Sunday, 31 January 2016

Adaptation A- Infographic Assets

I've made the assets I need to make the infographic. There may be a couple more to make, but I want to start animating the ones I have so far before making any more assets.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Life Drawing Session

I was fortunate enough to join onto the life drawing class today, and I had realized how important and beneficial life drawing is to character design and animation. I haven't done life drawing since last Halloween, and I felt that today I was a bit rusty when getting back into it. 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

World Cinema Film Review- Austrailia: Mary and Max (2009)

Figure 1- Poster

Written and directed by Adam Elliot, Mary and Max is an Australian stop-motion animated film about two pen pals from different countries. The film was made using stop-motion animation, using clay as the main material for modelling. The plot follows two people who come into contact with each other through letter writing. Mary, a young Australian girl, picks an address out of a phone book at random, then proceeds to write a letter to that address. The letter Mary writes asks where do babies come from? And it is received by Max, a middle-aged man from New York. At first he suffers a panic attack from the shock of receiving this letter, but then eventually goes on to write a response. The story moves on from there, following the two as they grow older and stay in touch through their letters. They become close friends despite the fact that they have never met.

 Figure 2- Max

One of the most memorable aspects of this film are the characters. The script has very detailed dialogue, which gives the audience a very clear picture of the character's lives and personalities. On top of the dialogue, the physical design of these animated characters are designed in a very bold way. This makes the character's facial expressions very strong and recognisable, something very typical of a cartoon made for children. Using character design to create a child orientated image for the film, creates a juxtaposition against the dark, adult story line behind the film. 

 Figure 3- Mary

The film's story revolves around the theme of mental conditions. Max is a man who has aspergers syndrome. This mental condition makes it hard for Max to understand other people, as aspergers tends to effect the ability to read body language. This has caused Max to become an isolated person as he does not fair well when speaking to new people. However when Max receives Mary's letters, he found it quite a simple task to reply (once he overcomes the panic attack) as Mary's words are written down, not spoken. Max can communicate with Mary because he does not have to meet her in person. Another factor that goes into Mary being a good pen pal, is the fact that she is a child. At her age she is naive when it comes to socializing, and as a child, she tends to speak her mind making it very easy and direct to understand her.

Figure 4- Max

The use of environment design in this film is centred a lot of the perspectives of the characters. The two characters have different sets that are suited to their lifestyles and personalities. Max's main environment is in his flat in New York city. His scenes in the film are in black and white, with only a few colours showing. At first glance this filter gives the atmosphere of depression, showing how dull and isolated Max is in his flat. However there could be another reason as to why Max's scenes are drained from colour. As Max has aspergers syndrome, it means he sees the world in a very logical way. He finds it easier to understand something if it's there for a reason. One could say that Max sees the world in black and white, and so the environment he lives in is deliberately coloured in this way. This allows the audience to see the world in a symbolic interpretation of how Max sees the world. 

In Mary's scenes, the colour schemes are quite similar, except her world is in sepia, with more colours standing out. The base colour of Mary's environments are shades of brown. This may reflect on Mary's eye colour and birth mark. Even though there are more colours in Mary's scenes, it still resembles the backdrop Max has in New York. This is to show how Mary also finds it difficult to understand people, however this may be down to her being a child, at the age when she is still learning.

Overall this film was a powerful and extremely detailed piece of animation, that rivals live action dramas, despite being completely animated. The use of text coupled with the cartoon style characters, portrayed a powerful narrative that followed along the themes of  friendship, metal welfare and depression. 

Illustration List

Figure 1- Poster:
Figure 2- Max:
Figure 3- Mary:
Figure 4- Max:

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Adaptation B- Rough Storyboard

The idea behind this adaptation of the fable 'The Astrologer' has the astrologer act as a kind of bird watcher. He lives on top of a mountain that looks down on a small settlement. His house is stationed at the peak, where he can see the stars clearly. In his world he can see the stars take shape into different types of birds, different species represent different types of prophesies. In the animation, the astrologer comes across a prophesy about a storm that will come in the near future. He makes a record of this, then goes back to watching the stars. It's here when he sees the stars take the form of a peacock, with gold shimmering colours in its feathers. This is a prophesy for great wealth. So taken by the appearance of the peacock, the astrologer rushes to follow the bird but it moves away quickly. In haste the astrologer grabs his binoculars and chases after the peacock. He runs out onto the wooden deck that supports his house, and fails to see the sudden drop in front of him. The film concludes with the astrologer plummeting to his death.

