Saturday, 31 July 2010

1.B.2. Idea Development

Living Abroad

After receiving some feedback on my initial ideas, I'm more than happy to start researching and developing my main idea further.

ooops... Amsterdam

Firstly, updating on my trip, I can say at the moment im relaxing in Czech Republic countryside, visiting my girlfriend's parents, spoiling ourselves with food, sweets and pivo (beer), good life!
So far on my trip, i have loved every city i have visisted, from the beautiful architecture in Bruxelles and the modern city of Rotterdam, to the Sin city of Amsterdam and the beautiful buildings in Berlin. sensational sights I must say really inspirational.
Now I'm ready to go south, to the italy and french Riviera and visit other landscapes and rather hotter climates, which for decades were natural studios for many artists, such as Magritte or van Gough.

Also, I found something for the Superman affictionados more specifically you Phil,
This picture was taken outside the jewish museum in Berlin. Don't ask me why but these statue was there, any conection between jewish and Superman huh???

Phil, this is what you wanted to happen to Superman, after the last film...

On the second part of this post.

An amazing example of a effective minimalist animation... thanks Phil

My idea for this project, as you may have read the post before, has to do with insects and their alien world. For this purpose, I have to take on accurate research, on specific insects, and their environments, so I can take the art direction a step further, and stylised my own way.
According to my interpretation of the song, I want to apply to my animation, a rather abstract world, portraying the one being used, where the environment may not share the same look of the original but rather a more stylized one.

So my research will consist in different parts: researching different insects, researching possible types off vegetation for the environment, researching abstract approaches in this area or on other subjects.

With my idea already chosen, i'm ready to start drawing it and direct with pencil- storyboarding.

P.S.- Although, I have been doing some drawings within travelling, I wont be able to upload until I get hold of a scanner, maybe just when i get back, then I will let you see my travelling sketches

Thursday, 22 July 2010

1.B.2: Initial Ideas

After long time not visiting the blog world, I came back but im going away again. yes, because in about 2, I will embark on my adventure, around the diverse towns in Europe. But before leaving, I had the urge to update my blog, with the initial ideas for the summer project.
Yesterday, I found some freetime from planning and packing for the trip, so I decided to get all the ideas I have in my head since I listened the soundtrack.

To remind you, my soundtrack is number 11, and I can say is quite of a odd sundtrack for all the good reasons. Firstly, I decided to decipher to music and what it effect it would have in me in the form of words, I decided to find words that could possibly describe the feelings I was having when I was listening the soundscape.

Describing Words

Irregularity Weird Odd Alien Surreal Slightly Creepy but more Uncanny

Experimental Alien World Crawling

Thse were some of the words I came up with, and after brainstorming a bit I came with some ideas.

1st Initial Idea:

This idea, I had it a long time ago maybe when I first listened the song, I wanted to create an animation, all set in character's POV, which would have as scenario, an abandoned mansion. Although the scenario being already creepy by itself I wanted to turn the house, in some kind of Surreal Dungeon, where instead of creepyness, the unhomely would prevail, in the different divisions of the houses surreal yet uncanny things would happen, and would provoke a feeling to the character therefore the audience.

2nd Initial Idea:

Exploring a new found environment, yes, this could seem to be a different planet, but it is not, the new found environemnt would be the world of most alien animals living in our planet, the insects, having themselves an alien appearance, this animation would set us on a trip into the world of the insects, we would be present when they would hunt for other insects, etc.
this animation would shrink the spectator to a scale of much less half the size of the insect.
by itself it would look uncanny, exploring something so present in our world and nature.
I can also picture enormous worms roaming the unknown soils, crawling spiders ready to hunt, etc.
Definately, I believe the strongest idea.

3rd Initial Idea:

This idea derives from the previous, where the slight change is that instead of human character shrinking into that scale, he would visit an alien planet, where most of the vegetation would be a jungle inhabitated with dangerous insects.

4th Initial Idea:

The last idea, would be the exploration of an pos-apocalyptic world, where dangers would strike at any corner, it would be with looks of destroyed environments, buildings and hardly anybody woud be seen.

As you can see , the exploration of environments is the strongest point of this project, and after pondering a lot I do believe that I will take my 2nd idea further, not only it will allow me to research anywhere I stop, around my trip, but also it is the one i'm happier with.
So only with few before I go, is time to start this trip and this project.

