Thursday, 30 September 2010

Unit 2.01- Narrative Story Development

Yesterday, We had our second group meeting and we decided to discuss some issues we were having with our ideas. Having in mind Shahbir's and Chris's Story developments, we sat down and mainly chose what direction our film was going to take. Although, their ideas were quite similar, they differed in some crucial sequences.
With mainly all group trying to decide what direction each sequence would take, we broke down the all narrative of the film so it would be easy to work on the script.

We did a diagram highlighting the sequences and what was happening in them.

Set in the year 2000.

Sequence - Infection
Location: Spaceship

- A spaceship is travelling in outer space
- Meteor Shower occurs and hits the spaceship
- The spaceship is exposed to an Infection
- The crew being aware of what is happening, communicate with HQ on earth and press the Emergency button.
- Emergency pods return to earth
- Infection gets worse, provoking the astronauts to become less conscious, invisible and with cannibal tedencies.

Sequence- Invasion
Location: Earth, Focusing on one particular City( a park)..

- Pods are dispersed throughout the planet Earth
-(Focusing on 1 city) The emergency pod lands and creates a crater.
- Chaos is established in the streets
- People investigate the crater, and in the center of this massive deformation is a Spaceship pod.
- The less conscious creatures open the pod, come out and start the attack.
- Attack! seeking for food this cannibals attack the closest food source, the people surrounding the crater.

Sequence- Army Get Informed
Location: Army HQ/ Random Streets leading to the Invasion location.

- After receiving millions of phone calls by the people close to the invasions sites, they receive a definite information from the Space organization HQ, informing them and asking to take action.
- A old arrogant general is in charge of the mission, and he commands the troops to quickly travel to the site.
- A few shots of tanks travelling, soldiers marching and planes flying to the scene to demonstrate the power of the Army.

Sequence- Army takes action
Location: Invasion Site: Park/ Scientist Lab

-The army surround the invaders still wearing the astronauts suits.
-Army attacks them, they knock one out, but the others escape.
-They capture it and take it to the lab.
-Scientist and his assistant, a woman, do test on it.

Sequence- Panic Still Around
Location: City's streets

-The invisble astronauts feel menaced and rip their clothes off to reveal their total invisibility.
-The Army's job to find and terminate the invaders just became more difficult, as now they are not able to see them at all.
-Though the Arrogant general still gives orders to shot in vain.

Sequence- Solution
Location: Scientist Lab's

-Meanwhile, in the lab, the scientist and his assistant are still doing tests on the creature, The scientist thinking that he found the solution in a science textbook,He goes out of the lab room and reachs for it, however he leaves the assistant there alone with the knocked out creature.
- Suddenly the Invisible Cannibal gets up and prepares his next attack on the assistant. She turns back sees the creature and screams.
- The Scientist hearing the screaming runs over to the Lab room with his textbook, when he enters he is faced with the Invvisble creature grabbing onto the assistant.
-In a heroic act the scientist holds his sketchbook firmly in his hands, swings it and hits strongly the supposed head of the creature, partially Invisble and with no helmet one.
- The creature falls unconscious again, an the textbook also falls and opens on the RAD Device Page.
- Voila! he found the solution to find these invisible monsters.

Sequence- Extermination
Location: Lab/ Cities Streets

-Rapidly, the scientist phones the General in charge, and tells him about his finding.
-The general gives instructions to use the device.
- The invisibility of the invaders is once exposed and they become vulnerable.
- The long-awaited moment arrives, when the power of the army finally terminates this Invasion

The End

With this story idea set, I do think we are more than ready to start scripting and rough storyboarding.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Research: Cannibalism

Have received the title for the trailer that my group is working on, ( It can be followed Here).

The title is:
"The Day of the Invisible Cannibals from Beyond the Stars"

I have decided to research the controversial term Cannibal or Cannibalism, or more precisely called Anthropophagy, basically meaning to eat flesh of your own kind, if your continuing to read this post I strongly advise to be careful as it may contained some undesirable stories, pictures or footage.

The Anthropophagy custom goes back into the early human history, it is often controversially indicated that our human predecessors, such as Neanderthal, Proto- Neolithic, and Neolithic, were cannibals. It is also indicated that cannibalism has been found among people on most continents.

