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No More Creative Aquascapes?

Discussion in 'General Aquascaping and Planted Tank Discussions' started by John N., Aug 3, 2010.

  1. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    Let's Discuss.

    There doesn't seem to be as many creative aquascapes produced as much as there were before.

    I remember when people were continually pushing the limits when designing and capturing their final aquascape in a photo:

    * Fresh designs/layouts
    * Rippled effects on the water's surface
    * Intricate colored/back lit backgrounds (sunset, dawn, etc)

    Instead I'm seeing variations of Amano Nature Aquarium Styles and Dutch Styles and simply black backgrounds.

    Have aquascapers become lazy? Uninspired?
    Are there no more "breakthroughs" to be made in aquascaping design?

    -John N.
     

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  2. Apache

    Apache New Member

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    I agree tottaly, even in some contest we saw some people who win with copy....it's a time also where you can see that many of the best aquascapers, even, copy the top ten ADA...

    I just think Takashi Amano was not running after contest but after creativity, then people run after him...also sound that for exemple he was taking his inspirations from nature, not from internet.... sound internet is great to progress, but not for all....also saw some guys that just think for a tank for a contest, not so often just for their own pleasure and to experiment...

    Let's speak...
     
  3. Jurijs mit JS

    Jurijs mit JS Admin Staff Member

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    I think people participating in a contest are setting up their tanks the way they think judges like them and not their personal way.
    This is why most aquascapers are too afraid to try something and participate a contest with this tank. Sure most effort is given into the contest scape, but there are some unique scapes out there.
    Filipe Oliveira is still testing with bonsai style and we have seen some stunning wood placements.
    Of course there might not be such great improvements like Rippled effects on the water's surface or colored/back lit backgrounds every year, IMO some time has to pass before we´ll see something totaly new.
     
  4. CHUNTC

    CHUNTC New Member

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    Well, I don't know about other scappers here. But I am one who does it for own pleasure of sitting in front of my tank enjoying myself and see if improvements can be done ( to my own unartistic taste). Also no confidence of my creations to post on ASW. Maybe when I have reach a stage where I am confident enough to say hmhm maybe this is presentable then i will post it!^:)^
     
  5. Shadow

    Shadow Moderator Staff Member

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    This is so true for IAPLC. Everyone want to get high ranking and the safest way to get that is by re-create what last year top rank do. If it is executed properly, almost certain it will be in top 100.

    There are only hand-full of people who were able to enter IAPLC top 27 couple of time. These are the people who usually come up with new design idea.
     
  6. Xavier

    Xavier ASW Sponsor

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    By and large I think the fall out of "new" design has had something to do with the rise in contests combined with an overall lack of mastery of the classics by the majority of aquascapers out there. I found myself even dialing back on pure creativity and going more for mastering the classic aquarium. Building upon these skills it then becomes possible for more truly creative aquascapes. It seems like this is one of those cycles where you kind of have to keep the 'basic' skills refined. If you can't master the skill set that came before, you can't hope to inspire all new styles.

    But even still. Looking at it all, and at history, the 'basics' that we would consider now not completely creative are leagues and miles ahead of the best of the best that came out not even a decade ago. Overall this is a very good thing.
     
  7. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    I remember saying (rather controversially I admit) a couple of years ago (around when I joined here) that I found the hobby was becoming a little boring r.e. people trying to imitatate Amano. I hate to say I told you so ;) This may well be a factor in why I totally lost motivation over the last year or so to the point where I considered getting rid of the tanks altogether.

    I think this was the only forum who respected my opinion whilst others shot me down in flames for even thinking such a thing ;) On another forum that I shall not name I even received pms saying that I was becoming more and more negative in my comments especially on nature style and was not contributing anything to the forum. I was one of the first on that forum too!!!

    I think another problem has been the OTT 'model train scenery' styles that look pretty fake to me. I think when that sort of thing gets going and a few more latch onto it then other people begin to think its a little bit too far and roll back to what looked a little more natural :) At least that was the start for me of just doing 'jungle'. I originally thought the nature style was the best but I soon tired of the samey same stuff I saw. Sad but true that if something is that good then it will be imitated. A compliment to Amano in a way :)

    However as Jurik says there are a few out there still daring to follow their own route. As hes says I am a huge fan of Felipe Oliveira as he tends to ignore trends yet still gets high results :)

    Another aspect I see that seems to have slowed down the actual larger creative scape is the surge in popularity of Iwagumi style. Whilst there are a few that look absolutely stunning and apart from the rest the majority tend to be almost 'off the shelf' designs where you can't tell one from another.

