Friday, 27 November 2015

Narrative- Projection Mapping onto Tree Models

Projection mapping allowed me to create concept art and convert it into a 3D model. I created a painting of a tree, modeled around it like an orthograph, then projected the same image onto the model to create a texture for it. I'm pleased with the results of this tree, and I'd like to model three others to be mapped onto. Alan taught me the process today by helping me with this tree model, and so now I will be applying that to the other three tree designs I had done yesterday.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Narrative- Creating Trees for Backdrop- Matte Paintings

After speaking with Alan today about creating the background for the narrative animation, he suggested that when making the trees in the backdrop, I could make a matte painting in Photoshop and model around it in Maya. After that I could then project the same matte painting onto the model and it would create the texture for it. I'm currently modelling trees in Maya and finding it difficult as the trees are complex shapes, but I think it'll be worth it.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Adaptation and Transciption Film Review- Dorian Gray (2009)

Figure 1- Film poster

Dorian Gray was directed by Oliver Parker and was released in 2009. The film is an adaptation of the novel 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' written by Oscar Wilde, published in 1890. The story follows a character called Dorian Gray, a young man who moves to London after inheriting a wealthy fortune from his diseased grandfather. When living in London he is asked by an artist to sit for a portrait, and when the painting is completed Dorian is so taken with it that he wishes to become more like it. He falls in love with the idea of staying beautiful forever, and never aging or decaying like the man in the portrait. Without entirely realizing it at first, Dorian's wishes become true, and his soul is given to the devil in the trade for eternal youth.

 When 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' was first published in 1890, it was ridiculed by countless numbers of book reviewers and publishers. It featured themes in the story that got the book labeled as 'indecent,' such as devil worship, sex, suicide and suggested homosexuality. However in this film adaptation of the book, these themes are not unheard of in the world of cinema, and the aspects of the book which made it unpopular, only added to the film.

Figure 2- Dorian and the portrait

One of the most obvious differences between this film adaptation and the original book, is the appearance of Dorian Gray. In the book he is described as a young man with pale skin, rosy cheeks, blonde hair and blue eyes. This description resembles a typical Aryan beauty and suggests that this was considered to be attractive in London in the late 1800s. Yet in this film adaptation from the 21st century, Dorian Gray is quite different to the original depiction that Oscar Wilde created. This may be down to the change of audience and what is considered attractive in the modern age.

Another aspect of the book that was emphasized in the film was the theme of homosexuality. This centers around the character Basil Hallward, who is the painter that creates Dorian's portrait. In the film Basil is taken by Dorian's looks and obsesses over him whilst painting the portrait. This is a suggestion of deep attraction, which leaves the audience questioning what Basil will do. However when Dorian shows a romantic interest in Sybil, a young actress, Basil shows full support towards Dorian and no signs of jealousy when he peruses the young woman. Though this may appear to cover up any attraction Basil may have for Dorian, it is soon uncovered to the audience when the two men share a kiss. Yet this kiss does not exist in the original book. Instead Basil's attraction to Dorian is strongly suggested when the artist tells him of his feelings when he first saw his face, and how beautiful he finds him. Reading that part of the book it is apparent that Basil does not just see Dorian as a friend, and his obsession with Dorian's face is not just of artistic interest.

Figure 3- Basil and Dorian

 The first love interest to Dorian Gray is Sybil Vane, an actress who works at a small theater in a poor part of London. This is a significant character as she is considered to be the maiden archetype in the story, and her role as one of the significant female characters makes her even more important. Sybil's characteristics are significantly different in the film compared to her depiction in the book, and her story line is evident of that. In the book she falls in love with Dorian quickly right after meeting him. He is attracted by her skill as an actress and is keen to court her. However Dorian quickly looses interest in Sybil when she does a bad performance in one of her plays. She is left so heartbroken by Dorian that she takes an overdose and kills herself. In the film adaptation her story is very different as her and Dorian court each other which then results in them sleeping together. They then become engaged but their relationship finishes soon afterwards, as Dorian is not keen on the idea of starting a family as much as Sybil is. The brake up of their engagement results in Sybil ending her life, when she drowns herself in a river. It's then revealed by Sybil's brother, that she was pregnant with Dorian's child. In the film Sybil has a bigger motive to take her own life, as she was a poor woman expecting an illegitimate child. She had no wealth or status and was left in a position where she would rather end her life and the life of her unborn child because she knew that she wouldn't survive with out Dorian and the stability a marriage with him would bring.

