Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Influence Maps: Library/Smoking Room

Library/Smoking Room

You might be thinking, why I am doing influence maps for a library/smoking room when my enviroment is mostly under the sea, well of course; but one of my extracts consists of Captain Nemo's library/smoking room, and the describtion in the extract is epic, and I hope to capture this in one of my final concept art pieces, so here are the selection of influence maps so far...

Please excuse the fact some of the images were squashed to fit into the boxes required.

I also found the influence maps good for colours and textures...

Metropolis (1927) Review

Metropolis (1927)
Directed by: Fritz Lang

I had already heard rumours and mentions of Metropolis, from film documentaries, to a television program I watched ages ago called “Best Robots in History” and if I recall correctly Metropolis won; so this movie had a lot of expectations for me, and it did meet these expectations.

From watching The Cabinet of Dr Caligari I began to understand how silent movies work towards the audience, but this one had its own methods it seems, I noticed that in comparison Metropolis only used text for speaking if it was absolutely need for the most dire of situations, which must have been a challenge for actors because they of course would need to portray moods, fears, emotion and words within their body language; this definitely kept me entertained throughout.

Like I have previously stated, my latest project is based on environments, and Metropolis has a very vivid one to say the least, we are presented with a range from huge skyscrapers with hundreds of cars and planes flying in-between buildings (which was all created with miniatures) to the slaves working quarters, where every button and leveller seems to be two times the size that it should be, with some representation methods such as the explosion of one machine, then it slowly morphing into a temple with men whipping others (in a slave worker style), and finally a Indiana jones disco club room where everyone is having a ball, Metropolis definitely has its contrasts when considering environments.
The city of the slaves wasn't in ruins as you could imagine anywhere for a slave being, but instead it was almost like 'the best a slave could get' within the ability to make sure they dont enjoy their home as well, its a strange setting.

Of course this movie is well dated, but doesn’t mean it doesn’t also come without influencing other film makers…

“Filmmaker Fritz Lang gives us a shockingly prophetic view of armies of downtrodden workers, all clad in the same baggy uniform, their capped heads bent, shuffling in perfect choreography as they descend to the depths of their workaday hell. It is a dizzying precursor to all those Orwellian scenes in our collective cinematic consciousness, with a goodly dose of Joe Versus the Volcano on the side.”
“Frankenstein, Blade Runner, and even Madonna’s 1989 video “Express Yourself” are heavily indebted to the incredible production design of Metropolis,”

“Like "Blade Runner," which borrowed from it, "Metropolis" is a futuristic spectacle about class divisions in a glittering high-rise city. But whereas "Blade Runner" was believably gritty, "Metropolis" is an artifact of abstract expressionism, steeped in the theatrics of Wagnerian opera.”

“Supposedly George Lucas' C-3PO was created in homage to the robot woman played by Brigitte Helm”

Even character design from the robot of Metropolis is rumored to have sparked CP30 from one of the most famous sci-fi films ever created.

I do know a lot of my friends who hate the idea of watching silent films, which is a great shame, I did not like the aspect either until I became older, and actually understood that a lot of the famous and influential movies that surround use to date, are only as good as their original inspirations, I hope some of the quotes I have provided concrete this idea.

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) Review

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920)
Directed by: Robert Wiene

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari was shamefully my first ever silent movie, but nether less I did enjoy some parts of the movie; but my overall view consisted of it being short paced with a fast ending.
Key areas of the film that struck me as advanced for its time is the ability of storytelling, for example, we are presented with two men at the beginning just minding their own business until they see a woman, and one man tells the other about his past with that particular woman, and this is how the story continues, through the eyes of one man, but (and I speak for myself alone) I did lose track of him telling the story, and I did buy into everything he was saying as “true events”, which, considering the ending, seemed to be the goal for the director.

Most my review’s in the next five weeks will focus on set design and environments in which the movie takes place, and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, although hold, can definitely hold its own.
“With its sharp angles and distorted shapes Expressionism--like Cubism and other Modernistic art--strives to impose emotional content on the objects portrayed.”

It was a real interest to myself to see strange set designs in such a dated movie, it definitely made the movie more entertaining, but I couldn’t for love nor money find a reasoning for this until the end…

“Staggering light patterns and deep shadows are used to portray the way the insane look at the world. The stylized set design is among the most impressive I have ever seen.”

Upon reading several reviews, it became apparent that the set designs where influenced in the mind of the protagonist, (of course myself unaware at the time) the main protagonist is actually insane, and it shows the world through a insane persons head

The set itself was very sharp, wonky and also very tight, even some objects within the scenes were presented abnormally, for example, pretty much all chairs within the entire movie seemed to come up to the waist of the characters. The movie has also been a foundation for many movies to present, such examples continue to be…

“One needn’t look far in the culture to see its manifestations, from the works of Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory all come readily to mind) to more unexpected places (such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ music video for their single “Otherside”).”

I personally found quite a few similarities between this movie, and recently released “Shutter Island” with the aspect of everything been viewed via one person’s prospective of the word and their surroundings…

“One is a great plot twist that doesn't play as simply as the one trick wonder of the recent The Sixth Sense. Although it may shock first time viewers, it doesn't feel manipulative or forced, and subsequent viewings reveal just how well its creators have developed the themes of madness; hence, the common association with Poe. With its multiple layers the deceptive melodramatic screenplay has held up over the years as a real shocker--the kind that certainly had to please the Master of Suspense himself.”

The use of music was also very different, for example, there were scenes were you would suspect loud, brave and aggressive tones, but instead there was only silence, almost like a gloomy doom, the main scene that did this that caught my eye was the attemtped kidnap/rape scene, the entire scene went silent.
The plot twist towards the end was completely unseen for myself, I was a complete ‘sucker’ and bought into the entire movie, regardless of the environment.

