Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Maya Practice: Spacefighter

RAWR! So I was cold and thought I'd tinker with Maya for a little bit to make sure I had the skill to make something without looking at a tutorial (i.e. that it had actually sunk in)

So here be my second (ever) model made from my own thoughts:

Just realised I didn't take any good renders of the front of the ship... Doh!

I love the instant sky button :D

Maya: Street UV and stuff

Here it is, despite Maya crashing every other mouse click :)

Bespoke bits:
Fancy door panels

Fancy pointy bit above the door
UV'ed house:

Beauty and Ambient Occlusion Passes:

Some other shots:

Final composite images:

Thursday, 25 November 2010

First Scene - Pearl - Final

The last few developments of the pearl scene:

Final Image

First Scene - Pearl - WIP #2

Used the burn tool to add some deeper shadows, some lighting from the wall in the centre, various tweakage:

Before the burn (blue lighting present too)

Burnt things out

Started colouring the clam and pearl, took the light off the floor layer so I can add it as an overlay instead (more control that way)

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

First Scene - A Priecless Pearl -WIP-

Heres the current state of the 'Priceless pearl' scene. I dragged a sepia photo into it to sample colours from it but I seem to have changed the palette along the way whilst darkening everything down.
Criticisms welcome :)

Original pencil drawing scanned in, levels adjusted to compensate for my scanner over exposing...

Dragged in a sepia photo to get some colour samples

colour in over the pencil
everything blocked in, some shadow added

further shadowing, things have started to look good but more mountain cave than underwater :S

Monday, 22 November 2010

Inspiration strikes!

During the night I had an idea as to the stylisation of my work, I had found some illustraions for Jules Verne's works floating about on the interwebs, in particular the works of Rene Paul


An example of Rene Paul's work
So anyway, whilst trying to sleep the word 'Sepia' popped into my head and I thought that maybe sepia tones could creep into the scenes I am to produce. My previous attemps at the Graveyard scene have been very light and open, but after seeing Rene's take on it I think his dark claustrophobic rendition is a better take on it.

Rene Paul's take on the Graveyard

So this thinking of sepia work and taking inspiration from Rene lead me onto the steampunk style, Justin has been saying to me over the last coupe of fridays about how he has embraced the style for the interiors of the Nautilus but I never really thought i could implement steampunk aspects into natural landscapes. Then when looking at Andriana's blog I saw Phil's comment linking to the video 'The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello' and now I see that both sepia and steampunk go hand in hand, Morello is essencially an ocean exploration in the air so I feel that I can use it as valid inspiration for a sea of sepia. The landscapes in Morello are also dark and some look a bit nautical and I think can influence the style of any seaweed/ hanging things etc that may or may not make it into my designs.

Even in the dark world of Morello there are parts that light up with saturation

The painted stylised land found in Morello

During a chat me and Phil had last week stylisation was brought up and amongst several ideas 'Finding Nemo' was brought up because of its higly colour saturated disney-ness. I think that for the Pearl and Atlantis scenes a touch of bright saturated colour could help to make the picture 'pop', to draw the eye and cast some light. I dont think I will go as far as Finding Nemo, it can harldy be copy/paste into a sepia photograph but toned down slightly I think it may work

My refence/inspiration/stye influence:

Rene Paul's woodcut prints for reference and composition
Jasper Morello/Sepia/Steampunk colour scheme
Finding Nemo inspired colour saturation
A couple of books on underwater photography for reference and composition

For the Atlantis scene I'll also look at Tuscan architecture because it is mentioned explicitly in the text

and thinking whilst Im typing I may take on Morello's painterly aspects too...
painty sepia steampunk disney??? (well at least I have some direction now!)

*totally irrelevant but a Morello is also a type of Cherry...

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Essay Idea...

"Analyse critically the production design of the film Avatar"

can't get much easier than that? There should be plenty written about it, plenty to quote and its easy to look at over a game to analyse it properly

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Essay Ideas...

I was thinking that video games have to be the way to go, seeing as I can't think of any visually good films to write about that I know well.

Possibly Final Fantasy 8, one of my favourite games. It's faiurly cinematic for a game and feels more like an interactive movie than a video game because of its nicely rendered characters, immersive movie sequences and impressive world design.

The only snag I can see is in research, aside from looking at reviews for the game and looking at pictures there's little analysis that I can make and back up with quotes...

Short of looking at films like Avatar I can think of nothing in particular

Film Review: King Kong (1933)

The original King Kong, shot in 1933 on a soundstage set the benchmark for 'big animal wrecks city' horror films and stilll resonates today with the likes of Cloverfield (2008) and even a 2005 CG remake by peter Jackson.

I quite enjoyed the film, both as a cheezy old film and as an example of awesome set work on a limited budget.

The best way to enjoy King Kong is to do away with predispositions and get in a 'campy' mood, a film certainly not meant to be taken overly seriously .Although impressive, King Kong himself is quite unrealistic but still makes a lasting impression that lasts through seven decades of remakes ans spin-offs. The story is "...the low-budget story of a beautiful, plucky blonde woman (Fay Wray) and a frightening, gigantic, 50 foot ape-monster as a metaphoric re-telling of the archetypal Beauty and the Beast fable" and so the viewer must approach the film, as Jean Cocteau asked of his take on the fable, with the mind of a child ready to believe the unbelievable. The locations on display were shot entirely within the confines of a soundstage, recylcing sets from previous films and is done remarkably well. I originally thought that Skull Island was shot on location, testament to the convincing nature and attention to detail in the set work.

