Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Branding Banner Sketch's

Here's a few scanned sketch's of some idea's I had for a blog banner. t was interesting to find out today that would would need to brand ourselves as artists as part of our Transcription project, and it funnily enough has been something I've been thinking about the last few days, hence my first step to was to focus on how my blog looks *which is pretty bland*.

I felt a more circular design would be nice to work from, and eventually after a few thumbnail sketch's came to a better shape, (images on the right) with examples of detail. I wanted it to feel quite ornate, with a very textured metallic/stone feel, also the circular shape feels like it could represent some sort of locking mechanism, perhaps adding some lighting along the edges. An image that could translate quite well in maya, as well as an ident. More from this later....

Arachnophobia Frank Marshall '1990'

It was almost like a present surprise to be able to watch such a classic good film, after all the cold weather that we could sit down in the lecture theatre, even if it is one about crazy amounts of spiders. Thinking back to the other films in the B-Movie genre, it does seem to have quite alot of relevance, and could easily fit in to that context. however this film appeared to be much more than just a bug film.

In regards to the story, it seems very plausible, with the discovery of a new species deep in the Venezuelan  jungle (a scene which deeply felt reminiscent of King Kong). The expedition, made in the name of research and studies, is introduced to the story and context through the view of a newcomer to the team, which sadly ends abruptly. This new species (a deadly venomous one at that) decided to hitch a ride to small town American suburbia (a seemingly commonplace setting for the threat invasion).

These events lead to the opening of the story, as we switch roles to the lead character, on their new switch from big city, to small town suburbia (the same one where the spider arrives) and from that point on, we are constantly greeted with 'squrimish'  near misses, playing on all the cliche idea's we have about creepy crawlies never mind spiders, such as the shower, behind the toilet, in shoes, in bed, (in particular the scene when the main character imagines a coat hanger as a huge spider) and although there did make me want to look away, I really enjoyed it (although it constantly made me feel itchy hahaha)

After some time, when the death of the victims to spider bites began to toll, the discovery of the cause of death was finally brought to light (after some coincidental cases which seemed to frame the main character of malpractice). The man who accused him of this ironically, was the one to prove his theory in his death, allowing the the main character to get to grips with what was going on. After the discovery however, it took some time for him to be taken seriously again (a cry wolf element which this films seems play on quite humorously, helping with the 'squrimish' reaction as the unsuspecting become the prey of the spiders.

The most horrific, yet enjoyable scene in the film, was inside the house, where the spiders seemed to be crawling out almost chasing them, throughout the house, a very epic and tense moment in the film, leading to the final scene in the basement, which was equally as good. Saying that, the effects of the animatronics/puppetry, seemed very real, even 20 years on, although there was obvious moments, in regards to CG, I really don't think you can replace the physicality of  some things, adding that extra part of horror.

Finally, what I took from this film is, it's basically challenging the viewer about there views and feelings towards Spiders, by channelling these feelings through the main characters fear of them. Although it does feel very reminiscent of the B-Movie genre, and obviously has taken some inspiration from that, it feel incredibly well done in regards to taking that now 'comic element referring back to those films, and using it as an advantage by making the element more obvious (hence it being referred to in advertisement as a thrill-omedy).

Them! Gorden Douglas '1954'

A film that slightly falls into the 'over-reactive, dramatic' category that Black & White Golden Era of B-Movie's are so well known for, that follows a plot that is even more great if you love these types of cheesy Sci-Fi movies, one of the first to use 'nuclear monsters' as well as 'big bugs' in the mix, it remains a classic either way.

Throughout the beginning of the story, there are constant shots that indicate what may have happened to the mysterious missing persons, and the nature of the beings that took them, for instance subtle shots of ants on the raided sugar stacks in the broken shop, a precursor of things to come, forced exits from buildingd, crushed bodies, all leading to a subtle build up to the discovery of the beings.

The characters appear to be quite generic to us as an audience in modern day cinema, but for that age more relative. You of course, have your creepy child who's seen too much, and remains vacant (an element broken with a shrill scream of 'Them'! which felt quite cheesy but relevant for the narrative), you have your vigilant cop, a charming FBI Agent, a quirky scientist, and his beautiful daughter/assistant (who interestingly is played off as quite a strong, intelligent character, a concept quite different from how they were valued in society at the time), which from the basic cast of the film.

