Friday, 27 September 2013

Animation & Character Briefing

Today I have had the Animation & Character briefing with a slight overview about what animation is and what it can consist of. I was given a peice of paper with a template of what is known as a 'Eadweard Muybridges Phenakistoscope' layout.

The Phenakistoscope uses a spinning disc attached vertically to a handle and placed around the disc's center were a series of drawings show the phases of the animation. The viewer can see it through a series of equally spaced vertical slits.

Here is my short animation of a balloon expanding and then popping.

Here is an exsisting example from Eadweard Muybridge of the images laid out facing the outer rim of the circle created in 1893. Each image is different so when the image is spun all we see is a moving picture.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Cinematic Spaces: Second Sketchbook Thumbnails

Ocean Scenes

(38 - 53)
These next two pages are thumbnails just of the open ocean scene of the '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' book. The foliage in this scene are described as very stiff and straight, where the marine creatures carry flowers rather then the plants.
My favorite on this page are 38, 39, 41 and 49.

(54 - 70)
My favorite thumbnails on this page are the following;
55, 60, 63, 66 and 70. 

Cinematic Spaces: First Sketchbook Thumbnails

'20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' Scenes

(1 -17)
These landscape ideas are beneath the ocean outside of the submarine.
The book has very descriptive paragraphs of the vegetation and plant life with the ability to take them to the next level. My favorites here are 1, 2 and 16.

(19 - 37)
This page consists of ideas for the library inside the submarine. Jules Verne has really described the furniture and the room itself very deeply and will challenge my perspective skills. My favorites are 18, 22 and 36.

Cinematic Spaces: First Experience of Digital Painting

On Monday, (23th September) I had my first ever lesson painting in Photoshop.
To get used to the Wacom and the software itself, I experimented with the feel of the pen and the stroke of the brushes.

Moving on from experimenting with the brushes, I used a template to get some basic layout designs. These are very rough and my very first layouts digitally. I painted over the whole canvas with the range of toned brushes and then worked individually on each tile. Some are mainly landscapes but in a few I have added silhouettes.

I really enjoyed the Photoshop lesson and I am looking forward to the next one.
To continue with my landscape thumbnails, I will be drawing them traditionally in my sketchbook.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Film Review: Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) 80min

(Figure 1: Opening Title)

The godfather, creator and ancestor of the 21st Century horror/thriller films,  The Cabinet of Dr. Calligari directed by Robert Wiene is a one of a kind. The film is highly influential of the German expressionism and paranoia about a fairground hypnotist who uses a somnambulist (Direct translation: A sleepwalker) to carry out his murders. ''A case can be made that "Caligari" was the first true horror film.'' (Roger Ebert) This film is the trend setter of many classics you see in the most generic of horrors and widely admired by many filmmakers, including Tim Burton and David Cronenberg. 

This silent, black and white film features the main character named Franzis. A lonely town clerk haunted by his frightful memories that he and his fiancé Jane had recently experienced. The character then seems to go into a long day dream or flash back recalling these events.

(Figure 3: Caligari Poster)

The scene blacks out and visits a man reading within his bedroom. The room itself is disfigured and twisted, very much like a portray of Psychopaths mind. The window is of misty brown tinge and is clearly distorted, blocking out any view of the outside world which can very well be a metaphor for a recluse. The furniture around the room is very elaborate, seats and tables with elongated legs and back supports appear very dream-like. 

During the events of the village fairground, Franzis and Jane come across a sinister old man known as Dr. Caligari, declaring to have a show to amaze everyone and anyone. The facial expressions the Dr. shows is very exaggerate, which is very important around the era of silent films. This becomes very clear to the audience; ''Caligari feels closest to the dark world of psychological horror...'' ( He reveals that he is the master of a 23 year old sleepwalker, called Cesare. Dr. Caligari unveils the cabinet from behind the curtain which is instantly recognizable as a traditional gloomy coffin rather then a cabinet. With the twist of the wrist, Dr. Caligari reveals the emaciated body of Cesare to the public. 