Adaptation A- Sketches for Infographic

For the infographic project there are a number of sketches I want to feature in the final film. I've sketched them out to give a visual motif as to what I want out of my infographic. This will also help me create a storyboard and animatic. I'm not confident in After Effects or Flash, so I will need help from tutors. If I want help I need to be able to convey how these sketches work once animated.Here are some brief explanations as to what each sketch represents.

Habits of a Singleton

1. Never needing to shave
2. Watching couples they don't know
3. Having pride in a pet plant
4. Eating entire contents of fridge
5. Clearing out the drinks isle in shops
6. Growing use to morning breath
7. Delightful conversations with one's self 
8. Flirting with strangers, through the communication of 'footsies' 

Modelling in Mudbox- Pumpkin

I've messed around with Mudbox before but never really got anywhere with proper guidance. It was good to have a lesson in it today, and I feel more confident and relaxed using software like this for modelling. Simple task was given today, that was to model a fruit or vegetable, and so I chose to model a pumpkin. 

Maya Tutorial- Modelling Part 1: Low Resolution

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Adaptation B- Character and Prop Development (feedback would be great)

When designing the astrologer, I have to consider what his personality is like as well as his position in the world he lives in. So far I picture the astrologer living alone on top of a mountain, isolated from a settlement located at the base of it. The locals who live here don't take the astrologers predictions seriously, despite the fact he can indeed predict the future accurately.

What makes the locals mistrust the astrologer is the fact he has an obsessive nature when it comes to fortune telling. Although he may look cute, he can turn very quickly and has a tendency to lash out at objects and people if he gets frustrated. So to match his personality I made sure his physical appearance had a few features that compliment and illustrate the nature of his personalty.

Below I've drawn four examples of costume that the astrologer could wear. However I don't won't to choose one of these to go with, I was planning on picking different aspects from the costumes to use in the final design. This is where feedback comes in handy.

Firstly I felt like he should be small and stumpy. He looks like someone who would be overlooked by others, hence his obsessive compulsion to gain people's attention with matters of the future. His small build gives away the fact that he's physically weak, and so he longs to have power over others. Predicting the future gives him a feeling of strength that he normally lacks in.

The second thing I wanted to incorporate into this character's design is to reference from an animal. I felt basing him on an owl was appropriate, as they are wide eyed, nocturnal creatures. I feel this is fitting with the concept of astrology. Also the owl is an animal that is typically used to be the symbol of wisdom, this creates an irony because the astrologer is not as wise as he likes to believe.

Finally I need to dress this character with a descent costume design. This part I've found particularly difficult to grasp as it may be the one thing to turn this character into something generic.

These are a few very rough sketches of the props that may be used in the final outcome. I haven't fully established the environment yet, as I usually come up with that after the story board has been made. However to get the story board made, I need to have the main character designed.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The Astrologer- Character and Narrative Concepts

Before I move further on with this project, I need to make up my mind about which character concept to go with when designing the astrologer. I've done two sketches of two very different looking astrologers. Number one is based on a mole, and his eyes are squinted because of all the time he's spent staring into telescopes. Number two is based on an owl, as it's a nocturnal creature that dwells in the sky. I feel that number two is my favourite, so I may continue developing him as the main character.

In the original fable, the astrologer predicts the future by observing the stars. However this turned his attention for what was happening in the immediate future, and he proceeded to fall into a ditch. In my adaptation, I imagine the astrologer living on top of a tall mountain, where he can observe the stars freely. When reading up on stars I realised that many constellations are named after characters of folklore and mythology. Also a lot of constellations are named for resembling animals, which gave me the idea, to have the stars form into the shapes of animals (birds in particular) and have the astrologer be a kind of bird watcher.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Adaptation B- The Astrologer

After speaking with Alan, I decided to scrap the Fox and the Star and find something else to adapt. After going through some of Aesop's fables, I found one called 'The Astrologer.'

A man who lived a long time ago believed that he could read the future in the stars. He called himself an Astrologer, and spent his time at night gazing at the sky.
One evening he was walking along the open road outside the village. His eyes were fixed on the stars. He thought he saw there that the end of the world was at hand, when all at once, down he went into a hole full of mud and water.
There he stood up to his ears, in the muddy water, and madly clawing at the slippery sides of the hole in his effort to climb out.
His cries for help soon brought the villagers running. As they pulled him out of the mud, one of them said:
"You pretend to read the future in the stars, and yet you fail to see what is at your feet! This may teach you to pay more attention to what is right in front of you, and let the future take care of itself."
"What use is it," said another, "to read the stars, when you can't see what's right here on the earth?"

Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Adaptation B- The Fox and the Star

For this adaptation project I'd like to adapt from an illustrated book called 'The Fox and the Star,' by Coralie Bickford-Smith. It's a short story about a fox that lives in a dark forest, who is befriended by a star which lights up the forest for him.

I feel this is a good story to adapt as it is quite cryptic in style, and it was only published last year, which means there maybe no adaptations of it so far.

My idea so far is to have a lone fox cub wondering the night time forest. Lost and scared, he tries to find his mother, but the forest is too dark for him. Then a star comes down and appears in the form of his father. The father then proceeds to light up the forest, and guide the cub to safety. Soon the sun begins to rise, and the father stops in his tracks. He can not stand in the sunlight like his cub, and so keeps to the shrinking darkness. Just as the stars disappear in the morning, the father flees from the rising sun, and follows the night as it's chased into the horizon. The cub is left on his own, until he notices the familiar figure of his mother appear from the same horizon as the sun rose from.

The idea is that the cub's father is dead, and has appeared to his child in the form of a star. I'd like this to be a symbolism for the dead living on in dreams, and only appearing at night fall as do the stars.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Infographic Project- First Thoughts

'The Habits of the Singleton' is a title I leaning towards for the inthographic animation. The first idea I have for the infographic is in a style similar to the Monty Python animations, cross with an old British film style. So far I've thought of a character, to base the infographic around. I know that character animation can be complex, which is why I've chosen the Monty Python style. I want this to be comedic, and show the slightly tragic side of being single.

Above is the first sketch of the character, along with some font styles that may suit the animation. Below are two sketches that portray a couple of singleton habits that may feature in the final piece.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Film Review Submission

1- The Hero's Journey:
2- Archetypes:
3- Narrative Structure:
4- Opposing Characters:
5- Hollywood and Quality:
6- Hollywood and Quality (Mad Max):
7- Documentary:
8- Adaptation and Transcription:
9- Comedy:

Maya Submission: Pipeline 1

Head modelling 
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:
Part 5:
Part 6:
Part 7- 11:
Part 12:
Part 13:
Part 14- 16:
Part 17- 18:
Part 19- 20:

Lip Syncing
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:

Maya Tutorial- Body Modelling Part 19- 20: Shoes and Completion

Comedy Film Review: The Inbetweeners Movie (2011)

  Figure 1

Directed by Ben Palmer, the Inbetweeners movie is a feature length film based on a successful television show. It follows the story of four friends, Will, Simon, Jay and Neil, as they leave school and head off to Malia for the holidays. The main characters of this franchise are known for being unpopular and uncool, which is why the show and the films of the Inbetweeners is so loved by a wide audience.

 Figure 2

What makes this film so comedic are the characters, as they are all very different to each other in personality, but equally as dim and funny. Also the plot itself in the film makes it even more funny, as it is more realistic. It gives the grounds for a stereotypical movie, where the protagonist gets a positive outcome, then shows what would actually happen in real life. The main example of this is near the end of the film, when three of the boys go to a boat party and get with the girls they wanted, Simon is left to go tell his love interest his feelings. He then comes up with the romantic gesture of jumping from the boat and swimming to shore to go meet her. At this point the music lifts in a romantic way, and the characters all start cheering for Simon, making the audience guess the outcome of the situation. After he dives into the sea and starts swimming towards land, the shot fades slowly to black, then fades back into vision again. Here it reveals Simon struggling to swim, and almost drowning because of it. What makes this scene funny, is the illusion it gives that uplifted the audience into thinking everything will go Simon's way, then showing the harsh reality. If average person was to attempt this in real life, they would probably start drowning, just as Simon nearly did in the film.

Figure 3

To sum it up, the Inbetweeners movie shows four believable characters put into believable situations, and show the comedy in it. By making it so believable is what makes an audience relate and be humoured by it.

Illustration List
Figure 1-
Figure 2-
Figure 3-

Maya Tutorial- Body Modelling Part 17- 18: Arm and Hand

Infographic Starter Line

'The habits of...'
was the unfinished sentence I picked out at random to start off the inforgraphic project. I feel this is a good theme to have for character speculation. It's an oppitunity to point out certain aspects in a character type.

'The habits of-                          
            a villain 
        a hero
                   a uni student
             a pet dog
            a pet cat
                              a person who's single
           a gamer
                  an animator
                     an art student
             a hipster

This is what I have so far, I'm aiming towards making this infographic animation comedic.

Maya Tutorial- Body Modelling Part 14- 16: Torso and Lower Body