Kinder Choirs – ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ (from lockdown!)

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This is the choir that one of my children was involved with until they recently decided education needed to take precedence.

She was in the choir for almost 6 years, travelling around the locale as well as performing for war veterans in Normandy. Kinder Choir has been active for a long time and has a thriving alumni.

However, as for all group activities, Covid-19 has all but closed it down. Or so I thought.

A while before these circumstances, a new tutor was brought on-board to help out the fabulous matriarch who runs the choir. A youthful, happy, forward thinking man whom all the children in the choir respect and love. And he is not the sort of person who lets a silly virus get in the way of singing, no sir.

So he contacted and then sent each chorister the lyrics and music for the above song, then each recorded their own voices and this amalgum is the result.

I love this choir. As an active parent involved in a lot of the back stage jobs and the ferrying around of my child, as well as others on occasion, it has always been a pleasure to be involved. Listening to this is a testament to the hard work and joy that the people involved put into everything they do.

I hope it touches your heart as much as it touches mine.

ISOGRECO

Illustration

I created this a short while ago with Blender. Yep. It’s me talking about Blender again.

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As usual, it started as an accident. I was trying to create a fractal landscape using a subdivided grid, a subdivision surface modifier and a displace modifier with a cloud texture. By chance, moving through the cloud’s settings, I saw at the top cell noise. By setting the cell depth of the cell setting to 1, I had a large square block displacement. Changing it to two, this give me an overlay layer of half sized on top of the originals. Changing that up to 4 gave the look of the land.

Seeing the Minecraft-esque look, I immediately changed the camera to an orthographic and moved it to an isometric angle. I decided it would be nice to have a shader that emulated the land and water levels using RGB constants on a colour ramp. I’ve done something similar before in Maya, but never in blender. I started with a principled shader, added a colorRamp into the colour. In order to map it only in the Z, I separated off the Z position from a Geometry Input Node – giving me a value of 0 to 1 in the Z, and added this into the factor of the colorRamp. This then maps the colorRamp from 0 to 1 vertically, the top and bottom colours carrying on into infinity. Multiplying this value by 4 made it go from 0 to 1 over a distance of 0 to .25 (I realise I could have easily remapped that with a different node now) and added a little amount to that value to move it up a touch on the Z and match better to my displacement height.

To add a little variation to the edges, I mixed into the colour a darker version of the colorRamp using the Pointiness of the Geometry Input node. Such a wonderful input, it uses object edge angles similar to a dirtPass in V-Ray and, using a crunched up colorRamp as the controller, I was able to add the darkened edges over the original colorRamp.

The sea was a Plane but with a very simple translucent shader on it. This made it possible to see whatever was just below the surface clearly, but added a little blur as the ground was further away. Mixed with a glossy shader to add a little reflection, I stopped there with the water.

But I wanted something more. So I built a tiny ship using two different block sizes to try and emulate a similar feel to the landscape.

Importing this, I shrunk it down and added it into the water, duplicating it a couple of times.

So that is where it is right now.