Face Towards the Sun  

About this project

 

The Moondash Project began about over five years ago, though the poetry behind it is far older. It is intended as an artistic manifest, but more importantly, chiefly as a means of transmission, of passing on light and emotion, questions and some of my personal wanderings.

It strives to achieve a companionship between different forms of expression, those of the written word and the depicted image, to blend in different dreams, ideas and visions, bound up by the same old message of peace and love.

The images and texts found here are highly connected to nature, introspection, dreaming, walking the one path, trying to better yourself in a world with too little compassion. I find that the kind of environment the current society I live in offers me drives me closer to nature, to a different way of changing my eyes when I look at the world, towards the little things, towards understanding many and different a person that lives beside me.

When I started on this project I could not have imagined the technical difficulties to arise: the incompatibility and quickly degrading high price of hardware, and what is more, the frustration of working in a virtual world and only seeing the results after a long, mind-bending process; I say this referring mainly to the 3D aspect of my work. I guess it is just the price to pay at the beginning of the digital age, when the tools of the trade are sometimes just slow machines compared to the fervor of your work.

I know this project is still too little to impart all that I wish I could, all that I have thought and dreamt I would give, since I was a young boy; still, it is the only way I found. All that you see here, all those made-up worlds, all are an important part of what keeps me alive. But they would have not existed without the people closest to me, whether they are dead or still here. I wish to take this opportunity to thank them all, nominating my family and the one I share my life with, my close friends (they know who they are) and all the artists and persons (even strangers) who have ever touched me.


I hope you will find your visit here worth while and inspiring.

The Author

 

My Dreams

A world of peace, in which people understand and work with the magic that moves us all.
A world of beauty bestowed on us and created by us,
in which fears and excuses for the lack of communion are left aside.
A world in which we can live in harmony with the nature we were born from.

 

Collaboration

 

Please look closely through the following, one might interest you especially:

One of my wishes is to work in a team full of enthusiasm and life force,
taking part in one of the following projects:


An Independent Film, be it fantasy, psychological or poetic in nature, computer graphics based or camera film based - as a photographer on the set or a 3D junior art director or CG concept creation artist

A fantasy Quest/Adventure type computer game, in which I can use my imagination and CG skills
as a concept artist, lighting artist or junior art director

Any innovative and expressive Interactive CG projects, digital art projects, 3D projections, small creative team projects and art related environments that would benefit from my work are welcome and sought for

Different Photography projects, non commercial, social, independent,
which may involve traveling, study or research, especially on nature related subjects

Book Illustration, be it for fantasy, fiction, or for children

Also, I would like to take part in Artist in Residence projects, as an opening

Much desired is collaboration with Photography or Art Magazine, or a Publishing House

Independent and Different Photography projects, group exhibitions and adventures

CG Visual Installations will be taken into account as future projects

Interactive Audio-Video projects, online on the internet or as offline applications

 

 

Future Projects

Continuing, developing and enhancing the Artificial Light Macros staged sets.

Adding an Interactive and/or Immersive side to the ALM

The creation of a solid base for the growth of the I-Platform,
which will have to transform into an interactive story walkthrough fantasy illustrated book.

The development of the Glow World concept, also using animated sequences.

Creating my first short films, in the form of Visual Poems

The creation of Illustrated Books, by means of photography, 3D art and personal or outside text.

Any donations, grants or sponsorships to the Moondash Project are more than welcome, because of the difficulty of affording proper equipment and other issues, such as finding and contracting professionals for certain issues I can not handle alone

And to try and exhibit my work, it is made to be seen…

A critical and crucial thing is finding matching artists in expression and spirit, for all of the above mentioned projects

 

Behind the Lens

 

An important part of my work is concerned with Macro Experimental Work and with finding new ways to enhance what nature already placed there and understanding how one can give objects and sets their corresponding meaning and fill them with a particular energy.

The Artificial Light Macro section is a particular quest aiming to achieve crisp, noise free results, using different lighting techniques. It has been developed into many different branch projects which have
different stage sets characteristics which bring them apart.

Attention and innovation would be the main terms, imbued in a certain vision and atmosphere you wish
to embed in the images, and overall, much patience, searching, organizing and working nights.

Among the images that are related to movement, I nominate the Moved Light section, in which light is stretched and shifted (be it by a horizontal, vertical and/or rotation type camera movement) and becomes
trails, fireworks, likeness to particles in motion.

Painting with light should be just as random as you want it, sometimes achieving abstract, fairy-like results.
This can be taken one step further, as in the Photo Show Reel, where Maya particle effects were used
to make the trees flow and dance.

Nature fascinates me as a whole and I try to explore it as best as I can, paying attention to the details and light conditions one may just pass by. Many a time it was better to leave the trodden path in favor of some exploring.
In time you will have trained your eye to search and be gladdened by the fine and small parts of the world.
Perhaps I would best define this as telling a story that is already there.

In the future I intend to develop the Artificial Light Macro staged sets and continue with new series, also to expand and enlarge the dimensions of the sets even further and continue to use new materials, to combine different parts of natural elements with man made artifacts and substances. I will also try to create more organic environments,
to have a more sense of natural, random growth,
but actually to be arranged with care or think up simple and elegant scenes.

