Thursday, 29 September 2011

Team project 5 week time table

Here is the rough time table for the first 5 weeks of the project:

(click to enlarge)

I plan to get the team together soon and to assign each member with certain jobs to their strengths.


Team project research: 1950's horror

The 1950's was an era when the slightest of things would be considered taboo, therefore to a modern audience a lot of "horror" flicks of its day would be considered relatively tame to current eyes. Here are a few of the classic films from its time to see if there is any comparisons to the way in which the genre was approached.

1950's Horror

Many films were based around a more Science Fictional comic book edge, or tampered with the subject of control, sexism and a lack of control.  There was nearly always the screaming blond shrieking blood into the ears of the audience while her hero goes out of his way to save her at the right time. It was a way to show how Women were seen as weak, that Men were superior and therefore they could uphold this social image. There was usually a clever way of hiding the villain, and even during their menacing acts they would be hidden away from the main screen as to observe something as controversial as a death was unheard of in its day. This also helped to create an air of mystery around character's, especially monsters. Visual effects were obviously very primitive in the 50's so any upfront visual would usually be cheap, or not very convincing.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

An alien (Klaatu) with his mighty robot (Gort) land their spacecraft on Cold War-era Earth just after the end of World War II. They bring an important message to the planet that Klaatu wishes to tell to representatives of all nations. However, communication turns out to be difficult, so, after learning something about the natives, Klaatu decides on an alternative approach.

Unknown. (Unknown). The Day the Earth Stood Still. Available: Last accessed 29/09/2011.

The War of the Worlds (1953)

H.G. Well's classic novel is brought to life is this tale of alien invasion. The residents of a small town in California are excited when a flaming meteor lands in the hills. Their joy is tempered somewhat when they discover that it has passengers who are not very friendly. The movie itself is understood better when you consider that it was made at the height of the Cold War--just replace Martian with Russian....

Unknown. (Unknown). The War of the Worlds. Available: Last accessed 29/09/2011
The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

A scientific expedition searching for fossils along the Amazon River discover a prehistoric Gill-Man in the legendary Black Lagoon. The explorers capture the mysterious creature, but it breaks free. The Gill-Man returns to kidnap the lovely Kay, fiancée of one of the expedition, with whom it has fallen in love.

Unknown. (Unknown). The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Available: Last accessed 29/09/2011

The She Creature (1956)

Using hypnosis, Dr. Carlo Lombardi claims that he can have his patients regress and recover memories from their past lives, thereby proving that reincarnation exists. He also claims that the spirit of these past lives can be brought forth to take physical form.. A series of violent murders by a creature that seems to disappear into the sea suggests that Lombardi's claim may be correct. The medical and scientific community believe him to be a complete fraud but one enterprising businessman sees the opportunity to make a small fortune with Lombardi's ability.

Unknown. (Unknown). The She Creature. Available: Last accessed 29/09/2011.

Video samples:

This film shows somewhat of a turn table of the taboo subject of Women having any kind of power over Men, this concept in the 50's was enough to frighten any bloke from his Wife! In this film we see the "Devil Girl", an Alien being from the planet Mars, come to Earth to take Men to be breeding stock for her own race. Sexy, but scary!

The Bad Seed

This film is based around a little girl named Rhoda Penmark who may seem innocent at first glance but you know theres an uncanny evil lurking inside of her. As the film progresses we see Rhoda's character become caught up in her own crimes and the storyline tenses. It is a story of which is caught up in many similarities to this groups synposis for our own storyline, the concept of a young girl taking her negative emotions out on people through adolescent motives.

Generi guy lip sync

The first Maya class indulged in the (re)introduction of Generi guy, of which Alan went over the subject of lip syncing a character to an audio dialogue. The first part of this technique is known as the jaw bounce, which is practically opening and closing the jaw as if the character is a standard puppet.
Here is the basic looking face of generi guy before pulling his jaw joint about, notice how I have clicked on the line below the jaw which allows me to then use the pivoting action to regulate the movement of the jaw bounce.

Here is the set up for when animating the jaw bounce. As you can see, there is an attribute editor open at the side where the jaw's position is key framed each time it is moved into position along the timeline.

  • I finally got the jaw bounce complete and then further went to apply the phonemes to the characters animated jaw actions.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Character design: The Victorian era and Japan

The Steampunk genre is based within the time of the Industrial revolution around the time of the Victorian ages, however the world is warped into a mash up of futuristic concepts with the visual appeal of the old technology.

The myth of the exotic East has always been a potent one in the West, fuelling such images as Coleridge's 'stately pleasure domes'. By the time Victoria came to the throne in 1837, however, the romantic yearning to penetrate hidden worlds was being superseded by a desire to reach the apparently enormous, but hither to untouched, markets of East Asia. With the 'opening' of China and Japan fantasies met with realities and new mythologies and stereotypes of the East were constructed.

