Friday, 31 October 2014

3D Animation - Common Shaders

So this is my attempt at creating common shaders, the process was quite tricky and it will probably take me more than one watch of the video for me to fully understand the process of shading objects. It is quite interesting though, it is cool to see the possibilities available for making objects look interesting.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

What if? Metropolis - Thumbnails 1-16

Some of my first initial thumbnails about my artist Joan Miro, I don't quite know yet how to incorporate his work into a city but I am exploring ideas like these. I quite like the orange in the backgrounds, I got the idea from a picture called the " The Tilled Field".

I also generated my own ideas such as a garden made out of triangle/spine like plants and an art gallery using yellow posters or banners as canvases. I might like to expaned on them but I need to look at more of his work.

What if? Metropolis - Travelogue

LOG - 1_
DATE: 29th OCTOBER 2014
LOCATION : Outside the city

"It's quiet out here and its getting dark, I am making my way towards the horizon, I can see a city. This could be a good place to lay low for a bit. I can't stay out here forever. I can see bright colours, is that really a city or am I hallucinating?"


LOG - 2_
DATE: 30th OCTOBER 2014
LOCATION : City Suburbs

"So made my first incursion into the city, not quite sure what to make of the place, lots of very colourful buildings and the place is littered with strange animals, found a garden full of pointed trees. There seem to be a lot of creatures scuttling around the streets, pets of some kind? Some eccentric owners around here."


LOG - 3_
DATE: 30th OCTOBER 2014
LOCATION : City Centre

"Found an art gallery, looks like a nice place, they're showing an exhibition of plant life here on yellow banners. Found it quiet interesting."


LOG - 4_
LOCATON: City Centre

"I moved on this afternoon to the city centre, the buildings here are quite cubish and employ a lot of strange shapes. Must've hired some fancy architect, the people here walk right past you without even saying a single word, it's like they can't even see me, maybe they're moving too fast. I like this part of the city nonetheless, feels a lot more exciting, a lot more interesting. If I look I can see some taller buildings amidst an underground subway like area, there are also signs towards a zoo. Maybe I'll visit one day."


LOG - 5_
LOCATION: Western Suburbs

"So I've moved onto another suburb, this time on the west of the city, the streets are quite basic with just houses and small forests lining the roads. The sun is setting now over the houses, it  looks very beautiful here. I can see some families having an evening party in one of the houses gardens, the aroma is intoxicating. They look like colourful people, I want to go over and sit with them but their treatment of me in the city centre makes me think they don't trust strangers."

"I don't know why but it feels like the weather will change soon."


LOG - 6_ 
LOCATION: Highrise structure, somewhere in the city south

"I've managed to get myself up a skyscraper and am looking down at the city, its night now and the lights are flourishing everywhere. I've found the buildings here look a little...odd. The buildings look like they've been cobbled together in some kind of set form using different shapes, the builders of this place must've made different designs for each sector of the city. I wonder why they've done that. The people here are different too, more friendly, they acknowledge you at least."

"This city is so colourful, even with all the different designs of the buildings it's still so full of bright colours. I like this place. Well the buildings at least."


LOG - 7_
DATE: 2nd November 2014
LOCATION: Greenhouse suburb

"Its now fast approaching 10pm and I've wandered into some kind of large greenhouse, if you can call it that. It is so large that it feels like a city in its own right. There is no noise here, nothing. No wind, no animals (at least from what I've heard) and no humans. I can hear my own heartbeat it's so quiet. Moonlight is shining through the window panes, it's oddly peaceful, it makes me think about things. I might stay here a while."


LOG - 8_
LOCATION: New Sector 

"I've left the greenhouse and have moved onto New Sector; a strange area of the city. The structures here are blob like and have strange appendages hanging off of them. Some of these structures have been made out of stone kind of hard material. Not quite sure what it is. Its cold out here but there are bright lights and the streets are littered with small strange holes almost like they belong to small animals. I need to tread lightly, this place doesn't seem safe."


LOG - 9_
LOCATION: City Edge 

"I have reached the edge of the city, or at least what I think the edge is. It's like a cliff edge with a sheer drop, some scattered wire structures leaping out from it. They look like industrial buildings. I can't see the floor, it's a sheer drop. I can see a few people around here, they appear to be mining something from the over the edges, I don't know what, it doesn't look safe. Found an old greasy spoon hanging over the edge, probably a stop off for the workers."

