Saturday, 16 December 2017

Collaboration - Props and Characters

For the two skits that were successfully finished there were in total 8 characters. Unfortunately the watchman, who was finished in time was not put into the final animation.

Modern art characters

Cleaner's broom

From left to right watchman, cleaner, female art snob, male art snob

Haircut characters

From left to right beehive lady, stylist, generic lady characters

Collaboration - Modelling and Lighting, scenes

For the collaboration project, scenes were modelled to fit the criteria given by the concept art drafted by the group's art director. These scenes were also given the appropriate Arnold shader and have been lit to give emphases on the characters and various materials. While a the scene for the 'Death' skit has been fully modelled, shaded and lit it was not used in the final animation due to time constraints. 

Various textures such as the painting and the backdrop for the death scene were to be completed by the texture artist.

Death scene rendered

Haircut scene rendered

Modern art scene rendered

Collaboration - Storyboards

To capture the important motions in the scene storyboards were created from the animatic videos. This was then passed onto the animators to track the movements of the characters in accordance with the frames of the animatics.

Death Storyboard

Haircut Storyboard

Kisscam Storyboard

Modern Art Storyboard

Monday, 6 November 2017

Creature from the Black Lagoon - Film review

fig.1 film poster

Released in 1954, ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’ is an American 3D horror film. While the film has been rated as a B-movie, ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’ has a cult following. It is now being considered a classic but has been well received upon its release. Directed by Jack Arnold, ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’ attempts to pave way for a new monster in the film industry. The “Gill-man” manages to match the other major monsters, such as Dracula, in terms of atmosphere. Despite having relative success, the film still retains the inherent flaws of a B-movie.

The film has been recognised for being a B-movie for a number of qualities. This category of film has been regarded as low budget and typically inferior in quality when compared to contemporary cinema. B-movies have been typically used to fill a niche in the market. Low budget films can be produced and sold cheaply allowing them to be viewed by a larger majority of people. Typically these films follow a certain structure using stock characters alongside gimmicks to help sell the film. ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’ is no exception. In this case the gimmick is the use of 3D effects, something that is still considered a gimmick to this day (even with the advances in technology).

Stock characters also make an appearance, the most obvious being the damsel, in the form of Kay Lawrence and the sensible hero, David Reed. Following the theme of obsession similar to that of Captain Ahab (Melville, 1851) is the fanatical Mark Williams. The character which once had great ambitions quickly turns to blind obsession, chasing the creature to his bitter end. As a result of this the story can be easily read. The damsel in distress will be unable to defend herself and held by the antagonist for the hero to save. There is little character development beyond the given stock personality. This means that the characters themselves are not the focus of the film but instead the interactions with the creature. The biggest focus of the film appears to be cinematography of the footage itself.

During early parts of the film the camera is carefully positioned to ensure the creature is never fully exposed early on. Instead this affair is drawn on creating far more tension, helping to create atmosphere. The monster of the film retains a certain quality of 1950s monster (a man dressed up as best as possible). However the costume designs remains impressive for the time holding the impression of a scaly, aquatic menace.  Helping the monster feel at home is the Florida Everglades, a location chosen for its surrounding. The wild atmosphere makes it a more appropriate home for the monster as it is able to blend in easily with the weeds and water lodged setting. The water has an important role in the film in terms of cinematography.

‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’ makes great uses of its underwater camera shots. Footage used is often clear enough to see the characters, motions and actions. Not only do they help to develop the story but also build tension as the characters have entered the Gill-man’s territory. The water helps to build on the concept that we are foreigners to the water. There is a darkness below that we are yet to explore leading to the secrets being hidden.

“The underwater sequences are particularly memorable, while the scene where Adams swims alone with the creature watching from below plays upon all our fears of what may lurk beneath the sea.”(Sellers, no date)

 The camera follows the creature as he stalks Kay Lawrence nearly stealing her away. This memorable shot has gone on to inspire iconic scenes from ‘Jaws’ (1975 Spielberg). Spielberg’s own camera also follows the shark from the depths as it stalks its victims. While the use of close ups during the underwater scenes are used it is still difficult to read the situation at hand or even the expressions of the characters. 

