Thursday, 29 October 2015

Group Project - Concept Work - Laboratory

A piece of environment art, this is our robot laboratory. A few things I want to capture are the minimal human presence, there is only a cap and lab coat and no personal effects. The lighting is to focus on the robots so that the audience sees them rather than the lab. The robot that is the target of jealousy is situated behind glowing computer screens and has cables running to it, like it is to be the centre of attention.

The general unkempt appearance of the lab is meant to evoke the emotions of a scientist who toils endlessly and probably painfully towards his goal of creating an emotional robot, as such there are spare parts and mess from where he has neglected to clean up in pursuit of his goal.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Monday, 26 October 2015

Character Project - Space Man Thumbnails

These are some of my thumbnails for my main character of my game.

The main character is either a scientist or some kind of soldier, maybe a scientist as this seems like a nicer character to expand upon.

The suits are designed with some reference from 1950s style space suits and helmets. The suits are meant to look like part of a space program mixed in with HAZMAT characteristics and some space marine style equipment. Given that the scientist is landing on a large piece of food in space it is reasonable to assume that it is unsafe for human habitation.

Film Review - Hero's Journey - Kick Ass

Kick Ass

Kick Ass is a 2010 hero movie directed by Matthew Vaughn and featuring Aaron Johnson and Chloe Grace-Moretz. It is based on the comic book series "Kick Ass" and follows the journey of the teenage superhero "Kick Ass". 

The hero Kick Ass' real name is Dave Lizewski and in the beginning he lives in what can only be described as a pretty menial reality; his days consist of drifting through school where he is ignored by both peers and teachers alike. The only happy aspect of his life is his interest in comics and his two like-minded friends who hang out with him in a comic shop. During the course of this his mother dies of a brain aneurysm and although Dave expects change it does not occur.

At one point he asks why no real life superheroes exist, a question that prompts a response from his friend; "they'd get the shite beaten out of them in like 30 seconds". Not long after both he and his friends are robbed by a gang, this event serves as the inspiration and Dave buys himself a costume, acquires two batons as weapons and sets off  to dish out justice. His first encounter however ends disastorously with Dave being struck down during a hit and run incident and subsequently being hospitalised. 

This incident grants him media attention and while in hospital the doctors implant metal plates into his body, this grants him increased durability and pain endurance. This could be seen as Dave acquiring some form of "super power" albeit one that is neither supernatural or fantastical. Dave's life is changed from now on, instead of being normal "Dave" he is transformed both physically and figuratively. Kick Ass continues his activities and in doing so comes into conflict with crime boss Frank D'Amico.  

Frank D'Amico's wants Kick Ass dead but instead of hiring a hitman or ordering his assasination it is D'Amico's son who proposes that he lures out Kick Ass by posing as a vigilante. Thus, Red Mist is born though secretly he has ulterior motives about Kick Ass. Red Mist strikes up a facade alliance with Kick Ass but soon tries to kill him and in the climax of the film Frank D'Amico is killed and Red Mist is defeated by Kick Ass.

 Figure 2 - Red Mist

Red Mist's backstory is different from Kick Ass, whereas Kick Ass is a normal person (or normal by society's standard), Red Mist is the son of a crime boss and sees himself as a super-villain. Red Mist lacks the physical abilities of Kick Ass but makes up for it in wealth (he is bankrolled by his father) and associates (his father's henchmen). Red Mist's real name is Chris and in the beginning of the film he is lonely on account of being sealed off from society by his father who wants to protect him from any rival gangs, he is little better than Dave in terms of social status and clout and desperately wants to be respected by his father.

The backgrounds for both characters has some of the makings of a typical superhero or supervillain; some incident occurs in their life that inspires them to do good. For Kick Ass the loss of his mother and the robbery serve as the event whereas for Red Mist the desire to be noticed by his father and gain respect. Another aspect is that while their alter egos are superheroes their real identities are meaningless members of society. The transformation of both characters occurs at different points in the film as Dave becomes Kick Ass after being robbed and thus desires to be a hero. Arguably Red Mist's transformation occurs at the end of the film when he swears revenge on Kick Ass and adopts a new evil identity, this is the point of no return. Conversely however when Chris adopts his false superhero identity that could be seen as his transformation. 



