Woke up this morning with an idea for an experiment using Blender, and this is the outcome. It combines elements of organic modeling (the face), hard surface modeling (everything else], and scene building, though that’s relatively minimal here.
One of the good things about Blender is once you create something you can re-use it in another piece. Everything except that valve is from practice sessions and tutorials, and I reassembled them here. The valve I just happened upon as a free asset on Poly Haven: a site for HDR background images, textures, and now even some free models. I could sculpt a valve myself [er, I did make the Enterprise, and not from a tut] though it would take some time and research to do it that well, and here the head was the difficult and central thing, so I actually used someone else’s asset. The valve was from a set of pipes modeled by Jorge Camacho for public domain.
My Enterprise if you missed it:
The water collector device in the background is from the Tatooine Environment tutorial I recently completed by Ryan King.
The head is my rather tweaked out version of an Orc I created in another tutorial, also by Ryan King.
As you can see, I just took a bunch of stuff I had already made and created a new piece through experimentation, trial and error, etc. I just happened to come across the pipes and valve, downloaded it, forgot about it, and then finally remembered to give it a try as well. In the future I’ll do more deliberate works.
Let’s look at the end result again:
I think some people who know my art would recognize this as one of my pieces without having to be told. Through roundabout measures, and a comparatively new medium for me, I’m able to impart my own flavor. This one isn’t just sci-fi, but has an expressionist quality about it. It almost looks like a still from a Wim Wender’s film [I’m thinking along the lines of “Wings of Desire”]. The original orc was not as expressive, but the slash across it’s face and through the left eye [note: I have a cataract in my left eye] altered his expression, and is a somewhat Francis Baconesque technique.
Since his oversized pointy ears are not visible, it’s only his teeth that give away he’s not entirely human, and they suggest a reaction to the pressure: it’s making him into a monster. He’s also part and parcel of his environment. The pressure valve itself suggests tension, and the viewer can imagine turning it up or down. The jagged line with a chevron above the pressure valve is reminiscent of a readout on a medical display. It could refer to high blood pressure, and a friend of mine died from complications to do with high blood pressure a couple years ago, but that only just now occurred to me. I was thinking more along the lines of psychological pressure.
Blender lets you mess about with its native camera feature. Blurring the contraption in the background with depth of field makes the valve stand out in a more tactile way. Does it show that I’ve have college photography classes? I tend to think of Blender as 3D modeling and scene building, but it’s also got photography built into it; sculpture as elaborate as one wants to go; and even animation. That’s why there’s a film still feel about this image. All in all, this one seems to go a bit into the direction of addressing “the human condition”. For the record, while I’m sensitive to the human condition, this isn’t a self portrait, and I’m not in a mental state anywhere near this. I’ve been rather enjoying my morning walks in small town Thailand. But I’m in touch with the plight of my fellow human beings, and I do have moments here and there.
I made a bunch of subtly different compositions and colors schemes before settling on this one.
Now back to more tutorials and experiments.
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