Monday, 31 October 2016

Character Design: Baby Concepts 1-50 01/11/2016

1-50
Just some ideas for coming up with the art style and the general look of the baby. I got most of my inspiration from 1950's paratroopers with the dome heads. Having the helmet slightly cover the character's face was a last second idea which seems to fit the character really well.

Influence 1

Influence 2

Influence 3

Influence 4

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Life Drawing 27/10/2016







Character Design: Idea Re-Work 26/10/2016

Soundclip

Inital Ideas

My previous ideas were:

1. Staffroom Chaos
A woman appears to be monologuing to herself with exaggerated gestures in a staffroom until the camera reveals she is not alone. The school they are in has been ravaged and smashed to pieces, giving the two teachers the reason to be in the states they are. 

2. Team Carrying:
A skinny jock is doing laps of a track, but his girlfriend is this huge woman and has demanded that instead of her having to run she will sit on his shoulders. The jock is a tiny little stick compared to the girl so disobeying the laws of physic's should make this really ridiculous to watch.

3. Playing make belief:
Two kids are in a playground playing make believe whilst this audio clip plays, they have put on parts of the teachers clothing, near the end of the animation you can see the two teachers have been wrapped up in toilet paper, strapped to a bar on the jungle gym.

4. Team Carrying, Role Reversal:
Instead of the girl being the on the top, this time, it is the guy. This guy is like a fat small child and the girl is a small 6th grader. They are still doing laps of a track but the designs have significantly changed.

New Idea!

Now taking previous ideas, combining Alan and Justin's Feedback I have come up with 'Toddler Takeover'. This animation begins with a female teacher tied up and complaining. in the background you can see other teachers tied up and gagged with either tape or toys. The kids have broken into the staff schoolroom and decided to take it for themselves. The animation finishes with a 4-year-old opening the staff fridge, grabbing a beer can and downing the sucker.

There are certain aspects to take into account with this animation, the way it is first shown is with two teachers completely out of breath tied up. What appears to be next to them is a wall but is really a fridge, that is how the baby says "I need a beer". The whole start is meant to be sinister, having a red hand print on the wall, assumed to be blood but is really a child's hand painting, the lighting making the baby look massive, then by the end the big reveal is that it is just some silly kids.

The animation's theme is based on something that is assumed to be sinister, then revealed to be silly.

The only issue with this idea is it might be slightly difficult to incorporate the sound well into the animation, however with enough refinement this should work quite nicely.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Character Design: Classroom Practices 25/10/2016

Supernatural Brute 
Supernatural Ghost/Assassin
Supernatural Scientist
1950's Sci-Fi Soldier Development Page 1
1950's Sci-Fi Soldier Development Page 2
1950's Sci-Fi Soldier Development Page 3
1950's Sci-Fi Soldier Development Page 4
1950's Sci-Fi Soldier
Justin's Character Doodles

Maya Tutorial: Posing Positioning 3, 24/10/2016

Key Pose's GIF
Pose 1

Pose 2

Pose 3

Pose 4

Pose 5

Pose 6

Pose 7

Facial/Hand Expression GIF


Pose 8

Pose 9

Pose 10

Pose 11

Pose 12

Pose 13



Final Animation


I have been trying out a couple AE 'Doohickies' to make the video a little better to watch and I'm now trying out new fonts to make the presentation in my work a little more professional and sharp. Feedback would be appreciated. The pacing in the video is a little 'Off' and in the future, I will attempt not to make the same silly mistake.



I already knew a fair amount before tackling this task so with that in mind there are a couple things I have picked up during this exercise. The main thing being that animating in 3D is like animating in 2D but with a lot more pros and cons.

The con's being that Maya can sometimes have the tendency to crash (Which is very rare with this model.) making all of your work for naught, but the main one is a number of bugs you can have in the graph editor and animation in general. Parts of the body can flip out of control as you have no idea what you have done.

The pro's of it, however, is that if you have ever animated in flash or photoshop, Maya animation is like that but much less tedious in my personal opinion. You don't ave to guess some poses because Maya can simulate them and give you something to work with, whereas drawn animation can sometimes be a shot in the dark.

Overall the practice has helped a ton and will help my streamline my animation techniques in future projects.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Character Design: Revisited 18/10/2016


Environment Options:
  • School Staffroom-Yes
  • Highschool-Yes
  • Wildcard-No
Okay, so some progress has been made on this project, after having a chat I have had a couple more ideas for this project. I don't really want to use the wild card because of the fact some restriction can give birth to more creative ideas, despite that the wildcard idea is completely free. In the soundclip, there is still a sense of carrying role in the soundclip so I need to take that into account.

Ideas Revisited

1. Staffroom Chaos
A woman appears to be monologuing to herself with exaggerated gestures in a staffroom until the camera reveals she is not alone. The school they are in has been ravaged and smashed to pieces, giving the two teachers the reason to be in the states they are. 

2. Team Carrying:
A skinny jock is doing laps of a track, but his girlfriend is this huge woman and has demanded that instead of her having to run she will sit on his shoulders. The jock is a tiny little stick compared to the girl so disobeying the laws of physic's should make this really ridiculous to watch.

