Monday, 29 February 2016

Life Drawing

10 minute and 3 minute paintings.
Paintings - 30 seconds to 3 minutes.
 
3 poses, 3 minutes each, repeated 3 times.
Final 10 minute pose and quick sketches of the model as they moved around the room.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Fantastic Voyage: Location Thumbnails

Fantastic Voyage: Location Influence Map


I want the location to be inside the human body, but have the appearance of a battlefield. The reds show the healthy side of the body, that the antibiotics are defending/fighting for, while the green will indicate the approach and power of the bacteria. 

Fantastic Voyage: Bacteria Thumbnails Continued



Trying to simplify the design of the bacteria, and show different stages of mutation. 

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Fantastic Voyage: Antibiotics and Bacteria Thumbnails


A few ideas for designs for the antibiotics and bacteria. My initial ideas for the antibiotics was to give them the appearance of knights, but I also explored the possibility of them breaking out of a pill, using parts of the capsule as armour. The designs for bacteria show them before mutation (1, 3) and the beginning of mutation (2). I am going to explore different mutations further, including bacteria growing armour and mutating to move faster.

Blog Submission - Soundscape




Soundscape: Original SFX and Post-Produced SFX



Monday, 22 February 2016

Maya Tutorials: Intro to Texturing

Transparency.
Fur tests.

Self shading darkness.


Some hats.

Life Drawing

First pose.

5 minute and 2 minute poses.
Drawing from memory.
Final two 20 minutes poses.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Film Review: Duel (1971)

10-fun-facts-about-steven-spielbergs-duel
Fig. 1: Duel Poster.
There are a number of films that draw comparisons between vehicles and masculinity, but none do it quite as well as Steven Spielberg's Duel (1971). Though the plot is fairly simple, the underlying symbolism and frequent discussion of the fragility of masculinity - both literal and metaphorical - make Duel about much more than just a film about the conflict between a man driving to a meeting and a truck driver. "The premise could not be leaner: a timid businessman travelling along anonymous American highways is teased and taunted by a giant truck hellbent on killing him." (Thomas, 2000).

Fig. 2: David Mann.
The beginning of the film is shot entirely from the view of the front of the car. The audience sees the environment change from a busy city to the sweeping American countryside. Throughout this journey, the radio is playing. As the audience meets the main character, David Mann, a man on the radio is talking about how he doesn't feel like the head of his household, when he should, because he is the man of the house. Though there are very few women in the film, there is a clear implication that the men in the film feel threatened by women. First there's the aforementioned man on the radio, then David, who when told by a gas station attendant "You're the boss", responds with "not in my house, I'm not." In another scene near the end of the film, David asks an elderly couple in a car to call the police about the truck driver. Though the old man seems willing, his wife insists that they drive away as David is frightening her, the old man apologises and does as his wife says.

Fig. 3: David calls his wife.
There is a very interesting scene at the beginning of the film, in which David Mann calls his wife. During most of the scene, Mann is framed by the door of a washing machine (fig. 3), perhaps meant as a symbol of domesticity. During the phone call, Mrs. Mann discusses a party they had at the house the night before, in which a man both she and David knows was flirting with her in such a way that she describes him as practically raping her. Mann doesn't understand what she expected him to do, and seems to have been hoping his wife wouldn't still be upset by what happened. It's strange that David was so ready to challenge the truck driver - perhaps hoping for an easy fight - but did not step in to defend his wife from being almost sexually assaulted. This raises questions to the kind of man David is; though he is clearly the character the audience sympathises with the most, he does not come across as being an all round good or innocent person.

Fig. 4: Comparison of the two vehicles.
A major difference between David and the truck driver is their choice of vehicle and what they represent. David Mann drives a red Plymouth Valiant, one of the best selling cars in the 60s and 70s, considered to be a good all-round domestic vehicle. He is obviously proud of his car, showing a lot of concern for it during his encounter with the school bus. The truck on the other hand, is huge, rusty and billows smoke. It has a powerful presence and personality of its own, making it the main character and its driver irrelevant. Mann's car is not the truck's target, Mann himself is, while the car is nothing more than a means of transport. The truck has made itself a weapon; "Offering only brief glimpses of the truck driver, Spielberg infuses the vehicle with devious strategies allowing the menace to evolve gradually." (Thomas, 2000). It becomes increasingly more aggressive, and when Mann stops at various places, it waits further ahead, as though saying "I'm not done playing yet". It becomes a dangerous game of cat and mouse; the cat has the mouse under its paw and could kill it in an instant, but would rather release the mouse so it can receive more enjoyment from chasing it. "Not only is the vehicle never ascribed a simplistic motivation (like the shark or velociraptor of future Spielberg hits, it simply exists to kill) but the driver is never ever revealed. Tension and terror, not characterisation and plot, are what matter here." (Freer, 2000).