Unknown. (Unknown). The Victorian vision of China and Japan. Available: Last accessed 29/09/2011

This goes to show how Victorian Britain found mystery within the oriental world, associating it with mythical beasts and worlds alien to themselves.

In 1868, there was a revolution in Japan, which resulted in the overthrow of the shogun, the military ruler, and the restoration of the power of the Meiji emperor. The new Meiji government initiated a major transformation of Japan along western lines, in order to achieve parity with the West rather than be dominated by it. Japan participated in all subsequent international exhibitions, these events gave them the opportunity to garner international prestige, to acquire the latest technological information about the West and to promote the country's own products.

Unknown. (Unknown). The Victorian vision of China and Japan. Available: Last accessed 29/09/2011.

This shows how the revolution in 1868 gave way to allowing the Victorians to indulge themselves into the Japanese culture, which gained popularity due to its difference with known culture.

During the reign of Queen Victoria Britain emerged as the most powerful trading nation in the world, provoking a social and economic revolution whose effects are still being felt today.

Paul Atterbury. (2011). Victorian Technology. Available: Last accessed 28/09/2011.

Now imagine this, the enthusiastic designs based on mythical, oriental origins collided with the rich and powerful world of the Victorian age. New things would be being constantly built, extravagant designs wouldnt be held back due to a sense of revolution and instead of just standard buildings you would find elegance through a more simplistic, less blocky design. Merge this with the futuristic elements of Science Fiction and you would get an ambiguous landscape from another world.


Character design - Steampunk/Ninja enviromental ideas

The enviromental designs are key to how the Character should physically appear, also being a basis of what drives their personality or on screen counterparts. Therefore I think it is important that I visually analyse some different key locations that my project fits within.

Interestingly enough my concept of a City above the old world isnt without it's ties to reality. In modern China, there is such an increase in population that they have no choice but to consider new options, one being building on top of their current landscape.

(Full article found here)

A few key points to note are:

  • Over a billion people will live in China’s cities by 2030, requiring construction on a scale never before seen. This gives China a unique opportunity to create and develop its cities in a way that supports economic growth, preserves the environment, delivers the highest possible quality of life for its citizens, and results in a stream of valuable new technologies. If handled correctly, these developments will not just benefit China but will also have profound implications for the rest of the 21st century world.

  • Each of these megacity clusters would have an economic scale equivalent to a moderately sized European country. Greater Shanghai could be as big as Germany today, while the central Yangzi cluster around Wuhan might be France.

  • Just as New York, with its scale and talent, made Wall Street possible, China’s megacities will create unprecedented opportunities to develop service industries by enhancing the scale and frequency of interactions. Cities in China will become models for the rest of the world, achieving a large scale of industry and financial-market depth. Spending on culture, recreation, health care, and education will grow by orders of magnitude from their current languishing state.

  • China’s demand for energy will double over the next two decades even as energy efficiency also doubles. Both existing and new sources of energy will be required. China will become a major coal importer even as it turns away from fossil fuels to become the world’s largest nuclear and renewable energy producer.

  • The choices that its city leaders make will shape not only its buildings but also its society, and indeed the world.

  • China’s cities will encourage a high level of environmental investment, with waste and water recycling becoming a way of life for both industry and consumers. Water will become a more valuable commodity and encourage investment in water efficiency as well as the world’s largest water treatment projects. Large, integrated recycling projects will minimize the impact of industrial and energy production.

Jonathan Woetzel. (2011). China’s cities in the sky. Available: Last accessed 28/09/2011.

Sounds familiar doesnt it? This gives me confidence in my story idea that I can persue the course that I am taking. Here are a few images placed together within an influence map to help me further grasp an understanding into the mash up's needed to create my Characters enviroment.

All of these different landscapes seem to amazingly merge into one despite their vast differences. There is apocalyptic scenes from mankind's own self made destruction, there is science fiction based futuristic Cities floating in the sky, there are Steampunk Cities (already similar to my envisionment) and there are basic estimations of a typical futuristic City scape.


Character design - Synopsis update and Ninja research

I have decided to follow the route of a genre mash up where the Ninja is more of a symbolic creation based upon the dogma of its origin. The Ninja would be a constructed, well trained, steampunk robot that follows the ancient art of Shinobi as his form of power. The Ninja would be made to originally gain control over the population of the Steampunk City, however there is one that the inventor creates especially to rebel against the system to save the lives of thousands of innocent people.

Ninja research!

Ninjitsu is supposed to have originated more than 2,000 years ago as a treatise on the art of spying in the ancient Chinese book on military science called Sun Tzu. It was written by the great Chinese strategist Sun Wu who lived between 500 and 300 B.C.

