Friday, 27 February 2015

Illustrator Practice Session

Today in Simon's class we had to recreate a logo using the different tools in Illustrator, I did the heartless symbol from Kingdom Hearts.

The Artist's Toolkit - Flash Bouncing Ball Animations

We made a couple of bouncing ball animations using the different tween options in flash today.

First one is using a Classic Tween.

Second one is using a Motion Tween.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Fantastic Voyage - Initial Thoughts

After looking at the four scenarios the one that stands out most for me is the Malaria life cycle, I find it really interesting just how devastating the virus is and how it's life cycle works.

Above is a diagram of the life cycle of Malaria. It's amazing how the virus works and reproduces, it starts off with a infected female Anopheles mosquito biting a human, this injects Plasmodium parasites which are known as sporozoites into the blood stream. These sporozoites quickly find there way to the liver and invade the liver cells which are also know as hepatocytes, they then proceed to reproduce asexually creating thousands of merozoites which eventually cause the liver cell to collapse. The released merozoites enter the bloodstream again and invade healthy red blood cells, they multiple again until they burst out of the cell and proceed to infect more healthy red blood cells. Some of the merozoites that infect the red blood cell will become male or female gametocytes, these cells stay in the bloodstream for a few days and can then be ingested by another mosquito as it feasts on the human, these cells mature in the mosquito's gut. The gametocytes develop further into gametes and merge to create ookinetes, from here the ookinetes burrow through the mosquito's gut wall and form oocysts. Sporozoites start to develop inside the oocyst, eventually causing it to burst, which releases the sporozoites, these then travel to the mosquito's salivary glands. The cycle starts again when the infected mosquito bites a human.

I find it extremely interesting and slightly scary how the sporozoites and merozoites invade cells and multiple in them until they burst, the concept kind of makes me think of like a war inside the body. I decided to find some animations that would help me understand it slightly better, one of which was this animation.

I found another diagram that shows the life cycle of Malaria, this image for me successfully breaks down the life cycle into three acts, which is something I could possibly use as a base for the acts.

The Artist's Toolkit - Two Sessions Of Life Drawing

I forgot to upload the sessions before Barcelona and last weeks session, so here they are.

Photoshop Class - Master Studies



Sunday, 22 February 2015

Jaws (1975) Film Review

 Fig. 1. Jaws poster.

Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975) is a horror/thriller that is still a delight to watch now, filled with lots of suspense and possibly one of the most know soundtracks in film history it is an action packed rollercoaster that ends with a bang.

 Fig. 2. Barrel still.

One of the most successful factors to the story is the shark is rarely seen, as Lucy points out ‘So much about the shark is implied and this is greatly aided by surely one of the most recognizable sound tracks ever from John Williams.’ (Lucy, 2014). Lucy rightfully suggests that the shark is mostly implied throughout the film; Spielberg intelligently uses other objects to suggest the shark is there. For example there is a scene in which a pier is being dragged by the shark, the pier alone is enough to make you feel unnerved and scared, combined with the score from John Williams the suspense and tension is thickly layered. Another very impactful attribute is the POV shots from the shark, these immerse you into the role of the killer shark and make the water scenes feel more terrifying as you are made to see what the shark sees. All of these components create a deeply tense atmosphere that makes the film a huge success.

The first half of the film focuses on building the suspense, the tension, creating a horrific vision of the sea that is not easily removed. However the second half becomes somewhat of an exciting adventure, you feel almost excited to see the freshly formed trio of average people go out to hunt for the shark that has been terrorising the beach. As Huls states in his review ‘Great blockbusters like Jaws are propelled by pervading destructive threats that are nonetheless rooted in a sense of fun. We enjoy experiencing them in the same way we enjoy Quint, Brody and Hooper (along with Williams’ rousing score) chasing the shark’ (Huls, 2014). Huls suggests that although there is a sense of serious danger, the overall tone is quite fun and exciting. Much like how the characters themselves are excited to go out and hunt the shark, we as the viewer’s feel compelled by the thought of them embarking on this crazy quest.

 Fig. 3. Shark still.

The film was so successful that it became the reason that blockbusters get released around summer time still to this day. As Reynolds points out in his review ‘Hailed as the film that gave birth to the modern-day blockbuster, Steven Spielberg's Jaws made a villain out of the great white shark and scared a generation out of the water back in 1975.’ (Reynolds, 2013). Reynolds suggests that Jaws created the trend for the modern-day blockbuster, not only in the time in which films are now released but also in the events that happen within the film. The trend is that there is a catastrophic danger throughout the film which leads to the adventure and excitement to stop this danger.

