Saturday, 25 February 2017

Concept Art - Light House

Outside the Light House

From Script To Screen - Reflective Statement

This project has pushed me to my limits and forced me to start working in ways that I would normally run away form. I'm still uncomfortable with some of the techniques that I’ve had to use but I feel that if I used what I have learnt and practice with some small personally work then over time it might not feel so alien to me. This mostly comes from the way that I draw my characters as I had to work away from my normal style which made it difficult for me to see in my mind how they should look even when using the references that I had.

Other parts of the project came a lot easier to me, such as the script writing and storyboarding, as I could easily visualise the shots in my head as well as working out what would be the best way of showing something to create the right feel and what details need to be included to make sure that it makes sense if someone else was reading it. This mostly comes from that fact that I studied media and camera angles in the past along with looking at storyboards and watched animacies done by studios, such as PIXAR and DreamWorks, and have picked up on small details in them that I have tried to put in to my own work e.g. the same shot drawing being used but the expression on the character’s face changing to show that they might be thinking about something before responding.

I am starting to get a grip with the software but the addition of new elements in them still makes them feel daunting and difficult. Trying to get my head round programs like Adobe Illustrator lead me to cutting down some of the details in my drawings as well as spending too much time trying to work out why something wasn’t working and having to be reshown how to done something repeatedly. In the end this lead to me having to jump from Illustrator to Photoshop to get round the problems I was having to make sure that everything got done on time.

One thing that I need to try and improve on is the speed I work at even if I’m using every hour I have to spare. This problem could be down to two things, it could be down to me over thinking parts of my work or that I’m spending too much time on something that could take a few minutes to do. In my next projects, I might try designating a set time to try and complete a piece of work and when that time is up moving on to something else.

Overall, this project has made me understand the level of work that I need to product to make a full animation in the future along with the fact that I need to start breaking some of my own habits to become a much more flexible designer.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

From Script To Screen - Concept Art - Prop

Quick design sketchs

From Script To Screen - Character Design - Young Man

This is one of the characters in my story. He moves in to the old fishmaner's cottage that is not too far away from the light house and tries to befriend the light house keeper by giving her a flask of home made soup. After his kindness is pushed away he tries throughout the year to get her to open up to the world.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Concept Art - Hallway

From Script to Screen - Character Designs - The Daughter (Younger)

The Daughter at a younger age
This is the main character in my story at an younger age. She is the daughter of the Light House Keeper. She is very cheery and loves helping her father around the Light House but is aware that his job can be dangerous at times.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

From Script To Screen - Per-viz - Set 5

This is quick model of one of the sets that I'll be useing in my per-viz animation. This is the cemetery, as it only appears twice in my animation, along with only being shown as an extreme long shot and used in close ups, it is not as detailed as the other sets would be.

I had to use one of the character models so that I could get the scale right and not have to resize everything when I had to record the shots.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

From Script To Screen - Per-viz - Set 4

(Left to Right) Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter
A small problem crossed my mind as I was modeling my sets and that was how would I be able to show the different time skips throughout the year in my animation. I did think that I should just leave the sets as their are but the time skips do play a vital role in the story and if I didn't make them clear then their might be lost in the animation along with it becoming confusing.

The best way I felt I could get round this problem is to colour the ground differently for each season, each of the colours used would be ones that we would normally associate with each season.

From Script To Screen - Per-viz - Set 3

Normal cottage
The cottage on fire
This is quick model of one of the sets that I'll be useing in my per-viz animation. This is the outside of the cottage. There are two verisons of this set, the first one is the cottage as it would normally be and the other one is the cottage on fire.

I had to use one of the character models so that I could get the scale right and not have to resize everything when I had to record the shots.

From Script To Screen - Per-viz Set 2

This is quick model of one of the sets that I'll be useing in my per-viz animation. This is the outside of the light house.

I had to use one of the character models so that I could get the scale right and not have to resize everything when I had to record the shots.

From Script To Screen - Per-viz Set 1

This is quick model of one of the sets that I'll be useing in my per-viz animation. This is the inside of the light house most noticeably the hallway and living room.

I had to use one of the character models so that I could get the scale right and not have to resize everything when I had to record the shots.

