the project

‘The Arcane Welder’ is a practice-based project that aims to develop and share effective workflows for Digital Media Practice, using software that is free to all undergraduate and postgraduate level students.

To effectively achieve this practice-based aim, and to facilitate the continued sharing of practice between undergraduate/postgraduate level students, this project also sets a creative/thematic provocation which shapes and drives this content.

Finally, the process of exploring the central concepts behind The Arcane Welder and the subsequent creation of the various outputs will be documented in some form to facilitate the sharing of new practice, workflows and processes

 
 

the theme

The Arcane Welder is a media project that proposes a moribund future; a science fiction that imagines a future that is already dead.

The project aims to create outputs that align the mundane and the recognisable with the futuristic and “arcane”.

It is hoped that by creating a juxtaposition between present and imagined signifiers we can imagine a cancelled, moribund future, and by doing so accelerate to a point where we can begin to question and explore how we want the future to actually look like.

 
the exposition

2087

‘Welders’ are chiefly engineers and fabricators who traverse various terrains to map, find and reclaim commissioned machines.

These utilitarian structures and mechanical objects are remnants of a failed global experiment of the 2050’s, where a brave new world of technilogical advancement was championed and then forgotton; whose grand, mechanical remains now litter the landscape.

 
the outputs

As the various outputs emerge from this project they will be detailed in the sections that follow.

Each output will exhibit a response to the core themes and exposition of The Arcane Welder project and present them in a chosen Digital Media medium. This could be all or none of the following: VFX, Games, Sound Design, Music, VR/AR, etc.

Importantly, each response should also be accompanied by practice-based evidence of the research and development process. This is to not only illustrate and expose the formal properties of that response, but also share new or different ways of approaching that chosen practice area, so others can utilise that knowledge in their future work.

 
 

‘THE RECONNAISSANCE’

By Jon Holmes

“THERE’S NO LONGER ANYTHING LEFT TO VISIT, ONLY TO REVISIT. THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME IS THE SHAPE OF WHAT’S ALREADY BEEN. WE’RE INVITED TO ADVANCE, TIMOROUSLY, INTO THE PAST” Jonathan Meades (1997)

1

Thematically, this image has sort to align the everyday images of British landscapes found on Flickr – chiefly The Isle of Skye – with CG shapes and iconography that could signify the remnants of a moribund future. Chiefly, there is a series of binary oppositions: aspiration vs iteration; organic vs mechanical; present vs future.

This CG composite has used both Blender 3D and Substance Painter to model, texture paint and Composite. Fundamentally, a great deal has been learnt about the power Blender affords an artist, not only when procedurally modelling, but also when rendering, lighting and compositing for an effective VFX pipeline.

Not only is Blender 3D free to use for all users, but also it is highly receptive to a Substance-based workflow. Textures from Susbstance Painter integrate easily into the Cycles Raytrace render engine inside Blender. Something which is to be celebrated in the context of all Substance programmes now being free for all students and academics.

“DESIGN TODAY IS CONCERNED PRIMARILY WITH COMMERCIAL AND MARKETING ACTIVITIES BUT IT COULD OPERATE ON A MORE INTELLECTUAL LEVEL. IT COULD PLACE NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS WITHIN IMAGINARY BUT BELIEVABLE EVERYDAY SITUATIONS THAT WOULD ALLOW US TO DEBATE THE IMPLICATIONS OF DIFFERENT TECHNOLOGICAL FUTURES BEFORE THEY HAPPEN.” Raby and Dunne (2014)

2

Thematically, this image continues to explore the idea of a ‘cancelled future’ via the alignment of the everyday images of The Isle of Skye with CG architectural structures and machines .

Again, I have used both Blender 3D and Substance Painter to model, texture paint and Composite the scene, further ratifying its flexibility as a VFX pipeline tool.

Due to its close proximity to the camera in this scene, the tent has been fully modelled and textured this time. Where as the previous image used 2D painting technques inside Photoshop, a full cloth simulation alongside some simple modelling techniques was used to fashion the tent, which was then textured inside Substance Painter.

The direct light from the painted fire, was also rendered inside Blender using a warm point light. Due to the way in which Blender can flexibly allocate and isolate render passes and light paths, it was possibile to render the reception of the light and its shadows without the light source itself appearing in the frame.

‘FUSE’

By Jon Holmes

THE GLIMMERS OF A BETTER FUTURE ARE TRAMPLED AND FORGOTTEN UNDER THE PRESSURES OF AND INCREASING PRECARIOUS AND DEMANDING WORLD. Srnicek and Williams (2015)

Production | Modelling | Making the Reactor CORE

August 24th, 2018 Following my successful shoot in The Peak District, I began the modelling process. Chiefly, I used my research from previous projects in The Arcane Welder project to combine both mesh-based and Boolean-based deformation with procedural kit bashing...

Research | Colour Management | Making my own D-Cinelike>Lin LUT

August 1st, 2018Based on all of my prior research in to both the perceived and visible contrast ratios of both D-Log and D-Cienmalike gamma within the DJI OSMO, I have confirmed that venthough D-Log is better for grading, its display transform is not truly logarithmic...

Pre-Production | Locations | ‘Nature’ is burning!?

July 17th, 2018 It seems the hot weather this summer is not only mitigating my thematic drives - gloomy pessimistic skies - and my need for cloud cover to create soft, diffuse lighting; but also, it is proving to be a destructive one for some of my proposed locations...

Research | Colour Management | Can I Make D-Log Linear? No!

July 15th, 2018 In an effort to 'Linearize' the 8bit REC709 video delivered by the DJI OSMO - as is the case with all 8bit REC709/sRGB video files - it must be mapped to a 1 - 0 scale. To this end, the exposure data you capture from the camera when trying to create a...

Research | Colour Management | Exploring DJI D-Log Dynamic Range

July 10th, 2018 Following the previous post(s) regarding colour management, the ACES pipeline and the Sobotka's 'Filmic' colour management in Blender, information around live action acquisition formats, colour space and dynamic range is very important. This is...

Research | Colour Management | Linearised, Scene Referred Workflow

July 5th, 2018 One of the core defining factors of professional workflows is colour management. As a professional colourist this is something that I am all too aware of when managing various colour spaces and scaling them accordingly to relevant display referred...

join the project

If you would like to take part in the project; create some Digital Media practice in any form you see fit, using the themes at the heart of The Arcane Welder; and, share your practice, workflows and development with others, then please send me a message using the form below.

Jon Holmes

www.thecuriousengine.co.uk

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