Monday, 29 February 2016

Life Drawing 17

Fig 1: 30 Minute Drawing

Fig 2: 3 Minute- 30 second sketches

Fig 3: 3 Sketches with Pencil, Ink and Charcoal

Fig 5: 30 Minute Study with Pencil and Charcoal

Fig 6: More Studies with Pencil, Charcoal and Ink

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Cutting Edge- Film Review: Jaws

Fig 1: Poster for Jaws
A film that helped in building Hollywood into the giant it is today and the beginning of the summer blockbuster hits thanks to a broken puppet shark and some great writing and acting. Steven Spielburg's 1975 from novel to blockbuster hit film"Jaws" swam to cinemas, rows of sharp teeth ready to bite as it helped give many movie goers a fear of swimming for many years to come. Jaws is a movie about a killer shark that wrecks havoc for a coastal island just before its big event on the 4th of June, a simple plot that had a big impact on audiences both from 1975 to the modern day thanks to the iconic shark and the music as its pursues its victims under the cold dark ocean, being engraved on the minds of everyone, even those who haven't had the joy of viewing it. Spielburg is able to make a film that had audiences at the very first scene and keep them at the edges of their seats for the following 2 hours.

Fig 2: Beach goers at Amity Island flee in the terror of a potential shark attack
The use of the shark as the threat on Amity Island, a place that relies on the ocean for food and for money from tourists who flock to their shores for the summer each year. the threat of this killer shark and the murder on a young girl leads to reasonable concern from the chief of police about the safety of the island's residents and of the tourists. This is if one was to assume that the shark was male, which according to Benchley it is, however if one was to say that the shark was feminine. In this case the monsterous opposition of her compared to the male driven plot of the humans on the land leads into the theory of the maternity and vagina dentata. The power of this feminine force and how she dwells in the sea, a known source of life, leads to a distorted vision of what being female is. The shark is taking life away, not giving life, and the way that the victims of the film bar the first, are all males. The murders of these victims alluded to a Freudian theory of castration anxiety, the way that way the shark bits the victim, only biting from the waist down, ripping away any form of masculinity these men would have.
This stance on gender is also apparent in how the first victim is presented to the viewer. She is first seen undressing running along a beach. In the nude, she swims into the ocean, where the camera pans up from the depths, the male-gaze as the camera pans up her body before the bite. If the shark is seen as male, then this act of peeping would be seen as male dominance but if the shark was seen as feminine then this scene could be seen as a warning against this gazing of the feminine form, the punishment being the violent death of the young lady. In either of these cases it is apparent that in such a male dominated movie with barely any female input, the shark is there to torment these men and their bodies making them feeble and vulnerable. "In either gender reading of Bruce, the conclusion of Jaws affirms the dominance of masculinity (and a particular idea of masculinity) as the key to maintaining order in civilization." (Savanna Teague, Screenprism)

Fig 3: Matt Hooper inspects a shark believed to be the killer one thats been terrorising the island

It is obvious that Spielburg is a fan of Hitchcock's works as his way of filmmaking is full of suspense. You know that there is a shark about but you just don't know where it is coming from and how it will appear. the use of the shark fin and the barrels to show the movements of this beast of the sea. The fact that the audience knows of the shark's "tell" not only from visible cues but through the soundtrack of the grizzly theme of Jaws. All of this leads to intriguing and enjoyable segments of horror and destruction as the shark hunts its prey down silently and then with a snap, tears its victim to pieces from the waist down. "Spielberg's dynamic sense of movement comes into play most impressively during the panic and chase sequences."(Gary Arnold, The Washington Post)
This way of showing the shark is best demonstrated in the second half of the film, as the pace slows, the only place that the characters can be is a small little boat in the middle of the ocean, vastly different from the hectic life on Amity Island in the first half. The tension is still there with the shark as this over hanging threat, only left visible by barrels harpooned into its back. That constant fear of the beast under the surface of the waves that has tormented the people of Amity Island and audiences through out the film, keeps the viewer on the edge of their seats.