As mentioned before the plot is paced, but the ending is thrilling, it doesn’t hit you in the face, but makes you change your personal views on one person completely, which is a very strange and powerful feeling.

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

(please note this poster is the film poster; it holds no relation towards the book aside the title)

So for our next brief we have been asked to create three final pieces of concept around certain segments of a book, in my case, I recieved 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, which I'm really happy to recieve. Alongside these three pieces of concept art, there will also be work to support them.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Maya Rendering

This scene consister of me complying a selection of renders to create a more indepth final render, this range from ambient, zdepth and beauty rendering.

PLEASE note I did not create any objects within this scene, I was given the scene for educational purposes on rendering.

Maya Modelling: Poker Chips

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Maya Texturing: Texturing a Bottle

Please note this is not my model, I textured it for educational purposes.

Maya Texturing: Common Textures

Some common material texturing...








Ghostly Glow

Friday, 15 October 2010

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Intro to Animation: Rockets and Robots

So here are a couple captions of my rocket and robot, sorry for the poor quality but I didnt have the programmes on my home computer to render these properly.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Splice (2009) Review

Splice (2009)
Directed By: Vincenzo Natali

Scientists Clive Nicoli (Adrien Brody) and Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley) are on the brink of curing some of the world’s deadliest diseases by combining a variety of creatures DNA, but their work has come to a standstill as their employer wants to concentrate on making protein pills from the DNA, but the scientists want to continue and mix human DNA, and the results are far worse than they expected…

When I finished watching Splice I decided I have never watched a movie that was so disturbing, disgusting, revolting, but at the same time, ‘mind-blowingly’ fascinating to watch. I say this due to the creature, Dren (Delphine Chaneac), she is the final result of a collection of animals and human DNA mixed together, and the her story is portrayed so well.

Of course, like most movies, they give a story to the audience, in Splice, it comes down to family, it shows how some can have family problems dwelling inside them, in this case the main protagonist that has these problems is Elsa Kast, who we believe has had an abusive childhood, and she wants to do everything she can to not be the same mother her mother was to her, but this movie proves that the more you try to move away from something, you could end up doing the complete opposite, and unfortunately Elsa does show signs of her mother inside herself.
While Elsa is trying not to be her mother, Clive is trying to do the best he can not to get into trouble, Clive and Elsa clash a lot through this movie, especially at the begining of Dren's birth, he believes it's best to dispose of Dren, and he comes close when he attempts to drown her, until we have the huge twist of growing gills, which Elsa finds shocking that Clive 'knew' and he even lies to cover his tracks from his true intentions, which shows how much Elsa loves Dren to avoid the fact her 'father' almost killed her, Elsa is willing to let it go and continue looking after Dren. Clive throughout the movie slowly progresses to accepting Dren as a part of their trio, maybe not so much as a daughter, but he can see Elsa within her, which inevitably leads him to loving Dren to the extent of them making love on the barn floor until Elsa catches him, and finally they both have to confront their issues and problems which have been lying deep for a while throughout the movie.
“Splice isn't just horror or science fiction. It is a film about parenting, portrayed in an ingeniously unfamiliar way as just another form of genetic experimentation. “
As you can imagine these two scientist raise this creature as their own, thus showing their own Frankenstein creature, which both characters were named as a homage to the movie Frankenstein’s Bride.
“With its quirky, tragi-comic tone, the film Splice most resembles is Bride Of Frankenstein (1935). It can hardly be a coincidence that the leading characters' names are Elsa, surely named after Elsa Lanchester, who played the title character, and Clive, after Colin Clive, who played Frankenstein. 

I found the creature design in the movie very interesting also, mainly because the first two monsters we see, Fred and Ginger, look like blob creatures with a small amount of bone structure, then we are presented with Dren, who is exactly the same, but only with human DNA present, its interesting the differences the creators chose. They also show antennas on Dren when she is a young creature, then she slowly looses them, which can be seen as metamorphism, a lot like her wings, which we dont know she has until much later in the movie, similar with her gills. One thing Dren never fails to do is surprise, which I think helps the audience in keeping entertained.

What I found most refreshing about this movie is to show what scientists are capable if they have free roam, it’s great to see a director not afraid to push the audiences limit and give them a film that requires intellectual engagment.
Not only that, is but the director is more than happy to show the scientists having sex with the creatures, I could imagine a lot of directors shying away from a oppotunity like this, but it made the movie (aside from the mutant creatures) a lot more believable. Dren as a whole is portrayed perfectly, when she is female, we see her actions resemble the animals she is mixed with, from her head tilts which are bird like, to her agility which is taken from her horse aspects; and when she is male and rapes Elsa, we see Dren acting like an animal, he’s not enjoying it, its his primal instinct to mate and populate, he takes no hesitation in the act.

"Meanwhile, as Dren, Delphine Chaneac is both creepy, and unsettlingly attractive in an androgynous, freaky way. While she's no Natasha Henstridge style sex bomb a la SPECIES, the character is still made attractive enough to make you understand that the scientists could grow attached, and even attracted to it (although the wings and legs might be A BIT of a turn off).

To conclude this is a master piece when scientists play against God, I do love the fact that a lot of the movie secretly reflects Elsa, it gives the movie a lot more depth, im sure this will be one of my favourite movies for a long time.

More Life Drawing...

I didnt feel 100% when drawing these images, we were meant to be using the proportion method with use the tip of a pencil to measure the body and make a accurate figure, I think to me feeling a bit sick it didnt help my work, but I believe I gave it the best I could so thats all you can ask of someone...