Andrew Adams (1970). Ninja: The Invisible Assassins. California: Ohara. p31-190

Legends even in their own time for their amazing cloak-and-dagger deeds, the ninja were actually capable of performing feats far more fantastic than the mythological marvels accorded them by modern-day films and books. Indeed, the real-life exploits of these sinister bands of espionage experts rival anything ever dreamed up for the fictional super-agent known as James Bond.

Supernatural tales claim the ninja was able to fly, walk on water, live underwater like a fish, become invisible at will, sink into the ground, flow through stone walls, disappear in a puff of smoke and even transform himself into a snake, frog, bird of insect, Improbable as these stories may seem, there is a logical explanation for each one, a spark of truth behind the billowing screen of smoke.

Andrew Adams (1970). Ninja: The Invisible Assassins. California: Ohara. p23/24-190.

These apparent claims that stereotype the Ninja give a feel that the identity of its original source has been lost over time, becoming more of a fictional character based on a real existence. When designing a Character of this nature, this distortion of the true facts would have to be put into play to create anything of recognition to the image of a Ninja.

This is the often conceived image of a typical Ninja:

Unknown. (2011). Ninja material. Available: Last accessed 28/09/2011.

Technically my Ninja could undergo training similar to that which a real Ninja would follow.

The first step in Ninpo training is that of physical endurance. The important thing here is to polish your techniques, use your spirit, and endure physical forces until you reach a critical state where everything is on the line. The second step is that of mental and emotional endurance. If an animal encounters an enemy, in generally bares its teeth straight away and launches into a fight. However, no matter how fearsome the enemy, human beings have the ability to laugh. Even if somebody comes to cut at you with a sword, as long as your heart does not waver you can smile at them, endure the situation physically and flee without injuring them. My teacher used to say "Harmony has supreme importance in a warrior's heart." This concept of "harmony" really refers to the fact that everything in the universe is connected, everything in nature, all the seasons, love and hate, good and evil - all are interconnected aspects of a fundamental unity. The third step is the endurance of knowledge. The word "Knowledge" (Shiki) can also be interpreted phonetically as "four fears". The image here is that someone at the top of a pyramid (in the metaphorical sense too) can see clearly in all four directions, gaining in the same way a comprehensive, balanced understanding of nature's cycles (i.e the four seasons), and that this perspective frees you from fear. While mental and emotional endurance can be an active process of setting your mind to endure, enduring knowledge goes beyond both physical and emotional endurance to a level where you develop the power to understand everything without conscious thought. This means not just responding to things that have already happened, but sensing things that are about to happen and handling them naturally. In other words, enduring knowledge is connected with having a rich education, while also practising endurance with respect to ones own sixth sense and subconscious mind.

Masaaki Hatsumi, Ben Jones (2004). The Way of the Ninja: Secret Techniques. Unknown: Kodansha International. p22/24 of131.

This gives me the insight to possibly make this long process a part of which helps to keep the television series ongoing, where the Ninja Steampunk Robot is learning the ways from his Master and we follow him on his adventure into completing his training and undergoing missions on the way.

Structuralistic (?) theory of my own.

I was listening intently to Phil's lecture this morning and it reminded me of a concept I recognised a few years ago when researching into the interesting world of quantum physics and alternate realities.

Ive always had a theory that individually our perception of how we see and hear things differ to another. In effect being that each reality is different for one person to the next. Yet as this isnt an obvious realisation, existance flows by in harmony with itself, an Ouroboros in effect. A person may look Human with a head, two eyes, an ear, a nose, a mouth, but what if someone else saw a Human as you see a Cat? This also meaning your reality is distorted to my own, that what you are currently reading isnt directly what I have wrote down and would recognise in my own concious world, but it is at the same time. Therefore this paragraph is basically like looking into a mirror.


Character design - Shapes

In this lesson we was lectured on how the importance of shapes defines a Characters persona. We was individually given separate famous Characters from well known fictional creations and told to reconstruct the approach of the character by using a different approach of shapes.

I was given Superman, the bold, caring, bright coloured flying hero we all know and love. I decided to kill that notion, using triangular formations to help turn him "evil" (red Kryptonite anybody?). I tried to keep certain characteristics familiar, such as the boldness that usually depicts his heroic nature, however combined with the triangular sinisterism helps to contrive brutality instead.

  • The first thing I done was to draw Superman's image with basic shapes:

  • I then continued to design the character in his new form as an instinctive drawing which I could later analyse and resdesign based on visual flaws.

  • I then went on to persue the flaw of this character, which was his facial regonition. It didnt read as Superman, moreso as a the joker from Batman, which takes away from the actual point of the characters evil conversion. After playing around with his face a few times, I redrew the character closer to that of Supermans actual physical traits.

  • I was then asked to recreate my image in a different stylistic manner. The approach I took was the "as close to real as Disney would get" approach, so still Cartoony in depiction however with more subtle details and more realistic anatomical representations.