Fig 4: Quint meets his demise in the teeth of the killer shark
Overall Jaws is a simple plot but a complexed story, with the power struggle of what police officer Martin Brody believes is right for the people of Amity Island compared to the mayor's disregard for civilians and only about the money that tourists will bring to the island. The masculine dominance in this film wavers to and fro with the shark acting as a deterrence, ripping apart male figures as torture and punishment to the characters for their actions and liabilities. Despite the threat of the shark, Spielburg gives the actors fun with their dialogue, there are numerous amusing scenes especially with the shark expert, Matt Hooper, and his conflicts with known shark hunter, Quint,  on the boat. Their butting heads on their different views on sharks compared to chief of police but rookie on the sea and its inhabitants Brody acts as the mediator for the two. The three's chemistry is shown best at the shanty tune the three sing in a point of bliss in the eye of the toothy, shark filled storm. "If you think about "Jaws" for more than 45 seconds you will recognize it as nonsense, but it's the sort of nonsense that can be a good deal of fun, if you like to have the wits scared out of you at irregular intervals."(Vincent Canby, The New York Times)
Its no wonder that Jaws helped in Hollywood's now booming movie career and the rise of the summer blockbuster. It's simple plot, yet full of tension that peeks our primal fears of the unknown. Jaws is a film that while spectacular in showing how much terror one shark can do, it can also lead to not being able to swim, even in an indoor swimming pool, without the fear of what could be lurking below.



The Washington Post:

The New York Times:


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Fantastic Voyage: Thumbnails for Potential Film Idea

An Early Piece of Concept of the cells

Fig 1: Designs for the Bacteria and B Lymphocytes

Fig 2: Designs for the Antibodies

Fig 3: Some more Bacteria Thumbnails

Fig 4: Size Differences between the Antibodies, B cell and Bacteria

Fig 5: T Lymphocyte concept and a Size Comparison with the other cells

These are some thumbnails based on one of my idea for the "Bacteria vs The Immune System" prompt. The Idea was the bacteria being a criminal and The Immune System acting as a police force. The plan is that each character will have its scientific form and a humanoid form as well, as being targeted to teenagers doing their GCSE I think its a good idea to have them know what the cells look like while still having fun with the character design of them.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Life Drawing 16

Fig 1: 20 Minute drawing with pencil and pastel

Fig 2: Five 2 Minute Sketches and Five 1 Minute Sketches

Fig 3: Charcoal and Pencil Sketch

Fig 4: 2 20 Minute Sketches with Oil Pastel on Black Paper

Monday, 22 February 2016

Maya Tutorials: Santa Hat

Fig 1: Added Lamberts

Fig 2: Added Polar Bear and Duckling fur onto the main hat

Fig 3: Polar Bear and Porcupine fur

Fig 4: Added Fur Shadowing Attributes to the Default Lighting

Sunday, 21 February 2016

From Script to Screen: Animatic with Narration

I finally got it so that the narration worked with the animatic, some frames had to be swapped over and lenthened out but over all the narration fits nicely with the video now, expect the final finished piece with all the sound in due course

Special Thanks to Paul Ferguson of Themesview School for providing his voice for my animatic.

Cutting Edge- Film Review: Duel

Fig 1: Film Poster for Duel (1971)
Car versus Truck, Man versus the Unknown or is it reference to the dwindling dependance of men due to the rising independence of women in the 70s? The answer is left ambiguous in Steven Spielberg's 1971 TV to cinema movie Duel. The film is essentially a hour and twenty minute car chase through the Californian desert, however it is the way Spielberg is able to incorporate that suspense of a lonely motorist being chased down by a huge truck along a long and lonely road in an area of America that only a few drive passed. "The relentless pursuit takes on its own logic where societal rules quickly become superflous" (William Thomas, Empire Online)The tension of the clash between the two vehicles on the long winding desert road, driving away from changes in society at that time, the focus is mainly on wether the car can overtake or be stuck behind the dismal black smoke of the truck ahead.
Fig 2: The Truck Bashes into the Car, Determined to Overtake

