Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Personal Branding: Blog Makeover - Logo Update

As you can probably tell, I've given my blog a lick of paint, and a smashing brand new logo!

Feedback is appreciated.

Blue = #008ECE
Green = #73D731

Transcription: My mum

Jackie Livermore

My mum - my poor, poor mum. She was diagnosed as having dementia a few months ago. She has always been the most independent person I have ever known. During her life she had six children and then one day my dad left her, never wanting to be seen again.

She then made it her life to make sure we all grew up knowing she would always be able to cope with anything life threw at her. I am now seeing this strong independent woman slowly deminish as the wicked disease takes a hold of her.

She is now at the point where she thinks her younger sister is my sister yet she knows this can't be so but is convinced it's true. I feel absolutley helpless at the moment on how to get her through this.

Transcription: Shadow Of The Man I Used To Know

Madeleine Sara Maddocks

My Father was diagnosed four years ago with Vascular Dementia and (like Terry Pratchett), Posterior Cortical Atrophy; although tragically, it seems, his condition developed many years before without us realising, when something may have been done to prevent it from destroying our lives.

He can no longer read and his brain cannot process what his eyes see. He has been admitted to hospital twice in the past 18 months and this was traumatic and devastating, as he was neglected and ill treated by ignorant and overworked staff. He now resides in a nursing home where his basic needs are met but he sits, for what must seem interminable lengths of time, without much stimulation.

He is only 75 years old. He can no longer walk, dress, toilet or feed himself and most of his speech is incomprehensible wurzel-gummidge-eze "Remee, remeye, remoo" or "123, 23, 23, 123" He has a beautiful singing voice and during Songs of Praise everyone stops to listen to him sing.

As you can imagine, it is heartbreaking, as well as touching that my father still responds to us in his own way. I too, often refer to my father in the past tense because Alzheimer's has stripped him of the man he used to be. You can imagine that hearing the Queen Song that uses the words (I think it goes) 'I'm just the shadow of the man I used to be. And it seems like there's no way out of this for me', brings an ache to my throat and tears to my eyes.

I visit my Dad and I tell him I love him very much and he replies "Thank you, that's nice" in his typical modest way. It's a part of him that is still there. I tell him "Mum will be so jealous when I tell her I've been to visit you today!" and then I add (so he won't become anxious and fretful later) "So she'll probably come and visit you herself!" and he raises one eyebrow and smiles at me in that shared jokey way we've always had.

When I was feeding him a few months ago, he looked ready to fall asleep mid-meal and I said to him "You're not falling asleep on me now are you?" Then he nodded his head in an exaggerated parody of nodding off and smiled mischievously. It always horrifies me when people say that their loved one isn't there any more because my Dad is still there inside and he needs all the love and attention we can give him in those interminable days that stretch out in front of him.

Transcription: He still remembers

Michael Nganyuo

For the past four years, I spent my time in the States looking after people with mental disability. But the one person who got me was my resident with Alzheimer's. He came to stay at our home after some months in hospital.

The first weeks were a bit difficult as I worked with him to get help him know me. Then one day I heard him calling for Stewart; I thought he was looking for someone in particular, no he was looking for me: Michael. So, I went to see him and said, "oh Stewart can you get me some fruit" and he tried to say something else but could not continue. I said sure and got him some fruit and custard as I had been instructed to let him have with his fruit.

Months passed but one day he came from a day's drive with my boss and he was very delighted to see me but still called me Stewart. I said hi there Sir and how was your day out? He said, "oh so so". That's how he always talked. During this time working with my resident he could dress himself, shower and feed himself. I was always impressed by the way he worked towards his recovery. He took his medication and one day I had delayed administering his night medication, and he reminded me.That day i could not believe it but he was right. I usually gave his medicine at 7pm or 8pm but he did not see me do that night and he said Mike my meds. That was how he started reassuring me of his recovery and remembering few other things.

Family members were often impressed with the progress he was making and on my last day before leaving for home to the UK there was a small send off for me and he gave a speech. After the time I took care of him, he could tell other residents how happy and satisfied he was with me and that he will always miss me. His efforts to give me those parting words of appreciation brought tears to my eyes and I cried like baby.