Cannibalism is not a monolithic affair, according to Ph.D. Sam Vaknin in his article 'Cannibalism and Human Sacrifice', 'it can be divided thus'

'I. Non- consensual consumption of human flesh-post-mortem'

Meaning that corpses of prisoners of war are eaten by their captors. This practice was usually common in Island Tribes (such as Fiji, Andaman, Cook Islands), by the victorious Maoris Tribe, who often feasted on the flesh of the dead after the battle. More recently, this type of cannibalism was found being exercised by the defeated Japanese soldiers in WWII.

The other type of cannibalism is:
'II. Non-consensual consumption of human flesh from a live source'

This type of cannibalism is categorised by the torture, pain infliction, even butchered of humans, either prisoner of wars or not, for the sole purpose of being eaten by their enemies for pleasure and express superiority. This type of cannibalism was once practiced by the kings of the tribes of the Cook Islands, who to show superiority among their people would consume the flesh of their more fierce adversaries.

Although after a long time, this type of cannibalism still exist but in a completely different setting, real-life serial killers, such as Albert Fish or Ed Gein, lured, kidnapped and tortured countless people to express their superiority and then consumed their flesh for mere pride and pleasure, this sickening stories made the headlines of the newspapers around the world many times.

Finally, the last type of cannibalism is
'III. Consensual consumption of human flesh from live and dead human bodies'

meaning that people willingly volunteered to serve as sacrifice, either for another human or a god. This sacrifice consists in the torture and later consumption of the body. This type of cannibalism was often practiced by the Aztec tribes, who believed to be offerings chosen by gods, that later after the sacrifice would become immortal. More recently, this type of cannibalism was visible in the weird story of Armin Meiwes, the " Master Butcher", who over the internet arranged to meet with Bernd Jurgen Brandes. Meiwes cut off his guest penis and then both of them ate it. After Meiwes killed Brandes and then feasted of what remained of him. This sacrifice was merely for sexual pleasure of both individuals.

Research: B-Movie Language

To create a trailer for a retro/ b-movie, I think is crucial to understand what cinematic language is usually used in a B-Movie. As mentioned before, technically a B-movie is typically a low budget type of film, that often used genres such as suspense, horror, sci-fi, western, exploitation or gangster.

Researching in-depth this definition, I have to also mention that they often were cheesy, with silly looking creatures, featuring some of the cheesiest and silly acting and dialogue seen in film. Thus, B-movies have a style of their own.

All this factors may give a bad reputation to B-movies, however, these factors are actually what makes this type of films memorable and part of Cinema Culture. In this period, the directors took small budgets and made some of the more memorable sci-fi/ horror films known to date, why?... because although they didn't have good acting, nor great special effects, nor great storylines, They played with the the spectators imaginations and usually demonstrated most of the child-like innocent desires coming to life.

To summarize, Directors had to make the most of a movie by using micro-budgets, they often added cheap special effects, bad acting, weird storylines, and voiceovers over the acting, often used as the narrator of the story, but they made the spectator's imaginations work .

Maya Tutorials: Lip-Syncing *1- Jaw Bone

Here is the first Maya tutorial from the 2nd year , and what a good start, although we had some good tutorials enlightening animation, but nothing into the world of Lip Syncing.

And here commences the first steps to make a character communicate in an animation.
This first tutorial is meant to emphasize on the importance of the Jaw Bone while we speaking, so basically all the animation done was made with the same bone.
Using the Generic guy, apparently a character model that has been in the industry for years as a prop. He had to animate the character mouth, more specifically the jaw bone. to match a audio clip.

To better understand this, I have added an extra challenge of getting a completely different audio and try to animate the character. So I'll keep you updated on this also.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Unit 2.02- Character Design Influence maps and Cartoon Ideas

I apologise for my lack of posts lately, but as I move to a new house, my internet is still not active, so the time I have to post is between lecture in University. Not having Internet, made me realise how much I need either to work or blog, I guess is back to the old mail letters :)
Although not having instantly access to a powerful searching machine as it is the internet, I was still able to complete the influence map for my character design project.

So going directly to the subject, here are the influence maps I have done, this maps give me the possibility to understand better what idea I'm going for as well as the characters. The map is a type of mood-board, where photos of my research are organized in side to side to access them easily.
Having Robot Pirates, I have decided to research the 2 main topics, Robots and Pirates, but also decided to kind of bridge this two distinct term, so I investigated also Steam punk and old ships.
This definitely helped me to choose what story I am going for, when I received the briefing for the project, I came up with 2 ideas.