The way that Spielberg was also able to make a truck into a important and imposing character itself is astounding,  the fact that the driver of the vehicle is barely seen, the only part of him that are seen being his feet and if arm as he beckons the driver, David Mann, to pass him on the highway. These factors about the tanker truck makes it seems predatory,  like a beast on the road after its new prey, it's large domineering size dwarfing Mann's car. The dark colour of the truck compared to the bright environment and Mann's car gives that comparison

Spielburg's Filmography is great in this film, starting off with a first person point of view from Mann's car as he leaves the hectic roads of the city to the more subdued desert highway. He is able to achieve a standard of filming similar to Hitchcock, by showing the characters reactions then panning to what they see. This is evidential in Mann trying to find out who the killing is, he sits in the cafe diner staring off of frame, the camera goes to the four men at the bar, who may or may not be the driver of the truck who has been bullying Mann constantly throughout the film. Spielburg, being a big fan of Hitchcock that he is, made nods to his filming style in this scene, relying up the suspense that makes the diner scene feel long and full of drama just from a few cleverly placed shots and angles. "As far as psychological thrillers go, Duel is close to Hitchcockian"- (Andrew L. Urban, Urbancinefile) 
However the diner scene isn't the only suspenseful part of this film, the western like stand off at the climax of the film were you can see how fed up David is over this continuous onslaught of imposing terror from the camera's constant close ups of his face and the truck in the distance as it approaches. The action in the last few minutes of the film give a wonderful crescendo in the form of a truck and the car bursting into flames and exploding as they roll down the cliff, while the worn out David Mann lets out a cheer and sits on the cliffside in relive as the credits roll. While some might of wanted the ending to be something more, like the driver of the truck finally revealing himself, the ending shows a similar thought process to Hitchcock's film, The Birds,  both ending in a heartwarming way that still has that sense of doom for the characters involved, that they are still trapped in a world that is against them.
Fig 3: David Mann Sitting in the Overly Pink Diner
The state of men in society in the 70s is also evident in Duel, as while the main character's surname is Mann, he shows signs of resentment of the fact that he isn't the head of the household in his family, as he states to the mechanic at the petrol garage in which when told that "he's the boss" David replies with "Not in my house I'm not". Women in the film are shown in a place of power both work wise and family wise, this can be seen with the lady who owns the petrol garage with her pet snakes and the radio conversations about how the man on there stays at home while his wife is the one working to support the family. "-Mann himself is shown to be a henpecked husband who regains his masculinity only through the contest on the road" (Janet Maslin, The New York Times) His journey on the road and to overcome the ongoing pursuit of the truck is Mann's way of recovering his broken masculinity.

David is also shown through the cinematography to be vulnerable and weak, such as the mid shot of him in the bar surrounded by pink furniture, a colour associated with femininity. He is shown to be a victim of the change of society in the 70's where women had more independence then ever before, being able to vote and get jobs that enable them to support their families, the need for a male figure in the household was beginning to waver to the point that it was insignificant. This is obviously one of David's fears due to the fact that his wife could do better then him, and not being able to stand up for his wife when she was being hit on by another man at a party adds to his fear of being useless.
Fig 4: David spots the Truck as it Turns Around to face him

Overall "Duel" is a film that you can take away and think about it. With its stunning visuals and great acting from the actor of Mann, Dennis Weaver, Duel is the landmark that set Spielburg to speed down the hollywood highway and proceed to make classic films, like Jaws and E.T. It dwells into the psyche of man in the 60's and to what the unknown is to bring us in the form of a dark, mechanical, oil truck that's only purpose is to chase down the driver for the sole reason of trying to over take it. 