I will keep you updated...

Until next time....

Film: Toy Story 3, 2010 , Lee Unkrich

Firstly, I would like to say if you haven't seen this film yet, please do not read this post, as in matter of fact, it is a spoiler :).

The second animation film that I went to watch to update my animation films list, was the long-awaited Pixar's Toy Story 3, directed by Lee Unkrich, having as producers names like John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton, is the third episode in the Toy Story films.

It continues the story of our beloved toy characters, Woody, Buzz and Company. This time, Andy the toy's owner is already a grown-up, and is ready to leave for college. So our toys are faced between the trash bag or the attic box, while every toy was chosen to spend the rest of their lives in the attic, Woody being Andy's preferred toy, gains a place into the college box. However, things do not occur as expected, Andy carries the bag to the attic but is interrupted by his sister Mollie. The abandoned bag is left in the hallway and then mistakenly sent to the trash.
After what happens, Woody realizes and tries to save his toy friends, from being carried away and destroyed. All this bad luck, is changed when Buzz Lightyear, now inside the bin bag, saves the other toys. While escaping, they hide in Andy's mum car, where Woody meets them. Although, they were not destroyed, their bad luck is still present when once again, mistakenly, they are transported to Sunnyside day care as donation toys.
Life changes for these toys upon their arrival, they are greeted by all this really happy toys, and cute teddy bear called Lasso, controller in the center.
After an entertaining tour given by Ken , Barbie's partner, Woody and company are sent to a different daycare room. Not knowing what is about to happen, they are eager to meet the kids and play with them, but things show different, the children in that room are too young for those toys so instead playing with them they destroy them.
Our toys are tricked and imprisoned in the daycare center, only a masterplan will help them escape the children, the controlling two-faced teddy bear, Lasso and the tall walls surrounding the recess area.

Toy Story 3 coming from studios such as Pixar, is not a let down, this film shares the same successes from the previous 2, and in fact an amazing sequel.
It has a strong narrative, characteristic of all Pixar films, the concept of the children growing up and forgetting, donating, trashing their toys is presented everywhere, but with Toy Story this same happening is seen in a different perspective, from the Toy's POV, showing that they do also have emotions.
Pixar, also add some more flavour to the animation, by presenting numerous gags and situations which will leave the spectator crying from laughing, yes for example the genius idea of resetting Buzz Lightyear, and he becomes a spanish toy is hilarious, or when potato head, is away from his body and firstly uses a wrap and then a cucumber is one of the funniest things, I have ever seen.
Pixar has power to manipulate audiences, giving gags but not overdoing them so it appeals the spectator, it is all due to a very good art direction. Surely, something look in more depth when dealing with comedy.
In visual terms, Toy Story 3 is a huge leap in technical achievements. After 15 years from the first film, where CG was still growing in every aspect, Toy Story 3 demonstrates the progress of CG in all those years, the realistic quality presented is phenomenal, from CG Animation techniques to CG Visuals, the quality of the outcome is extraordinary. In this film, the use of many more materials and shaders is possible due to this progress, something that would never be achieved ever before.
Toy Story 3, is a Pixar Film with Disney essence in it, where the Disney crying magic dusting powder is ever present.
This film is a must-see, for CG students or the big audience, as Pixar gives you the opportunity to return to your childhood for 103 mins, and relive every moment.

Simply Brilliant !!

To add to this long post worshiping the masters of CG animation at Pixar's Studios, while awaiting to the film to the start we were presented with a short animation by the Pixar Studios, unfortunately is not yet available on Youtube ( only a tiny clip).

The animation is called Day & Night and is a short exploring the differences between day and night. What stroke me the most was the concept, although simple it was really effective, the use of sound effects and imagery in the respective times of the day to show emotions is so clever.
Also the use of a 2D animation foreground with a 3D animation on the background is really interesting different and fresh, who knows maybe it will be the return of the old 2D.
Being this animation shown before the film it was the perfect warm up to what was coming next.

To finalize this post, I gained the habit to stay in the cinema screen until the credits fade to black, with the purpose to find names which are inside the industry so I can be inspired somehow.
This time, I found Daniel Arriaga, the character designer in charge, on Toy Story 3, it caught my eye because being the 1st Toy Story film which adds a half stylised half realistic human characters, I was interested in his work. So I searched online and found his websites with a lot of goodies for CG Students and Character Design fanatics.

