Thursday, 23 October 2014

More texture tests

During our Maya lesson yesterday I spoke to Alan about how to get a more sketchy rough effect around my model, and he showed me a few settings in the toon shader to play around with and I think these texture tests are much more successful. I now know how I am going to be texturing my model, a toon shader with pen on grey paper. To make sure it works I'm going to have to have a few experiments when I have my proper model done. 

Pitch Presentation

An example of the music that Morgan Pearse the composer that has agreed to work with me has previously done.

Structure design Progress

I've spent a lot of time staring at the 16 etching trying to figure out how I'm going to make my environment in Maya and the longer I look at the etching the less they make sense. So to try get my head around the whole thing I started to see if I could connect some of them together and below is what I managed to get.

Since trying to connect these images by drawing would just be far to difficult, I gave it a go in Maya. It was still really hard but I've made some progress. It took me a little while to get the hang of trying to connect the etchings but after spending so long imagining them as a 3D space I have a much better understanding of how my environment is going to work. I'm going to give it another go and hopefully the next one I'll get exactly what I'm looking for.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Texture Tests

One of the difficult things to figure out about my project is how I am going to go about texturing my environment. I would quite like to keep the same roughness that Piranesi's original etchings have but that is something that is very difficult to achieve in Maya. I've done a tests to see if I could get the effect that I want. I don't think I have it quite yet so I'll need to play around a bit more and see what else I can come up with.

I was shown this animation Blik and I really like the style of it, if you look at the models closely they have a very sketchy outline which I'd love to figure out how they have done it because I think it would help me achieve the type of look I want in my own textures. 

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Minor Project Overview

Now that all my research is done and I am in the process of acquiring a composer I though it would be best to have the idea of my project summarised into a short overview.

Below are the second sate etching by Piranesi.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Updated idea

After doing a bit of thinking and talking to Alan about my idea to get another perspective. It was pointed out to me that I have two paths to take my project down, either I make it all about the mind, an interpretation of Piranesi's state of mind when he made the etchings. Have the camera movements and the music to help convey the feeling and atmosphere I want. Or I make it more educational and have it perfectly constructed, get a voice over and try to make it as accurate as I can. Both take the project in a completely different direction.

After a while I decided I liked the idea of making it abstract and about the mind. So I'm going to start by looking for a composer who I am going to give the 16 etchings to and a few guidelines to stick to and allow them to respond to the etchings and compose a piece of music for it, which I will then in turn respond to and create an environmental animation for.

Friday, 10 October 2014

The imaginary and Eternal Prisons of Piranesi

I found an hour long documentary on Piranesi and his imaginary prisons series, in which Yo-Yo Ma investigates the relationship between music and visual art. In this film, the talented cellist plays the music of Bach in a virtual prison based on the Carceri, the imaginary prisons found in the etchings of Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Along the way, audiences hear from architect Moshe Safdie and others while learning of Piranesi's only built church project, the Santa Maria del Priorato.

The exhibition, Piranesi, Rome, and the Arts of Design, includes a complete set of the prison etchings as well as an innovative 3-D video projection based on them. Before the film, Dr. John Marciari, Curator of European Art and Head of Provenance Research, will give a lecture about the haunting, nightmarish world of Piranesi's prisons, architectural fantasies that demonstrate the dark side of Piranesi's imagination. Prefiguring the dark imagining of the Romantic era, the Carceri are thought to have been the later model for everything from M.C. Escher's designs, to the city of Fritz Lang's Metropolis, to the moving staircases of Harry Potter's Hogwarts.

Below is the video of Yo-Yo Ma's investigation into the relationship between music and visual art using the Prisons series as inspiration for the set. I really like the way it looks and I think the whole thing creates an atmosphere the represents Piranesi's Prisons really well. 

Who is commissioning the project?

During my tutorial it was suggested that I find out who my project is for, who has commissioned my piece. Doing this I'll be able to point my project in the appropriate direction, deciding whether I'll need a voice over, a music track or if it'll be educational ect..
I was given a few ideas to look at making my project into an informative interactive app, or having an instillation piece in an Art gallery/Museum, or as an animated short for the Art/History Channel. I thought I would give a bit of research into each before I decided what I was going to do.