William Thomas:

Janet Maslin:

Andrew L. Urban:

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

From Script to Screen: Environmental Concept Art of the Yeti Palace and Forrest Clearing

Castle Exterior

Queen's Bedroom

Living Room

Mirror Hall
Forrest Clearing

These are my concept art for the environment of the Yeti castle exterior and interior, I wanted to use a primarily cool palette for the castle with the browns and orange for the wooden features like cabinets and have the majority of the Queens possessions being purple while the Kings is a dark blue/ teal. 
For the forrest clearing in end of my film I want it to display more variety in colours, showing that the Yeti King is going towards a more colourful, brighter and warmer future, so more greens and yellows are implemented.
I would like to return to these pieces later on to continue to edit them some more, mainly to work out iffy perspectives some more and fiddle with the colour palettes, but overall I do like how they have come out, especially the bedroom piece as I had the most trouble figuring out how to draw it from the angle I drafted it in.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Life Drawing 15

Fig 1: 30 Minute Drawing, using Pencil and Ink, worked on later in Photoshop
Fig 2: Five 5 Minute Drawings using Charcoal and Pastel

Fig 3: 30+ Minute Drawing with Pencil, Charcoal, and Pastel

Sunday, 14 February 2016

From Script to Screen: Tibetan Bird Concept Designs

4 Birds from Tibet and Bhutan

Here are some drawings using photo references of different birds from Tibet and Bhutan, the areas where Yeti's originated from, going clockwise from the top left the breeds of these birds are, the Sapphire Flycatcher, the Long Tailed Minivet, the Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush and the Red-Billed Leiothrix. I want to go for either the Minivet or the Thrush due to the redness of their bodies being able to stand out against the cold blues of the castle interior, and because the bird is so small I didn't want it to blend in with the backgrounds in wide shots.
Upon receiving feedback I will start to incorporate the bird into the same style as the yetis. 

Cutting Edge- Film Review: The Birds

Fig 1: The Birds Poster
Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 film, The Birds starts as a love story between a young socialite, Melanie Daniels and lawyer, Mitch Brenner, who meet in a bird shop in San Francisco, as Mitch looks for a pair of love birds for his little sister's birthday. He also seems to know of Melanie, leading to her driving all the way to his home town in Bodega Bay to deliver the love birds and to find out more about him. However things don't go as planned when the birds in the area start to attack the bay, changing the lovey dovey romance into a survival horror.

Fig 2: The Meeting in the Bird Shop between Melanie and Mitch
Hitchcock is able to pull off another spectacular film with The Birds, the switching of genre that was also common in "Psycho" is also well executed here. The titular birds are a prominent feature throughout the film, not just the killer flocks of crows, sparrows and seagulls in the later half, but also the first shot of the film is just of birds and the audio of the first scene in the bird shop is drowned out by numerous bird calls. The use of the birds is interesting too, as it seems as though only the wild birds were aggressive and carried out the attacks on Bodega Bay, as the caged up birds don't have that freedom they can only chatter and tweet and watch the outbreak occur. It can also be assumed that the film is a message about Mother Nature, a female figure in symbolism, taking down Man-Made structure, which are usual symbolised as masculine, which is why the film features so many prominent female characters and a strong matriarchal figure in the mother Lydia.

Fig 3: The Deceased corpse of the Farmer, peaked apart by birds
However, at the films heart, it's about women, the relationship between the three main female characters in the film drives the notions of romance and family into the later half of the film. The Telegraph reviewer, Alastair Sooke, stated that "the way Hitchcock makes the malevolent birds seem like manifestations of his characters' mental unease" (9th June 2015, Telegraph)His statement can be seen with the way that the female characters in the film all have flaws regarding love and acceptance and the introduction of the birds doesn't help, with school teacher Annie dying while protecting Mitch's, her former love's, little sister and Melanie ends up a shell of her former self, grasping onto Lydia like a child holding onto her mothers hand.

