Saturday, 29 October 2011

Inspiration

I love the colours and contrast depicted within the piece - beautiful!!
The 3 concept artworks above were found on goodbrush.com - the style of the artist is amazing!!!
Jamie Jasso  - felt this was the closest to my first landscape, the atmosphere is depicted amazingly

The only words to describe these is WOW!!! I chose these four in particular as I loved the overall style, atmosphere and colour. These will be my inspirations for this project without a doubt!! Lets hope I manage to produce something half as amazing as these!!

Life Drawing

With the 2 minutes sketches I tried to be more experimental with my approach and as you can see some of them didn't always work out! All in all I think I'm getting a better grasp on proportion and varying shading. Still need to work on the feet!! 
 

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Influence Map


Thinking in broad terms of what the title of the novel brings to mind.

Metropolis (1927)

Fig. 1
Fritz Lang's Metropolis is a German Expressionist classic, with the genre being science-fiction the film takes place in a futuristic mega-city. The film followers the protagonist, the son of the Master of Metropolis, who falls for the angelic Maria, who preaches to the workers about peace and equality. The film brings the audience's attention to the theme of capitalism and the effects one individual can have on an impressionable community - revolutionary reaction. The set design is beautifully created, from the contrast of the rich, lavish garden to the claustrophobic, dark worker's city. The ideal imagery of heaven and hell. Being the most expensive silent film ever made, Metropolis was the Avatar of its day. There is no doubt that Metropolis can not be called anything else but epic!

Kim Newman states, "The newly restored footage enhances sci-fi's first masterpiece, making this essential viewing for any movie lover." (Newman unspecified date) Newman gives high praise indeed, notifying Lang's creation to be a classic.     
Fig. 2
The sets are vital to the storyline and assist in emphasising underlying meanings and messages. For example, the garden - pure, innocent, ignorant bliss - the worker's city - capitalism, revolution, the image of hell. The set design has to be one of the most iconic and beautifully crafted of its kind. The depiction of the city itself has to be without a doubt a stunning piece of art. Nev Pierce observes, "With its immense sets and stark lighting, the workers' city is a credible image of hell, while the overground landscapes were a seminal influence on all subsequent science fiction." (Pierce 2003) Pierce observes the fact that Metropolis influenced many science fiction genres  
Fig. 3
The one scene in particular that stands prominent within the film, is when Maria is being chased underground by the mad scientist. The camera angles and lighting are triumphant - the way the lighting depicts the focus the and sharp motions bring a modern stance to the film. Roger Ebert suggests, "The result was astonishing for its time. Without all of the digital tricks of today, ``Metropolis'' fills the imagination. Today the effects look like effects, but that's their appeal." (Ebert 1998) Ebert reflects the success of the digital effects that Lang has seductively entwined throughout.

List of illustrations

Figure 1. Lang, Fritz (1927) Metropolis Movie Poster. At: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/06/Metropolisposter.jpg (Accessed on:26/10/11)

Figure 2. Lang, Fritz (1927) Metropolis. At: http://classical-iconoclast.blogspot.com/2010/09/fritz-lang-metropolis-1927-restored.html (Accessed on:26/10/11)

Figure 3. Lang, Fritz (1927) Maria. At: http://movieblog.waiting4utopia.com/2005/12/18/download-metropolis-for-free/ (Accessed on:26/10/11)


Bibliography

Empire Kim Newman (uspecified date) Metropolis. At: http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/ReviewComplete.asp?FID=136955 (Accessed on:26/10/11)

BBC Nev Pierce (2003) Metropolis (1927). At: http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2003/01/06/metropolis_1927_review.shtml (Accessed on:26/10/11)

Roger Ebert (1998) Metropolis (1926). At: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19980328/REVIEWS08/401010341/1023 (Accessed on:26/10/11)

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Fig. 1
Robert Wiene's The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari is a silent horror that is considered a classic of German Expressionism. It was noted to also be one of the first films to have introduced a twist ending. The plot concerns the protagonist, Francis, discovering the truth behind the mysterious deaths within his village. He believes it to be Dr Caligari and his carnival act, the somnambulist, Cesare. He believes the Doctor to be insane, when the twist ending reveals that he is the mad man. The story sets out to confuse its audience, but the unexpected twist of the plot revives the film. The film is considered, by many, to be one of the greatest silent horror films made and very influential to other directors.  