Blog :
Shared Url:

Also the name Victor Navone was found by my partner when researching some pictures, just lead her to his blog and to know he worked as an animator in Toy Story 3.


I guess the web is a really powerful and interesting world.
So please do not forget to follow!!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Film: Shrek Forever After, 2010, Mike Mitchell

Before my trip around Europe, I wanted to update myself with the full-feature animations being shown in the cinemas throughout the UK.
My first choice, because it was released for longer, was Shrek Forever After, directed by Mike Mitchell, it is the sequel of the previous Shrek trilogy and its final chapter.

This film evolves Shrek's last quest to achieve happiness ever after. It starts by Shrek being unhappy with his new self, instead of an ogre from the swamp, he became a loving father, husband and friend. This leads him to question his true identity. Realizing that his life changed, he is persuaded by Rumpelstiltskin, an annoying little character who wants to take over the kingdom of Far Far Away, to return to his old self, by signing a contract. For the contract/spell to have an effect Shrek has to sacrifice a day of his life to receive another, being mislead by Rumpelstilskin, Shrek gives away his birth day, so when the given and wished day is over Shrek would never exist.
Purposely , Shrek is sent to this completely unknown world, where is no longer his swamp, no longer Fiona waiting for the prince charming at the top of the tallest tower, and where his own friends cannot recognize him. He is sent to a world without a trace of Shrek in it, despite all this unfortunate he reunites with Donkey, and together leave on a quest to save Fiona, and the Far Far Away kingdom from Rumpelstilskin evil hands.
His quest can only be complete by breaking the contract/spell, for that purpose Shrek has to kiss his true love, Princess Fiona, however this time she became a complete stranger. Therefore, Shreks embarks on the most difficult he ever faced regain the true love of his wife Princess Fiona.

The film Shrek reunites the public with the Shrek clan, the loving characters that audiences learnt to love, such as the talkative Donkey, the funny Shrek, the adorable Fiona and the cute Puss in Boots.
Firstly, Shrek is an example of great achievement in terms of story-telling and visuals, not only the story offers an unusual way of looking at fairy-tales, where the candy-floss and jelly beans scenarios are not present giving place to a more mindful way, where a lot of psychological problems are being treated, for instance, the insecurity with a new self, or the present idea in almost everyone's life, that when we no longer possess something we start to miss it, as love.
Dreamwork's Shrek Forever After consists in a really good narrative, which is embellished with crucial gags moments, although some presented earlier in Shrek films, like the irresistible cat's eyes,these "tricks" are used to appeal the public and gain reputation.
Not only in narrative, but also in visuals, Shrek Forever After shows a massive leap done in CG visuals between the first 1999 Shrek and this one, 11 years distance these two films, and its visible that CG is becoming a powerful tool to create realistic environments and astonishing atmospheres.
The use of different cameras emphasizing on the film's action scenes, and the use of a more realistic lighting in the CG world to add atmosphere to scenarios that once had a bland look.
In my opinion, Shrek Forever After is a great film, and a perfect ending chapter for its series, also it overshadows the less interesting Shrek The Third, as it deals with more important situations in life associated to Shrek the Ogre.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Film: The Shawshank Redemption, 1994, Frank Darabont

On the other day, I decided to extend my DVD Library, and bought some more DVDs, with films like Seven or K-Pax, the one that was set to be watched next was Shawshank Redemption, 1994.

This film directed by Frank Darabont, known for films such as The Mist or The Green Mile, tells the story of a banker, Andy Dusfrene (Tim Robbins), convicted for killing his wife, being transported to Shawshank Prison to spend 2 life setences. His life is not easy at first, but it only can get better. He finds friends inside such as "Red" Redding ( Morgan Freeman) and his group, as well as persuade the guards.
Over the years with the help of his friends, guards and even the prison director. Andy achieves more than anyone could imagine inside Shawshank Prison, even his own freedom.
The Shawshank Redemption is not only a film about life in a prison, it actually which shows true friendship between inmates inside it, but also the difficulties that any newcomer has when first arrives.

