Sunday, 30 November 2014

What if? Metropolis - Production Art - Houses

A much better version of my production art, this features only a small part of the model but highlights teh design pieces. This is work of the two houses situated on the left side of the picture, these houses replace the plants and rock face.

What if? Metropolis - Final Concept Piece

Figure 1 - The new final piece under construction.

Figure 2 - The final piece with the background art still in production

Figure 3 - The final finished piece

This is my final concept piece, I removed the plants and cliff on the left and replaced it with some dilapidated houses and on the advice of Simon added a bridge/walkway over the train track. I also put some more buildings into the background with varying opacity to simulate the appearance of distance.

I'm not sure tha the broken windows jutting out of the right work, they were an attempt to make the picture more surreal in keeping with Miro's style.

This should hopefully not be too difficult to do in Maya, texturing maybe difficult but modelling this set would be an interesting oppurtunity.

Friday, 28 November 2014

What if Metropolis? - 3D Concept work

 Just a few real brief pictures of a basic 3D model of my first concept piece, this does not include the improvements I have made in my recent pieces. The top most picture features two light objects; an ambient light an a directional light, I still need to figure out lighting properly.

 This shot below is of my scene with just ambient lighting, ambient lighting seems to work pretty well. I quite like this shot of my scene.

 Below is the basic composition of my scene, I have a few concerns : it'll take quite a lot to UV render the place, I feel that it'd be easier to copy and paste certain objects (such as the railway rails and plants) than to keep UV'ing objects. I feel that this is quite a good angle and after I put in the background city the place will look nicely cluttered.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Space Oddities Film Review - Black Narcissus

Black Narcissus

Black Narcissus is a 1947 film direct by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and stars British actresses Debroah Kerr, Flora Robson and Jean Simmons. The film centres around a group of anglican nuns who travel to a desolate monastery in the himalayas to set up a school and hospital for the locals.

From where we begin we are led to believe that the whole picture was actually filmed in the himalayas, in reality it was filmed within the confines of the Pinewood studios in England with some other shots filmed at the Leonardslee gardens in west sussex. This combination actually manages to create a startlingly realistic set.

Figure 1
The impressive drop in Figure 1 is actually the combination of a matte painting and a physical set, the drop is the matte painting and the bell platform the is the set.

The palace in which they nuns attempt to set up their school was not originally a monestary rather it was a harem for the local king and as such was filled with sexual imagery and other content inappropriate for the nuns. From there arrival the close bondage of the nuns and their vows of chastity begin to break down under the influence of the palace and the presence of British agent Mr Dean.

Living in such a sexually explicit palace is inappropriate for the chastity bound nuns of the church and seems to act as a trigger to resurface the troubled past of some of the nuns, from this we begin to learn of the true characters of the nuns. In a place where the strict church rules and safeguard of having the mother deacon remind them of their duties their integrity begins to falter.

Keith Uhlich of Time Out Magazine mentions in his review "You can fully sense the pervasive loneliness that entraps Sister Clodagh in distracting pangs of lost-love reminiscence, as well as the oppressive, sexually charged ambience that wreaks mental and metaphysical havoc on the frenzied Sister Ruth" (Uhlich, 2012). A possible idea to gleam from Uhlich's quote is how the palace and its locale puts the integrity of the nuns is put to the test as they are thrown into a strange and sensual world and how it reminds and almost amplifies their memoies of past relations. Uhlich mentions "sexually charged ambience", this could point to the sexual mages of the palace and presence of Mr Dean, alternatively it could also be the tension that manifests between Sisters Clodagh and Ruth over the attention of Mr Dean.

An important aspect of the film's production was the use of colour not just as a means of creating the exotic nature of the setting but also to convey the emotions of the nuns.

Figure 2
 We can see Sister Ruth observing Sister Clodagh and Mr Dean from a distance while bathed in shadows and orange light.

The use of colour helps to convey emotion by matching the mood to the colour not just by lighting but also by props and costume, for instance in the final scene where a near deranged Sister Ruth attempts to kill Sister Clodagh by pushing her off of the cliff Sister Ruth is dressed in a red robe while Sister Clodagh remains in her white nuns robes.

This could be a clash of more than emotion with the red robe symbolising love but also danger, action and blood, it could also befurther symbolic of Sister Ruth's fall from grace and abandondment of her vows. Sister Clodagh's white robes are symbolic of purity and integrity and how despite the temtpations around her she has remained true to her ideals.

FIgure 3
In Figure 3 we see Sister Clodagh inside the chapel hiding from a belligerent Sister Ruth, the lighting and colour have been toned down and project a sense of fear and uneasy tension.