Throughout the story, whoever speaks to Cesare is destined to be murdered by him that very evening. Another town clerk is murdered and Franzis seems suspicious and begins to spy on Dr. Caligari and his zombie-like companion. The way Cesare holds his body, no facial expressions and murmurous sounds quickly reminded me of 'Frankenstein'  with the original film published in 1931 directed by 'James Whale', with the later adaptation of the tale later produced in 1994 from Mary Shelly's book directed by 'Kenneth Branagh'.

(Figure 3: Cesare murdering the office clerk; Blue light)

The film is classed as being black and white, however in some situations there is a a filter over certain settings. During the night time scenes, there is a blue filter which clearly indicates to the audience the change from daylight. During this setting, there is a particular scene where Cesare is creeping towards the house where Jane lives. Seen in Figure 4, His extended limbs, pale face and being completely dressed in black appears shadow-like. Each step Cesare takes looks robotic and stiff. The walls have several numbers and shapes painted repetitively along with patterns and spiraling lines which could become hypnotic. The village itself is not prospectively correct, but from an expressionist point of view, this must have been very experimental for the concept artists.

(Figure 4: Cesare creeping towards Jane's House)

The film ends with a plot twist, where we are shown that we have all experienced Franzis' crazy imaginary world; with no real Dr. Caligari, or so we think. We never truly find out. 

Overall, this film really is the blueprints for the film industry which follow through to the films we see today. ''It's a museum piece today, of interest more for its historical importance, but Caligari still casts a considerable spell.'' (Jeff Shannon) Robert Wiene must have seeked inspiration to what it must be like for mentally ill mind and what their intake of the world must be. This being said, I really recommend to whom has not viewed this film to do so and see history in the making.

Illustration List:

Figure 1)

Figure 2)

Figure 3)

Figure 4)

Bibliography: - Link: - Link:

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Film Review: Le Voyage Dans La Lune

A Trip to the Moon (1902) 16min

(Figure 2: Opening Title)

'A Trip to the Moon' is a French silent film directed and written by Georges Méliès (1902), which evolves a mad Professor named Barbenfouillis (acted out by Méliès himself) and his students wanting to travel through space and land on the Moon. We instantly get the sense of hyper-activity from the vast amount of rushed movements by the students that could be seen as a sense of humor that Méliès could have tried to indicate.

Seen in Figure 2, at the launch event, Georges has tried to show distance from the huge length of he cannon, gradually getting thinner and thinner indicating how very far away from the camera it is. This can also be shown by the size of the moon from any realistic point of scale. If the film had been in colour, I imagined the rocket to have been constructed out of brass, like the shade of a dark mahogany, with large golden screws holding everything in place. 

(Figure 2: Cannon launch)

The very famous scene where the Astronomers arrive closer to the Moons surface, you realize the Moon has a sense of personality and emotion. The placid, non-amused face when the rocket appears to have lodged itself within one of its eyes shows great character and mystery. Which can also leave a question to the viewers to why did Méliès want that specific expression, or let alone having an actors face present at all?   

(Figure 3: The Face of the Moon)

After arriving safely, the Astonomers are bewildered by the many mountains and rock faces they are now submerged by. Huge craters and vast spikes protruding the moons surface seems now as something far from reality, but the creativity that the many concept artists must have had here is clearly visible. The astronomers take a moment to look upon Earth and Saturn, amongst the vast array of stars, however to any 21st century viewer, a person on the moon would never see a rise or set of Earth. So when the Astronomers go to rest, Earth is shown to have set, distinguishing night time; where the clouds cover the night sky and show shimmer of light along the skyline, indicating a light source. 

Another of Méliès best-known films, 'The Impossible Voyage' (1904) involves the same strange, surrealistic artwork created to form, in that era, a sense of realism. At the scene where the Astronomers venture down into a cave beneath the Moons crust, they discover large, toppling Mushrooms. The concept artists have picked up very well how to show depth and scale even back in the 1900's. Quota; ''There they find a bizarre, magical landscape...'' ( To any viewer, the set can lead the eye and allow every person to create their own depiction of hidden features Méliès might have laid out for us.

