A love story: Research & Portfolio

Blog Introduction

Learning how to reinterpret classical art may seem as the best start for one who is interested in sculpture and storytelling. This is true regarding the purpose with this project, to explore the past, experiment with the present and plan an art of the future.

But the most meaningful goal is to reflect on us as humans; our history, our beliefs, the connections of the mind to body states, our ideas, and how or what we choose to see.

While with the abstract below it reveals how that is manifested into a creative process.

Abstract Titling:

"She was the moon,

and he was the Sun"

A lucid transition of emotions captivating the delicate influences of dealing with the body, the content and the movement using projecting 3d modelling over a physical medium; an artistic approach chosen in reflection to how we are subject to both psychological and physical emotions. This multi-medium artwork traces classical mythology from the fabulous sculpture of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Apollo and Daphne (1622 – 25).

Following the symbolism of the arrows presents more rooted ideologies, a story of Eros (Cupid): the God of love. The story explains how Apollo insults Eros. This mischief causes Eros to take revenge, piercing Apollo with a golden arrow, falling in love with Daphne who in turn was pierced with an arrow of lead, causing this impassive repulse of body language.

Areas of interest

  • Human Anatomy

  • Culture & History

  • Modern, Classic & Realistic Paintings

  • Sculptures & 3D Modelling

Initial draft

As a starting point, the planned process with the first idea was to select a classic painting of ancient mythology and culture, thus; as a result, to then rebuild the chosen painting as a whole composition inside a 3D scene. Other interests played a factor of influence when choosing the painting, the human anatomy, virtuosity and philosophy. Moreover, to incorporate the practice of modelling (sculpting), human figures in motion (movement) and the experience of a physical (real-life) factor.

The compositing workflow would involve the use of Zbrush to block-out the characters and slowly position and sculpt the figures to somewhat correct human proportions and following the information from the painting.For presentation, the initial plan involved a walkable area around which the audience can explore the artwork. However, the artwork must connect to the audience via virtual reality.

This medium will help to purposely detach the individuals from the real world and place them inside a different space or timeline moment from our past; a display, whereby the audience gets to experience a reconstructive myth. This idea takes influence from the concept of how monuments of great individuals are likely to be replaced by future floor projections in areas of remembrance.

Why Virtual Reality?

The short answer is to be able to craft quick and effective immersive experiences. For example, to display the artwork in the exhibition where the audience connects to the environment via a pair of goggles. The issue with this design choice is that it is not very supportive of large crowds of the audience and will cause specific individuals to miss out.

To conclude this draft idea, the artwork below stands as the leading visual design guide; a painting by Thomas Couture, Romans of the Decadence, 1847. This painting helps form a visible representation of the type of composition one intends to rebuilt and use a similar concept as addressed by Couture, to reintroduce classical art paintings. Ultimately, the complexity of this painting is acknowledged, and one needs to develop further research in exploring paintings with more minimalism and simplicity. This decision was also taken due to time constraints and to have a more realistic chances of completing the task.

Although it may not apply for the project, a fascinating thing to take into consideration about this painting is the scale, painted by the artist to human scale so that the audience feel that relative, similar connection between the figures and themselves. Therefore, the plan remains to build a semi-large physical sculpt.
"Thomas Couture lived through the French revolution (criticising the French government and French middle class values)," Zucker, S. a. H. B., ( 2012)

To show the reality of the decadence in his world, the artist decides to use a combination of French modern art and classical art from the ancient Greek-Roman culture. The commentators from a research transcript discuss in depth through how the artist, Couture, had chosen this large piece of art, to display figures seeking lustful pleasure in a sense to try and show that they have lost their human quality (morality) and have adopted an immoral behaviour. Based on the study of this artwork alone, the negative immoral behaviour itself had become an interesting element for further research development to discover its causes or reasoning.

This contextualised breakdown of the decadence painting by Couture and personal experience of real-life scenarios had lead to a draft concept belief that on average involving the higher classes of individuals, where having more access and wealth can influence the minds to more extravagant/extraordinary desires or behaviours in their lifestyle. Alternatively, wealth can control how much freedom we choose to have or how open/daring we feel about being liberated to do what we as individuals perceive to be the correct action.

Culture & Historical Research

Ancient Greek History, Ancient Greek Mythology, Beliefs and their Sculptures

According to an online research documentary, the origin of ancient Greek myths (Gods) were told and passed down through the art of colourful storytellers, Greek art such as sculptures and creative writers. One of which includes, Homer, an ancient poet who wrote books such as The Iliad and The Odyssey,

as previously outlined in the documentary, the poet's books are known to “take the readers on an adventure to capture the image of the tremendous power these divinities had.” The Life Guide, YouTube, ( 2017)

Homer's books covers a variant selection of stories and beliefs related to Ancient Greek Mythology. Some of which other artists had used as influence when developing thei artworks.

For example in the classic 16 hundreds Peter Paul Rubens, had used these books for inspiration to develop some genius paintings of expression which builds a personality of Hercules, to portray ideas related to his powers or which involve religious beliefs and evils.

The Hobbit, another great fantasy novel of the modern era is bizarrely also known as "There and Back Again", for a second name. Besides that, this novel was written by J.R.R. Tolkien, published 21 Sep 1937, who also took inspiration from the Ancient poet Homer. Moreover, research from Jessica Ferri, "8 Novels Inspired by the Odyssey" article outlines the most relevant areas with similar storytelling ideas of which were initially inspired from the book; Odyssey and later introduced into The Hobbit novel.

i.e. "Like Odysseus’s journey, Bilbo Baggins’ epic travels to defeat the dragon Smaug lead him and his friends through a series of challenges that leave him wondering if he’ll ever return home." Jessica Ferri , 8 Novels Inspired by the Odyssey article.

Last but not least, research within the current digital era, as part of a different project, contains some exciting video game content. The newly released Assassin's Creed Odyssey, which is an RPG platform game, bases their designs of Ancient Cultures. The concept art below provides beautiful visual art of the Ancient society, the Ancient Greek mythology and it is said by the developers during a video interview to have "very strong resemblance to the original stories of Homer's poem".

"In the most obvious tie in to Homer, we begin the adventure in Cephalonia" Stephanie Clark, Why Homer would approve of Assassin's Creed Odyssey, (2018)

This quote follows an article about the approval Homer would have over the development of this video game. Clark, the writer of the article, dissects Assassin's Creed Odyssey, further looking at how accurate the plot, the visual gameplay and accuracy around the naming of locations or characters parts with what is written in the books by Homer. Parts of which she states are covered profoundly well by Ubisoft.

To conclude on this historical and cultural research, the exploration of different mediums and eras describes the progression of art, the method in which art and composition develop over time. To support this judgement, in the video game medium, it is shown how art is stepping into a digital environment where more possibilities and freedom gets given to artists in producing art.

Exploration of the ancient gods and goddesses:

Documentary from, Kevin Schoof, YouTube, (14 Jan 2018) had helped me to form a brief concept of the Ancient Greek Gods, and this briefing was revised based on the information covered in his ultimate guide video.

