Thursday, 26 April 2018


Project Development

I started by sitting down and writing up all sorts of different ideas surrounding my research, to get a general overview of each of the potential directions I could go. I find writing these ideas out and thinking on them is much more effective than exploring each one visually as I can quickly overview each of my potential ideas and choose which ones interest me quicker.

I knew I wanted to explore creating some of my earlier concepts in 3D so I started with the 'Clock Expanse' based on this early illustration of a clock graveyard type place.

I created a clock, animated it so that it would do a full correctly timed 12:00 hour cycle at 24fps, referenced the clocks into a new scene, placed them around and added a very simple day-night cycle and other lights for effect. Taking images from different times of the 'day'.
I considered this to be an piece that could be used on a large display in a public place to fulfil the need for a clock. It would both be visually interesting, but also look different depending on the time of day you went past the clocks. potentially useful in isolated environments that may not see sunlight such as underground. Giving a sense of day-night while also telling the time. a bonus aspect would be adding in weather effects that correspond with the season. 




Taking these images into Photoshop I began to explore different visual styles.

I also started sketching different types of clocks, mainly ones I have seen myself as they're fresh in my visuals but each have different appeals and situations. This was a moment when I had the thought to open my animated piece with a compilation of different clocks, in different situations and cultures to introduce the audience the concept of time is universal before confronting the unnerving concept of infinite and finite time and how time rules over the way we live our lives, whether we like it or not.

More exploration for ideas, exploring new concepts that come to my mind. One of which I decided to jump into Maya and create. Though I didn't draw the idea, the exploration lead into it.

A pocket watch with multiple rotating rings. Texture painted in Photoshop. Each ring represents a unit of time, seconds, minutes and hours going from inner to outer respectively. Similar to the above clock sequence this one also correctly time-keeps at 24fps.
(currently the animation is backwards due to an oversight)




Storyboard of events. Sound will play a large role in conveying each of the environments. The desert scene with the fan clock will have the sound of an Azan being broadcast in the background whilst the pool will have an ambient echo of splashing. Not only will each clock have a different sound associated with both ticking and chimes / alarm but will also be distinctly different in how the clock-face is presented. For example the pool clock is there for swimmers to time themselves and to be seen in a large space so it is large and has the seconds printed on largely to see how much time has elapsed more precisely, the second hand also moves smoothly around for more precise timing that ticking while the digital clock is silent and efficient, telling the time as it is and without displaying any seconds besides the flashing of the 2 dots between the minutes and hours. For ease of reading the storyboard doesn't have the final design of clocks such as including roman numerals.

The general idea here is that of a compilation, increasing in drama through closer shots of each clock and their ticking function. my plan is to involve a much larger range of different clocks in the sequence.


Acquisition of Clock
Because I went to my grandparents to look at their clock and spoke about getting a clock of my own to salvage parts out of to do some interesting mixed media pieces using the clock parts they managed to get me a nice little mantle-piece clock of my own. I really like this little clock and have been exploring around it and living with it in my room, its been a good reminder for the project and the research I am to be looking out for. Having this clock around means that I have started to get attuned to some of the smaller less noticeable details in the wear and tear of the frame, the dents, scratches, wood grain and brushed metal, looking at the different materials and how its made.

I took my clock into the studio to get some pictures and to sit and do various drawings of the clock looking closely at the details.

Sketches of clock

When in my room I experimented with lighting the clock using my colour changing lightbulb

What I would like to do next is to do a 3D scan of the clock and import this into Maya / Sketchfab



So I may or may not have neglected this project for the past few months. I've got a lot of work to do to catch up. Given that I've had so much time away from this project I've been able to look upon my work that I've done so far and had a better idea to the direction I was going in and how I can objectively approach this from a new direction. With this, I looked through my various pieces of work and decided that my animation is leading towards abstraction. With this in mind, I also started to question what kind of situation my animation would be shown and questioning this lead me to the idea of showing my piece as a large format interactive piece such as to be part of an exhibition. Either utilizing virtual reality or a small with projections on the 3 forward walls to create immersion.

With this I started to put into perspective what I wanted to convey in the piece, I want to convey a sense of unease by highlighting both the expansiveness of time, how it is both unending and infinite juxtaposed with how finite the time we have is. I also looked into time as an important aspect of our society, whether it is on a primitive sun-cycle setting or the usual system of seconds, minutes, hours, days etc.

I've been surrounding myself with clocks to the point that I feel I have developed an obsession with how diverse each and every clock is, both in its function, location, aesthetics. This has lead me to be very exploration in my thoughts on contexts for clocks, where and when they might be used. Grandfather clocks, that stand in the hallway, chiming the hours as they pass to wall clocks, mantle-piece clocks. Alarm clocks, digital clocks, analogue clocks, clocks that are unconventional, watches. Time is everywhere, its almost unavoidable, even when we're isolated from knowing the time we use other landmarks such as the sun, stars, water, anything constant that can be measured gives a rough indication of time, sometimes I hear people make judgement of how much time has passed based on how many songs they went through in their playlist. One question of interest is what might happen if you remove all indication of time, nothing but your own body clock to keep track. I then remembered an episode in a series I watched called MindField a Youtube series that covers various psychological experiments. Episode 1 has a moment when the show host puts himself through 3 days of complete isolation from any mental stimuli. What is interesting in this episode to me is the moment when his perception of time leads him to believe he woke up at 9:00 when in actuality its 5:00 and later in the same day, goes to sleep and wakes up in the 'morning' when it is still only 4:50pm the same day.


For the most part I've been taking mental notes of different types of clocks and their uses and the various places I've seen them. I also started to think beyond clocks to other scheduled events, though may be based on standard time are also indications of time to those that may not be in the immediate vicinity of a clock. A main provider of this type of timekeeping would be similar to a clock-tower that chimes every hour with a chime at each hour, but more interestingly I thought to the times when I had been in Egypt, due to Egypt being a primarily Muslim culture there are a lot of mosques around, of which they have loud speakers attached to them and they broadcast prayers, almost like hymns known as an Azan.

While out and about I try to take pictures of any interesting clocks I see and  one store I went into had a lot of different clocks, including these animated clocks. I also took video of a desk fan clock I have and generally tried to take in as much clock information as I could whenever I saw clocks. I feel like I've gone a bit clock mad.



In these initial workshops I made an effort to take as many pictures of the different assets we had for reference as I knew they may come in handy to have first hand source images. Also they looked hella cool.





Due to reference photos taking up a lot of space I'm going to limit my next posts to 1 or 2, though I took turnaround images of most of the assets.



for this piece I swapped my work with one of my peers. This is a before and after on a drawing that Annie Bennett had done and my workings over the top. This was helpful to both of us as we could see each others different approaches and the mistakes we made.
Annie's Original Drawing

My drawover







Sand Animation with Jordan Rutter

Sand Animation with Lisa Yates

Charcoal Animation

This was not the most successful exercise, although enjoyable and rewarding this was very time consuming. I feel this is partly due to our choice of creature, because the elephant has such a slow paced walk it takes a lot of frames to move the body and with the chunky limbs it makes it more difficult to maintain volume. Overall a lot of the motion in the elephant were subtle and difficult to create. My group attempted this twice and the second time I also brought along some anatomy reference of elephants to help guide our drawing.