Don’t Be Creative, Be Passionate

Now, don’t take the title too literally but consider this. Don’t come up with ideas because they are different, nurture them because they matter.

Hey Guys,

I hope everyone is having a good Monday, I wanted to write a post today for people who work in creative fields. Followers of this blog will know I’m a student, and so perhaps speak with a certain sense of optimism, but I feel my point here today is applicable to anyone looking to develop any kind of creative work.

This idea came to me yesterday, when after spending the weekend working on a couple of separate projects, I ditched them. I realised that I didn’t really care about these ideas, and I was developing them as a priority above my other work because I thought they were pretty avant guarde. Except they weren’t, they were crap. One I will admit, just needs a lot more development if I’m ever even to consider picking it up again in the future, but the other one is my primary example for this post.

Flying horses. Nay. Flying Toy Horses. My idea was this: I picked up these plastic model horses about 6 months ago because I thought I could use them for a mini-project. What I eventually tried to do, was animate still images of them with the distortion pin tool on AAE; creating a super slo-mo sequence of them jumping off of stuff. I ran a couple of renders, still not 100% but prepared to keep an open mind. Yesterday I finished two test renders, they had immaculate masks and lighting effects so they look relatively believable. My animation was good too, the motion of the legs, head and neck being key to the movement of a horse. But then I watched them back, and yeah, technically they were ok, but I was hit with two thoughts. What does this mean? And Why am I doing this? 

I was doing it because no-one else had; I’d side-tracked projects that mean a lot to me because I was in a rush to stand out. That’s not how you create art, that’s how you create shite. I took a step back, saw what i was doing and abandoned the project. I’m now refocusing my efforts of two of my large projects. In particular, my dissertation project for my final year at university. It’s sometimes hard to work on because it reflects some personal memories and intimate relationships, but so far it’s coming out well and I have no doubt that when I finish it, it will be a triumph. The project is called ‘3 Hours’ and I will add a link here when I have finished rebuilding the promo page.

This post isn’t for self-promotion though, it’s a thought on how sometimes it is so tempting to try and stand out, we breach our own values of quality. Gimmicks aren’t respected and never deemed as classics. So take your time and create the fantastic, powerful work you’re capable of. Impress yourself.

Take it easy,

Matt  :)

Advertisements

The Most Beautiful Time-Lapse Videos EVER

So I have always loved time-lapse videos, I think they’re stunning and truly reflect that if you have a patience, you can create memorable pieces of art. I actually think I might have done this post before but who cares, the game has been changed by a release this year that blew everyone else out of the water. I’m going to keep this post very short as I am very busy today; but just watch the videos, it’s half and hour well spent.

The Mountain 

The best video online right now; stunning, haunting and moving. The best of the best in my opinion.

Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull

The first video I saw in like this, I love that there is motion in it too; it must have been so hard to calculate!

The Unseen Sea

A fantastic video that focuses on how clouds look during time-lapses; stunning.

Sorry this has been such a short post guys, but I’ve got stuff to do!

Take it easy,

Matt  :)

If I Were Trapped On a Desert Island…

Think of it as Desert Island Disks for designers.

So I had a thought today when browsing the pages of a (relatively) new photo sharing site called 500px; it’s a lovely site that has multiple functions for the modern internet savvy user. And as a side note, I am VERY impressed with the staff who since my sign up have engaged with me on a personal level not common in social networking sites (this may be in part to their relatively small size, but it’s still fair to say I was flattered all the same!). Anyway, if you like photography or have even a passing interest in photo-networking (I hope that catches on!) then sign up to them NOW and be part of a fantastic and growing online community.

ANYWAY. I have got a but sidetracked, what I was trying to say was-As I browsed through the pages of 500px the high quality of the images on show lend my mind into a stream of consciousness whereunto I came to the hypothetical question ‘If I were trapped on a desert island, would I rather be surrounded by videos or imagery?’. Now I don’t want you to write of this hypothetical as something simpler than it seems, because it’s worth thinking about. Also I want to say that I am a HUGE lover of video and creative animation and this is not an easy decision for me, my mind will probably only be made up by the time I come to that point in the article!

Lets go through the pros and cons of each format is regard to being isolated on a desert island (that for some reason also have a 50″ plasma tv)…

VIDEO.

PROS: Videos can detail a story in a much more specific way that images ever can, production values can be incredibly high-adding gloss to a story and really sucking you in, you have camera movement that can reveal something initially hidden-or track a protagonist as he moves, you can adjust focus, depth of field, aperture – all on the fly creating a range of effect, you can add even more to these effects with post-editing, adding 3D element, even viewing it in 3D, it seems that quite literally, your options are endless.

