Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Maya Tutorial part 4: Head Model

Yesterday I have followed the Maya head tutorial to help me sculpt one of my groups characters the Army General. It really help a lot on shaping the basic shape of the head(first image) and improving it. I have also followed the tutorials that shows how to make a nose, eyelid, mouth and hair. I made the mustache and eyebrows by myself. The only only thing left to make is the neck, but other than that I am more or less done on the general's head.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Postmodernism part 10: Shaun of the Dead

The final film we watched for our Postmodernism lecture is Shaun of the Dead(2004)

The film is about the world being infected by Zombies and our hero Shaun has to save the people he cares about and take them to the pub for safety until the whole zombie situation calms down.
This film is considered postmodern for taking a complete twist on the Zombie genre, instead of having cool looking characters we have an average man who works at a electronic shop and his freeloading buddy who's a slob going their way to save the people they care about. The main characters even planned on how the two of them will pull off the big rescue and take everyone to a safe place, but it all blew up in their faces. The people slowly died one by one and they had to destroy the pub which they thought was safe, and all of this happened in one day.
This movie is also a pastiche of classic Zombie horror films by referencing quotes from past Zombie films to how the the Zombies act and how to kill them. However even though there was a lot of chaos in the movie, the main characters still had fun with it, like killing the zombies, running them over to actually acting like them.
Funnily enough this movie is considered a romantic comedy even though there weren't many elements of romance, there were a lot of comedy and horror, I guess you can see Shaun saving his girl friend as part of the romance side but not much.
This movie is a complete parody of Zombie movies and a good one, has all the stuff a parody of the genre would have and much more.

Narrative Lecture part 8: Mars Attacks (1996)

The film we watched for our narrative lecture is Tim Burton's 'Mars Attacks'

The plot of Mars Attack is that Earth is invaded by Martians, who the humans thought were peaceful, but it turns out they want to take over the world.
This film is an adaptation of a card game that was based on the sci-fi films of the 1950's. With crazy over acting people and budget like clothes for the Martians. I believe this film really captured the 1950's feel with it's story and setting but also added some recent technology to it to show that the film your watching is dated but recent at the same time. With the use of camera movement by actually going close to the actors as well as the actions that were taking place in the film. It is also a very daring film by killing off big named actors at the time who you would think that they will survive at the end of the movie. However where it really shines is it's use of CG, the visual effects is stunning. Actually believing that some of the events that happened in the film could be possible, that there could be aliens with big heads, lazer guns that can incinerate people to their bones and giant robots that rampage across the city. Even though the CG at the time was dated it is still impressive and it also help delivering a satisfying 1950's sci-fi film.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Character design part 20: Scenery

For the final lesson of Character design we had to make a scenery based on the theme that was given to us, mine was hazardous forest.
I first made some small rough drafts of my own image of a hazardous forest and then I made bigger versions of them.

The first image is a forest with Ivy's that act like tentacles with a wastlandic appearance. I don't know what I was going for in this picture but I like how it has an uncanny feel of something familiar and unknown at the same time like you are on a different planet.

The second image resembles more of a hunted forest look, I had talk to some of my class mates and they said I should of put more dangerous stuff in it like bear traps, bumps broken logs and such, but I like how unwelcome it looks.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Character Design part 19: Ulysses(Sidekick) Finished Design

Here is the last character Ulysses the sidekick, like the rest of the other characters he has a main outfit and an alternate one.
His alternate outfit is his alien space clothes I think this works for him because it gives him an out-worldly feel.

His main outfit is his Victorian clothes which is meant to help him to be hard find for Mordecai(Villain).

I have made his body construction as well to show the type of shapes used to make him.

Finally I have made all of Ulysses' expression sheets ranging from him being happy to sad to pulling a puppy dog face to get what he wants when Felix(Hero )said no.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Character Design part 18: Mordecai(Villain) Finish Design

Last week I have finished making the final design for my Villain Mordecai.
I wanted to give him a very high sophisticated appearance but still look evil and scary. In his Turnaround sheet I have also made the back of his head without the ponytail to show where all the tubes are connected.

