Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Maya Tutorial - One, Two, Three Point Lighting

One point lighting

Two point lighting

Three point lighting

Life Drawing - Day 6

Life drawing was a Halloween special with the main focus being the shadows and silhouette that was being cast by the model as the projector played The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) over them. The model was also dressed up to keep within the Halloween theme.

First time using ink

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Maya Tutorial - Batch Rendering

Final render from Rhia Crouch on Vimeo.

Photoshop Tutorial - Sketching Thumbnail

To get us ready for our next project we were set with the task of combining an animal with an everyday object. This was to get us into the mind set of doing research so that we could create a better set of ideas that we could work from.

Animal: Sloth
Object: Wardrobe 

Film Review - Alien

Fig 1. Alien poster (1979)

Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) is a basic example of all the key elements that are needed in creating a horror film making the audience believe that they themselves are trapped, along with the main characters, with the creature that is trying to kill them. This is achieved by playing on some of the basic fears people have most notably the fear the unknown and claustrophobia as well as fears that are not noticeable the first time you watch the film.

Before the main action of the film starts the audience are shown the interior of the main ship, Nostromo, and it heavily contrasts the exterior that was previously shown in the shots beforehand, the corridors are long and narrow as well as been almost impossible to make out what is at the end. “The corridors are gloomy and labyrinthine, representing a technological version of the subterranean tunnels of gothic horror. Of course, a space ship is the perfect location for a horror film because it is a place of absolute isolation and forms a pressurised environment, which creates an intense claustrophobia.” (Zouch Editors, 2010) By using the fear of claustrophobia, and establishing in this way, the audience understands that the characters simply do not have enough room to fight the Alien but instead must navigate around it with the hope that is not round the corner.

Fig 2. Nostromo corridor (1979)

However, the main fear that Scott plays on, that is not notable at first, is sexuality and how vulnerable we feel when this part of us is threatened. “This alien invader did not want to enslave you or eat you or invade your home world, it wanted to rape you, it wanted to invade your body with its own, always killing by an act of violent penetration in an amplified and nightmarish fusion of sex and death.” (Pimley, s.d) It makes the alien antagonist, the Xenomorph, gain a new level of scare factor. In fact if you take away the science fiction elements of the film you end up with a violent story about rape and the lengths people will go to protect themselves from this.
Using this as a mind element of the film clearly wasn’t an afterthought as when the film’s writers, Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shosett, came upon the problem of how the Xenomorph ends up on the ship O’Bannon came up with the idea that “It should screw a member of the crew!” (O’Bannon, s.d). This idea was later coupled with the artwork of surrealist H. R. Giger whose painting Necronom IV (see fig 3), as well as the other main themes that he using in his work, inspired the main look and feel for the Xenomorph and its home world.

Fig 3. Necronom IV (1976)

When you look at the film with this hidden fear in mind it becomes ironic that the only survivor is Ripley, a woman, who the viewer most likely thought would have been killed off as women are most likely to be the victim in this situation.


Monday, 24 October 2016

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Invisible Cities - Reflective Statement

The Invisible Cities project has taught me a lot about what is expected on this course as well as introducing me to the very basics of the software that I will be using throughout the next 3 years. I felt that I started off rather well with this project but became a little over whelmed with trying to balance all of the work that I had been given from the different lessons.

I felt that my main strength in this project was my research into the design ideas that I could use for the main look of my chosen city. I already had a strong understanding of how research can help with a project so I found it easy to sail through this part with ease, even if my ideas for my chosen city did change half way through the project. I find it easy to visualise in my head what I felt the city could look like and could think of strong references that I could use to help me improve them or to go back to if I wasn’t able to find a way to get out of a problem.

I did find that I had a lot of weaknesses in this project that I need to work on so that I can do any future projects a lot better and produce a higher quality product at the end of it. One of my weaknesses was my lack of ideas for the cities as I wasn’t able to think of that many designs for most of them, as I was doing my thumbnail sketches I found that I was running out of ideas by the 5th sketch or that they didn’t clearly show what I was seeing in my mind. The best way that I can get round this problem is to look at reference images and try to pick up small pieces from them and apply them to the ideas that I already have.