"I want to make my way back to the city centres, I saw a highway of some sort, it was suspended in the air, must go see what that's all about. It might enable me to access different parts of the city from there." 


LOG - 10_
LOCATION: Elevator 

"This place is new; it's like a big...tower, lift, strange thing. I call it the "elevator". I can't quite quantify what this structure is but it is obviously important, feels like some kind of industrial building. The workers here are like the people in the city; they ignore you, can't say I blame them, they're probably too busy watching over the machinery. I watch as cargo or something of the like is moved up and down, they seem to be moving large objects that look like sculptures, this place could be some kind of art repository. Maybe I can buy myself a souvenir from my travels here."


LOG - 11_
LOCATION: Building site, somewhere north

"Found an interesting new place here, some kind of building site but instead of being manned by builders it was manned by the people who own the houses, kind of like owners making their own homes. They had wire structures and were drapping coloured slabs over the wire to make a wall. It was deeply interesting to watch, I sat for a while observing this, the people didn't seem to mind me watching, they even seemed to welcome it like showing off their work."


LOG - 12_
LOCATION: Market place

"This place is massive, so busy and so much activity, I've already been bumped into about 5 times by busy customers, the smells and sights here are amazing. I can smell food and spices and...I don't know, something sweet. I'm not entirerly sure what the traders take for currency these days, they seem to exchange small stones as legal tedner, my wallet is full of nothing, I spent all my dimes on getting to this place. Maybe they'll take a shoe in trade?"

"The traders are moving their businesses, literally, right before my eyes, they pack up and move onto any spare spit of land or surface. Such a quickly changing place, it is so fun to be here!"


LOG - 13_
LOCATION: City limits

"I enjoyed the market, I even managed to do a black market deal for my jacket in exchange for some lapis lazuli, strange how things work out here but I'm not complaining. A passing trader even offered me alcoholic tea The time has come for me to leave, I'm making my way to the city edge and from there I will find the horizon. It'll be dark soon so I must go now."


Sunday, 26 October 2014

3D Animation - Pencil and Rubber

My work on one of Alan's Maya tutorials, I have managed to create the pencil and rubber. The process was painstakingly slow but was rewarding at the end, it is difficult to remember all of the shortcuts and sequences to create such characters.

It is strangely easier than I thought it'd be to create these characters.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Final Crit - Ersilia

Invisible Cities - Research

Who's Who - Yoji Shinkawa

One, Two and Three point perspective

This is a series of pictures depicting one, two and three point perspective drawing exercises.

The first picture depicts 3 point perspective using 3 individual vanishing points at different coordinates on the picture.

The second picture depicts 2 and 1 point perspectives, the top figure on the second picture depicts two point persepective with two vanishing points while the bottom of the picture depicts one point perspective with a single vanishing point.

I followed a drawing exercise from this website with 3 point perspective:

Final Pieces - Influence Maps

These are the influences that guided my work.

Figure 1
I was influenced by a game I play called S.T.A.L.K.E.R. which is set in Chernobyl, the game features locations such as an old village with broken down and ruined housing this served as an influence to my Interior shot. The jungle gym and spider webs influenced my Exterior shot particularly the structure of the city.

Figure 2
The market place was actually of a place in Italy, a town called Sorrento which served as inspiration for the Low angle exterior shot.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Ersilia - Exterior Low Angle Shot

My low angle exterior shot of Ersilia.

This picture shows an old market place in a quiet area of the city that was once bustling with activity, it now lies in ruins but the once colourful tents of the traders remain somewhat intact. The ruins of a wall or building of some kind remain along with the string attached to it.

Originally I had envisioned a large, spider-web like idea that had small holes, passages and streets running at strange angles. I didn't make the idea becaues stringing the place up with grey/white web didn't appeal, there would've been no colour or ideas.

My second and final idea was to make a "market" scene, I had been inspired by a holiday that I went on in 2013, I had visited Sorrento in Italy with my family and the town had a beautiful bustling market within filled with all manner of colours and intricate details. The stores in this picture are mere skeletons becaues the traders have moved on, I wanted to put some trading "theme" objects into the picture but couldn't really get the right objects in mind.

Figure 1
This is the finished picture without any squares or modifications.

Figure 2
This picture features the same squares technique that I used on the other pictures, It makes the place look that little bit more mouldy. I quite like the square idea though I feel that it can contrast quite sharply with certain pieces of the picture and remove some of the detail.

