Thursday, 27 October 2011

Alchemy Trial: Importing Images

Ok, so after a few spare hours tonight preparing for the long haul in Pre-Production, I thought I'd get a head start and see if there was a way to import images into Alchemy. This could really push my costumes designs one step further, when working with silhouettes and poses as templates, in a similar technique to fashion illustrators.

After a some disappointing hours of searching, theorizing and a few trail and errors however.....boom:

Just a quick example of what the technique could be capable of in future idea's when I've finalised and prepared a few things, but as you can see....pretty effective. Using this technique also, you can draw shapes on top, and clear, still having the background image remaining.....Perfect template tool in this instance :D NICE FOR ME! 

Hopefully I can help others use this method, if wanting to dodge the research bullet, so I'll pop down the method:

Save image as PDF 1.4 in Illustrator>Load as Sessional PDF in Alchemy 

(May Cause Problems, if so save as Sessional PDF in Alchemy, Close/Open Alchemy then Load Saved Alchemy Session)

Hope this helps anyone who thinks this could be a good investment in their project work :)

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Stylised Silhouettes

I've FINALLY began to develop visuals for Yuki-Onna. I felt after my Alchemy visuals, the first important step was to finish everything behind the logic of Yuki-Onna, so I knew her like the back of my hand. This obviously lends itself to the design, taking for instance my Character Bio.

Silhouetting the body for me was the way forward in my Pre-Production, choosing how to stylise her body, as well as and portraying her character. I took influence from the shapes of icicles, to get the cold nature of snow/frost, which is embedded into her persona.

Talking with Alan after this step, he guided me towards Japanese Waves/Wind as a source of shapes, as the icicle shapes maybe 'too stylised'. He later suggested I could take influence from icicles and incorporate it into costume development, a creating a balance of the two.I painted the silhouettes in these versions with ink, infusing elements of traditional Japanese mediums, and fashion illustration to gain a style, as well as 'fluidity' from the Waves/Wind

I think the answer is a mixture of both these stylises. My next step will be refining this direction, by blocking
out more silhouettes, and cutting in some detail/colour, whilst playing with proportion more, as these are all quiet similar.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

The Proposal '1st Draft'

So here's my first draft of my proposal. Not entirely sure of what it is meant to comprise of, only that it's a brief 'of sorts' so I thought I'd get something down and see what needs to be changed, with help from either Alan or Phil.

The Narrative of 'The Tale of Yuki-Onna' & Character Biography

After spending a significant amount of time researching many different area's of influence, and trying to ground my character within these. I feel as though I've 'discovered' my own version of Yuki-Onna, in a fresh, modern twist on the Japanese folklore.

I realise this because it feels like the character couldn't  be written any 'other' way then what I've established here. There is no fat, but rather pieces/facets that tie together to form a new character born of a 'world' relative to my research.

I'm aware a lot of this is text based, hence trying out this new way of conveying it. Creating these boards are also doubling up as a making of, and a much more professional way of presenting my work in regards to previous projects.

With the Back-story in place, its helped set a world where I can ground/justify transcribing Yuki-Onna, and the motifs that surround her in the original tales. The Synopsis is just version of the Back-story, with all the fat cut away, and slightly elaborates on Yuki-Onna.

The Character Bio is the real meat in this package, an inspired mix of both Research Compilations, as well as some elements/themes I feel bring the character to life. This will act as a reference board whenever I begin to design new elements.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Extracting Filmic Influences - Blade Runner

In the final installment of Filmic References, I decided to wrap up with Blade Runner, a film classed 'Neo-Noir' a style often seen in modern motion pictures and other forms that prominently utilize elements of Film Noir, but with updated themes, content, style, visual elements or media that were absent in films noir of the 1940s and 1950s. This seemed like the right route to take, as my own work will incorporate elements of this sub-genre.

Blade Runner '1982'

In a cyberpunk vision of the future, man has developed the technology to create replicants, human clones used to serve in the colonies outside Earth but with fixed lifespans. In Los Angeles, 2019, Deckard is a Blade Runner, a cop who specialises in terminating replicants. Originally in retirement, he is forced to re-enter the force when six replicants escape from an offworld colony to Earth.

After having gathered many different references, each focusing on different elements, such as Femme Fatale, Traditional Japanese Cinema, and Revenge Characters/Tales, I watched this film for the sole purpose of capturing how it conveyed a Hybridized sense of Film Noir, through atmosphere, lighting, mood, composition, and shapes that together build an environment that represents the nature of the sequence. There was many shots in this film that worked in this way, however these particular screen caps I feel will help portray Yuki-Onna in the way I wish.

Extracting Filmic Influences - Bullet Ballet & Branded To Kill

With Yuki-Onna being reminscent of Film Noir's classic 'Femme Fatale', it seemed obvious to look at Japans reaction to the American genre, and try to extract traits that resonate within films in Japanese Cinema, such as story components and visual reference. By doing so, it will help ground my character further into a workable story of hybridized genres, and help draw out some influences, such as lighting and charatcer archetypes.

Here's a map composed of two films under the same genre. Bullet Ballet '1998' & Branded to Kill '1967'

Bullet Ballet:

Bullet Ballet has a stylised, unreal, grainy, heavily-contrasted look redolent of the true classics of 40's film noir, replete with femmes fatales, chisel-jawed heroes and evil yakuza syndicates, with stunning composition, kinetic action interspersed with amazing, pure silence and slowness, and incredible attention to detail in its use of close-ups

Branded To Kill:

A 1967 Japanese Yakuza Film. The number-three-ranked hit-man, a fetish for sniffing boiling rice, fumbles his latest job, which puts him into conflict with a mysterious woman whose death wish inspires her to surround herself with dead butterflies and dead birds. Worse danger comes from his own treacherous wife and finally with the number-one-ranked hit-man, known only as a phantom to those who fear his unseen presence.