Catherine Bray observes, "Pre-dating even early genre landmarks Nosferatu (1922) and Metropolis (1926) by some distance, Robert Wiene's silent film is both influential and one of a kind." (Bray unspecified date) Bray notifies Wiene's success within the silent film era and the effects it has had on other classic expressionist films.
Fig. 2
The thick clothing and heavy make-up portrayed adds to the theatrical gothic theme, which is reflected within the set design. Nick Helditch states, "Melodrama was the norm in silent cinema where the relationship between characters had to be communicated with gesture. "Caligari" creates a charcoal-drawn world that accommodates these extravagant mannerisms with heavy make-up and dark costumes intensifying the attitudes of the players. The shadowy symbolism that resulted is at odds with the movies being made across the Atlantic then and now, showing that cinema was well suited to fabulous psychotic dramas." (Helditch 2001) Helditch expresses the fact that other directors have used Wiene's film to influence their own works. He also considers the use of costume and the dramatic impact it successfully creates.
Fig. 3
Many of the backdrops were produced by card and charcoal, Wiene shows the power of simplicity within the environment. The fact that the scenes are never symmetrical adds to the crazed feel of the film and enhances an eerie atmosphere to its audience. The way a simple few lines can impact so strongly is astonishing. Roger Ebert suggests, "The sets are presented, as they must be, in mostly longer shots, establishing their spiky and ragged points and edges. The visual environment plays like a wilderness of blades; the effect is to deny the characters any place of safety or rest. It isn't surprising that the "Caligari" set design inspired so few other films, although its camera angles, lighting and drama can clearly be seen throughout film noir . . ." (Ebert 2001) Ebert notes the intriguing set design of the film and states its impact. The close-up shots in particular keep the audience's focused and makes the character of Dr Caligari questionable and almost delirious.


List of illustrations

Figure 1. Wiene, Robert (1920) The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari Movie Poster. At: http://www.moviegoods.com/movie_poster/the_cabinet_of_dr_caligari_1919.htm (Accessed on:26/10/11)

Figure 2. Wiene, Robert (1920) Cesare and Jane. At: http://thequietus.com/articles/01003-caligari (Accessed on:26/10/11)

Figure 3. Wiene, Robert (1920) Cesare and Jane. At: http://thequietus.com/articles/01003-caligari (Accessed on:26/10/11)


Bibliography

Film4 Catherine Bray (unspecified date) Review. At: http://www.film4.com/reviews/1919/the-cabinet-of-dr-caligari (Accessed on:26/10/11)

BBC Nick Hilditch (2001) The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari) (1920). At: http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2001/03/01/cabinet_of_dr_caligari_1920_review.shtml (Accessed on:26/10/11)

Roger Ebert (2009) The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920). At: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090603/REVIEWS08/906039987/1023 (Accessed on:26/10/11)

Unit 2: Space


Here we go again!! As you might of been able to tell I had Folder 12 - At The Earth's Core by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Focusing on II A Strange World, III A Change Of Masters, VIII The Mahar Temple. So far I don't have a clue about the novel or what I'll have to create from it - so before I even go near Photoshop I need to READ!!! Not the most thrilling of jobs but hopefully I'll be back to the sketch book soon!  

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Crit Presentation

Crit Presentation

Maya

Maya technical exercises including; lighting, textures, rendering of whisky bottle and glass, rendering of detective's desk (as you can tell just remembered I've forgot to put the Maya work up!!)

Rendering and Textures
 
Whisky Bottle

My Version of the Detective's Desk

How it's suppose to look!!!

