Tuesday, 6 December 2011

8-bitscapes are levelling up

It has been sometime since my last confession..

In my last blogpost, we were still at a very early stage in the development of the 8-bitscapes project. Since then I've completed the initial 8 pieces and we've exhibited them in various locations around the globe; including London, [at the London Design Festival in Sept 2010, where we launched the project], in Brighton [as part of the Brighton Festival & Fringe in May 2011], and in Cologne [as part of the Platine Festival in Aug 2011]. Details of which can be found on the 8-bitscapes website [www.8-bitscapes.com].

So what else has happened over the last year or so since my last post? Well, one highpoint would be on the evening of January 25th 2011, when we received a massive number of hits to the site, all due to this blogpost from the legend that is Rampaged Reality. After Justin's original post, we were picked up by lots of gaming, art and cultural websites, and we we went viral. We begin appearing everywhere, including but not exclusive to:


The list goes on, and on.. in fact a google search for 8-bitscapes brings up countless blogs about the project, many of which I've read, and all of which flatter us. This was a very exciting evening and eventually led to over 16,000 hits in that one night alone and over 41,500 hits in Q1 of 2011! I cannot put into words how this made me feel. To independently come up with an idea [I hadn't seen Patrick Jeans 'Pixel' at the time of concept] and for so many people to get it and like it was something of an epiphany for me. It drove me forward and made me want to develop the project further.

Well, it's taken bloody ages and lots of work. But I'm delighted to be able to say that we are now teetering on the edge of a much anticipated stage 2 launch.. This next stage includes 3 new pieces and a brand new website.. Finding the necessary time to spend on this project is difficult, I'm a freelance illustrator and daddy to a 3 year old, so time is a very valuable commodity. Anyway, I digress. If you haven't guessed by now, from the teasers etc that I've been rolling up and flicking around the web, the new pieces are all based on our little blue friend, Sonic the Hedgehog. It is after all his 20 year anniversary. The new pieces were all shot on location in Cologne [Köln], Germany, during the Platine Festival in August this year, and they will all be available to hang on your naked walls, very soon..

But it doesn't stop there.. We are also in the process of developing a whole new series of images [after all, content is king] loosely based on and around the working title of The Coming.. The idea of The Coming, is to create a series of images, set in the late 70's and early 80's, a time when these little pixels first started appearing on screens, and in arcades all over the world.

The process is simple, myself and Kev will just jump into our time machine, ping ourselves back to 1978, where we will release a carefully considered collection of pixels from behind their flickering glass screens. All we have to do then is sit and wait in the bushes with Kev's Canon and record those moments of triumphant mayhem that will surely ensue.. You think I'm joking? No. That's how we do it. You all thought it was 3D software, with a bit of Illustrator & a lot of Photoshop. Well no, it isn't. It's much easier than that. It just takes a loooooong time.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

I've been working on a collaborative project with a photographer friend (Kevin Rozario-Johnson www.images-everything.com) for the last 7 or 8 months. He has some amazing travel photography and we've been looking for a way to collaborate for some time. I had this crazy idea about dropping 8-bit game characters into the real world and seeing what affect they may have.. 

The result is an exhibition called 8-bitscapes (www.8-bitscapes.com). You can find all the details, and an image gallery on the site so I won't rant about the project as a whole here. Suffice to say there are currently 6 completed works on the site and 2 more currently in production. I would like to talk about the final two pieces however. Specifically, that i'm not quite sure what they are going to be yet.. I have chosen two of Kev's shots that I'd like to use and I've developed the basic content of the images but I'm a long way from nailing them to the wall in terms of both composition and mood. 

It's a tricky aspect of creating an exhibition. The final pieces in the puzzle that when seen as a group of images have a beneficial or (detrimental) affect on each other. Basically if I get these wrong, i potentially blow the whole project...
Just watched a very interesting video about mag+, a system developed by Popular Science for the viewing of, and interaction with online publications via touchscreen devices such as the iPad. You can see it here.. http://vimeo.com/m/#/10630568.

We all know this is the future of magazine publishing and it's an area I'm currently excitedly investigating. The opportunities for illustration are massive. The shackles usually associated with static illustration can be removed. It may be something as simple and functional as 'what's behind that wall or object', or it may be something altogether more aesthetic and beautiful.. a flock of birds rising from a structure over a steamy city in the morning sunlight. Or better still a combination of functionality and aesthetic beauty... The rising flock of birds draws your attention to a specific area of the image, inviting you to look closer. Then the subject of the piece (a train or some other logistical piece of hardware for example) ascends from the city below and arcs it's way off to it's destination. These animated elements don't need to be overly complicated and difficult to achieve. We can just hint at things, a small reveal that expresses the point of the article. 

I'm re-investigating some old jobs and trying to re-imagine how I may have approached it with this tech in mind. I'm setting up an animation/iPad gallery section within my homepage (www.jamiesneddon.co.uk) to show these ideas in practice. 

I'm also working an update to my site and the linked folio pages. Should be live in a day or two. The animation/iPad gallery is empty at the moment but I'll upload ideas/experiments to it as and when they come..