Fig. 5: Mann in the diner.
Comparisons between masculinity and vehicles are common, it is something seen in other films such as Mad Max: Fury Road, in which the war boys practically worship their vehicles and even scar themselves to resemble the inner workings of a car. The film explores the idea of toxic masculinity in the same way Duel does, as the conflict between David Mann and the truck driver not only hurts them, but several people around them. Whenever Mann tries to escape the truck driver, he seems to end up somewhere where there are associations with an old fashioned view of femininity, each place becoming increasingly hostile. First we have him calling his wife from a launderette at a gas station, then the diner, where Mann sits alone in a section coloured with pinks and pastels (fig. 5) while the other men sit at the bar. Mann later encounters a bus full of school children and is asked to help get the bus moving again. Raising and looking after children is something even people today still believe is the job of a woman, and as Mann tries to move the bus, he is mocked and laughed at by the children, who find his attempts at moving the bus hilarious. After trying and failing, Man quickly leaves when he sees the truck approaching. The truck - the larger, stronger, more "masculine" vehicle - then proceeds to move the school bus easily. Mann later makes another stop at a gas station and attempts to call the police. The gas station is owned by a woman, who keeps snakes and spiders in cages near where the phone is. The truck driver proceeds to destroy these cages while trying to get to Mann, and the woman is far more concerned about her snakes and spiders than she is Mann. 

Fig. 6: A happy ending?
When Mann finally destroys the truck and it's driver, by causing him to drive off a cliff, it does not feel like Mann truly wanted to kill him, but more like he was trying to prove a point, to take his place as the bigger man. Mann goes from cheering to being eerily silent when he realises what he's done; is he sad he has caused the death of another person, or, in some twisted sense, sad that the game has come to an end? He left his house that morning to attend a meeting, and instead became so caught up in the conflict between him and the truck that he has most likely forgotten why he even left home. The ordeal was no doubt terrifying, but now another person's blood is on his hands, from a fight very few people would believe truly happened. Even people Mann encountered on the road were not convinced that the truck was trying to kill him, passing Mann off as crazy without much thought.

An intense ride from start to finish, combined with beautiful scenery and a vehicle that steals the show instead of the main character, Duel is arguably one of Spielberg's best films, and one he even manages to make a small, unintentional cameo in, when he is seen in the reflection of a phone booth. It is one of a great many films that show a detailed plot and plenty of character development are not entirely necessary; "Duel might almost have been a silent film, because it expresses so much through action and so little through the words that are here." (Maslin, 1983). The setting, action and characters are already developed, the audience is simply witnessing the most thrilling part of their story.

Images:
Figure 1. Duel Poster. (1971) [poster] At: http://geektyrant.com/news/10-fun-facts-about-steven-spielbergs-duel (Accessed on: 06.02.2016)

Figure 2. David Mann. (1971) From: Duel. Directed by: Steven Spielberg [Film still] United States: Universal Studios. At: http://seul-le-cinema.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/duel.html (Accessed on: 06.02.2016)

Figure 3. David calls his wife. (1971) From: Duel. Directed by: Steven Spielberg [Film still] United States: Universal Studios. At: http://zombievamp.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/126-duel-steven-spielberg-1971.html (Accessed on: 06.02.2016)

Figure 4. Comparison of the two vehicles. (1971) From: Duel. Directed by: Steven Spielberg [Film still] United States: Universal Studios. At: http://zombievamp.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/126-duel-steven-spielberg-1971.html (Accessed on: 06.02.2016)

Figure 5. Mann in the diner. (1971) From: Duel. Directed by: Steven Spielberg [Film still] United States: Universal Studios. At: http://zombievamp.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/126-duel-steven-spielberg-1971.html (Accessed on: 06.02.2016)

Figure 6. A happy ending? (1971) From: Duel. Directed by: Steven Spielberg [Film still] United States: Universal Studios. At: http://zombievamp.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/126-duel-steven-spielberg-1971.html (Accessed on: 06.02.2016)

Bibliography:
Freer, I (2000) 'EMPIRE ESSAY: Duel Review' In: Empire Online 01. 01. 2000 [online] At: http://www.empireonline.com/movies/empire-essay-duel/review/ (Accessed on: 06.02.2016)