The first being :

Hero: A Good Robot Living among the Pirates
Villain: Robot Captain Pirate

SideKick: A Humourous Robot, being the Hunchman of the Captain.

Setting: Space and Pirate SpaceShip

My idea would be on transporting what pirates usually do in the sea in our planet, steal, kill and capture other boats, but apply it to Space.

Second idea:

Hero: A Human Made Hostage by the Robot Pirates

Villain: Robot Captain Pirate

SideKick: Robot, Hunchman of the Captain.

Setting: In the Oceans

Mankind was experimenting new ways of creating live, after failing with clonage, they decided to direct themselves to creating robots. After few experiments, they finally were able to create artificial live. However, They were prototypes, and like many prototypes the engineers who specially build them considered it was to dangerous to expose them to human live. So they damp them in the garbage. When the Robots realise that they were being destroyed, they escaped the incinerator, wandering alone around the docks, the Robot in charge, or the captain, decided to take refugee away from the humans, so they stole a boat and sailed to deep sea.
With freedom also came preoccupation, many robots start to to have problems, and with no pieces, due to discontinuation of the stock, to fix them.They had to find another way to find metal, by stealing Oil Rigs, other boats, either fisherman's boat or commercial boats. And so it begins the Robot Pirates Saga.

In this idea, the use of Steam Punk is more effective, the old fashioned copper metal would be a good addition to the looks of the Pirates, giving them a older and rusty Robot look.
Now it's time to get more research in- depth, while drawing out ideas for my characters.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Unit 2.01- Narrative: First Ideas

After a busy start of the week, working on the administration of this same project, I had some time to get some ideas startling in my mind. This ideas will be taken tomorrow to the group meeting discussed with my fellow colleagues, and if approved taken further. If not chosen don't worry a better one as appeared.
Firstly, I apologize for the format in which I wrote my idea, literally is the whole film story which later is broken down in scenes for the trailer.

Idea 1:

Setting: Small 1950's American Village
Villain: Invisible Flesh-Eaters Aliens
Hero: Charming Young Inspector
Others: Young Woman

Genre: Sci/Fi-with humorous acting

An UFO coming from beyond the stars has the mission to invade Earth secretly, finding this remote American village, they find the perfect place to start with their evil plan. Using their invisible powers, they start by kidnapping and consume their victims bodies they wreak havoc in such quiet town. Meanwhile, this charming young inspector, who is seduced by this young woman, they are madly in love with each other and ready to marry, though this moment of affection has to be interrupted when he receives an urgent phone call from the Police Station.
As he arrives, he hears some rumours that they found a woman's body all disfigured as she has been eaten, being an inspector, he is assigned to be the right man to the investigate the case.
The Invisible Aliens, as they main interest, they kidnap a human consume its body and they genetically mutate into that person without losing their invisible powers.
Being left alone at home, the inspector fiancee's becomes vulnerable to the alien menace,  when confronted by strange happenings around, she doesn't stand a chance against an incredible being. They kidnap her, devour her and use her body.
When the inspector returns home the day after, he is faced with a strange situation, his supposed fiancee begins to act strangely and gain a weird appetite for human flesh.While smelling him, she strikes, being the inspector a man with good reflexes and good physique, avoids the attack. Realising it is not his fiancee he attacks it, however the alien still having the invisible powers disappears, runs away hastily.
The Inspector listening to the front door of the house, he runs there, and by a mere of pure physics (Invisibility works in a flat soil, being set in 1950, small village in America, the soil is still gravel, therefore when you step on, footsteps appear). he can follow the Invisible Alien trail.
This path will lead just outside the village to a field full of vegetation that until that moment was hiding the flying saucer.
The young man phones his colleagues to announce his new finding and asks for reinforcements, while awaiting forhelp he spots many people from the village ( at that time they were not humans anymore but a mutation between humans and alien) heading inside the spaceship.
When reinforcements arrive feel their presence and open the spaceship. The Inspector and the other officers are stroke by moments of absolute silence, still aiming at the UFO some the police officers are disarmed and thrown to the ground by this unnatural force. Reacting to that the all the remaining reinforcements shoot randomly to the area in vain. Some more officers suffer other attack.
The inspector retreats behind a car, with the bounces a pen in his shirt's front pocket opens and stains his clean shirt, he shouts "damn!", (with that Texas accent), but at the same time, an idea strikes in his head. "If we can't use human force, If we can't use guns, we will use INK!"
 he hurries to the phone and call for more reinforcements, but this time in form of ink to make the aliens visible and finally being able to destroy them.
Unfortunately, He also finds that he cannot save his fiancee, because all people consumed are already dead.

