Lesson 5: Applying Construction to Animals

8:44 PM, Thursday November 24th 2022

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Post with 19 views. NathanP - Lesson 5

This was an enjoyable lesson. Thanks in advance for the feedback.

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2:32 PM, Saturday November 26th 2022

Hello again NathanP, glad to hear you had a good time with this lesson. I'll be the teaching assistant handling your lesson 5 critique.

Starting with your organic intersections You're clearly capturing how the sausages slump and sag over one another under their shared gravity, and your cast shadows demonstrate a good sense of how the forms relate to one another in space, in relation to the light source. I'm really pleased to see you drawing through your forms here, and you're showing a strong understanding of how the forms you draw exist in 3D space.

Using a pole to support one of your stacks of forms isn't quite what was asked of you. You're still making good use of the exercise, so I'm not too concerned, but I'd like to encourage you to follow the instructions exactly as written when doing your homework in future.

Moving on to your animal constructions your work is excellent. It is very clear that throughout the whole thing, you were trying to figure out how to best establish these forms as they interact with one another in space, how they wrap around the structures to which they're attaching, and how to ensure that the end result feels solid and tangible. I am definitely pleased to see that you're using additional masses a great deal, and that you're layering them together, building them up bit by bit, rather than trying to create single masses that take on too much. I have a couple recommendations for you as you move forwards, but as a whole I think you've done a great job.

One thing that helps with the shape here is to think about how the mass would behave when existing first in the void of empty space, on its own. It all comes down to the silhouette of the mass - here, with nothing else to touch it, our mass would exist like a soft ball of meat or clay, made up only of outward curves. A simple circle for a silhouette.

Then, as it presses against an existing structure, the silhouette starts to get more complex. It forms inward curves wherever it makes contact, responding directly to the forms that are present. The silhouette is never random, of course - always changing in response to clear, defined structure. You can see this demonstrated in this diagram.

I've highlighted here where you've done a lovely job of wrapping an additional mass round the neck and shoulder, and made an edit so that it also hugs around the hips at the back there. I also noted a small extension under the neck that didn't really have enough information there to explain how it exists in 3D space.

Similarly on this rhino I've broken a rather complex mass into pieces. Because these masses are amorphous balls of clay (or meat) we only want to create corners and complexity where they press against another structure. I also edited a mass on his back to interlock with the shoulder mass, as well as adjusting the intersection with the barrel of the torso sausage into an S curve like we would see on a sphere-cylinder intersection

I wanted to mention that you're off to a great start in the use of additional masses along your leg structures, but this can be pushed farther. A lot of these focus primarily on forms that actually impact the silhouette of the overall leg, but there's value in exploring the forms that exist "internally" within that silhouette - like the missing puzzle piece that helps to further ground and define the ones that create the bumps along the silhouette's edge. Here is an example of what I mean, from another student's work - as you can see, Uncomfortable has blocked out masses along the leg there, and included the one fitting in between them all, even though it doesn't influence the silhouette. This way of thinking - about the inside of your structures, and fleshing out information that isn't just noticeable from one angle, but really exploring the construction in its entirety, will help you yet further push the value of these constructional exercises and puzzles.

When it comes to feet, I really like the boxy forms that you're using, they are solid and 3D. Most of them came out quite simplified, so I think studying these notes on foot construction may help you explore them further.

I did enjoy looking through all your ideas and the design process for your hybrid. I won't be critiquing this work as it's a bit extracurricular, but it looks like you had a lot of fun!

The last thing I wanted to talk about is head construction. Lesson 5 has a lot of different strategies for constructing heads, between the various demos. Given how the course has developed, and how Uncomfortable is finding new, more effective ways for students to tackle certain problems. So not all the approaches shown are equal, but they do have their uses. As it stands, as explained at the top of the tiger demo page (here), the current approach that is the most generally useful, as well as the most meaningful in terms of these drawings all being exercises in spatial reasoning, is what you'll find here in this informal head demo.

There are a few key points to this approach:

1- The specific shape of the eye sockets - the specific pentagonal shape allows for a nice wedge in which the muzzle can fit in between the sockets, as well as a flat edge across which we can lay the forehead area.

2- This approach focuses heavily on everything fitting together - no arbitrary gaps or floating elements. This allows us to ensure all of the different pieces feel grounded against one another, like a three dimensional puzzle.

3- We have to be mindful of how the marks we make are cuts along the curving surface of the cranial ball - working in individual strokes like this (rather than, say, drawing the eye socket with an ellipse) helps a lot in reinforcing this idea of engaging with a 3D structure.

