FMP: Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D contains lighting models and all sorts

After seeing a 3-D representation of Calvin and Hobbes, I was really taken with the idea of trying to do that myself. The very nucleus of my FMP is a 3-D representation of a 2-D medium designed to replicate reality. Adobe After Effects allows the user to create a 3-D space and position both cameras and lighting in that space.

The idea of having a camera (representing the participant) walk around this room I wish to create is a very powerful promotional tool. The idea in my head is that of the viewer walking towards the back of the room and walking past the detectives desk. After Effects would allow me to have the camera moves towards the back of the room, but unless the table is a 3-D object, the camera can’t go around it.

Cinema 4D is a 3-D program of immense power used to creates all sorts of things for movies. It would not tax the abilities of the program to create a simple 3-D room with 3-D furniture. My abilities however, would be very taxed. I watched some YouTube tutorials explaining the basics but found that the idea of using Cinema 4D was becoming increasingly undesirable. It was supplanted by the notion of going back to basics and trying to make something out of paper and card. After all, the best way to show a real world representation or something is to make it in the real-world. I’m sure I’ll come back to cinema 4D. 3-D modelling is on my Bucket list just like video editing and voice acting. I don’t intend these things to become my central focus, but I do intend to have a go.

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FMP: Big Brother Diary Room

Some guy from some TV show or something. I dunno.

The great thing about having friends is that they have good ideas too. A friend of mine pointed out that the 2017 Big Brother set’s diary room used an art style not dissimilar to my concept for my room. It’s an incredibly difficult thing to try and use the internet for reference images of a vague idea it is very difficult to pin to specific keywords. The diary room it’s very useful as a mood board piece both in terms of showing an example of my thinking, also in offering an example of the finished product, with the production method I could theoretically emulate.

FMP:Early Research

The V and A exhibition by Elmgreen and Dragset

It was recommended I look at Punchdrunk theatre, Elmgreen and Dragset’s V and A show and Thomas Demand’s work with paper cut outs. Punchdrunk offer an interactive theatre experience where the customer enters the space in question and is effectively left to their own devices for a few hours. The actors and the sets can be experienced in whatever order the customer chooses. What you see and don’t see effectively become the narrative as you understand it.

Elm Green and Dragset’s V and A exhibition was the Gallery space created to represent a disillusioned architect’s apartment. Gallery-goers interact with the space as they saw fit. The narrative was presented through the items in the room and the gallery-goer’s interpretation of the significance of those items.

Thomas demand takes photographs of 3-D spaces and then replicates the spaces with 1:1 scale photographs of those spaces. These three examples represent potential avenues I could pursue both in terms of production models and the user experience my FMP will generate.

The way Demand uses large images to represent scenery is a lot like how I was planning to do the walls of my room. Perhaps using rolls of paper with illustrations on them to represent a 1930s detective’s office complete with New York skyline visible through the shuttered windows. The same psychology that the V and A exhibition use would be in my work as well. You would get a sense of who the detective is from the empty whiskey bottle, the full ashtray, the photographs in his office, etc etc. Punchdrunk’s use of space could become relevant if my single room was to become a series of rooms, such as a crime scene, jail-cell etc etc.

Final Major Project: Pro Forma

The rough outline of my initial FMP

Final year students must pass four individual sections to successfully complete the year. Final major project (FMP) is one of those sections. In effect, it is the portfolio piece of the graduating student, where they take everything they’ve learned on the course and apply it to their final project. The student is expected to write their own brief so it’s not just about doing the work, but also about Time management, organisation and ambition.

To assist students in this endeavour, they are asked to completes a pro forma document outlining they are plans for their FMP. Before the year started, I received advice ,which I regarded as rather good, which was to link my FMP to my dissertation, creating a stronger body of work as a whole.

My dissertation was on film noir and was actually about breaking it down so I could create a film noir comic book for my FMP. Aware of how poorly the idea to produce a comic book would be received, I also included the rather novel idea that had occurred to me of creating a walk-in comic book page/panel in the real-world. It’s a difficult concept to grasp, even for me, and it’s my idea. I think ultimately you’ll see what I mean. I still struggle with the notion that my final major project of my BA illustration course sees me doing something so far out of my comfort zone, but oh well.