(Figure 4: A Trip to the Moon Poster)

Nearing the end of the film, the astronomers make a dash back to their capsule while holding off pursuing Selenites. (An insectoid alien inhabitant of the Moon, seen in Figure 5 below) The students all climb inside, while the Professor grabs onto a rope which tips the rocket down of the Moons surface and into space. A Selenite tries to prevent them from leaving by jumping on top of the rocket, but floats back down to the ground having let go of the rocket which eventually crashes into Earths ocean.

(Figure 5: Selenites Palace)

Taking a longer moment to look at the artwork pictured beneath the sea, fits very well alongside my current reference book; '20,000 leagues Under The Sea' by Jules Verne (1869). There is clearly a sense of style connecting these artists together by their creativity inventing these strange and fantasy based adventures.

Overall, there is no doubt how this is one of the most influential short films of its time. Quota; " the most famous of the over 500 short films produced by cinema pioneer Georges Méliès between 1896 and 1912" ( because the auidience can become gripped by the story nonetheless of it being silent. The sound was used very well to build up the tension and to let the audience know that this is a fast or slow scene. 

I personally had never seen a silent movie before, let alone it being in black and white and the quality of film itself being so dated. So this first experience on a large screen has been very encouraging. 

Illustration List:

1 & 2)

3 & 4 & 5)


Saturday, 21 September 2013

Cinematic Spaces: 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

On Friday, (20th September) during the Summer Project Crit lecture, I was told to pick a piece of paper out of the 'Mysterious Blue Box' while it was being passed around. Each piece of paper had a Folder number on it from numbers 1 to 20. We was then told that whatever was inside our folders, we had to create 3 digital paintings from.

The number I had chosen was number 7. So when I arrived home, I logged onto myUCA and discovered that inside that folder was the book; 

'20,000 Leagues Under The Sea'
Jules Verne - 1869

I do recognize the name of this book, but never read it. 
I've also been given selected pages to create my digital paintings from; 

Chapter XI

Chapter XVII

I am very excited to get this project going on Monday and I have already started looking into Feng Zhu's Video tutorials and other digital painters to gain techniques and tips.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Finalized 'Life Form' Concept

This is my 'Life Form' concept based on a dog/reptile-like creature.
This was my favorite concept to create out of all three, however significantly more difficult to interpret the design from other angles. I first coloured this design in greens and blues, but was very dark when trying to add shading and depth. 

Monday, 9 September 2013

Finalized 'Structure' Concept

This is my 'Structure' concept based on a Blimp design.
I have added extra flags at the back but stuck with a ship design underneath. 
The back of the design was the hardest to draw from again, but the front was straight forward.

I see this Blimp being a luxury 'cruise' with a Victorian look to it. Or a mobile home to someone/something.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Finalised 'Machine' Concept

This is my finalized 'Machine' Concept'.
I've actually came up with quite a story behind this idea which goes into some depth. 

The name I have given it is;
''The Neural Inheritance Cocoon'' or ''NIC'' for short.

Inside the glass embryo sack, would be non-Newtonian fluid. Which would be hardened during log distance interspace flights and can change its properties with certain conditions. 
The robot itself would be inactive during space flight, but when it does activate it also changes the properties of the container depending on the life form inside. 
When the life form grows, the glass-like container would expand and hang more so underneath. Depending on the life form, the NIC, through its "arms" would be able to project information into the brain of the embryo as it grows.

There is a few technical viewing points which should be different, however I feel this particular design was difficult to interpret from the other angles apart from the side view.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Developing my 'Life Form' Concept

These are my development thumbnails for my 'Life Form' Concept. The original sketch is number (99), however once more I wanted to experiment with other ideas on its features. 
To get the sitting position correct, I observed my dog and the way her body was sitting upright. 
My favorite is definitely number (3), which is actually the closest to the original drawing. 

