Monday, 30 March 2015

Fantastic Voyage - Intro Live Action Tests

Today I filmed the live action shots with the help of Sam and PG, here are my test edits.



01. Raw footage, no colour correction


02. Colour corrected


03. Colour corrected & graded


04. Colour corrected & graded


05. Colour corrected & graded


06. Colour corrected & graded

Some of these were more experimental, pushing certain colours to see what effect it had on the overall tone of the footage. From here the video will transition into the Maya world, previs will determine if it works well.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Fantastic Voyage - Orthographs & Cell Development

Today I did some orthographs for the cells, simple stuff that shouldn't be an issue in maya. I also for my own benefit did a page on how the cells are constructed, breaking them apart a little bit.





 


Fantastic Voyage - Glow & Glitch Tests (Maya & After Effects)

Today I did some more tests in maya and after effects, here are the results.


1. Maya glow test


2. Glow added in After Effects


3. Glow animated and distortion added

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Fantastic Voyage - Blend Shape Glitch Test

Today I was suggested by Sam and PG that I look at blend shapes for the glitch, so I watched the tutorial and had a little play around in maya, the results are quite successful.




Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The Blair Witch Project Film Review


Fig. 1. The Blair Witch Project poster.
 
Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick’s The Blair Witch Project (1999) is a draining experience that shows the audience just enough to have a scary impact. The success of the film is that it feels mostly authentic and has very little scripted dialogue, this makes the film overall feel as if you are watching real life people, actually trying to document these strange things that are happening. It also makes you feel rather uncomfortable as the sound design is very harsh and unnerving, it feels as if it is possible to get a similar uncomfortable and frightened feel from just listening to the film. All of these points make The Blair Witch Project an interesting experience, on one hand it is a brilliant example of an impactful film being made on a small budget, on the other it is a mentally draining film that has the potential to slowly wear down the viewer.


Fig. 2. The crew still.


It is easy to get pulled in by this film as the characters feel authentic, their lines are mostly improvised and that creates a realistic feeling that overall makes you feel more immersed in the events that are taking place. The film is much like a spider web, in the sense that if you get caught in it and you believe that the events are real, then you become stuck waiting to be consumed by your fears. The actors did a brilliant job at selling the film as real life events, the use of ‘real’ footage helps convince the audience and the reactions from the actors feel genuine. As Travers points out in his review ‘they hired three unknown actors who were skilled at improvisation. That's because the actors were sent into the Maryland woods with only the barest bones of a story and asked to make up the dialogue as they went along.’ (Travers, 2012). Travers points out the choice in actors reflects the way in which the story is shown. By using three actors that were skilled at improvisation and sending them off into the woods, allowing them to become tired and hungry, created believable and powerful scenes that include arguments and the breaking down of a group of friends due to high levels of stress. The screams and shouts that are exchanged by the actors are piercing, the sound stabs at your eardrums, making you feel uncomfortable. By the end of the film, the constant arguments have worn you as a viewer down, the use of handheld cameras almost makes you feel as if you are part of the intense arguments.

 

Fig. 3. Leaving clues still.

The film overall doesn’t give you much information, but it gives you just the right amount to be terrifying. Instead of the usual act three big reveal (in which you would be shown the monster), we are left with our imagination having to do the work for us. This becomes really effective if you have bought into the fake reality the film creates, as you may never feel the want to go camping in a forest anytime soon. As Rose points out in his review ‘We never get quite enough information to figure out what's happening, but – thanks to the scriptstructure worked out by Myrick and Sanchez – we always get enough to make us dread what's coming next.’ (Rose, 2013). Rose suggests that the directors cleverly constructed script, reveals just enough for us to fear what might happen next. The suspense is built from the very start, as the film starts by stating that three young students went into a wood to film a documentary and never came out. It is very reminiscent of Hitchcock’s method of building suspense by showing the metaphorical bomb, from the very start you have enough information to know that their trip into the woods is going to end badly. Myrick and Sanchez build upon this from shot to shot, leaving clues for the characters and viewers that they are slowly being hunted, much like Hitchcock they make us wait, watching and listening as the events get worse and worse.

 

The film becomes its most intense and draining in act two, when the characters get lost in the forest. These scenes are all very similar, they involve the characters wandering around the woods, arguing with each other and things becoming haunting during the night. This act feels like it lasts for an eternity, which begins to create the draining effect on the audience. As Tatara states in his review ‘The level of repetition when the students lose their way is disconcerting for a while, just as the directors intended it to be. But any semblance of drive is soon dumped in favor of a meandering "realism" that's normally cut out of other films, for very good reasons.’ (Tatara, 2014). Tatara points out that the repetition is effective to begin with but slowly starts to make the film drag and lose the interest of viewers. However it is possible that by using repetition and causing the scenes to feel long as if you are actually experiencing them could create a powerful immersive effect that could grip you and convince you that it is in fact reality that you are witnesses. The Hitchcock trait of making you wait is truly multiplied in this film and it appears that it has a similar effect, creating suspense and making you feel worn out by the constant onslaught of events that are slowly played out until the final scene.

