Tuesday, 20 December 2016

What If? Metropolis, Production artist

What If? Metropolis, Reflective Statement

Taking up this second project has proven difficult, especially when looking at the technical requirements shown by Maya. Looking back upon the 'Invisible Cities' project I have found that my confidence using Adobe Photoshop as a less conventional art tool has gone up. Visually conceptualising the city has also proven long and difficult but rather fulfilling as assets were brought together for one shot. Overall I have found that my weakest point in this project is my technical proficiency with Maya. As a result I must make it my goal to improve upon this issue resolving problems with texturing and modelling.

Suspiria - Film Review

fig.1 film poster

Directed by Dario Argento, ‘Suspiria’ is a 1977 Italian horror film that consists of rather disturbing scenes for the time of its conception. “It naturally follows that Argento's true strength as a filmmaker is his direction of murder scenes, and the occult deaths presented here are among the bloodiest and hardest to take in horror history” (Firsching, R. 1997). In a combination of notable technical aspects of the film ‘Suspiria’ has become a well-known piece of work within the film industry. Described as a master piece by some the film has been considered as a cult classic using elements of design within sound, set and lighting to bring out the fear factor in the film.

The film follows the protagonist Suzy Bannion, a ballet student who has just arrived at a dance school in Freiburg, Germany. From this point a number of strange events occur including the death of several students, maggots falling through the ceiling and tales of witches. In the end Suzy kills the queen witch and escapes the academy along with the violence that followed it.

Firstly, focusing upon ‘Suspira’s’ art direction, Argento has chosen to takes up a far more abstract point of view upon its lighting and set design. “Bright blues and deep reds and sickly yellows invade the frame, creeping in from around corners, shining through curtains, and bouncing off walls from light sources that simply cannot exist”(Hall, J. 2016), as stated by Hall the lights that produced both in position and colour are unnatural and describe an unrealistic scene. Instead this acts as a device that provokes a specific thought or feeling within the viewer. In times of danger red is used hinting towards the hazard around the corner being one of the more common colours used during run time. Green is also used in addition to the colours mentioned above, although used in a different manor with the intend of signifying an imminent death however its rare appearance means that it is something that truly alerts the audience. 

These brighter, primary colours are married with sets filled with translucent material, glass or reflective surfaces ultimately leading to more beautiful shots. Despite the striking nature of the obscure lights merging into the darkness the lights still led to the horror nature of the film. As the colours are changed subtly with the set the audience will notice these little changes that would put them on guard with expectation of the following events. 

fig.2 corridor lit red

Another layer adding to the suspense and tension of the film is the pacing. Slow and expressive the murders and deaths are carried out over a number of minutes while the malicious chase before hands lasts even longer. Running and fighting for their lives the viewer is given the conception that some of these characters will survive. However over time it soon becomes a question of when. It is the suspense of not knowing the exact moment when a character will be killed off and how that holds the audience’s attention.

In all ‘Suspiria’ can be regarded as both a beautiful and suspenseful horror film that is capable of gripping on to its viewers. 


French, P. (2010) Classic DVD; Suspiria

Firsching, R. (1997) Suspiria

Hall, J. (2016) Why 'Susipira' is the Craziest, Most Colourful Bad Dream You'll Ever Watch

Illustration list

fig.1 Website
http://images.moviepostershop.com/suspiria-movie-poster-1977-1000436044.jpg (accessed 19/12/16)

fig.2 Website
https://www.acheronbooks.com/img/cms/Suspiria/Suspiria5.jpg (accessed 19/12/16)

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Artist toolkit - flash, Four Legged Walk Cycle (09/12/16)

For Friday's lesson the class was required to create a walk cycle for a four legged creature. This was done with a more festive theme in mind. The chosen animal was a wolf going at a leisurely pace. The final GIF shown has a slightly higher frame rate in mind but still contains the required walk cycle. 

Final wolf animation
The base model for the wolf was taken from a template of a four legged animal, the rest of frames for the cycle was completed through guess work. After this process was completed the body was drawn into place using the reference.

drawing template for wolf

Final frames for wolf in motion
Adding scene and snow

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Artist Toolkit - Life Drawing (07/12/16)

Despite lacking a life model for the lesson we were still capable of producing some drawings. This was done by observing stills from Hitchcock's film, 'The birds'.

Composed drawing

Artist Toolkit - Maya, Lighting (05/12/16)

For this Maya task we were informed and instructed on how to create effective lighting to match the time of the day. The sky and the house were rendered separately in order to produce separate layers allowing for the layers to be complied in Photoshop.
Final image rendered for day scene
The first render has been created with a day scene in mind, below the angle of the lights and colour have been changed in order to better fit a sun set scene.