Friday, 6 September 2013

Developing my 'Structure' Concept

While thinking about what 'Structure' concept to choose, I decided to look into 'Steampunk'. 
A particular blimp design really caught my eye and fitted with the basic idea of number (33).
I had doubts that blimps would be classified as a 'Structure', however I found a quote from Wikipedia which states; 

"Physical structures include man-made and natural arrangements. Buildings, aircraft, soap films, skeletons, anthills, beaver dams and salt domes are all examples of physical structures."

My favourites are; (2), (6), (7) and (8).

Developing my 'Machine' Concept

Here is some quick ideas for my 'Machine' concept. The idea was to show the bulb mainly, but while creating each design I thought of the Light Bulb being as some kind of casing, holding a life form inside, shown in number (20).
Number (92) is the original design, but I have experimented to take the idea further.
I seemed to have forgotten number (21) while numbering these drawings.
My favourites here are; (4), (6), (11), (17), (23) and (25).

Thursday, 5 September 2013

101 Developmental Concepts (97 - 101)

My last couple of concepts are mixed between all three categories. 
I specially like numbers (99), (100) and (101).

101 Developmental Concepts (87 - 96)

This is one of my favorite pages I have created. I feel I have a lot of potential from each 'Machine' design. 
My most favored concept is number (92).

101 Developmental Concepts (76 - 86)

When I went back to creating more concepts, I had the same sort of experience as 'writers block'. So this page took a little while longer to get the ideas flowing.
My favorite here is (86).

101 Developmental Concepts (66 - 75)

Here's more 'Life Form' concepts. I wanted to disfigure and re-arrange as many previous concepts to make new ones. 
My favorites are (68) and (72).

101 Developmental Concepts (58 - 65)

Number (58) which is also my favorite design here, was inspired by 'Atlas' the blue robot out of the game 'Portal 2'. 

101 Developmental Concepts (49 - 57)

I chose 2 other objects here, the Light Bulb and Fish Hook. These 'Life Forms' were very fun to create. I specially like number (53). I feel I could take this design forward to the next level.

101 Developmental Concepts (43 - 48)

I went back to my stronger two out of the three categories here, (Lifeforms and Machines). 
iRobot was my inspiration. My favorites are (43) and (44).
(46) to (48) were concepts based on an elf or elderly Goblin. 

101 Developmental Concepts (35 - 42)

Futuristic structures! 
Basing my ideas on the High Heel shoe and Scissors, I feel my strongest 'Structures' I created were (36), (39) and (41).

101 Developmental Concepts (29 - 34)

After looking at the objects I could base my ideas on, I decided to use the High Heel shoe to create my 'Structures' from. I still stuck with the generic houses, but further down the page I started to mix everything together.
My favorite here is (33).

101 Developmental Concepts (23 - 28)

I had started to think about 'Structures' near the end of the page, which to me appears as a large castle of some kind. The rest of the Machinery (specially 27) reminds me of the robotics out of the film 'Avatar' by James Cameron.
My favorites here are (23) and (25).

101 Developmental Concepts (15 - 22)

When looking over my current concepts, I feel haven't really made them my own. So I decided to take a design and make it more unique.
My favourites here are numbers (17) and (18).

101 Developmental Concepts (8 - 14)

I wanted to focus a little more on Machines throughout these few concepts. 
My favorite here is number (10).

101 Developmental Concepts (1 - 7)

Here is my first seven concepts. This task took a little while to sink at the beginning, but after a while my creativity started to flow and I feel I began to produce some original ideas.
My favorite here is number (4).

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Summer Challenge!

Over the holidays, I have been given a summer challenge to produce concept drawings from a group of selected objects in three categories; 'Structures', 'Life Forms' and 'Machines'. 

I was given the option to create these concepts with pens, pencils, paint or graphics tablet. To be quick, rough thumbnail sketches.  Once I had created 101 development drawings, I'm to pick three, one from each category and develop them further. 

The final designs should be turn arounds; i.e., to show the front back and side.

I've finally completed my last thumbnail design and I will be posting them for any kind of constructive feedback and thoughts about these sketches.