Low Poly Golf

Here’s a new low poly animation I designed in Cinema 4D just for kicks. I wanted to find another way to use the awesome plugin Unfolder from Code Vonc. I had previously done a low poly alphabet as an exercise, but I wanted to do something a little more substantial and developed.

Low poly modeling and animation seems to work best when you take something really complex and natural looking in shape and try to reduce it to the simplest of geometric forms. Landscapes are a good example of this, they provided a myriad of natural curves and organic detail, that can be visually appealing when you successfully reduce this down to simple polygons while retaining the form it represents. I bounced around different ideas and settled on a golf course. It offered the chance to fold up rolling hills, mountains, lakes, sand traps, different grass variations, etc.

I stared out drawing the course from an overhead view. I used the Polygon Pen tool because I could draw an oddly shaped hole and start filling in the detail. Once I settled on the shape I started carving it up with the Knife tool, then isolating certain polygon sections for the lake, bunkers, etc. so I could apply different materials to them easily. I worked on the camera animation to focus only on the area I modeled, just so I wouldn’t need to add in extraneous detail way off in the distance.

I grabbed some mocap data from the Carnegie Mellon mocap database and fit it to a simple low poly golfer I made form a base mesh. That provided the swing animation, then I had to apply many different instances to the Unfolder plugin animating the polygons folding o the screen, syncing it so they reveal at interesting parts during the camera move. I focused on the materials, lighitng and rendering last, ending up with a sort of early morning sunny scene with bright, vivid color on the course.

All in all it’s kind of cool, I could always add more detail (flowers, birds, golf carts, other golfers) but I think it works OK like this.

Learning to Use My New GoPro

So I had a GoPro camera at the top of my wish list for awhile now and I finally pulled the trigger and bought one. I bought the GoPro Hero4 Black, it came bundled with a good set of accessories for free so I finally just clicked the buy button and stopped thinking about it.

It’s an effort to get back to my photo and video roots. Long before I ever animated anything, I was shooting on whatever camera I could get my hands on. I liked the classic one-use disposable camera as a child and I had a old Nikon SLR that I used when learning the forgotten art of using a dark room to develop film, which I was legitametly horrible at. My first prints were simultaneously over AND underexposed, blurry messes and if you saw them back then you’d probably suggest I find a different career path.

The first video camera I ever used was my parents old Sony 8 MM camcorder. I later got a Canon that shot on Mini DV that I hooked up to my snow white bubble iMac via Firewire and started editing in iMovie. It was really exciting to be able to shoot video one minute and then edit it on a computer the next. I made a variety of home movies of varying quality with that setup, but eventually I sought out the graphics world as a way to add titles and effects to my films, and create images that I simply couldn’t film. Now my work consists of like 95% all computer generated imagery and my camera technology quickly became outdated.

But not anymore! My GoPro is new, fresh and growing with an interesting user community shooting footage that is exciting and inventive. I love watching their demo reels, and I remember being mesmerized and wide-eyed by their looping footage playing at their demo booth when I went to NAB.

Embedded here is my first GoPro edit, me and my friend Mark playing golf. He used to be in my home movies back in the day, so our maturity level automatically dropped as soon as we started recording. We tried to overcompensate for filming a underwhemingly exciting subject, us being below average at golf, into something epic and GoPro worthy. It was really fun for me to make something so dumb and pointless again.

My lifestyle doesn’t really align much with what the “action” part of the action cam name suggests, but I can find ways to have fun and be creative with it in my own way. I am going to start doing some simple time lapses and fun photography before I work my way up to base jumping off the glacier I climbed into shark infested waters. Just give me time.

I’m going to post anything that comes out good on my GoPro Vimeo album and maybe short clips on my Instagram.