Brief Concept

According to Greek legends the origins of man's existence began with the Titans, Cyclops and Giants who were believed to be the first beings of the earth. Leader of the Titans, Cronus began visioning and fearing that his children are destined for greater powers and was due to be overthrown. He decided that a good idea would be to eat all his children, and he did apart from one. Zeus, his youngest son, was kept hidden from this chaotic imprisonment act by his wife, Ria, also a Titan, who begged Gaia, the mother of all to keep Zeus safe. His father and Zeus were both immortal gods. On Zeus later return. It is said that he confronted and defeated his father, which forced Cronus to release Zeus siblings. This act had left Zeus as the leader, now being the oldest among his brothers and sisters, also presented below.

Here are the primary list of Ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses as shown in the concept art above. Figure here are displayed wearing different themes and visual elements.

With this artwork, it is clear the artist had tried to separate the characters by applying a distinct selection of colour, body proportions, tools and powers to describe their unique divinity. Parts of which shows that building context is a crucial stage to support the body and form to build a unified visual description of a subject.

Additional analyses of their past:

Another study describes Zeus as a different type of individual. One with immoral behaviour and desires. For example, in the book of, "Oh My Gods" by Philip Freeman (2012) it is mentioned that Zeus had “a sexual appetite for beautiful mortal women, as well as the goddesses.” Thus, the book content explains more of his lifestyle decisions, and that he had such a beautiful goddess as his wife, Hera was buying none of his behaviours. Quoting this godly figure.

"She was the protector of the marriage and family, who had taken revenge on his other lovers.”

Hercules animated film (1997)

As part of Ancient Greek Mythology, Zeus had become father of a half mortal, half godly descendant by the name of Hercules.

Walt's Disney version of Hercules (1997) had naturally embedded an image of the character, his lifestyle and growth cycle, is a special son of Zeus. Also, the animated film shows how Hercules was raised among the mortals and yet he possessed supernatural forces and powers like no other men. Thus, becoming a great warrior following his father’s footsteps.

To conclude this study, it is possible that based on Zeus behaviour, mortal men also took this approach at being with other women and seek out prostitutes. As a result, this could have been the starting point of influence among moral men for more profound pleasures, temptations and sexual desires.

"By the year 700 BC pathogen worship of the gods of mountain Olympus was embedded in the Greeks life." Kevin Schoof, Documentary, (14 Jan 2018)

This quote explored an online documentary source from ancient Greek myths; explaining how temples were built and chosen because of epiphany, believing in the appearance of gods or due to natural events of lightning forming in distinct areas.

Greece: Temple of Theseion

The ancient Greeks also used their temples to various organised cults (a system of religious veneration and devotion to a particular individual) to glorify and appease their mighty and at times temperamental gods. Each of which were dedicated to their deities.

With this type of research of the ancient Greek myths and history, the aim was to understand more about each God and more about their past in order to build a better visual outcome that symbolises and reflect from the past written legends.

Basic break-down of Technical Research

This research has a goal of planning an art piece combining digital graphics, possibly sounds and virtual reality or projected reality to achieve an outer world experience of being immersed in the moment and losing touch with anything from the outside world.

Posing and Meaning

Looking into different poses, beginning with the basics of "Archaic Kouros Statues of Tenea". Also, progressing with more complex poses that add further limbs movement, further body language, facial expressions or hand gestures.

Contrapposto Sculpture Adlocutio Sculpture

Pudica Sculpture Serpentine Sculpture

Study the origins of Ancient Sculptures

As a way of developing the understanding of sculptures or memorials. One must begin by looking into the meaning and impact sculptures have had on the society at the time. Research into ancient religion faiths underlines that "temples, memorials and sculptures had been used as a place of worship and celebration for different gods or goddesses" by Kevin Schoof, Documentary, (14 Jan 2018).

Based on early personal years of development, some studies into sculpture had shown that it is a way of connecting with their gods, that we are reinterpretations of themselves, the Gods, and that sculptures symbolise more than a human figure because of that connection.

Planning & Development

  • Human/Animal Mythology

The perhaps use of Religious and Satanist beliefs and assumptions to show who is consequent and subsequent for their actions.

Alternatively, the study of combining animal and human biology, sexual desire and decadence.

  • Textures

Texturing experimentation is a necessary step to achieve proper levels of quality in the sculptures - whether the end piece will show very realistic human skin tones or perhaps more exotic use of material and patterns such as white pearl or black marble the process must include the application of textures.

  • Rendering

Thinking about the software to use and the size budgets for when planning to export videos and still render frames either for Virtual Reality or for Projections. However, as the design progresses the physical design takes an unexpected turn where the detailed sculpture model requires a decimation and simplification method to be fit for CNC carving.

  • Adding sound to the project

As a last technical focus, the sound and music were planned as a (could have) element to support the overall believably of the concept in virtual reality. Mainly focusing on ambient music, for boosting the emotions and settings of the visuals; to have sound effects triggered as individuals explore different areas of the artwork.

• Creative, expressive

• Commonly expected in the real world scenario and settings

• Orchestra, religious, mystical, reckless, visionary (supernatural, powerful, symbolic, divine)

Exploring ways of presentation and expression

As part of brainstorming ideas. Discussions with tutors and student followed based on the proposition of the initial idea. This practice had helped to formulate a more established plan for the process of producing the art piece. As well as exploring through different areas that could be implemented or involved as part of the project, thinking about it from visual aspects, technical aspects and historical ones.

The Drunken Hercules By Peter Paul Rubens

A painting, whereby Hercules is drunk, befriended by the devil, surrounded by lustful women prostitutes and wine jugs. This painting is a religious resolution, crafted to promote the cause of their moral judgements, to scare the Greeks into believing what evils and dangers can convey if one does not obey the church beliefs and chooses to live an immoral life.

One may decide to reinterpret this traditional painting, by hiring and placing actors in a setting and ultimately reflecting the painting, with the use of real life(people) actors to try and correspondingly produce the same setting.

Example shows: Couture's decadence painting transformed into a real-life scenario

Gérard Rancinan, the maker of this grand scale masterpiece, is a photographer who had worked on large chaotic contemporary art pieces. The artist uses the postmodern fashion and culture to produce his replicate version of the Romans of the Decadence painting using real-life settings and actors, thus, reflecting on the manner and structure used by Thomas Couture.

Video shows processes into the making of Decadence photography.

Exploring ways of implementing the moral and immoral factors within one frame.

Pompeo Batoni Marc Chagall

Peace and War, 1776 A Midsummer Night's Dream, 1939

Other areas of interest:

Life cycles

With this topic, the goal was to touch on a potential theory around the belief in individual life events having repetitive values throughout time. What this means is that there is a possibility for a pattern of similar events acting unpredictably and repeatedly. Another is the possibility for a countdown in which these events take place during ancient, classic, modern and contemporary societies. To support this claim, a list of references follows below, dissecting to explore similarities around:

  • Human beliefs

  • Human ethics

  • Human behaviour

In the eyes of the reader, some of these events may appear more evident than others. For example, current and expected events tend to be part of the control environments, such as the violence of world wars or civil wars. Others take place more sudden and unexpectedly, such as the decadence or raves. Both examples manifest and grow into this idea of life cycles, involving large groups of individuals who happen to have similar views on the subject, perform similar behaviour, which helps to build this pattern of events.

Connection between Human Beliefs

Research around religion, and going back in time, to dissect paintings and compositions and to observe if there are similarities from on religion to the next over time.