Interactive App

For the Interactive app the basic idea would be to separate the environment into different areas that can be chosen by the viewer and explored. Information about Piranesi and different aspects of his life can be given depending on which area has been chosen.
For this idea I would fake the interactive aspect and only make certain areas and have certain information that is given, but it would appear to the viewer that they have the choice to chose many other options if they decided to.
A recent graduate Bharathi Anthonysamy for his Major project created Num Num, an interactive game where you need to feed the character Num Num.

Below is a video tutorial on a book that you can download an app for and over certain pages if you hover your phone, or tablet over it then it plays a video. If you fast forward the video to 7.30 then it demonstrates the use of the phone app with the book. 

Art Galleries/ Museums

I think there is quite a big distinction between if I chose to do this project for an Art Gallery or an Art Museum, because with an Art Gallery the project can become quite abstract and very "Arty" for lack of a better word. Where as with an Art Museum the project can be more informative or representative, something that would accompany an exhibition of Piranesi's work. A lot like the 12 minute animation made by Gregoire Dupond, that I posted in a previous post. Maybe something that has a voice over of someone talking about Piranesi and his work. I would quite like to take the project in this direction but I am a little unsure as to exactly how I would do it, and if I did have a voice over what the content would be.
With an Art Gallery I could take it in a really abstract way make it all representative and about the mind. I would have the animation an experience into the labyrinths of the subconscious and explore the idea of being trapped. A lot like how Thomas De Quincy describes Piranesi's prisons in his book Confessions of an English Opium Eater. This is also an idea I am quite attracted to because I think it would be quite interesting creating the environment in this way.

Art/History Channel

If I did it this way then It would be similar to the way I would do it for an Art Museum except I would make it more educational and a voice over would be necessary. It would information about Piranesi, specifically about him around the time when he created the Prisons series. I'm not sure if I want to go this root I prefer the Art Galleries/ Museums root.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Piranesi's Carceri series made by Gregoire Dupond

I came across this 12 minute animation by Gregoire Dupond, that was made for the exhibition Le Arti di Piranesi: architetto, incisore, antiquario, vedutista, designer (The Art of Piranesi: architect, engraver, antiquarian, vedutista, designer). The exhibition opened on 28th August 2010 to coincide with the Venice Biennale of Architecture and ran until 9th January 2011. The exhibition was showcased in the Sale del Convitto on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, and after the inauguration it travelled to different venues.
This animation is similar in a way to what I want to achieve with my animation but there are still a number of differences.  

Piranesi's Versions of "Le Carceri"

Through my research I have discover that Piranesi had two versions of Le Carceri the first state prints were published in 1750, were called "Invenzioni Capric di Carceri" by Piranesi and consisted of 14 etchings, untitled and unnumbered, with a sketch-like look. For the second publishing in 1761, all the etchings were reworked and numbered I–XVI. Numbers II and V were new etchings to the series. Numbers I through IX were all done in portrait format, while X to XVI were landscape.

First edition of "Invenzioni Capric di Carceri" 14 etchings in 1750
Second edition of "Invenzioni Capric di Carceri" renamed as "Carceri d'invenzione" 16 etchings 1761

The second edition of the Prisons were a bit darker, they had more substance to them. The second edition of the prints are what I'm going to work with for my project. 

People influenced by Piranesi

Following on from the research I did before I looked into some of the writers, artists ect that I learnt had taken influence from Piranesi's work.

Thomas De Quincy "Confessions of an English Opium Eater"

Thomas De Quincy does not say much about Piranesi in his book Confessions of an English Opium Eater, he is only mentioned in one paragraph.

