Friday, 29 January 2010

Castle History

To summarize i was thinking to my self, why are we designing a round castle? where did the round castle come from? what other types of castle were there? who's idea was it to build such a thing and what were castle's used for?

Then i understand that many castles were then modified in some way after its initial reason was no longer needed. Then i moved on to think what type of people lived here or owned these castles? What did a castle mean?

Castles were brought into England by Duke William of Normandy (William the Conqueror) as an advance tactic for the Invasion of the throne of England.

Motte and Bailey
The first castle was a Motte and Bailey. The Motte was an earth mound which had a wooden tower (later to be built with stone) on the top which was used by the Lord residence and observation post. Along side the Motte was the Bailey which was a larger shorter mound where the main activities of the castle went on.

Motte and Bailey castle's were quick, efficient and easily built up and down the land of Britain in 1066 during the Norman Invasion. England had no castles so the invasion was successful.

Norman Stone Square Castle Keeps
After the invasion of England the Motte and Bailey castles were not easy to defend from attackers, as they could easily be set on fire and the wood was rotting in the earth.
This lead the Normans to build stone square keeps which were easy to build but easy to batter down or collapse in battle. However 'splayed plinths' were added when working the construction to support the tower.

Rochester Castle

Round Stone Castle Keeps
So the reason for having a round tower was because even though they were more difficult and complex to build, the round shape would cause arrows and later cannon balls to bounce off without causing a great deal of damage. Round were not subjected to undermining when being attacked, which is when the enemy would mine underneath a towers structure and take the earth away and replace the earth to support the structure with wooden beams. The miners would then set the beams on fire leaving no support for the square tower which would then lead the tower to collapse.
One of the earliest round keep castles know in England was at New Buckingham Castle built 1150.

Clifford's Tower - York Castle

Round and Shell Stone Castle Keeps
This involved having a huge thick circular wall surrounding the inner keep, this was because the mound of earth could not hold the weight of the stone. The walls of the inner keep were usually hollow in effect of the weight bared. trouble with this design is that there wasn't a great defense going on here.

Restormel Castle - Cornwall

Concentric Castles
Concentric castles were huge, they did not house one keep but many keeps, they had more than one outer wall, one lower than the inner wall so that archers could fire over the first wall of defense. The walls surrounded the new towns built around the castle, built by King Edward the 1st to subjugate the Welsh, King Edward the 1st had bankrupted England as they were so costly to make. Although kings later would make good use of these Castles.

Caernarfon Castle Conway Harlech - Wales

Here's some figures of the variations in designing a keep
  • Castle Rising Castle: 50 feet high with walls 7 feet thick.
  • Dover Castle: 83 feet high with walls 12 feet thick.
  • Newcastle Castle: 75 feet high with walls 18 feet thick.
  • Norham Castle: 90 feet high with walls 15 feet thick.
  • Kenilworth Castle: 80 feet high with walls 14 feet thick.

In my next post i will be looking at the different areas in medieval styles of castle architecture, between 1066 - 1603. Romanesque of the Normans, Edwardian of the concentric castles, Gothic style in favor by the Plantagenets and then the coastal forts and palaces of the Tudors during the Renaissance. From fortification to practical use and comfort.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Concept Update

Ok so after a long day of talking and trying to come up with a final concept we hope to eventually move onto modeling the basic structure so everyone can crack on.

The four of us were also talking about reforming a new layout, and after much development we ended up refining our design for something that works, for each section isn't just there for the sake of it.

Also Matt came in with some really cool concept ideas such as a castle hand or a castle boat, i would have loved to have gone and explored these concepts. Although i personally felt a bit nervous about how much time there is left to change majority of our planning now.

I'm not sure if i have mentioned also that matt is doing 2d character animation on top of our 3d environment, this idea came on when i came across this video before Matt joined our group.

We first began with a rough model of three tiers before reaching the inside of the castle. The three tiers are ;
tier 1 - a dock boat area for where the character will enter the environment.
tier 2 - fountain and tree before reaching castle ruins
tier 3 - castle ruins

The tiers are linked by winding crumbled stairs which i will be modeling as well as the first tier (the dock area).

This is a really rough model of the three tiers to help the team visualize what's where (modeled by Sam)

My voiced issue to the group about having three tiers was that with our timescale is it too much for only 6 weeks left. So we thought about just having two tiers.
Tier 1 - dock
Tier 2 - Castle ruins/tree/fountain

We have moved the fountain and tree into the centre of the castle, making it the attraction for the character in the environment and our viewing audience.

