Friday, 30 January 2015

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Camera Part 9 - Camera Shake

Character design workshop

For the character design workshop we had to create two characters and make a short story out of it.
My keyword was "mythical" and the encounter was "David and Goliath" or a fight between the characters. 
The references I used were Greek sculptures and a warrior armor which happened to look like a skirt on my character, turning him into a gay Hercules (he appreciates the finer things in life and chasing butterflies) and the baddy is a Homophobic monster (I had no time left to design him, so I went for a quick millipede creature, wearing a mask (hiding its true identity), living in a deep lake (as a symbol of a subconscious fear).

And this is their exciting encounter, kept it very short as I wanted it to fit on one page.

"North by Northwest" movie review

(fig 1 – poster)
North by Northwest” (1959) is a movie that incorporates comedy, thrills, action and romance in a graceful manner. Roger Thornhill (played by Cary Grant) is taken out of his familiar business surroundings and placed right in the middle of a criminal typhoon where his only way out is to try and play the game of survival. Peter Bradshaw talks about the film: “North By Northwest” was a product of the cold war, a contest which, as one top American spy here darkly remarks, Washington is worried about losing. But America certainly looks like a winner in this gorgeous film.” (Bradshaw, 2009)

A lot can be said about the incredible set pieces and their use throughout the movie. Even for its time the finale at Mount Rushmore looks strangely realistic. talks about that: “Exciting set-pieces include the seduction scenes with steamy double entendres during a cross-country train ride, the seven-minute bi-plane crop-duster attack scene near a Midwest cornfield, the auction scene, and the dangling finale at Mount Rushmore, heralded in another film poster: From the killer plane in the cornfield to the cliff-hanger on George Washington's nose, it's suspense in every direction!” (, 2015)

This film also brings us a cult scene with the crop-duster (fig. 2). Another magnificent use of the camera and while watching it, it seems as if there isn't a single shot out of place, everything is perfectly constructed to paint the whole picture clearly and in an exciting way. Tula Onanuga talks about the scene and its impact: “Hitchcock's 1959 classic was ahead of its time in many ways, but the tense few moments in which suave ad executive Roger Thornhill is terrorised by a murderous crop-dusting pilot is the film's biggest triumph. It is also one of the most emulated action sequences in Hollywood history. It's been parodied by everything from The Simpsons to Metallica.” (Onanuga, 2013)

 (fig 2 – movie still)
An intriguing point about the movie is the modern way with which women are presented. Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) is a sophisticated woman that knows what she wants and plays a major role in the film. A. H. Weiler talks about the actress: “In casting Eva Marie Saint has plumbed some talents not shown by the actress heretofore. Although she is seemingly a hard, designing type, she also emerges both the sweet heroine and a glamorous charmer.” (Weiler, 2015) (fig. 3)

(Fig 3 – movie still)
In conclusion the film is visually exciting and presented in a delightful, easy-to-watch, way. Story wise it seems very different from the chilling horror we are accustomed to connect Hitchcock’s name to, but his use of the camera cannot be mistaken for anyone else’s.  


Fig 1 -, (2015). [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Jan. 2015].

Fig 2 -, (2015). [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Jan. 2015].

Fig 3 -, (2015). [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Jan. 2015].


Bradshaw, P. (2009). Film review: North By Northwest. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 29 Jan. 2015]., (2015). North by Northwest (1959). [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Jan. 2015].

Onanuga, T. (2013). Why I love … North By Northwest's crop-duster scene. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 29 Jan. 2015].

 Weiler, A. (2015). Movie Review - North By Northwest - Hitchcock Takes Suspenseful Cook's Tour; ' North by Northwest' Opens at Music Hall - [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Jan. 2015].

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Life drawing

Today was a good day. Had a lot of fun with pastels and black paper is my new favourite thing :)

Monday, 26 January 2015

Camera Part 10 - Contra Zoom

Camera Part 8 - Coverage

Definitive Influence Map(s)

Found too many examples of the things I am looking for so I had to combine them into two influence maps. Mainly gypsy themed circuses and restaurants, the age is the 1800s and some fashion from that time which will help a lot with the character design.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Character Blob Animation Part 3

After the feedback I received from Meg, I improved on the blob, added more frames and finished todays exercise by adding a scarf to my penguin-thingy :)
It is on vimeo, sorry about the lack of a direct video file but it's too big for blogger :)

Sketchbook Pro exercise

A very nifty software will definitely use it more :)

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Character Design Workshop

This time we had to design environments. My random words were an insane ninja dojo. After some research I ended up doing a slightly warped version of a ninja dojo but built in a cave. Suggesting that seclusion can lead to insanity. Wasn't too happy with the concept so it led to #2.

