Last week I posted about the project I did revolving around my trip to the Pacific Northwest region back in January. In late March on my spring break, I had the awesome opportunity of traveling west yet again with the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences' honors program at Rochester Institute of Technology -- this time to see various national parks in the Southwest.
Travel has been one of the most worthwhile resources in terms of expanding my visual library. There is no reference quite like being able to stand in a space and get a sense of the atmosphere, light, and scale of an environment. Becoming more knowledgeable, in any realm, and experiencing new places can only help in generating new visual possibilities and informing my art and conceptualization.
Being particularly interested in texture and material creation, I found myself captivated by unique patterns of erosion, imagining the forces that shaped these rock formations, and the visual evidence. On the trip, I spent a lot of time studying and sketching to try to dissect the systems of the rock formations I saw -- what are the formal qualities that distinguish this type of rock, and to what extent can there be deviation from that pattern without losing the essence of that rock type?
A thought that is always inspiring to me is the strong visual and conceptual link between mathematical patterns and natural patterns. For this reason, throughout the trip and in the weeks following, I decided to do some material studies of several of the rock types I saw on the trip using Substance Designer to create procedural textures for my materials. The method I use to create procedural textures is similar to how I draw: I define the major shapes and patterns of the rock, and I decide which parameters about the rock can be modified to keep it within the same rock system.
Here are a few examples of the tiling materials I created, loaded into Unreal Engine.