Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Transcription - The Fawns world

The depiction of the Fawn will help to further develop the understanding of Mr Tumnuses world. Here are a few ideas so far of how he may roughly appear. I really need to draw his body. (I'll add that later on this very post!) This helps as I can now visually see what kind of nature he has about him, if I create a full character as a rough guideline I may be able to take things from him that would be used in his surroundings.

The development of Mr Tumnus may be irrelevant to the project overall, however the character speaks world for his enviroment, therefore I believe it is important to try to depict his character visually to developt an idea for his characteristics.


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Visual research - Enviromental influence

To create the world of Mr Tumnus, I must first understand what makes him tick. The enviroment that he lives within will manipulate his surroundings, his personality and how he would place himself as a part of it. Therefore, it is important that I fully understand where his house is situated, what he has to live on, how he makes himself comfortable and how his enviroment would naturally depict his lifestyle and appearance even without having to meet character himself. The main aim of this project is to give the enviroment a feel for the characters personality, so it is instantly recognisable if you were to know of the character, or if not, at least clearly visually readable as to what kind of person lives there.

Shorne Country Park

Local to me, this is a fully untouched nature reserve (minus a few sculptures made by a few artists for the park itself) that is highly magical to walk through and has the appearance of an enchanted forest in parts. When I think of Mr Tumnus's house, I instinctively think of it being situated in an overgrown forest, which is thriving with wildlife and interesting views. Every turn seems to have the feeling as if you are being watched, or thrown into some magical world ready to welcome you with open arms. 

Goats/Mountain Goats

As Mr Tumnus is actually half Man - half Goat, I can only look into the world of the Goat itself. We know how a man may approach an object for eating something, (for example, a Spoon) but we must keep in mind that this creature may have half of the characteristic's that a Goat may possess.

"Goats will eat just about anything. They eat all kinds of plants and weeds, wood, but have an instinct for knowing when food and water are contaminated and will refuse to eat or drink. They rarely eat objects or clothing unless it has been made from plant material or wood." - taken from

This information shows that Mr Tumnus would probably be a fond cook, collecting any random food that he can come across in the local area. He may also keep Goats milk in nicely carved wooden bottles, or glass ones that he has foraged from human passers by. I can imagine him having food hung up in his house, with a little indoor grazing patch (including a fence around it) which he fondly munches on for breakfast and supper.

"Almost all goats grow beards, males usually having a longer and more luxuriant growth. Many people who show goats trim the beards off the females as they feel they look more feminine without them. At agricultural shows all goats exhibited will be females, males are rarely shown due to their smell." taken from

Mr Tumnus most definitely has a beard, so therefore he will need a mirror of some kind where he can groom himself nice and tidy everyday, as Goats are apparently very clean and particular creatures. Also the next paragraph on this website is entitled "Do Goats make good Lawnmowers?". This begs the question, as Mr Tumnus is starting to appear like a respectable, gentle, vegetarian character wouldn't he keep a well maintained Garden where he grows his very own delicious crops?

I think its important to note that as Mr Tumnus lives in a snowy forest, he is more inclined to be like that of the Mountain Goat. However, most interpritations of his character show him as more of a regular type Goat, therefore he has to wear a scarf to keep himself warm in the cold climate and likes nothing more than to sit in his house next to a raging fire.


I think as Mr Tumnus must make everything himself he must have skills in woodwork, therefore be able to cut down Trees effectively and carve them into objects that he wishes to make. Perhaps this could mean the colour schemes used within Mr Tumnus's house could reflect the traditional red and black chequered pattern that is frequently used upon the famous stereotypical shirts worn by Lumberjacks themselves.

BnQ's - and the Rainforest

That's right. You get some mighty fine Sheds in that Mother Forker. Some of the larger ones seem so homely you really believe you could live in them. In fact, some people do! In some parts of the world, some peoples homes are literally large, fancy wooden Sheds that reflect the local enviroment. For example, the houses within the Rainforest of Sambava show exactly this style of design, some being more simplistic hut-like buildings that reflect a more traditional way of life and culture.

Winter, Snow and Christmas

Obviously, Narnia is themed around the seasons in many respects. Where Mr Tumnus lives is magical and snowy, therefore one can't help but feel Christmas spirit amongst all the snow filled tree's of the forest and the kinder nature of Mr Tumnus himself. This very welcoming feel to Narnia that Mr Tumnus portrays creates a comparison to the birth of an adventure, like life itself. Obviously this links in with the whole theme of Christmas and Jesus. See what I done there? I know right, genius!


