Sunday, 6 July 2014

800 Bits...

I've signed up for the 100 Days project, a challenge that pushes people to do something creative every day for 100 days (starts 11th July 2014).  Not surprisingly, being a somewhat over-grown nerd from the 80's and with my passion for CG, I've entitled my entry 800 Bits - 100 computer generated images inspired by the 80's computer and video game era - an era and culture that was my childhood.

This blog entry is really just to get the jumble in my head down onto 'paper' as it were and try sort things through...  So its a little bit of a verbal waffle, but please do feel free to read it nonetheless... lol!

Prepping up

The 100 day challenge is not a competition.  It states on the sites FAQ that its important to keep it simple and not to become to complex or technical.  If course you'd quite rightly assume 3D probably isn't quite as simple as it sounds...  I can imagine not only the pre-production (thumbnailing ideas, etc) but the production process will easily consume at least 3-4 hours of my time to achieve a final image (once its textured, composed, lit and rendered).  Obviously this means I must make sure I'm at least partially prepped up so I don't fizzle out after just a week or two.

It sounds easy enough...

The real challenge I've run into after deciding on this concept was whether I would be able to actually come up with 100 things to create images of, let alone worry about the artistic part of the project...  To help motivate ideas, I've made a creative decision to try and visualise each image in the style of collectable bubble gum cards.

And here I thought I'd thrown out all these cards...
Each card should contain not only a nice piece of rendered 3D artwork but also a short factoid about the content of the artwork itself - which at this stage I'm thinking may be nicer as a personal statement from a memory or feeling related to the artwork.  Essentially a short sentence about why I chose to create it and what does it mean to me.

Make a memory list

To get me ready for the 100 days ahead (starting end of this week) I'm making a list - a long list - of things I recall from my childhood.  My aim is to not to simply create a variety of 3D retro items one by one, its to create imagery based on memories - I want this to have some personal connection other then just an obsession to recreate old computing history...

100 days of 100 whats?

I had a home computer and fondly recall the hours after school that I'd spend programming it - what I did, I learnt from, the equipment I used...  Its all fond memories (and still hoarded away in boxes some 30 years later) just aching to be visualised.

I remember when I was a kid going into the department stores and playing games on the home computers that were on display, hanging out at David Reid Electronics (what was the major electronics retail chain here in New Zealand, before they sold it to the Dick Smith franchise) drooling over the latest cassette games and new home computer goodies.

At school there were always kids with LCD games on wristwatches and calculators, and the visits to skating rinks and ten pin bowling that often ended up being video game playing sessions.

Obviously the project is not just 100 individual items, and mixing in ideas and thoughts to that list is just as important as the items that I recall.  Where these ideas will take me, I'll discover over the 100 days...

Should there be a style?

A good question I asked myself was should I stick to a format and style? I could go for a specific artistic rendering style and look.  I could create the images based on a set layout.  However the more I think about 100 images all looking like the same style, the more uninteresting things become in my head.

I want the artwork to be interesting enough to keep people wanting to see what the next image will look like, and more importantly to not limit my creativity by enforcing rules.  I'm still tossing this idea around - I like the idea of a style/theme across all the designs (say, images in a classic pixel-art style or flat illustrative style) - but I also like the idea of variety and variation, like 100 small pieces of artwork from different artists...

It may be that I do a mix - different artwork, in small groups of specific styles. Pixel art style, isometric illustration style, etc.  The starting date is closing in - and while this may seem like a hard decision, I am also thinking of just letting my creativity decide for me based on what I feel will best represent the content.

Ready to roll...

I'd say I've got most of what I need thought through, but where the real creative side of the process comes is in the execution and production of each days piece of work.  Each day I am going to assume will be a mix of morning bus ride pre-production, and the rest of the time production.  I'll have to control my urges to be over-ambitious and keep things real - simple, clean and pretty.

Its going to be a good challenge to see how well I manage with this... But in the end, it will be worth the effort.  I'll post more to the blog when things are in full swing - if there's time obviously! lol!


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