Latest Updates (Blog)
- Mistic Town Map
Rebuilding a Town
For the Brochure assignment I created one for a bank and I came to the dilemma of branch locations. As previously, I created the newspaper based of the fictitious town of Mistic I decided to remain in the same area for this project. On my last attempt on creating a fictitious town, Mistic was based on handmade drawings and it was not taking much of consideration to the actual landscape it’s supposed to be based on. This resulted in a flat looking map and me going into the rabbit hole that is the AmherstWorldview project. But for this new version the design will work with the landscape rather than opposite.
I first examined the actual location Mistic is based on, Williamsburg MA. In real-life Williamsburg is a small Mill Town in the Pioneer Valley, developed around the Meekin Brook, and the Mill River. For this new design Mistic will conform with Williamsburg’s existing layout but will be slightly modified to fit with requirements that the town of Mistic should have. One of them is a more defined town center with a common area encircled by roadways, with strategic locations for both Town Services and citizen needs. A requirement from the previous design was to include a College. Previously Mistic College was located behind the town hall a couple blocks away, this location is no longer possible so it was moved near a forested area were new roads were made.
Another requirement was the addition of a railway; emulating the former New York, New Haven & Hartford rail line, but with added passenger service. Besides the requirements, more development in the area was taken to fit with previous renditions, as well with the assumed increase of the population.
- Mill River Cooperative Bank
After the Newspaper Assignment in the Design class we were tasked with creating a brochure. In this task we were required to pick from a set of images that was provided and to create both a Logo and a pattern for the brochure. For the content of the brochure I decided to make a Bank that services the Mistic area. The text presented on the brochure was lifted from a Michigan Bank Brochure and was edited to fit with the services I wanted this new bank to provide. This included the removal of any references of the internet or other web services, which were replaced by Telephone services, and the addition of Massachusetts Depositors insurance fund.
For the assets provided not many edits were needed, only one image was changed so its colors reflect the brand of the bank better. For the brand colors I took inspirations from other local banking institutions in the area and for the logo as well. I designed the logo of the bank as a mill to reflect the history of the fictitious town of Mistic. As a former mill town it made sense to me to make the bank logo a mill and it also helped that the real location Mistic is based on has a river called Mill River.
The logo needed to be simple and recognizable but it also had to work with backlit display signs you’d see on the sides of buildings or above an ATM. It consists of a rectangular blue building with a brown roof adorned with a cupola. With a water wheel attached in the front with subtle wavy lines at the bottom to signify water movement. The white areas are meant to be the most bright areas of sign when backlit.
At first I had some difficulty finding a location to place the pattern, as the examples I saw online did not used one and I wanted to keep a professional look. I decided to place the pattern as the background of the Rates Table, I made a series of floating coins with some transparency to keep it subtle.
For the physical location of the Bank and its branches I used locations of real banks in Florence and Northampton and replaced them with Mill River Cooperative Bank Branches. The location of the Main Branch and a secondary one within Mistic were difficult make at first as I wasn’t sure where to place them, to solve this question I created a 2D map of Mistic. In the past (2016) I created a 3D render of Mistic based on some ideas I had and took inspiration from real locations throughout Western Massachusetts. But it wasn’t well thought-out plan when you think about the surrounding environments beyond Mistic. The current map is now based on the actual region is emulating. I then added the remaining addresses to the list.
Because it was required to use some of the images provided, I felt using 3D renders alongside real-life images would be jarring to the viewer. I attempted to look for stock images of banks online but none really fit-in with the vision of the project, and opted to use a 3D render instead. This decision was made with not too much time left. I made a 3D building that had some greco-roman influence. I then placed the building in the location it should be in downtown Mistic, using the old Mistic file from 2016. Lastly I needed an image of the Bank’s staff, I ended up using an image from Wikipedia Editors. I used this image because stock images for “Bank Staff” wore too much professional clothing and I wanted to portray a more “down-to-earth” or “relatable” group. The image is under Creative Commons with Attribution.
- The Mistic Examiner
For a Design Class I was tasked with creating a newspaper. I started the creation of such by looking at both local and national newspapers. I took heavy inspiration from The Hampshire Gazette, a publication in the Pioneer Valley. I wanted to portray fictitious events and decided to apply it to a fictitious town I created a long time a go. I used Mistic, MA as the location of this publication, and so the Mistic Examiner was born.
