UNIT 2 ASSESSMENT

Realise the Project Proposal and prepare towards final exhibition.

My project has rigorously investigated the simulation of reality through computer generated images, focusing on the nature of the photographic image and how this can be used within the process of lighting a virtual space.

Photoperiod Piccadilly is the result of a thoroughly researched and well practiced Image Based Lighting technique that on the one hand successfully utilizes photographic HDRI to create perceptually real synthetic images while highlighting the fluctuating intensities of site-specific environmental light. I think it’s important for me to reiterate how this process of capturing real world lighting data has at the core been responsible for examining hyper-real computer generated images. As a point of departure these notions of simulating realism have questioned the relationship between physical space and the virtual world.

A brief description of how I intend to present the work can be found here Degree Show Install and here Perceptual Realism #1.

Present a resolved body of creative practice that has evidenced the
systematic enhancement of your knowledge and understanding.

Contextually, my research falls into two distinct fields that converge within my practical studies.

On the one hand my interest in perceptual realism in CGI can be seen through James Cameron’s view on Cinematic Realism and Alex Roman’s work The Third & The Seventh continuing the ideas explored in my research paper How Photography through Image Based Lighting has reassessed notions of Perceptual Realism in CGI.

Running parallel to this research is my specified interest in the properties of light outlined in my Aims & Objectives at the beginning of Unit 2. From the start of this course I have been focused on the process of lighting within a 3D environment, narrowing my area of study further and further towards becoming a specialist within this area. From here I analysed the physical work of Miroslaw Balka and United Visual Artists in relation to spatial lighting. Further research into Photobiology introduced me to key aspects of light interaction with living organisms. This, alongside a growing interest in the process of photographic lighting (Exposure Value Calculator) laid the foundations for my final film that uses as a point of departure lighting as a creative process, Photoperiod Piccadilly.

I will now examine the practical and methodological approach that led me to create this film.

Using MEL expressions in Maya I was keen to create a dynamic simulation that could be controlled by the intensity of a light source. Light Driven Particle Simulation v01 and Light Driven Particle Simulation v02 are experiments in creating such a result that opened up the possibility for visualizing the effects of light on the world around us. Although this seemed promising, the introduction of a new physically accurate unbiased rendering engine into my work (Rendering Workflow) halted an further developments due to integration limitations within Maya (Rendering Limitations).

Fortunately I was given the chance to create some work for the show Is It Over in Dalston which I treated as a sort of interim exhibition before our degree show at Camberwell. My work, Lights Out was pivotal in developing site-specific HDRI lighting as a conceptual process, breaking down distinctions between the physical and virtual environment.

Reflecting on the premise of this work I began drawing together links and ideas for my final piece, connecting my thoughts on perceptual realism with the effects of light on living organisms; The Photoperiod Effect. After running some quick HDRI tests in Piccadilly Circus (which admittedly I didn’t feel I had time to blog about) I threw myself head first into Capturing 24 Hours of Illumination within the junction, documenting my thoughts and experiences along the way. The results (HDRI Time-lapse) were then combined into 24 separate HDRIs and used to light my virtual environment (Renders / Texture / Wireframes) where I started to develop Dynamic Wavelengths that responded to the varying intensities of environmental illumination. The Playblast Edit of Photoperiod Piccadilly is a full wire-frame render of how the film is structured with some Night Renders highlighting the contrast between artificial and naturally lit scenes.

Collaborating with Zai has been fundamental in questioning and realising my own intentions for the sound design of Photoperiod Piccadilly. When sound laying the audio it’s amazing to see how this alters the dynamic and mood of the film. After a few edits we went back to the drawing board, looking to find a brighter / warmer overall sound. This is still being finalised which means the original edit he made will be used for my assessment this week, however a new version should be ready for the degree show the following week.

Analyse and reflect coherently upon your own practice and others through your presentation at the programmed symposium forming a synthesis of your practice-based research.

I contributed to the symposium with the same commitment and focus I bring to my project, speaking in a clear and direct manner about my concepts and methodologies. This was an important moment in my project development stage as I had recently completed the film Lights Out and was reflecting on how to utilize this process on a larger scale for my final piece.

Because my field of inquiry is so technically specialised, I found it difficult to gain too much constructive feedback from the class. However a good point was raised by Rod with regards to Lights Out about why some of the virtual objects were abstracted when I mainly spoke about hyper and perceptual realism. I responded by explaining how these elements are synthetic manipulations of reality, a term used to describe this abstraction of physical to virtual. For instance in this case I was generating a photoreceptive response, focusing on the movement of shoots growing towards the light. My intention was not to create a literal plant, but to focus on its motion and direction towards the light. While this may seem contradictory, my work is always concerned with rendering any virtual form as believable as possible, not always in a representational way, but certainly to have a physical presence. This explains my focus and interest on the process of lighting and rendering to create such perceived realism.

Summarise your overall progress and formulate a constructive plan for continuing Personal and Professional Development.

Over the last 6 months I effectively channeled my creative processes towards a unique and specialised area of study that at the root of it all questions the functions and uses of computer graphics to simulate reality. On finishing this MA degree I seem to have a clear and conscientious plan of how to further develop my self-directed area of study while successfully working within a field that merges creativity with technical ability. One of the fortunes of being a part-timer on this course is that I’ve paralleled my studies along side working in a creative design and animation company. This has been an important symbiotic relationship whereby my technical and creative skills have been used both in a commercial sense as well as personal.

Further down the line I would be interested in pursuing a PHD, continuing my exploration of perceptually real CGI in relation to the processes of photography. For the time being I intend to work full-time as a 3D designer within the company, predominantly specialising in the process of lighting and rendering. My self-directed area of study at Camberwell focusing on this area has been foundational in achieving this position. Not only is taking my project to the next level of major importance to me, but also understanding the gravity of reflection and self analysis that must continue along side my practice if I am to progress at a consistent pace. How I develop my practical and theoretical objectives will remain rooted in the same methodologies learned and applied throughout this MA.

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