Archive for March, 2010

The 3D bandwagon

March 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Everything seems to be 3D these days, from kids cartoons, to movies, video games and even TV. With this sudden explosion of interest in the third dimension I’ve decided to plug a gap in my skillset and start getting to grips with 3D.

First step was to download and play with Blender 3D, a free 3D modelling, animation and game creation tool. Having previously dabbled with some commercial 3D tools in the past such as 3DS Max and Truespace 3D I was pleasantly surprised by the extensive feature set in Blender and the range of tutorials available for it. The first tutorial I tried covered a range of fundamental topics, from basic modelling to simple animation techniques, which resulted in an animated yellow submarine. The tutorial was quite easy to follow and was completed in about two hours. See the result below.

My next challenge was to try modelling and animating something myself, so I created a city scene with a flying saucer buzzing through the streets. This took me into some new territory  – discovering how to add textures to models and also to create animation paths.

After my initial successes I decided to try something more challenging and completed a tutorial on making a gingerbread man. This was followed by a tutorial on animating the character with bones and an armature. This proved a little more tricky than the tutorial suggested, and it took me a while to get to grips with armatures (particularly since the tutorial was for an older version of Blender). Anyway, after persevering for a few hours and delving into several other tutorials to help me out I finally got a reasonable result.

My latest creation is a scene of an animated car chase. I wanted to try and make more complex models to animate, then render an animation for editing in Premier Pro. Here’s my animated car chase…

So, not bad for a couple of weeks playing with Blender. I’m quite pleased with the results and one of my colleagues at work has decided to convert to Blender (from 3DS Max) and start using it in his college classes. Both of us are also off on a training course in Blender within the next couple of months, and we hope to use our new skills on our new course Computer Arts & Design which will be offered at Carnegie College from next semester (August 2010).

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Ian Macmillan Retrospective – Dundee

Took the NQ Photography students on a visit to Discovery Quay in Dundee to see an exhibition of the photographs of Ian Macmillan, famed for the photograph used on the Beatles’ Abbey Road album.

As well as the iconic Beatles’ image the exhibition also featured some of Ian Macmillans early work documenting tenement life in Dundee, his work in London in the Swinging 60’s and his later work with John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Born in Dundee in 1939, Ian Macmillan studied in London and soon began photographing the events of the Swinging 60’s. He came to the attention of the artist Yoko Ono, who asked him to photograph one of her exhibitions, and later introduced him to John Lennon and the rest of the Beatles.

Also on display were some of Macmillan’s cameras and other memorabilia of the time, including Paul Mcartney’s original sketched plan of the shot for the Abbey Road cover. Notably, 6 shots were taken at the Abbey Road shoot, with the 5th image being chosen for the ‘ideal’ poses of the Beatles. In the first image taken Paul Mcartney is seen wearing flip-flops, although the remaining shots show him barefoot, which has become one of the talking points of the now famous image.

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Richard Jobson filmmaker seminar

Richard Jobson talks to students at the Fifer Festival

Multimedia and Drama students from Carnegie College attended the student seminar with Richard Jobson at the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline today. Richard, frontman with the Punk Rock band The Skids and now acclaimed fimmaker talked about his early life in Fife and the days of his music career before going on to present some clips from his films.

Richard’s drive, enthusiasm and passion for film was evident in his presentation as he shared memories with the students and gave advice on pursuing ones ambitions. Richard demonstrated a new music video he recently made for Richard Ashcroft, which he is hoping will be one of the songs used in the build up to the World Cup in Africa. He also showed clips from several of his films and talked about the production process and his love of film, which stemmed back to his childhood days visiting the cinema in Cowdenbeath.

Richard also shared his intention to make a new film based on a young Fifer’s experiences of army life in Afghanistan and his subsequent return home. Into the Valley, which steals its name from The Skids most famous song and also from a line in a Tennyson poem, will be filmed partly in the mining villages of  Fife and also in Afghanistan later this year.

The Fifer Festival continues this week at the Alhambra Theatre with a further filmmakers workshop, and interview between Ian Ranking and Richard Jobson, several film screenings and culminating in The Skids concert on Saturday 6th March.

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