Boxed Derive

All the grooves on the box make cameras queasy when they look at this.

As previously stated, the first part of our Final outcome was to be a boxed set of images. I played with the idea of making my own box, but I’m terrible with my hands, which can be rectified easily enough, but not within this given timeframe. I would hate to spend more time working on the box than the stuff to go in the box, so I bought a box. However unprofessional the contents maybe, at least the container meet certain Standard. It’sA4 sized, and I think my series of prints which are something like and minimalist Gallery display sort of thing, synergise quite well. But hey that’s just my opinion. The title on the box: we drop you anywhere, is a taxi sign I saw during the walk. Keeping with the gallows humour that was integral to the tour itself, it’s almost a message from Jack the Ripper saying I deliver corpses all over the place: I’ll drop you(r corpse) anywhere. It’s the wittiest thing you’ve ever heard isn’t it? I know, I know. However will you continue your life knowing it’s just peaked? Trying to link the tour to the people to the place is no mean feat. At least there is a little bit of wordplay in here. And since we were only allowed to use either letterpress or found fonts, he makes the best of what you can find. Honestly, letter pressing the title would probably cripple me, since nothing stops me in my tracks harder and longer than having too many options.

Final Outcome: Derive Movie

The second final outcome for this project was to create a movie to accompany the boxed sets of six prints the capture the experience of location. When I went on the Jack the Ripper tour, I recorded a great deal of audio. It was incredibly interesting, Firstly that people would pay money to walk around London and it Have some guy’s point at the floor and say this is where jack the ripper killed this person. On top of that, there was a surprising amount of humour, albeit gallows humour, throughout the walk.

In trying to capture the experience of the place, I tried to avoid making Jack the Ripper the Central theme of the video. It’s more about the relationship between the people who are going on the walk and the place itself. There were almost constant police and ambulance sirens being heard in the background. I’m not sure how successful this is, because it’s difficult for me to look at it objectively, but the very least, you can expect to have a chuckle, and I will say, making people laugh is very high on my priority list in life in general, and if my work is making people chuckle, then that is part of my unique selling point and bodes well for my future professional endeavours

Digital Retouching

I added green to the scarf in post production. The fence as well.

As a result of both the medium and my lack of experience with it, My lino cuts were always going to be somewhat crude. At some point I had the idea of taking my lino prints and adding finishing touches to them after-the-fact. Just because the brief says I have to use a certain medium doesn’t mean I have to be held back by my inability to do it justice. To that end, I’ve taken my prints into photo shop to help tell my story in more understandable way. I think this is very much in example of understanding what’s going on in my head but maybe not necessarily representing it purely through the work I’ve created. Which is to say: I know exactly what this is, but who says you do?

I added green to the scarf of the Jack the Ripper tour guide an added certain elements that would’ve been too difficult to render with the lino cutting tools like the chain link fence and one of the pictures. Did I mention this is based on a Jack the Ripper tour I took and the experience of it, the place and the people? I probably should’ve said that earlier shouldn’t I? But that’s the great thing about art: now you know what it is, but you might prefer your version from when you have no idea what it was. Just like Batman, there’s a version for everybody.

Revisiting Lino cutting

My lino printouts with the blocks at the bottom

As I thought I would, I have decided to lino cut my final outcomes. I got myself some sort of cheap set off Amazon and away we go. The set comes with a wonderful hand guard which doubles as a means of securing the linoleum in-place so it doesn’t move while I am cutting it with some very sharp things. Unlike the ink used at the University, which is oil-based, the stuff that came with my set is water-based. The ink tries extremely quickly, which is both a pro and a con. The oil based stuff is better for sharing and reusing the ink, but when it’s just you, your kitchen table and your lino blocks ready to go, water-based is fine.