Apart from the over-reactive screams and other things found in this genre, acting wise the cast perform very well, and the story as a very nice gradualness to the unfolding of events, to a believable effect.The way they showed the ants was quite an interesting factor is, that the 'Giant Ants' aren't actually shown till about 3/4 of the way through, making the film seen less about big monsters destroying things, and more about the mystery and discovery of the monsters.

The effects used wear quite laughable for this age of technology, but given the respect and context, very well done in that time period, with heavy use of animatronic/puppetry, it was almost quite liable in some cases, such as the sheer size of the ants, and the giant pincers, with their coursing venom, explained by the quirky scientist.

When I first saw title screen, automatically remembered fallout 3( a series of game set in post-nuclear-apocalyptic 1950's America), with a particular mission known as 'Those' featuring huge fire ants, a pastiche to this film in it's own right.

That said, this film is defiantly worth a watch for those who are up for a bit of the Classic Golden age of B-Movie :)

Monday, 29 November 2010

The Day The Earth Stood Still - Robert Wise '1951'

I know it's been a while since I posted any reviews up, but given the last few weeks with the character design project drawing to a near, I left these on the back burner for the time being.

I must admit, for a 50's sci-fi I was very impressed with this piece of film, and it's clear to say although this falls under the category of the 'B-Movie' this was certainly inspirational to many after it, possible at the frontier of the genre. The most puzzling thing about it being classed as a 'B-Movie, is the high budget used in both props and special effects, which should technically take it out of the category entirely.

The film itself had a really quick, effective set-up using nice shots in comparison to the narration of the news reader of the emergency broadcast, filling in the audience on events the whilst they were unfurling, a real nice touch. Also using recognised American landmarks as a way to set the scene was a very sucessful way to convey to reality of the events.

Wise also used the naivety of the boy in the film, to try and develop the narrative further in the discussion between him and Klatuu, explaining elements that may not have been portrayed as detailed, however dulled down they were for the naive boy to interpret.

There also some religious references, such as the sacrifice Klatuu made to try and help the human race understand the situation that had befallen them. After the events that occurred, and his resurrection, he warned the humans once more of the peril they face if they continue there atomic age, with that warning  he soon left. This obviously has Christian elements, in particular referencing Jesus (particularly he's fake name carpenter). This was possibly used as a way to reach out the the auidence of that time period.

Along with the great use of Miniatures and Special effects, in particular the Ship and the robot Gort, this film had a great use of narrative to convey it's story, and remain a classic to both the time period, and genre.

Character Design Week 3

Just some shape development, experimenting with character's already made, and breaking them down into basic shapes. Also taking a characteer, and making them more Feminine....i.e, popeye...

Here's an experiment with trying to make a character appear larger in size, placing the shapes in the right area.

Character Design Week 2

Here's and experiment with different shapes to try and create a henchman. For the first, I made more angular angular, broad shoulders, to imply danger and strenth, a well as elongating the waist. For the second, I played around with larger shapes to create a dumpy character.

Character Design: Character Bio's & Relationships

Okay, so here is the final summary of each Character's personality, and their own connection to the story....

Name: Nova Electus
Age: 23
Archetype: Hero
Gender: Male
Height: 5ft 9in

Home-town: New Japan
Weapon: Gun-Blade
Personal Traits: Strong, Loyal, Caring, Honourable, Outgoing, Determined 

Bio: A young man, once part of the elite guard for his king, now cast into the irradiated wastes of his secluded homeland, for a murder he did not commit.
Granted the power of the ‘ancients’ by the gods, he is destined to travels the wastelands, and find out why his king was killed by the dark forces of the gods, among many other journeys along the way.

Name: Cipher Emanio
Age: Unknown
Archetype: Villain
Gender: Male

Height: 6ft 1in
Home-town: Unknown
Weapons: Bolt Katana, Plasma Grenade, Laser Shuriken
Personal Traits: Dark, Powerfully, Sinister

Bio: The leader of the dark force sent to Assassinate the King of New Japan. Not much is known about this individual, only that he also has acquired the power of the ancients from the god, and has allegiance to the dark powers of the world.

