Inspiration, Part I

I wanted to make sporadic posts about the various things inspiring me to do this weird kind of project. Hopefully they will help paint a clearer picture about my goals and my general taste for things. Here goes.

I have one digital painting as my main reference for this entire project. There are dozens more in the “Inspiration” folder, but this one is it. Here it is:

"Waterfalls" - Matt Allsopp

“Waterfalls” – Matt Allsopp

I found it on CGHUB. Thank you Matt for this painting.

There are many things I like about this image, but the main driver for me is that this is how I’d like computer graphics to be. Stylized, artistic, expressionistic. Often the contemporary 3D artists are concerned about the micro-detail – the texture of the object, the shader to use, the number of triangles on the model, etc. What I’d like to focus my time on in the coming months is experimenting with the macro-detail. Here’s what I mean by that.

I believe there is much to explore and learn about the relations between objects, their number, their placement, their color pallete, their shape. I believe there can be found a simple or not-too-complicated rule behind all these things and that we can express most of them through formulas and algorithms.

Look at the above image. I claim that there can be found a formula for generating and placing the green mesh that represents grass on those rocks on the bottom of the image. There can be found a formula which automatically generates the grass mesh of a given size, pallete, orientation and places it on those rocks. There can be found a formula which places the pine forest in the back of the image according to terrain parameters such as altitude, humidity, closeness to populated areas, and so on.

In addition to that, I claim that the micro-detail can be ignored if you look at the problem like I do. I don’t care if the grass isn’t perfectly rendered, each leaf bending perfectly on the wind. When enjoying Matt’s image, I ignore the micro-detail. I focus on the color pallete, the shapes of individual elements, the placement of elements.

My explorations are focused on those things.

This brings me to my second big inspiration:

Love - a game by Eskil Steenberg

Love – a game by Eskil Steenberg

Eskil Steenberg’s Love is a graphical masterpiece. It has a very bold impressionistic style to it, and Eskil has pulled this entire project off on his own. I have the utmost respect for this man. You can watch his excellent (yet completely underrated) talk about the tech behind Love. Unfortunately this talk has only around 1000 views at the moment.

There’ll be more things I post in the “Inspiration” series.

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