Friday, 30 January 2015

Storyboard - Final - Comments/Advice Appreciated

So this is my storyboard, not nearly finished at all, just the start. I am trying to condense the plot so that it doesn't feel too complicated while also not leaving out too many key things. Any comments or advice/improvements would be appreciated.

2D Animation - Flash

This is just a quick 2D flash animation about a stick, the balloon in the video bursts and then turns into a dog, it needs some work.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Revised Story

After taking some much needed inspiration from Phil this is my new story.

A teenage brother picks on his younger sibling who promtply retaliates and flees from the brothers anger. After escaping into town the boy discovers an old joke shop and he enters. He encounters the shops owner who introduces him to the back of the store where the best "tricks" are kept.

The boy enters the back of the store and is captured by the store keeper who pushes him into a machine which captures the boy, the shopkeeper reveals himself to be an alien lifeform who captures children, turns them into butterflies and sells them across space to other aliens by bottling them up and using a alien mosnter device to "bounce" them into space. A client is already waiting for his product. The boy however manages to escape just in time and he utilises several stolen joke shop items to outwit the alien robotic store owner who tries to attack him. The boy tricks the store owner into his own machine and blasts him off into space.

The boy escapes and confronts the alien buyer who, after losing his product and supplier, offers to pay the boy in return for some "merchandise" of another sort, the boy flees in fear and the buyer escapes.

Life Drawing - Wednesday 28th January

These are a series of life drawings that I did using yellow, red, pink and brown pastels as well as pencil and some brush tip pens. I like the last two drawings and also like the shading effect I've done.

Monday, 26 January 2015

3D Animation - Maya - Contra Zoom

The Contra Zoom tutorial, quickly done and quite a nice effect especially with he spinning blue background.

3D Animation - Maya - Car Skid/Crash

This is the final compilation of clips from the car skid tutorial. The quality could be better.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Story Telling Film Review - Psycho

Psycho is a 1960's film directed by Alfred Hitchcock featuring Anthony Perkines and Janet Leigh, the film is about a woman who takes money and flees into the desert, she is quickly killed by the insane owner of a motel and the film continues about the struggle to find her.

Psycho is proably the most famous of Hitchcock's films and a well known film in general even some 50 years after it's release. It continues to be a film with significant cultural value especially concerning the controversy it caused regarding the violence and nudity expressed in the film.

Hitchcocks use of psychological and Freudian sexual themes is common in his films, particularly in Psycho where the antagonist; Norman Bates, has a split personality being both himself and his dead mother.

Keith Uhlich of Time Out writes; "But he eventually illuminates her crisis of conscience: "We all go a little mad sometimes," the young man observes, inspiring Marion to renounce her kleptomania and take a cleansing shower. Then Mother shows up." (Uhlich, 2010) Uhlich's review highlights the psychological themes that Hitchock is famous for, even more so in the film Psycho which depicts the antagonist Norman Bates as suffering from a multiple personality disorder as he takes on the identity of his mother. The use of psychological themes is a key factor as it helps to twist the story, is only later in the film do we discover that Bates is actually his mother this shocks the audience both physically and mentally as the seemingly normal Norman Bates is transformed into something nightmarish.

Figure 1 - "Norma" Bates stabs Marion
The infamous "shower" scene depicts the murder of Marion Crane by Normans mother, the scene is famous because of its violence and nudity. During the 1960s films were censored to a much greater extent than they are in the modern period and as a result this scene was particularly controversial. To a modern audience who will have likely seen films with much greater violence and nudity the shower scene will probably not be as shocking nor realistic yet in the 1960's it was indeed a highly shocking moment and probably one of the most iconic scenes in cinema.

Norman's mother is another pivotal aspect of the film, it is mentioned in the ending of the film and in dialogue with Norman that she is abusive. Despite this the audience never physically sees her until the later stages of the film and only hears her voice, this maintains the illusion that she is living and is actively murdering people. Only later when the clues finally come out and when Norman attacks Marion's sister do we see that it is in fact Norman who is killing.

Delving into a analytical look at the film one could compare some of the characters to Freud's "Iceberg" theory about the conciouscness. Marion represents the impulsive and uncontrolled Id who steals the money on a moments notice to make her life better, while her sister Lila is the super-ego and strives to find out what happened to her sister representing the drive for justice and morals. Sam Loomis represents the mediating boyfriend who wants to find out what has happened to Marion but also strives to hold her accountable for her crimes. Although it is unlikely that Alfred Hitchcock would've crafted his characters in accordance with this idea it is interestin to ponder, especially given Hitchcock's use of psychological themes in his films.