Film reviews - Akira (1988 - Katsuhiro Ohtomo)

I wont lie, im not a fan of this kind of style of animation, but hey for what it is its pretty damn good! Many people regard this as the greatest anime of all time. The story is complex and makes the audience think fully about the story it depicts. The voice acting, which is performed in both English and Japanese is executed well, the animation is carefully detailed for its style and uses techniques to really symbolise what the animation is trying to display to the audience.

Set in Tokyo in 2019 (not far off huh!) the government is trying to re-build the landscapes after World War III. The frightening thing is the way the world is right now, who's to say this isn't possible! Anyway, the neo-culture displayed somewhat is too much of a jump ahead of modern reality however portrays a brilliant artistic depiction of a futuristic world scenario. The main character and of whom the film revolves around is the biker Tetsuo Shima, who has psychic powers. The biker gang member Shotaro Kaneda, tries to prevent Tetsuo from unleashing the powerful and dangerous psychic Akira. After discovering these powers, Tetsuo goes mad with power, and tries to release Akira once again. It’s up to Kaneda and his side kick Kei to prevent Tetsuo from potentially destroying the world with his abilities.

The animation is this gets very violent and disturbing, sometimes I feel that animated violence can be more unnerving than real life depictions as you know it comes directly from someones mind onto paper. It's not for the faint hearted, put it that way. Not only is it visually highly violent (especially for its era) but it is one of the first films that indulges in the subject of phsycic powers. 

The visual basis of this film is highly detailed, yet typical of the stylistic anime trend with a high patience threshold  to the team who brought this visual masterpeice to life. The colour schemes used are typical of its time, lots of duller colours which are also used darkly with a high concentration on lighting to build suspense and a dangerous, evil tone to the animation overall. The music used is a reflection of the animations feel, it focuses around the suspense or the emotive expression of the characters. The angles in which the "camera" would pick up on the views are not always generic, they are shakey, violent and can become more sudden and unexpected with increased tension or action.

After Akira there have been many animations and films created on the subject of such like powers. 
This is an awesome film, it highly calls out to be watched by anyone with any interest in the comic world, anime or science fiction as it delivers in all these areas. Most definantly a film worth watching at least once for its bloody glory and place in animated history. 


Film reviews - Mary and Max (2009) - Adam Elliot)

Here's one that's right up my street, an award winning Animation shown at the 2009 Sundance film festival that indulges into a world that is somewhat cute in stylistic appearance yet contradicts itself via steriotypically grotesque notions, yet never straying too far from the heartwarming moral of the story itself. This Animation uses the same style as found in Wallace and Gromit or Chicken Run, for example. It uses real models to produce claymation (one stop motion animation) as its main technique to well executed effect. It is writer and director Adam Elliot's mind that conveys this film as a depiction that follows up to the Oscar Award Winning film "Hervey Krumpet".

 The film follows two main characters with relatively unhappy lives, who become unlikely pen pals that constructs a friendship that lasts for years. The question is, will they ever meet? It begins where 8 year old Mary Dinkle writes a letter including a bar of chocolate to a random person in the Manhattan phone directory (I wouldn't advise any 8 year old to try this) which to her suprise they reply whole heartedly. As Mary lives with her alcoholic Mother and her "busy" Father, this outlet seems nowhere near as bad as the chaos of her deteriorating family, so to feel a friendly presence soothes her keeping her positive and stops her feeling alone in the world.Max on the other hand is a lonely, forty year old over weight man from New York who often suffers from anxiety attacks.

You could say there is a hint of some sadistic peodiphilic notion, that there is a young child talking to a random stranger thus this creates a feeling of tension and an undertone of social disposition to the audience. You could say that the questions Mary asks Max, the fact that Max responds to her so frequently, could be a sign that an older man is feeding of the vunerability of a young child. However as the animation goes on this seedy tension becomes unapparent as the characters begin to grow onto the audience and they begin to further realise these two lonely individuals, no matter the age gap, just enjoy making sure each other are able to feel better about themselfs. In many respects, this tone of respect and human moral is not only touching but says a lot about true innocence and how it is hard to come by. They discover they can learn a lot from one another which as a result continues the longing to keep contact, nobody can understand Max better than a child anyway as he suffers from Aspergers syndrome so is always seen as different.

 These differences however cause the film to take turns on itself, where it becomes almost jolting to watch at times as the tone changes so frequently and sudden. It does this by showing how the two characters lives are from a personal level, for example flying into the world of Max's Aspergers syndrome, which not only teaches you about the condition but makes you unsure whether your supposed to laugh at or with Max, or if you are supposed to laugh at all. The film is clever at making you feel great opposites, comfort to uncomfort, joy to sadness, it could be described as a pulling and pushing the audience. The colour schemes used within this animation help to convey the dull tone of feeling alone, or like your in a dark place, clinging onto a hope that keeps ones life with a meaning for exsistance. To encourage this, Adam uses very monochromatic colour schemes, with the occassional hint of brighter hues where neccesary to fit the mood of the characters or where the story is headed. There is a decent voice cast used within this animation and the music choices go hand in hand with the imagery used to back up the characters and the action that unfolds around them.

