Posts by: Son Pham






The culmination of the Independent Study will be a series of sculpture juxtaposition that describes different issues in society. These issues are not only general ones that we generally observe on media such as politics, environment, equality, but also include some of my experiences with art-making and my life on campus. Each juxtaposition will be a combination of seemingly unrelated elements that would become bizarre and expressive once they become fused together. By juxtaposing the objects, the content of each has a chance to interact, alternate and create meaningful expression.

In terms of style, juxtaposition is a suitable method for this final project. Firstly, it allows for simple background so that the audience can truly focus on what is happening. This will simplify a lot of composition problems and help me truly focus and able to make a series in stead of just a sculpture set with multiple camera angles as before. The amount of details that I can put on a single object can also increase significantly and that I don’t have to worry too much about big composition as a whole (which takes a lot of time evident in the second project. Secondly, juxtaposition allows me to make a better compare and contrast and fuse different elements however I like. And finally, juxtaposition is inherently expressive. Thus, it allows me to put my own opinion and emotion into the artwork. (My previous sculptures address quite big and general problem and don’t have much of individualism.

Collected Images


Intellectual researches

Intellectual researches for this project will be two days spent on enhancing the visual quality and the depth of the last two projects. Both projects have interesting geometry, yet doesn’t quite reach its full potential in terms of ideas. The colors from both projects don’t have strong impact to the viewers, but there are plenty of room for improvements.



For the second project, there is a big imbalance of the amount of details in different parts of the artworks. There are a lot of details in the center, but most of them are similar and only serve to distracts any possible patterns of other parts. The buildings almost complete obscure the beautiful circle arrangements. These amount of details provide a nice contrast with the background, but the overwhelming contrast doesn’t provide any useful implication and makes the whole picture looks even more melancholic. The clock is supposed to bring the surrealist effect to the scene. But the overall tone of the picture is so dark that the clock brings little effect to the renders both visually and conceptually. Three hands are already enough for a reference to the clock in the pictures. Thus, possible enhancements for this project are:

  • Remove the clock geometry
  • Add more stuffs into the building parts to better represent the idea of unsustainable growth.
  • Delete all windows. Windows create distracting noise that is completely necessary and flatten the geometry. Also, building should be constructed lower. It’s possible that I should RECONSTRUCT the whole building circle to better suit the project.
  • Thing about more interesting texture for the tree. Psychotic texture can work very well.
  • The background can be embedded with a sunset background, with the sun the in the bright spot. Each block will have a color according to a mosaic image of that background.


The geometry in the final renders were too grotesque and was not well received as the the right image. Since the googly eyes bring less serious attitude, I can use this geometry to bring massive quantity of these windmills in different size and context. These massively cloned puppets will actually turn out to look extremely grotesque and can be used to indicate a lot of social issues that related to violence. One composition I can think of right now is a dictatored windmill trapping a bunch of others in a grinding machine.

I will try to bring the sketches into the project tomorrow. The sketches will have both some improvisation on the previous two projects as well as geometries for the new ones.



Animation is a series of images that create a recognizable sequence of motion that is really catchy to the eye. In order to keep things manageable in this project, I wish to do a project exploring the potential of animation in 3D sculpture. The project will be 3 or 4 GIF animation sequences using multiple keyshots render at the same camera position.

Throughout the last 2 projects, I have always have a very “formalist” approach. My concept tends to gradually change over time based on the situation and the geometry that works. Since this project is only 2 weeks, instead of digging deeper into conceptual problem and devise a representation, I want to try to get emotion from the simple shape that I that usually use. The simple shapes of the geometry, combined with the harmonic motion, can produce very emotional effect. Some artists were able to combine animation with simple geometry to produce phenomenal effect.

Visual researches

Intellectual research

Animation is a very hard medium for Keyshot since the software is not made specifically to animation. However, my animation has a specific characteristic of looping around, which will helps reduce the number of frames tremendously. This also comes with careful calculation on the angle, rotation and position of the object so that the object animated smoothly without any obvious signs that it is a loop.

I developed a work flow that help me work Keyshot with Rhino altogether.:

  1. Draw the geometry in Rhino.
  2. Import the geometry to Keyshot.
  3. Work the materials as usual and SAVE the file.
  4. Move geometry in Rhino.
  5. Update the geometry to Keyshot. Just by pressing update, Keyshot will only update changes in geometry, which is much more convenient and faster than import the whole thing. The previously worked materials are also saved in Keyshot.

This workflow is remarkable fast and saves me a lot of time from repeatedly going and back and forth between Rhino and Keyshot through the import function.

Critical thinking about the project

The theme I chose is environmental issues in politics. As this project only lasts 14 days and only serves as an exploration to new technique. I don’t wish to go into too complicated topic that potential takes a lot of time to form coherent geometry and modify. The style I would like to use in the project is the playful Pixar style. The style is something I really want to explore, and it is appropriate for this project because Pixar is both beautiful and not too distracting for the eye of the viwer, so that the viewer can totally concentrate on the animation and figure out what it means. This is a very hard style to follow and definitely requires more research about form and especially color.