Illustration List
Figure 1 - Matthew Vaughn, 2010, 3250457-kick-ass-2-2013-images.jpg [ONLINE] http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/11111/111111327/3250457-kick-ass-2-2013-images.jpg 

Figure 2 - Matthew Vaugh, 2010, 500px-Red_Mist.jpg [ONLINE] http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20101128204150/villains/images/thumb/a/a1/Red_Mist.jpg/500px-Red_Mist.jpg 

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Character Project - Finalising story

So far I have stuck with the idea of a human being shrunk down onto a food world, one of these ideas was to have it on a food planet or asteroid. This would make a good setting for the plot of a 1950s sci-fi B-movie as it would be pretty difficult to portray a world made of peas or beef steak in a serious light. At the same time this opens up a nice arena of 1950s sci-fi, particulary in regards to the Space Age and Atomic Age, both of which could sit quite nicely with the wacky science fiction of "miniaturization" and gravity manipulation.

The game format would be a video game more than an app game so that it could accomodate more gameplay mechanics.

I want to use the themes of Scale and Gravity as mechancis in the game,  Justin suggested the idea of using scale as a weapon of sorts; either enlarging or miniaturizing an enemy or an enemy's body, I like this idea a lot given that it opens up quite a lot of imaginative oppurtunities for combat and gameplay. For instance the player could miniaturize a monster's leg to let it topple over or enlarge a creature's eyes so that they explode.

The plot I am focusing on would concentrate on a single player navigating through a set course on the food planet.

-Humanity discovers planets and celestial objects made of food and has begun to "mine" them to solve the world food crisis. On one such world a scientist has gone missing and a scientist stationed on the planet must find him. He encounters hostile forces in the form of food monsters whom he must evade or dispatch. 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Character Project - Nailing Down ideas

So after todays meeting with Justin we managed to put some more concrete ideas up, instead of being on a plate the levels could be set on planets made of food. A very silly idea, but we both agreed that it would be pretty difficult to portray a food world in a serious light.

The ideas that I am starting to settle on are the ideas of a scientist being shrunk down onto food planets and fending off alien/mutant creatures with his scale altering powers.

This is a faux-film poster about the food planets, its a parody 1950s style science fiction theme which I would like to imitate.

A few basic story ideas are;

-Humanity discovers food planets and begins to mine them to solve the world food crisis, one such scientist is dropped onto the planet and soon finds himself attacked by strange alien food monsters.

-A man is stranded on the planet and must rescue a co-worker or colleague from certain mortal peril.

-A man or space explorer crash lands onto the planet and must survive agains the odds.

-An engineer who is mining on the planet must escape after being attacked by food monsters.

-Two planets are going to collide and a hero must work to prevent this.

3D Animation - Maya - Cartoon Character

This time I've worked on the mouth, not a bad result.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Film Review - Narrative Structure - Falling Down

FALLING DOWN


Falling down is a 1993 film featuring Michael Douglas and Robert Duvall, the film consists of one man's grips and observations on society. 

In the prelude Michael Douglas's character is named William Foster (Michael Foster), a middle aged man suffering from a mid-life crisis; he is divorced from his wife who does not want to share custody of their daughter and has recently been sacked from his job as a defence contractor. Foster's wife has been granted a restraining order against him which forbids him access to his daughter, this is a major source of frustration for him and serves as an indirect catalyst for his actions.

The Protasis of the story begins with Foster who is stuck inside his car in the middle of a traffic jam suffering from a heatwave, an annoying fly and the rants of other drivers. The combination of these elements drives him over the edge and he abruptly abandons his car without regard and begins his journey across the city. Also introduced is police detective Martin Prendergast (Robert Duvall) who is due to retire after one last day of duty, Prendergast also faces obstacles notably his police chief who professes his disdain for Prendergast and his overbearing wife who constantly calls with regard to trivial matters.