I have made the construction sheet for Mordecai to show the type of shapes used in creating him.

The last sheet I have made is his expression sheet, showing his main expressions he will use most of the time. I am pleased on how his angry and rage expressions came out especially when it changes from sparks flying from the eye to electricity violently moving.

Character Design part 17: Mordecai's Armour Design

The next part I was designing was the rest of my Villain's Armour, the purpose of the armour is to give the villain, Mordecai, an increase to his power. Designing the arms gave me the most trouble because I gave it a lot of detail for a more steampunk appearance by adding bolts, tube, a support to help the Villain to lift his arms, adding a circle in the palm and finger details. It was all worth it in the end though an I think it really brings out a sense of fear or coolness to the armour.
I was also design the power pack which is the main source of the armour's energy, at first I was going to merge it to the armour but I thought that was not interesting so I decided to make it a separate piece of the main armour that just get fitted to the suit and it works.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Postmodernism part 9: Psycho 1998 Remake

The next film we watched for Postmodernism is the 1998 remake of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho staring Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates.

The story is about a murder mystery of Marion Craine, who embezzled the company she was working for and was on the run. The police, a detective and even her sister and Marion's lover is looking for her with the leads pointing towards the Bates Motel as her last known location.

This film is considered postmodern for being a shot by shot remake of the 1960's classic. It had some changes here and there to show times has changed but the majority shots are the same from opening credits to the end. A lot of the public did not like this film because it is a copy of the old film with not many new ideas of its own. However there are many ways to interpret this film, one can see this as tribute to the old film for being true to it's source or a coloured version of the old film. As for me I see it as a true remake for being unoriginal and shouldn't be shunned for that but in fact it should be praised for being a proper remake.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Character Design part 16: Mordecai's(Villain) Equipments part 1

For the past week I was designing my villain Mordecai's equipments. The first image is his eye patch, this was pretty fun because I started with a generic eye patch and develop it further by adding tubes, wires, riverts and screws. The main body of the eye patch is meant to be made out of leather. The final design of my villain's eye patch can be seen at the bottom left corner.

The second image has an example of what my villain looks like with his patch on as well some designs for his helmet of his armour. I wanted to give Mordecai a scary appearance for his armour so when he is in battle he can scare his enemies as well intimidate them. I used insects as a reference for his armour to give Mordecai the extra fear I was going for.

The last image shows Mordecai's final helmet design, some how it resembles the Shredder's helmet from the turtles. I chose this design as his final design for his helmet because to me it carries the bug like feel I needed. I purposely made the left side of his face different because Mordecai's eye patch is big and takes a lot of room on his face so I thought the unevenness on his helmet works well for him.

If Justin is reading this or anyone else please please leave some feedback on Mordecai's final Eye Patch design and Helmet design.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Character Design part 15: Felix(Hero) Finished Design

Here are my final designs for my Hero Felix.
The first image shows how he is constructed, it starts with the guide bones first starting with the circle for the the head then placing the guides and markers for the arms, elbow, legs and knee and finally adding the mass for the amount of thickness for Felix's body. For his shirt there should be six buttons two at the top should be unbutton and the stitching on the right leg of the trouser should be halfway below the knee with four stitching marks.

The second image shows how Felix's head is constructed, starting with a circle then adding the jaw. Then add some guide lines for the face, be sure to polace one guide line near the top of the head since which should then resemble a cross, this will be Felix's third eye. The ear should be place near the eyeline and the nose line. He should have three lines on his head the first line should stop atleast halfway of Felix's right ear while the last two should be short and placed on the his left side. Once the set up is done fill eveything in, the two eye's should be ovals that are slanted the nose should sit near the middle of the two eye's, the third eye can be done by following the cross but don't make it too big or there won't be any room for his eyebrows. His hair should all follow the hair guide lines exept the hair at the bottom of Felix's head, from starting near the head make a zig zag line going downwards ending at the chin, there should be three zig zags. Finally just add some details to him, lines to show his hair, a line for his ear and add some eyebrows, he should have only two of them the third eye dosn't have any.
I have also made some of his facil features to show the type of character he is, I think the represent him quite well.