This idea for the two tiers got us thinking about what is important in our environment, so we sourced advice from Dan Dalli. Dan was saying how you shouldn't just have something in the environment for no reason, also that we needed to decide whether our character was discovering the environment, and how he/she interacts with the environment. Dan also said how everyone does basic fly-through of their environment for submission.

Story - orb and character.. leads us to top

NIGHT moon

So after much deliberating we ended up with a floor plan like this..

We kept two tiers on being the dock, which leads up a stair case round the castle outside walls, we enter a little room before entering the main castle ruin. This will work up some suspense for whats inside.. the glowing orbs around this tree/fountain.

I took the initiative to work on this floor plan just tweaking bits as i would like them.

I gave the staircase a jagged look and also like a little platform before entering the door into the room before the main of the castle.

Also i un-evened out the top of the castle ruin

And from the inside view the stairs wind down but don't remain touching the floor.

The rough plot is that some one is exploring the ruins as they are attracted to this glow coming from inside the ruin walls (the tree and fountain). He/she wanders around, crouching and peeping round corners to interact with the environment.
Not forgetting the use of SOUND to draw our attention, and also the use of lighting.
The character is in aura of this place which give's us chance to work out some camera shots showing off the environment.

Star Wars - Clone Wars Series

Thinking ahead for texturing purposes i read about how the textures were created and how the man in charge used to work on the photo-realistic ILM films.

"We’re about 80 percent of the detail [of the live action], relying on painterly brushstrokes for surface details."

I painted, like a painting in Photoshop, with streaky lines and beautiful wispy ethereal formations of color, resembling what would happen if you squirt milk into water.

"I painted a whole bunch of small little textures with my stylized way of drawing to kind of make it look like art. A real quick kind of gouache, goopy paint look, which is kind of the look of the show."

The rooster tail effect can be seen behind and under the speeder bikes from the episode "Trespass"

The two images below show the nice textures painted on their characters from Clone Wars series. I will be needing to keep an eye out and experimenting with more brushes to get the feel of what i want for the brick arches.

Friday, 22 January 2010

A play in photoshop

So last year i bought a graphics tablet which i've never properly used.. so i thought that this would be a good time to get it out :)

So here are a few concepts i've done today just to work from.

First attempt so just getting the hang of different brushes.

I then figured out how to upload brushes into photoshop so thats where this brick texture came in.. doesn't look very generic because the brick doesn't work with the perspective. I'm sure that with some more work i could make it happen.

I like the idea that the ruin is on a cliff/coast so the impression of being so high you cannot see the horizon line from in the sky.

Nice entrance arch i used the rochester photos for help and implemented my own idea of a ruin here.

Again with the Rochester photos i liked the idea of having arches and pooring light in our environment so i thought to open up the bricked arches.

For todays work i'm happy with my looking at arches and brick, although i would liek to create an orthographic view of the castle i see in mind.

Until then i will be working on my contextual and post production.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Tree roots

I just also want to show that i had been looking at tree roots and trunks for the environment which are going to be breaking apart and growing on some parts of the ruin.

The bottom drawing was playing on the idea of the tree's over growing on the arch. Also there are quick illustrations of ruin layout above. Before conferring with the group i had already started with a circular ruin idea with an entrance archway.

I really loved the idea of having cartoony illustrated and simplified trees, not too hot on photo realistic designs like below. Although i think its important that i understand the structure of the tree and its roots before simplifying them as it makes you look for the detail and what stands out and what detail is important to keep.

This tree above on the right was growing on the side of a mound of dirt which is why you can see the roots.

This last drawing on the left was growing on top of a roof of an asian ruined building.

I guess the reason i wanted the group to do our own little environments is because you can move from one thing to the next, the variation between roles which you don't get so much of when just being a modeler for example.

Drawings and Roles

Ok so we have another member to our group now being Matt. He's more of a 2d guy so in our environment project he will be animating a character and other props. To keep our scene consistent with the animated character/props, Matt will also be drawing the final concepts from everyones drawings to keep the consistency of the environment.

