Category Archives: Week 7 Concepting DG

A Very Bad Week

Well, this week has been pretty disastrous and the time has flown by. Nothing’s actually gone wrong with my uni project, fortunately, but I’ve been on a weird crash where I just can’t work. I guess I’m all ‘burnt out’, as everyone likes to say. I am completely and utterly GUILT-RIDDEN for my lack of motivation. I’d say I’ve done maybe 3-4 days of work? It makes me just want to tear my hair out. I can’t describe the frustration I feel aaaah!

The flat’s a mess, I haven’t left been outsideĀ for 7 days, I haven’t got dressed, and can’t sleep. I’ve been picking on my boyfriend, and dropping work to sit browsing Reddit on my iPad (it’s become a glorified portable Reddit browser) instead. I’ve ignored messages from friends online and have felt too ill and unwell to go for lunch with a friend. Even right now I’m writing my blog to avoid work, having just spent the day traipsing round Leicester town center in a bid to find a mother’s day present and get outside, despite this irritating cough-cold-thing I can’t shake.

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Hand-painted silk 1920’s house coat with metallic thread embroidery. Who needs a degree, right?

Today, I’ve tried to turn this nasty rut around by cleaning the flat, doing laundry, buying myself a pretty new vintage kimono-thingy, and trying to get through all those stupid ‘life things’ we all seem to have. I’ve re-scheduled my FMP to take into account all these bad, lazy, whatever vibes, and I’ve got plans to take a break and visit home next weekend.

I’m hoping it doesn’t affect the final product of diorama number 2 too much, but I’m feeling pretty uncomfortable about it all. I think the transition to a totally new piece of work after spending 5 weeks fretting over something else has just knocked it out of me. Zero motivation. I’m literally so so disappointed in myself it’s unreal. I hate it.

Anyway, here’s how it’s all gone!

Because this project isn’t a concept art project I’ve been quick to get myself to the final thing. I didn’t have a super strong image in my head of what I wanted the Dragon Garden to look like as a diorama; it’s such a huge area that I was finding it extremely hard to condense it into a small enough space. I quickly realised that I’d have to cut out a lot of elements from the book description and limit myself to the main features; a stone dragon, trees, lush swampiness. Because of the size of the assets (a dragon’s head is the ‘length of a horse’), the diorama is going to be much larger size-wise than the Fool’s Room, however the nature of the assets- foliage- means they can be repeated around more than in the FR where all assets were unique. I’m using that to reassure myself that I’ll get this done in time.

1- Asset etc ideas2- Early sketching

Like with the Fool’s Room, I started out reading the book excerpt and listing assets I imagine would be in there, from sounds to animations and so on. I then very, very quickly did some doodles to imagine how the diorama could be laid out. I didn’t want to do the whole disk thing that you see with so many dioramas- I wanted it to look like it had been torn from the world. I considered using the sleeping dragon as a sort-of podium for the whole diorama to sit on, but it just felt wrong.

I jumped into 3D to play around in there with the assets I had decided to include; dragon, trees, stone pillar, water, foliage, rocks.

3-3D Blockout Concept Progress

Blockout process.

I wanted to have some sort of height variation in there, again to avoid the ‘disk’ feel and create a focal point. I felt really limited with ways I could combine such huge assets to create a nicely composed scene. The blockouts quickly developed from being one sloped plane to being two tiers separated by a small cliff or rock area. The dragon nicely contained the top area if it curled round it, and led the area into the lower areas of the diorama. By the time I was at the later blockout stages, I’d set everything up so there were two good camera positions with appealing compositions, and I was starting to feel better with where it was going. I took screenshots of what I had and went into the painting stages.

5- Concept Progress

I didn’t mess around with in-depth concepting, as I was beginning to develop an idea in my head that I wanted to go with. The book excerpt speaks of willow trees, and I really wanted to include it in my diorama, but quite early on I was realising that it just wasn’t working. It would dominate the diorama and ruin any compositions I tried to create. It also was taking away from the feel that this diorama is supposed to be set in a forest. I went back to the excerpt and decided to use evergreen trees instead, drawing from the trees in The Witcher 3 as inspiration.

I came to a final concept relatively quickly, and decided to work on my painting skills a little, so I went into a bit more depth with rendering than I should for a concept;

4-Concept

Final concept.

Now I’ve begun making the actual base for the diorama. I’ve done it in Zbrush, which I’m still a little iffy with. Unfortunately there’s not really an alternative. I’m relatively happy with how it’s going, but it’s leaning a little closer to clean-stylised than I’d like it to (I’m not very good at sculpting in the definition required to make something more realistic). Hopefully going in with the lichen, grass, moss, leaves, and other dirty goodness will help improve that in the future. And I guess I’m always bound to dislike a project in it’s super early stages.

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So to round up this week, feeling very meh about everything and finding it so hard to motivate myself to work on this diorama at this stage. Not really liking it so far, but obviously it’ll get better (if I can make myself work on it). I’m hoping I’ll be back in the flow of things next week. I’ll probably make the effort to go into university for a change, as I’ll be needing a lot of critique and eyes on this one anyway.

Thanks for reading! Any crit is super useful.

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