Try your best to employ this method when doing constructional drawing exercises using animals in the future, as closely as you can. Sometimes it seems like it's not a good fit for certain heads, but as shown in this banana-headed rhino it can be adapted for a wide array of animals.

All right, that's about covers it. You're doing a great job so I'll go ahead and mark this as complete. Feel free to move on to the 250 cylinder challenge, which is a prerequisite for lesson 6.

Next Steps:

250 cylinder challenge

This critique marks this lesson as complete.
3:37 PM, Saturday November 26th 2022

Thanks, Andpie.

Here is an example of what I mean, from another student's work - as you can see, Uncomfortable has blocked out masses along the leg there, and included the one fitting in between them all, even though it doesn't influence the silhouette.

When adding forms that don't affect the silhouette, I find it difficult to know how to communicate it's form without adding contour lines since how it wraps and bulges isn't usually as obvious internally (even in the example you linked to).

I also edited a mass on his back to interlock with the shoulder mass, as well as adjusting the intersection with the barrel of the torso sausage into an S curve like we would see on a sphere-cylinder intersection

From the examples you show, it seems the forms/masses we add are supposed to be pointed at both ends like a muscle or mandorla, as opposed to being spherical/rounded. Is this the case? Adding rounded forms won't always result in that S curve you mentioned, but the pointed forms more often will. In the ball/cylinder example you gave, the S curve mostly appears when the ball is only partially intersecting the cylinder. If the ball were in the centre, then depending on the angle I believe you would get C curves at times.

When it comes to feet, I really like the boxy forms that you're using, they are solid and 3D. Most of them came out quite simplified, so I think studying these notes on foot construction may help you explore them further.

I recall Comfy stating not to worry about the details of feet, just to make sure they have a defined top and sides. Has this changed?

I did enjoy looking through all your ideas and the design process for your hybrid. I won't be critiquing this work as it's a bit extracurricular, but it looks like you had a lot of fun!

Thanks. Very challenging! Would have been immensely more difficult to just start construction of a hybrid without some thinking on paper.

Try your best to employ this method when doing constructional drawing exercises using animals in the future, as closely as you can. Sometimes it seems like it's not a good fit for certain heads, but as shown in this banana-headed rhino it can be adapted for a wide array of animals.

Interesting to see that approach used for the rhino. The rhino example really does simplify the forms to their most basic boxes. In representing the forms of animal heads, are we supposed to disregard the smaller forms like the refined shape of the mouth in pursuit of more solid, defined boxy forms? I don't think this method would have worked for the octopus ;)

Thanks again.

7:00 PM, Saturday November 26th 2022

Jumping in here to answer your questions on DIO's behalf.

From the examples you show, it seems the forms/masses we add are supposed to be pointed at both ends like a muscle or mandorla, as opposed to being spherical/rounded. Is this the case?

I wouldn't generalize it like that - rather, by virtue of the inward curve we get from the contact of one mass wrapping around another, it tends to create a pointed end. But if you just try and pull that out of the context of what's causing that taper, you're going to end up applying it blindly as a formula, rather than focusing on the interaction between the forms in question. That interaction is what is illustrated in this diagram, where as the ball form presses up against the box, its silhouette takes on an inward curve.

I recall Comfy stating not to worry about the details of feet, just to make sure they have a defined top and sides. Has this changed?

The course material is evolving over time, and we have for some time been caught in a position where there are areas where we want to provide additional information within the critique, despite what the current lesson material states. Take it as an addition upon what is stated in the material, for your benefit.

As to what has/hasn't changed, that is something that we will be exploring when the overhaul reaches Lesson 5. Changes we decide to push will be minor, focusing primarily on how information is conveyed - and generally what we know of those adjustments are shared in the critiques you receive. It'll be more useful to you to just look at it as additional information that will eventually make it into the lesson material in some form or another, but don't worry about the specifics as to how that information will be integrated.

In representing the forms of animal heads, are we supposed to disregard the smaller forms like the refined shape of the mouth in pursuit of more solid, defined boxy forms?

Everything is built up, starting from the big, simpler masses, gradually getting smaller and more complex. We do not disregard forms arbitrarily, but rather if we were to continue pushing the construction with more and more stages, I imagine we could continue to find more and more smaller details to sneak in. That is however not our goal here - the purpose of what we're doing is not to teach you how to draw an animal's head, but rather using an animal's head to help develop your understanding of 3D space. To that end, whittling down to infinitesimally small elements becomes less useful in the context of the exercise being performed after a certain point.

5:40 AM, Sunday November 27th 2022

Thanks, Irshad.

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