I have designed his alternate outfit, He should wear this if he is in a hot place or if he is indoors.

Here is Felix main outfit, he wears this most of the time when he is going on his journey with his sidekick, Like mentioned in a past post he lives in the slums so his clothes are quite tattered and I know he can see the future but that does not mean his clothes will be alright.

Please leave feedback.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Character Design part 14

Here are my old designs of my Hero and Villain characters. The reason they are old is because they are just rough drafts of my characters, I even did the characters rough drawing construction guides as well.

I have shown them to Colin and he likes them and he also gave me some tips and incite to make my characters look better. As a bonus he gave me his autograph and drew two characters that my sister likes from one of he favorite films Watership Down, Big Wig and Hazel, if only I remembered that my sister also likes Jessica Rabit I would of asked Colin to make a quick sketch of her.

Finally I have also made the height differences of all three of my characters. To help me with this I made a model so I can roughly figure out where should the head start and the feet ends. The height range goes as followed, the Sidekick is the smallest, the Hero in the middle and the Villain the tallest.

Character Design part 13: Jetpack Jones & Grok

Last week in Character design we did something different, we had to get into a group and design some characters for a toy series called Jetpack Jones. What I last remembered I think we had to make the Hero, Sidekick, Love Interest, Spy, Villain and Villain Henchman.
I designed the Henchman named Grok, a dinosaur alien who was experimented by the Villain. I based his design around a raptor because his height is roughly around a outhouse and I added a big mechanical arm, a laser gun for his tail and a headphone attached to his head to show he had been experimented on. For his costume I was going for a futuristic warrior look to show he means business.

I also designed the Hero Jetpack Jones, he is a galactic law enforcer who was wrongly accuse for, I think, being a spy or a traitor so he is on a quest to clear his name.
For his appearance I was going for a bird motif mix with a rocket because of the name jet pack. I have also gave him a big laser gun so he can fire at his enemies. When I shown his design to Justin he said that he likes the design but I needed to make his jet pack more appealing and need to make his gun look more futuristic.

I have even designed his logo which is a bird flying downward, may not look much on it's own but when seeing it on Jones' chest it looks just right.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Postmodernism part 8: Dancer in the Dark

The next film we watched for Postmodernism is 'Dancer in the Dark' staring Bjork as the main character Selma Jezkova.

The plot of the film is about Selma, a struggling mother who is going blind, getting money for her son's operation but it wasn't easy because she had to go through a lot of obstacles, one of which is to keep her job while hiding her condition form her boss, attending her play recitals and saving up the money.
The reason this film is considered Postmodern is because it is a musical within a musical, focusing on the main character's fixation on musicals that it always makes her happy and she wants to be in one herself. However unlike other musicals this film ends in a sad ending instead of the typical happy ending.
What I Believe also makes this film Postmodern is how it feels like a play, the way it transitions from one place to another and how the actors act. What else gave this movie theater feel is how the ending ends, when the curtain closes on the Selma with the camera panning upwards, having the actors stop moving with no sound playing, helping us suck in the atmosphere that this moment is meant to be intense.
I like this film because it has us feeling sorry for the main character Selma that a lot of bad things happens to her but she is an innocent character that it seems no good rewards come to her, but it does when she got the money for her son's operation. Thats why I like this movie because even though it ends in a sad note you can still feel a bit happy for her knowing that she was able to help her son.

(On a personal note, the other reason I like this film is that how tough having blindness is and I could relate because someone dear to me is going through that soon which is my sister. To get an idea of the level of blindness she has, get a straw from the nearest shop and look through it, thats whats going to happen to her soon until she sees nothing but darkness. No need to worry because she is strong and is also looking for solutions to cure it or at least finding new ways to see thing.)

Narrative Lecutre part 7: Them! (1954)

The next film we watched for our Narrative lecture is 'Them!'