Comparing the presentation of Ancient Greek Gods and the Roman-Catholic God:

Below is the first painting, an artwork intended to describe the ascent into the heavens. From the summit of Mount Olympus, the father of the gods above the mortal's world. "The Assembly of Gods around Jupiter's Throne, by Giulio Romano (1532-34)"

"Creation of Adam, by Michelangelo (1511)" The second painting is part of the Genesis Fresco on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, in Rome. Known to be one of the most famous religious paintings of the Italian Renaissance.

Human Ethics

The goal with these two selections of images was to express a sense of similarities around the concept of freedom, recreation and joy. The first image was describing a group of individuals during the Roman time of decadence, and in the second image, one can argue that a similar approach is at play where individuals have started behaving in immoral ways, thus, with support of substances such as alcohol and drugs.

A lot around these behavioural acts must show this repetitive decadence in society by being offered our liberty and free will to do as we like with our lives.

Human Behaviour

Lastly, an again similar pattern when comparing world wars and civil wars between the past and present. Although this is not a very relevant example, it does go under the acts of behaviour and the choice between peace and war.

In conclusion, the observation and research into similarities between human behaviour, ethics and human beliefs had outlined a possible plan for reconstructing something that people can re-experience and compare/contrast with the present time.

First Plans for 3D Reconstruction

Planning the setting for display The approach with the circular stage is a design choice with the thought of introducing pattern for visual interest; thus, for reflecting on cycles of life and the concept of re-experiencing an event.

This is a sketch plan to describe the setting of the art-piece and how the audience can interact with the VR gear in order to walk around the scene and observe the sculpture from 3D.

The sketch above, is a quick block-out of the main actors in the composition, with this sketch the focus was on the body proportions and build-up between mythology and human anatomy reflecting the Drunken Hercules painting by Peter Paul Rubens.

Layers upon Layers

Following this diagram on the left, I have taken part in a pitch with a small group of individuals to plan other possible means in which could display the artwork apart from using VR.

A systematic idea with potential suggested by Carolina, a member of the group discussion. Was to consider the idea of cycles and reconstruct the past into the future through layers upon layers using a painting method. Similar to the method found in Xia's paintings, being quite easy to layer, yet so genius.

Xia Xiaowan - 3D Paintings of Glass

Ancient Greek Culture and Society

Mythological beliefs

The gender switch decadence

This concept relates to the current worldwide spread changes in culture and gender ethnicity transitions. Also, the male and female equality to switch the focal point to the opposite sex.

Fitness and Diet Decadence

This following concept sketch was focusing on the observation of other current social interests around the health and fitness image. How that can impact our lives and be used to portray a loss of self-love from improving the visual aspect using sports, and showing thoughts of desired diet plans as a form of decadence.

Family concept to reflect on decadence

Divorce between parents, Loyalty and loss of trust, Separation of siblings and their parents following the act of divorce

To conclude this section of experimentation and exploration of different themes. It was useful to think of the composition from a social point of interest and impact that the composition may have on the audience. Some of these ideas are more exotic and bizarre then others yet none of these concepts will move forward to the development stage.

Development of idea using further research techniques:

Why the plan changed trajectory?

Why the plan changed trajectory? - After discussing the idea in a way that it matured into an examination of the whole project, it became vital to consider changing aspects which have raised some critical issues with the initial draft.

A first change will be to practice accurate human anatomy, instead of a formal reconstruction of an art piece. This change permits one to erase the limitation factor and enable one’s opportunity to put some personal identity into the project outcome, moreover, involving the unique and original values. Its a commonly raised issues by fellow peers and tutors during weekly discussions and presentations.

More on this topic, questions were asked as to:

“How will the work differ from the original painting? Why not make your own character designs? Is it too ambitious? or Why not reconstruct it and change it to fit with current culture?”.

The group discussions and propositions have been supportive in helping build up from the first drafts and focus on what the audience expect or desire. This feedback had ultimately shown the necessity for clarity, practicality, and further research/experimentation.

Advance Research Development

Symbolism and Fantastic realism in classical art

Symbolism can take different forms, it is a powerful tool, and is used to represent ideas or qualities. Looking at surreal artists and how they used unusual methods to structure their paintings using unique elements to portray a distinct style of originality.

A proposal from Jim(tutor), for improvement of the unique and original values, was to investigate symbolism further, and I found that a lot of surreal paintings, which also use a classical theme can be used to observe the technique of symbolism/propaganda. With that in mind, a benefit is that one could consider in symbolism is the establishment of more depth to an idea, in terms of whether the audiences can fully understand it. It is disadvantaging as, and it can also lead to misunderstanding.

Moving forward with some examples which study methods used to structure and meaning:

Michael Parkes who is a surreal art sculptor and painter. Uses similar elements of human and animal mythology as well as the study of women beauty and purity to construct different concepts. Some of the artworks as shown below. Whats most interesting is the control of themes and objects chosen to display means of symbolism. They consist of similar objects, using sharp lines, masked figures, fantasy creatures, emotions (love), which all contribute to the occurrences of aesthetic and meaningful messages behind these works of art.

Based on the artist approach, to outline hidden symbolism and to define the artwork further to draw out aesthetic and meaningful content. With the next idea development, the plan is to include more meaning and emotions into the design using a very similar smooth, minimalist tone of application, thus, following an apparent manner.

Daniel Merriam

Puppeteer, Counting the Minutes and Before High Heaven

Having beautiful fantasy landscapes, dreams & fairies, mythical creatures, goddesses & gods. Using compositing techniques to place his characters into another world.

Some observations from paintings, trying to work around an idea that humans obey and act according to their creators, being controlled by Gods, faith and beliefs.

These observations were used to describe the concept of supreme divinities venturing down from mountain Olympus. To mingle and meddle with the lives of mortals by using this example of puppet-ere and angels.

Reflection on research

Philosophic reference: Aristotle, fig 38.1 (looking into the meaning of philosophy)

A Virtuous Person

This term is a word defining the belief that there may be a specific approach to mastering the art of being a complete "person". With this, the goal is to explore ideas around what makes us different and similar, what drives us into specific ways closer or apart.

The practice of becoming a virtuous person is to know not to be impossible. Although based on the trace of the word, may only be found in rare individual cases. Virtuosity is told to exist, and we should all aspire to be, virtuous.

Breaking down this concept further, as part of this project it was essential to observe what people find different and similar in living the given life spam, and what an individual needs to explore and achieve to feel accomplished as a person — for example, succeeding in finding love.

John Singer Sargent

Sketch of Cellini's “Preseus Beheading Medusa” 1902

(Watercolor over graphite on wove paper)

Paintings with stories, myths and historical resemblance such as the one above, involving mortals, Gods and Goddesses had been supportive in discovering Ancient events that could formulate a unique composition; also using these references to help with the design of the project outcome.

Compositing and Posing in Sculpture

Positioning and posing as shown in the examples below, make the most of the sculpture and help to sell the emotions and message across to the audiences. If the execution of pose is well thought out, presenting the emotional, powerful and meaningful flow, and for a brief moment the audience is captivated in a state of reflection. Which pays a significant role to make their experience worthwhile.

3D Sculptures

Fabio Prati (digital sculptor)

Rome, Italy

L-Eclissi and Full Temptation (Pixologic Zbrush, Mental Ray & 3d Coat)

The artist mentions some techniques which help for the process of developing such complex and dynamic pose in art sculpture. Also, following the words below mentioned by Prati, the goal with further experience is to study the meaning and to practice concepts of mass and rhythm.