 I couldn't really grasp the word "insanity" as it can mean a lot of things, I ended up designing a homeless person that built a "dojo" out of the rubbish he found. Still not the best idea, but it was a fun exercise :)

"Psycho" Movie Review

(Fig. 1 – Poster)
Psycho” (1960) is a masterpiece that encompasses suspense, a major plot twist, incredible soundscape and camera use. It’s as if Alfred Hitchcock directed the viewer more than the actual actors. The way he slowly reveals bits of information and skilfully misdirects our attention can be compared to a magician performing his magic tricks to an unsuspecting crowd.

The opening of the film reveals the love interest between Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) and Sam Loomis (John Gavin). Following their dialogue and the events that follow can only mean that the plot has been set and the film will be all about the relationship between the two characters. This however is entirely untrue. In a major twist Hitchcock reveals the true story concerned with a psychopath that lives in the Bates Motel, the place where Marion decides to spend the night after stealing $40 000.

What follows is a remarkable and iconic scene, which made “Psycho” the masterpiece that it is from then on. When the Bates Motel owner Norman (Anthony Perkins) spies on Marion, the viewer is misdirected again, thinking that what is happening is a scene of voyeurism. Roger Ebert talks about the shower scene in “Psycho”: “Unlike modern horror films, "Psycho" never shows the knife striking flesh. There are no wounds. There is blood, but not gallons of it. Hitchcock shot in black and white because he felt the audience could not stand so much blood in colour. The slashing chords of Bernard Herrmann's soundtrack substitute for more grisly sound effects. The closing shots are not graphic but symbolic, as blood and water spin down the drain, and the camera cuts to a close-up, the same size, of Marion's unmoving eyeball. This remains the most effective slashing in movie history, suggesting that situation and artistry are more important than graphic details.” (Ebert, 1998) (Fig. – 2)

(Fig. 2 – movie still)
Another thing that really strikes is the use of the bird symbol over and over again throughout the film. Mark Monahan touches upon the subject: “The creatures are everywhere in Psycho, from the aerial shots, to Marion's surname, to the town where the action begins (Phoenix), to the hideous taxidermy looming on Norman's walls, and even his world-view.” (Monahan, 2014) We can only guess why a bird theme exists in the movie. It might be that Hitchcock is hinting at his next project “The Birds”, or as a symbol of the lack of freedom (caged/ stuffed birds), or perhaps the traditional meaning of a black bird, being that they do not give away their secrets easily, suggesting that the story will unfold with its own pace and only when the director chooses to. (Fig. – 3,4)

(fig. 3, 4 – movie stills)

The only thing that stops the film from being perfect is the ending, when everything is explained to us, as if unable to fully grasp the occurrings on the screen. Bill Webber gives a plausible explanation: “In the frequently derided penultimate scene, when Sam asks the all-knowing psychiatrist "Why was he...dressed like that?," the practical necessity of supplying a prosaic explanation for Norman's madness is perhaps best understood by thinking of a typical 1960 moviegoer as John Gavin” (Weber, 2010)

In conclusion, “Psycho” is indeed a masterpiece, a real treat for any viewer absolutely sickened by recent films filled with cheap scares, unnecessary blood and gore. A movie that offers an intelligent way to indulge in the darker recesses of the mind of a mentally ill person.

Fig – 1 -, (2015). [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Jan. 2015].
Fig. – 2 -, (2015). [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Jan. 2015].
Fig – 3,4 -, (2015). role of birds in psycho | What Next?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Jan. 2015].

Ebert, R. (1998). Psycho Movie Review & Film Summary (1960) | Roger Ebert. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Jan. 2015].
Monahan, M. (2014). Psycho, review - Telegraph. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Jan. 2015].

Weber, B. (2010). Psycho | Film Review | Slant Magazine. [online] Slant Magazine. Available at: [Accessed 22 Jan. 2015].

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

@Phil, Gathering Stories

After a more than inspiring dialogue I reallly like this idea Phil.
The setting is indeed a travelling/gypsy circus of animals in Victorian times. The witchdoctor is using his camera (maybe part of it created by amber/crystals, traditionally used to trap spirits) to trap the souls of his audience and turn them into animals which he either consumes or leaves for his young daughter, being a lion tamer, to train and use for their shows. It is really important that she doesn't know about this scheme and after her mother oposed her husband, she disappeared mysteriously. The catalyst in the story is that the soul-trapping camera actually captures photos of the people halfway through transformation into animals. She finds the pictures and realises that the lion she tames is indeed her mother. The resolution is set in the restaurant tent where the fat witch doctor expects his dinner but actually finds himself with the camera pointed at him by his daughter. She clicks and in a flash of light he turns into a pig, surrounded by the angry predators, hungry for revenge.

