Mind Mapping Introduction: Monday 23rd september
The focus today was on visualising the programme of study that we’re going to be undertaking over the next year. Mind mapping is a way to articulate the process by dividing your ideas up into single words and/or images, and then linking the ideas together in a logical format to create a ‘map’ that is easier to visualise than merely writing down a list of items. The creator was a man named Tony Buzan.
The proposal for research needs to be broken down into easy to manage ideas. For example:
What do I bring to the proposal? – My background; my experience; my previous study etc.
What is the rationale behind the idea? – Why am I doing this?; Who wil benefit from it?; Has anyone done this type of research before, and if so whom?
What are the aims of the proposal? – I should be ‘exploring’, ‘testing’ and ‘investigating’ the areas in relation to the subject.
What are my objectives? – These are the actions that will allow me to realise my aims by understanding and exploring the field.
The methodology (strategy) involved in your research should detail how you intend to perform the collecting of primary and secondary data. For example, primary data comes from interviewing practitioners or by performing tests, while secondary data involves the the research of books and gathering information from the Internet etc.
So, with this in mind, I created my initial mind map, based on what my intentions are for the course at this early stage. Clearly, my ideas may change and develop as time goes by, but here is a version of the first:
Following this, I searched for a mind mapping piece of free software to create a digital version. I searched the web and following a couple of false starts with ‘free’ on line companies that wanted to charge me, I discovered ‘bubbl.us’, which seemed to be a relatively easy on line tool to use:
48 Hour Video: The Showings Monday 23rd September
With the videos completed, all that was left to do was for each team to display their work and answer any questions that arose. First up was “This Film Sucks…Blood”, an excellent comedy piece by Kieran, Steph, Lily and George. Next up were my own group and our, “The Game”, as we finally settled on (due to it’s ambiguous and descriptive nature). Strangely, following the many laughs of the previous comedy, but perhaps appropriately, there was silence apart from applause at the end. Perhaps I had played the part of the psychopath too well? Finally, “Cold Call’, from Tom, Fraser and Rebecca – a horror piece, very moody and effective.
Our final version of the film can be found here:
The remainder of the week was focussed on 2 things:
1. Trying to narrow down what my topic of research for the coming year was going to be. Up Until now I had been looking into character design via the psychological profiling route, which does interest me. However, following a guest lecture last week from David Bishop, screenwriter who has several notable credits to his name, he has inspired me to rethink or rather really think about what I want to spend the year working on. It has to be something I am passionate about, as I will be willing to go the extra mile to make it something worthwhile. So, with that in mind I have been having a few sleepless nights trying to decide, as well as several visits to the library borrowing books on a variety of subjects. At the moment I seem to standing somewhere between Compositing and Dynamics Visual Effects, anything from fracture simulations to smoke and water. I have yet to decide entirely but it seems for sure that I changed my topic.
2. Maya – as we now have access to Digital Tutors, a very useful resource, I have been following a cpouple of tutorials to get up to speed. The first is an Introduction to Maya 2014, which covers many things over 81 tutorials and uses the building of sci-fi looking plane, texturing, lighting, rendering etc.
The other tutorial was based on building characters in Maya, again something I am familiar with in 3DS Max, so it is really a case of familiarising myself with the tools and of course learning some new ones.
Thursday 26th September
This weeks research skills and methods lecture was conducted by Gordon Spark. An interesting breakdown of a Guardian article to get into the habit of analysing written work so that we can apply our the techniques to our own chosen literature. Again, this ties in with the current search for a book to critically evaluate for Jeanette Paul’s first assignment, due in on October the 9th, which will hopefully be on the subject that I will continue to research. I have a book in my possession by Eric Keller, ‘Maya Visual Effects, The Innovators Handbook’. Ironically enough, this is a book that I had bought with the intent of doing in my free time while I studied character design, but now I appreciate that I should have focussed on that from the beginning.
Friday 27th September
An introduction to Jin Zhi – Jin has some very impressive work behind him, and he was not pulling any punches when it came to clarifying how much work we would have to do and how brutal the visual effects industry is if you want to achieve something. The topic today was NURBS, something I have a little experience of within the last few weeks, however, the standard that I have to achieve will require a lot of work outside of the university. Following the lecture I did some tests on lofting, extruding, revolving and attaching faces etc.
The topics for the semester were handed out – I will begin with a search on a suitable reference image with the purpose of recreating a photo realistic version of the image in Maya. This has to be constructed in NURBS, while the other task involves the creation of a pair of objects, modelled using polygonal modelling, textured and composited using Nuke. I have much work to do!