Thomas, W (2000) 'Duel Review' In: Empire Online 01. 01. 2000 [online] At: http://www.empireonline.com/movies/duel/review/ (Accessed on: 06.02.2016)

Maslin, J (1983) ''SPIELBERG'S 'DUEL,' FOUR-WHEEL COMBAT' In: The New York Times 15. 04. 1983 [online] At: http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9804EFD81138F936A25757C0A965948260 (Accessed on: 06.02.2016)

Film Review: The Birds (1963)

Fig. 1: The Birds Poster.
As is common in Hitchcock's films, The Birds (1963), has an incredibly slow build up. Tension builds gradually for most of the first half, until something inevitably snaps, and the audience and characters descend into thrilling chaos. The film is very unusual, as birds are not commonly thought to be frightening creatures, yet Hitchcock shows them to be otherwise. What is also interesting about the film is that there is no grand reveal or explanation as to why the birds are behaving the way they are, and the audience watches closely, yet only knows as much about the character's predicament as they themselves do; ""I don't know why," says harried Melanie Daniels. "Wish I could say," blurts bemused Mitch Brenner. Everyone is confused, ruffled, on the brink of flight. Here is a film that provides no answers and no escape." (Brooks, 2012). 

Fig. 2: Diner Scene.
Melanie Daniels is a young, rich, ambitious socialite. She is not held back by the common conception of what a woman in the 60s should be, and seems to live a rather free lifestyle. In fact, the 60s saw a great change in the role of women in society; "More girls went on to higher education and in 1962 there were over 26,000 girls at university. Having lived away from home, and with greater intellectual and financial independence, many women could now have aspirations beyond being a wife or mother." ('The changing role of women in the 1960s', 2012) - this is what Melanie Daniels represents as a character. The defining scene in the film which greatly supports the idea of the birds representing women occurs in a diner, after Melanie has helped children escape a murder of crows outside the school. An old woman named Mrs. Bundy, who happens to be an ornithologist, asks why the birds would choose to attack people now, after living alongside people peacefully for so long. If the birds do represent women, then what the audience is seeing is an older woman asking why young women are choosing to go against the life they've been used to for so long. Mrs. Bundy also claims that birds are not intelligent enough to organise attacks, and that it's unheard of for birds of a different species to flock together. It could be argued that Mrs. Bundy represents an old fashioned view of women, believing them to not be educated enough to rise against societies rules, and that women from different backgrounds and lifestyles will not join forces in order to do so. 

Fig. 3: Accusing looks.
During this scene, another woman with two children is desperately trying to leave the town in order to protect her children and herself. After the birds cause chaos outside the diner, the woman approaches Melanie, accusing her of bringing the birds with her and causing all the destruction. Behind her, the corridor is full of women, all glaring at Melanie. This could represent women being against women like Melanie. The 60s saw the rise of feminism, it "began to find a voice in society, with movements like Women’s Lib demanding equal pay and opportunity." ('The changing role of women in the 1960s', 2012) However, it is something that even to this day is viewed negatively by men and women alike, either because they don't feel there are any problems in need of fixing, or because they are content with the way things have been for many years. The women in the corridor represent these people, ready to accuse the younger, free-living Miss Daniels of causing chaos, though she knows as much about why the birds are behaving this way as they do. 

Fig. 4: Lydia taking care of Melanie.
The film, however, represents women in a questionable way. It is revealed that Melanie resents her mother for leaving her when she was very young, perhaps to offer some explanation as to why she wishes to live such an independent lifestyle - she never had a mother to show her otherwise. By the end of the film, Mitch's mother seems to have taken over, as she holds a shocked Melanie in the back of the car, smiling sweetly at her. Melanie has been weakened, molded into a more submissive woman, who is dependent on a man and a mother to get by. Mitch's mother, Lydia, is not an evil or dislikable character, though she is very much dependent on Mitch and still grieving for her dead husband. Annie explains that Lydia behaved oddly around her when she was pursuing a relationship with Mitch, but the two became good friends once Lydia believed she was no longer interested. 