Idea 2

Villains: Group of Invisible Cannibal Aliens
Hero: Astronomer/Scientist
Others: Funny police officers

An Astronomer in his lab his doing extra hours, when looking through the telescope he spots an UFO in direction to this small town he lives, landing a few miles away.
the next following days, he leaves the lab and goes after some samples from the UFO.
Meanwhile, In the town he lives rumours are spread that people are being reported missing and found days later all disfigured with no evidence to find the criminal.
Being an astronomer/scientist and not believing in sorcery, he associates the crimes to his new finding.
determined to solve this case, he goes to the police station and but it is taken as a joke.
Ashamed he returns to his lab, while there he begins to hear strange noises of furniture moving, and suddenly a chair is thrown at him. Not knowing where it came from the astronomer feels disorientated and again is attacked by the remaining chair.
He has just become the prey for this alien species,as they found he was spying them. After taken a lot of a beating, a brilliant idea stroke his head, "If I can't see him with my bare eyes maybe a natural element will be able to help me". Hastily he runs to the sink, gets a tin with water, that was ready for his experiments, throws it all across the room, and it reveals the shape of the Alien.
The Alien being vulnerable to water is captured by the astronomer. Having now evidence that something extra terrestrial is provoking all this. The police officers believe him and he takes them to site where the UFO has landed, also he informed of the formula to reveal the aliens.
When arriving to the site, the aliens prepare to strike the human forces, being invisible it becomes different for the humans as they start to shoot randomly at the area.
Realizing that it was leading to nowhere the astronomer shouts "Stop!" and gives instructions to the fireman to pulverize the whole area with water.
Immediately, the alien shapes are revealed and therefore become a target for the police officers, who destroy this alien menace.

As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, these are initial ideas but maybe won't even be used for the final trailer.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Research: What is a B Movie?

What is a B Movie?

In cinema terms a B-Movie is considered a low- budget commercial film, and defined the Golden Age in Hollywood Cinema. Being a low-budget film, this type of film is identified by its less-publicized, low-budget acting, and design than a blockbuster film at that time.
Most of the B-movies are represented in certain genres- westerns, sci-fi and horror, not meaning that other genres can be used, but less likely to be found. This genres were mainly used as being the pop culture of that period, 1940's to 1960's America.
B-movies are present in cinema history almost since the beginning, with great merit in the 1950's period, the Golden Age of Hollywood, from that time onwards the numbers of films produced was increased, leading to more recent days.
Although nowadays, we still have B-movies, they are less-likely to make the big-screens, as in Hollywood money counts a lot.
B-movies may be considered cheap produced movies, but they were crucial for the history of cinema, as they provided opportunities to less known directors to shine. New actors to enter the film business, and improve their career and also create many celebrity actors, such as Vincent Price.

Being our project about creating a Retro style B-movie trailer, i felt the urge to explore the term Retro.

What is Retro-Style?

Retro is an aged style, which nowadays we find culturally outdated belonging to the past. In Art, this style is often associated to the 1940's and 1950's America.
The mass production era, the old saturated colours of the adverts, arts films etc.
Retro mainly means a aged out dated style, which was rejected by Postmodern Art.

Enlightening my knowledge on this field, I know already from where to start my research, and that will take me back on the time machine into the 1950's America.

Until next time...

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Theory- Postmodernism Unit Briefing

In my last post I said 3 is the lucky number, so maybe it will work for the projects, adding to already our 2 creative projects, we were presented to a theory unit- Postmodernism.
Postmodernism from what I briefly understood, is a concept that is very present in our society and in our lives, from the notes taken from the lecture I found some interesting terms.

