I have had the wonderful opportunity to call quite a few places home over the course of my life so far. However, in my mind, one city truly embodies the feeling of being home - Seattle, WA. In looking for another passion project, I had started to play around with the aesthetic of wooden toys. I loved how they moved, how they looked, and the simplicity of their constricted actions. I had done a few tests playing around with the style when I realized it could be a great approach for a short piece about Seattle. So, I set off to brainstorm and sketch out different scenes that represent my experiences in the city. From living by the Seattle Center at my first apartment to our completely justified disdain for umbrellas, these scenes are what come to my mind when I think of home. Below the video, you will find a more in depth breakdown of the ideas behind each scene and a few of the steps that they took to get from idea to final render. Enjoy!
Below, each scene is separated and accompanied by a few additional close up views, the original sketch for the scene, and an unshaded render of the models.
At the Center of the City
The Seattle Center. It may be the center of most of the tourist activities in the city, but there is something magical about the old futuristic designs of the needle and monorail juxtaposed by the organic and disfigured EMP museum. Although, if you know Seattle, you probably have realized that there are a few omissions - please forgive me. With this scene, I was not trying to depict every building within Seattle Center, I was mainly trying to capture the unique experience of riding the monorail past the needle, through the EMP, and into this wonderful park in the center of the city.
Reigning Kings of the Sound
Orcas. How we love you. Although most of the whale activity in the PNW is located to the north of the city, there is the occasional day when these wonderful creatures make their way into the Puget Sound and grace a few lucky ferry passengers with their presence. The rafts in this scene are stamped with the words "Friday Harbor" - the place in the San Juan Islands where I first had the experience of seeing these whales in the wild first-hand.
The Salmon Slingers
Pike Place Market is an amazing place. It first opened back in 1907 and has been running ever since. There are quite a few places in the market that I like to spend my time in - The Crumpet shop where I pick up breakfast in the mornings, the White Horse Pub for a quiet pint, or the newsstand where there is always a fresh copy of the FT paper for the weekends. But overwhelmingly when I think of the market, I think of the fish. Any day of the week, you can find people throwing fish back and forth and hundreds of people watching and taking photos. As cliché and touristic as it is, there is something undeniably fun about watching two adults throw a dead fish back and forth across a crowded market stall.
Shipping and Receiving
Ah, the port. Without a doubt, the Port of Seattle is one of my favorite things about the city. There is a bench that I like to go to in a nearby park and sit, looking over the sound, watching as all of the ships come in from the Pacific and are guided by little boats into the docks. It is quite calming to watch something as massive as a modern container ship glide peacefully over the water. More than that, there is an inherent curiosity about what all these ships could be bringing to the city - and where in the world they are coming from. But that is probably too romantic of a view of it all - most likely it is just more stuff to be sold on Amazon.
Sky of Blue, Sea of Green
CenturyLink Field. Home to the Sounders and the Seahawks. Two very different kinds of football, but just as lively as a home for both. Our Sounders have had a spectacular 10 years in the top flight winning three Open Cups, a Supporter's Shield, and an MLS cup. The atmosphere at CenturyLink Field is unlike any other stadium in the states, and I wanted to do my best to show what happens on the pitch when Portland comes for a derby. Christian Roldan kicking Diego Chará in the face with a football was about as perfect a representation as I could come by.
The Umbrella Revolt
The last scene combines a thing that Seattle loves - protests - and a thing that we hate - umbrellas. In a city known for rain, the amount of actual rainfall by volume can be surprisingly low. And although it might not be as dangerous as a Red Ryder BB Gun, umbrellas on a tight sidewalk could definitely put someone's eye out. So, if it is not currently in a downpour, leave the umbrellas at home, put on a rain jacket, and join the people protesting in the streets.