Yes Clarence remembered and all through those years looking after him, he became my father and my family. When we care for those who are sick, we do so from the bottom of our hearts. We should always see our patients as our family and support them 100%. Thank you.

Transcription: Memories of my mother

Marian Rose Boston

A beaming smile, eyes bright and pleading, arms outstretched with fingers long and wriggling with anticipation.  Then, when leaning over, a hug so strong that you felt your neck would break and, inside, you knew your heart was breaking.

This is not the description of my small son first thing in the morning, pleased to see his Mummy.  This is the wonderful greeting given to me by my Mum, suffering from Dementia.

She became a different mum after diagnosis, a new mum and we left the old one behind to love in a different way the person she had become.

All the things she had taught us came into play and it allowed us the privilege of caring for her and returning all the good things she had given us.  Her views, her beliefs, her patience.  All given freely and returned ten times over.

She was the youngest of 14 children, born in 1924 and yet she was the youngest to die.  She had a happy childhood, and the most wonderful of marriages, with two adoring daughters and, of course, grandchildren.  She imparted her views of fairness and acceptance, not to judge and to give freely of oneself and one's possessions.  She worked in the home and felt we had shot ourselves in the feet by being wives, mothers and following a career.

She died a few days after Mother's Day.  She had recently begun to enjoy her mobile phone and had said "If anything happens to me, remember my life has been roses - all the way".

Transcription: Public Research.

I've signed up on the official Alzheimer's Society Forum and created a thread asking for any information anyone is willing to let me use. Link

Hello there, I am a University Student, studying CG Arts & Animation in Kent, England.

I have been given the task of creating a 'commissioned' piece, and for this I have chosen to create an advertisement for the Alzheimer's Society.

My goal is to have memories, testimonials, text from people who have had, or looked after anyone with Dementia/Alzheimer's.

The animation will start in a kitchen, the heart of a home, everything will have a bright white texture (example below) but on the white will be the memories, testimonials and text I am asking for.

The camera will pan around into a Dining area; the writing on the walls will fade away, as if you've forgotten. The camera slowly zooms over to a Diary laying on the table with a sticky note on top; "Keep Your Memories Safe". After which, the Alzheimer's Society logo will come up with a link to the website.

Any information that could help me is highly appreciated. I am doing this for free, to spread the word of the Alzheimer's Society. I would appreciate any form of input you have.

Thank-You in advance.

This is a direct copy of the thread I created.

Transcription: StoryBoard & More Research.

StoryBoard will be added into this post later today.

This is roughly the effect I'm after.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Transcription: "THE" BluePrints

I've created a simple floor plan that I will use as a base for the main environment.

Transcription: Another Render Test.

I've been messing with a few settings, trying not to drown out the colours etc..

Composited Image

Beauty Pass
Ambient Occlusion
 I rendered with Mental Ray Lighting, in HD 1080p Resolution, on Production Quality.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Transcription: The BluePrints?

I've looked further into the design/layout for my environment and I've found a set of images;

The design of the cabinetry favours coordination and refinement over elaborate detail. It features simple, repetitive details: flat veneered doors with clean, taped edges, slim reveals, simple aluminum angles as handles and square counter edges. The millwork is laid out with an eye to continuous lines and repeating dimensions, the rhythm of appliances and varying lines of the handles providing relief within the disciplined order of the cabinets. The materials are simple but rich: maple cabinet faces, aluminum pulls, stainless steel appliances, black granite countertops, and a glass tile backsplash. At the rear wall the countertop drops and changes to a maple desk top, then drops again to become a window seat in the same finish. This kitchen dining living room design is part of house that renovated by John Donkin Architect.
 All above is from a fellow Blogger who focuses on home designing.

Transcription: The Plan

Right, After a short week, I've finalised my idea.

We'll start off in pure darkness, the outline of a door will glow, and the door will open.