Foster's first act of violence occurs when he comes across a convenience store owned by a Korean proprietor to buy a soda in order to generate change for a phone call to his wife, when the owner refuses to lower the price of the soda Foster insults the owner's unrefined grasp of English and promptly assaults the owner. Foster smashes up the store in a fit of anger over the overpricing of the store's merchandise and takes money from the register. This marks the beginning of Foster's tirade and his rampage. Detective Prendergast is put on the job of investigating the robber, this is the first plot point at which the two stories start to become involved with each other. 

The second act (obstacles) begins to occur here, Foster calls his wife throughout the film in an attempt to attend his daughter's birthday, when his wife refuses him this privelige he becomes increasingly unhinged and subsequently his crimes become more violent. Foster's ultimate goal is to reach his wife's house and attend his daughter's birthday but enroute he encounters people or situations that threaten his journey and he begins to vent his rage in violent tirades against the hypocrisy and inequality of society. 

Figure 2 - Foster prepares to destroy the roadworks

For instance he comes across a traffic jam held up by roadworks and blows up a digger after accosting the workmen about the reasons behind their roadworks (which turn out to be about budgets and not actual repair work). He crosses a golf course attended by wealthy clients and shoots out a golf cart causing one of the golfers to suffer a heart attack. Some of his tirades concern trivial matters, in one case he machine guns a phone booth after a waiting man complains about him "taking too long". 

Foster crosses the line of no return when he visits an army surplus store to find some hiking boots, the racist, neo-nazi owner identifies Foster as the man who held up the fast food resturant and mistaking him for a fellow racist invites him to the back of the store and attempts to share his neo-nazi views with him. Foster does not reciprocate these views and struggles with the owner before shooting him dead.

Prendergast in the mean time follows Foster's rampage and gets closer and after identifying Foster's car by its license plate and visiting Foster's mother he begins to bear down on Foster. Prendergast however faces his own difficulties; his overbearing wife continues to call him and his colleagues play good natured but awkward retirement pranks on him straining his investigation. Despite this Prendergast manages to identify Foster and after piecing together information about him discover that he is heading back to his home to his wife.

At the end of the story we reach the Catastrophe stage as Foster finally comes into contact with the consequences of his actions; he manages to reach his wife's house but she has fled in fear with their daughter. Prendergast also arrives with a partner and Foster initiates a shootout that wounds Prendergast's partner. Foster later tracks his family down to a pier with Prendergast in close pursuit. The final act sees Foster attempting to reconcile with his daughter but his wife gives him the slip and escapes, Prendergast holds Foster at gun point. 

Foster finally relents knowing that he will mostly likely never see his family again and that he will be facing a huge jail sentence. He complains to Prendergast about his sufferings, Prendergast sympathises but does not accept Foster's rampage as an acceptable act. Foster finally forces Prendergast to shoot him in self-defence after pulling a water gun out. This marks the climax and subsequently removes the conflict from the film. Prendergast's story is not finished however and he ultimately decides to remain with the police.

Illustration List 
Figure 1 - Joel Schumacher, 1993, falling-down-1993--00.jpg [ONLINE] Available at: http://static.gamesradar.com/images/totalfilm/f/falling-down-1993--00.jpg
Figure 2 - Joel Schumacher, 1993, Falling-Down-michael-douglas-28475910-1280-527.jpg [ONLINE] Available at: images5.fanpop.com/image/photos/28400000/Falling-Down-michael-douglas-28475910-1280-527.jpg

Friday, 16 October 2015

Group Project - Robot Thumbnails

This is a gaggle of thumbnails for our robot character, they are stick figure basic and this is because I want to have the robots with a very basic shape, nothing too fancy geometrically. The idea being that in the course of developing a final product several prototypes will have been made, some are just basic experiments while others are attempts at finished work. Another part of these thumbnails is the attempt to try and simulate emotions using technical equipment like digital eyes, a ticker tape and a resistor that heats up when aggravated.

The blocky shapes are also about practicality, it feels as though our robots are the product of a lone scientist and not some high tech corporation with limitless resources.


