Diving Deeper Underwater

In class, Heran Zhou had recommended checking out Abzu, a video game that takes place underwater. When I checked out the trailer, I was really surprised by the colors of the setting. Besides the blue for the ocean, some of the scenes were super green or yellow, and the vibrancy of color was different compared to ways that the short animations and films have been muting colors as a result of the water.

It was also really interesting to see how the atmosphere of water was handled in a game, especially compared to looking at Aquaman last week. Based on Abzu‘s trailer and images online, it seems like some scenes had caustics and other scenes relied on light rays, bubbles, the motion of the character, or the sea creatures. This gives me a lot of ideas to play with in terms of how I continue to handle atmosphere moving forward.

For this week, my primary goal was focused on finishing building the three environments. After I had finished building the main structures in each scene, I went back and started adding rocks and shaping the land, which isn’t fully clear in some of the images as lighting is not finalized yet. The addition of these objects allowed me to start moving beyond the space of the structures. I intend to add a little more layering in After Effects, but I will be keeping it subtle as I wanted to handle most of it in Maya.

The two things that did shift this weekend in terms of the modeling was the columns and materials. With the four columns in the last images, they were originally supposed to be broken or worn down. However, I have kept them as entire structures to match the other two scenes, which feel like maintained architecture. The second thing was originally I was going to do more detail textures, but instead, I have opted for matte textures. I was realizing with the timeline quickly coming to an end, I need to still work on lighting and eventually need to start animating some of the objects and adding cameras. I want to make sure I am addressing the most important things, especially with the time left.

One thing that has been interesting is how the original sketches have transformed. The forms I want to depict are there, but the style has shifted and feels more like a video game, which could be a result of the way I textured.

The current needs are trying to figure out what ways I want to capture the environments. Also, because the first two structures have lights, they feel more alive. With the third, the lighting comes from the sphere and the lotus, but the structure feels slightly dead or not yet activated, so I am trying to figure out how to handle that. The atmosphere is still something I am concerned about, but it is getting closer and closer to what I am thinking of. I was happy that I can start seeing the structures disappear in the haze as they move back in space.

Time really is moving by way too fast. This following week, I am now fully dedicating time to lighting, animating, and the atmosphere generated. In addition, I will start to explore sound, specifically pansori which is a traditional mode of musical storytelling.

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