Overall a funny film with some dark undertones that manages to swiftly sway between light hearted and beautiful touching displays that transcend into anxious parallels to its own innocence. The only down side to this film would be the mid section of the film slightly drags on for too long, however it doesn't distract away too much from the main point. Good film, good laugh, yet sad and thought provoking.


Thursday, 2 February 2012

Transcription project introduction

Here we go again, another project, another game. This time it literally will be a game, as I have decided to design a digital set for a computer game. That's right, lots of fun research to do! I have decided to take something within the field of visual art that interests me, the theme of fantasy and all things slightly out of this world.

I had a think about what would suit this genre and I came to rest with the story of "Narnia" as it is placed within a somewhat darkened setting (if seen in the original context) with various fantasy based inclusions in an environment that speaks out to more than just whats on the surface. I have become fond of two particular characters within the story that I feel visually have a lot to give, this being the Fawn Mr Tumnus and the evil character the White Witch, who seemingly proclaims herself to be the rightful ruler of Narnia itself. The artwork that this could produce would be very strong and either character would show a different personality altogether through their own living environment. As this project is about the set design, these sets must make the characters personality seem obvious and give the onlooker a feel for what the character who inhabits the setting must be like.

Personally im more interested to explore into the world of Mr Tumnus further, as I feel it has a lot more to give than has currently been explored, there is a lot of rich culture surrounding the character and references to a collaboration of different things that together create his world. I love the dark undertones to the Narnia story and the visualization it gives, therefore as I wish to do something more detailed for once this game shall be aimed towards the more older teenager to adult market (16+).

It would be interesting to create this digital set based on the mixed feeling of awe and fear how the little girl Lucy may have had towards this strange new environment. Without getting too ahead of myself, I believe it would be more professional and interesting if I presented this work with a title that goes through a wardrobe, perhaps with a few scenes showing the location of Mr Tumnus's house from the exterior. In my tutorial with Alan I was advised to concentrate on the interior of his house, so I shall do just this. If I get the time however, I plan to throw these additional pieces of visual information together to make a nice build to understanding the feel of location and story.

Here is an image of the half goat, half man (known more commonly as a Fawn) friendly character "Mr Tumnus".

Here is a brief video from the film adaptation to the book showing the entrance to Narnia and an introduction to the character "Mr Tumnus".

As you can see he lives in a cold, harsh environment. His fur and half goat depiction helps him to overcome this, therefore he adapts quite well to his surroundings. Therefore, his lifestyle is forced to be very organic to his surroundings, using what he can to survive and stay comfortable. This would mean the objects in his house would mostly be home made and from things close by to his home, or from lost items of people coming through the forest may have left behind. I believe I may use the music from the film adaptation itself for this project as it is already a piece that would be relevant to the character, therefore you would most likely expect to find it within a game, even if based on the book itself rather than the film.

One thing that this reminds me of is Yoda's hut in Star Wars (Episodes 5, 6 and we see the location in 3) as it was a home built totally based on what the environment had to offer.

  • Here is the interior of Mr Tumnus's house in the film adaptation of Narnia.

  • Here is the interior to Yoda's hut on Dagobah as seen in Star Wars Episodes 5 and 6.

 My tasks to complete for the next week are visual research, creating some concept art and trying to get into the world of Mr Tumnus so I can present it at my next tutorial session on Thursday.


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Film reviews - The Trueman Show