"Before focusing on this sculpt I spent a bit of time studying the human anatomy, poses, and some traditional art notions (such as the concept of mass and rhythm), confident that it could help to give a more expressive final look." Fabio Prati, Techniques of research and practice.

Tate Britain

Thomas Brock

Eve, 1900 (Marble)

This section explores an observational drawing completed based on a photograph taken of the sculpture, Eve. These photographs of a smooth and sleek sculpture were collected based on a different project and now used as a study of famous marble sculpture.

The best parts with this observation are when shading the cast shadows and looking at the effect the lights have on creating these darker shades or highlights on the object.

Frederic, Lord Leighton An Athlete Wrestling with a Python, 1877

Again, here with the sculpture, trying to understand the element of composition and what type of material to best supports the meaning of the artwork: the black shows an overwhelming sturdy and a high contrast to advantage the events which take place.

Richard Westmacott

Jupiter and Ganymede,1811 (Marble relief)

Westmacott, a neoclassical sculptor, was one of the best in London. Neoclassical sculpture or architecture, in its purest form, was influenced by classical antiquity.

Here we can see his classical Greek and Roman sculpture of mythology. Ganymede being the handsome shepherd abducted by Jupiter, in the form of an eagle and took Ganymede to Olympus.

(this is referencing the display caption from the gallery)

John Bacon

Sickness, 1778 (Marble)

Bacon, a prolific and genius sculptor at the time and one of the leading academic artists. He had worked on various monuments, including one of the philanthropists Thomas Guy.

This particular sculpture was developed from the head of a cadaverous figure, which he was able to study with the help for Thomas Guy, in the Guy's Hospital. The textures seemed rough and unpolished; it seems like the artist was trying to portray the delicate bone structure and thick tight skin of the sacred figure.

(this is referencing the display caption from the gallery)

GuildHall Gallery

Walter Merrett

Bust of Edward VII, Queen Alexandra, 1904 (Marble)

Diagram: Idea Break-down

Below, the diagram is used to block out a map of words, equipment, ideas and techniques which may relate to the design and development process of this artwork.

Human Anatomy in Motion

Using advanced research books from various professionals who explore the study of the human body in motion. Showing evaluation, annotations, referencing of study of life drawings and experimenting with/both physical and digital media in the portfolio.

Edward James Muggeridge - First Motion Pictures

The first photographs in history to show motion through pictures of moving objects. Below is an image of many works of Human and Animal locomotion from the year 1887.

Valerie L. Winslow is the writer and artist who designed and put together this fantastic resource for exploring all the aspect of the human body in diverse perspectives with poses that reflect off the human figure and anatomy through movement. The book is called "classic human anatomy in motion".

Fortunately, after purchasing this book, it showed to be a very supportive material. The book is a perfect guide to practice blocking-out body shapes and proportions; thus, to reference when sculpting different ideas.

Body Motion, Movement

Telling a story through the movement of figures with focus on the study of different bones move-ability, lengths and flexibility.

Draft Idea 1

Concept/Sketch, Mock-ups

"The Moon and The Sun"

With this drawing, the concept inspires from ancient Greek mythology, looking at love stories about Zeus and Hera. The design choice for the burning male figure and the round moon figure is bizarrely reflecting a documentary in which involved stories about ancient Egyptian empires, where the people at the time worshipped the Sun as a God. This belief had continued through the ancient Greek mythology where one of the Gods represented as the Sun God. That bought light, life and health.

As a continuation from these stories, the ideas required visual descriptions. Here the goal was to sketch some ideas to try and craft an image to best describe this character, a male figure, a powerful God, a burning sun. Again, while drawing this character, inspirations came from characterisations of Zeus, the lightning flowing around him and how these ideas could support to draw a heroic pose for this God of the Sun figure.

There are some hidden elements of symbolism included, the object held by the God of the Sun takes inspiration from stories and theories from Ancient Astrology, on the connection life has to the 12 zodiac signs. The documentary from "VegasBD" YouTube channel, explains how the sings act as a calendar for the human lifespan; each of these signs is known to last for 2,500 years before moving into the next.

Technical Design

As a creative illustration decision, the style of drawing is trying to imitate the ancient Greek 2d pot drawings. It holds a simple colour pallet that forms minimalist details and builds perspective using different shades of colour.

When making this composition, one must take into consideration the presentation. To focus on how it may be best to display in the exhibition. Some of these ideas involve, setting up a rig that can rotate the object and communicate the story through a selection of moving images. In terms of materials, using cardboard or paper should be a right beginner choice to craft a prop that supports the projection, also, which rotates, tumbles or moves in a spherical and hemispherical manner.

Building Context

At this stage, the story is not very clear from the drawings alone, and one could mention that given the intense levels of research into this draft idea. It requires proper analyses and context.

To improve, one must put the composition into a meaningful and reasoning context, to offer real communicative value to the audience. By choosing two elements which play a vital role in the survival of human life, the Moon and the Sun hold a unique sentimental value. Additionally, given that they appear as two completely different elements, it holds a similar visual representation to yin and yang, explaining how one cannot be without the other.

Which as a whole slowly builds into this beautiful idea of a romance between these two valuable elements of our existence; that they should not exist without one another.

Moreover, to communicate this to the audience as an art piece which provokes them to explore this emotional value of life and love and what can make us happier or unhappier.

Early Development

Organic Sculpture and Anatomy

Anatomy Study - Face Block-out

These are screenshots of the first mock-up test for sculpting a face focusing on details around the eyes and nose of the figure. During the anatomy study, it is still very early stages where the goal was to explore many concepts to get more familiar with the software and the brushes which overall should provide an advantage when working on the final sculpture.

The critical part about blocking out a human head is to guide the shape based on the skull structure, to extract materials around the eyes but add material around the forehead or nose.

Anatomy Study - Male Upper-body Concept

The goal with this experimentation is to study the meaning and to practice concepts of mass and rhythm.

Below is the first sculpture experiment reflecting from the artwork created by Fabio Prati, Full Temptation. With this project, the plan was to lay out the anatomy of the body and abdominal progressing with the same smooth approach.

KeyShot - Renders

Black Marble materials have been applied as well as cracks for textures to achieve a more realistic result.

Turntable render, which was accomplished using a linear-trippy HDRI environment as a method to push the audience focus towards the sculpture, this is due to the ease on eye strain when looking away from the moving lines. The effect works surprisingly well during the projection tests below. However, this is not precisely the approach with which the art piece aims to deliver colours and details as it ends up being exhausting for the eyes of the audience.

Rough and Basic Projection Tests

Projections and Lighting Show Events

Introduction to projection mapping

With the experimentation underneath, one which involves a side project. The objective was to plan, assemble and control the visual atmosphere of a music event. The list of equipment incorporated in this project includes; a music system, a disco ball, a projector, and a visual arts software (MadMapper) to control the area of effect in the physical world.

Assembly of the music system and disco ball were primary aims and completed rather quickly. The only challenge came when exploring ways of positioning the projector in a stationary and safe area, but still be able to control a large area of the physical environment. Also as a new experiment tool, the software proved to be the most significant problem.

MadMapper is a tool used by professionals in the visual arts industry (clubs, inside and outside projection mapping projects and other forms of events with involves projections).

The image above describes the basic layout plan of the interface.