Monday, 12 October 2015

Film Review - Character Archetypes - V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta


V for Vendetta is a 2006 film adaptation of Alan Moore's comic book, the film is loosely based on the events of the book and features only a few of the characters and plot lines.  
The film follows a masked vigilante named "V" who wears a Guy Fawkes mask and plots against the oppressive, tyrannical British government, in due course he saves and becomes close to a girl named Evey who becomes embroiled in his plans. Key themes of the film are totalitarianism, freedom and government control.  

In this review I will explore hero archetypes based on the characters that are present in the film. The hero of the story is varied, while it could be argued that V is the hero he acts in ways that are questionable. In some cases his actions even threaten the lives of people whom he claims to want to save (such as placing an explosive device inside a television studio). V's motives for commiting these acts ostensibly extend from his desire to free the public from the oppression of the British government but later on in the film it is revealed that V was a tortured and a subject of human experimentation at a scientific concentration camp, his desire for freedom of the public is rooted in his need for vengeance against several key people (hence the name of the film V for Vendetta).

Another primary character who fits the profile of a hero is Evey, a young woman who V saves from a trio of state-sanctioned thugs. Evey portrays the reluctant hero; shes does not want to become embroiled in V's schemes but her mere association with him prevents her from returning to normal society without attracting the attention of the state.Evey becomes a key part of the plot and eventually fulfils a vital role that determines the future of the country.

Evey's actions are particularly imporatant as in the last stage of the film she is led by V to an underground station to a train rigged with explosives, the train is set to travel to and then destroy parliment, doing so will destroy the totalitarian government and allow the people to be free. V gives Evey the choice of whether or not to activate the train, which she does, destroying parliment and the government.  

The mentor of the film could arguably be V as he mentors Evey in philosophy about freedom and ideology, he also in a certain sense mentors other characters (even against their will) such as Peter Creedy whom he kills after stating that "ideas are bulletproof", and even the general public when he broadcasts a powerful speech about the actions of the government and the public itself.







The unquestionable shadow of the film is the head of the standing British government; a one Adam Sutler, the unrelenting, vicious dictator who "leads" Britain. The audience is aware that Sutler is the villain early when he addresses a conference of key party members on the topic of covering up the truth surrounding V and his actions. Although Sutler is the "main" shadow for the film another character is brought into the limelight, a one Peter Creedy; a key figure in the state's police force who secretly desires to usurp Sutlers command. Creedy comes in later on in the film as Sutler becomes increasingly critical of Creedy's actions and begins to blame him for all of the inabilities to capture V.

Figure - 2 
V confronts a captured Chancellor Sutler 

The "shapeshifter" of the movie is a man named Inspector "Finch"; an inspector in the London police force who becomes the lead investigator on the cases related to V's actions. Finch is a key character in the film as is the one responsible for investigating V's crimes. At first Finch investigates the murders that V commits and although he is a police officer in the state's oppressive police force we get an early impression of the inspector as a calm, controlled person with an bringing V to justice rather than focusing on maintaining the government's power.

As the film progresses we learn more about the events that led up to the establishment of the dictatorial government, namely the seeming collapse of the rest of the world and the release of a deadly incurable virus that ultimately leads to the creation of the police state. Finch changes over the course of the film and although he still retains his want of justice against V he begins to understand V's struggle. Finch eventually finds Evey on the underground and holds her at gunpoint before she can activate the explosive laden train, instead of arresting Evey however he lets her acivate the train as he himself has become disillusioned with the government. 


V and Evey have few real allies in the film, Finch doesn't qualify as an ally as although he ultimately sympathises with their goals he does not aid them throughout the film. One ally that Evey makes is a man named Gordon Dietrich, a television presenter who hosts a show on the TV station that Evey works for. Dietrich takes Evey in when she witnesses the murder of a prominent bishop by V, he shelters her and then opens up to her about his character. During the course of sheltering Evey his house is attacked and he is taken by the state police for broadcasting a humiliating TV show about chancellor Sutler.