I took these particular screen caps from each film because I felt that there were very strong, dark underlying sexual tones, each of the women used as a way to manipulate the men around them, to gain what they sought after, whilst always being in control of a situation. This switches over the traditonal pre-conception of men having control as opposed to the female, however the consequence of this portrays the female as a troubled individual. I found these images vital as reference for Yuki-Onna, in order to encapsulate their female qualities, as well as the lighting and atmosphere typical of Film Noir

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Extracting Filmic Influences - Ugetsu Monogatari

Another edition to the influences I intend to include into my character, suggested by Tom Beg, I must admit I was slightly unsure about why I was directed to this film as it takes some time setting the scene, however towards the end all became clear.

Ugetsu Monogatari '1953'

Presented in a manner as eerie as it is heartbreaking, this film is a gorgeous supernatural fable about the folly of men with dreams larger than their abilities and their women who suffer as a result. Genjuro is a potter who longs for wealth and luxury while Tobei , a farmer, dreams of the glories of the samurai to the point of ignoring his wife. Though a war rages around them, they venture to town to sell their wares. Genjuro becomes bewitched by a beautiful though vengeful ghost, while his wife is murdered by a soldier; Tobei becomes a noted warrior, while his wife descends into prostitution after being raped while searching for her husband.

The spirit in this story being my main focus, is a temptress of sorts, and has the ability to entrance men in into mindless love, and eventually death. This can relate to some characteristics of Yuki-Onna. I felt taking screen caps of certain moments, such as poses, lighting, scenery and expressions she pulled could help as a reference point, in order to capture the eerie, manipulative, seductive atmosphere.

Extracting Filmic Influences - Lady Snowblood

After speaking to Phil and Tom Beg a few weeks back about possible films to could help with ground my character into a workable story, taking influences from Japanese cinema and

Lady Snowblood '1973'

A flamboyantly blood-spattered samurai revenge picture with a twist: the implacable seeker of retribution is a slender female with a flawless ivory complexion and a dead-center killer stare. Born in prison, Snowblood is raised by a martial priest and trained to fulfill a single purpose: tracking down, and assassinating the four cackling fiends who killed her father and persecuted her mother to an early grave.

I loved this film, and as I watched, I could automatically relate my own character to the the protagonist in this film, as though I had already watched it previously. There are many simmilarites between the Yuki-Onna and Lady Snowblood, and using her as a basis of inspiration 'Facially' could evoke a similar beauty she encapsulates, as well as placing an 'asian' aesthetic into the Japanese origin of my character, as opposed to using a European face as influence

Compilation of Research - Something New

I think throughout this course I've tended to use my blog as an information dump, which is useful for me to refer back to when finalizing idea's, it sometimes clutters the pages, and is hard for outside people to know what the hell I'm actually doing.

To me personally, all the gathered research is important, and it's true sometimes I feel reluctant to leave anything out, however condensing is needed to save time for reference. So I thought I'd compile my information into a 'Spider Diagram' inspired design which is 'reader freindly' and more professional & visual.

I feel this template works well both visually and effectively, highlighting main points of focus, as well as incorporating a particular feel. I think when utilizing this information into a 'Character Bio', I'll use this method again as a great tool of reference for designing.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Alchemy: Insect Brush Results

Whilst waiting to watch some precious films that will hopefully help me pull together the last remaining parts of my Character's profile, Back story and influences, I decided to chase the 'Sexual Cannibalism' route and put together a set of brushes based off the Insects that take part in consuming their male counterpart in Sexual Intercourse/Reproduction.

Here's the process once more for those who might find it useful for future efforts:

Clean up>Black & White>Export Image>Ilustrator>Scale to Page>Live Trace>Expand>Crtl + 8 (Ungroup)>Export as PDF 1.4>Place into Pullshapes Folder

Alchemy Insect Pull Shapes

As you can see the brushes of the silhouettes are certainly identifiable, so using them produced some great results. I feel doing this at an early stage of the project helped me get some idea's out that a may have waited to do a lot later, and lost, which in turn has also helped me to visualize and decide what sort of direction I want to go in at an early stage.

These are clearly not designs but rather 'sketch's' to help my creative process.

Arranged by roughly the order I created each one in, there is a clear progression between 'Part 1', and 'Part 2'. In the first part, I was placing shapes down without seeing any real definition of a body, or even a face. After a few more attempts a began to pick out certain elements and elaborate more on certain shapes, high-ligting and shading with tools Alchemy, mixing other brushes in, such as Mech parts and Tech lines, and even using some colour, which is a first.

I began to see more facial shapes whilst using the brushes more than anything else when reaching the 2nd Part. I think in my personal reflection I came out with some amazing results I didn't expect, nodding back to the first time I used this technique in my 'Tezcatlipoca' Aztec Project. 

As I mentioned before, these merely serve as getting some creative tensions out, as well as exploring possible routes, ways to utilize different style approaches out of my comfort zone and doubling up to infuse 'Sexual Cannibalism' into the process. After showing Alan, he suggested once finalizing all of my characters backstory, to start using predatory spinal shapes to build my character from, enhancing the underlying nature of my character further.

The Tale Of Yuki-Onna 'Title Design'

Just thought I'd spend a little time putting together a professional looking design for future use in this project, hopefully it reflects the cold, side of the character and it's origin, as well as the fresh 'modern' twist I intend to put on the folktale. :)