As for the Moved Light section, while I had previously ended up in a dead end, I have managed to take it one step forward with the Compositions and so believe there is still room for more.

This general overview, as well as the indepth information provided in the About-TechData page is meant to be made known, as I believe that the flow of information should be as unhindered as possible, though there are some fine points and details each artists or craftsman will keep to himself, either because it is a guarded secret,
or because there is no way to express it. Most of it will be known to you, though.

Thank you for taking the time and reading about those insights...

All the images from the A.L.M. galleries are realized with the following idea in mind: to be as close to true photography, made from the camera, as possible, though in a now digital age. This means that they do not involve any kind of photo manipulation, all objects and environment conditions are simulated and placed on the 'studio stage'.

Some may call them tableau vivants, staged set photography, constructed or concept photography, concept art, but I only found out about those terms after I've done my work. They are in a way a kind of surreal photography, they may be, as any present day art, contemporary photography, be it fine art photography or fine art still life constructed reality type pictures.

The corrections applied are as follows: the corners of the image are redone/filled in the Minutes subcategory, due to a specific workflow and necessary reflection acquirement. In other cases, very small areas are repaired, a few highlights removed - and those last changes are rather seldom.

The other are normal post production technical adjustments in Photoshop – almost all images are HDR processed and locally adapted - color corrections, curves, shadows, saturation, a bit of noise removal in some cases, some sharpening, all applied to more or less, depending on the case. Other in-depth techniques are used on some of the images with Polarized Reflection or Glow, due to the more complex workflow; still, they do now involve photo manipulation. 

Tremendous patience is needed for some of the arrangements, as the Eye Pair or The Egg. Also, handling many plants at once is a challenge in its self. Still, I believe that a single person can give life to sets even bigger than Summer Dream, the 7 piece work that defines the Spirit Woods section. It was a true joy in creating that one. I still remember the insects that were coming out of the pieces of moss and wood that were on the kitchen floor.

The arrangements are definitely not done just after the rules of space partitioning and other principles. Though the art of Japanese painting and giving energy to even the most simple and seemingly mundane object is open to many years of study, you should still eventually feel that an object has its home in a specific place, area, or that some geometrical forms, be they visible only in terms of composition, are arranged as they are because of a more personal, mythical meaning.

The technical side will surely raise some problems. Balancing pure color lights gets to be a bit tricky if there are too many involved, also, intensities may cancel each other out, white lights may bleach, pure color is too saturated. The key is in selective lighting, sorting the temperature of the lights, and, of course, some light post adjustments. The Spirit Woods section has pieces that vary between six and nine different light sources, including the main one.

When you need to do something not tried before, you will end up improvising. Also, in lack of a proper studio, constructed and atuned to your purposes, there are some mistakes that you are aware of while you are doing them, but have no choice. Also, large sets that require a longer shooting distance and also panoramic stitching poses even more practical and technical problems.

I hope that at least some of the technical issues will get better in the future, with a more proper and professional equipment. It is difficult to accept that the best resolution for a water drop seen in the background in the images of the Minutes category is a bunch of pixels. Sometimes you need more detail to tell a story.

Also, the present generation of LED pure color lights has lived its day and looks outdated and has reached a clear limit. That is why it will take a while until I will be able to make a revolutionary and noticeable change in this field.

In the future, compositing A.L.M. images with Glow World images or 3D realistic vegetation or objects and animating parts of the scene sounds like a good path.

A.L.M. will also be implemented into the I-Platform, bringing on 3 dimensions, interactivity and story telling. They will have an increase in resolution and detail, new lighting and background techniques, long exposure effects and varied environments.

 

The story of the moved images started when I realized that the Light and Zoom technique is extremely limited and unsatisfactory. I needed a better and wider light painting technique.

Panning the camera in one of the available cardinal points sounded as the next best natural thing to do. In time, the technique and movement types and also my own precision in getting a certain kind of feel and look increased.

Because of the fact that in many situations exposure times were not to my linking and I was not able to replicate the effects or bend them to my view, I began using a filter in order to change that. The filter got me the long exposure times, though this is not necessary the usual long exposure. The next step was discovering how I could work and enhance the image in post production. From the first step of decoding the RAW image to the last minute change inside Photoshop, I had a lot of details to learn. The final image is a product of many little subtle changes, and in order to work those changes, the initial image must be just right.

After a while I thought I have reached the limit of this technique and what I could do inside it. But I was proven wrong. I only had to look at it another way, and create images to the extent that they are no longer stand alone, but part of a story, and that the movements employed in them complete each other. Thus, I ended up with the Triptychs and Diptychs. I also started using natural colors again, in an attempt to reach different depictions and moods. A new filter and additional experiments lead me to the soft and changing hue gradients you may see in some of the images.

Besides going back to the particle flowing effect used in the Photo Show Reel Minutes and Movements, and extending that to calm or overpowering screensavers or projected visuals, I believe I will try to somehow extend this technique in the future and that the possibilities are not yet exhausted.

