Archive for March, 2009


March 9, 2009

My project continues to explore simulations; the vast array of visual information released by the mass media and how they use computer graphics to simulate hyper-real commodities.

Having done some freelance video work last December I was inspired to pic up a camera again. My interest in matchmoving and the want to develop my knowledge of motion tracking and compositing proved more of an excuse to do so. The resulting video, Playout, was quite ambitious as I was faced with many new challenges through the difficult technical processes. It follows a monolithic black object moving through the London cityscape before coming to rest on a billboard. I liked the concept of soft propaganda, where the media through its ubiquitous nature becomes an instrument of persuasion and manipulation of public opinion. Playout, a term referring to the transmission process in broadcasting, attempts to highlight this, however I feel it was technically a little ambitious at this stage in my project and would like it to be more of an ongoing assignment.

The monochromatic rectangular shape remains central in my work; the enigmatic object of desire. A meeting with Andy in January brought up some interesting questions about time and editing in moving image. I took this away with me and created a single shot that slowly pans in front of the subject. In Occlusion, the exploration of different render layers and a slowed pace brought new ideas to light. I immediately looked into the functions of render layers in Maya and their various uses and aesthetics. In post-production they are composited to create highly realistic lighting and shading effects allowing each layer to be manipulated independently from each other, giving greater control over the final image. By readdressing and deconstructing these layers I hope to reorganise and challenge the authenticity of the simulated object. What is supposed to be a series of complex shading, reflective, occlusion and depth map passes lose their collective intention. I am therefore attempting to breakdown this hyper-real glamourised simulation by stripping back these layers to expose the artifact.

Working in post production I am constantly exposed to the advertising aesthetic. It is important that I remain impartial while critical and self aware when using these modes of production in my own creative processes. Along side this, I am drawn by artists and ‘craftsman’ who use the computer as a toolbox to employ progressive visual techniques in 3D. The potential of MEL scripting in Maya is vast and with the current trend of generative programming I would like to explore methods of randomly applied dynamics in my work. This is something I may leave til the 2nd year of this course, for now though I hope to explore the process of compositing and the use of render layers in 3D.

Issues I would like discussed in this group crit are;

– How could you see Playout developing as an ongoing project
– Does the abstract 3D imagery convey a sense of simulated technological dependence prevalent in our society.
– High Definition and Hyper-Real, are we becoming more seduced by the reality of simulation?