Ersilia - Exterior Angle

My exterior angle shot for Ersilia.

This picture shows a view over the city, the rest of the city is suspended in the air and attached like some giant balloon by the strings and ropes as if the relationships established are holding together two large distant communities. The city is quite bleak but the occasional spurt of coloured can be seen.

My first idea was a large spider-web like place with dark holes but it would've been white the whole way around and didn't conevy the ideas I wanted. I chose instead to just build a "regular" looking city with strings as the walls and stuctures, I like the idea of making it layered and having the city climbing up a hill, that seemed more interesting

Figure 1
This is the finished picture with its skeleton placed over it, the red object to the left was meant to be the "lovers house" concept but I found that it wouldn't have given me a good overall picture of the city and so I dropped it. 

Figure 2
This is the finished picture without any modifications, unlike my other two paintings I included some fantasy in the picture with the large floating mass above the city acting as a suspended city with the strings still connecting. I found it quite difficult to portray the highly complex relationships that I had originally envisioned, it would've taken too long to do portray them so I used coloured strings instead.

Figure 3
This final picture shows off the application of my square brush idea, I believe that it works well in this picture. I hadn't intended to make this picture appear mouldy but I still wanted to try out the square brush.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Ersilia - Interior Angle Shot

My interior angle shot of my chosen city: Ersilia. 

My interior angle features the remains of an attic of some kind, an old house. Lived in by a wealthy family with a wealth of relationships. As the inhabitants of Ersilia moved on so did this family yet they couldn't bear to see their loving home destroyed and taken down so they left it there to decay. The friendships and communities they formed however did not decay and stayed and even though some friendships wilted and died most of their relations remain intact, prehaps as if the inhabitants are going to return one day and live in their house again.

My first ideas was to create a whole enclosed wooden attic but that didn't feel close to the source material and I also had problems forming the string around it. My second idea was similar but instead I would make more of the structure out of string; planks of wood and beams would've been made out of string, however when trying to draw this the problems about how it would work and, once again, faithfulness to the source material also made me drop this idea. 

My last and chosen idea was to make the attic big and open and put string attached to the objects within it as if to symbolise the relationships.

Figure 1
This figure features the finished picture along with the black skeleton I created at the start to map out the picture and guide paint strokes and objects. The skeleton is very different in both perspective and ideas, I thought about putting a tent made of string into the attic as some kind of hideaway and also having plumbing valves in the background with light shining into the attic but it didn't seem "stringy" enough.

Figure 2
This is the complete picture without any modifications. I am quite pleased with the outcome, I like the colours and semi-realistic design that I have created. 

I wanted to highlight this feeling of decay so I chose some old, browny/grey colours on the wood and beams. The blue wood was meant to be reminiscent of happiness and life, symbolic of this idea of a "family home", I used red colours for the string to make it stand out and also make it feel strong and lively. The grey string represents the relationships that are dying or have died as some of the grey string is dead. 

The sun is quite dull, I didn't want the scene to be greatly happy or lively. A white/yellow sky also helped the darker and obscure mould colours stand out a bit.

The strange dark, rectangular objects poking out of the sides of the screen are meant to be wooden beams, I wanted to make it look like the viewer is actually in the attic looking over it. I had initially wanted to draw a door but at the size of the canvas that became too difficult.

Figure 3
This picture features the finished house but with several faint square brush blots on it, the lines for where the brush is placed on the picture are faint but noticeable. I quite like this effect, I also wanted to put more mouldy colour into the picture.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Rough Work - Exterior Angle

This piece is to show off the many poles and pipes used to make the city and enable the strings to be placed together. I also added a little backstory to help me keep the mood of the place.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Colours - Interior Angle Shot

Colour Testing - Interior Angle Shot 
 This is a series of pictures of the interior angle of my city, these pictures are an extension of the earlier idea of the shot being set inside an attic or loft of some kind.

The picture on the left is of the attic with an open window. There is a door in the foreground of the picture. I quite like this idea, coming into a room as if the viewer was actually on site. There isn't much detail to the picture, the finer details have been left out for now.

I wanted to test out some different colours on each picture to see what effect they would give.
I applied a soft green colour layer to this to give it a more mouldy look, I don't think it quite achieved that but I still would go for the idea.

 I'm not sure why I tried out the red colour. Probably just to give a range of colours for the pictures. I'm not sure red suits these pictures or the theme.