The plot of the film is about a police officer investigating the disappearance of the public which turns out to be mutated ants who are spreading across the globe, this involve the military and its up to them to prevent the ant from spreading even more.
This film is considered as one of the first atomic aged movies as well as one of the quintessential monster movies. It was also meant for 3D but the producers stopped when they broke the camera, so there are scenes that are meant to poke at you.
This may also be considered as a big budget movie because the giant ants are animatronic and there are a lot of them.
This movie might be playing on the public's fear on the uses of nuclear power that it might mutate a creature and turns them into a monster, showing that using such energy is dangerous that there must be alternate and safer ways to get energy.
Even though the movie was long it was quite enjoyable seeing the type of special effects used in the 1950's, even now I believe the effects are pretty good because at that time they had to create their own monsters and make them look realistic.

Maya Tutorial part 3: Maya Cartoon Character Stage 1

For the past few weeks I was finishing the first stage of the Cartoon Character Alan gave us.
Even though it was long it did help me understand a bit more in creating a character for Maya. The truth is I already know how to create a character but I only used one cube, in these tutorials it shows other ways in getting a more defined character.
In stage one in creating a character we learnt on how to create a body and other accessories.
I begin with the character's shirt starting with the basic body of the shirt by making it out of a cube. Once that was done I than created one cylinder for the sleeve and another for the collar. All of this had to be created on one side than mirrored, because it was easier than making an entire model trying to sculpt both sides.

The next model is the legs.
I began the legs by creating two cylinders, one for the thigh and one for the shin, after I got the general shape I than combined the two and made the knee and a fold for where the legs end to give it more of a trouser appearance. After that I than worked on the pelvis of the legs which was quite tricky because it needed some pockets and needed to define the area of the pelvis a bit more as well. When I was done creating the leg I than mirrored the model. Also I added some blocks on the top of the pelvis to give it the illusion that there was a belt.


The next and some what tricky model to make was the shoe of my my character. It was tricky because I had to make the entire model with out mirroring it. I think the on bit that gave me trouble was defining the detail on the side of the character shoe and filling the bottom, but when I sculpt them in the only thing left to do was arranging the vertexes to give my shoe more shape and duplicating it.


The last bit to model on the body of the character was the arms which wasn't too difficult because most of it is made of cylinders. I believe the trickiest part was the fingers of the character, but not too much just had to make the holes in the right places and adding some more cylinders for the fingers. Than I had to merge the arms to the shirt.


Here is an image of what all the models are together.

All thats left to do is making the head of the character and add that to the body which will be done in stage two.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Character Design part 12: Sidekick

The next character I was designning is the Sidekick Ulysses. Getting the right design was very hard because I had no experiance in drawing children but I did asked help from Jusitn and Colin White to give me pointers in drawing children by making their heads bigger and their body more roundish. Which I did in his later designs when I was comming up with ideas for his clothes and I really think I captured his cutness. I am going to design two versions of him, one where he is wearing his alien clothes and one where he is wearing his vicorian street urchin clothes.

Character Design part 11: Villian

The next character I have design is the villain Mordecai. I first planned out his shapes to get a general idea of his body physic, which is the typical tall skinny man appearance. I gave Mordecai some big hands to show he uses them a lot in combat and gestures. I shown him design to Justin and he helped me out abit by making his forearms also bigger and making his fingers pointy to give his hands more of a sinister appearance.
To help me to get more of an idea of the type of character Mordecai is I made his poses more powerful by giving him a one arm that will shoot a powerful energy ball, a pose of him in a star jump to represent him dispersing huge amount of energy around himself, a thinking pose to show his genuineness and a hitting the earth pose to show more of his power.
While reviewing this I think I show too much of his power and not enough of his intelligences or his smugness.

Again these are just sketches of his personality not meant to be his final designs.

Character Design part 10: Hero

Here are some of the images of my Hero Felix, I am still making some fixes like how big his eye should be and how muscular he is. I thought my hero won't show too much big expression but he does have some . The ones I thought the expression that would suit my character so far would be scared, angry and a decent smile, I chose those expressions because since my character prefers to be alone he doesn't smile too much and if there's trouble around him he either gets scared or very angry. I have also drew some poses which I think represent my character quite well, the poses I have made are a scared/surprise pose, an annoyed pose and a thinking pose, the running pose was just a sketch of how I see my character running.