One of the more disturbing aspects of the film is the strange texture on the King Kong miniature model. Roger Ebert mentions this in his review "Haver also observes how Kong's fur seems to crawl during several scenes; the model was covered with rabbit fur, and the fingers of the stop-action animators disturbed it between every stop-action shot. The effect, explained by the filmmakers as "muscles rippling," is oddly effective. " indeed it gives it a very real appearance, making Kong's fur look like it is bristling and moving convincingly with his motions. Little accidentals like this avoid the surgical nature of most CGI monsters, in aids the characterisation of Kong and helps to show that although by no means realistic, it is an idea of a giant life in action. Almar Haflidason in his review for the BBC said "What may surprise you about the film is the richness of Kong's character, which is due to the attention put into the special effects. Even more remarkable is the fact that most modern CGI-dominated monster flicks are unable to capture such characterisation" I think this has something to do with the computer control over how perfect a model is and can be. Imperfection is something that gives life and character to everything, from stop motion models to antique furniture. The effect of Kong's strange rippling fur, amazing attention to detail in both Kong's miniatures and the sets and world that the cast and miniatures roam give some deeply interesting visual and emotional development.

Kong's facial expressions and the effect of the light on his textured hide give a sense of living

There is also a great disparity between the false sets in King Kong and the CG world. Although both portray very realistic interpretations, indeed the film Avatar (2009) is arguably the greatest exaple of a realistic CG world. The buget work by RKO on a sound stage produces a very comparable and convincing world. It might even be that the lack of budget lead to the incredible resourcefulness of the design team to rework old sets into something new and entriely convincing.

Because nothing is holy ;)

Monday, 8 November 2010

@Phil -IOR Post-


So farI've been banging my head against a wall, losing time, getting distracted and generally failing to be productive despite trying.

I've done some thumbnails which I will scan into this post in the morning. There is some Photoshop work on the Uni computers that I'll also upload. I'm behind by three reviews. I haven't really thought about the essay question.

The solution I think will be to come into Uni all day everyday, thus I avoid distraction at home, get everything done in time.

Life Drawing- No Brief(s)

Just drawing:

Couldn't focus on the 2nd pose, everything was going wrong for 40 minutes

Life Drawing - Negative Space

Learning negative space, a fairly straight forward practice:

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Film Review: Metroplolis (1927) Dir. Fritz Lang

Alfred Abel                    As...     Joh Fredersen
Gustav Fröhlich              As...     Freder, Joh Fredersen's son
Rudolf Klein-Rogge        As...     C. A. Rotwang, the inventor
Fritz Rasp                       As...     The Thin Man
Theodor Loos                As...     Josaphat
Erwin Biswanger             As...     11811 - Georgy
Heinrich George             As...     Grot, the guardian of the Heart Machine
Brigitte Helm                  As...     Maria / The Robot

This is the third time I've watched Fritz Lang's Metropolis and each viewing has captivating as the first!

The review:

The far reaching impact of the groundbreaking film Metropolis is astounding, influencing films over eighty years ahead of it. Paul Brenner in his review for Filmcritic.com said "The film's influence can be felt in practically every science fiction film made since -- if you have any doubts, check out the City of Zion in The Matrix Reloaded or the Los Angeles of Blade Runner. Metropolis has become part of the great mass film unconscious." it is not hard to see why it has been so influencial when looking at the futuristic world that is portrayed. The amazing use of miniatures to show the advanced technology of Metropolis in great detail.

Hover car to H4... Aha! Checkmate!

The architecture shown in Metropolis is also amazing, the affluent utopian society living above the dystopian working population below creates an extrordinary dichotomy in both finish and style in the architecture. These two quotes, one from Film4 "The logic and politics of Metropolis, however, have proved secondary in importance to the incredible visuals of the film - the multi-layered architecture, the city airways filled with flying machines," and this quote from Nev Pierce in a review for the BBC "With its immense sets and stark lighting, the workers' city is a credible image of hell, while the overground landscapes were a seminal influence on all subsequent science fiction." highlight the fact that the imagery on display far outweighs the storyline and emphasises the way the scenery and portrayal of the futuristic world adds to the drama and captivates the mind of the audience and film makers alike.

New Babel, The seat of power in Metropolis

The hellish machines that the workers fuel with their own flesh (Actually a vision, the machine is much less Aztec)

The main point that the film drives at is of a mediator between head and hands, the ruling class and the working class. The tower in which the ruler, Joh Frederson lives is alikened to the Tower Of Babel but with a different spin on why it was created. Basically changing the biblical story of Babel from an act of human unity in language and will to an idealistic dictator commanding the work without sharing the vision with the workers. This reflects in the architecture as there is no inbetween, no mediation in the way things are designed. The workers quarters are built to be purely efficient and practical, way down at the bottom of the city as close to the entrace to the workshops and power generators whereas the upper level is decorated, spacious and light. When Joh is talking to the foreman of the workers (the only worker who can talk to Joh directly) in his office the windows are shuttered so that no natural light is seen by the foreman. The design of the automatic shutters and other technology in Joh's office also shows where the ruling power is.

I seem to have run out of ideas on this one...


"This metal lifts and separates."  ;)