Thursday, 29 October 2015

What If? Metropolis: Thumbnails #16-40 and More Ideas

As I made these silhouettes and read more about my artist, I had the idea of maybe surrounding the buildings or the whole city with a cage-like structure. Some of Richard Deacon's sculptures (such as 'After') reminds me of a long cage while some of his plastic and glass sculptures reminds me of Under the Dome. I also read in this interview from Tate that he actually suffered a little from anorexia in his youth, a disease that has made an impact on my life. He also describes an anxiety about his pieces falling apart in this interview.

With this new information, I had the idea of using his unique shapes and use of materials to try and create a city that looks like what anorexia/anxiety feels like. Keeping to his use of organic shapes, I have the idea of maybe making really frail, thin looking buildings that are held up with cage-like structures. These cage structures are meant to hold up the building since the people living in them fear that the structure will fail and crush them. They also isolate the city, making it separate from the outside world...this is also where I'm experimenting with the idea of putting a glass or plastic dome around the buildings, almost as though the citizens are afraid that the outside world will judge their use of supports and think they are silly.

It's just an idea, and it keeps changing. Anyway, here are some really rough thumbnails (not all relating to the idea described above, some just popped into my head).

What If? Metropolis - Influence Map #1

This is my first influence map, I tried to include some sculptures of Richard Deacon that interest me the most, but I also wanted to include some images that weren't related to his work. I found some organic-shaped architecture from real life, fictional cities (from Star Wars), architecture designs and sketches sketches, and a few other images that popped into my head while thinking of ideas. These relate to my initial ideas for colour, possible styles, and shapes. At the moment, I imagine this city to be a more sci-fi/futuristic city that is maybe trying to isolate and protect itself from the outside world (ex. using cages, glass barriers, hiding away in the sky or under water).

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

What If? Metropolis - Initial Ideas and Thumbnails #1-15

Before drawing thumbnails I quickly scribbled down some notes of ideas I got while reading about Richard Deacon. These ideas may change, obviously, but right now these are my starting ideas. My first thumbnails I looked at Richard Deacon's sculptures for reference, but I plan on making some silhouettes which should direct me to other things to look at for references. So far I like #7, #10, 
#11, #13 over the rest.

Adobe Illustrator: Logo Tests

I decided to experiment with more logos in Adobe Illustrator using my full initials. I found some odd fonts I downloaded years ago and think they look interesting although I'm unsure if simpler ones are generally better. It's quick enough to switch the fonts anyway.

What If? Metropolis - Richard Deacon Research

Life Drawing: Day of the Dead Theme

I really enjoyed today's life drawing session which was Day of the Dead themed. However I struggled because I was further away from the model than I usually place myself and I have horrible eyesight even with contact lenses in (obviously I need to get them updated). Despite having a hard time seeing, I still had fun especially with the quicker poses. Next time I'm going to make sure I'm closer.

Production Designer Research: Grant Major

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Life Drawing: Homework Ear/Eye/Hand Study

I drew these over the weekend but I forgot to post them. I always try to practice ears since when I draw portraits I tend to draw really basic shapes then just ignore them instead of making them actually look like ears. I quite like the eye and ear drawings but I'm not the biggest fan of the hand sketch. I drew my own hand while on the train really quickly so I admit I didn't have high expectations for that one.

Space Oddities: La Belle et la Bête

When most individuals think of the story 'Beauty and The Beast', they often remember the animated film by Disney. However, Jean Cocteau's 'La Belle et la Bête' (1946) is just as admirable as the Disney version with its elaborate costume, surreal sets, and a more adult-aimed plot. Jean Cocteau's film has a stronger focus on the negative impact of greed and envy while the Disney version seems to focus on the love story and added musical element. There is no doubt that 'La Belle et la Bête' was not aimed towards children like the Disney version was.

Fig. 1 La Belle et la Bête (1946)
'La Belle et la Bête' definitely feels more eerie and ominous than Disney's take on the fairytale. There are no doll-eyed candlesticks, tea pots and clocks dancing around and singing. Instead, doors open on their own, we hear whispers from inanimate objects, arms jut out of the walls holding up candelabrums, and statues creepily watch Beauty at all times. There is a sense that no matter where she goes, someone is watching. Beast himself is more menacing, he "comes across as a dapper, renaissance version of a werewolf in a Universal Horror film...he'll be on his haunches drinking water from Beauty's hands, but the next he'll be growling some surprisingly chivalrous dialogue" (Macnab, 2014).

While Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' tells a decent chunk of the story through song lyrics, there isn't a massive amount of dialogue in Jean Cocteau's version which is in French. Although this story varies from what most people remember from Disney's take on the fairytale, it is easy to follow even if immersion is somewhat disrupted by subtitles (if you don't speak French at least). The costumes, sets and props in this film easily recaptures attention due to the immense amount of detail that went into the designs.