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Postmodernism - Introduction

A brief description on Postmodernism and what it means to me

Heraclitus, an Ancient Greek Philosopher once said "You cannot step in the same river twice".

Flynn Johnson (2010). Journey to the Sacred Mountains. Unknown: Findhorn Press. Page 116 of 176.

In almost every respect this statement is true, unless the existence of the Multiverse actually exists, nothing can be exactly the same twice.  Within the context of Art, this most certainly plays a role in how precious a piece of work is, without even having to acknowledge the artists level of ability. One stick man will always be different to another, even if scanned into a computer and copied a thousand times you could say that the ink is different, the paper is different, the time it was produced was different. On a large scale level, this outlook also applies to society - it constantly changes pushing forwards into the future. Sometimes there are trends of fashion, music, or other notable occurrences which repeat themselves in appearance. However, as these repetitions develop within different places and times we cannot call them the same, only reminisce. In contrast to this, our thoughts are never an exact complete original copy, they are inspired, tainted by the superego of society, they blossom into either more profound knowledge or simply becoming a game of personal Chinese whispers and being lost over time.

This sense of self, others, the overall flow of concepts such as time or being connected to something higher (such as religion, personal self awareness) can be represented in the often noted image of the Ouroboros. This is usually either a Snake or Dragon, or any serpent in nature of which loops in a circle to eat its own tail. This represents life and reality, how everything is connected, the cycles of life and how everything recreates itself.

Image obtained from: Unknown. (Unknown). Ouroboros in popular culture. Available: Last accessed 28/09/2011.

In Postmodern Art, the features you would tend to find would be a lack of understandable meaning or theme. It usually defies the rules of society around us, bending what people would perceive as normal. It has been argued that the Human race has evolved over many years, that it shall move into one of three higher forms of conscious being in the future. This encourages that Postmodern Art can help Mankind to appreciate a notable manifestation into a bigger mindset, more open to the reality around us, thus creating the next stage of human progression. According to Dr Michio Kaku, we are currently a type 0 race. This to me just goes to prove how the concept of our reality can be warped into bigger and better things which would fall into place of acceptance and regular society.

“When we physicists look in outer space for alien life, we don’t look for little green men. We look for Type-1/Type-2/Type-3 civilizations.
A Type-1 civilization has harnessed its planetary power. They control earthquakes, the weather, volcanoes, they have cities on the ocean, anything planetary – they control. That’s Type-1 civilization.
A Type-2 civilization is stellar. They have exhausted the power of the planet, and they get their energy directly from their mother star. They use the power of the sun itself to energize their huge machines.
Eventually they exhaust the power of a star and go galactic. They harness the power of  billions of stars within a galaxy (Thats a Type-3 civilization)."
Rajesh K. (2010). Type 0/1/2/3 Civilizations by Dr Michio Kaku (Theoritical Physicist). Available: Last accessed 28/09/2011.

Overall, I believe although Postmodernism has no definitive description, the subject of Postmodernity is actually all about freewill and outward thinking to a society based on the influence of the common super ego.


Monday, 26 September 2011

Car modelling week 1

We have started modelling an image of a Mustang, here's the first stage done.

  • First of all I have to set up the Orthographs of the Car to use as reference to model the Car with accurately.

  •  Secondly I imported a simple polygon cube, then sized it up to roughly fit the Car's size.

  • I then split the polygon cube into segments and deleted the faces I don't need.

  • Dividing the Polygon into the first stages of creating the Car's basic shape. 

  • First basic shape complete (the first weeks tutorial requirements)


Thursday, 22 September 2011

Kill Bill review

Kill Bill is a blood and gore packed action thriller released in 2003/2004 in two parts. Written and Directed by Quentin Tarantino, this film shows no mercy with spilling blood. Starring Uma Thurman as a Bride with certain revenge on her mind, we never find out her true name to conceal her identity. We also never see the main villain directly face on. This film is engaged in mystery, yet through an explosion of clips collaborated together we begin to understand its motive.
Originally this film was a long four hour epic, which was cut down for cinematic purposes into two films, the latter released as a sequel in 2004. In some respects, this goes to show the already unconventional approach to film making that Kill Bill pursues, with Quentin Tarantino really pushing the boundaries of what some may find visually acceptable. The use of camera work, breaking into the forth wall and cutting away into stylised animations shows this strange approach in full light. The way in which the film is presented somewhat is as if it is the bride herself reliving the the story, checking over her list of revenge.

The way in which the fights are set out are very well choreographed, you can tell that it is fiction and that these are not sword fights or acts of revenge based on realistic capabilities. This unbelievable notion actually helps to keep the film at its peak throughout, and while impressive you start to feel like you have been sucked into a computer game. It is exactly that the film is set out almost like the levels of a game, where Uma Thurman's character manages to take out each adversary one by one to get to the main Boss. This in many respects is good for the game industry itself, so therefore perhaps Quentin Tarantino had this in mind when making the movie.