Lighting










Textures


1. Ceramic 2. Chrome 3. Glass 4.Glow 5. Glowing 6. Gold 7. Plastic 8. Silver

Thumbnails

Final Thumbnails that gave me the inspiration for my final portrait.










Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Fly (1958)


Fig. 1
Kurt Neumann’s The Fly is a science-fiction horror that portrays the metamorphosis between a man and a fly. The film follows Helene (Patricia Owens), a wife of a scientist, who is left to deal with the repercussions of her husbands metamorphosis. The film was created and set in the 1950's, hence has typical 50s costumes and family values i.e. in the remake the film centres around a single, alienated man and his girlfriend, whilst the 1958 version is about a family man scientist, Andre, who lives with his wife and son and works on experiments in the basement of the family's home. The films opening is unexpected and it becomes clear to the audience the structure of the film will result in flashbacks.

The metamorphosis within the film seems to focus on the theme ‘playing God’ and by doing so does God punish man? Although you do not see the transformation unfold on screen you are left with a fusion of fly and man. Film4 states, "Wife Helene (Owens) and brother Franacois (Price) are of course powerless to help. Andre has learned the hard way the perils of trying to bend the laws of nature too far." (Film4) The reviewer observes the message of the film, that humans should not mess with the laws of nature. Neumann’s man/fly hybrid resultant in the 1950's would have shocked the generation, yet now the audience sees a man with a fly's head and arm - tame in terms of horror.


Fig. 2
Almar Haflidason argues, "Silly it may be but the tension is quickly cranked up as Hedison realises he has to find the fly so that he can try to reverse the damage. Any humour in the situation quickly drains away as Hedison battles to stop his personality being consumed with his new found predatory instincts. Meanwhile his 'other half' is trapped in a spider's web. This desperate 'double' struggle cleverly detracts from the cheap-looking monster effects and allows a dramatic and quite poignant film to form." (Haflidason 2007) Haflidason observes that the 1950's special effects has little to desire, yet the editing creates drama and makes the film a classic horror. Within the review Haflidason brings up the idea of the 'double' (Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s theory about everyone having an exact double), which is a key signifier to the audience that things will only get worse - resulting in death. 

Fig. 3
It becomes apparent during the film that the metamorphosis is starting to effect Andre mentally, after the physical transformation has occurred. He begins to lose control of his arm and his brain, resulting in the somewhat dramatic assisted suicide. Howard Thompson suggests, "It does indeed contain, briefly, two of the most sickening sights one casual swatter-wielder ever beheld on the screen. At one point, the hooded hero discloses his head as that of a giant-size fly. And the climax, when this balcony-sitter nearly shot through the roof, is a fat close-up of a fly, with a tiny, screaming human's head, trapped by a spider on its web. To any random customer expecting a pleasant doze, watch out! Short as these two scenes are, there's no escaping them." (Thompson 1958) It is clear that Thompson has found parts of the film to be shocking. It becomes apparent in the film that as Andre looses control of him brain and arm the fly he's been spliced with is gaining control of them, hence why Helena must kill the 'fly with the white head'.

List of illustrations

Figure 1. Neumann, Kurt (1958) The Fly Movie Poster. At: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Theflyposter.jpg (Accessed on: 15/10/11)

Figure 2. Neumann, Kurt (1958) Andre/Fly. At: http://www.isthatyourboy.com/2010/11/monster-movie-of-week-fly-1958.html (Accessed on:15/10/11)

Figure 3. Neumann, Kurt (1958) Helena and Andre/Fly. At: http://www.isthatyourboy.com/2010/11/monster-movie-of-week-fly-1958.html (Accessed on:15/10/11)


Bibliography

Film4 (unspecified reviewer and date posted) The Fly. At: http://www.film4.com/reviews/1958/the-fly (Accessed on:15/10/11)

BBC Almar Haflidason (2007) The Fly (1958). At: http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2000/07/21/fly1958_review.shtml (Accessed on:15/10/11)


New York Times Review Howard Thompson (1958) The Fly (1958) The Screen: Hair-Raiser; The Fly' Is New Bill at Local Theatres. At: http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9502E4DA1031E73BBC4850DFBE668383649EDE&partner=Rotten Tomatoes (Accessed on:15/10/11)