Several chunks of modifiers seem to be available in each of the option on the left with some examples addressed below.

The examples will address techniques used for connecting the visuals with the audio and for mapping manipulation of the visual inside small environments. When importing sources or adding effects, a handy ability allows one to manipulate graphics behaviour based on the audio input source. Also, from the surface option window, one can manage the information mapping by setting borders.

From the video experimentation, there were two main music genres tech house and hip-hop. The goal was to create an immersive experience for the audience.

To achieve this coherent link between these visuals and the sound, fps, and playback editing was also necessary. This process involved, play-testing the music with visuals and modifying areas of the motion graphics to fit music with faster bpm or slower bpm. As a note, the motion graphics and video footage have not been set with intended of commercial and professional purposes. This documentation will include a bibliography to highlight the source of these assets.

Example 1:

Tech house - the playback speed doubles to fit 110 to 145+ bpm

Techno house (video 2)

As principles of manipulation, the motion graphics, videos within the first examples are trying to provoke immersive moods of stimulant and psychedelic connection between the audience and the music rhythm.

Example 2:

Pop & Hip hop - composited to fit within the music of 60 to 100 bpm.

With a similar purpose, for the second example, the goal was to deliver a performance show using the disco lights and neon dancers. To display a set of rhythmic movements to the audience from which to inspire in their dance flow and support the connection to the music vibes.

Anatomy Study - Ear concept

This technique involves a reversed extra of the masked model which is then cleaned-up and later dyna-meshed to the model after merging.

Anatomy Study - Male Figure

With the experiment below, the goal was to reproduce a detailed sculpture from the chosen example figure. The sculpture process had begun with a sphere to block-out the head and further extended and assembled into the upper body of a male actor.

The snapshots in this section describe the progression of applied detail. Starting with the first image, here the main muscle groups have been mapped with minimum experimentation of building the fine creases texture that the fibres have. With sculptures, there are moments in which it is easy to lose focus and work without referencing each step. Or other times the muscle is just not to the right proportions, which leads to backtracking and reworking to make sure they fit with accuracy. For example, the small lengthy tendons and muscles of the neck is a very difficult and complex location of the human figure. there are things that intertwine and flow in certain angles. They may change shape widening, fattening, or shrinking as they reach an attachment location of the bone.

Before this experiment, there was very little experience with getting in close and manually sculpting the small levels of detail in the muscle tissues. For the majority of the time, the DamStandard brush helps to complete the task; however, it requires a lot of fiddling and modifications to fit the right intensity, size and alpha punctuation. Overall, this DamStandard tool work by adding and cutting away material to draw out these fine lines.

The video below describes the process for building details and reworking muscle groups to perfect the anatomy study in the sculpture. The most challenging part of the process had been the eyes, lips and neck of the male figure.

Primarily, the focus was to get in all the positioning, form and scale of muscles groups, the tendons, and other closer levels of detail in muscle fibres as close to the reference as possible. It was a back and forth build-up which needed observation and tweaking to progress and developed. In conclusion, certain areas such as the formation of lips and the scale of them appeared to be more challenging, which required many attempts to achieve.

The stage of exploring renders; here, the choice with the texture and style of light placing is to replicate a gallery or museum scene. Render quality and style of render was an essential aspect. The goal was to reach a condition similar to the real-life classic sculpture, to create an illusion for the audience and support the overall believability of this design.

There is a slight focus on advanced techniques to improve the render details in this composition. For example, warm and cold colour planes are positioned outside the camera view to bring an excellent combination of shade onto the left and right sides of the sculpture. This technique was part of a class tutorial where the goal was to make renders appear and become more realistic.

Keyshot is a top industry standard, render software. To achieve a substantial quality, all settings and modifiers of the scene, materials, environment, lighting and camera must be in use one way or another. One should explore these areas to find the best fitting setup for the specific product or composition.

Draft Idea 2

Here is the previous, concept, the female/feminine figure portrayed in the form of the crescent waning of the moon. The male/masculine figure, still in human form, displayed as the burning sun. The decision of including a complete circle for the moon was to give an idea of captivity and control over narrative as the sun is held inside this bubble, thus, to simplify the assembly.

Although, this concept does focus on effectively interpreting a love story through ancient Greek mythology. There is an epiphany, whereby, the current composite limits the practice of studying human anatomy due to the decision of the moon structure.

Additionally, the moon illustration is currently motionless and very static. It hints of being more of an object than what its initial plan consists for representing the fine line of woman beauty and divinity to reflect on the ancient Greek mythology about Hera, the goddess of love and family.

To explore nudism, feminism and the constructive technique used in ancient Greek sculpture. Additionally, with support form the surreal work and artist research made in the previous segment of this project.

Moreover, even if parts of the moon design may change into a better fitting and humanly friendly figure of the female anatomy, there remains some curiosity in trying to use shapes, patterns and curves to help portray the story to the audience. Ultimately, the shape of the moon will have to remain to keep order and control the length of the art piece. An analysis of paintings by Daniel Merriam on methods of composition enabled to picture ideas in which to crossover shapes and build a complex assembly of layers.


The previous drawing of the piece was limiting the amount of human exploration. Thus, during the research phase, the focus on human anatomy holds great value in making classical sculpture.

A new visual guide, a discovery of the Selene, 1880 by Albert Aublet, provided a good inspiration for the style in which to approach this needed change. In his work, this female figure creates a motion of curvature to create the crescent of the moon body. The expression of the female figure is cold and bitter as portrayed by the colour of the moon, with a heart unfit for love.

In the planned approach of working to finding and building more context; to find relevant facts and supportive artwork from others. With support form a classmate, this story had taken a significant shift.

The comments were that this drawing hints of an art piece, Apollo & Daphne by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, executed in 1622–25.

In this mythical story of the sculpture, Daphne calls away for help as she begins to turn into a tree. Apollo is the son of Zeus. According to the ancient Greek mythology, he is a healer; thus; the God of Sun, Logic and Music. Apollo was also the person to go and try to save Daphne.

Moreover, with the sculpture below, this message is shown very clearly by Bernini in his work. However, without a description, it is challenging for the audience to distinguish who the actors in the composition/sculpture are. The Art of Appolo and Daphne is part of a classical, ancient sculptures display in Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy.

For a less relevant fact, bizarrely, Apollo was also the name of the moon mission program by NASA during (1963 - 1972) for the first human travel to the natural satellite of the earth.

Challenges with Compositing

The challenge with this type of art composition was structure the scene in a to help tell the story entirely, to explain to the audience a lucid yet straightforward love story.

The figures in their current positioning, a distant position yet with a slight inclination of engagement/interaction or active body language describing motion.

This behaviour is chosen to show a lengthy and endless lack of progression in their love story. That no matter the action or way of approaching their state, the deeper emotions inflicted will always have the best of them. Another challenging part of the concept was to position the figures in a way that it shows the best parts of the human anatomy study.

There is, of course, the desire to achieve a more dynamic pose. The downfall is the time constraint of rebuilding the concept art and beginning new experimentation to support the sculpture process.


Plaxtin Modelling Clay

Figure sculpting experimenting and comparing to digital sculpting

This experimentation as refereed to by professionals in the digital sculpting industry, is of a necessary step in the practice of clay manipulation and further understanding of the software tools and brushes perform certain jobs/actions. The most challenging part of this experimentation is symmetry and being unable to rewind on a mistake one had done.