Figure 2 - Close up of Marion driving

The camera focuses with close ups on both Norman and Marion (as in the above picture when she is driving), this helps the audience to see their emotional states, it helps the audience to sympathise with them.

Sympathy is an important aspect of Psycho as the audience identifies with several of the characters, the audience for instance identifies with Marion after learning of her struggle for a better life and her willingness to return the money she stole.  Dave Kehr of the Chicago Reader states; " Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 masterpiece blends a brutal manipulation of audience identification and an incredibly dense, allusive visual style to create the most morally unsettling film ever made." (Kehr, N/A). In agreement with Kehr's statement is the idea of manipulating the audience to sympathise with several characters, the audience also sympathises with Norman Bates (figure 3) who chaffes under the supposed stranglehold of a dominating, emmasculating mothe despite the fact that he is the antagonist. 

Figure 3 - Norman reels in horror

Prehaps what makes the film's story so believable is it's characters and their actions, Roger Ebert points out in his review; "The setup involves a theme that Hitchcock used again and again: The guilt of the ordinary person trapped in a criminal situation" (Ebert, 1998), the story is not the product of someone who dreams of a romantic story of crime, sex and horror with semi-realistic characters rather it is a relatively simple tale of a "normal" person who commits wrong and subsequently becomes entangled in a horrifying nightmare.

The characters come from backgrounds that the audience can relate too, for instance Marion works in an office while Norman works in a hotel, two professions that many people also share. When Marion is attacked by the seemingly normal Norman it throws into question how could this happen? How could a normal person become so violent and crazy. This however could also be the genius of Hitchock's film as Norman Bates states himself; "We all go a little mad sometimes".

Dave Kehr, N/A, [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 25th January 2015]

David Uhlich, 2010, [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 25th January 2015]

Roger Ebert, 1998 [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 25th January 2015]

Illustration List
Figure 1 - Alfred Hitchcock, 1960, psycho.jpg.CROP.promovar-mediumlarge.jpg [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 20th January 2015]
Figure 2 - Alfred Hitchock, 1960, 0182.jpg [ONLINE] [Accessed 25th January 2015}

Figure 3 - Alfred Hitchock, 1960, Psycho.jpg [ONLINE] [Accessed 25th January 2015]

Friday, 23 January 2015

2D Animation - Blob Seesaw

So this is a continuation of the Blob animation, this time we get to see the little seesaw that the blob has found, poor little splat gets hit with a ball before sliding off, I quite like the pacing of this animation.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Story Telling Film Review - Rope

Rope is a 1948 film by Alfred Hitchcock starring John Dall and Farley Granger as two young men who have engage in a murder only to be uncovered following their audacious celebration disguised as a party.

The film begins with two young men Brandon (John Dall) and Phillip (Farley Granger) committing the murder of apparent close friend David (Dick Hogan) as an act of stimulation, whereas Phillip is immediately regrettful Brandon is exhilirated by the act calling it an"art" and proclaiming his superiorority and the right to play God within the rest of society. He audaciously holds a party in a covert elebration of such an act but this combined with his arrogance, Phillip's poor nerves and the prying of a friend  ultimately contribute to their demise.

The chest that contains the body of David is central to the plot as Brandon uses it to hold the dinner items from which several people take food from seemingly without knowing. The camera focuses on the chest only when people become suspicious of it, this feels like it keeps the tension at bay until the questions about David's disappearance become more prying and serious.

Vincent Canby of the New York Times states; " It swoops and pries about the set, moving from close-ups to long shots to medium shots, with a kind of studied indifference. One high point: While the guests are discussing something of no great moment just off- screen, the camera, catlike, stares at the chest as the maid gets ready to put some books back into it, unaware, of course, that the chest is already fully occupied." (Canby, 1984) In agreement with this quote is the point about the camera staring at the chest, the tension builds as the guests discuss David's absence and just before the Maid can open it she is distracted. The camera also remains in a single secquence as if to give the film continuous action.

 Figure 1 - Brandon decides to move the dinner service onto the chest.

Brandon's idea to move the items onto the chest containing David is intentionally risky and is meant to further stimulate himself and Phillip as the guests enjoy food off the grave of a dead man. An obscure but interesting observation about Brandon is his blue suit, all of the other guests wear either grey or faint maroon suits, whether this is done intentionally or within the film to single him out is not known.