Inside we will see an open plan kitchen and dining / living room.
For this I google'd Open Plan Kitchen;

From this I am able to work on a layout / design for the dining/living room area. For furniture inspiration, again I google'd it. "Dining Room"

From these two images, I prefer the 'look' and design of the left image, but the color and type of wood from the second image. I could use light text on dark background for the dark wood etc..

Another thing I'll be looking for incorporating, is a fireplace. I believe a fireplace and photographs are a number one in any living room / dining room / family room. Lighting is also another thing to look at.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Maya: Dynamic Tutorials

More Dynamics: FireWorks.

I changed the colour around and tweaked a few of the settings for the emitter just to get to know them a bit more. Results below.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

11SecondClub: School of Rocks.

Ned: "Well, I'd like to see you try. You wouldn't last one day."
Dewey: "Dude, I service society by rocking. Okay? I m out there, on the front lines, liberating people with my music. Rocking ain't no walk in the park, lady."

As soon as I heard this audio, I knew it was the right piece for me.
1. Jack Black is in it.
2. It's 'School of Rock'
3. My first thought was to animate a 'Rock' speaking.

I then took a butchers through the existing entries and noticed NONE included a Rock of any sort.

As funny as it would be, a rock talking about 'Rocking Out'

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Research: Type, Typography & Letter Forms

Edward Fella: Letters on America.

They are the original 24/7 communication, interactive in ways the web can’t even dream of.
The characters can be found on any surface, as distractions or directions, decoration or marker. They are in wood, metal, paint, sticky-back plastic, etched, behind glass, behind bars, torn and layered. They come alone or clustered together, isolated or juxtaposed, fresh or faded, direct or distorted; from in-your-face dayglo to subtle tones that are obscured. Reflected, as shadow, as drop shadow with shadow, or even as a sunburnt memory of a lost message.
Those are the letters on America.
I've just had a read through the Essays' in Letters on America, kindly lent to me by Jackie (Thanks for that Jackie), it's really opened up another level to me. I love type in general, but the book made me think beyond that, the fact that someone has had to sit there and create what i'm looking at.

Image's taken from 'Art Loves Tech' Blog.

I'll be looking into different letter forms later this evening, also I'll be looking at how I can create the Look I am after for the final rendering stages.

More to come.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Research: Dementia - Alzheimer's

Not one single person can know how much they remember. Simply close your eyes, look back at all the fun times, the bad times, the places and people you’ve seen.

Simply endless.

Our brain stores a visual memory centre with millions upon millions of images, sounds and memories are all filed away, categorically. Not one single person on the planet can explain how and why this takes place, but what we do know, is that it takes place in a very logical manner. Since our memories are arranged so neatly inside our heads, it is possible that one section could be injured or destroyed without harming other sections. E.G. Someone might have an accident and get a brain injury and have certain memories cleared out.

This can also happen in a similar manner, but from a form of Dementia. Symptoms of Dementia include;
  • Loss of memory – Forgetting the way home from shops, or being unable to remember names of people and places, or even what happened earlier the same day.
  • Mood Changes – Parts of the brain that control emotion are affected by the disease.
  • Communication Problems – A Decrease in the ability to Talk, Read, and Write.

What would happen if you was to walk into your house, the place you know and love; and all of a sudden the walls started going blank? All of your memories faded and peeled away.

More Ideas coming.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Test: Testing out Render Ideas.

I've been testing different ways to render over this weekend, by far the best two are Ambient Occlusion / Mental Ray (Sun + Shadows)

Here, I've merged the two renders together, I do realise the Sunlight is *Bleaching* over the image with white but this is trial and error, I'll tone that down in the future.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Maya: Dynamic Tutorials Pt.3.

Finished up the Fuse FX Tutorial.


Not much to see there, 140 frames of fuse sparks spiralling down the fuse.

Maya: Dynamic Tutorials Pt.2.

Next up was an Explosion;

I haven't turned it into a full animation yet, but I do have 135 Frames rendered in both .IFF, and .TIF

Maya: Dynamic Tutorials.

First Up, it was quite simple to do,