The storyline is beautifully crafted adding a slight unexpected twist in the end, when everything the Andy cared of all those years, is swapped by his own freedom. the true friendship between Andy and "Red" is not forgotten upon Andy's escape, and "Red" after receiving a letter from his inmate friend finally finds him enjoying life in his own way.
Despite the film seeming too long, over 2 hours, the constant twists and intrusion of different characters and other happenings inside the prison boost the film to its unexpected ending.
Andy's idea of playing the good guy, persuading the guards and even the director by being their close friends, in the end aids Andy's escape master-plan. Where the guards did not suspect anything.
Finally, my opinion relies on the idea that this film, although aided by camera movements, lighting techniques and acting techniques, is successful due to its narrative.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

1 Becomes 2 Brief

After a worthy year learning new sorts of things about our CG animation course, we were given a summer project, although not obligatory, most of us set our mind to do it, and im not exception. Being quite busy lately, I have been dragging the project all this time, but now I think Im ready to start it.

In this project, firstly we picked a paper with the number of our soundtrack, when chosen we were able o browse the playlist and listen to our sound-scape. This project only given information is the fact that we have to respond to our sound, it can inspire many ways, character design, environments, animation or gaming concept. this same soundtrack has to feature in the final submission, either being part of its soundtrack or as a support that ignited our research.

To be successful in this project, we are asked to apply what we learned during Year one, the different stages of production- Pre-production, production and pos-production. to be more explicit, the pre-production will imply the so helpful research, initial sketches and final concepts/ storyboards. Production will have the models and others creations. and Pos- production will fully associate with the final tweaks and editing.

Finally, we are asked to submit our creative pipeline or work-flow in a form of a book, named the " the Art of.." allowing to create a rather more professional submission.

After a quick insight on the brief of the project, I can advance and explain my picked sound-scape, it is sound-scape no. 11, I shall say im not really familiar with this soundtrack , and my first impressions were that this will be difficult.
This sound-scape reminds me something, eerie, creepy, either an alien environment or some sort of poltergeist, so with this thought in mind, I. more than ready to start to unload all my thoughts on it. Some ideas already passed me through.

Further posts will explore them, one by one and setting me ready for the pre-production stage.

Until next time...

Friday, 16 July 2010

Summer Project and Stuff...

Firstly, I would like to apologise for the lack of posting lately,the reason is that i have been really busy , trying to find a new home, packing and planning my trip around Europe for a whole month.

Night Trains or Home for a month

T-Shirt Tie Dye or Creative Time

Yes, I will be going on my trip starting next week, and arriving back on the 22nd of August.
In this trip, I will visit a few countries in Europe- Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, France and Spain.
Exploring the most beautiful sights that the old continent has to offer in its metropolis. To add more adventure to the trip, I will be interrailing for the whole time, meaning everything will be done by train, regional, intercity, fast and night trains, you name it. Although, public transports can be quite tedious, I hope this trip will appear different, and be a good experience. Also, I will be camping throughout the cities around Europe, Amsterdam, Venezia or even Rome. This will help my trip to become unique where no 5 stars hotels or cheap hostels are going to be at sight.
In the end of this trip, I hope I will be inspired by the different tastes of the different countries, astonished with the views, had a marvelous experience and more importantly had fun.

This prologue of the post situates and points to the actual subject of the post, despite will be going abroad, my summer project won't suffer, I will be taking with me, my old and important friend sketchbook. Thus, the drawings will be towards this sound-scape project. When arriving from the trip I still have another 3 weeks, to finalize it, so I will use my trip as a pre-production, the gathering of ideas and sketches.

This Summer Project is a wide project because almost everything is possible, with only a soundscape given, we are asked to create a outcome, in any form we wish, concept art, 3d models or even an animation. Being listening my soundtrack, n.11, for the past few days I have almost a clear idea what I want to do, and I guess it will imply some sort of animation exploring an eerie environment, the idea of the isolate and creepy , is presented throughout my soundtrack and it is its strongest characteristic. However, more posts will arrive shortly, with a more profound insight into the soundtrack, and some further research, to get me set for the drawing room :)...

To finalise, and touching in the drawing subject, it has not been erased at all from my everyday life, for my own good and to gain knowledge, I undertook a challenge of drawing a little everyday so I wont lose practice and be able to quickly put ideas into paper.

Creativity at all costs :)

Keep tuned...