It is interesting how the film can be seen as having two villains, the shark being the most obvious as it goes around killing anyone that gets near water. The second villain could be the Mayor Vaughn, he refuses to actually protect his town and leaves the beaches open for more incidents to happen. This touches on a debate about the trustworthiness of politicians and as Reynolds states in his review ‘Untrustworthy politicians are as resonant now as they were back in the Watergate-era of Jaws's initial release.’ (Reynolds, 2013). Reynolds mentions that the trustworthiness of politicians was as much as a problem back in Jaws release date as it is now. It is possible that Spielberg was attempting to mirror the issues that were present with this character.

Overall this is an action packed blockbuster that will leave you scared of the open sea for a long time. It is filled with tension and suspense that is all wrapped in an exciting adventure, against a shark that looks slightly fake when it is finally revealed.

Illustration List
Spielberg, S. (1975). Figure 1. Jaws poster. (Accessed on 22/02/2015)
Spielberg, S. (1975). Figure 2. Barrel still. (Accessed on 22/02/2015)
Spielberg, S. (1975). Figure 3. Shark still. (Accessed on 22/02/2015)

Huls, A. (2014). (Accessed on 22/02/2015)
Lucy, J. (2014). (Accessed on 22/02/2015)

Duel (1971) Film Review

 Fig. 1. Duel poster.

Steven Spielberg’s Duel (1971) is a film that was originally made for TV in 16 days, it is the first feature film that Spielberg directed and arguably led him to direct much bigger films. It is a mystery/thriller film that is filled with suspense. The film itself leaves lots of questions unanswered and has a very simplistic plot; however as a whole the film is extremely effective.

 Fig. 2. Truck still.

The film as a whole is actually very chilling; the plot is easy to follow in the sense that our everyman Mann overtakes a truck driver on the freeway and the truck driver then proceeds to try and kill him. At no point are we shown the truck driver, the only visual reference we have for him is his cowboy boots and his hairy arm. The film is horrifying in the sense that Mann stops on many occasions to explain his situation to people and no one believes him, leaving him alone and isolated. As Gore points out ‘Eventually it becomes clear that only he can do battle with the truck driver if he wants to survive.’ (Gore, 2008). As Gore suggests the story leaves our everyman to fend for himself and try to outsmart the ominous truck driver that is attempting to kill him.

 Fig. 3. Mann still.

Duel has an interesting story in the sense that perhaps it is more about a delicate man standing up for himself and no longer being a push over then a truck driver that’s on a rampage. It gives us hints that Mann isn’t a strong manly man quite early on, as he stops for petrol he calls his wife who makes a statement which makes him appear to be a spineless man, as the story progresses there is a scene in which he is in a diner, trying to figure out who his killer is. He is in a nice, neat tidy booth that looks quite feminine while he is surrounded by big men that are all smoking and drinking, the contrast is very distinct. As Milne states in his review ‘There are no explanations and no motivations, except perhaps for a hint of allegory in the script (the motorist's name is Mann) and an intriguing visual suggestion that this is the old, old battle between the shining, prancing, vulnerable knight and the impervious, lumbering dragon.’ (Milne, 2006). Milne suggests that the story takes on the old tale of a knight defying all odds to fight against a dragon; this reflects the delicate side of Mann and the relentlessness of the truck driver.

It is easy to see that Spielberg appreciated and admired Hitchcock’s work, Spielberg creates a suspense filled 90 minute film only using two vehicles. As Anderson points out in his review ‘Not even Hitchcock could have shot or paced Duel any better. Spielberg understands precisely where to insert his silences and pauses, and when to make them restful or tense. He knows how to pour it on for the exciting chase scenes. And, unlike most of his later films, he knows how and when to end the thing.’ (Anderson, 2004). As Anderson states Spielberg paces the film very well, which leads to tense moments and epic chases. Successfully creating a suspense packed film that ends with a bang.

Overall Duel is an exciting horror film that brings a whole new meaning to road rage, 90 minutes of an intense battle that will have you gripped from start to finish. A extremely effective film that has dated very well and is still extremely viewable now.

Illustration list
Spielberg, S. (1971). Figure 1. Duel poster. (Accessed on 22/02/2015)
Spielberg, S. (1971). Figure 2. Truck still. (Accessed on 22/02/2015)
Spielberg, S. (1971). Figure 3. Mann still. (Accessed on 22/02/2015)

Anderson, J. (2004). (Accessed on 22/02/2015)
Gore, L. (2008). (Accessed on 22/02/2015)
Milne, T. (2006). (Accessed on 22/02/2015)

The Birds (1963) Film Review

 Fig. 1. The Birds poster.

Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963) is a classic Hitchcock horror film, arguably not as effective as Psycho, however the film still succeeds in building suspense and making an audience re think the behaviour of a usually not hostile species.

 Fig. 2. Birds gathering still.

Hitchcock continues to use his method of showing the hypothetical bomb to the audience to build suspense. There is an incredibly scene in which the young female lead role Melanie Daniels, is sitting on a bench outside the school while birds slowly start appearing on the climbing frame behind her. Hitchcock shows us the birds long before Melanie realises, he makes us watch and wait, making us want to scream at the screen in hope that Melanie will hear and see the birds. As Nash points out in his review ‘The only thing dated about this movie is the special effects.  It still manages to provides some scares, suspense and at least one shocking moment, and also a surprising amount of characterization.’ (Nash, 2010). As Nash points out Hitchcock’s technique of building suspense is still very effective even compared to modern cinema, the effects are the only thing that make this film feel old, as the birds look very fake in certain scenes. However the suspense is still very effective and helps the film progress, as you would expect from a Hitchcock film.

Another successful feature of the film was its soundtrack, as Schwartz states in his review ‘It's also worth noting that The Birds used a synthesized score consisting entirely of bird sounds, not music. This helped create the eerie mood throughout.’ (Schwartz, 2007). As Schwartz points out Hitchcock didn’t use a traditional score for this film, instead he used sounds from birds which make the film feel even more unnatural and uncomfortable. This works really well in this strange and creepy world that Hitchcock had created, it doesn’t feel out of place in this universe in which birds swarm and attack, It complements the actions that take place throughout the film.

 Fig. 3. Diner scene still.

The Birds is a great example of how plot and story are two separate components, the plot throughout this film is rather simple, a young woman follows a potential love interest and birds attacks start to happen and escalate extremely quickly, leaving the world in a near apocalyptic state. The story however is much more complex and can be read in a lot of different ways, As Kehr points out in his review ‘Alfred Hitchcock's most abstract film (1963), and perhaps his subtlest, still yielding new meanings and inflections after a dozen or more viewings. As emblems of sexual tension, divine retribution, meaningless chaos, metaphysical inversion, and aching human guilt, his attacking birds acquire a metaphorical complexity and slipperiness worthy of Melville.’ (Kehr, 2007). Kehr suggests that the film still emits new ideas even after watching it multiple times. The brilliance of the film is that at no point does the audience discover why the birds are attacking, there’s a scene about half way through the film in a diner in which Hitchcock gives some joking suggestions as to why the birds are acting out in a strange manor, this range from the end of the world, to nature taking revenge on mankind. However none of these answers are satisfying enough to accept, so as a viewer you are left feeling unnerved. It is possible that the birds attacking are a reflection of the emotions that the characters in the story are feeling. The mother for example is very protective and doesn’t want to lose her son, so the birds attack Melanie much like the mothers eyes and thoughts do.

Overall this is definitely a film for any Hitchcock fan to watch and enjoy, although it has a very slow start and continues to be slow in parts, the overall suspense and vision still stands strong today. It is definitely a film that will make you more cautious around birds, as it has scenes that leave a strong image imprinted on your brain.

Illustration list
Hitchcock, A. (1963). Figure 1. The Birds poster. (Accessed on 22/02/2015)
Hitchcock, A. (1963). Figure 2. Birds gathering still. (Accessed on 22/02/2015)
Hitchcock, A. (1963). Figure 3. Diner scene still. (Accessed on 22/02/2015)

Kehr, D. (2007). (Accessed on 22/02/2015)
Nash, S. (2010). (Accessed on 22/02/2015)
Schwartz, D. (2007). (Accessed on 22/02/2015)

Thursday, 19 February 2015

From Script To Screen - Crit Presentation

From Script To Screen - Character Turn Arounds

From Script To Screen - Final Animatic

From Script To Screen - Submission Disc Artwork

The Artwork for my submission disc.

From Script To Screen - The Art Of 'A Tern For The Better'

From Script To Screen - Pre Vis

Spent tonight working on my pre vis.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

From Script To Screen - More Animatic Drafts

Added more layers of sound and background music.

I replaced some of the sounds in the fourth draft and added some extra sounds. I also tweaked the ending slightly to have a better reveal.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

From Script To Screen - Animatic Drafts

Before I went on the trip to Barcelona I artworked all of my storyboard, in preparation for the animatic. I did a draft and noticed there were a few things that need correcting/changing, I also got some advice from my peers which I adjusted accordingly.

The first draft has no sound and I was mainly just focusing on getting the basic timing down.

The second draft has sound effects but still lacks some background music, this could be crucial for telling the story accurately so that will be the thing I focus on next.