@ Phil: Written Assignment Introduction

This assignment explores the social, cultural and symbolic concepts of female-to-avian metamorphosis, with specific reference to the harpy, the siren, and Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan. Case studies for investigating are Patricia Monaghan’s Goddesses in World Culture, Volume 1 (2010) examining the culture and symbolism of the harpy and siren, alongside Maxime Collignon’s Manual of Mythology in Relation to Greek Art (2003), which too discusses the context of the two mythological creatures. In conjunction with these resources specific art works bring a bolder understanding into play, this includes John William Waterhouse’s Odysseus and the sirens (1891) and Ulisse Aldrovandi’s Monstrorum Historia (1642). In contrast Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan (2010) will delve into the contemporary portrayal of the hybrid, described by the director himself as a ‘wereswan’ and in detail dismantle the representation of women. To gain a fuller grasp of symbolism within Black Swan other valuable resources were investigated; Interview with director Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan (2010) and Natalie Portman & Darren Aronofsky Interview at Charlie Rose Show (2011). To conclude, the discussion will search to summarise the relation between female and avian, as well as look into gender stereotypes and symbolism within the hybrid. 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Black Swan (2010)

Fig. 1
 Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan has to be the most mentally disturbing, yet absolutely refreshing, exhilarating film ever! The operatic music throughout is spellbinding and builds the claustrophobic tension to a somewhat unbearable level. The film follows a ballerina, Nina (Natalie Portman), in search of perfection, in doing so she learns that to be perfect she must also be imperfect. The production of Swan Lake entails for the Swan Queen to dance the White Swan and the Black Swan, therefore Portman’s character must find a darker side to herself, both sexually and personally. She, herself, is seen as the white swan whilst Lily (Mila Kunis) portrays the black swan. Nina’s character is seen as innocent and naïve, yet Aronofsky’s constant haunting of her ‘double’ makes it clear to the audience that all is not how it seems. The theme of the ‘double’ comes from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s idea that everyone has an exact person like themselves, that differs in character - it is considered a bad omen to see your ‘double’ that will only result in death. Which is clearly demonstrated in the film. The line “The only thing that stands in your way is yourself,” (said by Thomas) has never been as greatly used in context. Aronofsky’s use of the double to depict the mental illness Nina suffers from is an ingenious idea. The first moment that reveals this is when Nina passes her 'double' down a dark alley way, from then on she sees herself everywhere. 

Fig. 2
Peter Bradshaw notes, "As a study of female breakdown, Black Swan is the best thing since Polanski's Repulsion. But, in fact, with its creepy Manhattan interiors, its looming, closeup camera movements, and its encircling conspiracy of evil, it looks more like Rosemary's Baby, particularly in cinematographer Matthew Libatique's brilliant continuous shot in which Nina makes out with a random guy in a club, then wakes up to what she's doing and, freaked out, blunders through murky winding corridors and out into the night air – there seems no difference between inside and outside. Everywhere is claustrophobic." (Bradshaw 2011) Bradshaw observes the camera following the protagonist in the shot making the film very claustrophobic. It is obvious that Bradshaw feels Aronofsky has immersed him fully into the action and the state of mind that Nina finds herself in.  

The film also touches on the volatile relationship between mother and daughter; either represented as a current issue of ‘pushy parents’ striving for the best for themselves through their child or living vicariously through someone else to perfect their unfinished dreams. The film sees Nina’s mum to be the real monster, who pushes Nina to be the star, but then tries to sabotages her daughter at every opportunity - this is shown through the calorific cake and trying to stop her daughter from performing on opening night. Resentment and jealously is shown throughout the relationship, but is originally smothered by child like niceties. Catherine Bray states, "With brilliant performances and striking visuals, Black Swan is what some people like to call bravura film-making. It is also often pleasingly mad, less pleasingly shrill and has a genuine knack for building tension on the slimmest of pretexts. The role of Nina, a neurotic, obsessive ballerina dominated by her scary mother, sees Natalie Portman give what is without doubt her most forceful performance to date." (Bray 2011) Bray praises Portman's performance and conveys the qualities expressed by the character that she plays to a t.