 

It is easy to see why this film grew such a cult following, it is a delightful example of a film being created on a low budget that is still very impactful and immersive, The Blair Witch Project began to change the shape of cinema, allowing more creative methods of storytelling to grace the screens. The overall suspense is great and strong throughout, allowing the audience to become distressed by the events that unfold. If you are easily lead then without a doubt the film will consume your mind and prey on a childlike fear of the dark, making you listen and watch in fear until the very last second.

 



Illustration List

Myrick, D & Sanchez, E. (1999). Figure 1. The Blair Witch Project poster. http://www.impawards.com/1999/posters/blair_witch_project_ver3.jpg (Accessed on 24/03/2015)

Myrick, D & Sanchez, E. (1999). Figure 2. The crew still. https://thebestpictureproject.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/theblairwitchproject3.jpg (Accessed on 24/03/2015)

Myrick, D & Sanchez, E. (1999). Figure 3. Leaving clues still. http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/assets/4868258/blairwitch.png (Accessed on 24/03/2015)

 

 

Bibliography

Rose, L. (2013). washingtonpost.com. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/movies/videos/blairwitchprojectrose.htm (Accessed on 24/03/2015)

Tatara, P. (2014). edition.cnn.com. http://edition.cnn.com/SHOWBIZ/Movies/9907/22/review.blairwitch/ (Accessed on 24/03/2015)

Travers, P. (2012). rollingstone.com. http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/the-blair-witch-project-19990730 (Accessed on 24/03/2015)

 

 

The Artist's Toolkit - Santa Hat Tutorial

Today I did the santa hat tutorial, quick and easy.


The Artist's Toolkit - Faked Rim Lights Tutorial

Today I finished off the faked rim lights tutorial, some of these principles seem as if they could be useful.

Monday, 23 March 2015

The Artist Toolkit - Transparency Tutorial

Today I did the transparency tutorial, took 15 minutes to render this one image. I'm glad I don't have many transparent things in my project.

The Artist's Toolkit - Fur Tutorial

Today we did the fur tutorial, was a lot of fun but I can see fur taking a long time to get right.

The Artist's Toolkit - X-Ray Tutorial

Today we did the X-Ray tutorial, this could come in handy for some of the cells in my project.

The Artist's Toolkit - Double Sided Shader Tutorial

Today we did the double sided shader tutorial, very interesting.

Photoshop Session - Self Portrait

Today we did self portraits in our photoshop session with Jordan.


Sunday, 22 March 2015

Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (1992) Film Review




 Fig. 1. Reservoir Dogs poster.

Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (1992) is a great debut from Tarantino, it is filled with excessive blood and swearing, truly a film pumped with male testosterone. Tarantino has an interesting way of telling his story to the audience which creates emotionally connections to characters that otherwise wouldn’t have existed. Packed with lots of great scenes, which include a horrific torture scene that is made to feel somewhat comical, a flashback that becomes almost dreamlike and an emotional ending, it is definitely a film that will keep you interested.


 Fig. 2. The group still.

Tarantino tells this film in a non-linear fashion, the story is based around a group of robbers that perform a heist that goes very wrong, leaving a few of them dead and one seriously injured. Tarantino starts us off with a pre heist breakfast; during this there is a scene in which the group of men have a conversation, straight after we are transported to a scene in a car with Mr White and Mr Orange, Mr Orange has been shot and is seriously wounded. At this point as a viewer, you are left to assume what has happened, it is possible that this cut up effect makes you more interested as you want to find out what has happened. As Billson points out in her review ‘the film fills in vital information via an assortment of flashbacks. This is an ambitious structure, but Tarantino pulls it off with panache.’ (Billson, 2014). Billson suggests that Tarantino’s method of using flashbacks to give important story information is a difficult achievement to accomplish, however Tarantino pulls it off with a bang. Using the flashbacks to give information to the viewer allows Tarantino to give it in an order that makes your opinion of certain characters different, as opposed to telling the story in chronological order. This has a huge impact on the connection you have with Mr Orange, who is later revealed to be an undercover cop.


 Fig. 3. Torture still.

