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Member Since 26 Jul 2006
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In Topic: ARTIBITE reel 2015

01 September 2015 - 09:59 PM

That's a pretty good reel, Kevin! It works!

A note that might be of value to you is that, as a viewer, I understand that something is happening in your intro... that there's some kind of narrative happening. A cause and effect relationship of some sort is being shown to me. So I assume that I'm being shown this for a reason, and that I should understand something about it when it's finished. But I don't. There's a wall built of small units, and a butterfly fairy is flying around and it goes into the wall, and as a result, the wall is powered up maybe? And then more butterflies fly into the wall, but instead this time it's a tunnel? 


Abstraction is totally fine. Valuable, even. But you seem to use the first few seconds to establish a scene and to suggest some rules, and then you immediately break them, and as a viewer, I'm kind of left going "I don't know what i'm looking at, or why". If you're going to tell me a story, I'm with you while you lay the groundwork for that story. But if you lay groundwork, and then immediately contradict it and fail to pay that contradiction off, you lose my trust and then my interest shortly thereafter. So in this case, it seems like you either have to stick with the plan of conveying a narrative, however abstract it may be, or remove the intentional display of cause-effect storytelling and simply show us some lovely things. Personally, I tend toward providing beauty and meaning for the audience, because that's a more valuable and memorable experience for them, but it's your call.


Also, I'm not sure what this icon in the hexagon is supposed to be. Is it an off-center "13"? That's what I read, and I don't know what it means, or what it has to do with anything. You're treating it like a logo by using it as a watermark, but I don't get the relation of it to your name, artibite. 


The work looks really good, and your edit is bringing disparate projects together in a way that feels like it means something. That's pretty great. The last shot before your end card is a little weird because it seems to imply a short pause before we get going again, but then the reel ends. Not a deal-breaker, although it does feel a little awkward. But overall, pretty great!

In Topic: A conversation about Look Development

24 August 2015 - 11:31 PM

A little off topic, but I am finding these very useful. A series about concept art/digital painting. Goes into some cool painting/composition theory as well as how to execute. In case anyone else out there is interested.



I love this stuff. If you're into more sci-fi or fantasy based stuff... concept design for movies and games, you might like this guy too, who is kind of a legend, and has a shit ton of videos. https://www.youtube....AjDIACjCsjAGFAA

In Topic: A conversation about Look Development

18 August 2015 - 11:54 PM

We're probably just talking in circles here. I think your board was actually a really good foundation for the discussion. Like, you keep making this boxing poster comparison, and you're showing your frame next to a boxing poster (albeit an admittedly fake one). But look at the two together and tell me what about your image communicates boxing poster. The answer is: barely anything. Your image has so few of the signifiers of "boxing poster" that I imagine most viewers would have a difficult time recalling anything remotely related with boxing posters. It's unrelated on, in fact, most levels. The colors are saturated, there's no texture, no dot pattern, the layout is radically dissimilar, and it bears no graphic or typographic resemblance. The thing it does have is this idea of photographic imagery run through a process which reduces it to flat ungraded shapes, but it's not even a process similar to what you end up with in a boxing poster, so it doesn't jog a viewer's associations toward that.


Now, in a lot of cases, you can abstract and use minimal signifiers of a thing to subtly reference that thing without going to a fully literal representation. For example, adding a slight digital distortion effect to an image to reference the downsides of technology can be effective, and you don't have to include an RGB split and pixels and monitor vignetting and cursors and glitching and so on until you've literally crafted an image of a broken display. But that's not really the issue here, and it's not in line with what you were doing. You have an image that fails to go so far as to signify anything to your audience. There is effectively no boxing poster reference in your image. Not that there needed to be, but it seems you're suggesting that it's there. It's not, to any degree that would affect a viewer's perception. And I point this out because one of the differences between what you've done and what probably constitutes "killer boards" is that you've stopped well short of where you might have, both in the ideating and in the polishing. This probably sounds like a rant when it shouldn't, but I'm really just trying to highlight how a designer gets from where you stopped to where everyone goes "ooooooooh fuck that's good". Because at some very early stage in the project, that designer is probably thinking at the same level of lacking sophistication before they push through and develop it into punishing and inspiring awesomeness.