Cross-over of reality/dream-like immersive or interactive research development

Textures and Materials

Barry X Ball (textures/pattern with excessive use of contrasting colours and expressions)

The following selection visual inspirations show a different method of adding meaning and contrasts in sculpture.

While working on developing the idea further, this artist was advised to investigate the use of more abstract forms of materials in the development of sculpture. In terms of how materials help with detailing, colours and structure to established profound actor expressions or attract the viewer's interest/engagement.

It is ingenious how Barry X Ball explores the use of the material as a distinct style, thus, to advantage each piece by choosing a different pattern, and how this material pattern flows to best describe and fit the context behind it.

Texture Experiment

As a follow up from this research, a short experiment below concludes of using Zbrush tools to portray the small worth of money once we reach the end. This actor is assembled in a vibrant red background to contrast on the negative side of money. The technical process involves the use of materials and noise application with additional standard software lighting modification.

Istvan Sandorfi

French Hungarian figurative painter, Budapest, 1948 - Paris, 2007

The creative inspiration on these paintings is the focus to building complex compositions of actors and how meaningful the pictures become with the help of the correct selection of colours, the realism of rendering the scene in a three-dimensional space. Additionally, Sandorfi is an essential study on the subject of human anatomy and using the body to create meaningful or expressive artwork. This detail is shown extensively by choice of preferred nudism and posing selection of actors in his paintings.

The exhibiting style of mounting and presentation the paintings is also different in approach to the more commonly seen galleries. The illustration reflects this bright glow, the walls of the gallery are kept dark, and it creates a strange or mysterious mood to support the unique compositions of the paintings as the audience traverses and explores.

Texture and Composition Experiment

The sculpture starts with a primary sphere, which, after defining some of the primary forms of the figure, slowly moulds into the desired concept. This idea was chosen to challenge the build-up process of this experiment.

This piece reflects on the idea of creating more meaningful compositions by working on the pose of the actor in the scene and the use of other elements to assist. The detail of anatomy observes images from an illustrations book of Classic Human Anatomy in Motion by Valerie L. Winslow.

Below we have the final render from keyshot, the style of render is with a realistic sky hdri and texture is achieved using a granite material for the alembic map and incorporates a normal map information of dirty concrete material for the roughness.

Eventually, over time, the artwork began to give in on the idea of being stuck at that moment for eternity. It is crucial as it keeps the audience hooked and builds questions. "Does the male figure feel sad?, Is he wondering, reflecting or is he staring out of curiosity?"

The soft gentle white bubble contains a drawn heart symbol. Specially chosen to stand out from the sect of the scene, and does so uses a different style of art. The symbol is there to support the element of love, the idea of having an everlasting love for another soul.

Exploring Projection & Visual Effects

Projection is the idea of dealing with the body, with content and movement and as such here are some concepts of creative approaches, some of which will be in use for creating exciting content and movement with projections.

Filip Custic - Moving Images

Rosalia Music Covers, 2018

The first example on the left side is a still image with a lot of symbolic and glowing lighting use as secondary type of movement. I think this technique could work quite well in collaboration with digital sculpture renders, whereby technically using an overlay to introduce movement.

The second example is far more complex and advanced where a number of techniques and various packaging had been used for animating, compositing and mapping to later to tested onto a figure face using tracking points. The main issues with following this approach may be the lack of knowledge on tracking information and well as not having vast knowledge of projection mapping techniques.

Tony Oursler

With this exhibit works by Tony Oursler, the plan was to study the method used by the artist to composite his images. Studying how the head information is mapped over the physical object.

Again, this style is a little more hideous and uncanny, where the maps of the reality are lightly out of correspondence with the real world. Also, it does lead to some amusement and does offer a sense of engagement with viewers by the use of eyes and holding eye contact. Ultimately, this shows that the use of eyes can push the work a step closer as viewers tend to feel like someone is watching them.

Kat Von D

Live Face Projection Mapping, Sephora (tracking face data)

In the video footage below, Kat Von D, uses a tracking technology system to apply different types of effects to the actor's face. This tracking happens in real time, and the outcome shows how immersive the work becomes. The most inspirational idea about this example is to look into mapping this kind of effects, to the model/object in the art piece with this level of accuracy. This concept will continue as a could have in the design, that being said entirely once the physical sculpture reaches a substantial point of development.

Alternatively, a very ambitious plan is to develop an animated sculpture which can be tracked on two actors to express the fine details of this myth to human scale.

Idea 2: Update

Advance Development & Experimentation


Drawing of Daphne; inspired from a marble sculpture by Ferdinando Vichi (1875-1945)

The drawing technique involves cross-hatching and basic lined shading to draw out the shadows that can be observed from the sculpture by Vichi. The medium is of pen ink on paper, where the goal of completion was to draw out a descriptive and detailed sketch that should aim to define a standard image of the female character.

This describes the image of Daphne as a flower woman.

After this sketch, to challenge the ability to achieve this level of detail in sculpture, the experiment below works on blocking out a three-dimensional replication of Daphne's face. One difficulty with this sculpture is to maintain a smooth progression of the skin as well as trying to add traces of weight near the eyes or for the volume of the cheeks.

Projection mapping (MadMapper)

Having some previous experience with the software from a personal project. For this task, the focus was to build art pieces, combining the animated renders and manipulating the objects in the physical world.

Starting with the trial and error stages of compositing and working on building a live performance with the modifiers. Some satisfying results and knowledge were gained around manipulating the objects using projections.

Mapping Projection Test 1

With the experiment the goal was to use an animation which was completed and rendered from Maya, to be applied as a surface walking illusion which involves the physical box.

The video below shows a real time composition time-lapse.

Mapping Projection Test 2

The second experiment of projection mapping continues from the previous exploration with Madmapper. The build-up again was all procedure; however, there was more focus on proportions and trying to use the physical objects to composite the more active and believable scene. Mostly covered by the time-lapse video, the choice to map a building on the surface of the box has been the most favourable decision made which helped distinguish other details of the scene. When one explores the artwork; it built this illusion of false depths in three-dimensional space.

The video source above on the right shows the real time composition time-lapse.

Although as shown Madmapper allows the user to accomplish quite a lot with the use of effects and options for modifying these effects these experiments do not exactly relate to the type of work one is aiming to further develop with this project. Moreover, again, looking back at the previous example with projections one where a marble sculpture rotates and creates an exciting but trippy experience for the audience.

Ultimately these experiments may seem to fit well during an event yet, in this case, it does not meet the subtle differences of emotional content found in classical art.

Mapping Projection Test 3

Sculpting phase using Plaxtin oil based clay material

Projection test using zBrush models, Keyshot render to apply materials and build scene

Parts of the model required to be modified and removed to avoid having the projection overlap the clay material. Additionally, with the images below, one can notice that some colours (black) are not very supportive, and there is a massive loss of quality. Moreover, the lighter choice of material does not highlight the figure on the right very well, which is a problem as it becomes hard for the viewer to distinguish between the body and the background.

Exhibition Preparation & Trail Setup

With this concept below, the goal was to figure out poses that support this particular ancient story of love. To show impulse and repulse.

The chosen design and anatomy of the figures are slightly different from the classical style shown in the research of history and paintings. It uses a more individualistic approach of form and a selection of real-life self-references. The self-referencing turns out to be very helpful to get accurate and detailed guides for blocking-out the male figure. Moreover, the previous sketches and posing, which do reflect on ancient Greek research also helped to structure this drawing.