A scene which is very intriguing is the one in which Mr Blonde, the psychopath of the group, tortures a police officer in the warehouse. This scene is interesting because Tarantino makes something that should be very disturbing and uncomfortable, quite artistic and almost light humoured. As Thompson states in his review ‘While a radio plays a bad song from an FM ''Sounds of the '70s" retrospective (a running joke here), Mr. Blonde begins dancing, singing and brandishing his implements of torture - a razor, a can of gasoline, a lighter. He then begins to mutilate his victim.’ (Thompson, 2013). Thompson points out the events that create the light hearted mood for what should have been a much more disturbing scene, in this case clever use of sound design and the delightful acting from Michael Madsen created an artful scene that isn’t easily forgotten.

Tarantino does an excellent job at creating a fully resolved film that feels complete without ever showing the heist. The film is packed out with clever dialogue and a handful of flashbacks that fill in the gaps for the audience, so by the end of the film you feel as if you had witnessed the heist. As Russell points out in her review ‘With a surprise or two in store, Reservoir Dogs revolves around a heist that we never see taking place. It`s an intentional oversight that the filmgoer might not notice until long after this emotionally draining movie is over.’ (Russell, 2013). Russell suggests that due to the suspense and emotional impact the film has on the audience, they may end up overlooking the heist not being shown. This shows Tarantino’s ability to successfully create an interesting and impactful film on a low budget.

To conclude, Reservoir Dogs is a great film filled with lots of witty dialogue, blood, violence and a heap of swearing. It is a director pumping male testosterone into one room and allowing it to explode. It has great scenes and a broken up story that leaves you emotionally exhausted and wondering if you should trust your initial judgements and connections with characters. It is a film that isn’t for the squeamish but if you can stomach a scene of torture and some blood then it is a highly recommended piece of art.


Illustration List
Tarantino, Q. (1992). Figure 1. Reservoir Dogs poster. https://cinefilles.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/reservoir-dogs-poster.jpg (Accessed on 22/03/2015)
Tarantino, Q. (1992). Figure 2. The group still. http://blog.planet5d.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/08/walking-in-focal-plane-from-Reservoir-Dogs.png (Accessed on 22/03/2015)
Tarantino, Q. (1992). Figure 3. Torture still. http://www.liveforfilms.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/reservoir-dogs-06.png (Accessed on 22/03/2015)

Bibliography
Russell, C. (2013). articles.sun-sentinel.com. http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1992-11-06/features/9202270898_1_jewelry-heist-joe-cabot-six-robbers (Accessed on 22/03/2015)
Thompson, G. (2013). articles.philly.com. http://articles.philly.com/1992-10-30/news/25998760_1_informant-andrzej-sekula-fake-names (Accessed on 22/03/2015)

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Fantastic Voyage - Maya Glitch Test

I did a little test in maya to see how I could tackle the glitching effect. Here is the result, I think I could add some effects behind the cells as they glitch, or perhaps the whole environment would change, more tests need to be done to figure out the exact look I want.

The Artist's Toolkit - Eye Rigging Tutorial

I did the eye rig tutorial today and a quick animation to demonstrate the eyes working.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Fantastic Voyage - Mosquito USB Stick

I haven't decided how I want to tackle the USB stick scene yet, Phil suggested live action which I will hopefully test out over the weekend to see how the transition from live action to Maya will look. So I decided to design some mosquito USB sticks, if the live action does happen I will have to brand a USB stick with a mosquito to make sure the metaphor is understood.


Fantastic Voyage - Red Blood Cell Designs

After the feedback from the pitch I have started to look at re designing the red blood cells. The main issue was the colour being green instead of red, so I've tried to create something that still looks pure enough to fit into the computer based world I am creating.



Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Jurassic Park Film Review



 Fig. 1. Jurassic Park poster.

Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993) is very much a film that demonstrates Spielberg having fun; it feels very much like an amusement park ride that you don’t want to get off and is full of iconic moments. Much like Jaws the monsters are shown sparingly, but the build up and tension is made without having to show them. It also has a strong family story that builds up into a heart-warming ending.

Spielberg opens up the film showing a Jurassic Park worker meeting his demise, without actually showing you what is killing him. He doesn’t need to reveal the Velociraptor to the audience, as by just showing the power and danger that it is capable of, instantly creates suspense. As Gritten states in his review ‘it takes almost an hour before the visiting humans are finally exposed to peril from the dinosaurs, yet every scene up to that point carefully makes their jeopardy increasingly inevitable.’ (Gritten, 2013). Gritten’s point shows that Spielberg allows the suspense to build from the start, it is clear to see that Spielberg was inspired by Hitchcock as the opening scene shows us everything we need, allowing us to know just how much danger the main characters are in.


 Fig. 2. T-Rex attack.

