3D & Procedural Graphics
January 2016 - August 2017
Austin, Texas / Portland, Oregon / Los Angeles, California / San Francisco, California
What was it?
From January 2016 through August 2017 I created 582 pieces of digital art. This body of work is known collectively as “Dailies”.
What was the challenge?
I started the Dailies as personal boot camp to grow a fluency in 3D Design and Graphics. At this time my professional life was a venn diagram of illustration, software development, and 2D motion graphics animation. 3D work had become more and more integral to the execution of jobs, like the Prius Arcade. I knew that the next step was to integrate some hands-on 3D work into my ever-expanding toolset.
The plan was that I would tackle a tool a day, figure out what it did in it's entirety, and make an art piece using that tool. So one day I'd figure out what a normal was and on another day I'd wrangle splines. No matter how a piece came out I needed to, at the end of the day, point to a picture and say what I learned from it.
I bounced between TouchDesigner and Cinema4D as my primary two workhorses for the entire stretch of the Dailies. So while learning Cinema4D I developed similar cloning/instancing techniques inside of TouchDesigner, which had only previously been a software development tool to me.
TouchDesigner can have a rough learning curve at the start for beginners, but is well designed for programming in an intuitive way. The deeper I got into building a DAT for instancing geometry the more it informed what was probably going on in the backend of Cinema4D on a very high conceptual level. The fundamentals of 3D computer graphics were making themselves known. Colorfully, so.
What Did I Learn?
My background in comic illustration insisted that I focus on the human form as the subject. I instead choose simpler shapes to better visualize specific mesh editing techniques that left room to play with color, shape, rhythm, balance, line, and form. It's easier to see what a fillet transformation does on a cube rather than a human form, for example. I happily walked the minimal route inspired by the black-and-white look that's popular in procedural art galleries and immersive media. When using TouchDesigner I limited meshes to those natively available inside of TouchDesigner ( basic primitives ).
The first two weeks were the hardest, having to frequently talk myself into making another piece of art that day. Once buckled in, coming to the editing work space was as familiar as opening a sketchbook and jotting down a quick thought. My physical, paper sketchbook sat vacant throughout most of the Dailies process except when I needed to linevomit an idea before bed.
Over time the Dailies became very diary-like. I can point to a piece, state what I learned from it, and where I was physically and emotionally that day. Although scattered in subject, memes developed over time manifesting usually as either: minimal geometric, visual gags, or photography manipulations.
These memes were habitually accompanied by a keen focus on levels, constrast, and color adjustments to capture different moods. Instead of sourcing textures from elsewhere I frequently created them myself in either Photoshop or by seeking out a subject in the world that'd look mighty fine on my DSLR.
I am very thankful for the compositing skills I sharpened over at Invodo as a VFX / Motion Graphics animator as they would aid me quite a bit on one of my favorite photo series within the Dailies.
This photography-centric photo series within the Dailies took hold after a joyride out to see the Superbloom happening in Southern California in 2017. I packed up my camera and hoofed it out to Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve and Anza-Borrego to capture the momentary beauty of a field of yellow flowers in arid desert. This was the first time in a while I picked up the camera in a meaningful way. The Superbloom photo series has a very special place in my heart.
Another photo series was born out of a format switch I adopted for Instagram. Instead of working at the 16:9 resolution, habitually left over from video editing days, I began work at a 1:1 aspect ratio. This new format inspired a tapestry approach wherein Dailies got stitched together to create one long piece, like a digital quilt. A few iterations through this process is when I knew I had gained the fluency I set out to achieve.
Did I mention you can check out all of my dailies on my instagram?