In terms of the tools and software, Adobe Photoshop is an excellent package for building concepts, allows to draw from references to modifying tool brushes, their effects and colours to reach a satisfying look. The darker highlights of which draw out the proportions and muscle groups are essential for the project to support the sculpture development. The mood design involves paintings and photobashing of real-life moon images.

The goal with the female figure is to reflect a great pose of alluring beauty, which references from one of the surreal paintings of Michael Parkes, it uses a modern 1940s style. Additionally, it was necessary to remember the primary role with this art piece to connect with the audience, to build and express a lot of mixed forms of emotions. With this pose, the lady's body language works to give a polite repulse and distance from her lover. There is, of course, a growing dilemma because the female actor acts with the negative repulse of rejection; however, due to the nature of how beauty is valued. The delicate motion of her arms and legs portrays a kind of erotic feeling, of bodily beauty. One could then interpret this as reasoning for the enthusiasm and blindness held by Apollo.

At this stage, there is a worrying thought about the approach to take when building the physical object for mapping. Looking at which type of materials to use to best fit and project the details in this story. Feedback from classmates suggested that due to the orbicular shape of the moon, the build should have a similar curvature flow to support the real-life moon sphere.

In the process of exploring possible materials on which to project the details, the experimentation had led to the use of this giant white balloon. A limited amount of preparation had gone into the process of assembly for projection mapping. Also, as a circle concept, it fits well onto a sphere, making it into a more three directional, original and different piece.

Some issues involved in the design and setup include:

The trouble with this experiment is how unstable the object can be, where it is almost impossible to keep the balloon stationary due to air winds or if the audience touches it.

The shape was not a perfect circle, yet very close to one which worked quite well at mapping the artwork over it. However, the position of the projector should extend further back, as the equipment requires a specific distance to display the sharp details in the resolution and for the concept to fit the scale of the balloon, sacrificing in the resolution. This problem is also due to the high resolution of the image with the drawing.

From the feedback of the trial exhibition

Good links

  • The sphere feels like the moon; it is fun and an exciting concept

  • The interesting phonological aspect which is the glowing of the sphere as light is being projected through it. This gives it a flotation effect, which is being illuminated from behind the object.

Bad links

  • When it comes to the illustrations, it seems like there is two types of illustrations. One that is following an ancient Greek 2d drawing on a pot and the left one looks like comic art, erotic drawing.

  • If we are going to project on a sphere for mapping and projecting onto an object. We need to engage with the artwork somehow; otherwise, it is habitue, prompting the audience to leave. Move movement and animation need to happen; otherwise, the viewer is left with an image being projected onto a sphere.

  • With the object alone the fact that it is a sphere and fit the design isn't enough, it needs to be engaging with its object hood to tell the story.

  • The drawing styles are not consistent; the resolution of the drawing and projection seems low, which makes the concept look pixelated on the object.

As an overall reflection on this concept and exhibition trial, the responses from tutors and classmates were in favour of making this artwork more engaging and finding ways of introducing some movement either through the physical or though projecting different snapshots to help layer a more definite story and become more interactive.

Additionally, the style and design of the concept needs rework on helping the viewer to understand the story better. Additionally, many comments mention the style in this drawing not fitting very well and loses the original ancient Greek theme, which was expected to portray; it needs revisiting.

Lastly, scale and projection tests need to happen early to ensure this problem with loss of quality gets avoided.

Concept Art Final Development

Practising multiple observational drawings to develop the style and explore how other artists composite figures to communicate to audience about the story. Focusing on control, love, protection and support.

Moreover, as mentioned above, these drawn experiments are a practice of refining drawing styles that better support the classical art. The critical decision was taken after evaluating the feedback on the form of the previous concept of art, which took part in the balloon exhibit. The goal creates drawings with couples which expressed emotions, and with the examples below, the first show more repulse and the second drawing more closure and connection.

Apollo (Story's Male Figure)

The concept of Apollo includes a pair of horns. The horns symbolise an ancient Greek mythological creature known as the Faun, a goat man. Besides mythology, the horns resemble a sign of Lucifer who as we know is a mischievous character. However, Lucifer is also known to be the bringer of light, which draws in a distinct link to how the Sun is also believed to be the bringer of light. This ideology, therefore, supports the use of the horns in addition to just being a design choice to supply style.

Concept design of Apollo is inspired from a sculpture by Jam Sutton.

When working on this composition, there had been a lot of thought process gone into the relationship between these objects and how they can be positioned to work together. On the left, we have Daphne, who is drawn to this magical shape of the moon to support this idea of repose and Apollo, on the other hand, stands gentle with inviting compassion for her. He anchors onto the moon with his hand.

Lastly, the final focus with this drawn concept art was to combine signs of symbolism. Drawing back from the story, Eros pieces both figures with arrows, one made of gold for love and one made of lead to repulse love.

Physical Composition Experimentation

Paper and Glue (PVA)

This tissue, water and glue technique is simple and cheap; however, the paper texture is not helping the projection and none intended, there also is a lack of depth which is to be expected in sculpture.

Expanded Polystyrene

With the first experiment, the process involved drawing and carving into a 75cm block of polystyrene. Because of its soft edges, a multi-selection of tools is used to dig in and remove excess. To ensure that the prop model is taking the desired shape. After drawing and mapping out the details, one should also aim to keep the projection running, to get back from time to time; testing the fitting of scale and shape development during the cutting and carving process.

Continuing forward, to remove excess in major areas, one should use a sharp blade that cuts through the thickness of the block — tracing around the model to form a clear base on the inside and outside parameters.

Using a set of tools for carving clay details can help when working on smaller details of curvature to scrape the bubbles off the block and build the shape.

An issue with using this material, however, is that the same way it is favourable to scrape and remove excess easily, the thinner or smaller the details, the weaker the surface becomes. Because of the bubble textures, when carving and removing the excess, it is likely for joint groups of bubbles to withhold together and remove all at once, leading to unwanted cracks. The uniform shape is then affected and will not display the details from the projection correctly.

From the image on the left one can notice how the edges of the model are note smooth and consistent due to this distortion issues.

The solution to this problem is to approach the work form a grand scale and build the artwork on a proper 1.5m+ block. Of course, given the costs, this is not a very realistic solution.

Below are some images with inspiration that had been supportive in exploring this method of building a physical model. On a more professional basis, the expanded polystyrene turns out to be a block-out method for concepts before using the shape to create a cast mould from which to build the proper sculptures.

Link for Inspiration

Aden Hynes Sculpture Studios, provide a process breakdown to learn more on this workflow of building sculptures. From their YouTube Channel, one can notice that due to the scale of their sculpture, smaller details are better controlled. Unfortunately, the pricing of larger foam blocks triples in comparison to the smaller block of polystyrene shown below.

This image includes the final stage of the experiment, where the projection is positioned exactly to shape of the physical model.

As a result, facing fragile conditions in sculpture with portions of walls that deteriorate, missing the proper selection of tools and high material pricing, this method will not be continued to build the final artwork.

Expanded Foam

The development plan with this experiment involves tracing of the projection onto the cardboard sheet. Unfortunately, there is no previous experience at working with the material, for the benefit of avoiding mistakes. The colour of this board is not a significant focus; the sheet is a template to guide for when applying the material. However, the sharp red contrast did help to coordinate and lay out the white foam.