Adjusted image for a more rosy sunset scene

Monday, 5 December 2016

Artist toolkit - flash, Jumping and Throwing (02/12/16)

For this week's Adobe flash animation the class was asked to record two actions, one of us throwing an object and another one of us jumping. The reasoning for this was to use these videos as reference to help build anticipation in our animations.
Jumping animation

Throwing animation

Saturday, 3 December 2016

The Shining - Film Review

The Shining film review

fig.1 film poster

Directed by Stanley Kubrick, 'The Shinning' is a 1980 British-American film focusing on themes of loneliness and isolation. As expected from a Kubrick film there is strong use of the rule of thirds amongst other devices, both old and new. The resulting product has created a lasting impression on popular culture retaining the same value in cinema today as it did in the 90s.

Based upon Stephen King’s 1997 novel under the same name, ‘The Shining’s’ plot follows a family of three as they move into a hotel for the course of several months. During this time the father, Jack Torrance slowly becomes more unstable, acting more aggressively towards his family. This results in the attempted murder of his child, Danny and his wife, Wendy. Fortunately the two escapes with Jack freezing to death. The film ends on a photograph featuring jack dated 1921.

One reoccurring theme that appears in Kubrick’s work is the effective use of suspense to hold the audience’s attention. The ‘The Shining’ proves especially effective in this area as the film falls within the psychological horror film genre. Despite being tame in comparison to the horror films produced in this day and age ‘The Shining’ remains culturally relevant retaining the same appeal it had during the day of its release. This can be attributed to its use of more practical effects and camera work which can be exhibited in the elevator scene.

fig.2 elevator scene creating use practical effects
Regarding how the ‘The Shining’ was filmed, Kubrick had decided to use a gimbal in order to stabilize the camera for far smoother tracking shots. A notable example of the use of this relatively new technology is when the camera is tracking Danny as he rides his tricycle through the halls.
“There's pure inspiration simply in the scene in which young Danny (Danny Lloyd) rides his tricycle around the endless corridors, the wheels thundering on the wooden floor, then suddenly quiet over the carpets” (Bradshaw, 2012)

This scene proves especially effective as the tracking for the camera has a far more spectral feel tracing the steps of the boy as if the point of view is hovering with Danny. The use of this more ‘spectral’ tracking shot means that we are limited in the way we see round corners and hallways. In this case the visual is married with more obscure yet striking sound design. The silence only acts as a reminder of the lack of people in these open halls only to be broken by presence of the small family. This concept is mirrored throughout the film with a lack of music or background noise in certain scenes. Examples includes jack throwing his baseball and his use with a type writer.
“Then they're alone, and a routine begins: Jack sits at a typewriter in the great hall, pounding relentlessly at his typewriter” (Ebert, 2006)

Not only does Kubrick make effective use of silence but also uses of a rather memorable sound track. These pieces tend to be more simple consisting of fewer instruments and obscure noises matching the lonely nature of the hotel. Assisted by the timing the sound is brought together with the shots to hint towards the viewer of the sense of an impending fate. Despite the lack of true horror factors the film retains a large amount of suspense through these components.

As always with Kubrick’s films the ending remains unclear and ambiguous with the antagonist being displayed in the old photograph. Paired with the previous events it is uncertain whether or not the story being told is from a reliable source. As stated by Ebert, ““The Shining" challenges us to decide: Who is the reliable observer? Whose idea of events can we trust?” (Ebert, 2006). With this the ending remains open for interpretation and as such have been received in various ways. ‘The Shining’ is not a simple a film that is seen and enjoyed but requires more intelligent thought. As shown by the documentary ‘Room 237’ many individual theories have been spawned from this single film.

It is never clarified if the following events are due to isolation and madness or more super natural causes. Despite this the film remains as an example of effective camera work, sound design and timing, leaving a lasting impression on pop culture.  

Illustration List

fig.1, Website
http://thefoxisblack.com/blogimages//saul-bass-the-shining-film-poster-1.jpg (accessed 03/12/16)
fig.2, Website
http://65.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m067y75GXP1rnn734o1_500.jpg (accessed 03/12/16)


Bradshaw, Peter (2012) The Shining - Review
https://www.theguardian.com/film/2012/nov/01/the-shining-review (accessed 03/12/16)
Ebert, Roger (2006) The Shining
http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-the-shining-1980 (accessed 03/12/16)

Thursday, 1 December 2016