There are a few clues as to where Brandon's murderous ideas come from; during the course of the film we meet a prep-school teacher by the name of Rupert who discusses his theories about murder, Brandon gleefully approves of such theories and goes on to nominate himself as a suitable candidate for such powers. There could be some friction between Brandon and Rupert as both appear to be quite dominating characters, since Rupert was Brandon's dorm-master during prep-school it is quite possible that Brandon desires to impress or even become more powerful than Rupert by committing murder. This however is part of their downfall as when the body is discovered Rupert has an epiphany about his theories and becomes disenchanted with his ideals.

Figure 2 - Rupert questions Phillip
David M. Keyes of Cinemaphile notes in his review; "And the most famous of the Hitchcock gimmicks – what I like to refer to as “the incriminating object” – is used to great skill here to further the advancement of necessary revelations (first with the rope being used to tie up a stack of books, and later when Rupert stumbles upon David Kentley’s monogramed hat in the coat closet)" (Keyes, 2014). In one of the scenes Rupert questions Phillip, there is a metronome ticking in the background as the tempo of the monotone increases so does the energy of the conversation culminating in Rupert's assumption that something wrong has occured. Some items in the film (such as the rope) are used to elicit a reaction, such as Phillip's reaction when he sees the rope being used to bind books, this further causes the movie to escalate and helps to move the relatively fluid plot along.

Figure 3 - Brandon and Phillip converse
Brandon and Phillip share a close (probably homosexual) relationship, despite this it is clear that Brandon is the more dominating one. Phillip rarely gets his way with Brandon exercising his will without resistance. Phillip tries to be cautious though his nerves ultimately contribute to the failure of their plan and Brandon tries to cover by inventing bogus excuses for Phillips irrational behaviour later on in the film.

 It is clear in the start of the film that their relationship is slightly rocky however later on it becomes openly strained and Phillip begins to dissent.

Another interestin aspect of the film is the skyline, despite its dynamic and impressive 3D aspect it is in fact a set construction. Emanuel Levy of Cinema 24/7 states: "Hitchcock constructed a set that encompassed 35 square miles of skyline, including such landmarks as the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. The skyline included an ad for Reduco, featuring a before and after silhouette of Hitchcock; a similar gag was also used in a newspaper in “Lifeboat.” (Levy, 2007). As mentionted above the backdrop has a 3D aspect about it this makes the set more believable. Since the film takes place in full view of the backdrop it is something that cannot be ignored, the fact that the backdrop changes from evening to night is impressive, during the latter stages of the film when the crime is being uncovered a red/green advertising light flashes out, this gives a more dynamic and energetic effect to the scenes.

Vincent Canby, 1984, [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 16th January 2015]

David M. Keyes, 2014 [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 18th January 2015]

Emanual Levy, 2007, [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed on 19th January 2015]

Illustration List
Figure 1 - Alfred Hitchcock, 1948, Rope-pic-1.jpg [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed14th January 2015]

Figure 2 - Alfred Hitchcock, 1948, Rope_US_005015.jpg [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 18th January 2015]

Figure 3 - Alfred Hitchcock, 1948, hqdefault.jpg [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 19th January 2015]

Story Ideas/Comments/Feedback appreciated

So I got allotted a Butterfly Hunter, a Trampoline and a Joke Shop, what a motley gaggle of things. This wasn't to easy to glean stories from, quite a bit of creativity is needed when the 3 items given can or cannot be easily associated with each other. I've managed to make some 3 ideas from it.

STORY 1 (Special thanks to Emma Morley for the inspiration!)
A young child lives in a joke shop with his/her father, they are bored with life stuck inside a joke shop which is slowly losing buisness. One day upon witnessing a butterlfy flying through the window they become intrigued and follow it out into the overgrown garden, after capturing the butterfly the child sees it is made of paper and every weekend begins to capture more butterflies. Eventually the child cannot reach more butterflies because they are too small. That is until she captures enough money butterflies to buy a small trampoline to capture the butterfiles higher up. Eventually she discovers that some butterflies are fragments of a map and she resolves to piece together the map pieces by capturing more butterflies.

These paper butterflies consist of all kinds; some are made of money bills, others are comic pages, some are boring like instruction manuals and newspaper papers.

A aeroplane flying hunter is low on his luck, having hunted rare animals to near exctinction his livlihood is threatened by his own actions, that is until he catches sight of a large butterfly species with golden wings. Desparate to earn money and rekindle his livlihood he follows and attempts to capture the butterflies only to crash his plane. Now without a plane and running desperately short of money he is forced to buy supplies from a joke shop to continue his livlihood, including a trampoline that he modifies extensively. Using his new super charged trampoline he manages to capture a gold winged butterfly and eagerly sells it to a well paying buyer who immediately kills it for its wings.

