The Difference Engine

Been looking at having an environment that looks a little steam punk. Nothing aggressively so, just using some elements from the Science museum to develop a room that the ‘man’ can exist in. This environment should be the main area throughout the video.

I’ve always been quite interested in Babbage’s difference engine. First proposed in 1822, I find it fascinating that had it been completed, it would have propelled the computer age forward by another 50 – 100 years. Then to have Ada Lovelace (the only legitimate child of Byron) also fully involved in Babbage’s ‘analytical engine’ (an off shoot of the difference engine), and thus be forever known as the worlds first ‘computer programmer’. Neither were properly built until the 1900s, but both, when constructed, were proven to be actual working computers.

Here’s some inspiration for the look of the room, mainly using photos from the science museum.

difference_engine

Animation tests

Here’s a very brief test to see how fast it might take to do the animation in Corel Painter.

Answer: bloody ages.

Potentially it might be a better angle to just use AE to animate static images created in Painter. There may be less natural movement, but it is more than likely to take less time. Also there’s the issue of attempting to mix in the background. I have some ideas, but it could be mismatched.

Lets make things complicated

Looking through Resolume Arena, there’s the nice ability to, as well as warp video for projection mapping, stream video to multiple outputs. This is potentially a pretty good thing, but I’m not sure Khaidian has the resources or plays the kind of venues that would allow us to do something like that.

A couple of thoughts on all this though:

Multiple projectors with frame blending between each projector. This means that it would be possible to have a large area instead of the standard 16:9 ratio screen. Could it be useful for extra wide areas?

Multiple projectors showing alternative outputs. These potentially could run across several projectors and screens, which depending on the show, might be really cool.

Projection mapping. Would be awesome. Time, venues and life in general is against me though. As much as I like making my life harder, I think this may be going too far. At least for now.

Beeple Crap

For the live video I’m a lot more into abstraction rather than real items. There’s a tendency for VJ videos (the closest comparison), to have floating people and booming speakers in space. Not really the kind of elements I want to include within a Khaidian performance. That said, these things tend to be from the world of dance music and the general visual language is different to the language of rock and metal.

I seems the main bit of software used by VJs (at least those with enough money), are using Resolume. It’s really good at mixing multiple video streams and projection mapping (the act of projecting onto specific areas). That said, I intend to use the Mac to play back existing edited video. This means two things, firstly, it will be perfectly in synch and secondly, it won’t require additional programs to run. I currently am running Ableton Live, which has the capability to play back video at the same time as any audio.

Some examples:

Here’s a great guy that produces lots of videos for VJs. BEEPLE. Really great use of Cinema 4D. I’ve already used some of his loops previously and his stuff is probably some of the best out there. Given he gives it away for free, that’s pretty impressive.

I’m a bit of a fan of black and white, solid colour, geometric shapes and somewhat simplistic / quietly complex looking stuff. Here’s a few examples:

From Docoptic

From VJFader – Some nice uses of projection mapping and abstraction that fits with the music. possibly a little garish for my tastes, but really well done.

 

 

 

Thin

A few visual references for the ‘man’ in my FMP1 video:

Looking mainly at the spine, arms and collar bone.

I want the ‘man’ to look like he’s spent a long time alone, not caring for himself or with any real food. There’s also the element of him looking somewhat alien. Hence extending the spine so it protrudes out of the back and over the scull.

I’m attempting to see if I can paint lots of frames in painter and put them together in Adobe Premiere/After Effects.

 

The Old Man and the Sea

So I think I have a stronger idea for my FMP1 project now. This has been causing me most issues as I really wanted to make it different, somewhat chaotic, but also have a format of story there, no matter how surreal. I’ve come to the conclusion that I want to use my own art style (weird thought), within something that uses rigged characters within After Effects. I’m still very much wanting to develop something with the Doug Trumbull style space vistas, but this time mixed with something animated.

I’ve been looking at a lot more of Tool’s videos, seeing as they have a great sense of surreality whilst also using some amazing imagery.

Most of these use some form of stop motion, but I want to avoid that as I’d be looking at several months worth of prep and animation.

My idea as it runs right now, will incorporate some form of slightly alien looking old man in a building with a window and a weird telescope. The man then proceeds to look out through the telescope to the night sky and see asteroids and planets. The general thought is that the man is on earth, but I’d like there to be a moment when you realise he’s hurtling toward earth on a comet himself. All a little vague right now… but more ideas will come.

A couple of other thoughts

– Head over to the science museum and take some photos of the machinery there for reference / use within the animation.

– At one point the man pulls a ‘drawer’ out of his chest that contains his heart. He then uses this heart in the machinery to make it run.

– a hole opens in his face to fit the end of the telescope into it.

– spidery, careful movements.

References:

A concept drawing of the main character:

old man test painter