Msc 3D Computer Animation - Final Projects (animation added)
My Masters' Show and final assessment are lurking just around the corner. It is most definitely crunch time
I thought I would share with you my final projects here on ZBC. The focus of my studies has been the Uncanny in art and culture. Zbrush has been pivotal to my work this year (as it has every other year I have been in University).
I will post more information up about my studies soon, as well as a link to my final film as soon as it is finished.
For now, here are the three main pieces of wall art I am putting into the show. They are currently being printed as stretched canvas prints, 16 x 20inch.
Last edited by MrHappy; 08-22-10 at 09:44 AM.
Reason: changing title
Here is a little background info about the Msc Projects:
Barbara Hepworth believed that the life and vitality of a sculpture come not from the material properties or physicality of the sculpture itself, but from the imagination of the sculptor brought to life. If the vitality comes not from the physical nature of the sculpture, but instead from what Hepworth called its “inner spiritual lifei” then it matters not whether the sculpture is made of clay, stone, bronze, or pixels. A digital sculpture rendered photo-realistically is the Uncanny relative of the physical sculpture captured on photographic film. To the viewer, it is the same experience, as the interpretation of a real object and an imagined one, such as a dream or illusion, is conducted using the same neural machinery. The “real and imagined share a physical source in the brain.ii” If executed properly, a digital sculpture could be taken as a physical one.
The film project Pan was intended as an exploration into the nature of sculpture and the sculpting process, utilizing contemporary digital art techniques. The intent was to recreate the sculpting process entirely digitally, using no real world materials, in order to explore the relationship between digital sculpture and traditional sculpture from the perspective of the artist.
The subject matter of the sculpture in the film is Pan, the Pagan and Ancient Greek god of Nature. The reason for this subject choice was based upon the distortion of this figure in Medieval Europe. Pan, once a symbol of Nature and Fertility, was warped into a symbol used to instil terror and oppress the masses. Pan became the Christian Devil.
Ape is intended as an exploration into the Uncanniness of mimicry in the animal kingdom, and the repressed animal nature of Man. Take, for example, the Cuckoo. The Cuckoo is a parasitic bird which lays its eggs in the nests of other species. Upon hatching, the other bird treats the Cuckoo as its own, and the Cuckoo proceeds to starve out the host's offspring by eating all of their food. Moths and butterflies disguise themselves as owls and other creatures for protection. People often hide their true nature, or their true beliefs, in order to fit better into a society they would otherwise be rejected by.
Medieval European artists created imagery steeped in the Uncanny. Through the creation of representational religious imagery, they delved into the depths of the human psyche. The Devil, ubiquitous symbol in Christian faiths for the evil inherit in man, and his minions in corruption, were represented in canvas and sculpture. Serving as propaganda, decorating churches and cathedrals in reminder to the masses that Hell awaits those who Siniii. This form of propagandised expression died out with the Enlightenment and the age of Reason. However, this formative age of Western Culture spawned some of the most Uncanny art the world has seen.
Artists creating these images had free reign to create their grisly depictions. However, certain influences shone throughout. Pagan culture was distorted, and its Gods became their Uncanny Doppelgängers, the Demons of Christianityiv (in fitting with Freud's theoryv.) In this manner, Deities symbolising a celebration of life and the vital became tools of its oppression.
In depicting the Evils of Hell, these artists had free reign to create whichever horrors their imaginations could birthvi. Each creation an artist makes reveals something to the audience about the artist, as, as Hepworth argued, artistic creation was the convergence of the conscious and unconscious mindsvii. In depicting the things which they were to repress, they were exploring those very acts within their fantasies. They were presenting their repressed desires, for the sole function of the repression of desire. Dreams are thought to be the allowance of the expression of repressed desire in a safe way to be processed by the mindviii. Artists, such as the Surrealists, often sought to explore these realms as a way to express and discover repressed and hidden wonders of the self and the external reality. These precursors to the pioneering dream explorers sought instead to use their dreams to create fear and prostration. As the desire to dominate and control could be considered an Evil human trait, the artists, even if they sought to warn the populous with their work, could be considered the Uncanny Double of their future counterparts.