With the characters unable to express themselves properly underwater the film makes good use of dramatic music to make up for this limitation. However the consistent use of the loud orchestral music becomes apparent as it is used at the slightest hint of the creature quickly losing its impact on the audience. Never the less the score is easily remembered as it is played over and over again.    
In conclusion the ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’ is a film that has a cult following and has gained success for its atmosphere. The film does well using its assets as a B-movie to help build a strong and tense atmosphere.  

Sellers, R. (no date) Creature from the Black Lagoon – review | cast and crew, movie star rating and where to watch film on TV and online. Available at: (Accessed: 6 November 2017).

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Post Modernism - "Funny Games"

Five reasons why "Funny Games" is an example of Post Modernism

Funny games poster

'Funny Games' is a film that falls into the thriller/horror category, directed by Michael Haneke, the film has been remade shot for shot for American audiences under the same name. The American remake has been both criticised and applauded by critics. This can be explained by Haneke's goals as he aimed to create a film that sends a message about violence in media, particularly that shown in horror/slasher films. 

1.(Breaks the 4th wall) One of the first moments that immediately stick out as odd in the film is when Paul, one of the film's antagonist turns to the screen as if he can see the audience, acknowledging their existence. An issue raised by this is that it immediately breaks the suspension of disbelief making the film difficult to perceive. 

2.(Breaks rules of physics) Another moment that breaks suspension of disbelief is when Paul uses a remote control to reverse time. This does not fit the genre of the film and once again breaks the story. It also seems strange that this feature has been put in the film as the rules set in the world appear to copy those of reality. 

3.(Irony) Paul comments "You shouldn't have done that Ann, you're not allowed to break the rules," which is ironic as Paul just before breached the rules of physics in order to win. This is reversed onto the protagonists who are unable to break the rules to their own benefit e.g. kill the antagonist. This can be taken as a statement on the true odds that are stacked up against the protagonists in slasher films. Not only this but peter, the other antagonist makes a number of comments on the traditional ways to draw suspense from cinema. 

4.(Appropriation) As mentioned before the film was remade shot for shot for American audiences. The reason being was to appropriate the film for a specific culture. The original film, being Austrian, did not adequately portray its message through English subtitles.  

5.(Frustrates audiences) Unlike a majority of films, 'Funny Games' does not aim to please the audience and instead refuses to give into tropes of its genre straying away from the conventional story lines. The protagonist does not succeed and the antagonist does not repent. Scenes of tension are drawn out testing the audience's patience.  


Normativity: A phenomenon in which certain actions or behaviors become the accepted norm and is considered the correct or morally correct one.  

Binary opposition: A concept that consists of two complete opposites. Within this concept the two opposites that can be applied such as male and female are strictly the only choices. 

Deconstruction: A way of thinking in terms of philosophy that focuses on the most basic language in which meanings are derived from. Deconstruction involves taking such concepts and making questions out of even the most simple of matters. 

DiffĂ©rance: Coined by Jacques Derrida, this term is used with the concept of deconstruction. While not directly translatable to English it refers to the significance of the various number of meanings within a single one. 

Reinscribe: To rewrite a meaning or text with the purpose of having a stronger form or context. 

Cognitive dissonance: Where something can hold two or more meanings that are contradictory of each other.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Artist Toolkit - Arnold shapes shader

With the introduction to Maya 2018 the new renderer, Arnold, was introduced to the class. The capacity of the new renderer was shown to be very capable of creating realistic depictions of various materials. These included metal, glass, plastic. The picture below is a test performed with a number of these materials with varied settings. 

Maya 2018 Arnold shapes test

Artist Toolkit - Maya, Moom animation, weight lifting

After creating the weight lifting Moom poses based upon a real life example additional frames were added to create a sense of anticipation and follow through. The frames were then used to create an animation.  

Artist Toolkit - Jet Pack Jones, Head Modelling: Part 1

Toolkit 2 tutorial with the final aim to bring a 2D character ,Jet Pack Jones, into the 3D world. The first part of the tutorial is to model and prepare the head from scratch using orthographic images.

2 - Rough blocking

3 - Rough blocking continued

4 - Mouth

5 - Eye

6 - Nose