  Bibliography
 Figure 1 - James Mcteigue, 2006, large_wlYPNBApf49XK30M0ML8YfnNHen.jpg [ONLINE] Available at: http://static.rogerebert.com/uploads/movie/movie_poster/v-for-vendetta-2006/large_wlYPNBApf49XK30M0ML8YfnNHen.jpg

Figure 2 - James Mcteigue, 2006, maxresdefault.jpg [ONLINE] Available at: http://i.ytimg.com/vi/2l54ZSMQhRs/maxresdefault.jpg
 

3D Animation - Maya - Cartoon Character 3

The thrid part of the cartoon character modelling, its coming together and the main mesh is all sorted out, got to try out the sculpt geometry tool which was pretty cool.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Character Project - Meeting with Justin

This Tuesday I had my first meeting with Justin about the character project, I showed him my initial concepts and the cards that I was allotted; Gravity, Food and Scale. These concepts are quite a tricky combination as we both found and one of Justin's ideas was having food monsters out of a 50's sci-fi film, he also suggested trying not to make the concept of a food world too cliche.

The idea that I like quite a lot is the concept of having a person shrunk down onto a piece of food or mouthful of food and that they have to escape by traversing the food and using some kind of gravity or scale powered equipment to re-shape their environment or surmount obstacles.

Group Project - Tonal Montage


This was made after our weekly meeting with Alan, our group was having difficult making solid progress and he suggested splitting into two groups to simplify the process and make progress. Another key issue that was talked about was the tonal montage which we were reminded was one the critical aspects of our production. With that in mind Alan suggested creating one as an exercise and this is the result.

This video was intended to be seen as if Shrek 2 was a horror film, it was made using clips from Shrek 2 and the music of the trailer for the film Prometheus.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Character Project - Third set of ideas

These are another set of ideas and expand on the concept of "food" as a world and the concept of "gravity".

One of these ideas is the player is shrunk down to microscopic size onto a mouthful of food that is about to be eaten, the player must use his gravity/scale modifying equipment to overcome obstacles present on the food and escape.

Another brief idea is having a literal world made of food; a planet sized foodstuff or edible object that is being consumed by a black hole, this could be done as a video or board game. Like in the other concept the player must escape before the planet is consumed.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

3D Animation - Maya - Cartoon Character 2

The second part of the character creation, blocking out the mesh, a good way to do it :P can be tricky getting the vertices and edges right though.

Group Project/Narrative - Refined ideas

After talking with my group about the project and trying to pin down things we managed to nail down some solid ideas. Firstly we all decided that of all the types of jealousy our movie should be about the jealousy of loss, this is because it is relatable to the audience and everyone will have experinced this in their lives at some point. This kind of jealousy stems from the fear that someone close (like a partner or close friend) will be taken away from them.

Another aspect that we have decided on is the number of characters for our project; 2-3 characters, this was chosen for the reason that two characters form the core relationship and a third (possibly) as the outside party. A major aspect of the plot is focusing on the jealous character so it may not be necessary to include the third party who may take the attention away from the jealous party.

What I want to happen is for the audience to sympathise with the character who feels the jealousy, I also want the ending to have a lasting impression like the conflict in the plot is not resolved, the jealous party will remain jealous even at the end of the story.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

One of the plots that our group focused on is the idea of a scientist creating a robot that can simulate emotions therefore giving context to develop the feeling of jealousy. The robot could simply be a prototype or simple model intended as little more than an experiment by the scientist, it however develops a bond with the scientist. --- The scientist however decides to build a newer robot or meets someone which sturs the new founded emotions of the robot leading to it becoming jealous.

A plot that I also like is one that involves three characters; a scientist and two smaller alien forms are being held inside glass boxes for study. The scientist works diligently to study both aliens who begin to form an attachement with the scientist. One of the aliens begins to recieve more attention than the other and begins to exhibit jealousy. The alien that receives more attention could be bigger or more interesting to see. The jealousy could manifest itself as symptoms or changes in the physiology of the alien.

The glass box forms a particularly important part of this plot since it represents the inability to act or barrier that stops people from taking back their treasured relation.

Friday, 2 October 2015

3D Animation - Maya - Cartoon Character 1

The first part of the cartoon character project, making custom shelves is quite a cool idea :).