Name: Ivurie Custos
Age: 19
Archetype: Sidekick
Gender: Female

Height: 5ft 3in
Home-town: Salvage Society
Weapons: Mech Staff/Spear
Personal Traits: Cute, Fun Clumsy, Adventurous, Curious Excitable

Bio: A young, curious girl from a forgotten salvaging village on irradiated land a distance from the sealed border’s of New Japan. After scouting through the wastes during the night, hearing the festives from city afar, she finds a half-dead Nova, taking him back to the village and nursing him to health, once his hearing his story joins him on his quest for the for redemption, on behalf of her village and her sense of adventure

Character Scales:
Here is the relationships between the character's in terms of height:

Character's Silhouette's:
Here are the silhouette's of the charatcer's

Character's Crystallis'

And this complete's the character bible :)

Character Design: Outer Haven Synopsis

Centuries ago the gods smiled upon earth, bearing us with gifts of power, and magic. Many years went by as the gods enjoyed the worship of the human race, until war broke out between both the gods and humans, edged on by the darker beings of the heavens and earth, those who doubted the potential of humans.

After many years of fighting, the gods banished raw magic from the earth, casting a forbidding seal over the lands, only allowing a select ‘chosen’ few to carry out their biddings on the earth with their granted power, known only as the ancients.

Centuries past once again, and technology triumphant over the long forgotten gods. The want for power took a hold of the human race once again, and after much research and genetic exploration, the race began work on breaking the code of the gods, foretold in times past. Eventually society broke this ‘Code’, and unleashed a stream of power that had been once sealed by the gods, which lead to a gateway of possibilities for new technological and genetics advancement, now known as ‘Crystallis’.

Once again, with all power comes consequence, and for the most of it, ‘Crystallis’ was initially used for helping mankind, however, after many years of peace, and social advancement, dark forces at play broke the formed utopia, using ‘Crystallis’ as a weapon, and throwing it into chaos, and consequentially rendering a century long war upon the world, ravaging the lands with ’Crystallis’.. A century had passed since the start of the ‘Crystallis Wars’ the world had come to agreement through a treaty, that each faction of the war would have their own land, and fortify and segregate their countries from ones another, only ‘Crystallis’ irradiated wastes laying between them.

A century had passed since this treaty, and our story moves to a young man called Nova, an elite guard for the King of new Japan, the one man in the country with direct link to the gods, chosen as an ‘Ancient’. On he night of celebration for the century treaty, the king and his guard greet the crowds, and celebrate festival in peace, until several dark warriors from another land break through the seal of the city, and assassinate the king.

Nova, who noticed the figures moving towards the king, came face to face with the leader, who in turn leaves him with a parting gift, by framing him as the assassin. As the named assassin of the king, the highest order of punishment is issued, by casting him out into the wastes beyond the ‘Great Walls of Seal’.  Met by a God in the wastes, he is granted power to help redeem his name, and attempt to unite the people in his travels, and uncover why his King was assassinated.

Character Design: Nova Electus (Samurai/Hero)

With nova, I really wanted to portray the sense of power, and kindness, whilst incorporating elements of the Samurai into his futuristic design, some more obvious than others. The basic approach I took with Nova was to convey him as a 'Ronin' a master-less, or widowed warrior, and his struggle to overcome this.

I wanted to mix certain shapes together to not only evoke the feelings of a hero, but also hint at he's samurai roots, such as replacing the 'Kabuto' (Helmet) with a more raised shoulder area. In regards to his physique, although he does wear 'power armour' I wanted him to be a natural size, so the audience could relate to him on a more personal level.

Basic Shapes

From these shapes I quickly began to sketch up more definitive shapes that would  develop and combine the themes further, in particular the subtle samurai essence

 Chest Sketch Exploration

I really enjoyed where this particular image was going, although it was clear I needed to sort the edges of the armour out more, to make them less sharp, and add some more detail...

Chest Exploration

Although this again was referred to as a 'polished turd', I still feel as though this was somewhere closer to what I wanted my character to have...the detail of course would be a bit much for this project, so some adapation would be required, especially with the turnarounds. I began making more sketch's for various picies of equipment, paying attention to how they would lay on the body.

Arm Sketch Exploration

After my previous character, spending forever on his costume, I managed to quickly gras a concept of how Nova's suit would look, leaving me to move foward early on with the rest of his design.