I applied a yellow filter to project a specific setting. Morning was the proposed setting, I imagined a yellow sunrise coming over this abandoned city. Come to think of it, that idea seems quite good.

I quite like the idea of a mouldy looking colou attached to the picture, it would be symbolic of decay of the homes that people of the city have left behind and possibly, in an even deeper symbolism, the relationships that they have left behind as well. The idea of having a yellow sunrise is also quite appealling, I can imagine faint yellow rays coming through the windows of buildings.

Rough Work - Interior Angle Shot

Just a very quick 10 second picture, more of an idea that any finished work. This was meant to be an interior shot featuring a ruined attic of somekind with light and strings coming through the windows. The attic was abandoned and wet from constant raining and weathering, it would've looked good mouldy and stagnant.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Film Review - 2001: A Space Oydssey

2001: A space oydssey

This review examines Stanley Kubricks film; 2001: A space oydsse. The film is presented in separate "stages" with the first being the "dawn of man", the second being the jupiter mission and lastly the strange, hallucination like stage.

The exact story of the film is hard to piece together and is open to many interpretations, while the dawn of man segments and jupiter mission follow a linear storyline. "The film, in fact, might be best described as a factual philosophical speculation, rather than as the drama it sets out as but never develops into: and like all good speculations, it leaves the spectator up in the air with a tantalising vision as food for thought." (Milne, 2010). This point seems to demonstrate the nonlinear storyline and how it is ultimately up to the viewer to find meaning or understanding within the story. In agreement with Milne's quote despite the fact that drama is present in the film it is possible that the motion picture is more philosphical in nature, prehaps on the nature of man and his existence.

Figure 1
The strange and unquantifiable coloured swathes in which the viewer, and presumably David Bowman, witness upon contact with the monolith.

A noticeable aspect of the films plot is about humans, particuarly the aspect of human life and aging. During the later stages of the film we see the main character David Bowman coming into contact with an alien monolith, he then witnesses the strange colourful screen of Figure 1 before awakening in an ornate bed chamber watching progressively older versions of himself performing relatively boring tasks like eating and sleeping. This could be a comment on the inevitability of age and how the man is powerless to stop it.

Figure 2
The alien monolith is discovered by the apes during the first segment of the film.

A central aspect of the film are the strange alien "monoliths" present in each stage. The alien Monoliths are mysterious in all aspects; their creators are uknown, their purposed is unknown and their reasons for being are unknown. According to the film the Monoliths emit a strong magnetic field and one particular specimen has been transmitting a strong signal towards Jupiter. The Monoliths are depicted as large, black matte rectangular, domino like objects.

Their effects on humans are equally unknown and their presence could be viewed as either hostile or beneficient. During the course of the film a team inspects a Monolith found on a distant planet and when standing in front of it for a picture are shocked by a violently loud noise causing them to collapse in pain. Yet at the same time when the apes discover the monolith during the first segment of the film they learn to use bones as weapons against a hostile neighbouring ape tribe.

Figure 3
The space bus approaches the orbital space station above earth.

One particularly influential aspect of the film is its scientific accuracy and its portrayal of space travel. "The special effects techniques Kubrick pioneered were further developed by Ridley Scott and George Lucas for films such as Alien and Star Wars. 2001 is particularly notable as one of the few films realistically presenting travel in outer space" (Kazan, 2009). This statements supports the idea that Kubricks portrayal of space travel and the props used in his film were realistic. During the scenes filmed in outer space there is no sound, this is realistic as in outer space there is no medium or atmosphere to transfer sound.

The use of music in the film is also acclaimed, Kubrick wanted the space scenes to be dialogue-free instead relying on soundtrack to convey feeling. The film plays the famous songs; Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Richard Strauss and An Der Schonen blauen Donau by J.Strauss. "the waltz with its musical pap gains a greater aesthetic drama when thrown into the equation of technology in the darker reaches of space. The waltz also acts as "muzak — ‘happy-music’ for space travellers" (Roberte, N/A). As Roberte points out the music is "happy" and suits the soft, floating almost dreamy nature of the space travel depicted in the film. Since the scenes in space have no sound effects or dialogue the music takes precident and delivers an almost daydream like experience to the viewer.