Postmodernism is a disputed term which is difficult to find a definition for. One can argue that is a reaction to modernism, therefore it doesn't believe in a final truth.

Also to complete my initial ideas about the subject, the different definitions of postmodernism were interesting.

Postmodernism is:

With so many different words, even some overlapping and contradicting each other, is right to say Postmodernism is difficult.

For the second, part we were able to watch Quentin Taratino's Kill Bill Vol. 1 with a fresh eye, due to all the knowledge learnt previously. it was good experience to revisit this film with a different approach, this time looking more in terms of either editing, acting, and design all borrowed from the retro kung-fu films and such.
Although, Tarantino's film are filled with grotesque and gory scenes, one has to take them as dramatic and theatrical as possible.
Looking superficially at the use of blood in his films, is just like looking at an airbrush theatrically painting the set, similar to the abstract drippings by Jackson Pollock.

Documentary: Lost In La Mancha, 2002, Louis Pepe & Keith Fulton

As part of our narrative project, we were shown this documentary, an eye opener, which shows what happens when the administration of certain projects go all over the place.
This documentary focus on Terry Gilliam, and his project to make an adaptation of Cervantes' Don Quixote, into film. However, Don Quixote is considered the cursed project in Hollywood, first approached by the famous actor/ director Orson Welles.

Gilliam follows the same doomed trip that stopped Welles from making the film.
As the documentary starts, we are presented most of the jobs inside a film project, from administration, to design, acting, financing, producing, etc. But... and here is a big BUT... this whole project was undergoing one of the biggest problems when creating a film, the lack of funds. Thus, all the Production was running with less money than they actually should. On the top of that, the whole production was a disaster, no communication, no schedules, not even places to record.

On the top of that, the actors were missing to practice the script, the places found to record were outrageous, I suppose the only good thing was... the acting from the Giants.
When finally things were going less bad, and the pre-production was ready to get into recording with the actual actors, things go mad.

Firstly, the site for the first recording is a NATO air force base, so the place is often visited by unwelcome jets, to make matters worse, the main Actor Jean Rochefort, suffers an illness, and to add more insult to injury, most of the recording material is destroyed in a storm with floods.
After long time stopped and pondering if continue or not, Terry Gilliam receives the bad news that the investors for his project, are not investing anymore and no funds will be received, which leads to postpone the project.
In my opinion , Terry Gilliam may look the unluckiest man on the planet for having all those things happening to him, but I do believe that in the documentary is almost a cover-up to hide is shameful management.

A pre-production so badly ran by a poor management team and a stubborn Director is just asking for trouble. Gilliam knowing he was running on lower funds that expected should have found a Plan B for his project. i know this is not just a film for him is a passion, to be fighting over 10 years to create this film, but one should understand when things are not going the way as planned, when the budget is lower than expected, one should understand and cut on costs.
Finally, i have to say I was feeling sorry for Terry Gilliam, because is sad to see a man with a so concrete vision and passion is not able to succeed. I do think that Gilliam is becoming a Don Quixote himself.
The good/bad news is that Gilliam attempted to make this film happen again, and once again he was not successful.
The superstitious may say 3 is the right number, so maybe for Gilliam it will be.

Film: The Fly, 1958, Kurt Neumann

On Monday, I had the chance to watch the original The Fly, a 1958, sci-fi film, directed by Kurt Neumann. As a 1950's sci-fi, B-movie as a lot of good retro aspects that I will be able to add to my narrative project.
As The Fly opens the homicide of Andre Delambre (David Hedison) a devoted scientist takes place, this act committed by his own wife, Helen Delambre (Patricia Owens), in the scientist's brother factory. Minutes after the happening and after being found by a factory worker. Helen phones desperately to her brother-in-law, Francois (Vincent Price), confessing her of her acts.
Helen being a lovely wife, and always true to her husband, makes Francois wonder if she has gone mad, So with the help of Inspector Charas ( Herbert Mashall), he is determined to find the answer of the strange crime.
Helen begins to act strangely when flies enter her room, which arises a lot of questions for Insp. Charas. After lying to Helen, Francois finally is presented with a true story of what really happened.