Nova's Face

Although alot of people felt this character looked like me, I did slightly take reference from some genric male models. I tried to incorporate my own style into this face such as the link in his lip (attempting to add a futuristic style), whilst still trying to retain some realisim. I payed special attention to make his eyes wide, as well as giving him a very open face, with a chislled chin to enhance the strength of his face, as well as the kindess.

After this, I quickly moved onto to work with some some emotions the character would convey during hsi travels through the wastes, and givien the circumstances they werent very varied. I wanted this effect because it shows that he has been effected by his past, and is determined for redemption. It also lets the viewer appreciate when he really is quite happy, as though surprised

Nova's Expressions

Once I had the full figure in mind, I began to go straight in with the turnarounds, using it both as a good bases to lay my designs on, but also see how effective they really are, in hindsight to my last character's costume development/ In the turnarounds below, I paid special attention to how I could realte my character to the samurai, such as the legwear, acting as the leather plating they used, also the chest, with the two striped down either side, simmilar to the sash they wore. Finally, along side the upper neck shape, hinting at the (Kabuto) Helmet, I added the material on the side, to nod towards where the Samuai once ketp there (Daisho) Swords, as well as adding a slot for my Gunblade.

Nova's Turnarounds

With there harder part out of the way, I quickly moved onto the development of the props Nova would be using, keeping in mind the Samurai element, as well as bringing into a more tech environment, and how the two could merge.


Lacuna Saevio (Empty Rage)

This modernised interpretation of both the gun, and sword combined, enables the user's Crystallis to flow through the sword and emit it's energy across it's blade. It's secondary use fires plasma from the chamber near the handle for long-range

Mempo (Samurai Mask)

A mask used as a symbol of status by the Elite guard of the King, it is a modern take on the traditonal mask used by the Samurai of old.

Nova With Mask

After finalising the rest of the dvelopment, I then went onto show my character in it's final pose, to try and  portray he's character in the best light I possible could. Here is both the developed shape, and the final pose, which I took a more 'Sketchy' approach with.

Base Pose

Final Pose

I feel as though Nova as a Hero, isnt entirely realised yet, as I was told through my crit, it is hard to determin who in fact was my hero from my list of character. I feel however, with some more time and development, I could use my feedback to incorporate more character into Nova, as well as adhere more with Heroic traits.

Character Design: Ivurie Custos (Mage/Sidekick)

With Ivurie I must admit at first I was very unsure about how I was first going to approach creating her. I obviously had in mind a very comical character, but at the same time, i did however want her to have a serious look about her, to fit into the world my other characters are in, so a needed to balance what kind of look they had and combine it with her 'Salvaging/Tribal roots in a feminine way, at the same time carrying across her cute/spunky look.

I spent a bit longer on Ivurie's shape development, given the fact she's a sidekick, I needed to keep i mind her proportions to make it seem that way, especially in contrast to Nova. I used more curved shapes, as well as a slimmer physique. Although she does live in the wastes, so I had to consider this, so she would have quite a fair build. Finally, I gave her longer legs in contrast to her torso, to make her look slightly more athletic.

After making the shapes for Ivurie, i swiftly moved onto designing how her face would look. I wanted to encompass many different elements, such as cute, curious, spunky, strong and tribalism. I first made her chin more larger, as well as adding a slight edge to it's curve, on top of this, I purposely made her eye's bigger than what they should be, and added some makings to her face, adding the tribal element. I feel I acheived this the look i wanted quite well, and can really feel the potential energy between Nova and Ivurie


After creating the face, I went onto to make some expression for Ivurie, as she is a sidekick, i wanted only to touch upon a few emotions, most of which would contrast Nova's to balance out, but here are the main emotions she would show in the story....

Ivurie's Expressions

Once I sketched in her basic design into one of her shape development,  and had her face details done I decided to go straight in with her development into the turnarounds, purely because I felt the fact that she could portray most of her character through he face, at the same time not trying to make the 'Sidekick' over complicated in comparison to the 'Hero' and 'Villain'.

Although I really feel this character works efficiently, I think I may have over complicated her slightly in her design, as well as made her a bit too battle-ready. I think the best way to challenge this would be to soften her edges more, and make her slightly more cuter. However, i still love her either way, and feel she ha a lot of potential.after this i then went on to design her Weapons/Props. given the fact that she is a Tribal/Salvager from the wastes, I felt asthough one weapon would be enough for her at this time.


