In the wake of Spherical Harmonics, I’ve started to work through some of the ideas that have been sitting on my to-do list. The video above is a piece I’m working on right now that involves simulating a hundred plane crashes. It’s fun to make - a criteria for new work that I think is especially important given the stresses of creating the last work in such a short space of time. Harmonics was a fantastic project and I’m very proud of what I managed to produce, but I had a sort of out of body experience when making it - the same critical voice that was deconstructing the image was wondering why I wasn’t deconstructing the workflow a bit more. If anything, just to save my sanity. Of course, I know the answer to that - I was making a film that entered into a conversation with photography and I was pushing for a look that merged with the photographic simply in order to comment upon it. And at 3K res, that’s an exhausting trick.
Still, one of my resolutions upon completing the last piece was to consciously adapt my working practices to facilitate a more creative and responsive practice. An approach I’ve considered is to write a CGI manifesto that would force me to operate within limits. Like Dogme 95. Too often the possibilities for refinement within the CGI image work against any creative impetus (that’s why CG directors don’t get their hands dirty with making - they are removed from the process and avoid getting chewed up and spat out by endless hitches and glitches).
My solution is to break down the possibilities for refinement into a set of combinable options. So with both practical considerations of what someone can achieve alongside a critical strategy that attempts to build a reflexive practice, I’ve come up with a basic concept. You - the indie CG artist - can only choose one c) from the list below. You can choose two b)’s and the rest must be a)’s.
AN INDIE CGI MANIFESTO
Either a) Default material. b) Flat shaders. c) Painted/Photographic/UV mapped shaders.
Either a) Default or single light. b) 2 - 5 lights. c) 5 + lights or HDRI Image Based Lighting.
Either a) Viewport Render. b) Direct Lighting only c) Indirect Illumination (GI, Final Gather etc.).
Either a) No characters. b) One character. c) Multiple Characters
Either a) less than 1 MB. b) up to 100 MB. c) 100MB or more.
Either a) Less than HD 1920 b) HD 1920 c) Larger than HD 1920
Either a) less than 15 seconds b) 15 seconds to 3 minutes c) Over 3 minutes