Lighting is also a prominent part of the cinematography, as we can see in Figure 3 when combined with the soft, purple/pink colour it creates a tense situation. Kathleen Byron stated "He gave me half of my performance with the lighting" when talking about Michael Powell, the director of the film. The bright close ups of the nun's faces makes it easier for the audience to discern their emotions,  particularly those of sisters Clodagh and Ruth.

Figure 4
We see the faces of Sister Ruth and Sister Clodagh during the film, the lighting focuses solely on their faces and less on their clothes.

The combination of light, colour and its use of matte paintings helps to make Black Narcissus a striking piece in cinema though it it not remembered for its characters. Gary Morris of the British Light Film Journal states "Powell's heavy attention to the formal aspects of the film may have distracted him from the creaky plot, unnecessary subplots, and sometimes mediocre, soap-operaish acting" (Morris, 2001). In agreement with this is point is how despite the impressive qualities of lighting and cinematography the acting and story hold the film back, despite this the film still deserves praise and continues to be a significant achievement in the fields of lighting and colour.

Illustration List  
Figure 1
(N/A), 1947, black-narcissus.jpg [ONLINE], Available at: (Accessed 25th November 2014)

Figure 2
(N/A), 1947, psa-great-films-on-the-big-or-slightly-bigger-screen.html [ONLINE], Available at: (Accessed 25th November 2014)

 Figure 3
(N/A), 1947, blacknarcissus_color.jpg [ONLINE], Available at: (Accessed 25th November 2014)

 Figure 4
(N/A), 1947, 1940s-lipstick-Kathleen-Byron-in-Black-NarcissusC.jpg [ONLINE], Availanle at: (Accessed 25th November 2014)

Keithes Uhlich, 2012,black-narcissus-3 [ONLINE], Available at: (Accessed 25th November 2014)

Kathleen Byron, 1947, blacknarcissus.php#.VHTkecmji3U [ONLINE], Available at: (Accessed 25th November 2014)

Gary Morris, 2001, blacknarcissus.php#.VHTvi8mji3V [ONLINE], Available at: (Accessed 25th November 2014)

Monday, 24 November 2014

3D Animation - Lighting the cottage

This is the lighting of the pre-made model of the cottage, it didn't take too long but it was quite tricky to get a hold of the lighting. I might need to go through this again to get the hang of it.

Placing lights wasn't too difficult, quite a useful thing to know.

What if? Metropolis - Concept Art improvements

Following on advice from Phil and Simon from my OGR I removed the left side of the picture and changed it out for a dilapidated house. I still need to work on it a bit more. I also added a bridge like structure duing over the rail way. I'm also going to add some more refined background buildings and add some more details to the picture.

I need to start emphasising light and shadows and some perpsective.

Monday, 17 November 2014

What if? Metropolis - Thumbnails 93-106

A last series of thumbnails for me trying to get an angle for my final concept scene, I tried out the train station again and touched a little bit more on the market scene again. The market wasn't very successful, I like thumbnails 106 and 107 a lot however. I like the trees in the foreground and background.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

What if? Metropolis - Thumbnails 78-93

These thumbnails are for me to focus on my concept work by experimenting with particular scenes. A favoured idea at the moment is some kind of train station, I tried making different angles of this station and even including elements such as train track, a train and people.

I also tried out a slum underneath a highway with some broken houses and chain link fencing, I wanted to try including some smaller details and objects into my work.I am still finding it difficult to put Miro's 2D work into 3D.

Friday, 14 November 2014

3D Animation - Digital Set - Street

This is the digital set, I have yet to include the lantern in the street set. I found parts of this quite difficult but interesting, I found making the struts and the window quite difficult. It is however very interesting to see how sets and models are created especially when looking at animated films and games and thinking that they started in a similar fashion.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Space Oddities Fim Review - Edward Scissor Hands

Edward Scissorhands

Edward Scissorhands is a 1990 movie directed by Tim Burton and features Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands. The film's set has a deep clash between american sub-urban living and a complete fantasy setting, while the all-american family resides in a 1950s/1960. 

A reviewer from Time Out magazine (named CM) states; "With its skewed vision of suburbia" (CM, N/A), this reviewer could be talking about how the supposedly "perfect" lives of those living in the colourful houses beneath the castle are in fact facades of more ulterior aspects of life. For instance the routines and custom of the people are monotonous and the supposedly "friendly" neighbours constantly talk behind each others backs spreading lies and rumours. 

Rita Kempley of the Washington Post says "There on the edge of civilization, if suburbia can be so called" (Kempley, 1990), this could possibly be satirical of the idea of civilization, particularly suburban civilization. It could further expand on the idea that the model town is in fact corrupt and is on the surface happy but underneath is devoid of the morals and integrity that an "ideal" family should posses. 

