Wednesday, 17 July 2013

ACT Collaboration Project - Darius Milhaud's La création du monde

A CG Arts and Animation/ACT/Interreg Live Commission

On Friday, July 12th at Grays Civic Hall, Essex, the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne performed a programme of music on the theme of 'rhythm'. The programme of music explored ideas of rhythm in classical music and in the celebrated jazz of the late Dave Brubeck. The director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne, Marc Feldman, challenged the CGAA community to work collaboratively to create an original work of animation designed to accompany his orchestra's performance of one particular example of early twentieth century music that blends classical and jazz rhythms to exciting effect. The animation was rear projected onto a large screen measuring 8.5m wide by 6.2m high, in front of which the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne performed live.

Over a period of ten consecutive week days, the students, staff & alumni of Ba Hons CG Arts & Animation were challenged to produce abstract digital paintings in synesthetic response to segments of the music to be performed by the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne. The CGAA community were asked to listen to a musical extract and then respond to it visually through the creation of original digital paintings in Photoshop. The animation was derived from these paintings and created using Autodesk Maya and After Effects.


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Act Revisited - Track 05 and 10

Rendering is complete for all tracks, but whilst I have the opportunity to touch up a few bits, I'd thought I'd upload the two tracks which have been through a lot of changes and discussion.

Track 05

So, this was a piece that needed energy and chaos. The explosive paintings from Phil Gomm provided a great cut in the middle of the piece and the key was to really make the energy and movement get almost out of control. I'll be re-rendering this piece because there are a few changes I've now made but any suggestions would be great.

Track 10

Track 10 was also a complete overhaul and now has an abstract landscape generated from a number of speed paintings. The ending has been tweaked so that it fades away bit by bit. This is very much a final flight following strange shapes across the landscape and will hopefully provide a dream like finale to the piece.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Act Revisited - Track 10 and 06

The final week is almost upon us and the rendering will begin soon. But before all that, it's a manic weekend of final changes, adjustments and corrections. The big change so far is a rework of Track 10. The last version was really lacking, and it just felt so unaware of it's base. So, I started fresh and it's already moving in a much more interesting direction.

Track 10

The key thing was to go back to the speed paintings and really think about what this piece was suggesting. The biggest problem is the lack of source material and notions. The music is very sparse, and thus the speed paintings vary wildly. From dark minimal images, to vivid explosions of colour. It all started with Joey Ku's and Dayle Sanders' images, both full of colour and life. These formed the base of the animation and helped build a strange landscape. The music really gives this impression of flying through a world as it slowly falls into silence. From these paintings, I started to build this abstract world and animate elements to emphasise this slow descent. It felt very enlightening and pleasing, despite it being the end of the piece, almost a surreal and dreamlike state of descent. So, this is the base, it hopefully provides a solid form to work from. The two areas I really want to get fixed this weekend are; to change the wavy coloured lines that act as transitions, and add in elements to help bring some excitements to certain parts. Phil Gomm's speed paintings suggest an almost firework display of explosion, which I think will add nicely to the subtle beats within the sequence.

Track 06

This sequence is another which is still in the works, but I'm uploading it with some changes so that I can get feedback about what could be added. It's definitely a piece which needs something extra, but I'm also wary about adding too much. The music for this part again has a strange wondering sensibility about it, and this is something I definitely want to keep. I've made changes to the end, partly because the previous spiral motif was a default stand in. This is going to require some further thought but for now it is definitely still open for adjustments.

All in all, things are moving towards completion. But this weekend is definitely the time to make changes and get things ready to render. The list below outlines what needs doing on my part.

Sequence 02 - Complete, slight adjustments need to be made before rendering.
Sequence 04 - Complete, again, final adjustments before rendering.
Sequence 05 - Incomplete, reassess and fix issues ready for render.
Sequence 06 - Complete, but additions to be made before rendering.
Sequence 10 - Incomplete - Addition elements and animation required before renders.

So, lots to do but if all goes well, rendering should begin for Monday morning.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Track 1 Update

I never quite explained my reasoning for taking the track in this direction compared to other sequences. It seems like a detour in some ways but I think the music develops so much later on that starting at this point feels perfectly natural. The music feels so slow and contemplative it's like wading through water and the opening track feels much more suited to being a proper 3D space to travel through. It's not super fast-paced jazz. It's slow, methodical and hypnotic. I've tried replicate this feeling through movement The audience will get sucked in.

I'd experimented with using Maya on the very first test for this project using Andriana's speed painting to generate the particles. This is the same particle experiment. Placing a moving camera into the scene, with all the joys of perspective and depth can bring, threw it completely open. A couple sacrifices from the original painting are going to be made because it's a re-imagining based on concept art, and not directly made through the painting like my other sequences. My goal with this sequence is to now just bring a bit more of the painting into the scene.


Monday, 1 July 2013

Act Revisited - Track 02

So, now that I've worked out what is working and what isn't, it's time to go back with a fresh mind and make these pieces fantastic. Track 10 is dead to me, the first draft was a default which lacked just about everything. Tomorrow I'll be re approaching that section and rethinking it from scratch. But today, I've made adjustments to Track 02. Some further adjustments are still to be made, but the notes I wish to hit are there at the moment. Some of the methodology and ideas are laid out below.

Track 02

(The youtube upload has pushed the sound slightly out of sync)

The way in which I work on this project is possibly different to how I original intended, but the approach nonetheless feels like an inherently correct one to me. I first start by looking through all of the speed paintings. I look for notions, colours, themes and ideas that seem consistent throughout the works. I then take the speed paintings that seem most connected to the music and put them all into After Effects. From these I grab elements and layers and start placing them onto a new composition. The consistent notions that are seen become the building blocks for my sections. So,using Track 02 as an example...

The two big themes which are apparent in a huge number of the speed paintings are spirals and explosions of some sort. Circular notions and paint strokes seem to highlight how the music moves. This was the key structure. So the base form of a spiral made complete sense. The music gives this impression of moving through or falling down. The spirals came primarily from Simon Holland, Ryan Leitao, Molly Bolder and Adam Webb's work. The whole piece is a build up. It slowly forms to an explosive moment where the sound erupts out at the audience. This is again, reflected in the artwork. Vikki Kerslake, Lucy Yelding and Emily Clarkson demonstrate this theme within their speed paintings. It feels like an opening moment, the demonstration of a theatre act or the like. So, the spiral transforms into an explosion and reveals this strange spinning world. Many of the elements from Ryan Leitao were used for this section, and even though brief, it is a section that works because of that build up. Suddenly this downward move feels apparent in the music. The notions from my own speed paintings, as well as Lydia Caplan's, were the inspiration for this. Almost as though rain is clearing the scene for the next sequence.

For the final sequences, I'll be reminding myself of this methodology and ensuring that each is thrilling in this sense of reaction. More updates on the other sequences tomorrow!