Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Journal Ambience #7!

Journal Ambience #7 has finally arrived, bringing with it a slew of content.

This entry is all about wrapping up the final week of the concept design workshop - work produced during the second period and several photos and signatures taken with and written by the headlining designers. Conjointly the completed entry for Sketch Theatres‘ Dragon Rider’s competition will also be revealed. 

                                  (CDW) Concept Design Workshop & Concept Design Studios
                                       Level 3, The Myer Centre, Rundle Mall, Adelaide SA 5000
                                                                 Mobile +61 404 060 085
                                        Email | Web

Before proceeding please note that all work shown are still in progress.

The first is an observational environment piece, experimenting with Jaime’s method of painting. This is a bit more loose and abstract, akin to traditional painters that he admirers, particularly John Singer Sargent.  

My observational digital painting

                                                         Photograph I was referencing

The second is a concept for a mech, inspired by the hyper stylings of manga/ anime concept artists. The design evolved from the awe inspiring wushu fighting pose that dictates energy, flexibility, and elegance. This unnatural yet fluid stance compelled me to design a mech whose body reflected this motion and so I chose to make it’s body elongated and contorted. To complement this I decided on drawing it fully articulated arms, with laser swords that it swings in large arcs and in place of hands. Other influences include the praying mantis in which it’s form was used as inspiration, in designing the head  and body of the mech. Lastly its largely red colour palette was selected to portray its volatile reaction to things and to portray that it’s an agile mech, which consequently red was also used in reference to its association with the esteemed Ferrari sports car line.

The last piece of work are additional environment pieces, this time following Simon’s method of painting and construction. Using photo reference as overlays and transforming  them to suit the monochromatic shapes that make up the composition and applying colour afterward over the top. Jaime also uses photos for texturing and for sections that only serve as ancillary to the focal point of the design, but is a bit more scarce with his approach.  Furthermore no reference was used to produce the compositions. At this point only black and white studies were produced, but at some stage they will be revisited, completed and posted in a future Journal Ambience post.

Experimenting with different compositions during the ideation/ thumbnails stage.

My monochromatic composition

Simon Scale's alteration of my original composition. Thank you for improving my work Simon.

In addition to all the work produced during the concept design workshop are also photographs with myself and the headlining designers at the school this year and whom have shared their invaluable knowledge with students. They include:

Khang Le - A masterful mech and environment concept artist. He is also an art director and an Independent Game Developer. Currently he is the CEO/Creative Director of Adhesive Games on the project HAWKEN. Additionally his credits include working for studios such as Microsoft, NCsoft, Intel, Sony Imageworks and many more. His past projects include: Project Offset, Monster House and Jack the Giant Killer. Khang also lectures and demo’s at workshops around the world including at the Concept Design Academy. He is one of the illustrators/ designers/ authors for the book: The Skilful Huntsman.

Khang’s approach to design involves swift decision making and swift brush strokes. Watching him work is down right inspiring and has provided me with an alternative method that can be applied to my own process of design. Khang’s passion and knowledge of mech design was exciting to watch along with his humble and encouraging nature made him such a fantastic person to have met. I can only hope to one day be as proficient and as successful as you Khang.  

Mike Yamada - Who brings with him an exemplary folio of work from the talented studio of Dreamworks Animation. He has worked on numerous Dreamworks film projects including: How to Train your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda 2, Bee Movie and Puss in Boots to say the least, not to mention working on several game projects with clients including: High Impact Studios, Naughty Dog, and Crystal Dynamics. Mike also lectures and demo’s at workshops and schools in the USA including at the Concept Design Academy and Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, L.A. Mike and his wife Victoria (Vicky) work on a range of their own exciting products and projects. On top of this, Mike is one of the illustrators/ designers/ authors for the book: The Skillful Huntsman.

It has been fascinating to observe his unique procedure of design, how it is applied to the context of animation and how it differs from live action films and video games. It was also a privilege in gaining insight into the ethos of Dreamworks, learning the company’s expectations and method of practice.

Victoria Ying - Is Mike’s counterpart in two senses of the word. One they are married and two, they both have portfolios that similarly mirror each others’. Vicky is a proud visual development artist who works at the illustrious Walt Disney Animation Studios. She has worked on Disney film projects Tangled, Tangled Ever After, Wreck it Ralph and also some upcoming films. Victoria’s list of clients includes: White Wolf Games, and Fantasy Flight games.