The most primal Uncanny effect appears to come from the confusion between the animate, or inanimate nature of an object or entity. This effect factors into Ernst Jentsch's discussion regarding the Uncanny as an evolutionary defence mechanismix. Jentsch elaborated upon this through an anecdote regarding a traveller whom sat upon a snake thinking it a tree root, recoiling in horror as it moved beneathx. Upon realization of what has happened, one is gripped by a fear of mortality. The fear comes from the danger of being killed by a known foe. However, the most profound fear occurred before this realization, in the period in which it appeared that the tree moved in a controlled manner. This Uncanny horror, brought upon by the uncertainty over the animate nature of the travellers chosen seat, ensures the the mistake will not be made again.
This example is of an Uncanny uncertainty regarding the nature of external factors, and how it upsets the internal perception of reality held by the traveller. However, there is also the possibility that part of the Uncanniness came from a realization that the traveller had misunderstood his own internal perceptions, that reality was not as imaginedxi. This disruption between reality and imagination – that the root was not actually a root, and whatever image the movement had conjured about its true nature before revelation – creates an Uncanny conundrumxii.
In a similar vein to the animate being mistaken as inanimate, the inanimate husk left after death can maintain an Uncanny power. Due to a preconception held that the corpse is animate as it once was in lifexiii, the dead appear as sleeping, almost ready to wake and rise. Seeing the dead acts as a reminder that at some point we will all die, and become a mere echo of our former selves. Our lives, hopes, dreams, and loves all lost, leaving only the broken machine of flesh.
SleepyHeads is intended as an exploration into these themes, and also the three-tiered nature of Man according to Freudian Theory: the Id, the Ego, and the Superego. The trinity of Id, Ego, and Superego represent the primal, instinctive, animal drives of Man, the conceptual “self”, the thinking, personality driven Man, and the sense of right and wrong, behaviour and control influenced by Man's society and culture.
i Hepworth, B. 1937 (in Harrison, C. ed & Wood, P. ed 2003.)
ii Martinez-Conde, S. and Macknik, S. L. 2010. Page 4.
iii Ward, L. & Steeds, W. 2007. Page 11.
iv Ward, L. & Steeds, W. 2007. Page 9.
v Freud, S. 1919 (in Freud, S. 2003 page 143).
vi Ward, L. & Steeds, W. 2007. Page 9-10.
vii Hepworth, B. 1937 (in Harrison, C. ed & Wood, P. ed 2003.)
viii Freud, S. (in Gay, P. ed. 1995).
ix Jentsch, E. 1906 (in Jentsch, E. 1997).
x Jentsch, E. 1906 (in Jentsch, E. 1997).
xi Jentsch, E. 1906 (in Jentsch, E. 1997).
xii Disbelief that an event has been witnessed, or that another person could behave in another manner than one is accustomed to could become the source of an Uncanny upset, especially if there is no third party to verify the events. As time passes, or on trying to describe the events to others, the self doubt sets in. This leads to a questioning of ones own mental faculties, and in contemplating madness, one faces being out of control of oneself, an Uncanny state of being.
xiii Jentsch, E. 1906 (in Jentsch, E. 1997). Page 15.
If anyone is interested in any further information on my study of the Uncanny, my Dissertation can be found here:
Master's Show started yesterday. It seemed to be a success, with more people than I expected showing up for the opening day. Not too sure about the initial reaction to my film, it was interesting to see it on the big screen. It held up quite well considering it was only 720p. It would have been nice to be able to render the film with the full detail I had intended for it, however the renders used stretched the available resources to the limit.
It has definitely helped me to work out some issues for other projects I have in mind for future. Seeing people at the show putting their noses right up to the canvases trying to work out if they were paintings / prints / photographs or models was great. It made the work put in feel worthwhile.
I've only got a week left of University, invigilating the show till it closes. After that I plan on spending a month or two doing some serious Zbrush training and anatomy training before looking for work all over. I will post all of my training work in a new thread to document my progress, and hopefully get some feedback from the ZBC community.
I would like to thank Pixologic for completely changing the way I work, and providing me the opportunity to create things I would never otherwise have been able to. Cheers