Although knowing that his brother was a scientist, Francois never imagined what projects his brother came up with, and when Helen explains Andre's experiment, Francois hardly believes.
Andre Melandre new invention implied teleporting objects. After a few faulty tries, Andre upgrades the machine and starts use the same newly discovered technology in animals and ultimately on himself. On the latter experiment, things goes wrong and Andre is morphed with a fly that was inside the machine. This also means that the fly morphed is genetically changed.
The only way to reverse the experiment is to find the different fly or annihilate Andre, before He gets uncontrollable.
A good case to say never play with science !

The fly is a sci-fi movie, which sits in a rather different universe. Although being a sci-fi movie , it is not populated for neither robots, nor machines, nor invasions or nor even aliens. On the other hand, it uses human science, a subject always alien to us, to produce a wrong experiment, an ultimately human mutation monster.
Being a 1950's B-movie, the film is populated with a lot of low budget acting, low budget sets, cheesy moments, although to that time I do believe it was a film that really create a sort of bad feeling, from the scene in the press, which just by imagining is painful to the scene with the spider, in which all the suspense is built for the last hit by Insp. Charas with the rock, is horrific from the faded help calling to the all look of the scene.
The acting, I do believe it was appropriated for that type of film, though many people may think is bad, I just believe that actors add to response to the script differently in those times.
The special effects alongside with the sound effects were really astonishing, the fly suit was just perfect, giving a really eerie feel to the spectator.
In my opinion, despite looking a bit outdated to this time, i do think this film was perfect for the time it was released and among others became belongs to a popular era in cinema history, the golden age for Sci-Fi- B-movies.

Unit 2.02- Character Design Briefing

After receiving our first assignment, the narrative project, we were also presented with another project to help us receive more knowledge. This time the project is Character Design, and for my happiness one of the subjects I love.
With the help of visiting lecturer Justin Wyatt, an illustrator for Disney, who will guide us in this character world, we are mainly asked to build our knowledge and understand characters. Characters not meaning a bunch of cool drawings of monsters, aliens or superheros, but actually understand them, how they look, why they look like that, their personalities, their unique features, etc.
Creatively for this project we are asked to recreate a 1980's Saturday morning cartoon, by designing the character and present an Animation bible, for the three main characters:


The Animation bible has to contain the synopsis of the show, expression sheets and turnarounds for the three characters.
To decided what show we would have, we had to draw a set of cards, in which the conbination of two cards would form the title.
As you may imagine many funny and random titles appeared, however, mine is a classic.

Robotic Pirates


Character Design Bible:


- 3 fully resolved characters- Hero, Villain and Sidekick.
-Synopsis of the 1980's show.
-Expression Sheet.
- Completed weekly character design tasks.

After the briefing, to loosen up a bit our hands we were asked to draw characters as part of that day's workshop.
Picking the character features randomly, we had to combine two either similar or different words and design some characters.

Firstly, I had a Zombie Lawyer:

and then a Vampire Cheerleader:

So I guess is time to get started and use again, Cartoon Animation by Preston Blair, amazing source to get some really good stereotype shapes into the characters.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Unit 2.01- Narrative Project

After a long relaxing time, finally University starts again, and already with some work on sight. Today, we were presented with an interesting rather different Project, with a remodeled and all fancy brief ( thanks to the lecturers), we are now asked to engage our project even more professionally.
This project main goal is to create a 2 min or less trailer for a given film randomly to be featured in a Retro film festival, being also a group project we are asked to treat our group as a studio and try to work professionally meeting deadlines, project management, dividing efficiently jobs and even finances.
As mentioned before we are to submit:

Studio Submissions:

- a full 3D animated film trailer, promoting the main B-movie given to us at random.
- Documentation from the project
- 300 DPi's animation stills
- Press Junket and Poster (marketing)
-' A Making of' Document
- An up-to-date Studio blog

Individual Submissions:

- Your up-to-date- individual blog
- All technical tutorials uploaded to your individual blog.

The B-movie title randomly picked was:

' The Day of the Invisible Cannibals from Beyond the Stars'

And the B3D Studios, our studio consisting by myself, Ethan S, Shabir and Chris, are ready to work on it, to create a really appealing yet cheap 1950's Sci- Fi film. So keep tuned either on this blog, or the studio blog ( not live at the moment)

Finally, as part of our evaluation, being marked by either UCA Staff and Guests, we have the chances to get awards for our Animation.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Presentations and Pub Talk

Yesterday, I suppose it went really well with CGAA presentation, I tried to keep my presentation as short as possible, friendly, but also a eye-opener for new students, to realise hard work will take you mostly everywhere. Although, I didnt have much of CG to show, with the work I showed, I emphasized on the pre-production, a crucial part of your pipeline, I just hoped I wasnt really boring.
Finally, I want to wish good luck for all of them this year, and to keep the blogs updated so I can stalk or spy on unit works, hahah...