 

Digital Cameras:

Canon 40D – since January 2008
Minolta Dimage A2 – before that

Accessories
(built up in time)

Pure Color Led Lights [Device homebuilt by my father, Studio and Outside versions]
Tripod, Macro Rail, Improvised Lights, Angle Finder

Filters:

Circular Polarizer, IR filter, ND Filter, ND-Grad Filter, other special filters

 

Behind the scene

 

The 3D Galleries are organized according to the main theme that drives each one. The 3d art work found in here has concepts that are continuously expanding and themes and symbols that begin to repeat more often. The interaction between people and nature is taken up in many ways, each opening different paths. There is no outlined character, only silhouettes hidden in shadow and fog. Landscapes have the mission of imparting a mood or describing an environment, either fantastic or habitable. I have tried to achieve a certain level of diversity in my work, though one thing turned out in the end: that even though my thoughts and mood are often dark, in most of my images the watcher would breathe light, first of all.

A mixture of surreal and serene lands, transmitting a feeling of intense ardour, melancholy or mystery, The Emotional Landscapes computer generated art gallery contains images that are usually the product many pieces of software; as for rendering times or poly count, each new generation increases the technical difficulty, demanding all the necessary hardware and patience.

This gallery contains a selection of the images from former galleries, grouped by age and value into generations, all gathered and improved over the years. It blends two major pieces of software and their advantages – the imaginative possibilities of Maya and the vast scenery implements of Vue Infinite.

The Organic Gates gallery contains the newest addition to my 3D surreal art, blending organic fractal-based 3D generated meshes with the vegetation detail of Maya's PaintFx system. Fractal art in 3D renders, digital fantasy abstract art, containing organic 3D modelling, floral pictures and whole vegetation models, abstract art ideas and concepts. This mixture is surreal and abstract, floating in space against a dark background, invoking passage rites of old that have not really changed in essence.

Except the Other gallery, all other have stories or excerpts of their own, which, though somewhat poetic in expression, share some of the ideas, concepts, but most importantly, stories and dreams behind the making of the images. Please take some time to read them, in the Writings section.


Thank you for taking the time...

 

Software used:

Autodesk Maya, Vue Infinite, Xenodream, Apple Shake, OnyxTree, Geocontrol,
Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere


Computers Used:


since the year 2007:

Dell Precission 490, Dual Dual Xeon 5160, 8GB Ram, nVidia Quadro 3450;
+Intel Pentium IV 3,2 MHz, 4GB RAM, Wacom Tablet

year 2006:

Intel Pentium IV 3,2 MHz, 4GB RAM, Wacom Tablet,
+Dual AMD Athlon 2400+ MHz, 2GB RAM;
year 2005: Dual AMD Athlon 2400+ MHz, 2GB RAM;

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        


The Moondash Project
will issue newsletters two to five times a year and no more, due to the manner the author plans and creates the content.
Thus, the letter sent out will referer to major site updates ( entire categories and subcategories added, texts, other information),
personal exhibitions or very noticeable events.


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- Awards -

 

Honorable Mention at Chicago Photo Forum Spring Contest 2010
Honorable Mention at International Photography Awards 2010
Two honorable mentions at Prix de la Photographie, Paris 2010

Honorable Mention in Double Exposure Photoworkshop.com Digital Imaging Competition 2009
1st Place in the Nature-Trees Category and 2nd Place in the Nature-Still Life Category
at Prix de la Photographie, Paris 2009
One nominee at International Color Master Awards 2009
1st place in the competition Techo-Abstract, at Toamna Digitală, Sibiu 2008
Two honorable mentions at the International Photography Awards 2008
Finalist in Vue 2006 3D Environment Competition 2007
Two nominees at International Color Master Awards 2007
Picture of the day at E-on Software
Image of the week on digitalart.org
2nd place in the Vue 2006 3D Environment Competition 2006

 

 

- Publications -


File Magazine (online )
PhotoPaper Magazine ( print )
RangeFinder Magazine ( online & print )
AnimationFocuz Magazine ( print )
It's Art Magazine ( online )
Photomagazine.ro ( print )

 

 

- Exhibitions -

3D work in group exhibition at the contemporary art exhibition center, HANGAR BICOCCA, Milano, 2011
Minutes & Spirit Woods -
personal exhibition at Okian Bookstore, Brasov 2011
Believe Papergirl
group exhibition, Bucharest, 2010
Minutes and Movements
- personal exhibition at Centrul Cultural Habitus, Sibiu, 2009
Hai la Ţară, group exhibition, Braşov 2009
3D work in group exhibition, State Library, Trieste 2008
Techno-Abstract, group exhibition, Engineering College, Sibiu 2008
Emotional Landscapes - personal exhibition at UAP, Deva, 2008

                                                                                                                                                                        

Just me

Daniel Munteanu

For long legged letters:

e-mail: stalkeron@moondash.net
tel: 004 0722 680 550

For print orders, contact me at:
prints@moondash.net

  To the Moon and Back Again

Creative Commons License
All Images and Texts by Daniel Munteanu are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Romania License.