Friday, 4 December 2009

Animated short - Maya Class...

We just watched a short CG animated story in our Friday Maya class. The imagery used within this animation was very powerfull, meaningfull, yet kept light hearted throughout. It explored the source of our existance as human beings, where do we come from and why?
Not only this, it also showed how the human race is an imperfect species that has many flaws that prooves how we arn't yet worthy enough to be at a level to communicate with higher beings. This is shown through the characters in the short to be almost Obsessive Compulsive beings, keeping their actions the same, everything must be kept to somewhat a perfection.
The small baby Alien character in this film breaks these rules, and eventually, even after being "cured", he still plays up and wreaks havoc on the community. Hence, he like many others of his kind are sent to Earth, where they become human babies...
The animation in this film is really well thought out, the colour schemes used to reflect the Aliens world and how they express themselfs was really detailed and full of heart.
I loved how the concepts behind the Aliens world was brought to life, the "bikes" they used especially. They would have pedals, yet they would fly along at the speed of a Car! Furthermore I liked the bubbles shooting out of the back... very different, very amusing.
I give this a 9 out of 10.

Island project thing!

We have started a two week project in Maya based on an enviroment scene, this being of a desert island with a treasure chest.

Here you can clearly see me texturing the coins used within the image.

I have layed out the sand textures, textured the coins and now moving onto the other assets.

I have started to add more textures to the other assets in the scene. I will next need to sort the map out in photoshop then re enter it to maya when its ready, then i'll take a render.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Phils lecture on the uncanny...

Aaaah where shall I begin. Im really begining to love this course... being such an Artist for what we are training to be consists of so much terrain, its got so much depth to it, and furthermore this depth delves into dark, powerfull, existance based questions that rip out any hidden inspiration to work. In saying that, I think this uncanny business has some awesome corners to lurk around for my project...

Unheimliche - basically a fancy German way of saying "Unhomly"... which as the word suggests it means unwelcome, unfreindly. You cant trust it or feel comfort from it anymore... God I do love a bit of creepy shizzle! A familiar asset, be it a person or a possesion, can suddenly feel somewhat alien to yourself and provokes an uncomfortable infatiation. An interesting paradox im sure you will aggree... which is why I love it! =D Coz im not strange...

I just picture that Teddy bear with the glistening eyes on the top shelf in your bedroom at night, staring down, yet safely out of reach. That slight uncomfort we all have felt at some stage in our lives dies down at such a realisation. One day your in bed and you realise he's been moved and is siting in a position at the end of your bed, and thus if he was animated he could easily reach out to you. A cold shock flies through your body, hairs standing on end, a dampened feeling of creeping away so that the source of fear cant harm you. Its that hide under your bed situation, but then what if theres a monster under there too? That initial feeling of if the bear is actually watching you, if he is actually alive, is to me an example of the unheimliche term in a familiar situation we may have all experienced at some stage in life.

Now all I must do is conjuer up images to support this darkened inspiration... and find some way to include it in this new project...

Take care folks

Monday, 30 November 2009

My last Gormenghast image...

After discovering somewhat of a mind opener in my own Artwork recently, I started dreaming up images that I couldn't see before. I have somehow gained back the power to see beyond my own envisionments and understand them more from their "world". I havent thought along these lines for years, so its a good sign as I know it means my confidence and creativity is coming back full swing.

I took the image of Gormenghast that I digitally painted for my finals in our last project and imagined myself climbing up the cliff, and peering over the top. What would I see? Before me was the image of the City blossoming infront of me in all its dark eerie glory.

I have noticed my work has a very Tim Burton feel to it, theres something never quite right about it but it works... it has some kind of elegance in its scratchy, trippy existance.

Enjoy folks


Space studies! - and no I dont mean it in an astronomical sense!

Lets talk about space... enviroments... what makes an area fill with atmosphere?

I beleive the space in which assets are to be depicted within is just as essential to describe an image as the assets themselfs. Overall, lighting, colours, textures and volume of space merge together to create an aura of presence; without these elements mixed correctly an image becomes surreal or without purpose.

There are some Artists who focus on space itself specifically, we was informed on some stand out examples this morning in our lecture.

Here are a few of them:

  • Edward Hopper

In these images you can see different uses to describe space.

In the first image you can see how elements within the space are spread out to aim the viewers focus, whether purposefully or not is not known. The image appears to show a man, working at his desk trying to stay focused, I get the feel that is has been a long day at the office and he's tired. I get the feeling that the woman in the image has been trying to seduce him for a long period of time, using different techniques to try and lure her way in. This picture captures her in the moment of addressing her body language towards him, curving herself, making herself a focal point for the overal image. There is a small peice of paper layed out on the floor, which in the lecture Phil so elegantly put across that it appears purposefully placed for her to bend down and pick up infront of the man at the desk.