Due to the high turn-over rate, I had close to a week to create and finish the newspaper. Most of the time was taken by the design of the layout and the stories that were on the newspaper. We did had the option to use placeholder text but I felt it removed layers of creativity that this project can have. Due to it being set in Mistic, a place only shown through renders. It allowed the possibility of incorporation previous assets into the work. The only new render shown in this project is an image of a rotary phone for a New England Bell advertisement.
It is a similar story for the 2D assets, most of them were imported over to Adobe Illustrator from Moho which had been created in the past for other projects. The maps shown in the project had been used for some animations and was edited to show a gradient of colors to represent temperature maps. The advertisements were made on the spot for those areas in the newspaper, while the weather icons were created for the project.
In terms of the information in the newspaper, accurate weather data was collected. The stories presented in the publication were made to reflect a town with tense local politics, its connection with the state of Massachusetts and the neighboring towns. Some of the information presented was edited from their sources to reflect the fictitious world it came from. These include; addresses, phone numbers, and events.
- Swift River Rising: “A Project that Went Under”
Swift River Rising, was an Animation I started to work in the Spring of 2013. The animation was based on the real-life story of the Quabbin Towns. The towns were located on the Swift River Valley, these towns were: Dana, Enfield, Greenwich and, Prescott. The reason of why these towns were the focus of the animation is because these towns were disincorporated from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to build a reservoir for the City of Boston.
The issue of the need for more water for Boston arose as the city was rapidly expanding around the mid-1800’s. After research done it was decided that the construction of a gravity aided reservoirs would supply enough water to the city. The usage of reservoirs was deemed appropriate as local rivers didn’t supply enough water nor sufficiently clean for consumption. By early 1900’s the construction of the Wachusett Reservoir among others were nearing completion or were already in operation.
In 1922 a study endorsed the construction of a reservoir on the Swift River Valley damming the Swift river to create it. The Swift River was fed from upstream bodies of water in New Salem which came from three streams, the Swift River, the Swift River Middle Branch and the Swift River East Branch. The river continued southward towards Ware and then turning westward draining onto the Connecticut River. In the valley the towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich and Prescott were located. These towns were small in size but were interconnected with their surrounding cities. Walking or horseback riding were the primary methods of transportation, the towns also had connections with both the Boston-Albany Railroad and the New London Northern Railroad.
Once the construction of the reservoir started so did the displacement of thousands of residents on the valley. This move was controversial for the residents of these towns, there were protests and a legal lawsuit from the State of Connecticut but were unsuccessful. Some of the buildings were moved to nearby towns, the rest were razed and later submerged. The remaining of the former Township’s land was then given to the nearby communities up to the shoreline of the new reservoir. The destruction of these towns embedded itself into Western Massachusetts culture in which native residents might show distain towards the Boston area or legislature that seems to favor the State Capital and its nearby cities.
The animation surrounded the events of the announcing of the reservoir, the reaction of the citizens of those towns and the subsequent protests and later demolishing of said towns. The story started white the leader of the community of Enfield, Mr.Adams receives a telegram requesting a meeting with a state representative at his mansion in the Town of Amherst. He expecting him and greeted him from his staircase and asks him to come to his office. There he reveals the plans of constructing a reservoir were their towns lay. After this revelation he instructs him to break the news to the townsfolk in a town meeting.
At said meeting he stood in front of his peers and revealed the news, he was met with opposition as he had expected. Later at his office he met with the meeting’s moderator and discussed the matter further. The moderator reminds him that the townsfolk will not go out without a fight and that he should go and meet with the representative once again. He seems hesitant but still agrees to do it. On his way home he a child approached and asked him about the issue and if he would do something. He gave a surrounding yes as to not let the child down. Once home he is having supper with his wife, she also looked shaken by the news. She pleads to him to see the Representative, he finally agrees in an truthful matter and buys a ticket the next day. After a ride to Boston he meets the representative at his State House office looking over at the protestors with disgust. He tells annoyingly that he cannot do anything the plan is set in motion he suggest to discuss the matter with the main town representative of Amherst.