    Hopefully there will be something happen like a new twist on a classic style rather than pushing and pushing at the 'chintzy' landscapes that have in my eyes 'lessened' the credibility of aquascaping as a true art form :)

    Lets get back to growing plants and using them (plus hardscape) to create something of beauty. Sometimes it takes a step back to be able to move forward again.

    I have seen a couple of other scapes that although some may say 'looks like an Amano scape' there is something about them that just gives it that edge. I will add them into this post as I find them :)

    Thanks for listening to me rant guys. As you can tell I am getting some motivation back these days.

    AC
     
  8. tirtha1979

    tirtha1979 New Member

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    If creativity was counted for the tanks, then Octopus and Gourami should have been in top 10. But in reality it is not. Copy Amano or his likings, you will get a better rank.
     
  9. Xavier

    Xavier ASW Sponsor

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    Like novice photographers and their pictures, all novice aquascapes look the same.
     
  10. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Are these the ones with the lakes etc? I think these are the ones that are losing the credibility. They give me more an impression of novelty than anything else. Great work and execution but not beautiful. My personal opinion of course but they started me on the route back to greenery and underwater scapes rather than landscapes under water.

    There are a few others that also do that style and it just reminds me of the super large train sets with the painstakingly created scenery around them. Great workmanship and yes they look good but you watch the trains after 10 seconds and forget the scenery.

    I like a scape that looks natural and yes I look at the fish but I like the interaction between the fish and a scape that looks like they fit there. I like to see them swim around in the plants and around the plants and look like they belong rather than them swimming in the sky.

    I will admit there are exceptions to this. I loved Felipe's Syrah and Peter Kirwan's Mountainscape as they just had that something more to them. Obviously the contests thought so too :) Yes they were 'fish in the sky' but that something that noone can ever put their finger just makes it work.

    AC
     
  11. J House

    J House Moderator Staff Member

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    IAPLC - Judging Criteria & Guidelines

    ARTISTIC IMPRESSION POINT(Maximum 100 points)
    Evaluate the beauty and sophistication as a piece of art.
    TECHNICAL POINT

    Creativity (Maximum 20 points)
    The overall completeness of the layout and its originality are evaluated.
    The use of house plants or emerged plants, which hardly survive under water, becomes a subject of point-deduction.
    Composition / Arrangement of plants (Maximum 20 points)
    Is the composition of the layout well developed?
    Are the aquatic plants appropriately positioned within the aquascape?
    Is there a balance within the layout in terms of the colors and shapes of aquatic plants?
    Balance between the fish and the layout design (Maximum 20 points)
    Creator’s choice of fish for his/her layout is evaluated.
    Do the color, size, swimming method and ecology of the fish match the layout?
    Natural atmosphere (Maximum 20 points)
    Does the layout clearly tell you the creator’s idea of nature?
    How is the methods and techniques that the creator uses to render a natural feel in his/her layout?
    Aquatic plants’ conditions and Time Progress of layout (Maximum 20 points)
    The condition of the aquatic plants in the layout is evaluated.
    The time progress of the layout based on the types of plants used and their conditions are evaluated.
    Is the layout maintainable over a long period of time?
     
  12. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    I may enter mine next year. when its nearing its third birthday :) should get marks for longevity at least. lol

    AC
     
  13. Garuf

    Garuf Moderator Staff Member

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    I think a lot of it is that people horde their scapes away and we never see anything of the finished article, the best scapers you only ever see one work of theirs in the ada comp and you know little or nothing about it, this to me is what limits people imaginations because people aren't seeing other boundry breakers and when they are they're lost because they're overwhelmed by seemingly one shot perfect scapes with no idea of how it was created, the difficulties or the real technical aspects. To me the competitions actually hinder this hobby, they may bring more tanks out of people but we never learn anything from them, it almost feels like ego massaging, they'll only show their work when they know someone will pat them on the back and give them a shiny plaque saying well done you're the worlds best photographer, the scape is almost secondary, especially as you can make a dull tank look great with the photography.
     