From Script to Screen - Character Designs - The Daughter (Grown Up)

The daughter grown up
This is the main character in my story. She is the Light House Keeper, a role that she took over for her father after his death. She has mostly lived on her own isolating herself from others with the fear that she will loss them like her father.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

@Phil - Concept art WIP

This is my concept art for my light house that I'm currently working on, I feel that it's going great but still feel that there is something not right with it. I am still trying to workout how to show the art style that I've choosen in my concept so it does look a little messy in places.

I want to try and know where I'm going with this image before I start working on the other concepts properly.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

From Script To Screen - Art Style Influence Map

As my story takes place close to the sea I decided that my art style should to reflect that. This in my mind could mostly come form useing watercolour style textures, I also had the idea that the outlines could be similar to lossely drawn ink paintings.

I had the idea that blues, greens and grays would been the main colour scheme for my story, the idea for this came from the colours that we normally think of when it comes to the sea and wild storms. It would also help to show the cold and sadder parts of the animation, I would also off set this with a sepia like tone to help show the warmer parts of the story.

For the style of clothing that the characters would ware I thought that the nautical theme should stay with them of obvious reasons. To make it clear that the story take place close to the sea and that some of the characters work in this environment I've chosen to use the classic fisherman's outfit of thick woollen fabrics. The clearest example of this design is fisherman from the Victorian era.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Film Review - Psycho

Fig 1. Psycho poster (1960)
When we think of Alfred Hitchcock, we think of only one film – Psycho (1960). The film has gone down in history as one of the most perfect pieces of horror cinema even to this day with the way that it twists that story one way and then twists it in another right near the end. Even to this day Psycho has left its mark on popular culture be it the iconic music used or the way that one scene left audiences checking round their shower curtains.

The story of the film starts off with the audience following Marion as she steals $40,000, that she said would put in the bank for her boss, with the plan to give it to her boyfriend to clear his debts so they can marry. On her way, she stops off at the Bates Motel and meets Norman Bates, the owner. After a short talk about his mother, who had been seen at the window, Marion gets ready for bed by taking a shower however it soon becomes her own blood that starts to run down the plug hole. With this twist the story starts to focus on Sam and Lila, Marion’s boyfriend and sister, as they try to work out what happened to her.

The soundtrack used played a key role in building the tension before suddenly jumping out at the audience. People who haven’t even seen the film know the music and the role it plays in suddenly shocking the viewer and what it is represents when it is used to portray a particular type of scene, be it when it is used in parodies or scenes that pay homage to the film. “The violins wailing away during Psycho's shower murder scene have achieved the status of cultural shorthand - denoting imminent violent insanity.” (Robb, 2010) Even when the iconic violins are not being used the music still gives the viewer the idea that the characters are on edge, most notably is when Marion in driving in her car and she starts thinking about what the other characters are talking about. We get the feeling that she is slightly panicking inside and questioning if she should turn back round.

Unlike Hitchcock’s other film Rope, Psycho uses multiple camera cuts from multiple angles to create a feeling of unease and panic. This tactic is most notably used in the famous shower scene so the viewer feels that they are being attack from all sides. Even in later scenes the way that the camera changes, often to an angle that the human eye is not used to seeing, and the action suddenly happens straight after gives audience no time to prepare. This can be mostly noticed when the second murder takes place as “Hitchcock cuts disorientatingly to a bird's-eye view of the landing, and then, before we've had even a second to get our bearings, a figure darts into view from the right of the screen, knife raised.” (Monahan, 2015) With this the viewer feels like they have been suddenly attacked like the character while still trying to work out what just happened.

Fig 2. High angle, High impact (1960)

Even filming in just black and white helped the film keep its suspense. The sets become more shadowy and intimidating making the audience feel just as on edge as the characters but this was a clever move by Hitchcock as he chose to film this way because it would make people focus on what is important. “The ominous tone of the film as shadows and small views of lighted objects create disturbing contrasts while also focusing the audience's attention where the director desires it to be.” (Enotes, 2014) This made sure that nothing was lost and that the small things didn’t slip past the viewer such as the light areas angling in on the money making of a greater impact when Norman gets rid of it not really knowing what is really is.