I don't particularly want to equate my own work with any of this talk, but it so happens I've got a set of boards that are literally based, in part, on a specific realm of boxing posters. And it might help illuminate some of what i'm trying to explain.

https://www.behance....ry/18881677/UFC (not the first set... you'll have to scroll down a little)


This was a project for UFC on Fox. The creative direction was real loose, which is why I came up with two radically different boards, but we'll pay attention to the 2nd set. Same as your project, it had to be modular to accomodate different matchups over the season. I wanted to make a boxing poster reference. So I did. But I took it farther to suggest a couple of specific subcategories of boxing poster that have a less "silly kitsch" appeal. And then I took it farther to suggest that this was really more of a narrative about the posters being printed and stacked in prep for an upcoming fight. And furthermore that the printing was late night, quick and dirty and flawed, as a visual metaphor for the nature of cage fighting. And I took it farther to suggest that this would be conceived as a kind of simple short film, which isn't as representative here because i've excluded a few frames from the pitch. 


Again, this is a much more literal strategy, in terms of the reference to boxing posters, but I hope it highlights some of the thinking when you look at this and then go back and look at your ESPN example. This is sort of the point I'm trying to make. A designer will hit the same wall you'll hit, and keep hitting it until it completely crumbles to reveal the next wall, which they'll hit like a fucking tank to reveal the next. And they'll keep ramming through until either they reach the promised land, or someone begs them to stop.



In Topic: A conversation about Look Development

18 August 2015 - 08:56 PM

So, your initial curiosity/concern was that "the ability to really polish frames or ideas for frames eludes me." Informatively enough, mostly everything about your response highlights why this is. Making "killer boards", as it were, is oftentimes exactly about digging further. Doing the thinking and doing the work, and doing it under creative constraints, format constraints, and time constraints. You dig further, and when you find something interesting, you dig further than that, and then you dig some more. When you look at the frames that the best designers are making, you go "wow" because they started with a pile of shit and they moulded and sculpted and polished until they started to see gold. And they kept sculpting and massaging until it was 90% gold. And still they kept pushing and pulling, sometimes on small details, until it was 98% gold. And you might have looked at it then and said "cool, that's better than i can do", which is wrong, and they'd keep sculpting. And they'd get it to 99.8% and keep working. 99.9%. 99.95%. And maybe the frames were ripped out of their hands at that point because time was up, but they damn well knew the deadline and pushed right up to it. Sometimes through it, if that could be justified. And over many projects and many iterations of this process, they learned what tends to work and what tends not to within all of those constraints so that they could more often get to 99.95%.


Typically, clients give designers a pile of shit to work with. If the clients could turn that shit to gold for themselves, they wouldn't pay creatives to do it. But that's what defines that skill, and that's why it's so valuable (it's vastly undervalued, in truth). Designers are given shit, and asked to turn it to gold. You were given shit, as ever expected. You looked at it sidelong, and you smelled it and poked at it with an outstretched finger and said "This is shit! I can't do anything with this!" You gave back nearly exactly what you were given. Experience and visual literacy aside, this is all that's separating you or me from baller designers. Because they fucking bring it, and they bring it hard. And when you think they've gone as hard as one can, they go harder. And harder still. And they suck for years, just like everyone else, but they goddam bring it until they start turning to gold.


We can talk about nuke vs after effects, and how smart objects are convenient and whether cgtextures.com has more stuff than mayang. You do need tools to build things, but the tools don't build them. Tools can't even get up by themselves. Everyone thinks if they can just get the same brush pack as the best illustrators, or use the same glow plugin as the best animators, that they'll unlock greatness as if the trick was in the tools. We all think that if we can just drive the same car that the cool guy does, we'll be the cool guy, as if that's what makes him cool. It's not. The things that drive compelling "holyfuck-are-you-serious" imagery are visual literacy and fuck tons of effort. Understanding composition is going to put 100x more power in your hands than understanding gradient meshes. You can build a tract house with cranes and power tools and laser levellers. But an artisan can do it with hammer, nails, saws and chisels, and they can do it with unutterable beauty. And still we'll say "yeah but if I could just get that laser leveller..." 



In Topic: Neon sign

18 August 2015 - 06:31 PM

Totally. Artistic license being what it is, that's totally valid. It just seems like you're fighting an uphill battle here already because you're trying to convince the audience of something. Namely that there's this sign on a brick wall. And you're going as far as to show that it has power cords because it needs power, and it's mounted on a scaffold stuck to the wall because gravity is real, and it needs these fasteners to hold it here and here, and so forth. You're already making a plea to the audience to look at it as a real object. You're asking them to scrutinize it as such. And if you're going to take that tack, it seems like the best usage of your effort is to keep taking that tack. 


And yeah, when it comes to the actual lighting, you're on the right track with the object buffer. You can read about how it works by doing a search, and when you get it set up, you'll be able to save a simple b/w matte in the shape of your neon parts, and you can take that into AE and use it as a luma matte to create layers in that same shape that you can colorize and glow and whatever else for your lighting effect.