Transmogrify

29/11/2016 – 16/01/2017

Brief: To utilise the work produced from the spatial awareness project as a starting point and develop three dimensional / sculptural typography from it. This could be a single letterform, number or symbol, or a single word or short phrase / statement. The design should be three dimensionally rendered, and a two dimensional contact sheet of 10 photographs printed, with an A2 print of the most successful image.

I began my project with extensive research into a variety of fields that focus on three dimensional design, this included forms in contemporary sculpture, origami and forms in contemporary jewellery. From this I determined that in my work I would like explore origami and paper as my main form of communicating my design. This is due to the fact that paper is inexpensive, easy to work with and readily available therefore i had a lot of flexibility with the work I could produce.

Fibonacci Brooch by Will Evans

Flight by Thomas Joynes

South China Normal University by Yao Yuan

After conducting my secondary research I revisited my designs from spatial awareness that can be seen here. From my designs I began to make small paper models based on some of the forms and shapes present in my spatial awareness work but using the techniques observed in my secondary research. These techniques included curling paper, folding paper and folding paper into fans. A technique I think was particularly effective was folding the paper into fans, by using this technique the paper would maintain its shape due to the strong structure, it would also form crisp shapes due to the sharp folds, tone and depth due to the varying heights of the folds, and finally contrast of the straight folds with the curved shape of the fan allows for a lot of variation with form when designing. Briefly I explored using wire as well, however I found that it was hard to achieve a polished outcome due to the roughness of the wire joints so I decided to no longer explore wire within my work.

After exploring these models I began to drawn some designs for three dimensional typography. I began drawing designs for the letters ‘D’ and ‘B’ due to their mixture of linear and curved forms which I believed would lend itself to my folded fan technique that I previously experimented with and wanted to continue with through my work. I began drawing designs to give a direction to my work and I believed that generating ideas through creating small models would be time and resource intensive. However reflecting on my designs I realised that many would be impossible or extremely difficult to make within my time frame and with my available resources, therefore I decided to return to experimenting with paper which was successful earlier. My new approach was to experiment with folding paper into fans and assembling those fans using cutting, slotting and sticking to produce interesting forms. From these forms I would try and derive letterforms that formed organically instead of trying to design a letterform and then construct it, as this may result in my design being difficult to make as proven earlier.

Folded fans stuck together

Folded fans cut and slotted together

Folded fans stuck, cut and slotted together

The form created using stuck, cut and slotted fans I felt was successful and continued to further refine into a letter form. In this form I saw the possibility to develop it into the letter ‘K’ due to the vertical mass on the right and the angular forms on the left. To refine this form into a ‘K’ I started to trim and add fans.

Refined forms

In my design I felt it important to keep the fans and the layering of fans to create depth. Depth was an important factor in the design for ‘inquisitive’ for spatial awareness as I was layering circles of alternating colour to simulate depth. As well as layering three dimensional fans to replicate depth I also used the same colour scheme of alternating black and white colours used in ‘inquisitive’ for spatial awareness on my fans. On each segment of the fan I alternated between black and white, the black would accentuate the depth of the fans and the white segments would vary in tone due to the depth as lighting.

Whilst taking photographs of my three dimensional form I noticed that my series of 360 shots would make a good GIF illustrating what my design looks like from every angle. If you click the image below a new page will open displaying that GIF. Although clunky due to myself not having a tripod at the time, I still think the GIF achieves what it is intended to do. When I am in the still life studio I will taking a series of 360 shots like before however using their lighting, backdrops and tripod to create a more professional GIF. Although this is not a requirement of the brief I feel like these shots lend themselves to the GIF format and can easily be incorporated into my work as I will already be documenting the form through photography for my contact sheet.

Click to play GIF

To produce the photographs for my contact sheet I took my three dimensional model to the still life photography studio. I decided to use a white background instead of black, despite the model being black and white it stood out more on the white background due to it showing the shadows of the form. I then played with using the modelling lights as well as using the flash to photograph my model. Below is my final contact sheet which features a combination of these two approaches.

Contact Sheet

The images above have minimal editing, the only editing that has taken place is cropping into the images to select select dynamic and interesting forms. Furthermore brightness, contrast and colour balance have been altered to try and create consistency throughout the images, as some as taken using model lamps which need tungsten white balance and some are taken with the flash which need flash white balance.

A2 Print

The above image I have selected from my contact sheet to be enlarged to A2. I chose this image due to the mixture of straight and curved forms, and the creation if depth through the folds, colour scheme and the depth of field in the photograph.

As an additional piece of work I also produced another GIF however this time I used the photograph from my time in the still life studio. These photographs look more professional than the ones used in my earlier GIF, I also used a tripod so that the images were more consistent, altogether producing a more slick final product. You can view the GIF by clicking the image below.

Click to play GIF

Initially I struggled with this project as I found it hard to convey my ideas three dimensionally, I also felt limited by the materials and my own skills when it comes to three dimensionally creating a model. However once I began to more experimentally play with the materials my work picked up pace, the downfall of this project for me was not exploring enough in the early stages and developing tunnel vision, however I did notice this during the project and was able to correct it. I believe that my outcome was successful as not only does it contain interesting forms and archives its purpose if creating depth, but it is also proof of my three dimensional skills improving.

Feedback

The feedback I received was positive, my use of black and white was praised and I was encouraged to take my work further. To progress my photography the tutors suggests making the images black and white and then using levels to enhance the blacks and whites and therefore producing a more dramatic image. As well as possibly cropping further into one of the images presented on my contact, the image can be seen below.

Crop further into the forms

In order to take my work further they suggested possibilities such as photographing my object with 35mm black and white film and developing the images in the darkroom, allowing me to really explore black and white photography and get creative with the manual process. Another suggestion was to hang the form from the ceiling and film it from various angles, similar to the film work of Moholy Nagy, which can be seen below.

They also suggested possible formats that my typography could be taken into, like book jackets or a folding poster.

Personally I really enjoyed this project despite my initial struggle to connect with the brief. I would love to take my work further through the use of film, which I have not fully explored yet in my work, and through film photography, which I explored during foundation extensively and enjoyed. These options however would be too time consuming to explore before semester 1 assessments therefore I will personally continue them in my own time. Improvements that I will make before semester 1 assessments will be to make my images black and white and adjust the levels to create a dramatic set of images.

Post Critique Amendments

Below is my amended contact sheet, I converted all of my photographs to black and white, then altered the levels of the image to create dark blacks and bright whites for drama. Furthermore the image at the bottom right of the contact sheet has been cropped since my original contact sheet, this was to further focus on the smaller forms within the image.

Black and White Contact Sheet

After converting my images to black and white I decided to change the image that I printed to A2, this is because I thought the photograph below was far more effective than the photograph I had previously chosen due to the shadows which appeared once I began experimenting with levels.

A2 Print