One of my large format digital prints ‘The Bigger Picture’ has been selected for a really interesting future group exhibition entitled ‘This ‘Me’ of Mine’ curated by artist and writer Jane Boyer.
‘Myself’ is a loaded pronoun, it is a pronoun which is grammatically suggestive of a self reflected back on itself through actions or thoughts. It represents my person as I sit here writing this, my past which has brought me here where I sit and write, and the potential of what may happen next. It is a multiplicity of selves, changed and influenced by time, experience and encounters all woven together in the weave of a fabric called ‘me’. Yet there are two sides to a piece of fabric, just as there are two sides to me: my interior self and my exterior self.
Participating artists include: Aly Helyer, David Riley, David Minton, Annabel Dover, Sarah Hervey, Anthony Boswell, Kate Murdoch, Cathy Lomax, Melanie Titmuss, Edd Pearman, Sandra Crisp, Julie Cockburn, Shireen Quershi, Jane Boyer.
My film Mapping London’s Subterranean Rivers will be installed on loop in the Lexi Cinema foyer as part of In Short film festival – A digital festival showcasing local short films and soundscapes November 20th: From 2pm to 5pm. I went along to view the selected entries for this local festival open to both amateur and professional filmmakers…..
Large comfortable armchairs await visitors to the Lexi Cinema in Kensal Rise North London. Personal touches such as the retro standard lamp to illuminate speakers introducing the festival line-up make this boutique cinema unique in character, the tiny bar served a tea and home made cakes in the interval.
A great line up of 15 films from diverse genres created by both amateur and professional filmmakers made for a really entertaining couple of hours viewing including abstract animation, social documentary and comedy to name a few. The jury voted 2 films into joint first place; ‘Forgotten Carers’ by Matthew Wolpert – An hilarious take on the single life of a man left by his girlfriend for being too high maintenance.
‘The Dog Smells You’ (James Wright) a contemporary, haunting & ambiguous journey using continually shifting colour, filters and textures – filmed in one day using an i-phone. The audience prize went to (Island) ‘Murmuration’ by Sophie Windsor Clive. My personal favorites for InShort festival include; Constantine Gras’ Bound for Glory ‘A poignant docudrama about a woman who stitches together memories of her West Indian mother.
The Money Shot – a film by Graham Rathlin: ‘An ebayer discovers his new camera has magical qualities that could make hime extremely rich’ …with a twist at the end! And finally, 2 young filmakers Marco Pini & Daniel Lubin presented Day 56 a film shot in Wales imaging a world where there are suddenly no people. The judges were; Jack Arbuthnot, Joanna Hogg, Martina Amati and Tora Young, the winning films will be screened before the main program each day at the Lexi during the forthcoming week.
This post looks at some of the process involved in making my recent videoMapping London’s Subterranean Rivers including a few wireframe screen-grabs from the work which illustrate how work- in-progress appears within the open software window when work is in-progress.
The video was created using Maya Autodesk which is a 3D animation program offering extensive tools for modelling, dynamics, visual effects and rendering.
I found this software quite difficult to grasp initially, as the interface and layout is very different to regular video editing software. Maya does contain an animation timeline but most other features seemed almost like learning a new language, very different. I finally discovered a small corner of the program where I could operate creatively and develop ideas, and experiment.
The main difference between Maya and 2D animation or video editing software is that the artist can construct 3D objects in virtual space in Maya. Once models have been created and placed on the ‘stage’ multiple cameras are set up to film the 3D object from as many different viewpoints or angles as desired.
For this video, only 1 3D map elevation was ‘drawn’ in Maya and various cameras (coloured in green) positioned around it to record and create different viewpoints/ scenes within the video.
Using wireframe views of the scenes in Maya enables more rapid rendering, editing, rotating and viewing of the scene in real time. Maya takes up a lot of processing power and RAM and this viewing mode means that work can be speeded up a little. The drawback is that it is rather like working in the dark as colour, texture etc is not visible while you are working.
To view full texturing and colour whilst working in Maya, frames need to be rendered individually. I find doing this now and again is enough to retain in memory exactly what the scene looks like and how it will appear later after the final rendered sequence for video is created.
Near the centre of the map can be seen a yellow textured object which is a 3D model tree, later assigned a ‘wind dynamic’ so it appears to be swaying quite strongly in a gust of strong wind. Many other dynamics are available in Maya to simulate gravity and movement iof water or ocean waves, for example. Used a flowing water dynamic to simulate the River Thames in the final work.
The red cone-shape to the left and solid grey cube-like objects positioned bottom-left on the map, depict the placement of lighting object (spotlight) and architectural buildings respectively.
It is not possible to see fully-detailed, textured image sequences until frames are fully rendered and exported from Maya, either directly into Quick Time. Or as a series of TARGA (individual images, 24 or 25 frames per second of footage) files which can then be imported into video editing software such as After Effects to create a moving image sequence.
AS previously mentioned, a quick and dirty view of any individual frame can be viewed (very slowly) live within Maya by using the IPR renderer, but testing out a full animated sequence is beyond the processing power of my rather humble PC.
However, I do enjoy working somewhat in the dark with this process as it allows for certain unexpected results that would not be possible otherwise. A certain Serendipity…
I digitally overlaid the map ‘Tributaries of the Thames from Kingston to Erith‘ onto another more contemporary map of Greater London that shows the borough boundaries and depicts the distinctive outline shape of Greater London.
In doing so, I noticed that the shape of London resembled an island cut adrift. This is not intended to be a super accurate map, more a poetic interpretation.
This island-like form inspired the 3d model elevation of London in the video, depicting London as cutout sculptural form suspended in empty virtual black space.