In the second image you can clearly see a blank room, a space which isnt being used, which may have been used or is waiting to be used. It is its own neutral presence, emmiting stillness and silence and in turn, quite calming to view. The colour schemes reflect the lighting, the yellows merge together to apply different shading efficiently yet somewhat blandly. This blandness also contrasts how the space is untouched and in a state of wildness. There is no obvious signs of human presence, the only visual living thing in the image is the plant life outside, further adding to its own solitude.

Take care folks!


Invasion of the body snatchers

Wey hey! Well here we are once again, new project, new films, new everything! Apart from me, im getin old... 21 in a weeks time exactly! Good lord... Anyhoo!

The film "Invasion of the body snatchers" is a great example of the classic movie which spawns roots for many other aspiring film makers to come.

The plot of the film is basicaly about the invasion of plant like Aliens taking over a small town, where "seeds" grow into the form of the townsfolk. When the townsfolk fall to sleep their minds are drained and transfered over to their Alien clones, who feel nothing and have no concept for individualism.

This film, as corny as it is due to its age, really works well and only lacks a feel of originality because of the amount of films I have seen in recent years which are based on its concept. All the invasion style films play on the concept of this movie - including zombie movies and bears even resemblance to films such as The Matrix.

I bid ye farewell

Inspiration for Gormenghast Castle

When we were studying concept art I had to find physical visuals which helped give me a basis for creating a fictional enviroment. I didn't have to look far for inspiration whch helped me to visualise the image of Gormenghast Castle.

Near the University of the Creative Arts there is a Castle in the City of Rochester, ironically named "Rochester Castle". It is here the crumbling soul of a former elegant glory towers above the landscape of the City, it is here where I managed to capture a feel for such power. The structure of the Caslte is beautiful, rolling down into the depths of the Earth, set in a calm, still, peacefull enviroment unsettled by time.

I didn't copy the image of the Castle at all, yet I took these characteristics and poured them into my own imager, the Castle gave me a good idea for physical structure as well as allowing me to imagine it within a different enviroment more suited to the project I was immersed in.

This project also helped to open my minds eye a bit more too, to build my confidence in my own artwork. I can close my eyes and see colours merging together again, metamorphisising into shapes and becoming a guide to my paintbrush. As a result I have one more peice of concept art based on Gormenghast to create, I envisioned climbing up the cliffs in my image and peering over the top to reveal a vast landscape of buildings underneath the groaning breadth of the Castle. So keep an eye out for a new picture!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Concept art finals

Here we have my room of roots image. As this room was in my imagination was set within a tower, that had been crumbling away due to damage from the ingrowing tree roots, I set it without a roof.

This is my image of the Castle in the story of Titus Groan. This is my favourite final image, as it has my overal artistic style and feel, with improved skills using a graphics tablet.

This image is of the burning of carvings, in which I have tried to use a different drawing style all together. It appears more childish, however I feel it gives the audience more to play with.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Concept Art using photoshop

This is a simple idea for the loft, with the character menacingly sitting there awaiting his visitor.

This image shows an onlooker looking up at the mighty Castle towering above.

This image is a rough image of the loft, with the character becoming less important than the space, which was the intention.

Here we have the image of the Castle City in Titus Groan, an early developmental image into my style and idea of the structure.

This image is where I was practising the image of fire, for use in other aspects of the Titus Groan extracts.
This image started off well, however when given advice to make the closer objects sharper, I feel the risk of ruining the image came to life.

This image strongly relates to the film Metropolis that we watched earlier in the project.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Concept Art - Titus Groan

Heres some of the random sketches I produced when first coming up with ideas to take to photoshop.


We recently watched the film “Alien”, a film which came out in 1979 and was directed by Ridley Scott. The story itself was written by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. Together they teamed up to create one of the most iconic Science fiction movies of all time, gracefully presenting doom and destruction through some of the most thrilling, recognisable visuals to date.

The depiction of the planets, the spaceships, the clothes, and the very atmosphere the characters walk upon and of course, the Aliens, is all down to a highly skilled group of concept artists. These artists consist of Ron Cobb, Chris Foss, and Jean Giraud. Also on the team was the Swiss surrealist HR Giger, who created most of the designs for the actual Aliens themselves. Giger was eventually put in charge for the creation of the Alien suit, which we see in the movie. Ron Cobb originally had a different vision for the Aliens appearance, however Ridley Scott agreed that Giger’s Alien captured more of the dark soul that was to be fed into the heart of the film.