The exact naming of this particular foam material is UniBond WhiteTec Expanding Foam. When choosing the right material for the job, it is a good practice to ensure that this material fits the needs. In this case, reviews and online experiments had shown that using a quality expanding foam product will ensure that the inside texture is kept smooth. Also, during other experiments, below, it is shown that foam is also usable outside of the standard field of use in isolation. It fits for either crafting or blocking-out models.

The example below shows how using the material can help to block-out a plane shape, which can later be carved and cleaned up to fit the design concept.

(Video of making a plane wing using expanding foam)

Link for Inspiration

For this project, it was essential to ensure that the material fits the needs,exploring necessary selection of information to avoid the issues faced on previous experimentation with polystyrene. Where the fragile structure of the material formed areas which deteriorate and create unwanted deformation when projecting detail.

Additionally, the colour of the foam plays a critical role in the outcome of the experiment; thus, by tracing back at some of the previous experimentation with the clay model and projector. White is the most suitable colour selection, fitting in dark environments, and the lighter surface supports the exposure of detail.

Along the process of carving foam into the shapes of the moon and human figures, like any other first hands-on experiment, there are more severe issues that are likely to occur after applying the foam.

For example, after applying foam, any major act to put pressure or create disturbance in the material such as poking or trying to combine multiple layers with the hope to building larger volume may cause the structure to harden severely in those areas.

This irregularity is causing difficulty and hazardous work ethic for having to apply extreme pressure on the blade to just barely cut off excess material.

The result with this experiment shows that projection details are not controlled exceptionally well on the foam material due to the small crack noise which developed during the expansion period. An advantage over the expanded polystyrene, however, is that there is more control of the shape, it has a solid base, and when the foam is applied correctly, the carving is light. However, due to the soft texture, the details lack and it shows.

As a conclusion, all experiments were unsuccessful for what the target plan was to accomplish. The ideal outcome was supposed to have a smooth surface that will initially support the projection to make it more believable and realistic in the eyes of the viewers.

One benefit with these experiments is the ability to visualise the physical model and create a picture the project outcome. One needs to understand that this is but a small experiment of what the final exhibition picture drives to display. Additionally, this visualisation will help plan further on how to progress with the artwork, which changes to make early in the development of the final piece, which is worth more than the quality of how good the outcome shows to be.

The next step in building a physical model is to explore other means of sculpture materials and methods which are used by professionals that demand craft-ship in their artwork.

Sculpture Final Development

Based on the workflow of designing assets for a different project, the technique of blocking out the characters was carried out using a Zspheres. It allows the user to draw out, link and modify spheres to map out basic shapes of a character.

There spheres work as joints and in between the spring-like tube acts as a bone. Zbrush allows for several options that enable one to achieve the desired shapes in their work. These options include the scaling, moving and rotation of bones and joints to be positioned efficiently in the three-dimensional space in the scene.

The advantage of using this method over the primitive shapes option is the ability to modify the scale and proportions of the figures at minimal trouble. If the legs appear to be short, one could choose to move an individual sphere (joint) or move the whole leg.

Above we have the complete version of the Zspheres progression, it provides the right level of detail required to begin sculpting. The next step is applying the adaptive skin option to construct a 3d editable mesh from the spheres.

The screenshot below present the first draft shapes of the characters, here the goal was to sculpt some of the muscle groups to distinguish some of their specific details based on the concept of art.

The screenshot below present the first draft shapes of the characters, here the goal was to sculpt some of the muscle groups to distinguish some of their specific details based on the concept of art.

With the progression from the first level of division the next, these videos describe the workflow and build-up. During this stage, one should work with several brushes to move or add clay. The preferred brush type for this job is the ClayBuildup brush with "0" offset on medium to low sensitivity.

With these particular examples below, more advanced techniques of control are in practice. The first video on the left uses the mesh visibility option to cut out parts of the model to sculpt and enable visibility in challenging part of the model such as the inside of the arm near the face or the point tracing along the jointed area of the legs.

Also, the mesh masking is another method which, as the name suggests allows the user to mask certain areas of an object, this is useful to extract hair and when aiming to lock off certain parts of the model. In this case, the centre of the extraction is masked to block out the basic shapes, later is removed and the mesh is cleaned to merge with the moon shape.

This figure below is a test on picturing the outcome of the physical model. The plan is to cover this sculpture with white paint, which based on some of the previous tests turns out to be the most advantageous colour for containing the details of the image.

Based on instructions from the workshop technician, on average, the file size must stay within the range of 20,000kb and around 250 thousand polygons. Therefore as a next step, the sculpture will go through more important passes of applying details and to include the arrows that will be part of the final render. After merging the sub-tools, to maintain a consistent level of smooth topology within the sculpture, a dynamesh setting was run to clean up the steched polygons, which as a result also helps to combine the merged sub-tools seamlessly.

To bring the density low enough for the printing specifications, further decimation experiments have been made to identify a good percentage of compressing polygons to reduce the file size and maintain the necessary levels of detail.

Latest Render Exploration

The aim with renders and projected details.

The render uses a build-up of warm and cold colours which turns out to reflect a cinematographic lighting technique found in blade runner; this method recently knows as the bisexual lightning starting of 2018.

This render has an ultraviolet colour effect that works to highlight and glow surfaces of the model. This information refers back to an article of entertainment and arts of BBC by George Pierpoint.

Last Updates

The photographs below present the development of the sculpture during the final phases of the CNC machining. The equipment uses drill bits to make layered carvings into the block of MDF, which slowly as smaller drill tools are attached, the sculpture takes shape and with passes builds the details.

Out of all the material and equipment used for crafting the physical sculpture, CNC cutting is the most efficient and costive method as it saves much time but requires the necessity for expensive professional tools.

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, the sculpture did not provide enough details to include the arrows. This choice was also out of uncertainty on the outcome and how much details is achievable with the style of machining as it was a new process.

What seems to be an issue turns out working as an asset as it allows the projection from the render to complete the physical sculpture which creates a stronger bond between the physical and digital elements, confirming that one cannot work without the other.

The current physical sculpture contains two parts. The reason for this is because even though the workshop technician has said that it has to be maintained under 50 mm because that was the thickness of the MDF block. Moreover, realistically, the process of compositing the sculpture with Zspheres has looked into keeping the thickness of the pieces to a compact level. The print version exceeded the limit, reaching +17cm. The decision was to maintain the scale and split the body section of the model in two parts, which construct an overall depth of 10cm and does carry out the most important details within the sculpture.

These two parts are then cleaned off the excess, sanded and painted using primer white spray paint. Then comes gluing of both items. Ideally, the plan with the back of the sculpture is for it to remain flat; thus, by attaching 4x D ring hangers behind the work in an X shape, it will help to frame and stabilise the heavy object during the exhibition time.


The decision with the concept and the target to construct an artwork have shown what it requires tonnes of research. To documentation had expanded over many aspects of the physical, digital and mapping techniques. Many time the experiments were new and included much intuition the finds way of dealing with small issues to reach a level of satisfaction.

The most challenging part was the process of discovering the right list of ingredients to make sure that this collaboration of physical objects and digital sculpture imitates a subtle level of quality that one finds in classical sculpture.



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