Jurassic Park still looks and feels amazing; the film has aged very well and is very much still widely appreciated. It is a film, which is set in a world that is definitely fictional; we couldn’t just go and visit a dinosaur park, yet it doesn’t flood the screen with CG. One of its successes is that it doesn’t rely on its CG to impress the audience, as its story should already have you gripped. As Richards points out ‘only using CG when it serves the story rather than to obscure the lack of one.’ (Richards, 2013). Richards point shows that the story was the main point Spielberg wanted to get across to the audience, it is possible that this is hugely why the film and franchise is so popular. Spielberg didn’t need to show you the dinosaurs all of the time to create suspense, he didn’t need to flood the screen with CG; instead he only used the dinosaurs when the story required the audience to see them. This allowed the audience time to get immersed by the characters and story, instead of just being impressed by the visuals.


 Fig. 3. Father figure.

The story and plot are very much two separate things in Jurassic Park, the plot is simply about trying to get approval to open a dinosaur park, after the power gets shut off it is about survival. However the story seems very much to be about the family and how a strong father figure will protect its family. It is a journey of a man who becomes a father figure, from a person who hated children to someone who is there to protect and care for them. As Ebiri states in his review ‘Jurassic Park shows us a director in transition, and the film captures his transformation in its own kind of cinematic amber.’ (Ebiri, 2013). Ebiri point suggests that this film is the start of Spielberg’s work changing into stories that are about the family, where as his previous films had a more child like view of the world, this film began to shape him as a director.

Without a question Jurassic Park is a must see film, it has so many skillfully executed scenes and is a joy to watch. It really demonstrates a director having fun and still looks great over twenty years later. It has clever use of CG, which isn’t over used due to the story holding the film together successfully.





Illustration List
Spielberg, S. (1993). Figure 1. Jurassic Park poster. http://s3-ec.buzzfed.com/static/2014-08/12/12/enhanced/webdr07/enhanced-3859-1407860847-2.jpg (Accessed on 18/03/2015)
Spielberg, S. (1993). Figure 2. T-Rex attack. http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/jurassic-park-3d.jpg
Spielberg, S. (1993). Figure 3. Farther figure. https://tinselblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/2213_00104.jpg

Bibliography
Ebiri, B. (2013). vulture.com. http://www.vulture.com/2013/04/jurassic-park-3-d-review-lets-roar-again.html (Accessed on 18/03/2015)
Gritten, D. (2013). telegraph.co.uk. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/filmreviews/10259543/Jurassic-Park-3D-review.html (Accessed on 18/03/2015)
Richards, O. (2013). empireonline.com. http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=138260 (Accessed on 18/03/2015)

The Artist's Toolkit - Leg Piston Rig Tutorial

I did the Leg Piston Rig tutorial today and playblasted a quick animation to demonstrate it in action.


Friday, 13 March 2015

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Fantastic Voyage - Virus Concept Art

Tonight I did my concept art for the virus and its different stages.


The Artist's Toolkit - Postnude Life Drawing Session

I had a lot of fun today in life drawing, it was very interesting working a lot smaller.




The last image looked really interesting, so I cut them out and stuck it in my sketchbook ready to be doodled over.

The Artist's Toolkit - Collage Session

I forgot to upload this session, so I thought I would do it now. I enjoyed messing about with collage, it was a fun experience.




Fantastic Voyage - Story Idea

I started to plan out how the life cycle is going to be told, it will rely on the use of a heads up display to inform the viewer of where they are and what they are looking at, seeing as it's based inside a computer it will be quite an abstract place.



Act 1:
USB stick carrying the virus is put into an usb port on a laptop, the camera follows into the usb port and the life cycle begins. The first stage of the virus (Sporozoites) begins to makes its way into through the computer until it reaches the liver chipset, a heads up display informs the viewer of where they are and what the stage of the virus. Inside the liver chipset the virus invades the liver cells and begins to multiply until it causes the liver cells to explode. Stage two of the virus is released from the exploded cell (merozoites).

Act 2:
The virus travels back through the main stream of the computer, finding red blood cells to invade. It begins to multiple inside the red blood cell until it explodes; stage two of the virus is released into the main stream of the computer again. The virus continues to invade red blood cells, destroying the computer, it then begins to form stage three of the virus inside the blood cells (gametocytes). The virus becomes male and female, each one in a separate blood cell.

Act 3:
The third stage of the virus is uploaded to a new USB stick, inside the USB stick the virus merges to and settles in the wall of the USB stick forming the last stage of the virus (oocyst). The virus starts to develop the first stage insides itself until it causes the virus to burst. The first stage is then ready to infect a new computer. The USB stick is plugged into a new laptop and the cycle starts again.

This is my first idea, using a USB stick to represent the mosquito. Any feedback would be appreciated.