CONS: You are limited to the choices made by the production team, your level of interpretation can be restricted by the finale of a film, your senses can be over-loaded with a lot to take in all at once. However I must acknowledge that a lot of these points are minor and that the reason you like a film is usually why you like it at all, kinda like…

IMAGERY.

PROS: In contrast to video, imagery to a degree lets you interpret and choose the story of a particular still, you have a wider range of formats than video, you have: photography, painting, collage and if we’re being generous, sculptures; imagery is usually refined to the most perfect and image can be, refined and touched up untill the image is that which exactly reflects the subject matter, I’m not saying it is any more ‘considered’ than video, but each frame of a video cannot simply compare to a single photo or painting; speaking of which, the minor ‘flaws and/or imperfections’ of a painting create character, something real and tangible that reflects the craft of the painter, an insignia omitted by video directors.

CONS: An image is just that, one moment, one instance that is no more, you may get bored with an image, you may want to know more of the story, why should you have to do the hard work? As for how ‘considered’ a still is, you could also argue that a shot, or compilation of shot in video are more effective than one single image. However, as mentioned above, you will like images usually for the reasons in the ‘PROS’ section, not despite what I have mentioned in the ‘CONS’ section.

So those are the elements which I considered when thinking about this debate, and personally I am still making up my mind. Video was what got my interesting in design and creative work to begin with, it’s more accessible and usually easier to decode, which is why I enjoyed it some much when I was younger, and even more so now. However as I come to conclude, I realise which side of the fence I am falling on; images do take more work than video, and that’s why I am smitten with them, at least for now. Give me 10 images on a desert island and everyday I would construct new meaning, new back-stories and see them from new perspectives. I would put them around my island, hanging them from trees or standing upright in the sand, coming across them when I am feeling at my most blue and finding happiness in the brush strokes of my favorite painting. And when I am happy again, I would go drink a coconut smoothie and lie in my deck chair, forgetting about the 50″ plasma on the other side of the island, which is turned off.

Thanks,

Matt  :)

Top 5 Videos of the Week [20/02/2011]

So as I have been away for a while this T5V has a few entries from further back but they are still as strong as ever; this week we have the video game trailer that has everyone talking, John Malkovich being… well, John Malkovich, a stunning piece of animation work and I bit of film relief in anticipation of the Oscars, so enjoy!

 

1) Dead Island: Official Announcement Trailer

We start this weeks list off with a biggy; this trailer has been buzzing around the internet ever since it was released, and rightly so. This cinematic trailer tells the story of a family of three who are under the attack of… well zombies. The hype has been so massive in fact that the movie rights have alreayd been sold… Crazy.

 

2) The Blackwater Gospel

 

This is one of my personal favorites from this weeks list; TBWG is an animation piece centring on the paranoia in a small isolated town after the undertaker arrives. The resulting piece of work is a visual masterpiece that must be seen; watch it NOW.

 

3) Niteo

Ok, I’ll put my hands up, this is a bit of self-promotion. This weeks number 3 video goes to… me. I made this video a couple of weeks back and I thought this may be a good way to get it out there a little more. The ffect was very simple and cheap to make; it just took a vase of water and some glitter paint. I mounted my camera close to the vase ful of water, and as I poured the glitter paint into the glass, the glitter and paint seperated in a really beautiful way. I like it guys, please don’t forget to ‘like’ if you have a vimeo account :)

 

4) Butterflies

 

WARNING: DO NOT CONSUME ILLEGAL STIMULANTS BEFORE WATCHING THIS CLIP. I mean, technically you shouldn’t anyway, but what I’m saying is, this video is VERY trippy. Somehow it has something to do with butterflies, but in reality, this is an exercise in heavy post-editing and freaking people out. You’ve got to appreciate the level of work this must have taken, but personally… I got scared.

 

5) The Final Chapter [CLICK HERE FOR WEBPAGE]

We finish this weeks list with a very special entry. Those of you who read my previous article may have already seen this, but in for those of you that haven’t, you’re in luck. I had to repost this because it really is a feat like no other; this vimeo project drew the community together on a collaborative piece of work like I have never seen before. The idea being that this whole video was filmed in segments by separate directors, each segment ends in a still, then the competition opens again and the next segment must start with the still image that the last segment ended with. It’s simpler than it sounds trust me; but that’s why I  have linked you to the blog instead of the video, so that you can read the background into the project and watch the separate clips should that be what you desire.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks list, click here to see last weeks T5V.

Niteo

Hey guys,

I would like to share with you a new video of mine, I am very happy with how it turned out. The effect was rather simple in fact, I just poured some glitter paint into water and filmed the outcome. I really hope you enjoy this short film and if you do, I would greatly appreciate it if your shared it with your friends.

