Key to my Heart

Well, since the end of term, and in fact the end of my academic year, have now past taking their deadlines, their stress and their course work with them I can now concentrate on my own projects again! So, no sooner had I turned my end of year assessments in at uni then I got home and turned on Cinema 4D and began… they have a word for people like me, it’s “addict”!
And here is the result of my addiction…

This is the followup to the heart picture I posted earlier for the book “Craving”. This is the untextured key, which I was quite pleased with, it took a while to get the design for the ‘key to the heart but I thought this looked quite good. I’ve added the key to the banner image with the heart and text. I’m not entirely happy with the texture yet, but I thought I’d mock up the banner with it anyway (see above).

Sound Advice

Is sound the unsung hero of animation?

Sound is important across the film industry, and I’m not just talking dialogue, from the bellowing roar of Jurassic Parks T-Rex to the gentle vocal score that accompanies Gladiators grand finale, it is the sound that can make or break a good film. If you don’t believe me then just then just, for a moment, pretend you are swinging a lightsaber… did you make the Vwoom-vwoom sound? Of course in the world of animated film this becomes a lot more important because unlike live action for a animation the whole sonic world needs to be created from scratch.

A good sound track can be the thing that makes or breaks a good animation, the right sound can be the thing that brings it too life and the wrong thing will make it sounds like a joke. Audio ques are a big part of the audience experience and though they are expected – we knew that Monsters vs Aliens Insectosaurus should sound big and the acoustics on Carl’s porch in Up should sound very different in flight to when its on the ground – but they can also heighten the emotional experience of a viewer… or put another way, get the sound right and you can play your audience’s heart strings like a fiddle!!

Just think of how you felt when Toothless, as Hiccup stands over him with the dagger, makes that pitiful, low, rumbling moan, or how comical the little noise of the Terrible Terror sounded and that was no accident as sound designers Randy Thom, Jonathon Null and Al Nelson told about their time making How To Train Your Dragon. Alternatively think about the world that WALL-E inhabited sounded, with it’s swirling sand storms, and how different the world aboard the Axiom. These sonic worlds were created by sound design legend, Ben Burtt – remember the lightsabers, vwoom-vwoom sound? That was his handy work! – who has become known as the father of modern sound design, check out the WALL-E special feature on sound to find out more. Sound tells us who to like, where we are and what to feel – it is as vital as texturing to any animated landscape or character design.

And all this without even touching on the musical score, the masters of which like John Williams, Hans Zimmer, John Powell and James Horner have played us all for years, their iconic themes making as jump, laugh and cry.

And yet sound design seems the last consideration, I am currently fighting to research sound production for animation for a university project and its tough, so far I have found only one book that has proved any real help – that’s Robin Bauchamp’s “Designing Sound For Animation”, just so you know – and compare that to the amount of “Art of… insert film name here” or How To guides for ZBrush, Maya or 3DsMax! So my fellow animation students, it may not be what you focus on, but don’t forget sound either, it has too much power to be ignored!!

The Heart Of The Matter

Well, I’ve been asked to 3D up a banner for a friends blog. The banner is to based on the art for her book “Craving”. The book’s a totally awesome dark fantasy novel, so the art has to be sort of gothic but without being overly macabre or too gruesome, so as to appeal to the more squeamish of the genres clientele as well as those hardened Steven King aficionados who are holidaying in paranormal romance land for awhile!!

Anyway, the concept for this is a locked heart, and this is what I’ve got so far.

I’ve tried to keep the shapes simple, the heart’s shape for example, is more symbol then anything that would inhabit the human body, and I’ve been testing out textures to try and make it feel more like something that is living tissue… and hopefully hitting gothic rather then gory! For those of you more interested in the techie side, I’m using my beloved Cinema 4D and each of the textures I’ve used have a bump map, expect the lock itself which has displacement instead as it just wasn’t looking authentic enough without.

Its only a work in progress but still I thought I’d share! If you would like to learn more about Craving then check out the blog here …