The lighting used within this film sets the atmosphere for the scene itself, therefore if an epic battle is to be displayed where blood will be in its masses the film switches into a darker setting. The colour cheme for the most part is bright and simple, almost comic like in appearance.

The film starts with Uma Thurman being a hitman's target at her own Wedding. We believe she has been killed, which soon after we discover isnt the case. She falls into a deep coma for four years at a Hospital where she is sexually taken advantage of while unconcious. We then skip four years back into the future, where the bride engages into a violent fight with an ex co-worker named Vernita. The bride manages to assassinate Vernita succesfully with Vernita's Daughter becoming aware of the ongoing events after they had taken place. The bride explains to the child how she is sorry for taking her Mothers life, however if she wanted to take revenge when she was older she has every right. She will later seek revenge on the bridge herself as a young adult. We then see her look at who she wants to seek revenge on next, which takes us back in time again to determine the cause. The next in line is a lady named O'Ren Ishii, a Japanese-American. In going back four years we see how Ishii helps beat up the bride her fateful wedding day. This is what sends her into a coma, when the Police find her body during their murder investigation she is immediately placed into hospital. She is abused at the hospital while unconscious, even with one of the villain's henchmen attempting to assassinate her. The film continues with the bride fighting her way out of the hospital, travelling to Japan where she is trained by an old swordsmith named Hattori Hanzo. He also makes her a sword to help her on her quest to kill Ishii. In turn she engages in an epic battle between Ishii's guards and Ishii herself. The bride is the victor in this battle, which makes way for the second volume.
A very clever film indeed and even if you dont understand it the first time around you'll still enjoy its intensity.


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

"Retrofest" team name - Freemind Animations

I was informed yesturday by my fellow team mate Dave that they chose the name "Freemind Animation's" from my list of names. A logo will soon to follow!


Group project (Freemind Animations) Synopsis idea

Freemind Animations

Synopsis idea

A young girl named X drags herself to School everyday, the path to the gates becoming a dark, swallowing cloud of anxiety and fear. As soon as she steps foot into the grounds, the laughing begins. White teeth gnash around her, words of vile intensity bite into her very soul. The bullying is exhausting.

You will often find X hidden away in the janitors closet, feeling safe from harms way. Nothing can find her there, she feels peace and unlike with many other things, a control of her surroundings. She flicks on the small light. Its dull, but bright enough to know your not buried alive.

Again the taunting begins. Tormenting acts of sheer unnecessary violence force themselves upon X as she tries to simply get through a regular School day. Smack, a bloody nose. Shout, a familiar threat.

The janitors closet becomes lit up again with the eerie glow of the dull light, X is sobbing, bruised and on the edge of suicide. Then comes another light into the already lit room, this one however is brighter and a lot warmer than the glow from the hanging bulb infront of her.

Before her stands the Devil giving her the chance to have power over those who hurt her. She accepts, and is hugged by the large black wings shrouding her and the light from view.

X is never the same again, she now can control the bullies who go out to harm her. She builds friends who seem to be possessed, she can control them and make them harm others and even destroy themselves. It's when the corridors flicker and we find the main bullies being targeted and brutally murdered one by one through X's power of the mind only.

Its always the quiet ones.


Character Design: Steampunk Ninja Synopsis ideas

Steampunk Ninjas

Story ideas for synopsis.

Target Audience: Older Teenagers, Male's, Sci Fi fans.

Steampunk world:

This is a time when the world is beginning to collapse on its own systems, technologies and independence. The world as we know it is changing. Time is seemingly having to go back to go forwards for those who have learnt how to adapt. There is a large City which is built up on itself, underneath remains of an old nuclear dependant society that practically destroyed itself. Here is where the new age lives, the Steampunk revolution has finally arrived.

Houses are built in a strange way of which can contain large steam based generators for energy. Car's are obviously closer to that of the traction engine, however shall be more in visual reference to the modern day sports car. There will be a tram which floats through the sky via a large hot air
balloon type system, which most regular people have to take to get to their work each day. The social hierarchy is similar to that of the Victorian ideals therefore it is a time where people are strict, look up to those above them and it would be common for someone to literally work as an upper class
persons slave. These people would work in the depths of the rich peoples houses, fueling their homes so they can survive. In this world it is always warmer than in real reality, as the platform streets they walk amongst are heated from below where the workers are sweating away. They never dare to venture outside of their City due to the perceived state of the world outside.

Fear is an important role in the upholding of this City, therefore punishment doesn't go unspoken for. If someone does something wrong they are burned alive to help fuel the fires that rage underneath. It is important that these issues go almost unspoken about however, as the wealthy and important people of the City are kept in comfort from any social concerns. Of course, most of these people are happy to be dismissive about such issues just as much as we are towards world wide problems of today.