Another weakness I felt I had and that I felt let me down the most was my lack of experience with using the software, this mostly happened with Photoshop. I did try to use what I had learnt about the software in my final images but as I didn’t fully know how to get the most out of it my work did not have the desired effect that I was aiming for. The only way that I can get round this is for me to practice with the software and to find tutorials that can help me produce better images.

Overall I feel that I have learnt a lot about my own abilities and what it takes to be an animator as well as well as the work that is expected at University.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Photoshop tutorial - Showing distance

To show distance in an image pale colours are used in the badground as objects that are far away become blurred and darker colours are used in the foreground as objects are seen as being more focused.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Photoshop tutorial - Gradient

I can not get the hand of this. I understand how using the gradient in Photoshop can help to add colour to a black and white image but it doesn't seen to work with my style of painting.

Contextual studies - Lesson 4

In contextual studies we started to think about what influences our own work and what has influenced others in the past be it their childhood, historical events, fears, dreams or other cultures. One thing that we came across is that animators are influenced by abstract paintings as these are not bound by reality.

This helped us to think about how we would look at our chosen film or CAA product for our essay as this will be something that we will have to focus on.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Film Review - 2001: A Space Odyssey

Fig 1. 2001: A Space Odyssey Poster (1968)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is one of the many classics brought to life by Stanley Kubrick. The film stands out in the world of cinema nowadays for the way it was produced but at the time of its release it didn’t receive that many good reviews from the critics, however, it inspired future film makers such as Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott.

Like with most of his films Kubrick frames or centres most of the shots using the rule of thirds a technique that he learned from his days as a photojournalist for Look magazine. As shown in Fig 2 the rule of thirds involves placing a 3x3 grid over the image and lining up the key subjects within it so that everything is not cluttered on one side, in Kubrick’s case he places key subjects in the middle of the grid with other subjects on both sides of it so that the audience’s eye is drawn to what is being shown in the middle. As show in the example Dave Bowman and Frank Poole are on ever side of the shot but the audience’s eye is focused on HAL in the middle.

Fig 2. The Rule of Thirds example

A part from the way he sets up the shots used in 2001 Kubrick builds suspense by making nearly every new cut an establishing shot to show in detail what each of the characters are doing as well as giving the viewer a chance to work out what they might be thinking throughout the scene. This also works for any close up of the character’s face as shown with Dave Bowman when HAL locks him out of the main ship, see Fig 3. While focusing on Bowman we quickly understand that he is ever weighing up his options on what to do next or realising that he is truly alone and must deal with HAL by himself.
Fig 3. Dave Bowman in the pod

By using these shots Kubrick also helps to make up for the lack of background music that happens throughout most of the film. Because of the lack of music, we do get the understanding that the characters are in space as it is impossible for sound to travel here. Background music is normally used to convey to the audience the mood of what is happening on scene but without it they are left in a state of uneasy with just the hum of the spacecraft breaking the silence.

By doing all of this Kubrick has made a film that is designed to not just tell the viewer the story but to also make them question what is happening and to debate this with their friends and family, even if there are some questions that seem impossible to answer. This isn’t done because of poor directing Kubrick does this for the viewer to make up their own mind on what is happening, as he puts it himself: “How could we possibly appreciate the Mona Lisa if Leonardo Da Vinci had written at the bottom of the canvas, 'The lady is smiling because she is hiding a secret from her lover'? This would shackle the viewer to reality, and I don't want this to happen to 2001.” 

Fig. HAL: "I'm sorry Dave"


Maya Tutorial - Blocks

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Creating an animated gif

Making an animated gif in Photoshop is a lot easier than it sounds just one thing to keep in mind is to work in layers so that you can show your work in progress.

When you have the right layers showing you need to create another layer and then go to Image and then Apply Image. This will create a copy of all the showing layers on the new layer.

When you have all of the layers showing you work in progress save your work and then delete the layers you have been working on so that you don't get confused. After this you need to go to Window and Timeline.