  14. CHUNTC

    CHUNTC New Member

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    Long live Supercoley1. LOL^:)^
     
  15. Apache

    Apache New Member

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    Hi Garuf,

    I respect your point of view,
    on the point of sharing things to go on I tottaly agree but it sound strange that people need to see the winners tricks to have more imagination?

    Imagination is in your own hands, and it's up to you to go among a river, in a forest, to search in your own dream...

    Then for the tricks and secret to build a mountain, there are enough good and generous blog, like those of Pele Blog, or forum, like here to show how to mount a roots or a rock with the sand...

    Photography can show the best of your tank, sure big format have two really important details, they allow to correct perspectiv, used in architecture, it allow to shoot with a very wide angle without distortion and also the size of the negativ, it make just that all the details of the rocks, plants etc will appear clearly and not pixelized. Really good digital also allow this today with the high speed capacity and the fact that you can shot a fish moving without any flash...and get a good shot...The rest photography cannot make beautifull a bad hardscape, the front view is a document not a piece of art...
     
  16. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    I agree with Garuf regarding limited inspiration because aquascapers don't share how they developed their aquascape and photography.

    Sure, we don't want people to copy each other, but I think once we know how to do something, it creates more innovative thinking to build on the original idea.

    As for people copying the main style right now (the Amano Nature Style), I do agree that people have been doing that for the most part. However, there are the outstanding aquascapers that have pushed that envelop such as Felipe's "Separate by a River", Octopus's "Tamo daleko", and Gary Wu's "Beyond the Nature".

    [​IMG]
    Felipe's (FAAO) 60L "Separate by a River"


    [​IMG]
    Octopus's "Tamo daleko"

    [​IMG]
    Gary Wu's "Beyond the Nature"

    To me this is where the hobby should be heading towards...more innovotion and more creativity.

    -John N.
     
  17. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    I've been thinking and after seeing the results of the Aquabird Aquascaping Contest Results (Vietnam), I think the innovations of 2009-2010 in aquascapes are the mountainscape layouts.

    In this latest contest, this mountain-looking scape won Grand Prize. In past contests (not just the Aquabird event, but others too) the standard iwagumi layout would have easily won first ranking.

    [​IMG]

    Perhaps aquascapers are getting more innovative..just in a very slight and subtle way. :-?:

    -John N.
     
  18. Eauvive

    Eauvive New Member

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    Hi there,

    a toppic i am thinking of a lot during the last weeks, as my 96l tank is standing around and i can´t decide what to make out of it.

    This point of "doing something special" is a hugh one inside this thoughts.

    So much things have been tried, have been made, it´s actually hard to get on something no one has done yet. Seriously. When i started googlín around aquascapes i had this moment again and again, thinking "oh, i got an idea! ... wow.. there it is, done by whoever in 2004..."

    Coming up with something new is hard. There are so many good scapers all over the world with this stunning ideas.

    Next step is coming to "unwritten rules" within aquascaping. Not thinking of "how to do" but more of "is it okay to".. and most of you will tell me "just do it, if you like it!" but it´s not that easy, is it?

    Just remember all this little plastic ships and towers and castles people use to put into their tanks.

    I´m not through with my decision process yet.
    And as hard as it is i am not sure how long it will take me to find THE scene for my firt one :)

    But you´ll see pictures than.
    Promise.


    Cheers
    Sonja
     
  19. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    Sonja, I totally agree with your thoughts. Even though aquascaping has only really gotten started in the past 10-15 years, it seems like many aquascaping styles/designs have been done.

    Perhaps instead of creating a new layout/shape, innovative aquascapers could focus on using a combination of plants not typically used before. Or a return to rarer species and more difficult to grow plants, such as Eriocaulon sp. and Toninia sp.

    -John N.
     
  20. Dr. Hugelawn

    Dr. Hugelawn New Member

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    I have used reflective mylar for a tank background. I have used mirror and red mirror and it really made the plants grow faster. It can be purchased at any grow store. Red Mirror will add a red light spectrum to your plants.
     

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