Matrix Vector Composition


I was watching “The Matrix” last night. The first 30 minutes have such great noir lighting. I whipped out my sketchbook and a brush pen (it’s a “Marvi/Uchida Memories pigmented Le Plume, I think it’s for scrapbooking, but the black it offers is richer than the Tombo N15 I have—it doesn’t have the bluish undercolor—and it’s archival)

I began laying down quick, black areas with the sides of the brush pen. Sometimes I would use the fine tip to define shapes before slapping the solids down.

I decided that the sketches might make a nifty composition and give me a chance to test some Illustrator tricks.

I scanned the sketches into Photoshop, and positioned/scaled the various pieces. Once satisfied, I flattened the whole enchilada and saved a TIFF which I imported into Illustrator, “livetraced” (that’s a fun verb), and began playing with.

In Photoshop I used the “render fibers” filter which I “livetraced” in Illustrator and used to add texture to the composition. I played with blending modes, opacity, opacity masks.

I added a few shapes of multiplied black set at a low opacity to help create some depth, added light art brushed highlights, and finally brought back a sketch of “Neo’s” head as a negative element to break up the rectangular border.

It was a great exercise and opened up some new ideas. It took about 2.5 hours overall, give or take.


2 Responses to “Matrix Vector Composition”

  1. John Says:

    The rendering is much like that of the hand and not that of the machine. The blood stained surface reminds me of a Vietnam era photograph and saved memory. The image captures a time reminiscent of life’s fleeting reality.

  2. labsquad Says:

    I’m glad that a hand-rendering sensibility came through. Those who have read Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” may perceive a conflict or artistic hypocrisy in digital art mimicking traditional media.

    I would argue that it is the visual characteristics of a work of design (without differentiating between the various branches and applications of art) that grab the attention of its potential audience.

    The rich, gritty texture of a pastel drawing on rough cotton wove creates a tactile presence in the mind of the viewer. Certain colors evoke time and place. Shapes and spatial relationships move the viewer into certain types of interactions. If these are achieved in such a way as to create wonder, enjoyment, and contemplation, then the medium itself becomes just that, a conveyance of ideas. It attains, as Robert Bringhurst says of effective typography, a statuesque transparency.

    Whether or not the choice of medium engenders certain realities or experiences in the creator or the artwork is another matter. Thoughts anyone?

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