Now rich he buys back his plane and manages to successfully capture more butterflies but becomes increasingly disillusioned with the practice upon witnessing the increasingly vicious treatment his butterflies are subject to. Eventually he resolves to stop capturing these gold winged butterflies and ultimately resolves to find himself a new job.

On a capitalist world somewhere the rich and elite use robotic butterflies to travel around in the clean, bright skies whereas the poor and lower class live in squalor on the overcrowded, polluted ground lands. The owner of a joke shop lives on meagre wages and becomes bitter and hateful for seeing the elite above him flying freely, in a act of spite he assembles makeshift bombs and uses an electronic trampoline to send them into the air to harm the fliers. Initially happy at his new found power he continues to attack the fliers wounding and even killing some, however his actions soon cause a young family to crash onto the ground who promptly confront him. Guilt stricken he confesses his anger and promises to help the family back into the air, he scavenges parts from his joke shop to create a makeshift butterfly, he also uses his supercharged trampoline to send them back into the air. He resolves to use his joke shop and tramploine to help other stranded fliers.

Story Ideas - Mind Maps

I created a few mind-maps to help stimulate some thoughts and map out a few ideas, I created mind maps for Setting, Character and the Item given to me.

These mind maps were a little limited but provided the basis for the ideas that in turn helped to influence me. 

3D Animation - Camera Rig

This is the camera rig tutorial, this was not easy to do and it became so complicated that I couldn't do it in the lesson and had to do it later. I will probably find it difficult to fully replicate this kind of rig in a scene under time constraints, it is a useful idea but nevertheless difficult.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Life Drawing - Wednesday 14th January

So today we had a new life drawing model, a woman whose name I have clumsily forgotten. Unlike our previous model she was a much bigger model with overlapping skin and this provided a convenient oppurtnity for me to draw skin tone.

I used pencil for the first few pictures and then concentrated on using pastels to make the skin textures, highlighting the dark and light between the skin.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

2D Animation - Blob

This is the first part of the blob animation done during Meg's lesson, it features a small blob dropping onto the floor before looking around. Because the screen was so dark I had to go over the blob with black pencil to dull the lines to make it stand out. This is quite a cute little idea for an animation.

Monday, 12 January 2015

3D Animation - Camera 5 - Dolly Rig Shot

Another Maya tutorial featuring a Dolly rig focusing on two cowboys in a showdown.

3D Animation - Camera 4 - Pitch Shot

A 3D Maya tutorial to do with a pitch shot, showcasing Superman taking a rather wooden dive through an oddly cloudless sky.

3D Animation - Camera 3 - Roll Shot

The video of the staircase roll done during Maya lessons, features a camera rolling up a staircase from a character.

3D Animation - Camera 2 - Pan Shot

This is a quick movie for the Camera 2 - Pan Shot tutorial, quick but a little complex it worked out well and makes work with cameras quite interesting.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

"Like for Like" Storyboard

So this is my "Like for Like" storyboard featuring 30 seconds from the film of my choosing which happens to be Jurassic Park. This film is a childhood favourite and still continues to be one of my favourite films. I chose to do my 30 seconds from the scene where the T-rex chases the jeep through the jungle.

 Both of these storyboards were created using a mouse since my tablet was not working.

I did a storyboard of this scene because I liked the action in it and also because I want the oppurtunity to try and point out some of the camera work within the storyboards such as on the second page below. I enjoyed doing this quite a lot, I liked creating the T-Rex and the character faces.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Life Drawing - Wednesday 7th January

 A series of drawings done during life drawring class, featuring new model Callum.

 These first sketches are done using charcoal only, I used the black background to distinguish shape and size. These are quite abstract and it is difficult to pick out the human forms and sizes in it.

 My third drawing featuring a longer drawing time (around 30 minutes), I tried to incorporate some shading using charcoal with this piece. Looking back the scale and proportion of the body are off, particularly with the head.

 A set of two drawings made using pencil, these were relatively quick poses (about 10 minutes) the head still suffers from improper scale and proportion as do the arms. Proportion seems to be my key weakness.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Story Telling Film Review - La Jetee

La Jetee

La Jetee (French for "The Pier" or "The Jetty") is a 1962 science fiction film directed by Chris Markers, in contrast to a motion picture using rolling film this picture uses photographic stills with a voice over. The film centres around the narrator who is seemingly a prisoner and is to be used as a guinea pig by his captors in time travel experiments in an attempt to repair their broken world.

According to the narration the world has been devastated by a third World War involving nuclear weapons, the experiments conducted by the narrators captors are somewhat successful though many "volunteers" suffer grave mental injury by time travel. 

 Figure 1 - A time travel volunteer after their journey.