It was especially mesmerising to see her effortlessly produce unique characters during class demos that have an inherent Disney style and compositional pieces, along with Mike.   

All in all, it was a joy learning from both of you, Mike and Vicky and I’ll be sure to heed both of yours’ advice when it comes to making career decisions and recommendations in design ethics. You two are such lovely people and I hope our friendship maintains, despite at the moment being worlds apart. 

 Bryan Wynia is one of the true masters of teaching and understanding the workings of Z-brush and character modelling. Bryan has an incredible career path, whose clients include   Naughty Dog, Jim Henson's Creature Shop, The Aaron Sims Company, Gentle Giant Studios, Electric Tiki, and Masked Avenger Studios. He is currently working as a Senior Character Artist at Sony Santa Monica, particularly involved on the upcoming God of War Ascension game exclusively for Playstation 3.

Bryan exudes enthusiasm and is very comical, making his classes not only informative but also entertaining. Bryan’s love of horror, creature design and monster history is paramount and was unique during the concept workshop. I learnt quite a deal from you Bryan and so I’ll forever be in your debt. Your humour also made it a highlight for me to have met you.

Ben Mauro is an astounding concept artist/ designer and digital scupltor. Like Bryan he is also immensely talented at utilising z-brush and was so awe inspiring to watch work. He also has an extensive knowledge of science-fiction design, mechs and creature design.

Ben’s resume starts with his impressive education, having studied industrial design and entertainment design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. More importantly he has been working in Wellington, New Zealand at Weta Workshop since 2009 and over the past few years has contributed to a vast array of Film, Television and Videogame projects such as ‘The Hobbit Trilogy’, ‘Elysium’ and ‘Valerian’ among many others. Before coming to Weta, he worked as a freelancer for various clients, including LucasFilm, Rhythm & Hues, Activision, EuropaCorp, Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Insomniac Games, Design Studio Press and Vishwa Robotics.

Meeting you in person Ben was a great moment for me, having been a fan of your work for awhile. I hope to one day reap the same rewards as you have and attempt to design just as impressive and unique ideas for the entertainment industry.  I look forward to conversing more with you in the future and sharing each others designs.    

Aaron Beck is truly an unassuming individual. Aaron is an aficionado of science-fiction, the military, technology and science in general. It was amazing to hear what he had to say.  Not to mention he is an appreciator of intelligent and original narration. Also incredibly was our similar passions of being influenced by the same designers, designs, vehicles, games, films and love for good stories. However Aaron still likes to remind people that has a jovial side.  

Currently he is a Senior Concept Artist at Weta Workshop in Wellington, New Zealand. He is working on many sensational films, including Mad Max:Fury Road and Elysium among copious others.

Aaron, your classes were marvellous at dispelling a lot of the mystery surrounding how professionals create such believable digital pieces. Furthermore your extensive cognition of all that is to do with fictional and non-fictional science is to say the least impressive and has compelled me to read and digest a lot more than I would normally. Your short film ideas are genuinely intriguing and convey true originality. An element that is overall truly lacking in the entertainment industry as of late. I’m happy to have had the opportunity to meet you Aaron and I hope we can remain in contact beyond the workshop, to share ideas, cognoscence, design pieces and general banter.

          Lauren (I apologise if I spelt your name wrong), Jaime (centre) and of course myself

Jaime Jones
is an exceptional designer and artist. His wisdom of fine art is extraordinary as is his endeavour to replicate the traditional art form digitally. Jaime is an internationally acclaimed Concept Artist and Illustrator and is currently working as a film concept artist at Warner Brothers. The line of projects he has been involved with, include revered films and games such as Chris Nolan’s upcoming Superman reboot, Man of Steel, Halo: Reach, Halo 3: ODST, Guild Wars, Magic the Gathering and upcoming game Destiny. Other notable clients he has worked for consist of National Geographic, Warner Bros., Paramount, ArenaNet, Bungie and Wizards of the Coast.

Jaime can be best described though for his meticulous attention to detail combined with a good and honest nature. Jaime your compassionate and genuine assessment of my work along with your passionate and articulated explanations of work that impresses you, was truly enlightening. I’m also very grateful for you to so openly give me the time and place to share with you my work and for all the advice and information you shared. It was certainly fantastic meeting you.

