Thus far, I’ve not decided on an idea to devote myself to for my thesis. This has led me to be rather sporadic and not making much headway on any specific front. Sure, I looked into physical-based rendering and scanning for one idea, and I drew up a storyboard for another. But there wasn’t a really unified front. There were all great ideas I think, but they were ideas that were all parts of what I wanted to do, not the whole thing I wanted to do. In a way, I think it boiled down to two main themes that I wanted to express. Realism or at least high quality rendering and believability, and my imagination and creativity. I had a physical-based rendering idea, which reflected the desire for realism and quality, I had the monster based idea, which reflected my desire to be creative, and my animated sequence that talked about the power of imagination. So what would be the best way to combine this?
Why not create a museum of my mind?
Like, no, seriously. Why not? I can use the materials and the building itself to create and test realistic materials and physically-based rendering workflows. But at the same time I can fill the space with objects, figures, sculptures, and scenes from my mind!
Not only is the unification provided by this idea satisfying to me, allowing me the ability to express what I want and providing the setting to create the quality, but it is also a relief. I was getting concerned that I was lagging behind my peers because I had not settled on an idea to start from. Where others were beginning to iterate on their idea and do research specific to it, I was still struggling to find my starting place. So this is a great day indeed.
I think this also highlights a problem I had with my initial thesis ideas. They all had high-minded basis’. The questioning of what it real, how far can we take believability, and the power of the imagination, but they didn’t really complete a much more basic requirement. Would I care about them and be invested in them enough to give them the quality and attention they deserve? Now to a certain extent, I had some investment in them, but they were, for lack a a better word, sterile and pure. They were partial ideas covered in high-minded thoughts, philosophies, and ideals. I wonder if I was truly a part of the ideas I presented.
But now moving on, I need to do some things to flesh out this museum idea.
What is the underlying design challenge behind this idea?
I could try to overlay a deep intellectual thought process on top of this, but for now, I just want to indulge in just doing what I want to do. I want to create a vivid, impactful environment, filled to the brim with what I am. My designs, my efforts, my aspirations, my likes and dislikes. I want somebody to be able to walk through this museum and understand who I am.
What technology and workflow should I take to produce the best result?
Maya, Mudbox, Substance Painter/Designer, (Renderer Undecided), Photoshop, AfterEffects (if final deliverables include video formats)
What experience do I have with these programs and what needs to be researched?
Maya: Very little if any research necessary. Plenty of experience.
Mudbox: No experience, a large portion of learning and research will be required.
Substance Designer: Very little experience, but because it functions very much like Maya’s Hypershade, amount of research should be small.
Substance Painter: Very little experience, a significant amount of learning and research will be required.
Photoshop: Plenty of experience. No research required.
AfterEffects: Moderate amount of experience. Minimal research required.
Renderer (Undecided): Depending on choice, it could be very little if any research required, or it could be a completely new program.
Hopefully with Substance Painter and Mudbox, I will be able to incorporate the learning and research aspects of these programs into course work for other classes. In my Hard Surface Modeling class I’ve already begun to integrate Substance Painter into my workflow. That just leaves Mudbox. If possible, it would be ideal if I could integrate it into my Environment Design class though if the subject matter is interiors that could prove difficult. By trying to integrate these programs into my other classes, I hope to gain both the knowledge and experience necessary to move this project forward when the time comes next semester.