 Figure 4- Dorian courting Sybil

A significant object to Dorian Gray is his portrait. In the book the description of the portrait explains the physical aspects of it, and how it changes throughout the story. In the film the portrait is given more of a presence and a personality. It is to suggest that the painting has a conscious, and is watching Dorian constantly. As the portrait changes, it causes Dorian to realize what has happened between him and the painting, and so Dorian hides it away where no one else will see it. Yet Dorian seems to get great pleasure out of watching his portrait as it ages and decays. It's a reminder of how he'll never become what he sees in the portrait.

Overall the film is an adaptation of a historic story styled for a modern audience. Even though it was ridiculed, the story of Dorian Gray is one that is more appreciated in the 21st century, and it's themes that were once considered indecent now gives the story a popular status in modern cinema.

 Figure 5- The demon behind the portrait

Illustration List

Figure 1- Film poster:
Figure 2- Dorian and the portrait:
Figure 3- Basil and Dorian:
Figure 4- Dorian courting Sybil:
Figure 5- The demon behind the portrait:

Friday, 20 November 2015

Character- Bee Hive Castle Sketches

I'm finding the bee hive castle really difficult to design. The game is set in a fantastical called Parvus. I imagine the city to be a cross between nature and Tudor architecture, which is why I'm finding it tricky to sketch for. I want to design the hive first, as that is the castle to the city, where the queen lives and rules from. If I get the design of the hive established first then I can build the city around that.

When looking into the style of the hive, I have referenced from Tudor castles, cathedrals and honeycombs. These are a few very rough experiments to see if I can combine the references together. I'm finding it difficult to draw neatly and now realize what a terrible architect I'd make.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Character- Wasp Beasts

When researching bees for this project I found out that wasps actually attack and eat bees. I wanted to incorporate this into the game, by designing the wasp characters in a more carnivorous style. I looked at predatory animals such as birds of prey, big cats, wild dogs and even species of apes. Earlier this week I saw a nature program called 'The Hunt.' This show has detailed footage of different predatory animals hunting for their food. There was one part of the program that feature chimpanzees hunting a small monkey. When they caught it, they started ripping it apart amongst themselves. Something about that gave me shivers, seeing chimpanzees, a close relative to humans, catch and rip apart a monkey with their bare hands seemed diabolical to witness. I would like to bring that kind of horror to this game through the wasp characters.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Documentary Film Review- Blackfish (2013)

Figure 1- Blackfish poster 

Blackfish is an expository documentary directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, who is known as a director of films about real life stories. Blackfish is a documentary about orcas (killer whales) that are kept in captivity. The film particularly focuses on the orcas of SeaWorld, a chain of theme parks specialising in marine life. For many years there has been speculation about whether the park has been caring properly for the animals kept by them in captivity, but the cinema release of Blackfish confirmed suspicions by bringing an in-depth insight into SeaWorld to the big screen. The film is made up of interviews, news reports, Seaworld TV adverts and camera footage of SeaWorld. Though Blackfish may include many stories that criminalise SeaWorld, the film centers on one true story to bring the picture together. It follows the story of Tilikum, an orca that is kept by SeaWorld to perform and breed from. Tilikum is famous for killing three people, the last being the most well known human death linked with orcas.

The film begins with interviews from ex-trainers, who talk about how they became animal trainers in SeaWorld. This is a way to get the audience to resonate with the interviewees and not condemn the events at SeaWorld. As they have agreed to take part in the making of Blackfish, they have shown that they are no longer on the same side as SeaWorld. Then the film takes a dark turn and interviews a man who was part of a team capturing orcas from the wild in the 1980s to be sold on and kept in captivity. The man interviewed stated how he was one of the people that took baby orcas from their mothers and how the situation was like snatching a young child from their parents. The documentary then moves on to talk about orcas, their natural habitat, behaviour and intellect. By doing this the film has given a positive and honest portrayal of orcas to the audience, making them sympathise with them. Already the film has shown how the orcas have been victimized by organisations like SeaWorld.

Figure 2- an orca captured 

At this point the film begins to look into Tilikum and how he was treated when he was first put into captivity. When talking about the first human death related with him, the film gives a neutral perspective, yet still giving away the cause of the tragedy. It talks about the ill treatment Tilikum received from the park he was kept at and also the other orcas living there. This suggests that Tilikum may have been responsible for that death, because the poor treatment he got may have caused him to become mentally unwell, and lash out at a human. The film dives further into this option by focusing on the orca species, and how the animals are highly inelegant and are capable of experiencing emotions. This is the films way of almost humanizing these animals, to have the audience resonate with the animals and imagine what it would be like to be treated as these orcas have been.