Thankyou,

Matt  :)

The Johnny Cash Project

Click to visit

 

Hey Guys,

I want to let you all know about an amazing project in honour of an amazing musician; The Johnny Cash Project.

This is a truely special project and I urge anyone who has even has a passing interest in art, music or creative work to check this out. In honour of the ‘Man in Black’ Chris Milk (Click for vimeo account) has put together this video event, asking anyone to submit a single frame to recreate the video for Cash’s haunting song: Ain’t No Grave. You can watch the ‘About’ video here, showcasing what the project is about it, how it works and what it’s for; though it is at its core, a beautifully detailed tribute to Cash himself.

As users are asked to submit only one frame (though you can submit more if you wish) there is a lot more time to put more detail and thought into each hand-drawn image, this creates a string of highly detailed, sometimes impressionistic and unique peices of art; which altogether rivals some of the best music videos I have ever seen. So far there have been over 250,000 unqiue submissions and though there is more than one image for each frame, even if your drawing is not chosen for the final piece, you will still be credited in a unique version of the video should your frame fall into that category e.g: Most strokes, highest rated, or by art syle such as abstract, pointillism, realistic or sketchy.

I sincerely urge everyone to check this project out right now; it’s unique, innovation and great fun. There are quite a few people involved in making the project happen so click here for a list of the full credits. Below you can see the reference frame I got and the entry I submitted; I will never claim to be the best drawer in the world so I went for a clean style with just subtle significance; the silhouette of Cash denotes his striking power and legacy but he is also blended with the darkness of the room linking back to his descent into drugs and alcholism during his career. I also gave him two hearts to represent his two wives (and also the many women he had affairs with); I know this is very basic symbollism but I am happy with how the image turned out. You can also watch a video on how a drew my entry here.

Click for Full Sized Image

Click for Full Sized Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peace,

Matt  :)

Tips and Hints that EVERYONE Should Know About After Effects.

Click the image to go to the tutorial

Hey Guys,

Here is a repost of Topher Welsh’s tutorial featured on aetuts+ about how to streamline your After Effects operations. If, like me you are wanting to get a job in design we must all acknowledge that a lot of projects will be tight to a dealine, this tutorial helps you shave of those valuable seconds; iterating all the keyboard shortcuts and other tips to help streamline you work process. As someone who has been using After Effects for about 8 months now, I still knew less than half of the tips in this tutorial and I’m sure it will benefit a great range of people that take the time to read it. You can view the tutorial by clicking the banner or clicking here.

Peace,

Matt  :)

 

 

Tutorials Seen in my Showreel.

“We Can’t help Everyone, but Everyone can Help Someone.”

– Ronald Reagan

Hey Guys,

As this site has just launched and chances are no one is even reading what I am writing I suppose this is kind of pointless, however I will continue anyway. Anyone that has used this site will hopefully of checked out my showreel and hopefully enjoyed it too. However I fully confess to be a complete amateur design artist and I cannot take full credit for all of the work presented. Whilst all content was generated by me, several clips were based very closley off of tutorials with only minor changes. I will credit all tutorials in this post and if anyone decides to follow them, leave a comment with a link to what you came out with.

The first clip in the showreel is a title I made for a montage trailer (Back when I was still editing gaming videos), the title looks sweet but it is more of less just a copy of the tutorial for realistic fog on aetuts.com. You can watch Sachin man Joshi’s amazing tutorial on realistic fog effects here.

The next tutorial I would like to credit is videocopilots ‘animating a still’ lesson; the effects they present in this video help bring life to any still image and whilst I didn’t use all the effects demonstrated it was massive influence on my ‘Pakistan is Drowning’ project (repeated several times int he showreel). You can watch Andrew Kramers amazing tutorial on animating a still here.

There is a shot towards the latter end of the video of a 3D audio spectrum evolving and changing changing colour, whilst I input the colour change to correspond with the pitch shift, the 3D spectrum itself was an incredibly technical peice of design work that took me many attempts to get functioning correctly. However as this tutorial is mainly based on expressions (a particular weakness of mine) I had to copy the expressions to the letter, the only creative input I had was the colour and camera work. You can watch Satya Mekas genius tutorial on 3D audio spectrums here.

Finally I would just like to acknowledge a more general tutorial; whilst colour grading is subjective the mood and feel of a particular shot/ photograph you still need to know which tools to use. I benifited greatly from watching a few colour grading tutorials and then experimenting but as an all round tool overview this tutorial will suit most needs. You can watch Hugo Tromps useful tutorial on colour grading here.
Please leave a comment linking to any tutorial based work you have made and let us know what you think of the tutorials listed above.

Peace,

Matt  :)