I am really happy with my first renders on these forms. The form has a satisfactory color that accompanies with cute and not-too-perfect geometry. Well, I was not awared of how fallic these geometries look. But for sure, I will use this form for the next project and the coloring style for this project.


The sky castle and the tower have some enhanced geometry. I also optimized the building geometry so that the building parts can be copied around. I also finished sketching the overall composition of the piece. Here are the screen shots of each.


The final composition will look like this.


I hope I will finish the geometry by tomorrow so that I have a full Wednesday for doing Keyshot materials and renders. Wednesday night will be reserved for any little problems that arise.



Dreams have been powerful creative tools for me to break off from normal way of thinking and all kinds of constraints and come up with a normal approach. Thus, I would like to dig deeper into the field of irrationality and come up with a surrealist object or artwork that based on dream and impossible objects. This has a lot of potential because the object doesn’t necessarily have to make sense and there are a lot of rooms for more warped and organic forms. I also want to take the next project to break off from my old style of using a lot of hard curves, black metals and black plastic, which starts to look cliche.

The object that I want to examine is the nail. Nails contain very interesting screw curves that can be further explored for meanings or modified into other kinds of objects.  Minimally, I hope to create some kinds of objects or buildings that can represent the nails, and somehow use the curve of the nails to create some wild and elaborate geometry.

The project potentially relates to Twist and Bend command. These are the commands that I really want explore more of their potentials.

Visual images collected

Some sources of Surrealists artworks:


Surrealist artworks turned out to be plenty. Thus, I would have to figure out a unique style for my objects.

Critical thinking about the project

The theme I chose is the wearing down of human’s emotion  in the face of social challenges and constraint. It seems that as humans grew older over time, they start to have troubles finding sweetness for their long days. People can still buy a pack of candy, but they don’t know how to eat the candies like a child. The project aims to demonstrate the complexity of human’s emotion based on surrealist arts. Objects can be warped and modified wildly to be more expressive. My aim is not to follow the traditional style and goes for more organic materials, even though these organic materials might not fit the smooth nature of my geometry and demands more meticulousness. I also would like to use Adobe After Effects to apply some flat color into my work because as a “formalist,” I want to apply flat color so that the renders appear more expressive. Flat colors will also served to hide some of the weakness in geometry and make the final results look more natural.

Intellectual research

I am really glad that I was able to bring the model into keyshot to apply material. Initially, I resorted to my old styles which use mechanical and plastic materials. The result looks quite dull and doesn’t have that much emotional emphasis on it. I was initially very unhappy with the result.

Full Black and White features.3Full Black and White features.2

I decided to completely overhaul my own style, switching to a more flat and comic approach. The result turns out to have a lot potential! Since materials are almost completely vanished, the focus of the picture was turned completely into form. Even though there are little edges or contour, the form are still very recognizable. The audience would take the form as it is instead of getting distracted by the material.

Just Black And White.1

Several possible modifications for the final render:

  • Make the hour hand and the minute hand more visible.
  • Extending the background to the hold picture frame and add a sun into the background to represent sunset (or the down fall)
  • Adding buildings and windows.
  • Adding sky castles and possibly some more “building circles” to truly represent unplanned growth. The circles right now still look to have some what an order into it.




Tank tread is a little bit over-complicated. Consider simplifying it depending on the processor. (The PC already shows sign of slow when the tank is assembled.


Motivation and description about the project

Ancient warfare has always been one of the most appreciated topics in the field of history. The strategy, the tactics, the victories of the underdog and the mastermind behind them have drawn great inspiration for historians, artists and politicians of all era. As for me, I have always been interested in the history of Three Kingdoms (181 – 265). During this period of time, China descended into total chaos; eunuchs use the puppet emperor rule the imperial court; people suffer hunger and drought, warlords fight each other for territory and survival. During such a chaotic time, many intelligent and capable generals have the opportunity to prove their virtue to the worthy ruler they serve and to the people they protect. As such, Three Kingdoms, while full of sufferings and bloodshed, featured some of the greatest historical figures in Chinese history, with great military achievements and significant advancement in warfare technology.

Much of the philosophy in military warfare during the Three Kingdoms period were recorded in texts by several scholars of the era, but there was a lacking in sources of illustrated images. Therefore, this project aims to use 3D technologies to recreate the ancient warfare system, including army, weapons and different kinds of units, in a more futuristic settings.  Specifically, the author will try to combine imaginary weaponry and construction technology with the philosophy of the ancient military system to create a visually satisfying representation of ancient military, The project will include renders of each military units, their descriptions of strengths and weaknesses. Further developments may also include portrayals of historical figures but in futuristic costumes. In the initial stage, I will focus on designing cavalry unit, since horses are symbolic icons of ancient warfare.