Jean Cocteau worked with fashion illustrator and designer Christian Bérnard to help imagine and create the look for this film. The contrast between average life where Beauty's family lives and the lavish surroundings in Beasts castle were apparent and captivating. The costumes worn by both Beauty and Beast "are exquisite affairs, glittering and imaginative, lacking only the glow of colour," (Crowther, 1947) paired with atmospheric effects such as fog/smoke, swirling curtains, haunting furniture and other details exaggerate the feeling of fantasy.

Fig. 2
Although the visual design of this film are impressive, there are also subtle details in the movement add a lot to the film's dreamy atmosphere. For example, when Beauty first enters Beasts castle she glides down the hall of human arms holding candelabrums with her cloak twisting and flowing around her. She "seems to run dreamily a few feet above the floor. Later, her feet do not move at all, but she glides, as if drawn by some magnetic force," (Ebert, 1999) while the curtains from the windows twist and wrap around her. This effectively makes the viewer feel like they're in a dream, it is as unreal and alien to audience as it is to Beauty. This waltzing flow is prominent throughout the film, even when Beauty and Beast go for walks together outside of the castle.

Fig. 3
It is likely that Christian Bérnard's work influenced this use of fabric to enhance the world within the film. Whether it be props, costume, or effects such the simple movement of curtains it is obvious that the flow of the material altered the mood of the scene. The music, which was somewhat reminiscent of the Harry Potter music score,  also helped to give this 'La Belle et la Bête' a truly magical feel as it was paired with elaborate dress, surreal environments, dreamy effects, and flowing gestures. All of these elements transports the audience to a fantastical world that has a familiar story while presenting different (and more mature) ideas and imagery than the animated Disney musical.

Crowther, B. (1947) La Belle et la Bete (1946) At: Accessed on: 27/10/2015
Ebert, R. (1999) Beauty and the Beast At: Accessed on: 27/10/2015
Macnab, G. (2014) La Belle Et La Bete: Film review- Cocteau's Forties fantasy is still a thing of real beauty At: Accessed on: 27/10/2015

Illustration List:
Figure 1. La Belle et la Bête (1946) [Poster] At: Accessed on: 27/10/2015
Figure 2. [Screenshot] At: Accessed on: 27/10/2015
Figure 3. [Screenshot] At: Accessed on: 27/10/2015

Maya Digital Sets: Part 1 - Modelling

All I can really say about this tutorial is that this was very time consuming and I'm happy I completed it.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Personal Work: Rodin Study

Since I had the weekend where I didn't have any project specific work to do, I decided to do a quick digital painting of a photo I took at Musée Rodin in Paris. Rodin is one of my favourite artists (I think only Giacometti would surpass him on my list of favourite artists...but that changes) I always love sketching his sculptures.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Intro to Autodesk Maya: Animating in 3D Software

Since we skipped this tutorial on Monday and I already watched half of it, I decide to finish watching and post the results even though I'm unsure if we even needed to post it. I figure it's better to be safe, I did it all anyway so I might as well post it. It was good practice both for animating and batch rendering (and making a playblast but obviously the fully rendered version looked better).


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Invisible Cities: Exterior Low Angle Shot Final

Invisible Cities: Low Angle Shot Progress

I think this is getting close to being finished, I still need to sort out the glowworms, add some more detail to the stalagmites on the ceiling,  blur the foreground, add more highlights, and just do general refinements and touch ups. I like how this is turning out so far, I'll look at adding some oranges like I did for my interior, however that didn't work out well for my exterior establishing shot so it may or may not look right for this but I'll see. Feedback welcome.

Life Drawing: October 21st 2015

Invisible Cities - Low Angle Shot Progress (Feedback Please)

This is the shot I've been struggling with the most, but I think my problem was my horizon line was too high. I've lowered it and made the main building further away so the whole structure fits in the shot, I think this is working better than my previous ideas. It has a while to go yet since I need to add more light, add more details to the main building, adding in details for the other structures, finish the glowworms, add lighting to the stalagmites/stalactites and a few other things like blurring the foreground but I figured I'd post a progress image to see if anything major needs changing or if others think it's working well too. I posted two images because I tried moving some of the buildings around to try to make the tower look taller, the second one looks like it has more empty space but I'll fill that in.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Invisible Cities: Exterior Establishing Shot Final

Invisible Cities: Argia Interior Establishing Shot Final

Invisible Cities: Exterior Establishing Shot

I think this digital painting is nearing completion, I think I managed to fill in the left a bit more so it didn't feel so empty. I still want to blur the foreground a bit more and neaten up some things, any feedback would be very appreciated.

@Phil Candles or no Candles

After I posted my interior shot last night I couldn't help but feel like I was unsatisfied with the colour scheme, maybe it was just because I spent all day staring at it but this morning I tried out some candles and I think it works but I'm unsure because I like both.