Fig 4: Flock of birds gather on the climbing frame in the school yard

Melanie, as a character is uncommon as her rash behaviour and need to hide her true motives under a web of practical jokes is very unusual for a female character. Her interest peaks at the handsome Mitch Brenner, bachelor who reins from Bodega Bay, who comes into a bird shop, shopping for lovebirds for his sister's birthday. Melanie recognises his face and proceeds to pretend to be an employee of the shop only to fall for this mysterious man who knows of her embarrassing act featuring a fountain in Rome. This curiosity lands her into Brenner's home town where he spends the weekends, and this is where she meets his ex, school teacher Annie, and his mother, Lydia. Being the naive newcomer that she is, she doesn't understand what she has let herself in for,  leading to Annie spilling her heart out to her in the living room while all Melanie can do is listen, cigarette in one hand, telephone in the other to the school teachers woes. "there is discomfort in the way Melanie interacts with Annie and Lydia and yet no direct confrontation of it, because it is within piercing gazes and subtle euphemisms that true feelings are made known," (David M Keyes, March 2015, The Cinemaphile Blog)
Maybe the similarities of the two women, who leave the city to follow Mitch to Bodega Bay, only to be struck by the land mine that is Lydia Brenner the only woman that Mitch will listen too and follow willingly. However Lydia's behaviour changes after seeing the dead body in the farm house, reminding herself of her own husband, she becomes crippled with grieving and looks defeated. Melanie uses this as her chance to rekindle their connection after the bomb of their first meeting and the dinner they had together with Lydia's children. Melanie has to prove herself to Lydia like a a lower member of the hierarchy of animals proving itself to the dominate female. In the end it seems to succeed as Melanie is able to prove herself by facing the onslaught of birds in the upstair room of the Brenner household. Resulting in a gentle grasping of the hands between the two women as the car they are in drives off into the hillside, leaving behind the killer flock of birds. 

Fig 5: Melanie and the Brenner family drive off away from the bird covered house at the finale of the film
Overall Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" is another masterclass in how to make films brim full of tension and of brilliant cinematography. The music for The Birds was composed by Bernard Herrmann who also did the music in Hitchcock's "Psycho", was not a soundtrack but a build up of sound effects to emphasise the birds onscreen actions using a synthesizer. The effect of the synthesizer added to the eeriness of the birds and their unnatural actions throughout the later half of the film.
It is understandable that the film is once of Hitchcock's best as it is such a unique film with its premise of a romantic comedy turning into a horror movie about killer birds attack a town that resides in a bay. The way the suspense builds throughout, for the first time viewer who doesn't know where the drama will come from and how, will it be the lovebirds? A Mcguffin to draw Melanie to Bodega Bay to see Mitch, but are they the instigator in the bird's attack? Is this why Melanie is blamed for the attack in the cafe, not because of her presence but by bringing the two birds? Will there be drama between school teacher Annie, the former lover or domineering Mother Lydia against the new girl on Mitch's block? Moira Walsh wrote concludes to these questioning in that, "The picture pursues these false clues with excessive long-windedness and occasional fatuity. It is a tribute to Hitchcock's mastery of his craft that, even so, he makes overpoweringly real the menace of the birds" (April 20th 1963, American Magazine)
That through the film and the interactions and plot points between the characters that are well paced out to the point that their motives are clear and decisive, Hitchcock makes it so that those's aspects take a sort of back seat as so that the titular bird can wreck their havoc, from the port, to the school yard, to the cafe and phone booth, to the Brenner Household. Their destruction on mind and matter do not go unnoticed.

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The Telegraph:
American Magazine:
The Cinemaphile Blog:

Thursday, 11 February 2016

From Script to Screen: Storyboard Redone

I have made some changes like adding a mini plot of the Snow King building a bird cage for the bird as their way of connecting before the climax of the film.

From Script to Screen: Living Room Pre-Vis WiP

Fig 1: Living Room Scene
This is my work in process Pre-Vis for the Living Room, where the Snow King and the bird meet for the first time. The room is based on one of my castle concepts, however, I had to make some changes to the room's size so that there wasn't as much empty space then in the drawing. All thats left for this room is that I'll just need to add some room decoration like pots and cushions etc and I will continue to move the furniture in the room around so that there is a clear shot of the fireplace for the reveal of the bird. 
Fig 2: Concept Orphograph of the Living Room that the pre-vis was based on.
Snow King's Chair- Front
Snow King's Chair- Side
Snow King's Chair- 3/4 View
Snow Queen's Chair- Front
Snow Queen's Chair- Side
Snow Queen's Chair- 3/4 View
Fireplace- Front
Fireplace- Side
Fireplace- 3/4 view