Tom Milne, 2010, space-odyssey-review-science-fiction [ONLINE], Available at: [Accessed 15th October 2014]

Casey Kazan, 2009, ridley-scott-science-fiction-is-dead.html [ONLINE], Available at: [Accessed 16th October]

 Darius Roberte, N/A, 0108.html [ONLINE], Available at: [Accessed 16th October]

Illustration List
 Figure 1
N/A, (1968), 936full-2001-a-space-odyssey-screenshot.jpg [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 16th October 2014]

Figure 2
N/A, (1968), 08_monolith-2.jpg [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed on 15th October 2014]

Figure 3
N/A, (1968), /2001 - Space Station.jpg [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 16th October 2014]

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Film Review - King Kong


This film review studies the 1933 film King Kong directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B.Schoedsack. The story follows an ambitious film maker Carl Denham who attempts to make a film of a lifetime by sailing off to a lost island known as Skull Island, he takes with him unemployed dancer Ann Darrow as his leading lady who soon becomes the interest of Jack Driscoll, the first mate on-board their boat. Upon making landfall they discover a native people who kidnap and sacrifice Ann to the great ape that lives on their island. Kong becomes infatuated with Ann yet is captured when Driscoll and the crewmen lead a rescue attempt, Kong is taken back to New York where he becomes "The Eigth Wonder of the World", yet he soon escapes and rampages across New York, upon finding Ann he climbs to the top of the empire state building and is killed by US Air force planes.

Figure 1
Figure 1; the iconic image of King Kong battling US Air Force planes atop the Empire State building.

The film evokes a of typical attitude of the 1930s; the natives present in the film are portrayed as being barbaric and aggressive; "the film offers up a disturbing portrait of the dominant white racial ideologies of the time, implying that the idea of America (as represented by Manhattan’s iconic topography) would be destroyed if the black man were given total freedom" (Morley, 2010), this is reinforced in the film where the natives have a seemingly African culture with tribal weapons, dances and a tribal appearance. Skull Island could be a reference to an untamed, wild country or continent, possibly Africa or another part of the world. This point likely highlights the racial attitudes of the 1930s.

Figure 2
We can see in Figure 2 the natives and their portrayal.

The theme of masculinity is prevalent in the film; the strong yet silent white hero Jack Driscoll saves the helpless damsel (Ann Darrow) from the vicious monster (Kong). In addition the theme of black masculinity is also present, "I would argue that the stereotypical representation of the sexually aggressive black male was merely transformed into another stereotype, namely the non-threatening, desexualized noble negro; the latter no longer possesses any evil character traits but is nonetheless destructed in his inferior weakness in order to restore white womanhood to its pedestal and reinforce white capitalist male power structures" (Lewis, 2004). In agreement with this point it seems that Kong depiction as a "sexually aggressive black male" is portrayed on the film, particularly by his treatment of Ann. In one scene Kong rips the clothes and toys with Ann which seems to portray this sexual aggressivness. It is also likely that the film does not attempt to promote racial equality through its portrayal of black and white people, for instance the white people, even the "bothersome" woman (Ann) are still depicted as being superior.

Figure 3
King Kong tries to wrest a giant tree branch holding the crew from its perch and plunge them into the chasm. 

The special effects of the film where unprecedented for their time and many praised the film for it. The massive scale of Kong would've made it impractical during that era to build a life size robot of him, instead the producers used stop motion animation using a small 18-inch model. The crew used a simple technique of stop-motion; posing a model, taking a picture and then reposing it. Such a technique is painfully slow but enables inanimate objects to be moved with believability. "O'Brien was able to give the mechanical puppet a personality with which audiences were able to identify." (Krystek, 1996). In agreement with this point it seems that the Kong model was done with such skill that it became more than just a puppet, it became a character in its own right with its own history, personality and story.

King Kong also utilised multiple screensets to enable the large action scenes present in King Kong to come to life. "In rear projection previously shot footage is projected onto a translucent screen from the rear while additional action is photographed in front of the screen. This allows a model Tyrannosaurus Rex to menace Fay Wray as she sits in a full, sized tree in front of the screen" (Krystek, 1996). This technique meant that the large model animals could interact with the humans even though they were both on different scales. 

 JC Morely. 2010. [ONLINE]  Available at: [Accessed 15th October 2014)

Natalie Lews. 2004. cooper-s-king-kong-1933-black-masculinity-between-white-womanhood-and [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 15th Ocober 2014]

Lee Krystek. 1996. kingkong.htm [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 15th October 2014]

Illustration List
Figure 1
N/A, (1933), King-Kong-1933-king-kong-2814496-2400-1891.jpg [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed on 15th October 2014]

Figure 2
N/A, (1933), KingKong_059Pyxurz.jpg [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed on 15th October 2014]

Figure 3
N/A, (1933), king-kong-shaking-humans.jpg [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed on 15th October 2014]

Monday, 13 October 2014

Exterior Angle Shot

A potential exterior angle shot. Very quick, simple work, skeleton frame work.