Tilikum is then moved to a branch of SeaWorld, where he is be trained and perform with animal trainers in live shows at the park. The ex-trainers interviewed at the beginning of the documentary talk of how Tilikum seemed to be a gentle and clever orca, yet the staff of a higher authority at SeaWorld constantly remained aware of him, with out the trainers knowing why. The film now shows an example of SeaWorld lying to their animal trainers about Tilikum. By withholding the information about the death of a staff member at Tilikum's last home, SeaWorld can let their trainers go ahead and work with this orca. This part of the film de-criminalizes the ex-trainers as it is an example of something out of their control. SeaWorld lied to them and so they were mislead into working with Tilikum.

Figure 3- training an orca

The climax of the film is centered on the last victim Tilikum killed. Dawn Brancheau was a senior trainer at SeaWorld and in 2010 she was brutally killed by Tilikum in a demonstration. The people interviewed for the film knew Brancheau, and were distressed when speaking of her death. This is the final way of Blackfish getting it's point across to the audience. So far the film has shown how SeaWorld has been damaging the lives of orcas, but now the film shows how tragic it has also been for the people involved. SeaWorld attempted to pin the blame on Brancheau, by making out she had made a mistake in the performance, which lead to her death. However the circumstances of the attack, and how publicly it was shown, there was no way for the establishment to cover up the fact that they have been using a dangerous animal to make money. The film illustrates the dishonesty of SeaWorld and criminalizes it for the all things wrong it has done to both orcas and humans.

To conclude this was a powerful film with grounded evidence that shatters the romantic image SeaWorld has created of itself. The release of the film made tickets to SeaWorld drop dramatically in numbers, which shows how successful this film was.

Illustration List

Figure 1- Blackfish poster:
Figure 2- an orca captured:
Figure 3- training an orca:

Hollywood and Quality Film Review- Mad Max Fury Road (2015)

Figure 1- Mad Max Fury Road poster

Mad Max Fury Road is a film directed by George Miller. It is set in an post-apocalyptic world, where the Earth has been devastated by a nuclear disaster left as a dry desert wasteland. Max Rockatansky is one of the surviving humans left, and the film follows his story when he is captured by the War Boys, a clan living under the rule of Immortan Joe. Max is used a 'blood bag' for a character called Nux, who is a War Boy that goes on a mission with other War Boys in search of gasoline. Along the way the mission is high jacked by Imperator Furiosa, a woman also on the gasoline mission. She takes the crew of War Boys in a different direction, straight into a sand storm, where the rest of the party are lost and scattered. Furiosa has the war rig truck to herself. What she doesn't know is that Max and Nux have not been lost in the storm. Max goes to pursue her when the truck is parked, and finds that Furiosa has been hiding five women in the war rig. It turns out that Furiosa is like Max in the sense that she does not come from the War Boys clan, and plans on escaping with the other women to find her home. 

Figure 2- car chase scene

This film is a portrayal of how humans would survive in a post-apocalyptic world. If the race of humanity becomes an endangered species, how would the survivors cope? In Mad Max the humans have reverted back to a more primitive style of life, where the only forms of technology comes in weapons and vehicles. The War Boys live like a native tribe, and follow their leader as if he was a God to be worshipped. The desperation of the characters to survive in such a world makes this film an enjoyable picture to watch for an audience that likes action, violence and fast-paced scenes in cinema. The narrative of Mad Max is very simple, and so wouldn't appeal to those prefer a technical story that leaves the audience debating about the meaning of the film. This is a film of fights and chases, that doesn't leave an audience with questions or complicated story lines to obsess with. This is a motion picture to be enjoyed in the moment of viewing it.

Figure 3- Imperator Furiosa

Illustration List

Figure 1- Mad Max Fury Road poster:
Figure 2- car chase scene:
Figure 3- Imperator Furiosa:

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Character- Re-designing Mater (feedback would be lovely)

After speaking with Justin today, I realized that Mater (queen of the bees) needed more work on her design to give way hints of her personality. She is a figure in the game who is suppose to be the ally of the main character, however she does not act like it, and can be considered a villain in the story. I tried to portray this in the alternative drawings I've done here, and I wanted each design to look very different to each other. Feedback would be greatly appreciated, it would be good to have outside opinions on these designs. 

Monday, 16 November 2015

Character- Venenum Sketches

Venenum is a prominent character in the story of the game. She is queen of the wasps and the enemy of Mater (queen of the bees). Venenum's colony live in the dark over growth on the outskirts of Mater's land, however they are always plotting on taking the hive for themselves.