The Alien’s home is full of dark, bionic, slithery, tentacle like environments, which help to give off a feel of entrapment and fear. The dripping, living darkness that Giger created engulfs the viewing audience into a totally believable atmosphere that could be real. I noticed that the Alien ship was somewhat damaged, more than likely unable to escape the wrath of the planet it was trapped upon. The distress signal, or warning, that the crew gets in the movie is more than likely there to keep people away from the planet, as we see later in the film they uncover corpses of giant Alien beings which do not look similar to that of the famous Alien design. My presumption then is that these were another Alien race, which have crashed on this planet and wiped out by the dark Aliens we all know and love. It is interesting however how Giger has managed to merge these characters into the ship itself, as if the ship is over growing, mutilating and decaying into a dark grave.

I particularly find Giger’s images to be interesting because he has so much realism and detail in his work, yet the images he produces are so surreal. This contradiction of two different worlds creates a powerful basis for believable subjects which are of fictional depiction.
The images Giger produces for the Alien films are all very dark and lighting plays a vital part of the detail to the images. This helps with the flow of the film, as Ridley Scott and Giger had both agreed that the Alien was never to be fully seen, he was to be hidden away in the shadows to help build tension within the film.

Overall I really like the conceptual art that influenced the visual aspect of the film Alien and im sure it will continue to feel inspirational and contemporary for many years to come.

Edward Scissorhands

Ive not been touched by a film for a long time, but this one really struck a heart string good and proper. The spaced out characters used within this film really help to portray a world of vibrant mockery to the American people, yet used in a way to help portray the “good innocent” image of the public towards the darker, more sinister appearance of Edward himself.

The film blossoms a romance between Edward and Kim, which develops slowly but so obvious before the viewers eyes. Throughout the history of humanity the wisdow of generations was conveyed through fairytales. This tale is no exception, for it is told in magical simplicity, yet has some deep philosophical meanings behind its concept. While Mercilessly debunking the true nature of human beings, this tragic story really tears your heart, and yet it fills it with hope.

That is the truth, and perhaps the only purpose of Art.
Definantly one of Tim Burtons best pieces to date.
Here is some concepts I done based on the movie.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Titus Groan concept art – understanding the imagery and gaining inspiration

I have been presented with the task of creating concept art for three excerpts from the novel “Titus Groan”. Here I am going to talk about some different parts from the excerpt that I plan to create concept art from, that give me the strongest mental images. I am also going to talk about different sources that give me inspiration to go towards my artwork.

Inspirational sources

I have been on the lookout over the past few weeks for things which spark inspiration from other sources of artwork, be it book covers or scenes in films. Here I will name a few and mention in another blog about why they are so influential.

  • Lord of the Rings - Film and mainly Book cover artwork

  • Merlin - TV series run by the BBC

  • Rochester Castle

  • Tim Burton films, in particular the "Corpse Bride"

Excerpt 1: Hall of the bright carvings.

There are several key pieces of imagery that strongly come to mind from this excerpt. Here are the ones that took my attention most and what I will be using to work upon.
I found the description the power that the Castle has over everything else in the land the story is based in to be a really strong, intimidating presence. When I read a couple of lines based around the Castle, I could feel the sinking of my stomach as the image of a towering beast in front of a blood red sky empowers everything underneath its groaning slumber.

As you can see below, I am constructing my conceptual sketches into digital paintings via photoshop. As I create them I will show the developmental stages to each pictures finished product.

Few hours later... ta da! Hall of Bright Carvings.

(LOTS more to be added to this... bear with me... blogspot has a passionate hate for me)

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Film review - 9

Howdy all!

Last night I went to watch a film entitled "9". This film is based around the end of humankind once the world has been demolished by a war between man and machine. This film is definantly aimed towards a younger audience, yet has a dark underlying feel shrouding the atmosphere.

The story is based around the Character "9", who is one of a small legion of creations that a Scientist developed to help maintain the human race on Earth. Each creature, of whom is named by a number, is animated to life by peices of the Scientists soul.

The number 9 awakens, to find himself somewhat lost. On his search he encounters others of his kind, who all follow the rules of the dominating leader "1". The character of "1" actually turns out to become a feeble, weak, shallow soul who probably reflects the Scientists unconfident, self masking nature. Perhaps the Scientist had a need to "hide" himself in some form or another, away from society, yet still beleive he was right with what he beleived in. Perhaps this reflects his experiments with the human soul?