Fig. 3
To strive for perfection, the film shows the gruesome realities beyond the graceful, perfectly poised dancing and gets the audience to see the bloody, deformed feet and the vomiting. The vomiting could be representational of anorexia/bulimia. Aronofsky’s bold gore hits the audience hard.

The use of the mirrors are prominent within nearly every scene, of course relating to the idea of the 'double' but also highlighting Nina's disturbed mental state. The subtle hints of Nina's mental state are constant and it's not till the viewer gets further into the film that they start to piece it together i.e. the 'feather-like' rash which turns out to be her scratching/self harming her back. Aronofsky immerses his audience into Nina's head and plays them till the end. The idea she's growing feathers is not only created visually perfect by CG, but also a clever implement used by the director.   

Fig. 4
Aronofsky uses clothing codes to portray Nina's change in character, from light, pale pinks and soft materials, to dark greys and thick items.   

Mark Adams suggests, "The film is complex, dark, exhilarating and vibrant, with director Darren Aronofsky (who made The Wrestler) creating a vibrant, often intoxicating drama rich in music, mood and menace. The dancing is wonderful and the performances sublime. Black Swan is a powerfully potent psychological drama." (Adams 2011) Adams makes it clear to the viewer his admiration for the music and powerfulness of the film. The film throughout produces an intense energy that the audience can't help but feel.

The final line "I felt it. Perfect. I was perfect," (said by Nina) is eerily creepy, yet, excuse the pun, a perfect line to end the film on!  

List of illustrations


Figure 1. Aronofsky, Darren (2010) Black Swan Movie Poster. At: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/68/Black_Swan_poster.jpg (Accessed on:12/10/11)


Figure 2. Aronofsky, Darren (2010) Nina's reflection. At:
http://www.heart.co.uk/showbiz/movies/black-swan-photos/black-swan-5/ (Accessed on:12/10/11)


Figure 3. Aronofsky, Darren (2010) "The Double". At: http://www.onlinemovieshut.com/online-movies/black-swan-movie-stills-released (Accessed on:12/10/11)


Figure 4. Aronofsky, Darren (2010) Nina as the Black Swan. At: http://xxcnc.com/why-isnt-the-black-swan-considered-a-horror-movie/ (Accessed on:12/10/11)




Bibliography


The Guardian Peter Bradshaw (2011) Black Swan - review. At: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/jan/20/black-swan-review (Accessed on:12/10/11)


Sunday Mirror Mark Adams (2011) Film Review - Black Swan. At: http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv-entertainment/film/film-reviews/mark-adams/2011/01/16/film-review-black-swan-115875-22851320/ (Accessed on:12/10/11)


Film4 Catherine Bray (2011) Black Swan. At: http://www.film4.com/reviews/2010/black-swan (Accessed on:12/10/11)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Splice (2009)

Fig. 1
Vincenzo Natali's Splice is a bizarre science fiction horror, that captivates its audience with the unexpected twists in the plot. The film focuses on a young scientist couple who create a splice with a difference, using human DNA they create a modern day Frankenstein. The couple bring the splice up and in turn they begin to see the specimen as their family. Natali’s bold creation ‘Dren’ (the creature) plays out Freud’s Oedipus complex, which is depicted with both Elsa and Clive. Other themes that are brought out within the film include nurture vs. nature and the idea of playing God, moral conceptions.
  
Peter Bradshaw states, "Vincenzo Natali, director of the cult 1997 mystery Cube, has confected a bizarre black-comic horror, a cross-breed mutant Frankenfilm with bits of Ridley Scott's Alien, David Cronenberg's The Fly and David Lynch's Eraserhead. It's also an entertaining and cheerfully subversive satire on corporate ambition, and on the consequences of suppressing one's sex drive in favour of one's work drive." (Bradshaw 2010) Bradshaw connects Splice to other hybrid films and basically tells the viewer it's a modern, unique version, brought to life by Natali. 