After the presentation, I met some old faces, it as a really good time, as we catch up with stories over the summer. funny talks were the menu for the afternoon, and it was great.
There is where the power of socialising comes to place, where you can actually relax before the projects start next week.

Also a quick reminder, I am volunteering for the Canterbury Anifest, this year. If you by any chance want to apply do it by today as it finishes. Besides you chose the days you want to work, 25th, 2nd, 8th or 9th, you will have access to backstage, ether giving hospitality to a guest, or setting things up, or being by the doors.
As it is a volunteering work, is not paid, but they do offer the opportunity to see 2 events, all the food expenses, and also put your CV as experience, which is great in my opinion.
The website for the Canterbury Anifest can be found on the group blog.

Now time to get back to my summer project and try to put at a stage I would like.

Friday, 10 September 2010

1.B.2. Concept Art: Spider Attack

Lately, despite being quite busy at the moment, I still have a little time to update my blog. So taking from where I left, I have drawn some quick environmental sketches, and also taken them into photoshop, to create some more refined concept designs, to establish the environment or any actions that can possible happen.
Here's is my latest piece showing the ferocious attack of the spider overwhelming its prey.

Meanwhile, I have taken on Imagine FXs challenge of the 365 Sketches (meaning a sketch a day for a year), im aiming to do a lot of anatomy and life drawing studies, which help me to improve a lot my skills in character design.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

1.B.2.- Research: Environment

To complete my environment research, I decided to investigate different scenarios where the insect is mostly common among humans, yes insects are known for being the pre-historic creature, who survived all the hazards along the million of years. So they are more capable that anyone to live and adapt in all circumstances.
Although, insects can be seen almost everywhere, from the comfort of our home, or in our cities to the vast forests or plantations, my aim lays in connect the insect world to the human world, "our world". Thus, proximity is something within species is a must.

For this purpose, I found some pictures where these two worlds meet.

Also, I found an amazing film/documentary called Hellstrom Chronicles, 1971 by Walon Green, where is explained the survival of insects since the pre-historic times, as well it features one of the most amazing transitions in documentary film, and what I was looking, where the worlds, that looked distance are actually closer than we think.

(You need to forward until 4;30, to find that transition)

In the same documentary, you can find an amazing depicted fight scene between 2 types of ants, where the strong species annihilates the weaker for reward of having food, it sounds normal but its incredible how such small insects have such strength to even fight without their body parts.

(this can be seen at 2:20)

Friday, 3 September 2010

1.B.2- Some Sketches of Insects II

Lately, I have been drawing a lot to regain the experience lost while being away for 1 month with little of sketching. Continuing the sketches of insects I explored some other creatures, Ants and Flies, by firstly creating different heads and then different bodies, I attempted to experiment with them. I do believe that sketching a little everyday is improving my technical skills, and that pleases me.

Relating to the project, I have decided to take this project to a 3d mis-en-scene stage, due to the proximity of the beginning of the term. it will allow me to explore in depth concept art, modelling, texturing, lighting and rendering. Though if i took it a little further it would be do not harm, but animating characters, environments and cameras is out of my reach at moment.
Happily, i will spend time in the Maya world modeling organic characters, and environments, also maybe trying a bit of rigging.

Im planning to explore the environment tomorrow, so some more sketches coming up.

Book: Imaginative Realism- How to Paint What Doesn't Exist, James Gurney

This a book is a guide for fantasy, concept and sci-fi artists, in how to paint surreal characters, a my new book acquisition. The book is divided by different sections, firstly a historic explanation how classic artists used fantasy characters in their work, followed with a example of different characters with useful tips, of buildings and vehicles, and also landscapes, mentioning perspective, eye-line to create depth. Also in the last section, it explores the way how to paint with traditional media, which can be carried to digital art.