The story begins with 9 awakening to find himself in a wasteland of what was the world we know of after the aforementioned war between humans and machines. On his search of his newfound world, he encounters another of his kind named "2". The two attempt to communicate with each other, however, 9 has no voice. The constructive abilities of 2 help to peice together a voice box for 9 from using scraps of broken toys and radios in the surrounding area. This probably shows how 2 is created from the Scientists Scientific/Constructive mindset. After this presice moment of self realisation, the two new found counterparts are flung into an action packed epic when a "beast" like machine storms into the scene.

The beast takes 2 away, as a result setting up the motive for the next part of the film. 9 awakes to be being treated by others of his kind, who end up on an epic quest to find their freind 2. This further ends up corrupting the path of the storyline, aiming the motive of the story being hero based to then becoming a dark curious quest about the world the creatures live in.

This film is full of dark, emotional yet still heart warming twists. I found that they managed to capture emotion VERY well within the CG characters, the motion of their bodies to the surrounding enviroments and gestures being some of the best ive seen in such a film. The CG work itself at times, especially with the enviroments is very photo realistic. Once again the one set of characters I feel visually ruin the film would be the humans, even though not shown much they feel the most "Cartoony" of all. The small details on the characters, the lighting, the textures - very well depicted by the artists behind the scenes.

Overall, this film, as childish as its undertone is, it is fit for viewing by all. The storyline, could be somewhat stronger, but I mostly enjoyed how the characters and enviroments were portrayed through the stunning work of the CG artists. Some of the enviroments were very good insperation for my conceptual art project based on Titus Groan. If you enjoy good CG work, go see this film!

Take care fellow bloggers.
Concept art coming soon!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Friday, 30 October 2009

Project two - spaces... Titus Groan (plus some work from technical class - graphics tablets)

Dear Mr Blog.

Yes indeed, its time to pick up the pencil once again. Well, in this occassion, im hoping it will be the graphics tablet. A noOb to such technology, one does feel somewhat behind. I will pick it up quickly though, I can assure you of that...

We have been given different folders with different stories unknown to us before opening...
What did I get I hear you ask!? - Titus Groan.

Now, to me, this was a win/loose situation. After hearing about some fellow classmates geting such tales as "the wizard of Oz", something most people visually know rather well, coming across a story id never heard of before sank my stomach into a dirty dark pitt. Then when trying to pick up the peices, I realised... this isnt a bad thing at all! I can really play around with the visualisations from my own imagination, there is no given limits, no artistic blocks in my head holding me back.

The story of "Titus Groan" is based on the settings of a huge elegant castle, overlooking a land with its wealthy stature and presence. The rich owners of this castle, the Groan family, are rather self obsorbed and lack gratitude for their status. Outside of their wealthly haven is a much lower standard of life, the ground from which live the Peasants! Within the story there are confrontations between characters that result in attempts to storm into the Castle, or entry to the Castle being few and far between. This novel is based on power, dark underlying gothic references and leaves a lot to the imagination.

In our first Graphics tablet class we started drawing some images, I have STARTED to draw an image relevant to that of the castle in the novel. Notice how I am showing the castle from above, looking down into the musky peasants land. There will be a village present when this image is complete. I also "painted" in photoshop the image of a blood red dawn, with a crucifix on top of a hill. This was to practise the mood that may be represented in the Titus Groan imagery. The symbolism of power through a simple object, the colours, the setting.

I have been taking sketches from tv shows and surroundings to get more ideas for concept Art. For example I saw a programme called "Merlin" on BBC earlier this evening, quickly jotting down images of castles and landscapes. I got some really cool ideas to tie into the theme of Titus Groan and cant wait to get started!

I bid ye farewell readers

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Life drawing class five

Here are some pictures from our most recent life drawing classes which show the depiction of the subject through tones and shading rather than relying on lines.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Silent movies - The cabinet of Dr Caligri and Metropolis

The Cabinet of Dr Caligri

I will start with the somewhat dark, atmospheric tale of “the cabinet of Dr Caligari”. This film is very expressionistic and the visual content is most enlightening. This film was based on Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer's screenplay and directed by Robert Wiene. The story is that of a flashback which is depicted by the narration of the character "Francis". Francis and his friend Alan go to visit a carnival where they meet Dr Caligari and his zombie like hypnotised subject the somnambulist Ceaser. When displaying an act at the carnival, the Dr brags that his sleeping side kick can answer any question given to him, therefore Alan decides to ask how long he has to live. The outcome of this question is somewhat chilling and to the point, he will die before dawn the next day. This analysis of Alan's fate becomes true, as he is brutally murdered in his sleep the night of the prediction. Francis, who alongside his girlfriend Jane, decide to investigate further into the suspicion surrounding Alan's death with the somnambulist. Through this lead, Dr Caligari decides to make Ceaser kill Jane, yet the sleepwalking hit-man is captivated by her beauty, and gives into the heat of the moment. In this event Jane is whisked away by Ceaser, chased by village folk until Ceaser falls to his death during the pursuit. Amusingly enough, Dr Caligari had a dummy version of Ceaser to distract Francis while this incident was taking place. Francis then comes to discover how Caligari directs an insane asylum where he is discovered to have an obsession for the story of Dr Caligari, a notorious killer who used a somnambulist to do his bidding. Right at the end of the film we witness a twist in the tale, the whole film being a flashback which is based on a fantasy that Francis depicts in his mind, that Caligari is really his Dr for a mental health problem and through the information provided Caligari discovers how he can cure Francis.