Fig. 2
It is obvious Natali's influence for the film features heavily on James Whale's Frankenstein, for instance you only have to know the protagonists names to recognise this. Dren is brought up as if a human child, being dressed in little dresses and given toys. Elsa's character at the beginning seems compassionate towards what her a Clive have created, giving Dren her childhood toys and when Dren ages putting make-up on her. She treats her as if she is her own daughter, but it becomes apparent her own upbringing was abusive. This is apparent when she turns on Dren taking away the cat, Dren's only other comfort. When Elsa later tries to give the cat back and make a mends, Dren changes from a fragile, trapped creature into a grotesque, evil monster. Elsa then appears completely insane when she chains Dren to the table and strips her of her clothing, which is shocking to the audience as they had no longer thought of the creature as an experiment, but as human (almost). The film then follows Dren's spiral out of control and the results that come from it. Kim Newman states, "Frankenstein’s crime was not loving his monster. This film asks what may happen if a mad scientist loves the creation; the creature shyly adores the labcoats who have bred her, but is still capable of jealous anger. There are as many heartfelt, emotional scenes as acute horror moments. An oddly disjointed third act offers more conventional action/horror but feels curtailed (major plot points, even characters, get swallowed between scenes) and less poignant than the build-up." (Newman unspecified date) Newman has cleverly observed the key theme and ingredient of the film, which is nature vs. nurture. The film appears to be blaming the two scientists for the way they brought Dren up, making the humans come off worse than the creature itself. This is highlighted strongly in the end scene with Elsa and the corporate head of NERD (the company Elsa and Clive worked for).

Fig. 3
Roger Ebert agrues, "I wish Dren's persona had been more fully developed. What does she think? What does she feel? There has never been another life form like her. The movie stays resolutely outside, viewing her as a distant creature. Her “parents” relate mostly to her memetic behavior. Does it reflect her true nature? How does she feel about being locked in the barn? Does she “misbehave,” or is that her nature?" (Roger Ebert 2010) Ebert feels that Dren's character isn't established fully enough within the film, however others may argue that her body language speaks clearly. From Dren's actions and body language the audience gets the feeling that possibly she can telepathically control the people around her. 
On a personal level certain parts of the film seemed in some way cliché, for instance the location - the forest - and specific lines, "What's the worst that could happen?" (said by Elsa). Also for whatever reason the two protagonist's characters didn't seem believable, relatable therefore some members of the audience would feel detached to the horror on the screen. 

List of illustrations

Figure 1. Natali, Vincenzo (2009) Splice Movie Poster. At: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Splice-poster.jpg (Accessed on:12/10/11)

Figure 2. Natali, Vincenzo (2009) Elsa and Dren (as a child). At: http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/film/1736 (Accessed on:12/10/11)

Figure 3. Natali, Vincenzo (2009) Elsa and Dren (grown up). At: http://www.fearnet.com/news/interviews/b19261_delphine_chaneac_on_creating_creature.html (Accessed on:12/10/11)


Bibliography

The Guardian Peter Bradshaw (2010) Splice. At: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/jul/22/splice-review (Accessed on:12/10/11)

Empire Kim Newman (Unspecified date) Splice. At: http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=135263 (Accessed on:12/10/11)

Roger Ebert (2010) Splice. At: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100602/REVIEWS/100609991 (Accessed on:12/10/11)

Maya

I managed to complete the pen, magnifying glass and one of the lighting tutorials so far - Yay! I'm pretty happy with how I'm doing at the moment, but clearly it's going to take some time to get comfortable with the software.





(With the pen you may notice there's a hole!!! I did actually create the whole pen with the ring and handle, but somehow deleted that section along the line - quite upsetting as it was looking promising! I decided to continue adding texture, lighting and rendering the pen to still give me an idea of the finished piece. Once I've caught up to speed with the other tutorials I'll create the pen again.)