From here the story could develop so that the Hero Steampunk is either:

  • A worker who wants to fight to set his people free. Perhaps there is a leader to this revolution who is the one to stop to regain equality.
  • An immigrant of important status, Sky trammed over to observe work on the City and witnesses an incident involving a worker. This person he helps could possibly become his sidekick, who together go on a mission to end the blindness of the City's Hierarchy.
  • A new form of soldier especially created by the Steampunk scientists to keep order to the City, however one was made differently (on purpose?). Therefore the Scientist, or someone who works for the development of the robots could become the sidekick)
Some of these ideas can be comparable to films such as Minority Report, Equilibrium, The Matrix etc As they are all about society as we know it drastically changing in development for a new world order.

Any ideas to go towards this to help me develop my Synopsis would be most welcome!


Character design - Steampunk research

The title for the Animation I am designing Characters for is "The Steampunk Ninjas". This being said, I don't know a great deal about the world of Steampunk even though ive seen a bunch of films in that genre. I think its best to further investigate this term to get a better understanding of what it entails.

Steampunk fashion:

"In three short words, steampunk is Victorian science fiction. Here “Victorian” is not meant to indicate a specific culture, but rather references a time period and an aesthetic: the industrialized 19th century."

GD Falksen . (2009). Steampunk 101. Available: Last accessed 21/09/2011.

This brief description hits the nail on the head, it directly targets how the Steampunk fashion is relevant to a certain way of life associated with the past however merged with the technological extremes of today or the future. The Steampunk world creates a modern romantic movement in some senses, where the ideals of the past have moved forwards in a different way to modern reality.

Steampunk fashion: One of the only trends known to man where its alright to casually carry a mahoosive scary machine gun down the road.

PBS Arts. (2011). PBS takes on Steampunk. Available: Last accessed 21/09/2011.

Youtube link:

My favourite part of this video is at the end where it gives clear, humorous examples of 7 things that would be better "Steampunk'd". I actually think in a post technological revolutionary era where where we was still relying on the power of steam to be visually quite interesting, therefore although it was a dirty time full of smog, bad health and hard labour there is an innocence that is captured within the overall simplicity.

Unknown. (2011). Mens Steampunk Fasion.
Available: Last accessed 21/09/2011.

As you can see, the Steampunks don't hold back. It is almost as if there is a longing for the world to have evolved in a different way, or an awareness that perhaps more natural resources of power could be better than that of, for example, nuclear fusion.

This subculture gives a whole range of open possibilities to what to expect. How would a telivision work? Would they exsist? How would we fly to other countries, what would the contraptions used look like? Would the weapons produce blasts of energy in a typical futuristic sense or would they be harmful steam throwers, projecting directed streams of overheated gasses? This gives me a whole range of concepts to play with and a platform of which originality is key.

I have created a small influence map in response to the visual peices of Steampunk work that I find most attractive.


Character Design - Steampunk Ninja's!

In the first lesson Justin went over simple facts about the defining attributes to the anatomy of certain characters, be they evil or good. After watching a long montage of animated characters we analysed different well known hero's and villains to see what makes them so visually appealing.

Notice with heroic character's the rounder features, the brighter colours and the bold chest (unless a sidekick). Also observe how the eyes are rounded and affectionate in nature and that there is always a sense of innocence about them. The Villains however are full of harsh spiked, triangular formations which either hunch over (typically the sidekicks) or are slim and snakelike in build. Their eyes tend to be dark as if wearing eyeliner, or somewhat animorphic in nature. Sometimes Villains can be found to have a large, bold chests similar to the heros, but usually more elaborated and in a way to make them less humanlike and therefore less approachable due to familiarity. Sidekicks are usually small in nature, less prominent and most often extremely silly, however take on some of the attributes of which their partner's characteristics embrace.

Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles


Jafar (from Aladdin)


Good sidekick! Musha (from Mulan)

Evil sidekick's! Pain and Panic (Hercules)

For my Character project I have been given the subject of "Steampunk Ninja's", which obviously should be a more than fun challenge! First job is to create a synopsis explaining a breif backstory about the characters in hand as if they are to be part of an on going Cartoon TV series.

Here is the character mash up I got to try in class today.

The futuristic nerd


Ed Wood - Film review

Directed by Tim Burton, this film showcases the ups and downs of Ed Woods career in film making. One of  the first thing's I noticed about this film was its black and white format, a reflection of the state of film technology used in Ed's era of cinema. It could also convey the film as a tribute for those who appreciate the  b-movie master's films themselves, therefore in knowing modern audiences in general are put off by the loss of colour or amazing special effects this shows Burton's risky leap into daring to make or break ironically with this film itself. Due to his own stylistic choices, Tim Burton quite obviously has an admiration for Ed's strange behaviour and film making techniques.