The Trueman show (1999) was Directed by the creative mind of Peter Wier. This film uncovers that Postmodern concept of not feeling like your own reality is actually correct - that the vibe for life is somewhat altered and has no real grounds for understanding. It is based on how a man has grown up in an artificial reality since birth, that he is the main star of a reality TV show that basically recreates the ideal suburban American dream yet exploits a man as if he is an Animal in a Zoo. It is the ultimate "Big Brother" - a story about seeing through the lies of organised reality and finding out ones own true identity. It is exactly this notion that "Trueman" (Jim Carey) comes to find when his life seems to go nowhere; That there is no place for his own choices and interests to develop, that anything he reaches out for is torn away from him. This builds suspicion, that his own reality isn't exactly that - it isn't his own at all. The feel for the repetitive daily life cycle of Trueman, from the same people talking to him everyday, the same Car's passing at the same time, to his shifts in a typical dull Office and how his closest friends and family seem to "act" in a fashion that seems like someone else is with them. It all becomes too much and we see Trueman start to unlock these strange puzzles that seem to coincidental to be "real".Then one day Trueman feels a real surge of emotion that he seemingly hasn't felt in a genuine manner before when he meets "Lauren" who's real name is Sylvia (Natasha McElhone). This feeling is love, and we see Trueman scurrying around becoming obsessed to find out who she is. Fortunately for Trueman come to meet this character on more than one occasion, who eventually pulls Trueman to the side and exploits the truth about his curiosities. With nowhere to hide or run, Sylvia has to tell Trueman all she can as quickly as she can and insists that Trueman is to find her when he gets out. The film continues to spiral into Trueman doing his best to escape the fake TV enviroment, being warned the world outside is only as real or more so imperfect than the one he has grown up within.

The way in which this film develops a meta narrative about reality and what is real somewhat creates an uncanny depiction of the world around us and gives this film a strong, heart warming moral about individuality and what it means to be alive.

The colour scheme and lighting used within this film really reflects an almost perfect American suburbia, yet to a point where it is so cliche that it seems to shout that there is something not quite right about it. It consists of bright colours and almost a 70's style of spirit. People tend to indulge into advertising items on set, which is actually a real advertisement for a real product, usually getting Trueman involved as much as possible.

The language used is very clean and appropriate for all ages at all times, it seems that the art of swearing and violence is as  non existent as the realness of the people in Trueman's world. The music used within the film reflects the typical kind of music you would encounter in a drama series on TV - it moves in and out with the emotions that the characters portray. We see the people in control of the music behind the scenes of Trueman's world when the film shows the people in control of the shows ongoing live progression. It is interesting to note that Trueman only ever really listens to music of his own within places like the Car radio, where it can transcend into the output of the live show itself. Obviously, any atmospheric musical composition made in the control room would clash with any musical sound Trueman plays by himself. This like many things however is something that is controlled in a way Trueman becomes blissfully aware of, even family photographs of himself, or false truths imposing fears to keep him from indulging in his interest of Fiji. The camera work is a mixture of the Big Brother style narrative with the use of regular film shots, yet it all feels like one large well edited observation of someone without their consent.

Overall a fun lively, yet heart warming and slightly controversial film.


Film reviews - The day the Earth stood still

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) was Directed by Robert Wise and helped to spawn the start of the "Alien invasion" movies that we still see popular to this day.

We see the Alien Klaatu (Michael Rennie) and his robot sidekick Gort (Lock Martin) land on Earth just post action of the last World War, which is spawned concern from the neighbouring civilisations in the starry consolations above. Klaatu must inform the world leaders that if the people of the Earth did not change their ways then the aliens would have no choice but to destroy Earth to protect other worlds in the Universe. As this task starts to appear more difficult than he first perceived, Klaatu decides to embark on further action - by draining the world of power to get attention.

The film work produced here is classic of its day - lots of clever tricks to get around things before the invention of the special effects we have today. Things such as reversing the tape of the door to the space ship opening to make it close and save costs on film and time - the space suit of the robot Gort having two models, one with a zip at the front for behind shots and one with a zip at the back for frontal shots. It is also to note that this suit was very heavy, so the scene in which Gort carries Helen (Patricia Neal) he wasn't actually carrying a real person, but was carrying a dummy in replacement.

For its time the special effects used were state of the art, however you can see how they have tried to create story around over excessive use of the primitive (and expensive) effects of its time to avoid extra cost and to keep the film believable. It was originally wrote by Harry Bates, then later turned into a screenplay by Edmund H. North. The filmic version of the original story is vastly different in many comparisons. In the story, Klaatu is killed my a maniac (not a soldier) straight away on arrival to Earth. It puts mention that Gort the Robot comes to life every night to continue his quest and that he recovers a recording of Klaatu's voice from his tomb and uses it to make a copy of him. The way in which Klaatu warns the Earth of the consequence towards its actions is different to the overall way in which the film conveys this; From giving a Scientist the key to an extreme mathematical problem, to deactivating all electrical appliances on Earth asides from those which affect Human safety and being revived from the dead to give mankind the required message. When Klaatu is killed, Gort brings him back to life temporarily to communicate with the Humans gathered around the Spaceship, which is obvious for the many people to be the source of the strange events that have occurred. In the original story, it is then revealed that Robots are the actual true Masters of the Universe and that Organic beings are of less importance in the hieorachy of exsistence.

A film which uses every display of emotion, visual magic and clever twists to the plot that it can, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" really stands out as a legend amongst Science fiction.