Hitchcock used his Bomb Theory throughout the film but one clever way in which he uses it is in the movie’s trailer. He is seen walking around the film’s set dropping hints and pointing out events that happen in the film as if it was the scene of a real murder, he tells the viewer all this information so that when they see Psycho they feel completely helpless as they can’t tell the character’s to get away or to not go into a particular room.


Monday, 6 February 2017

Maya Tutorial - Non-Linear Deformer

Non-Liner Deformers from Rhia Crouch on Vimeo.

Character Workshop - Lesson 4

In our 4th lesson we were looking at environments and how they can tell a story. We only had one task in this lesson and that was to design an environment based on the two words we were each given, mine were Circus and Intelligent.

This task was a real struggle for me as my words don't go together meaning I was stuck for ideas.

First drawing

Second drawing

Friday, 3 February 2017

Film Review - Rope

Fig 1. Rope poster (1948)

Is it possible to tell a story in one shot or just in one room? Alfred Hitchcock shows that it is with his 1948 film Rope. A film that tried to pull the viewer in without having to break the flow of the camera moving around the set so that the tension could build at a much slower pace but still have the same impact in the end.

The story of the film is a basic one but at a sudden turn we are pulled deeper and deeper into it by a new piece of information and are left wondering how this will affect the outcome that we know is coming. Rope tells the story of two men who commit a murder, believing that because they are more intelligent than others they will get away with it, and then hide the body in their apartment while they have a dinner party only a few feet away from the chest it is hidden in. However, the boasting of one of the men leads one of the party guests to becoming suspicious about what they are hiding.

One of the ways in which the film plays on the viewer’s mind is the way that Hitchcock tried to make the film in one take. The camera follows the characters around without making us cut back and forth between them, along with cleverly cutting parts of the story out by not showing them with only the actors making references to what is happening in the other room. The problem that Hitchcock had with this type of film making is that there wasn’t the technology to do this so he had to figure out how to hide the change of film, mostly done by going behind one of the character’s backs, or to show the cut anyway. “This clunkiness can be part of the film's claustrophobic strength though: the coffin-chest is rarely out of shot, and the camera follows the actors around every square inch of the confined set.” (Hutchinson, 2012) Another reason Rope was filmed in this way was to be a nod to the play that it was based on as the audience would follow the actors on the stage without pausing or breaking away.

It also makes us look at all of the characters that are in the shot. If Hitchcock had used the typical film making style and used basic cuts in the film we would have lost this, by solely focusing on the actors of a set length of time we would notice when one of them suddenly moves. This also gives us an insight in to the character's way of thinking if they show no interest in the conversation that the others are having. In one shot the camera “… gently pans right to reveal the dead boy’s father looking out the window as he waits for the son we know is never coming.” (Croce, 2006) If the camera was to sudden cut to this we would not know the full context of the action.

Fig 2. Will she, Won't she open the chest? (1948)

Many can call this film a classic “who done it?” but there is one catch – we know who committed the crime right from the start, instead this is a perfect example of Hitchcock’s Bomb Theory. This theory is a very basic one and one that helps Hitchcock remind people why he is called The Master of Suspense. He tells the audience what is about to happen but keeps the characters in the dark, the audience starts to become tense knowing that they cannot help the characters before disaster strikes. In this case the bomb is the body in the chest, we know its there but the party guests have no idea, and the bomb going off is someone opening it.

Rope has another way of playing with the viewer and that’s by the way in which it uses sound to place the audience in the apartment. As there is no soundtrack being used we hear the conversation of the guests in the background while the camera focuses on the part that is of interest to the story. The times that sound is introduced is to show that the characters themselves are becoming tense, like when Phillip is being questioned at the piano and Rupert is speeding up the metronome which in turn makes him play faster as he panics, or that there is a world outside of the room the whole movie has taken place in, notably when Rupert fires the gun outside the window and the police sirens start to become loader and loader as they get closer.

Overall the film, though interesting with the way that it makes you question when the final punch line will be dealt, seems to have not gone down well with many people. Even Hitchcock himself called the film an “Experiment that didn’t work out” (Hitchcock, 1984).

Fig 3. Hitchcock's cameo as a red neon sign (1948)