Mech Staff/Spear
This weapon, salvaged from the pains of the war, as the power to harness the user's crystallis, and cast spells depending on the user's ability. It can also be used physically as a spear, deploying short blasts of power from it's centre point.


Finishing the rest of the development I moved onto my final pose for Ivurie. I must admit, im not very fond of this pose, although it does show how Ivurie would look for that angle, it does lack the correct perspective, as well as some dynamism.

Ivurie Pose

All in all, i am quite pleased with Ivurie, defined as a character, although she may not work very as much as she should as a sidekick, and there is a lot of room for improvement, I do feel like she has a great amount of potential, something I will most definitely will take further later.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Character Design: Cipher Emanio (Villian/Ninja)

I spent great amounts of time on my villain, simply because it took me ages trying to adapt the futuristic armour to the body shapes, in a believable way so it appears to be able to move. As well as that, I wanted to apply my own styles to the armour plating, and stay within the constraints of traditional villains.

That said, here are the basic shapes I worked with to build my character from:

I began starting to use more square\triangular shapes to try and evoke the sense of a powerful form, with hints of danger. Also, thinking back to the first few character design lessons, I wanted to try and make the figure slightly more elongated, to make it seem more unnatural, with an athletic build for the 'ninja' element.

After the basic shape was built, I began focusing on the costume design, because I felt the armour itself should act as a second skin of sorts, to aid the sleekness and stealth of a ninja. I found this the most difficult area of this character, because of the folds and creases in the skin, there would be gaps in the plating of the armour, allowing more mobility that a ninja would have. At the same time as this, I wanted to incorporate shapes to further evoke the nature of this character, more importantly triangles.

Basic Costume Sketch

Costume Development

Costume Development 2

Final Costume Development

After getting to this stage after a long bit of development, I began to explore and develop more of a style with the character and possible shapes I could add on to the amour to give him more character:

So here's my and I quote 'Polished Turds'

Chest Exploration

Back Exploration

Arm Exploration

 Leg Exploration

After creating the possible designs for the armour, i realised they were way to complicated, in terms of this project in particular, also, very confusing. It's possible the designs also could be conveyed as quite constricting to the characters movement, so i attempted to water them down for a more casual appearance.

After working so long on the body, I needed to concentrate on the head, here are some developmental stage of what I had in mind. Although there were man, I needed to some how convey a sense of technology and incorporate the sense of a ninja and portray it as a Villain.

Cipher's Helmet Development

Eventually, I chose the end one to develop futher, using the central eye as it's way of vision, I wanted the helmet to also have the essence of a shell.

Cipher's Helmet

 The blue lighting on the casing of the helmet is to signify the technology inside, such as sensory information and logistics etc... also, the lens on the front is expandable, almost like a shutter, to portray certain emotions...

Here are the turnarounds I created after developing these parts of the costume

In regards to expressions, i did find it slightly difficult to try and portray some emotion that this 'emotionless' villain would portray, especially since his face is covered in a mask. with that in mind used the sensory lights and steam, as well as movement of the jaw to show more a aggressive nature.


Upon finishing these parts of the character, I needed to focus the the props and weapons of the character. I put quite a bit of research into this section of the character, as these things will help not only define the 'Ninja' origin of the character its assassin qualities, with heavy roots to Japanese culture, but also convey the technology of the time period my characters are in.


Double Bolt Katana:
Using the the power of the Crystallis, this weapon gauging it user's power, deploys high frequency electrical current through it's double blades, acting almost like a Tesla Coil.

Plama Grenade:
Using it's user's crystallis, energy is stored into the orb, which acts as a grenade and deploys the energy in a violent explosio.

Laser Shuriken:
Once thrown, the charge from the user's crystallis emits a high frequency beam towards the aimed area.

Once I finished of the props, I moved onto the pose I wanted to portray my character, here are both the original shapes, and final piece.

This is as far as i got with developing Cipher, I must say I defiantly spent the majority of time on him, literally because I was struggling with the costume and shapes. Hopefully the time paid off, and he is a character I'm quite proud of. I may revisit this character in the future and develop him further once I have a better understanding of character design.