On his way back home he meets this “Female Fatale” archetype on the train’s lounge cabin. After some small talk she warms him and tells him to leave the matter alone, he disagrees. Next day he arrives to Amherst on the hopes he might find support on rescuing his town from destruction. Sadly his hopes weren’t met as this town didn’t have enough power to sway the opinion of this construction. That if anything he should reach the support of the county seat of Northampton. On his way out he sees the Femme Fatale waiting for him in her car she approaches him and told him that his search for help on this matter should stop. He ignores her while he gets on his vehicle, on his way back he encounters a vehicle full of men shooting at his vehicle. He continued running away until he reached palmer, there he lost control of the vehicle, crashing. Injured, he flees towards the railroad yard. There he is trapped between a warehouse and a rail cart. The men encountered him and shot him on the spot. Last scene is of his funeral subsequently his headstone is shown with a pan looking at the burning towns on the horizon.
The reasons why this animation wasn’t finished are many ranging from scheduling, story and, direction. During the time of production I was just entering College and I was seeking a Pre-Law degree and was still debating on the future of me doing animations at all. After a semester I decided to switch majors to Digital Media and most of my concentration was dedicated towards my education.
When later revisited I felt it wasn’t worth continuing. A lot of my “long length” animations are created because there is an obstacle, something I need to learn. This animation did not fulfilled that ambition as well as other animation like Robbery. Additionally my skill were low and my workflow was trying to emulate Hanna-Barbera production style of using recycled elements. I wanted to go back and change the style by improving the animation quality and adding 3D elements. This extended the production time and was ultimately canceled.
Another reason that came after distancing from the project was its appeal. The issue that this story talks about is obscure, the collective memory of these events are faint. The arguments are also weak and shallow and I didn’t felt anyone could relate to it. So I don’t plan to revisit this project in the future.
A good take away from this project was learning more about the local history of Western Massachusetts, gaining an interest in photo restoration & colorization and, modeling detailed buildings. In overall I wouldn’t call this project successful but I gained some positives from it.
The Images below are extra Imagery from the Animation :
Enfield Town Hall
Enfield Congregational Church, The Church Burned down uncontrollably in the middle of the night from an unknown cause.
North Dana Goodman Hat Factory
Enfield from the River
- Project IONA AssestsDuring Fall 2017 at Umass Amherst I enrolled into a Game Design class at Hampshire College. I participated in the Art Team were I work on creating UI Textures and Icons. The Game was created in Unity by Three other groups to produce the App Game Project IONA. See the Assets created by me and other great Artists in Action on your Mobile AppStore. (Update 2022) The following download links are now dead. To get the direct file please go to the depository on this site. https://grstudios.net/project-iona/ https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/project-iona/id1325653256?mt=8 https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.projectiona.projectiona&hl=en
- Umass Old Chapel 1890’sDuring my work at Umass Amherst; I had the opportunity to work on a Documentary Project regarding the Old Chapel at the Umass Campus. We went through archived records at the university to collect the images, this one being one of the earliest photographs of the Chapel. I colorized it based on its current colors to have an Idea what this chapel would look like when it was newer. Minimal colorization was taken to avoid over saturation, final products looks more akin to a postcard of the era. http://www.umass.edu/magazine/summer-2017/something-old-something-new
- 2D Superimposed Test
Since my transition from 2D to 3D I felt that I had not the skill to use 3D characters. I thought of superimposing 2D characters in a 3D space. I have mostly been inspired by the early cartoon tests of the 1940’s involving the real world and cartoons and the biggest example of the technique the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Made in 2016
- The Other Nighthttps://youtu.be/f7sMjmm3qRo The Other Night is short animation of the dream of a TV viewer past Midnight. His dreams goes through his fears, thoughts and randomness of dreams. This animation uses a lot of previously made animation for other shorts. Made in 2016
- Enfield, Massachusetts
Enfield Town Hall Created in 2014 based on Black and White Historical Images of the time. First Congressional Church in Enfield. Enfield Lookout, Still Present These Images were based on Historical Photographs of the Quabbin Towns which were razed and flooded to make way for a reservoir to feed to the aqueduct system for Boston.
- Massachusetts State House
- Amherst Massachusetts 1920’s
- Johnny & the Red Leafhttps://youtu.be/5NEcdA1XRG4 This Animation was an attempt on creating child-friendly content with some educational value. This was also a more experimental take on how to animate the characters. Made in 2014