I wont deny it, Johnny Depp is a very talented actor. He seems to be able to grasp onto the soul of a character really well and be somewhat possessed by it when acting it out. Each character ive seen him play, be it Captain Jack Sparrow or Edward Scissorhands, the man is almost even visually unrecognisable from film to film. In this film playing Ed Wood, he again makes no exception and performs his character well.

It comes to us that Ed was a self proclaimed "Director" constantly based on a low budget, using every resource he could. With Martin Landau playing the late Bela Lugosi splashing around in a dirty river wrestling a prop in the form of an Octopus we see Ed's hilarious b-list movie failures spring to life.

The way in which the film is produced is really well done where Burton has taken a fine eye for duplicating the scenes from Ed Wood's own movies such as "Home Movies" and "Plan Nine". This is an impressive feat and most definitely not only shows Burton's keen eye as a Director but also managing to claim an uncanny sense of deja vu to anyone who knows the original films in question.

The set designs are obviously based upon the era of Ed Wood and also helps to show how underwhelming the films of its day where behind the scenes. It shows a portion of grime, where the world is fascinated by film but its art form is greatly limited. The film itself is so introverted to Ed's character, which is strange enough in itself, that Burton's typical artistic stamp isn't as obvious as usual. The use of black and white helps to further make Burton have to hold back and allow Ed's story to take place for itself rather than rely on his typical colourful visuals and eccentric displays.

The problem with this film is that if one hasn't any knowledge of Ed Wood, or the details of his work, then this film may confuse the audience. Its the silly additions to Ed's original charm such as paper plates used to represent flying saucers which contain vampires of who slowly lurk through a Cemetery, filling up literally minutes of screen time in a take.

According to sources that ive read, apparently the cross dressing clueless director ended up making pornographic film's later in his career. Amusingly enough, in comparison to his nature and earlier releases, these adult movies were even shunned by the Pornographic industry itself for being a little too... quirky. This later led to him becoming an alchoholic and dying in the 1970's. As this wasnt portrayed in the film, you dont really get a sense of the film going anywhere towards the end. It somewhat left me feeling perplexed but overal the main attempt was partially to try to make you warm to Ed's efforts and little made success. It does just that, if the film had continued his life I think the audience would of gone home depressed rather than amused.

I liked the way in which the credits and transitions between scenes sometimes where created to puposefully give the film an "old" feel. It's simple, but clever and it works!

Holding on tightly to his prized Actor, Bela Lugosi (Dracula 1931), Ed is positive that his films will be a success. The amount of times Ed would proudly announce Bela's name in this film is enough to drive you insane if you keep count. Poor man.

Ed Wood may not be remembered in the most dignified of ways, however he definitely made an impression on the history of film making. Ed Wood always tried to achieve a masterpiece, or a great film. If this film has anything to go by, what he didn't realise was, he was writing it all along.


Life drawing classes

Two years has passed since I last took part in this activity and boy have I missed it! I rather enjoy the many tedious yet inspirational classes training the mind and body to have a better understanding of the human form. I believe this really helps me to grasp hold of my creative spirit in a more positive way, as in many senses the quick drawings that are produced in these classes represent more about who I am as an individual, which on top of refined skills taught by Chris the Tutor, can open a gateway that's usually held a-jar.

As you can see in this first class my ability to analyse perspective is a little out of practice, but I tried to work any mistake into something new. I was battling with myself not to experiment too much, as I kept throwing myself towards doing negative space and other such techniques.

(Apologies about the incorrect watermark from my camera!)


Monday, 19 September 2011

Group project research: Psychology behind jealousy, revenge and its social impact.

I have been browsing the net searching around for interesting e-books giving information regarding to what can cause jealousy within the environment of a School premises. One has definitely struck my attention - "The Phsycology of Jealousy and Envy" by Peter Salovey. 

It is a an informative piece about how the mind works within different social environments and age groups.

One of the main interesting quotes I found from here suggests that jealousy is a mix of emotions,which can vary in style based on what kind of catalyst ignites the seething displeasure in the first place.

This formula shows a mix of emotions that would typically lead to jealousy that you would expect an adolescent to encounter in their crazed hormonal state.

Jealousy = (Commitment) X (Insecurity) X (Arousability)

Now imagine a large group of young teenagers: All have commitment issues to their homework, all are insecure about their looks (especially the girls) and peoples emotional drive for young lust causes havoc in the department of attraction. I think it is important to take this deeper consideration into practise when writing a story about a High School with a raging wild child (or adult) seeking some form of revenge, as it may well be spawned from the very soul of a jealousy itself. Could it become some form of tainted young love story turned ugly? Could it be simply a desire to wield what the bully seems to have - everything you don't. Alternatively it could be viewed the other way around of course, a bully figure tends to be of a jealous nature, usually of their victims themselfs. The cause of racing pulses in School's usually are attuned to that of fear, self confidence and most of all, someones brains.