Oooh the drama! I think all three essential parts of the brief are a big part of the story and it is inspiring. Feedback please :)

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Character design workshop

I fell inlove with this workshop, it is sooo exciting to actually know the steps of designing a character.
Today my random archetype was a wizard.
I gave him a mayan twist and he is more of a summoner/shaman. Redid the staff from a feathery design to an insect trapped in amber. This wizard also controls familiars hence the feathered serpent ( let's see if i can spell this correctly - Quetzalcoatl).
The second exercise was designing a character based on a room and mine was a gym.
So i came up with an Arny inspires weight-lifter and a pervy gym shower that spies on you when you aren't watching. :)

A story idea

My story needs to include a restaurant, a camera and a liontamer.

The idea is of a young lion, recently captured for a circus. The liontamer spends all day using his whip and trying to break the lion's spirit. So far we have a baddy, represented by the tamer and the symbol of courage - the brave lion.
At the end of the day the liontamer is too tired to double-check the lock of the lion's cage and a storm starts pouring down. He goes at the restaurant across the street for his dinner. In the restaurant all of the clowns, trapeze-artists and jugglers are having a meal after the circus finally closed for the day. Everyone is at awe at the majestic liontamer and he sits on the best table, right in the center.
Suddenly people start looking around for the source of a loud noise, realizing that the lion is halfway through escaping his cage.
The liontamer jumps off his seat and opens the door with his trusty whip in hand. The crowd of performers quickly reaches for their phone cameras and anxiously start recording the occurings.
The liontamer stretches his whip in anger but the already free lion bites the end and pulls it off his hands.
The whip is broken in half and with a swift jump, the lion hops on the nearby stone fence. He gives one last look to his tamer, his face lit by a sudden lighting.

Life drawing

Today was our fisrt lady! Really enjoyed it and had a lot of fun :)

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Rope - movie review

 (fig. 1 – poster)
Rope” (1948) is a masterfully created movie in which the suspense plays as big of a part as every actor in the film. It touches upon the morbid and twisted philosophy of the perfect murder and takes the viewer for a ride in the dark parts of a killers mind.
Pamela Hutchinson talks about the film: “Rope isn't Hitchcock's best film, but it's one of his most audacious. With this movie, the master of suspense turns a nail-biting setpiece into a full-length feature, and shows us the ugly flipside of the violent thrillers that made his name.” (Hutchinson, 2012)
Reading between the lines uncovers more of the backstory of the actors. Brandon, being the sadist is really committed to the idea that the perfect murder is his superior right and Philip, his irrational partner, is jittering during the whole film. They are clearly a homosexual couple and their characteristics are outdated, playing on the notion that gay men are out of touch with their feelings and prone to neurotic outbursts. (fig – 2)
 (fig. 2 – movie still)
Since the film was based on a play Alfred Hitchcock needed to adapt it for the big screen which presented the director with creative challenges. Roger Ebert talks about the problem of representing a passing time and the feeling of the film happening in real-time: “The play appealed to Hitchcock’s sense of the macabre and his fascination with situations involving the inconvenience of dead bodies. But in translating the play to the screen, he had to deal with that unity of time and space. All of the events had to take place in one uninterrupted act, and he arrived at the novel idea of shooting the movie without any visible cuts, so that it would look like one continuous shot.” (Ebert, 1984)
The camera and its movement is truly gripping. It offers the viewer valuable information, puts them into the perspective of the characters and detaches itself, when needed, to offer us a unique point of view. It’s as if the camera serves as the eyes of a ghost, present on this sophisticated party, or it feeds our inner voyeurism and the need to know how the story will unfold. The New York Times talks about the use of the camera: “It swoops and pries about the set, moving from close-ups to long shots to medium shots, with a kind of studied indifference. One high point: While the guests are discussing something of no great moment just off- screen, the camera, catlike, stares at the chest as the maid gets ready to put some books back into it, unaware, of course, that the chest is already fully occupied.” (, 2015) (Fig – 3)
(Fig – 3: the set)
In conclusion, “Rope” is truly mesmerizing and the viewer is left almost covered with guilt after watching it, as if peeking into a world that’s not entirely unfamiliar, fully knowing how sinister it is.


Fig – 1:, (2015). Classic Movie Legend Tribute: Alfred Hitchcock | Classic Movie Hub Blog. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Jan. 2015].

Fig – 2:, (2015). Hitchcock’s Strangler Trilogy Rope – Movies I Didn't Get. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Jan. 2015].

Fig – 3: No Film School, (2013). Understanding the Hidden Editing in Hitchcock's 'Rope'. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Jan. 2015].


