoy, although the work itself leaves alot to be desired from the CBeeBies board members.

when you think of any kind of facial manipulation in any kind of photo, painting, or other work, its usually (at least in the mainstream sense) done for the better, whereas quite clearly here, the subjects are mutilated beyond belief, so much so that they are decomposing in the portraits, in other words....the subjects are the living dead. ... how glamourous?

Ok, this is a bit weird right? having your baby zombified? there is a limit Mr. Bundy! this is an advert for Sacchettos work, as it sold on a customer to artist basis for around 80 bucks a pop. not bad? and anyone who is interested in any more of Rob Sacchettos work can find a whole bunch on his website.