Narrative- Prettygirl49 Character Sketches and Head Orthographs

Character OGR

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Hollywood and Quality Film Review- The Wolf Man (1941)

Figure 1
The Wolf Man is a horror film written by Curt Siodmak and directed by George Waggner. It was released in 1941 and was produced on what was considered a b-grade budget. However the film became extremely popular and was the main cause behind the werewolf craze in cinema.

Figure 2
The story follows a young man called Larry Talbot, who returns to his childhood home Llanwelly in Wales, after hearing of his brother's death. This is the first implication of a mystery in this film, as Talbot's brother was apparently killed in a hunting accident, and the description of this event are not clear. This gives Talbot a reason to stay in his childhood home, as he is inclined to learn more of his brother's death. Whilst staying in Llanwelly, Talbot meets a woman called Gwen Conliffe, who runs the local antique store. There Talbot gains a walking stick with the head of a silver wolf on it; this item becomes symbolic to Talbot's story. He shows an interest in Gwen and she can be considered the maiden of the film, even though she is engaged to another man.

Figure 3
After meeting the gypsies, Talbot is bitten by a wolf and becomes a werewolf. When he comes to terms with his curse he confides in Gwen, as she seems to be the only person who shows him pity. The story comes to a close when Talbot is in beast form for the second time, and his father fights him off from Gwen. He beats him with the wolf head staff, until the werewolf falls to the ground dead.

Figure 4
Although this film had a B-grade budget, it holds a lot of values that made it into a descent story.

1. The main use of special effects in the film was in the making of Talbot's werewolf form. Prosthetics were used to create a beastly look to Talbot, whilst letting some human features remain. This makes the audience sympathize with Talbot, even when he's in the wolf form.
2. The story itself relates to a wide audience. Even though werewolves are beasts of fantasy, the idea is one that symbolizes many real demons that effect many people. Such as physical and mental illnesses.
3. The design of the sets used in the film works well for a production of it's time. Especially in the forest scenes, the silhouettes of the trees against the smoggy mist creates a haunting atmosphere that works brilliantly in black and white.
4. The story evokes a fear in people that's different to what other horror films portray. A lot of horror stories center on an outside threat that endangers the main character. For example 'War of the Worlds' is a story about aliens invading the planet, this is a fear that makes people want to run from. However the Wolf Man focuses on an evil that can consume oneself, and cause one to become the monster. It is a tale of a man who fears himself as he has become the beast.
5. The ending leaves a question for the audience. Talbot is killed by his own father, and Gwen is left grieving for him. Talbot's father realizes who he has slain and is left with the harrowing truth that he has slain his own son. This leaves the audience to wonder what happens next, if Talbot's father can go on after the ordeal, and if the werewolf is truly dead, or has the curse been passed on?

Figure 5

Illustration List
Figure 1:
Figure 2:
Figure 3:
Figure 4:
Figure 5:

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Narrative- Prettygirl49 Character Sketches

I've done a few touch ups to this character to make her fit in with the characteristics of the main character. I based her on a robin by colouring her cheeks and colour scheming her jumper. Feedback would be much appreciated.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Maya Tutorial- Head Modelling Part 5: The Eyes

Character- Research and Re-think

For this project I decided to watch a documentary on honey bees. I found that a bee hive is made up of female bees, and the roles of both female and male bees are very different to each other. Female bees have a number of jobs, such as guarding the hive, protecting the queen, packing away the honey and scouting outside of the hive in search of pollen and nectar. The queen's job is to lay eggs that will hatch into the next generation. Male bees have one job, which is to impregnate the queen. Once a male has mated with the queen, he instantly dies. If a male bee is unsuccessful when trying to mate with the queens, he is thrown out of the hive and left to die in the outside world. The different roles that each gender holds gave me an idea to incorporate into the game. The player is put into a world where females are the dominant sex, and the majority of sexual discrimination is targeted on males. Also I've decided to scrap the wasp characters and focus mainly on the bees, as I think I can get a descent narrative from focusing on the bees and their hive.   

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Character Design Lesson- Body Language and Emotional Expression

In Justin's lesson today we learnt about how body language is important to convey emotion in a character. We practised by drawing each other in different poses, and applying this to a character of our choice.

My chosen character was Amelie. I wanted to draw from a non-animated character, so I could imagine what they would be like in an animated feature.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Narrative- Chirper Character Expression Sheet

Drawing from the clay model allowed me to sketch out an expression sheet easily for our main character. This is to show what kind of expressions the character may be making in the animation. When it comes to rigging our character, we may need to use blend shapes to create these expressions. I don't think we will use all of these expressions in the final piece, I just think it's a good idea to establish how the face moves. For example the eyebrows could be raised or rotated to convey different emotions, also the mouth could be made to do the same.