(Edit Update 7/2/13) Not to mention I received fantastic critiques from Peter Yong, Robin Eley and Makoto (my apologies if I spelt your name ) regarding my portfolio of work. I respectfully appreciate the three of you taking the time in offering each of your respective wisdom, recommendations and advice, in praising and proposing solutions in how I can improve the quality of my designs/ art. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Ancillary to all their differing credentials and methods of working, each designer poses one common and respectable trait, being modest. By not only admitting their own flaws but also highlighting the respective success of others. It is a characteristic that has stayed with me and something that I truly admire.
Founder of the CDW Concept Design Workshop Simon Scales.  Photo taken at the inaugural CDW event held in Adelaide in 2011.

Overall I would just like to say what an honour it was meeting all the designers and new colleagues who I hadn’t met before and of course seeing again all the designers who I have previously met and whom I have established great friendships with over the years. In particular Simon Scales who I thank too much, but deservedly so for founding this magnificent school the Concept Design Workshop. For providing students with the educational focus in concept art /design that was previously exclusive to foreign parts of the world. A big thank you again.   

                           Signatures from Aaron and Ben inside the Nuthin' But Mech book,
                                                      Published by Design Studio Press

                             Signatures by all the designers from CDW 13 Adelaide Event
                                               & CDW 11 Inaugural Adelaide Event:

                                                                      Kevin Chen
                                                                      Carlo Arellano
                                                                      Robin Eley
                                                                      Terry Lane
                                                                      Peter Yong
                                                                      Nick Pill

                                                                    And of course...

                                                                     Simon Scales

Additionally before I forget, local news reporters Today Tonight did a news story on the Concept Design Workshop, promoting what it entails to the public. P.S. I was also surprisingly interviewed and shown during the coverage! 

Follow the link below to the video on the CDW page on Facebook:

                                                  "Descent of Heaven's Serpents"

Lastly I would just like to spotlight my completed concept art/ design entry for Sketch Theatre’s Dragon Rider’s competition. The brief again was to simply illustrate “ dragon riders, standing next to their epic mount, flying in the air or perhaps even in battle”. Another stipulation is that all entries into sketch theatre’s competitions can only be traditionally illustrated. So nothing digital.

Lastly in conjunction with the art/ design piece it is suggested to give a title to and explanation of the illustration. Mine is as follows:

The title I bestowed upon my work is "Descent of Heaven's Serpents" that fictionally recreates a time in alternate history, illustrating the great battle between sky warriors: Clan Nebulas and Clan Ascension. 

Not intending to sound arrogant, I was pleasantly relieved to hear such great praises for my piece at the workshop. Several colleagues complimented how much they liked the action that is illustrated in the piece, not to mention the quality of the drawings in recreating the dragons, nicely capturing their expressions and forms. On the other hand the professionals that I showed it to, gave mixed reactions and feedback, in one instance praising it’s composition and unique idea with Jaime proclaiming that I should improve and pursue with it as it has great potential for a climatic scene in an original narrative. But then it was faulted for issues to do with value and anatomy. In regard to value it was quite clear between all of them that there needs to be clearer distinction between the foreground, midground and background. This is would require a more obvious gradation, with the foreground being the darkest, the midground at medium opacity and the background acting the lightest in tone. Ben’s concern was with the anatomy of the dragon in the foreground. The point of contention is that the placement of its wings are awkwardly placed, attached to the back of its neck, which might cause too much strain on the creature’s head and wreck it’s equilibrium in the air, causing it’s body to hang from its elevated head. Otherwise a second pair of wings could be attached to the lower part of the body (that is obscured from view), providing less doubt that it can’t travel properly. Lastly another suggestion was that maybe the third dragon head in the midground is not necessary and that it’s fine to simplify the piece to make it more legible and not have all attention drawn to that head and have the focus deviate from the skirmish between the warriors. 

In any case I hope you have all enjoyed what is on display this week and as usual remember to stay tuned every Friday, or at the least please be prepared for any delays, but that will come with notifications, to explain the post’s absence that will be updated with new content. 

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About Me

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Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
From a young age, Marc Forza has always had a creative flair. He specialises in concept art/ design, graphic design, illustration and industrial design, with interests in fine art, consumer electronics, biomimicry, automotive design, branding and science fiction. Marc also enjoys creating portraits for clients. Marc shares his portfolio, process and development on this blog, as well as on facebook, at Marc Forza Design. I hope you enjoy what you see and return often. Thank you.