Apr 28, 2010

Into the Deep

You know for a very unemployed teacher, I still get up to a lot!

In good news I had a job interview this weekend! Its for a summer day camp gig, and I'm optimistic (I have worked 8 years worth of summer camps!). Immediately after that interview I attended Leonard Nimoy's "last" public appearance (so they claim anyways). Instead of waiting in the Olympic sized line ups to see Mr. Spock, I instead met the very very VERY nice William Stout (more on this encounter on ART Evolved soon!).

In bad news still no leads on teaching, that alone any interviews... It doesn't help that the local skool board requires a million references (those I have) AND a million reference letters! New Zealanders typically aren't into or wanting reference letters, so producing (and acquiring) these has proven a real barrier. Working on a solution today.

Anyways with that out of the way (this is supposed to be an art post... but since I haven't updated the blog in over a week, thought you might like a snap shot into where I'm at) now for the topic at hand!

Now I'll be the first to admit, this particular round of live blogging has been pretty sad. My life (and Lady R's) just hasn't been stable enough for me to sit down and dedicate the time to properly documenting the construction of my Ichthyosaur. Hopefully by the next gallery I'll be able to make a better go of it.

Anyways I've managed to not only rig my Shonisaurus, but pose a small pod of them. I'm onto the crucial step of lighting, which when you're underwater can be 80% of the piece's success.

I am aiming for something a little different than my usual pieces. Since most Ichthyosaurs are thought to have eaten cephelopods (aka squid, octopus, and several extinct tentacled relatives of theirs) I wanted a scene that matched the most likely time or place you'd see a fish lizard hunt.

As most modern cephelopods tend to operate in environments with little or no light, I envision my Shonisaurs having to either dive really deep or at night time to catch their calamari. As of such I wanted a very dark water background.

Here are the current variants I have (squid not included). I have combined them in thumbnail versions as sometimes this small format can be quite enlightening. When rendering I often can't zoom out. Rather I'm right up close. So shrinking these all to their web browswer thumbnail size helps me see what a stranger googling might see them as.

The differences are:

  • A. Has a minimalist lighting suit, aka 1 light source and thus very true to life)
  • B. Having an additional creature light. This light only illuminates the Ichthyosaurs (and squid when they are present). Thus keeping the nice dark watery abyss of the background.

  • C. Has a maximized lighting suit. In this case I've turned on the "light cone" (aka rays) of the second creature light which now brightens up the water background colour.

In thumbnail version I think C is the most effective. However it also looks exactly the same as my usual water scenes. Personally C is my least favourite (for this project), and I'd very much like to avoid it if I can.

Take a look at the bigger versions to see my thinking...

A. Here my Ichthyosaurs are mere silhouettes for the most part, against a ever slightly lighter background.

It is not the easiest piece to discern, but I like the mysterious quality it lends my subject matter. Shonisaurs have long baffled people through its sheer size (it was as big as a medium sized balleen whale!), its lack of teeth (how did it eat?), and being from so long ago.

At the same time I did put enough effort into the model, especially the anatomical proportions, I'd like people to be able to see that work.

So A is not my favourite configuration, but as you'll see not my least favourite either.

B. Here my Shonisaurs are caustically lite by water ripple highlights.

Frankly I feel this version is the best. I captures most of the mystery from above, while giving you a fleeting idea of what the big silhouettes vaguely look like. It also keeps my deep sea scene looking deep. Probably best of all the light shafts give this a slightly painted quality.

Its only flaw is that reduced in size it gets hard to tell what the piece is.

C. Differs from the other two, in that the lighter background makes the Shonisaurs stick out in crystal clarity.

While this might on face value be a good thing I didn't want yet another identical water piece to all the others I've done.

Though Shonisaurs C is set on a darker background then my Anomalocaris here, they aren't that drastically different either. Compare especially piece B to this, and you'll see what I mean.

So what are your thoughts, as I setup the squid for the final render.

Which of the three lighting suits should I use?


Brian Blacknick said...

Of the three I prefer "B". I'm eager to see what it will look like with the calamari added!

Albertonykus said...

I concur, B gets my vote.

Dinorider d'Andoandor said...

yep!! I prefer B too