 Ebert, R. (1984). Rope Movie Review & Film Summary (1948) | Roger Ebert. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Jan. 2015].

Hutchinson, P. (2012). My favourite Hitchcock: Rope. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 13 Jan. 2015]., (2015). HITCHCOCK'S 'ROPE': A STUNT TO BEHOLD. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Jan. 2015].

Monday, 12 January 2015

First sounds experimentation

I recorded a few sounds in the weekend but surprisingly most of the things I actually used were in the background as they sounded more interesting.
I used Adobe Audition to crop the ones I liked and add some spooky effects. It sounds very metallic but I like it, will work on it more though and try to achieve a more organic feeling to it :)

Just to mention a few of the sounds used in this recording
-pulling the strings of a violin
-peeling an orange
-recorder pulled down a curtain
- and a turning of a metal handle (the eerie background sound)
>Click Here<
Tell me what you guys think :)

Exploring Storyboards

I did a storyboard based on a scene in "The Lord Of the Rings" (the return of the king). Started digitally, using a tablet but I didn't get the results I want so I ended up doing it in my sketchbook. It is surprising how a 3 minutes scene has so many camera views. Was surprisingly fun though, it sounds like the perfect hobby - film storyboarding on a Sunday afternoon :)

Designing and Animating the Blob

We had a lot of fun on Friday, designing a simple character (a blob) and animating it :)
At first my character looked a bit malicious (small eyes and a massive forehead) so I enlarged the eyes and made it slightly cuter. 
This is ho it looks in motion :)

Can't wait to see how it will look like with the added details throughout the term :)

Friday, 9 January 2015

Animation Part 3 - Using MEL

Animation Part 2 - Using Motion Paths

Character Design Workshop

The character I chose is from a game (Skyrim) - Alduin the big bad dragon:
After some tips on shapes and styles I tried keeping his features but change his style:
I think it started to clear up at around number 3 and my favourite is number 5, a more cartoony version of the famous dragon:
Then I was given Buttercup and changed her shape but tried keeping the main things that make her character.
Anyway it was really fun and it is really nice to hear some basics on character design, definitely helpful. :) 

“La Jetée” movie review

 (Fig 1 – poster)
La Jetée” created by Chris Marker, is a photo montage with a gripping and inspiring narrative. It tells a story about the power of memory and time-travel.

Phillip French talks about the film: “Except for one split-second shot, La Jetée unfolds entirely in grainy black-and-white stills, with a sonorous voiceover narrative and eerie sound effects.” (French, 2011) The story unfolds in a subterranean place, where the survivors of a world disaster dwell along with scientists who send people in the past, trying to prevent the cataclysmic events, that drove them  underground and save humanity. One of the prisoners has a vivid memory of a woman from the past which is his anchor in his journeys through time. (fig. 2)

 (fig. 2 – movie still)
Chris Marker achieved incredible results with “La Jetée” because the story is about memory and the still images feel engraved in the viewer’s mind days after they watched them.  Micahel Freiman discusses “La Jetée”: “Marker’s brief is to question the workings of memory, time and why the still image has a greater capacity to affect the viewer than the moving image, which he does using complex narrative strategies.” (Freiman, 2015).

It is also clear that the images are not combined together at random. There is a strong pace in their sequence, depending on the emotional response Chris Marker wants to achieve. “Sound is not the only tool that Marker skilfully uses to set the pace of the film. The amount of time each still photo remains on the screen and the quickening or lengthening of the edits between the shots greatly sets the pace and mood of the film. Quick edits combined with the sound of the beating heart during the experiment work effectively to set the mood that a live action sequence could not.” (, 2015) (fig. 3)

(fig. 3 – still)

In conclusion “La Jetée” explores gripping subjects and an extraordinary story. Its overall feeling is as if it wants to be a full length film (which it managed to inspire in “The Twelve Monkeys”) it feels like a story stripped out of everything unnecessary and presented with mastery and creativity.

Fig. 1  - lothlaurien's lore, (2010). Art Films #101. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Jan. 2015].

Fig. 2 -, (2015). La Jetée (The Jetty) | Film | The Guardian. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Jan. 2015].

Fig. 3 - Precious Bodily Fluids, (2010). La Jetée: Something is real?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Jan. 2015].

Freiman, M. (2015). An analysis of the Chris Marker Film 'La Jetée". [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Jan. 2015].

French, P. (2011). La Jetee/ Sans Soleil – DVD review. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 9 Jan. 2015]., (2015). Andy's Anachronisms -- La Jetée (1962) Directed by Chris Marker. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Jan. 2015].

Life drawing

We had a lovely life drawing session with a new model - Callum :)