In Figure 1 we can see a volunteer presumably being treated for the mental trauma they have sustained from their time travel journey, initially however this could've been the image of a survivor of the war, possibly one who witnessed the nuclear attacks and suffered for it.

The use of a very dull monochrome colour helps to give the film a very gritty, sordid sort of feel to it. The grey/black/white photos feel like wartime photographs, the film relies on the emotions being generated by the characters and not by its colours. "DT" of Time Out magazine states; "Marker uses monochrome images recognisably from the past, such as the ruins of Europe after WWII, and with a few small props and effects, subtly suggests a future environment" (DT, N/A), in agreement with this point is the fact that Marker has used a particular set of images and colours in this film to give a certain "feel", very apocalyptic and almost futuristic, in extension of his idea it is possible this is how Marker or others may portray what the future may look like, not necessarily a monochrome place but one that is bleak and unwelcoming.

Later on in the film we see the woman on the jetty, this is also the scene where earlier on the narrator states that he witnessed a traumatic event in his childhood that he himself is unable to fully recall, only later in the film do we learn that this is in fact his death. His future self is killed and he as a child witnesses it. 

Figure 2 - The narrator is killed while approaching the woman on the jetty

During the last few scenes of the film we see a fast moving montage of photos of the narrator approaching the woman on the jetty, before he can reach her however his killed by another man (one of the other scientists). The fast moving nature of this scene achieved by showing the photographs of the narrator running in rapid successions helps to bring out the action of the scene and express the energy of the characters. 

La Jetee also shares fame with another one of Chris Marker's films; Sans Soleil, it also looks at human memory or memories. Jefferey Anderson of online film website Combustile Celluloid states in his review: "Taken together, Sans Soleil makes up a tapestry of memories that questions the entire nature of memory, while celebrating that of cinema." (Anderson, N/A). 

Anderson's statement presents some interesting things to think about, one being about the film's use of photographs rather than motion. Photographs are pictures than capture everything and human life is often the subject of photography, the photographs capture a story in the same way a video camera would just in a still manner, it is possibly this idea which makes the film so effective. The films narrative also deals with time travel, if we look at the film through a philosophical perspective the act of time travelling could be symbolic of a man searching through his memories.

Eric Melin of Scene Stealers notes: "Instead, it’s a stirring, emotional film about the unique hold memories have over people’s lives and how experiences themselves are fleeting." (Melin, 2012). Melin's statement demonstrates how the film is more to do with the human element that explaining the physics of time travel. It further lends credence to the idea of human memories being searched throughout the film and the time travel as a metaphor for searching.

Figure 3 - A scientist of the time travel project.

The film also uses a remarkably small number of props and environments for a science fiction film, usually science fiction (particularly time travel) relies heavily on its setting and props to portray futurism and often the dynamics of time travel are also explored but in La Jetee the futuristic element is minimal in regards to props and environment.

La Jetee is held in high regard by critics and continues to be held as an influential and significant work of science fiction.

 DT, N/A, [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6th January 2014]

Jefferey M. Anderson, N/A, [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6th January 2014]

Eric Melin, 2012, [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6th January 2014]

Illustration List
Figure - 1
Chris Marker, 1962, P_original.jpg [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6th January 2015]

Figure 2
Chris Marker, 1962, LJ_SS_Page_Still_original.jpg [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6th January 2015]

Figure 3
Chris Marker, 1962, La_Jetee_1.jpg [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6th January 2015]

Monday, 5 January 2015

3D Animation - Robot MEL Run

The MEL coding video of the robot, simple and easy enough. I enjoyed it and doing more coding would be quite an interesting thing :) particularly for some more animated models.

3D Animation - Car Skid

The car animation that we made enabled us to simulate a car skidding to a halt and include some soft steering and jumping effects.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Maya Winter Submission - Old Alley - Bump Maps

I've often thought when playing games on Xbox or PC how difficult it must've been for game designers to model and texture every single surface with such detail, then I heard about bumps maps. They must've saved so much time and effort, such a good idea. If I'd done this tutorial earlier I might've integrated it into my final scene.

The process of doing this looked quite complicated but was rewarding at the end, it makes the scene look very realistic with not necessarily minimal effort or a shortcut but a novel means.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Maya Winter Submission - Old Alley - Colour Maps

My old alley scene with colour maps, I have to say I quite like this, it has turned out very well. I particularly like the details on the window and the crates, UV'ing those crates was not easy, I bungled the UV maps which made it difficult to texture correctly. The lights on the lamps are also a little too close together, I'll need to change them. Overall I enjoyed this, very rewarding and useful.