Flight of the Frenchie

A while back, photographer Liam Lonsdale kindly offered to let me use his photographs for my work and about a month later when he released this amazing photo of climber Melissa LeNeve with the title "Flight of the Frenchie", I thought recreating the image in the style of a TinTin book would be good fun and a nice opportunity to do some more climbing related art, but in a different style from my previous series of climbing posters. 

I brought the illustration into AfterEffects at the end to add a bit of subtle parallax style animation.

If you'd like a still version for your phone or desktop, you can download one here.

Special thanks to Stephen Minty, a fellow animator and climbing buddy, for helping to get the clouds just right!

US Park Maps

Taking some of what I've been learning with my France map and doing a short series of US National Parks. Going to just focus on 4 - Rocky Mountain, Zion, Yellowstone, and Yosemite. I've got an itch to do something less mountain based though, so I might have a whack at the Everglades when these are done.

These can actually be quite a faff to create.

Initially I looked at using actual DEMs (digital elevation models), stitching them together, and the cutting the models into horizontal slices to create these. However, the easily available DEMs of national parks tend to be quite detailed and therefore, very high poly. Additionally I had to stitch together about 12 - 14 of them for the Rocky Mountain park, resulting in a model that was over 9 million polys. I tried using a poly reduction however if I did that with the whole map it ticked away for hours before I gave up.

I then tried loading the DEMs in strips, doing a poly reduction, then stitching the new, lower-poly model together. Quite tedious, but it worked! I then made my horizontal slices, turned them into paths. However the paths were quite messy. It took me almost 3 days to tidy them up and then group them according to their vertical placement. Then, finally, it was ready to extrude!!   And it looked crap. Well, not crap, but the large number of slices meant the result was quite detailed and it felt too busy. I almost gave up then, having poured so much time into it. I hadn't really sat down and done any preliminary sketching, and that quite often leads to dead ends for me. 

In a last-ditch attempt at saving the idea, I switched back to illustrator. I was lucky that while looking for topo maps of RMNP, I had come across an elevation map split into big sections. I was able to use that as a guide to create more simplified elevation guides. For two of the maps I wasn't able to find anything like that, so I ended up using low poly models of the parks that someone else had created, applied vertical gradient, rendered out the resulting elevation map, then used that to make the linework in Illustrator. And then of course brought it all back into c4d. Round and round and round we go...

A nice cabin in the woods

Definitely dream of a little cabin way out in the middle of nowhere. It's not that I don't like people, I just love the peace and quite of a dense forest. So if anyone's got a beautiful cabin in the woods they need taking off their hands, get in touch!

Here's a bit of 3d meets 2d with Sketch & Toon.

Meringen Bouldering World Cup

Did a couple of short animations with the winners of the first IFSC Bouldering world cup of 2016. I was planning on doing one for each comp, but work got in the way and the scheduling of the games would have meant it would be a bit tricky to do them in a timely manner relative to the comps themselves. So I failed... Maybe this year I'll give the lead comp some love.

Winners for the Men:

1st: Alexey Rubtsov
2nd: Martin Stranik
3rd: Jorg Verhoeven

Winners int he Women's comp:

1st: Shauna Coxsey
2nd: Melissa Le Neve
3rd: Megan Mascarenas

France, now in 3d

To help get into 3d a bit more, I'm recreating my map of France in Cinema4d. There's a lot of assets contained in that map, so I think it will provide a lot of opportunity to learn more about the standard features. I find I remember much more easily the techniques I learn by solving problems of my own creation, rather than following tutorials. 

 

Here's the start so far. Laid out landscape, created mountains, hills, and a few trees. Then I spent a lot of time tweaking the textures. Eventually, I moved on to the rough model of Paris. 

Diving in to 3d

I've wanted to get into 3d for a long time, but always managed to talk myself out of it in the past, feeling that it was a lot to learn and I should just focus on 2d. But for the past month I've managed to ignore those fears and make a decent crack and learning c4d. 

So far I've really enjoyed it and feel like I've been taking to it like a duck in water. Of course there are lots of frustrating, head-scratching moments as I have a habit of biting off more than I can chew. 

Here's a bike chain set I made for my partner's bike blog.

Crane

A short clip from a personal project I'm working on. Still need to perfect the walking of the crane, but really enjoyed figuring out what I've got so far, as well as creating the clouds and grass.

Wainscott Weasel project

Finally have had the chance to do some more work on my Wainscott Weasel project that I started many months ago. 

Here's some rough concepts for some scenes from the book - the Spring Cotillion in the pines, Bagley Brown Sr talking with one of the moles who helped dig a tunnel to the chicken farm, Bagly Brown Jr and Wendy visiting the lake, and Paddy the frog.

 

Colorado State map

Just polished off my final map for my trip to America, the great state of Colorado. 

The hardest part about this map was decided what to put in and what to leave out. Growing up my family went to Colorado every summer around July or August to escape the Texas heat. - People from Colorado often complain about Texas tourists, and yes, my family is certainly guilty! So I have a lot of love for the state. Nothing beats a mountain view, the smell of pine, and getting buzzed by curious hummingbirds.