Thumbnails - Ersilia Concept - Enemies

This piece was drawn out of the idea that not all relationships are necessarily friendly, I tried to demonstrate a hostile relationship, arch enemies or feuding people in this picture. They both protect their land using high walls and barbed wire coils, yet their hatred of each other connects them. The wire with blood on it and the dagger demonstrating their hostile connection. The bullet casings on the floor suggest that their hostility is not passive and they actively exchange hostilities across the street regardless of the passerby.

I like this idea but I found that I wasn't able to drum up any string like ideas or items about hostility or hatred without it tearing away from the original idea of string. The orange streak at the top was unintentional. In the anthology it mentions that the people of the city disassemble their homes and rebuild them in new places, I tossed around the idea that these particular tenants do not disassemble their homes, rather they leave them standing, probably due to the fact that if one was take his home down the other would attack him during the process.

Thumbnails - Ersilia Concept - Lovers house

This was a really quick concept idea that occurred to me during a Photoshop session, the idea being that in the city of Ersilia a young couple, deeply in love, decided to construct their house out of string, a real romantic, small place which they could live out happily. But their relationship, through infidelity or unfaithfulness tears them apart and the house decays along with it. The red coloured string is torn into blackness with a big hole in the house, symbolizing the destruction that has been caused in their relationship. It now lies in ruins, a memento of love gone sour.

I tried to use the red colour to evoke the theme and to some extend the mood, the red being of the heart and love with the black being darkness and death (as in the death of their relationship). I quite like this idea, it would need work and I'd quite like to expand on it sometime.

Friday, 10 October 2014

3D Animation - Maya Surface Eggcup

This is an eggcup I made using Maya software, this particular design was made using surface curves. I found this method to be quite interesting, it certainly opened up a few potential opportunities for model making. This technique could be very useful to create specific models or to potentially make drawings on a 2D plane and then turn them 3D using this method.

I still need to get used to quite a few parts of the software but the tutorials have been immensely helpful in getting me used to the Maya controls. This tutorial in particular for basic model making.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Invisible Cities - Thumbnails 122-130

Invisible Cities - Thumbnails - Adobe Photoshop CC
122 - 126 - Fedora 127 - 130 - Isaura

A series of thumbnails based on abstracts from Calvino's Invisible Cities, these depict the city of Fedora where the city is constructed in ones own desire and image, it also depicts the city of Isaura where wells and buckets are worshipped.

Worshipping the water and buckets was a little tricky to draw, I touched on the idea of wells by using simple holes and shrines. The first thumbnail (122) was inspired by the Citadel from Half Life 2, I wanted to use different colours to draw different cities that some people may mould.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Film Review - Metropolis


This review examines Fritz Lang's 1927 film; Metropolis, in particular its design, plot and characters. Metropolis features a city of epic proportions with innumerable citizens with an "underclass" and "eliteclass". The workers live in squalor maintaining the massive machines underneath the city while the elite live in luxury enjoying leisurable activities.

Figure 1
Anthony Quinn of the Independent mentions in a review; "a nightmarish projection of humanity forced to operate as machines" (Quinn, 2010). The machines that power Metropolis are horrible, large devices that require constant attention and care and no attempt is seemingly made by the management to make the machines easier to use or mainatin with the men working them having to maintain them for seemingly hours at a time without rest. It is possible that the film depicts the social status and worth of the working class who are little more than drones who work and then sleep with little hope or future. "Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927) and Triumph des Willens (Leni Riefenstahl, 1934), two important German films separated by almost a decade, one is reflection of society’s desire to break class ranks and seek equality within a fascist state." (Boland, 2010). The scene depicting the workers and in particular the workers being fed to the machine bears a vague yet grotesque resemblence to jewish prisoners in the concentration camps during WW2.

This raises the question of whether the film speaks about political themes such as capitalism or exploitation, during the time of this film Nazisim was on the rise and Metropolis exemplified the notion of revolution and classess society, it is true that in 1937 Nazi propoganda minister Joesph Goebbels offered Lang a top place in the German Cinema Institute which Lang refused.