Team Roles
Matt - Final Concepts, Character Design and animation, Storyboards

Hayley - Modelling props/ Rain/Water/Weather/Final Animation

Sam - Organic Modelling/ Texturing

Lydia - Lighting/Texturing/Modelling Arches/Walls/Windows/Castle Ruins

Andi - Modelling Castle/Texturing/Water Fountain

I'm not amazingly happy that we have to split roles becuase i wanted to have a little go at everything on a small environment for my self like Bare Bear last year. Though as the two other group members want to have an individual roles i wont get to explore the roles.

Project Themes
Even though i've been researching two possible ideas whilst waiting for the group to get together, i will be using the castle shots and i still want to go ahead with something on the trees and roots.

As a group we came up with the following themes -

Ruins of keeps/ Little Castle
Island surrounded by water- foreboding
Spiraling steps
2d character
Boat area
So with the areas i'm focussing on here are some rough drawings of how i can see the scene

The top drawing is of a long staircase with tree's arching over the top restricting light making it rather foreboding.

The second drawing is an attempt to have a winding path leading down through a crumbling arch door.

The photo doesn't show up the lines very well, but the main part i would like to use is the crumbling steps spiraling down to the dock/ boat area. The steps lead up to a little circle room which then leads up onto the main ruins of the castle area shown partly below..

So after going up the stairs and through this ruined part of castle.. the section on the right is for the fountain ect..

We have definitely decided that we are having castle ruins on a mound of land surrounded by water. I think this would be cooler if it was on the top of a cliff face on the coast like some photos i've sourced below.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Season - Winter

As we're doing a season each i have taken on Winter and so i've done a little mind map from what comes into my mind for Winter.

Winter -
Lose horizon line in the snow/ faint
Snow Flakes
Crunching sound of snow
Glowing lights
Baron Landscape
Bare Trees
Quiet - Eerie

Films to take a note of which relate to winter -
Harry Potter - Half Blood Prince
Happy Feet
Kingdom of Heaven

When i thought of Narnia my mind got thinking to look at ice sculptures and found out about ice festivals, so here's what i found inspiring -

Awesome how the tree tops act as the pillars to the ice cave, really nice simplified shapes.

Lovely hanging icicles off the branches and i love the silhouetted outlines as the tree is being consumed by ice! Could work nicely to bring in from another environment season with the group.

I just think this scene is nicely lit

might be a good idea to have iced over trees creating archways

The silhouettes again.. but cool reflection in the water

mainly because its wonderfully lit ice sculpture, thats the cool thing with ice is i noticed from other pictures that you can just go crazy with lighting and colour. Love the spirals and little balls which remind me of fruit.. could do like the colour of a juicey apple frozen over so it will emit a red glow.. random throwing of ideas.

Lovely twisting vines, a ruin wouldn't be neatly kept. I think im wanting to produce a little magic land at this rate.

From the Ice Hotel just looking at construction and transparency.

Frozen water off a rock

Crazy little frozen water feature, though i believe Andi wants to do a water fountain so i could maybe take this into having maybe a sculpture in my area?

So after this icy look i will now be thinking and designing how to bring together the landscape ruins with the ice/snow however i am liking the idea of just having an icy world in my part.. maybe i have the transition from the other seasons into my winter scene and i can have normal parts too.

wacky weird and wonderful.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

What type of style?

Ok so i just cottoned on to the fact i haven't put forward what styles are going to be my inspiration.

Loving the exaggerated surreal look on this building, i could easily do this by manipulating photographs in photoshop to help me distort the environment a little.

Prague, Czech Republic
Buildings by Frank Gehry ^^

Just another example of a distorted building ^^

The photo's below are existing buildings.

Built in Sopot, Poland 2004, this is an addition to a shopping center.

WonderWorks, Florida.
This is an upside down house attraction

Happy Rizzi House, Braunschweig
Designed by James Rizzi

This house has nothing normal or conventional about it, totally beveled.

Just throwing around some ideas, the above shot combines illustration with photography so maybe that could have a nice look for when i texture my models.. combining traditional and 3d.

The two photos below are porcelain plates which have been shaped to create an exaggerated perspective.

The first plate i chose to look at because at a quick glance i got the idea with those black red and blue colours, they reminded me of maybe branches stretching and reaching out and grabbing something

With the second plate I'm liking how wonky and surreal everything looks.

I should look more into the Surrealist movement Dalli and also maybe Escher who deals with the craziness of perspective. However i wouldn't want to go to his extreme so i could subtly adopt the winding stairs ect.

If i can work towards applying what i have posted on this blog into the ruins and photo's taken at Rochester i could have something a bit odd and different.