"Many years ago, when I was looking over Piranesi’s, Antiquities of Rome, Mr. Coleridge, who was standing by, described to me a set of plates by that artist, called his Dreams, and which record the scenery of his own visions during the delirium of a fever. Some of them (I describe only from memory of Mr. Coleridge’s account) represented vast Gothic halls, on the floor of which stood all sorts of engines and machinery, wheels, cables, pulleys, levers, catapults, &c. &c., expressive of enormous power put forth and resistance overcome. Creeping along the sides of the walls you perceived a staircase; and upon it, groping his way upwards, was Piranesi himself: follow the stairs a little further and you perceive it come to a sudden and abrupt termination without any balustrade, and allowing no step onwards to him who had reached the extremity except into the depths below. Whatever is to become of poor Piranesi, you suppose at least that his labours must in some way terminate here. But raise your eyes, and behold a second flight of stairs still higher, on which again Piranesi is perceived, but this time standing on the very brink of the abyss. Again elevate your eye, and a still more aĆ«rial flight of stairs is beheld, and again is poor Piranesi busy on his aspiring labours; and so on, until the unfinished stairs and Piranesi both are lost in the upper gloom of the hall. With the same power of endless growth and self-reproduction did my architecture proceed in dreams. In the early stage of my malady the splendours of my dreams were indeed chiefly architectural; and I beheld such pomp of cities and palaces as was never yet beheld by the waking eye unless in the clouds."

A lot can be taken from this passage as De Quincy never actually saw the plates himself they were described to him and he could instantly visualize the unseen works and recognize in them the dark recesses of his own opium dreams. There is also a significant feature which has intruded into the account and can not be verified by an inspection of the actual plates. De Quincy describes multiple replications of Piranesi within each plate as a wandering figure. The artist imprisoned in his own nightmare dungeons.
I think De Quincy's dreams he had while visualising the plates are quite accurate, from all that I have read about Piransi it seems like he was quite an unhappy person having failed at achieving his dream of becoming an architect and sold his etchings he did as souvenirs. I think that he felt trapped and his etchings of the prisons is a representation of his time in Rome and a projection of how he felt. The elaborate design of an enormous prison that seems to be a city within itself, and has no escape.

Edgar Allen Poe "The Pit and the Pendulum"

It's quite easy to see how Edgar took influence from Piranesi's series of Prisons for this particular piece of work. The story revolves around a narrator who has been sentenced to death. Upon hearing his sentence he passes out and when he wakes up he's in complete darkness. He gets up and walks a few steps where he stumbles and blacks out again. When he wakes up he finds that although he fell on solid ground his head is over a ledge and he summarises that there must be a pit in the middle of his cell. After falling asleep and waking up again the room is dimly lit and that he is now strapped to a board, when he looks up, he notices that the figure of Time has been painted on the ceiling. Time, however, has been made into a machine, specifically a pendulum, which appears to be swinging back and forth. He looks away from the ceiling, though, when he notices rats coming out of the pit and swarming around his food. When he returns his focus to the ceiling, he discovers that the pendulum is constructed like a scythe and is making a razor-sharp crescent in its descent toward him. The pendulum is moving incredibly slowly with a trajectory right over his heart. When the pendulum nears him he has an idea, he rubs the food onto the straps of his restraints, which attracts the rats over and they chew through, setting him free. When he gets up, the pendulum retracts to the ceiling, and he concludes that people must be watching his every move. The walls of the prison then heat up and begin moving in toward the pit. The narrator realizes that the enclosing walls will force him into the pit, an escape that will also mean his death. When there remains not even an inch foothold for the narrator, the walls suddenly retract and cool down. In his fear, however, the narrator has begun to faint into the pit. To his great surprise, though, a mysterious person latches onto him and prevents his fall.

The following images is a recreation of one of Piranesi's Prison etchings by Joseph Mallord William Turner.  Turner copied this view of an imaginary prison interior from an etching Piranesi. Like other scenes from Piranesi's celebrated Carceri d'invenzione, this image (Dark Prison with a Courtyard for the Punishment of Criminals) presents a cavernous space crisscrossed by labyrinthine walkways and populated by diminutive figures. Turner made this drawing at the beginning of his career, presumably at the evening "Academy" of Dr. Thomas Monro (1759–1833), a pioneering psychologist who welcomed artists to his home to copy or color works in his collection. 

Dark Prison ("Carcere Oscura"), after Piranesi

The original etching done by Piranesi is almost exactly the same as the one by Turner except Turner lightened it up added colour and by doing so I believe took away some of the foreboding and trapped feeling that Piranesi's original etching gives.