Here is a piece of work made by a guy called Alex Mcleod (much more of his models can be found here). "Terror Twilight" depicts a scene of total destruction in an urban landscape, filled with buildings and trees, and bridges and skyscrapers; the whole narrative is full of movement from everyday life. Destruction and landscapes or skylines appear to be two recurring themes in his work, and the two parry together to create a really interesting atmosphere, one that I would aspire to do with my work if I ever go full on into 3D work. It is of a style that i am quite interested in at the moment; spending loads of time making an awesome scene that people can physically interact with, then using lighting and photography to finish the picture. In this picture, Mcleod has even used a painted backdrop to enhance the illusion of space-- it looks like the scene goes on forever, when in fact, it doesn't.
With the few projects that I have undertaken where I create small sets, the scope of my designs have only ever been limited to one or two buildings, sometimes with a simple backdrop. Mcleod has the vision to build a whole city in his work which I find very interesting as your eyes can wander about and the audience has the opportunity to explore. My way of photographing the sets has always been to use close-ups and crop pieces out to leave the audience questioning what might be going on outside the picture. Here is kind of the opposite; so much has been included in the picture, the audience has been left wondering what is going on in the picture. It creates more of a sense of narrative and movement, whereas mine have previously been quite focussed and static.
There are many components in this work that I want to take note of that should help me in my future 3D work. The first is the use of lighting. Now I have seen Mcleod’s other work and they don’t all use lighting, but I find this a very interesting element to consider in my later projects. The scene depicts a city that is on fire, and the flames that are dotted all around the buildings really add a great atmosphere, drawing the eye to certain points of destruction. Also, the flames themselves have been done very simply, showing that simple shapes can be enough to portray what might be a difficult element to make.
Next I want to comment on the way Mcleod uses “levels” in this piece. As well as including a fore, mid and background, there is also a lower level (the fires and bridges etc.), a middle level (the high-rise buildings) and a higher plane (the hanging clouds). This brings an awesome sense of reality to a set, whereas I was only usually thinking about making 3D objects and putting them onto a 2D background, which doesn’t exactly create the sense of depth that I have always been aiming for. I also love the idea of the (again, made with simple shapes) hanging clouds anyway, because of how they have such an interaction with the other levels when being photographed at different angles.
I think that one of the reasons I like making sets like this and like other designers making awesome views like this as well is because of the fun that I know goes into making the models, the feeling of accomplishment when you get to play around with composition and then the playing around with space in the picture frame. There are loads of different stages to capturing an image like this that are all so fun but essential, and it keeps the idea of the project fresh at each different stage.
One more note to make about Mcleods work, however, is that he has such an attention to detail I can only hope to ever have in his pieces, especially in the architectural parts of his work. To start with, there must be at least twenty buildings in this picture alone, and probably more at the sides that didn’t make it into the shot, and each one of them have been painted to such a high level. They all look like they are active buildings seen from afar, like a real skyline with all the lights, and I love it. However, I know that I would never really be able to achieve this level of accuracy as my style seems to be a lot more rushed and experimental, but if maybe I can bring some of this idea into my work I think it would improve a lot.
In conclusion, Terror Twilight is a piece of work that really inspires me with a lot of ideas that I can bring into my own set designs, such as composition, lighting, depth and professionalism, and if I can bring some of these ideas through to my 3D style, I’m sure I’ll be on the right path to developing some really interesting work!