Fig 5: Annie.
Annie, however, does not seem entirely over Mitch, obvious from the way she looks at and speaks to Melanie, but this could be interpreted as Annie's way of trying to make Melanie be more careful. The two women do not dislike each other, and work together more than once to protect children, both at a birthday party and at the school. The have an interesting dynamic, as Annie clearly knows why Melanie really came to Bodega Bay, but she makes no point of standing in her way or trying to prevent her relationship with Mitch. It seems there is no aggressive or clear conflict between the women in the film, with only Lydia viewing Melanie as threat, as would any mother dependent on her son. But by the end, Melanie and Lydia have a close bond that resembles that of a mother and daughter.

flash 2
Fig. 6: Lovebirds.
The bird attacks in the film are eerie, and despite the lack of special effects, still terrifying; "The bird-attack sequences are tremendously complex (the movie contains more than 370 trick shots), and the absence of a score renders the horror more immediate: Hitch's long-time composer Bernard Herrmann fashioned an eerie soundtrack from caws, strident screeches and rustling wings." (Sooke, 2015). Each attack seems worse than the last, beginning with Melanie being pecked on the head by a single seagull, and ending with numerous flocks of different species trying desperately to break in to the house Mitch shares with his mother and sister. Something that stands out amongst all this chaos, are the lovebirds Melanie bought for Mitch's sister, Cathy (fig. 6). Throughout the story, the birds remain calmly sat together in their cage, and even join the family at the end as they try to escape. It is interesting that the domesticated birds do not turn violent. Lydia's chicken's stop eating and Cathy's love birds show no change, but the wild birds are the ones who attack. Again, if the birds represent women, then it shows the ones living the more domestic lifestyle as calmer and less violent, though not completely unaffected. All in all, Hitchcock has made "a terrifying menace out of what is assumed to be one of nature's most innocent creatures and one of man's most melodious friends" (Crowther, 1963).

Fig. 7: The Birds.
The Birds stands out from other Hitchcock films; "The Birds floats free. There is no motor driving it, no music to tether it, and nothing to hold it aloft apart from that up-draft of sensual atmosphere and existential dread. Hitchcock reportedly worried at length over how to wrap things up. He eventually ditched the scripted final scene in favour of a non-resolution, an open ending – the perfect closing image that leaves the world in the balance and its mysteries all intact." (Brooks, 2012). Though it still has the feel and style of his previous film Psycho (1960), it is not your typical thriller, as the threat of being attacked by birds doesn't seem terrifying until you witness the destruction they're capable of. 

Images:
Figure 1. The Birds Poster. (1963) [poster] At: http://www.jasonbovberg.com/hitchcock-conversations-the-birds-1963/ (Accessed on: 06.02.2016) (Accessed on: 21.02.16)

Figure 2. Diner scene(1963) From: The Birds. Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock [Film still] United States: Universal Studios. At: https://kdhorror.wordpress.com/tag/the-birds/ (Accessed on: 21.02.16)

Figure 3. Accusing looks. (1963) From: The Birds. Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock [Film still] United States: Universal Studios. At: http://buckleybulletin.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/hitchcocks-mid-century-american-man.html (Accessed on: 21.02.16)

Figure 4. Lydia taking care of Melanie. (1963) From: The Birds. Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock [Film still] United States: Universal Studios. At: http://franklin.davidson.edu/academic/music/public/nelerner/petittiger/web/Gender-lydia-result.html (Accessed on: 21.02.16)

Figure 5. Annie. (1963) From: The Birds. Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock [Film still] United States: Universal Studios. At: http://hillplace.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/the-hitchcock-brunette.html (Accessed on: 21.02.16)

Figure 6. LovebirdsFrom: The Birds. Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock [Film still] United States: Universal Studios. At: http://montagesmagazine.com/2015/02/signs-part-iii-dreams-demons-and-birds/ (Accessed on: 21.02.16)

Figure 7. The Birds. (1963) From: The Birds. Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock [Film still] United States: Universal Studios. At: https://kdhorror.wordpress.com/tag/the-birds/ (Accessed on: 21.02.16)

Bibliography:
Brooks, X (2012) 'My Favourite Hitchcock: The Birds' In: The Guardian 31.07.2012 [online] At: http://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2012/jul/31/my-favourite-hitchcock-the-birds (Accessed on: 21.02.16)

The Changing Role of Women in the 1960s [television programme online] BBC Two (2012) 4 mins. At: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00wfrgf (Accessed on: 21.02.16)

Sooke, A (2015) 'The Birds, review: 'disturbing'' In: The Telegraph 09.01.2015 [online] At: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/filmreviews/11334674/The-Birds-review-disturbing.html (Accessed on: 21.02.16)

Crowther, B (1963) 'Screen: 'The Birds':Hitchcock's Feathered Fiends Are Chilling' In: The New York Times 01.04.1963 [online] At: http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9D05E7D9143CEF3BBC4953DFB2668388679EDE (Accessed on: 21.02.16)