A few story ideas to go towards my next group meeting.

As the given title to us is "High School Revenge" it seems so suited to be some kind of more serious (in a bad, failed kind of B-Movie way) dark and edgy horror story. Bullying or dirty old Cleaners, whatever it may be, their all in at the moment! Here's some of the strange ideas ive come up with so far.

The Space School: A 1950's style Science Fiction Horror B-Movie about a robot caretaker who decides to take revenge on the teacher who drops litter everywhere over a School based in Space. Comical implications by the use of cheesy "B-Movie" type narrations and visuals, with a dark atmosphere submerging the story towards a more chilling "horror" style genre (but due to being outdated, obviously failing...)

The Bully killer: A Ghost of a young girl lurks the corridors in search for those who bullied her to her death. Using a lot of indirect visuals to atmospheric and creepy effect, this scary setting becomes a dead end story typical to that of cheep budgets used by B-Movie makers back in the 1950's era. Thus setting the scene for a lot of cringe-worthy "Ed Wood" moments.

Peeping Tom: A dark tale based on a Male School cleaner who works at an all Girls School who has managed to get away with pedophilia, or so he thinks. One night when cleaning things seem to mysteriously start becoming messy straight away again. Little does "Tom" know a dark shadow of a little girl with pigtails and a long, sharp knife, is playing a deadly game...  


"Team H" Team name ideas.

As everything relating to the group project so far as been under a working title, I have decided to plot down a few ideas of my own that could be useful for a name. A good name is what gets your company noticed, sticks in peoples minds and should be original enough to get easy hits on search engines. Here are a few of my ideas:

  • The H-Team (Spoof title made in class)
  • Hands on Animations
  • Timescale Animations
  • Frame by Frame Animations
  • Pixplosion (It makes sense to me!)
  • New Blood Designs
  • Recharged
  • Primeval Designs (Just sounds cool!)
  • The Toon Wagon! (As were not making Cartoons, I doubt it would work, but it definitely made me chuckle!)
  • Freemind Productions
  • Zen Animations
  • The Resurrection
  • Second Coming Animations (Yup, a cheesy comparison of my group to a Messiah himself!)
Any ideas for cool names, throw them my way! (Especially Dave and Matt!)

I think we should go with something professional, not too cheesy or distant from the tone of "High School Revenge". Which when you look at my list, doesn't leave much. Its just a few ideas however as im itching to design a logo but cant as we don't have a name yet!


"Team H" (working title) Facebook page.

Just to get ahead of the game a bit, I have created the foundations for a Facebook page for when the team is ready to start uploading work on a consistent basis. Ive called the group "Team H" for now as a working title which can later be changed for when we have a decent name and logo. Social networking sites help to develop a larger interest in independent or group activity, therefore even large scale Businesses look at Facebook pages with keen respect. I have linked the page to the group blog ready for when the action starts so people can easily find out what we are up to on a more upfront basis.

I have further to yet post the link of the Facebook page up as until we have enough material to publish as it is pointless having people add an empty page, obviously.


Narrative project: "Group H: High School Revenge"

For our first brief, we have been given the challenge of creating a small, animated 1 minute 30 second "B-Movie" style trailer.

My fellow team-mates are:

  • Matt
  • Dave
Together we are, well, we don't have a company title yet! Our first challenges are to create company logo's and research on High School "Horror" flicks in general. Any ideas for story lines that are conceived shall be placed on our blogs to then collectively discuss at a later date.

Here are a few films which jump to mind when on the subject of High School films which somewhat involve revenge or a reaction of a character.

  • "The Nutty Professor" (1963)

This film shows a shy, geeky and desperate College Professor named Julius Kelp transform himself into the local adolescent heart throb "Buddy Love". This alter ego takes over his life, helps him to persue his deepest desires for popularity which in turn leads to him craving his own personality back due to a shift in self understanding. It's funny, touching and also full of meaningful suggestions which help the audience to feel positive about who they really are.

  • Scary Movie (2000)

This film is based upon a group of American High School Teenagers who face a masked killer stalking them down one by one in revenge of an accidental murder they caused a year previous. Although its full of comical moments, this film has its fair share of blood and gore suitable for churning any non-sadistic stomach. The way in which it pushes and pulls the audiences anxiety levels as to what happens next is well done and really reflects the attitudes of adolescent behaviour.

We have already decided that due to the nature of our projects title, it should follow a more serious approach in both storyline and artistic direction.


A brief welcome to my new blog!

Welcome to my new world of thought, design and development following my course at UCA entitled CG Art and Animation. As some may be aware, I am resitting my second year due to previous personal issues away from the course. This made me aware of my conscious realisation that I was not producing the best work I could at the time. So therefore I am now back with a vengeance! I look forward to getting to know my new year group well and providing an input into the course for a positive outcome.