There’s something gratifying about leaning into work to focus on the subtle hand movements you’re making and of course to make sure you don’t screw them up. As I was getting a feel for the tools I was using, I was able to think more about what I could do for future projects. Lino cutting is a lot like drawing with a knife. You also have to think and terms of negatives, since the stuff you are cutting away with the knife is actually the whitespace, not the actual shapes of your Image.

Having to get a feel for how much ink to put on the linoleum, how slowly to peel back the paper after it’s been applied to the printing block, which kind tall to use for which the area, all of these things require personal experience, trial and error and in the long run, will become second nature. These are the things about learning craft that make it enjoyable. Until an entire batch is destroyed and all you have to show for your pains Is a sad, sad face. But that’s why you measure twice and cut once, right?

Stop motion and Screen printing

Acetate covered with some colouring pencils and a sugar paper silhouette. This was to test how different materials would handle the screen printing process. Alas, it remains unused.

Students were invited to create a small set out of a cardboard box and do some sort of stop motion animation. Unfortunately, the time allotted and the breadth of activities students were expected to undertake in one day was too exhaustive to finish during that time. One of my problems with the derive brief has constantly been this notion that I’m missing the point. Were constantly shown stuff that encourages a certain type of thinking, but sometimes it’s not clear if the processes were being shown and the way they’ve been used all supposed to directly influence our final outcomes or if they are supposed to show us potential options and nothing more.

The creation of a set in a box, as I understand it, is not a mandatory part of the brief, but on several occasions, we were shown things that made it seem like it might be. I’m constantly outside of my comfort zone as part of my university course, but I have to draw the line stop frame animation. I put together is set, rather badly, I might add, ran out of time and elected is to spend my time doing other things. The ratio of work put in to work put out is just too extreme for me when it comes to animation. If you’re going to do it you have to go all in, and that must be underpinned with a passion and a drive. Thanks but no thanks.

I’ll talk about my abortive screen printing workshop here as well. We spent the day trying to find new ways to screen print, but it’s a long, involved process. I ran out of time before I could prepare a screen and use it. For me, screen printing juxtaposes with Lino cutting in that one of them I can do my leisure in my own home, and one of them requires facilities. Arguably all I need is the actual screen printing screen, and I could then print on my proverbial kitchen table as well, but I feel like screen printing was developed for mass production and isn’t an inappropriate medium for producing just one copy of something.

I think a key part of being a professional is about knowing what tools to use and when it is appropriate. I have every intention of making and selling T-shirts some way somehow, but I think, until I start doing that, screen printing is something I’m not going to commit to. I was rather hoping of a final year student that I could start enhancing my strengths instead of continuing to jump into the deep end both feet first. Still, you can learn a lot about what you do like by what you don’t, so it’s all useful in the long run.

Letterpress

A rough mock up of my final design

Letterpress caries a lot of the same arguments for and against it that lino cutting does. It is the analogue counterpart to the Digital which is industry-standard. I am not particularly fond of typography, but I do find that working with real physical letters and having to arrange them on a plate at 1:1 scale for printing is a far more satisfactory endeavour than sitting at a computer going down a list of fonts only to just end up using Helvetica.

Kim, the letterpress technician, was astonishingly succinct with good advice and excellent feedback for the students. I’m sure it helped that the physical restrictions of the letterpress room meant that only a handful of students could be in the room at any given time. Letterpress is 100% about minutia, which I normally despise. I’m definitely a broad strokes kind of guy, but letterpress is about arranging these pieces of wood or metal into certain positions. To ignore the minutia is to miss the entire point.

Another reason I enjoyed the session so much is it’s because it’s one of the few times alright actually develops my work through the process of iterations, which I actually think it’s super important. Sometimes, you have a idea in your head and you do and it works. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to just try and do lots of small variations, making sure, of course, that they are quick and easy to test. Kim also worked proofing into the production method, a case of measure twice cut once.

This workshop was a good example of how doing something you wouldn’t normally like in the presence of people who are passionate about it can lead to you to change your mind. As much as this was about the technicalities of letterpress, it was also and insights into the value of working with certain people.