A Challenging Project
It was one thing to make a scene for myself and another to be given an assignment by an art director. One day I got a call from The Federal Reserve Bank of New York. I don’t know how they found me, or if I found them, but they asked me to do their annual report cover and gave me a theme. It was something like “the past emerging into the present”, or “the present emerging into the future” – and I thought I had a decent idea. I envisioned a wire frame train going though an arch and coming out looking like a real train. The more I worked on the rough however, the more I realized how hard it would be to create a final. In fact, I soon felt it would be impossible. Thankfully it was rejected. I was relieved, but I drew a blank on what else to try. Minor panic set in. I tried everything. I scrambled. You might say I went a little nuts. I figured I was going to loose the assignment and the only recourse was to go into what I sometimes call: “Jerk Mode”.
Let me explain. I’ve done this with music where in the middle of trying to flesh out a melody I allow myself to get really, really silly. Its a safe place, in that anyone within earshot knows to run the other way. Being a jerk gives you some freedom and it can take you to new territory. Its the realm in which some of the best ideas happily run free. You just have to catch one by the tail, by its furry foot or any way you can.
That’s what I wound up doing. I threw my figurative paint against a wall and came up with the image above. Zeros and ones represent the language of computers going off toward the horizon. The half Earth/half wire frame brought back my original idea of the train in a much simpler way. The Federal Reserve people loved it and it became their annual report cover. It was rendered in Bryce, the landscape program I mentioned in my last entry.
Curios From the Closet: Science
When I was a kid there were two closets in my bedroom: one for family clothes and a smaller one with my stuff: my clothes, model airplanes and a small battery driven wooden motor boat I loved. The closet had my microscope, telescope, rock collection and chemistry set too. Given that every month I had to come up with an new image to email my clients, I decided to reminisce a bit and revisit the companions of my youth that lived in the closet.
I still had my microscope, so I took it out, measured it and left it next to my computer. It was like a model posing for a painting class. It took me two weeks to build the microscope in 3D. I also had the small rock collection my father brought home from one of his business trip out west. That was on my desk too. I loved my telescope so much, I probably could have built it in my sleep, but I kept it out as a reference anyway. The rest, save for the arrow heads on cards, I made up. The birds were scanned pictures from Brehm’s Tierleben (Animal Life), a German science book my father had. It was first published in the 1860’s.
“Curios From The Closet: Science” was one of my most complex 3D sets. Apart from all the models and “texture maps” used in it, the lighting was critical. I wanted to give the scene a dated sort of feel, like the science room in my elementary school which was, as I remember it, musty and cluttered. The room was jammed with all sorts of science related things: a stuffed seagull (among other taxidermied creatures), and book shelves filled with shells, rocks and various botanical specimens. It was like as a wonderful old museum. That was the atmosphere which inspired: Curios From the Closet: Science.
Curios From The Closet: Science