Figure 2

Figure 2 depicts Maria being turned into a robot, this scene is iconic in science fiction.
"The sequence in which Rotwang, the inventor, manufactures a double of Mary is put forth in a startling fashion" (Hall, 1927) in agreement with this point is that the scene in which Mara is transformed is quite fantastical making use of special effects and an inspiring set design.

The films humble plot of a love story soon delves deep into the hearts of several of the characters, the protagonist; Freder becomes infatuated with a girl Maria who is in fact a beacon of hope for the oppressed workers. Freders infatuation brings him into conflict with his father who orders Maria captured by the deranged scientist Rotwang and turned into a robotic humanoid in order to sow discord and chaos in the worker ranks and quell their hope of freedom. The situation degrades rapidly and revolution enses, ironically the working masses are so easily swayed, instead of being freed from slavery to make their own lives they have simply been manipulated by yet another figure who practically enslaves them yet again. They follow orders willingly without pause or question even when asked to carry out atrocities.

Figure 3

"The actors give typical silent-film performances, full of exaggerated expressions and broad gestures, but they express their characters' fragile humanity despite these mannerisms." [Jardine, 2010]. As Jardine points out the actors live in a silent film, that being said their actions and expressions show their respective personalities. Maria represents hope and innocence while Freder portrays courage and morality. The insane Rotwang has become epitomical of the mad scientist stock character. Even the mob portrays a personality of anger and naivety.


Anthony Quinn. 2010. metropolis-pg-2075116.html. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6th October2014].

Mordau Hall. 1927. review?res=9A05E2D8143BE13ABC4F53DFB566838C639EDE. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4th October 2014]

David Jardine. 2010. metropolis-germany-1927-fritz-lang-set.html [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6th October 2014]

Illustration List
Figure 1
N/A, (1927), 1424.jpg [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed on24 September 2014].

Figure 2
N/A, (1927), 156876-science-fiction-metropolis-1927.jpg [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed on 6th October 2014]

Figure 3
N/A, (1927), 43254-hi-tcm_metropolis.jpg [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed on 6th Octorber 2014)

Invisible Cities - Thumbnails 106-121

Invisible Cities - Thumbnails - Adobe Photoshop CC

106 - 112 - 113 - 116 - 117 - Diomira
114 - 118 -121 - Ersilia

A series of thumbnails based on abstracts from Calvino's Invisible Cities, these depict the ornamental city of Diomira and the string clogged city of Ersilia. Both cities presented their own challenges though the blocky, structural nature of Diomira made it easier to draw since imagining the city's design was easier. Ersilia was quite good to draw, the use of string to symbolise relationships makes for an interesting and original idea. It could be quite good to draw and elaborate on.

I think that Ersilia may be the city or at least one of the cities that I shall fully consider for my final pieces.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Invisible Cities - Thumbnails 90-104

Invisible Cities - Thumbnails - Adobe Photoshop CC

90 - 104 - Anastasia

A series of thumbnails based on abstracts from Calvino's Invisible Cities, these thumbnails depict the city of Despina. A city pitched between the desert and the sea where the eye is decieved into thinking that a paradise awaits on either side.

The first 8 thumbnails were simple 1-5 minute works whereas the last 8 works took longer. These thumbnails depict warm colours to help evoke the supposed paradise the seemingly awaits each party as the look across the horizion. I was particularly interested in showing the crates full of valuable items, they gave the possbility of using bright and nice colours.

2D Animation - Faces

A 2D animation in which we each animated our classmates faces using pencil and animation paper. Transforming heads into other heads was quite difficult considering the different drawing skills and styles that each peson holds. A particular challenge was ensuring that we spread the design over the 10-12 sheets that we got.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Invisible Cities - Thumbnails 75-89

Invisible Cities - Thumbnails - Adobe Photoshop CC

75 - 89 -Agria

A series of thumbnails based on abstracts from Calvino's Invisible Cities, these depict the underground city of Agria. Initially these were all colour pictures but one of the tutors turned the colours grey in order to better emphasize distance and fore and background colours. He suggested using black and white in order to show the difference between background and foreground. I experimented with this in thumbnail 83 and 84.

It was difficult to produce an undergound city, my thoughts were clogged with thick, mud filled streets and houses. I turned to a more cave like look and towards the end experiment with more square, abstract shapes. My last thumbnail depicts a Tomb Radier influenced scene of some kind of underground temple.