Despite this the town is not entirerly corrupt as a kindly family take Edward in and despite the rumours and discrimination that eventually permeate from the neighbours they remain loyal and caring to Edward. In retrospect the outsider and stranger Edward was kind and gentle and although he was driven out by the townspeople he nevertheless does not sacrifice his integrity or morals in the face of such hostility.

Figure 1

In Figure 1 we can see the strange fantasy castle backdropped against the "ideal" american sub-urban housing.

Another notable aspect of the production is the laboratory or workshop of the inventor, far from the scientific looking apparatus of a modern scientific premesis it is a fantasy environment with strange machines with humanoid robotic components and odd looking devices abnormally large cogs.

Figure 2
Figure 2 shows the laboratory, this is clearly a fantasy environment but is fitting for the creation of a being such as Edward.

This strange environment could be symbolic of creation and how new things are often created in unorthodox ways or ways that break the mould, this symbolism could further expanded as the orthodox conservative town where behaviour and customs are the same clashes with the strange and different castle where things are made in barbaric ways.

The use of colours are also prevealent throughout the film, particularly to contrast between the suburban town and the castle.

Figure 3
The beautiful garden contrasts with the otherwise cold, eerie, grey castle.

Janet Maslin of the New York Times states; "This time, with production design by Bo Welch ("Beetlejuice") and cinematography by Stefan Czapsky, it involves bright colors in unlikely combinations, for instance, a lavender-suited Avon lady driving a dandelion-yellow car)" (Maslin, 1990), this statement is interesting as it could suggest multiple points. Why would the cars be a different (almost contrasting) colour to the owners houses? It seems out of place in a neighbourhood of such conformity. Alternatively the colours are all quite bland yet strong at the same time and aren't black or dull like the castle.

Another interesting note are the gardens; the only thing present in them are the lawns and hedges, both green, no other traces of colour; no life nor anything interesting, everything is uniform and complex, this could be another metaphor for conformity. According to Burton the idea behind creating such a suburban setting was not to criticise American suburban lifestyles but rather to highlight the integrity that exists in such an environment.

Figure 4
Figure 4 shows the bleached colours of the houses, everything is one colour or another, the cars are one colour and the houses spare not detail (even the garage doors are the same colour).

CM, N/A, edward-scissorhands [ONLINE], Available at: [Accessed on 5th November 2014]

Rita Kempley, 1990, edwardscissorhandspg13kempley_a0a0bf.htm [ONLINE], Available at: [Accessed on 5th November 2014]

Janet Maslin, N/A, /review?res=9C0CE2D81338F934A35751C1A966958260&partner=Rotten%2520Tomatoes [ONLINE], Available at: [Accessed 13th November 2014]

Illustration List
Figure 1
(N/A), 1990, e056eca4d0100a8b481ddf15096a4bca93f0c0.jpg [ONLINE], Available at: (Accessed 5th November 2014)

Figure 2
(N/A), 1990,  62795_0.jpg [ONLINE], Available at: (Accessed 12th November 2014)

Figure 3
(N/A), 1990, 3.-Edward-Scissorhands-Production-Designer-Bo-Welch.jpg [ONLINE], Available at: (Accessed 12th November 2014)

Figure 4
(N/A), 1990, edward-scissorhands-pastel-houses1.jpg [ONLINE], Available at: (Accessed 13th November 2014)

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

What if? Metropolis - Life Drawing

These top images are the first non-human life drawings that I have done at UCA, these were done quite loosely but I tried to incorporate some perspective and realism into the pictures. I like the colours that I've used in the pictures, I feel they work well together and give the pictures some life.

 The below pictures feature life drawing of a human subject, a clown (whose name I forget), as part of a halloween special drawing class. I always strive to be realistic when drawing humans by including realistic perspective, light and anatomy. I believe that the lowest picture worked out quite well in those respects.

Monday, 10 November 2014

What if? Metropolis - City Items


 Some basic items for my city, this is a pavement side lamp-post with two lights and simple straight lines for supports.

 This was done in order to give my city some context and to give the place a few bits of eye candy and detail.

This picture features a few different items, the rail like construction at the bottom is meant to be some kind of train track for transport, the other two objects just above are trees or planet life. The top objects are meant to be skyrail or cable car tracks.

Friday, 7 November 2014

What if? Metropolis - House Thumbnail

This thumbnail was based off advice from Simon about creating 3D structures from Miro's 2D work, he advised keeping the fluid outline of Miro's work while simultaneously keeping the coloured squares and dividing lines between the colours.

What if? Metropolis - Fissure Thumbnails

This is some more thumbnail work of my city, in this I wanted to explore more the city's structure and also explore more about the setting of the city. The grey parts of the picture are meant to be fissures as if the city was built on an earthquake or some kind of soft ground above a chasm.