I love how dark and awkward this film is, how the camera shots depict certain feelings to help with the elaborated acting and visual enhancement. The sets used for the film are really good too, very expressionistic and colourful, even through black and white visuals.


The second film to talk about is the Sci Fi classic “Metropolis”. This film as ive been told and through instinct can tell, is the original science fiction movie. This film contains so many points which indulge in comparable moments to other well known science fiction films, or even hidden concepts in its display. I find it interesting to witness the view of the future from the people in 1927 when this film was made, obviously due to technological limits they never had the correct visual effects to pull of CG spaceships and transporting beams. I did however think that Metropolis looks farther behind in its technological development than we are in the modern day, yet its suppost to be set in the future from now. Other films can be comparable to this, yet use a different approach. Take for example the film “Space 1999” in which people believed by then we would be almost living in such ways that Star Trek depicts.

The story is based on higher class and lower class, the lower class being slave workers with no names but code numbers for identification, the highest class living above the ground dressed nicely with peaceful lives. This seemingly has been a vision of our future for years, especially in the past. Compare it to the likes of such a film as “Planet of the apes” and you will understand my observation. The story follows Freder, the son to one of the higher class people named Jon Fredersen. Jon, like other people in his situation, are free souls who roam Gardens of peace and tranquillity. A strange mysterious lady named Maria intrudes the Gardens with children, who she says to them “these people are your Brothers”. Maria and her army of children are escorted out of the premises, where Freder decides to follow out of fascination. Freder then comes to end up in a room where machines are being used by lower class workers, one of these machines explodes which claims the lives of a few of the workers. Freder envisions this incident as a fire breathing moloch. Basically, Freder continues his hearty approach at exposing the indecency of the workers and how he cant believe what goes on to keep him content with his life.

There is an inventor named Rotwang, who is creating a robotic female which he believes will be the future of mankind. He needs a test subject, so decides to kidnap Maria and take her to his lair. This is where he transforms the Robot into Marias form in one of the most famous, recognisable scenes in science fiction history. The special effects for the time this was made in this scene is pretty breathtaking, the acting working hand in hand to compliment it.

The robotic figure of Maria then continues in the original Marias place to help “free souls” and show the way to a better life. However, in doing this there is an element of propaganda from Marias behalf, in which she is determined to create havoc as opposed to peace by using approaches of the real Marias wording. The city workers all storm through Metropolis, destroying the machines which corrupt their freedom in life. This however in turn causes a flooding of the city, then the realisation that Maria is an “evil witch” that the workers must kill. They hunt Maria down and burn her at the stake, where she turns into her robotic self. The real Maria, however, has escaped the lair of the inventor and Freder is on the path to try to find her before Rotwang discovers her. An epic chase comes into scene, where Rotwang peruses Maria up onto a roof and Freder, in an intense struggle fight it out until Rotwang falls to his death.

As a result of the social power the meaning of the two figures coming together has, Freder and Maria make an alliance between the rulers and the ruled. The film ends with the quote “THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN THE HEAD AND HANDS MUST BE THE HEART”.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Self portrait final peice

This is my final Self Portrait for the Self Portrait project. You will notice it is created using different layers to describe myself. I have come to find that the understanding of self identity, especially within a single image, is somewhat impossible to acheive. We all conform to societic pressures so much in everyday life that we never are the same person throughout the day. This image uses text to create the image of my facial features. The words are what people I know have used to describe me, plus my own questioning and opinions to the words being thrown my way. There is also words from "of the moment" where I was making this image. This is to help further bring my image to life. The lighting is set so I am in a bright spotlight, which reflects how vunerable this image really makes me. Notice the eyes create a strong bond between the observer and the image, an intensity which never lets you go, which watches you whilst you decide for youselfs who you think I am.

I am trying to upload my Maya work at the moment for week 4, but whenever I go to press publish post it crashes on me. Its curious and highly annoying, anyone got any ideas?

Take it easy folks