Visual sketches

The sketches start with diverging and exploring some new idea about how to connect futuristic elements with traditional value of warfare. Much of the philosophy and strategy of each weaponry remained the same, but the form is much altered to fit the new futuristic feeling and struggle. In order to avoid being only a mere 3D representation of new kinds of weapons, I mustn’t emphasis solely on technicality and has to incorporate elements that represent the material and emotional struggles in war time. Such elements can be composed into meaningful scenes.

Visual researches

Collected images are related to Horse, Armor, Tank Tread and the Cross Bow. I’m trying to collect images such that the materials don’t significantly favor either machines or ancients.

Intellectual research

The hardest part about the project is to combine elements of ancient warfare with more futuristic aspects. Ancient weaponry (as evident in collected image) usually features assemblage of small pieces, while futuristic elements usually have really smooth curve. Unbalanced combination between the two can make the model look quite toyish, evident in the first model version, which is heavily based on the sketch.

Too smooth

The resulting model looks quite toy-ish and doesn’t have much room for improvements. I decided to redesign the front of the image by breaking apart a lot of pieces. The breaking apart into pieces have a lot of advantage. A lot more sharp corner can be created, while the model still retains the smoothness of each element. The modeling of the front, attached with a cross bow on the top, shows a lot of potential.

The Tank


Name of the Event: Gamelan Concert

Date and Time of the event: April 25, 2PM

Place of the event: Outside of Weis Music Center

Type of the event: Instrumental concert



Name of the event: 101 Knowledge Project

Date and time of the event: Monday, April 13, 7PM

Location of the event: Harvey Power Theatre

Type of the event: Theatre / Theatre pre-production

This is me at the event



This is the Knowledge Cube we produced the devising project



J1 – Beautifully designed necklace by Simon Williamson. You can see his full project at:

More of his work at:


Title of Event: Gregory Porter

Date and time of event: Friday, Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m

Location of Event: Weis Center

Type of Event: Jazz Concert

1) Provide a brief detail-oriented technical description or summary of the event you attended.

The event features Jazz artist Gregory Porter singing some of his songs, including ones  in his famous Liquid Spirit.

2) Use the section below to write a well-structured paragraph focusing on your personal critical insight / response to the event. How did you interpret or react to what was presented to you?

While I am personally not too music literate, I really enjoyed the Jazz performance by Gregory Porter and his band. Porter has a strong and deep voice, yet doesn’t have any rupture when he raised his pitch, making himself a really smooth singer. The smooth voice really helps the melodies trickle down and penetrate deeper into the audience. His songs usually talk about his own struggles and emotional immediacy. For example, in his song “I Fall In Love Too Easily,” he talks about how easy he is to tall in love, and how terrible, yet irresistible it is, and how he hates all the copy and paste pattern happening to himself again. And because he usually made such a big deal out of his own emotion, or because he made things go too hard and intense, his love usually doesn’t last. Till the end of the event is more songs in his newest album “Liquid Spirit,” which demonstrates a playful personality and the mood of enjoying life. These songs usually contain playful melody, interactions with the audience and really long instrumental solos. His smooth voice, once again, contributes, in a weird and unique way, to create a playful but not overly optimistic mood to the song.

3) What information, ideas, images, etc. most impressed you and why?

I was most impressed by his voice. He really has one of the smoothest voice I ever listened to and he is still able to retain strength and depth in the voice.

4) Overall, how would you rate this event (10 being the most worthwhile)?
(10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 / 5 / 4 / 3 / 2 / 1 )


5) Justify your rating in the question above:

Overall, I really enjoy the concert by Gregory Porter. Not all the songs in the concert are good so that I could give a 10 to the event.


Event: The Oldest Living Things In The World

Location: ELC Third Floor

Date: 02/25/15

Type: Art Gallery

IMG_20150208_153805 IMG_20150214_151900 IMG_20150214_151935


Your name: Son Pham


Your major: Computer Science – Studio Arts (double major)

Please list a few of your interests, sports you play, or other activities you’re involved in (on or off campus): Drawing, 3D modeling, soccer, games, visual effects

Why are you taking this class? What do you most want to get out of it?

I’m interested in doing visual effects, of which 3D is a crucial element. I hope this course will help me model better, work with other 3D people and understand how to integrate the 3D models with other visual elements.

Are there any particular topics or techniques that you’re hoping to learn about in this class?

I would like to learn modeling, texturing and lighting, which are important parts of ciema

In your opinion, what makes a work of art interesting, worthwhile, or compelling—to put it simply, what makes a work of art good? Why do you feel this way?

Visually aesthetic.

Email address:

Cell phone number:
(570) 415-9183

Cell phone service provider:
PTEL (T-Mobile)