I also drew a train line through the picture to demonstrate the transport systems of the city.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

What if? Metropolis - OGR

What if? Metropolis - Thumbnails 75-77

This is the last set of thumbnails, the top one (number 75, obscured by the blue) is meant to be a porch with a mountain view while numbers 76 and 77 are of a viewhole through some kind of vent or opening.

What if? Metropolis - Thumbnails 74

In this set of thumbnails I continue the building of a house idea, I also looked at my old idea of using blades to symbolise grass and a forest in thumbnails 63 and 64.

What if? Metropolis - Thumbnails 47 - 58

These thumbnails follow on my idea from the travelogue about people making their own houes out of coloured slabs. I like this idea a lot though I had to break away from the idea of using solid square and angular slabs since these don't really appear in Miro's work.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Space Oddities Film Review - La Belle et la Bête

La Belle et la Bête

La Belle et la Bete (The Beauty and the Beast) is a 1946 french adaptation of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. The production is notable for its set designs, particularly the fantastical design of the beast's castle. Roger Ebert states "The Beast's dwelling is one of the strangest ever put on film--Xanadu crossed with Dali. Its entrance hall is lined with candelabra held by living human arms that extend from the walls. The statues are alive, and their eyes follow the progress of the characters (are they captives of the Beast, imprisoned by spells?)" (Ebert, 1999).

 Ebert's quote highlights the strange nature of the palace; hands and arms used to hold the candles like etheral servants and statues whose faces come to life and watch the occupants of the palace as they go about their buisness. The castle is clearly not the stereotypical beasts lair but rather a more enchanted almost romantic place that feels as though it was once the edifice of nobility.

Figure 1
In figure 1 we can see the hands used to hold the candles in place on the walls and on the table.

The palace does not feel like the domain of some a monster, instead of it being some kind of dark, foreboding place the castle is well lit with big doors, stairs and ornament furnishings, it is clearly a palace for nobility. In figure 2 the beast carries the unconscious beauty through the castle amidst the romantic series of candles that litter the hallway.

Figure 2
The darkness is prevelant in Figure 2, the lighting is concentrated on the candles and the beast carrying beauty.

Michelle Aldredge examined the film and states "The film’s costumes and set designs were inspired by the illustrations and engravings of Gustave Doré (shown below), and the farmhouse scenes are an obvious nod to the paintings of Jan Vermeer. This sumptuous artwork is the perfect muse for Cocteau’s re-imagined fairy tale." (Aldredge, 2012). This is especially clear in the images by Gustave Dore, the very black and fantastical looking paintings look very similar to the films castle and help to portray a scene of darkness and unfamiliarty.
Figure 3
Figure 3 shows the maiden examining her surroundings or trying to escape from the enchanted castle.

Lola Landekic from the website "Art of the Title" writes "Cocteau, Clément, and their team succeeded in creating a cinematic jewel, one of those rare films that captures a true sense of enchantment." (Landekic, 2014), the film gives a great many magical elements and it is very clear in the production design and in the character of the beast himself who is a creature of fantasy.

Roger Ebert, 1999, great-movie-beauty-and-the-beast-1946 [ONLINE], Available at: [Accessed 28th October 2014]

Michelle Aldrege, 2012, jean-cocteau-beauty-and-the-beast/ [ONLINE], Available at: [Accessed 28th October 2014]

Lola Landekic, 2014, la-belle-et-la-bete/ [ONLINE], Available at: [Accessed 5th November]

Illustration List
Figure 1
N/A, (1946), s1600/b%26b.father.table.jpg [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 28th October 2014]

Figure 2
N/A, (1946), 1-beauty-and-the-beast-1946-granger.jpg [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 28th October 2014] 

Figure 3
Gustave Dore, (1695), jean-cocteau-beauty-and-the-beast/ [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 28th October 2014]

What if? Metropolis - Thumbnails 34-46

More thumbnails in an attempt to include some of Miro's work in them, I found creating ideas from his work challenging, I tried looking at some of his pictures such as the Escape Ladder (1940) and then forming buildings from it. I tossed around a few ideas on my travelogue such as a work place hangin over the edge of a cliff and having a highway or airborne tunnel where birds constantly fly through. One the last thumbnail I made up the idea of people building their own houses by hanging strips of coloured paper across their wireframe houses. I noted this idea in my travelogue.

I like thumbnails 39, 46, 42 and 34. I need to explore some of Miro's other work.

Monday, 3 November 2014

What if? Metropolis - Thumbnails 17-33

Another series of thumbnails, I'm not happy with the quality of most of them, I've found that my ideas aren't working out as well as I hoped and I think that I am a edging away from the the artists work. I do quite like 29 though; a bird..."highway" with plants on the right side and buildings on the left, could be an interesting idea. I created all of the thumbnails except 32 which was done by Jordan in class.