The images that are showing Felix's expressions and poses are not my final designs for him but it is a starting point.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Postmodernism part 7: The Truman show

The next film we watched for Postmodernism is The Truman Show.

The film is about Truman Burbank discovering that his life is not what it seems. That his world has certain routines. The way people walk, talk and the way they act. Soon he learnt that his life was a TV show for peoples amusement and he wants out.

This movie is considered Postmodern because it has the character challenging the Director. That he does not want to be kept in a cage and wants to live his own life.
What made this film interesting is that Truman knows how his world operates and how to escape as well, the problem is how he is going to execute it.
Another thing that makes this film interesting is the idea of a man (Truman) taking on something that is bigger than him, like he is challenging god (the director), that he demands his own independence even if it cost him his life.
That's why I like this movie because it is a story of someone small fighting something that is bigger than him.
Now a days television is trying to replicate that feeling by making reality tv which in my opinion is a waste of time, because in realities tv the people know they have to entertain the public but they do it in such an odd way that it felt acted, like people fighting each other or running around naked, example big brother.
However in Truman Show he is a born character living in the life of fiction believing it was reality, and what made this film more successful is how it gives the actual audience a taste of Truman's life of how the audience in the film watches his show.

Narrative Lecture part 6: Dracula(1958)

The next film we have watched for the Narrative lecture is Dracula.

The film is about Doctor Van Helsing investigating the case of Count Dracula and also looking for his missing partner Arthur. Soon Helsing found his partner but has to dispose of him because he has became a vampire. Later Helsing has to protect the family of his partner's fiance from Count Dracula.
The purpose of watching this film is to see a British adaptation of the classic Dracula book. Which is interesting because the film plays on the appearance of British society, with the people in a pub being quiet and don't want any trouble, while the upper classes wants to know whats going on around their homes. It even plays on their appearances and the way the public talks as well. With people from the lower classes wearing old tattered clothes and talking in a rough tone to having the higher classes being well dressed and spoke in a posh manner.
The strengths of the film is the opening sequence with the camera moving towards the castle of Count Dracula to zooming into the his coffin with blood dripping on his name, this shows that something is strange about Dracula himself. The other is how the clothes specks about the character a bit more, with Dracula his clothes is black with a red inside this shows that Dracula has a creepy feel around, while looking at Van Helsing clothes you feel safe yet worried when around him.
The weakness is that the film has bad pacing, an example would be the beginning. The film did not left too much of a mystery on Dracula we are introduce and we instantly know that something is up with him. Few minutes later it is reveled that he is a vampire, it did not left any room for the audience to think about the strangeness of Dracula.
I did not like the film too much because the acting felt stale, it didn't have the level of acting to make the film more interesting. The music was quiet most of the time and only plays when something dramatic happens, there is no mysterious background music when something questionable happens.

Postmodernism part 6: Adaptation.

The film we watched for Postmodernism is Spike Jonze 'Adaptation.'.

The movie is a about a screen writer named Charlie Kaufman who is struggling to write a story based on the book 'The Orchid Thief' which is different from what he is use to writing. Having him doing massive research on the book and still have nothing to write. He goes to orchid gardens, writer seminars with a famous writer even asked his brother for some help, until he finally decided to write about himself writing his troubles on working on the screenplay for the film.

To me this movie has a Mulholland Drive feel to it, by that I mean it has many stories with lots of characters, but unlike Mulholland Drive, Adaptation goes in a straight motion without making too many side stories that it confuses the audience.
The number of stories I can see in this film is three. The first being the main character Charlie Kaufman, who is struggling in writing a screen play based on the book that was given to him. The second is the other main character Susan Orlean, who is on a quest in looking for the ghost orchid to see what is so special about it. Finally the third is when Kaufman comes across the love affair between Orlean and her lover John Laroche and she wants to cover it up by killing Kaufman.
What makes this film Postmodern is that it is based on the screen writer's actual difficulty in writing the screen play for the book. From him looking for help in writing his screen play to actually writing something that felt a bit too far fetched to be real, mostly near the end.