For who doesnt know, James Gurney, the author of this book, is a renowned fantasy artist who already received 3 gold medals from the Spectrum Annual of Contemporary Fantastic Art, and also the author of the Dinotopia, a collection of books exploring the fantasy world of dinosaurs, books illustrated with well-crafted and beautiful paintings done by the same. Also, James Gurney is in the blog-sphere with one of the most informative blogs, with tips about panting, interesting information and funny articles , being 1 of the top ten Art blogs worldwide.

You can find his blog:

I suggest everybody to follow him, as you will find useful information along the way.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Threatre: Les Miserables

Yesterday, I took the day to go to the theatre, with the tickets to see Les Miserables offered as my leaving present from my job. After spending all day in London, the National Gallery was the main place I visited, to observe works of Da Vinci, Turner, Constable or Velasquez, which I'm never tired of. Truly inspiring!
Later, I made my way to the performance at the West End, Queen's Theatre. when I arrived I faced a completely different theatre from the Fortune's Theatre, Queen's theatre is much chicer and populated than the other. Luckily, no dressing code was asked :).

Les Miserables is a show based on the novel by Vitor Hugo with the same name. The Story evolves Jean Val-jean a convict, who broke his peril and escaped the authorities. Although he was considered a prisoner, a slave, he wanted to become a honest man. 10 years passed, and Jean Val-jean overcame the torments and became a honest man, however ghost from the past never left him, mainly Javert the inspector, who was in charge of the case, and val-jean's torment.
Val-jean, becoming the mayor of a town in France, was also and fair and respectable man, who owned a factory, taking poverty from the streets. After mistakely fired Fantine, a poor worker who had the burden to send money to the evil caretakers of her "bastard" daughter Cosette, the mayor redeems himself by helping Fantine, in her last moments, and to take care of her daughter. Meanwhile, Javert realises the lies and mysteries hidden in this strange mayor, and plans a trial to judge a supposed Jean val-Jean, a false one. Being the real one a fair man denounces himself. Javert satisfied attempts to catch him with no success.
Val-jean, as promised, goes to find Cosette and accept her as a daughter, and they escape to Paris.
Another 10 years have passed and once again Jean Val-jean is torment by his past, when again Javert goes after him discovering his new identity. At the same time, Cosette falls in love with Marius, a revolutionary student. Val-jean as his last duty tries to bring them both together, apart from all the misadventures along the way.

Based on the masterpiece by the great Romantic Victor Hugo, it is difficult to relate the story based on such grandeur. however, the musical running for 25th years, is one of the most acclaimed in London.
In opposition with the "Woman in Black" at the Fortune's Theatre, this musical is dressed with amazing and expensive sets, all mechanical, all fabulous, a beautiful well-crafted design. The acting in my opinion was amazing, Simon Bowman, playing as Jean Val-Jean, and Norm Lewis, as Javert were a great duo, showing the actual tension of the 2 characters. All the other characters, were extraordinary, producing an authentic experience in the show.

Being musical, live music was being played under the stage by a orchestra, I have to admit that the songs were all fabulous, and fitted perfectly, and never became tiring . All these factors adding to light effects and special effect, such as smoke, created one of the most atmospheric mis-en-scenes I have seen. For instance, in the 1st scene, the prisoners, embraced by an atmospheric smoke and light, or when the students' barricade falls and the leader Enjolras, played by Killian Donnelly falls with it,an astonishing mis-en-scene, compared to the Liberty Leading the People,1830 by Eugene Delacroix, beautifully presented. Finally, the show was presented with tragedy, drama, comedy, action, all in perfect proportions to appeal the public

Although, it was a different experience from the previous, I loved everything, and didnt realise that 3 hours went so fast. I have to say the only let down was the 5.50£, I played for a glass of red wine, but it was worth it. :)

I advise everybody to go to the theatre, especially to shows like this one or the Woman in Black.

Finally, many adaptions have been made to the big screen, the one I have watched recently was the 1998, with Liam Nesson and Geoffrey Rush. If you feel like watching, I warn you is different from the musical.

The trailer:

1.B.2- Caterpillar Digital Painting

After yesterday taking a break from the project by going to the theatre ( review coming up), I restarted today the project, so nothing better to digital paint one of my previous sketches just to give a more finished look.
By grabbing more often my pen tablet, I'm finding more confident drawing with it... always a good sign.