Thursday, September 23, 2010

Couch, How I Love Thee

Here are some screenshots of the model I've been building for the living room for the indie animation film Rob & I are working on:

It was based on these storyboard drawings by Rob:

This scene involves our main character visiting a club which is located "Under-Couch" in "Living Room Lane" - yes, I know, it kind of sounds like "Toy Story." In fact, our whole film kind of mashes up aspects of various Disney greats. Our purpose in intentionally doing so, is in partial parody, partial homage and partial symbolism. But in fear of people ripping us off, I'm not going to explain the plot any further.

What I would like to explain, however, is my process in going from drawing to model.

The intention with the couch is to ensure it looks like both, a hilly environment for the characters (which are animated house hold objects) and a believable couch.

I wanted the arms of the couch to have the same curvature as the arms of the actual couch in my living room. So at first, just to get a sense of the arch, I made this poor-perspective sketch:

Then I needed to break down the proportions: the arms to the base, to the cushion, the cushion to the head board, etc. So I made these sketches to help define it:

Then I started modeling. I started with the arm first and worked from there.

This is the process I often utilize in the creation of most of my models, especially models based off of real life architecture, like benches and gazebos. I will post images of those at a later date. The process of creation with those involved my real life observation, small thumbnail sketches, and written notes.

Interestingly enough, a new freelance gig has got me to thinking about the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. And I think this is why I love Computer Art so much. Computer Art is one part artistic creativity, another part, cold hard fact; and as someone who is as much a Verbal/Linguistic learner as a Visual learner, I work best/feel happiest when I get to utilize both those parts of my brain.

I am able to truly understand form only by breaking down objects into words, then into shapes, then into processes executable in computer programs (i.e. - Maya) :

This is where I differ from most traditional artists, like Rob, or a myriad of my artistic peers - who are better at free hand drawing.

I think the Theory of Multiple Intelligences is worth looking into whether you are a elementary school teacher, or an professor at an art university. Both my junior high and high school understood this theory, and those were the schools I excelled in most and was most passionate about. Not everyone is all logic, not everyone is all visual - in fact, most people are a combination of different intelligences.

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