A New (and completely different) Work in Progress

I just finished my second to last semester of college. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, it’s really exciting, but on the other it’s quite scary. My skills definitely aren’t at the point that I’d like them to be, but I think I did some good work last semester, and I’m ready to start really digging into it.

I’ve decided to work on something completely different to challenge my skills in a new direction and work on doing a bigger variety of stuff. This may end up as either a portfolio piece or just a fun personal project. I’ve heard that it’s a good idea to work from pre-existing concept art, so I decided to use a piece by one of my favorite artists, Kilian Eng. I think his stuff is a good choice, because it’s much more a “fine art-y” but still has some conceptiness about it. And it’s just totally different from anything I’ve ever done, and from what you usually see. And most importantly, I love this piece so it will be (and has been so far) a lot of fun to do.

I picked this one to start off with for the simplicity, which is actually pretty deceiving. Trying to successfully capture that simplicity in 3d is a nice challenge, and there’s a lot of hidden complexity in the piece. One of the big things I’m going to try to get in the 3d piece is the feel of hand-drawn outlines. Which is another nice challenge to do in 3d, where everything is built from perfectly straight lines. Getting excited about this, it’s exactly what I used to be really into: complexity within simplicity. Or, as Tadao Ando would say, “concealing the Piranesian Labyrinth within the Albersian frame”. Here is where it’s at so far (I just tossed in the lighting to start getting a feel for the color):

Like I started saying above, this piece is proving to be a much bigger challenge than I thought. Analyzing and interpreting flat art is skill set in itself. The flatness of the piece I’m working from leaves a lot open to interpretation. The only thing that shows depth in the piece is perspective, which makes the center area especially difficult to read for 3d.

Definitely a ways to go with this still. I have to finish the blocking in, then dig into getting variation in all the straight lines. I still haven’t decided how I’m going to do the textures. I might end up just making some rough/brick-ish normal maps and, if anything, just a noise for the diffuse to try to translate the surface details in the piece. Only using normal maps should make the surface detail change as you move around the scene.

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