3. Playing make belief:
Two kids are in a playground playing make believe whilst this audio clip plays, they have put on parts of the teachers clothing, near the end of the animation you can see the two teachers have been wrapped up in toilet paper, strapped to a bar on the jungle gym.

4. Team Carrying, Role Reversal:
Instead of the girl being the on the top, this time, it is the guy. This guy is like a fat small child and the girl is a small 6th grader. They are still doing laps of a track but the designs have significantly changed.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Narrative: Narrative Structure & Hollywood Formula, UP (2009) 14/10/2016


Figure 1: 'Up' (2008) Poster

This film review will focus on the film 'Up' (2008), a story that follows an old man called Mr. Carl Fredricson, who's lifelong dream has been to go on an adventure to Paradise Falls, located in Venezuela, South America. With his wife passing away and legal authorities threatening to put him in a home, Carl Frederickson attaches thousands of helium-filled balloons to him home to make a makeshift aircraft, accidentally abducting the small scout Russell and stumbling across a talking dog. Together they must work together to save the exotic bird and evade the mad explorer Charles Muntz.

The film was released in 2008, was directed by Peter Docter and produced by Jonas Rivera. The story for Up was created by Bob Peterson & Tom McCarthy, and the soundtrack was created by Micheal Giacchino.

The topic for this film will 'Narrative Structure' and the 'Hollywood Formula'. This is usually how films can be/should be paced, and certain methods of this can be much more easy to spot than others. There are different methods of this such as a '1-2-1 Structure', which is a film split into three segments, two-quarters and one-half (Start 25+ Middle 50+ End 25 = 1 hour & 40 minutes). The idea of this is that the introduction to the film is short and sweet, but not too short as to confuse the audience, then the middle section is the meat of the film, and the last quarter can wrap up the film nicely into an ending.

Expect very little 'Reviewing' of this for this film because the method that will be shown will be the main topic of this review.

Acts

Now acts in films are arbitrary breaks in a film in order to pace the film, there isn't a limit to how many acts you can use however acts can make or break a film. Acts usually only take place when a certain event can either escalate/de-escalate a situation in a film, these can be minor or major events.

Arcs

Arcs in a film are how a film escalates/de-escalates and what the end result of the story will be, these can vary from being extremely harsh line into gradual soft slopes. There are three main arc plots in this, the three being an Arc Plot, Anti Plot, and a Mini Plot.

An Arc plot is the most commonly used out of the three, allowing the story to gradually progress until a conclusion is made, the story usually has some sort of time limit attached to it which affects the Arc & vice versa. An example of an arc plot would be 'War of the Worlds' (2005).

An Anti Plot basically exists to be an opposite of a normal arc plot, usually, the anti-plot is deliberately changing its arc making it very inconsistent and randomly spread out. An example of this is 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' (1975).

The Mini Plot is a plot set within a small story, usually told through multiple characters this plot can be very different because if the plot is told through more characters then the story can be understood much more easily by its audience, an example of this would be 'Rope' (1948).

Exposition



Exposition is usually at the start of a film in order to get the viewer immersed in the experience, it can kill a film if it is either too obvious, too long or introduced at the wrong time or in a pattern, the film can then be dissected easily and un-immense the viewer.

Endings

Endings in films are either ultimate climaxes, disorientated cliffhangers or neat little bows to tie a story together. There are known as open, closed and partial endings. Open endings are made to create sequels, Closed endings are for creating a conclusion and partial endings can be a mixture of the two but still leave the potential for sequels. So in a nutshell Open ending are made to make you want more, Closed ending are made to satisfy and partial endings are meant to be a middle ground for the two.


Now it's time to use these methods,
To Break, 
Down, 
Up.
The Beginning-Act 1

The beginning is comprised of the montage of Ellie and Carl, giving you a little idea of what the current state of affairs are, without using any dialog either. The exposition in depth here is that Carl and Ellie meet, get married, have a series of unfortunate events, Ellie dies and Carl is left to live on his own with his dream.

Now the main thing with this is that it's the first act, showing the main events and ultimate goals, the ultimate goal being that carl gets his exotic adventure with his wife. Other assets which are set up in the first act is the introduction of Russel, the set up for the exotic bird known as the Snipe, or 'Kevin' and how Carl goes about moving his house, e.g. the balloons.

Act-2-Build-Up

Act 2 is comprised of Carl using hundreds of helium balloons to carry his house to paradise falls and escape being put into shady oaks retirement home. Not realizing he has also abducted Russel he lets Russel in and allows us to bond with the characters. When the house gets hit by the storm they both end up getting lost and somehow make their way to paradise falls. They are then introduced to Doug and Kevin and they continue to wander until they come across Charles Muntz.

The storm is the supernatural force driving the plot forward in the hero's journey, act 2 is mainly about showcasing the characters. Once all of the characters are introduced to the audience the film's real plot begins to open up.

Act-3-Build-Up

Act 3 reveals that Charles is really evil and will do anything to get his hands on Kevin, Carls main challenge is presented to him in which he has to let go of the past in order to move forward, however, this is not expanded upon until Russel decides to go rescue, Kevin.

This acts purpose is to show the dilemmas which have been in the film from the very beginning but have been concealed and built up very specifically for a much more dramatic climax.

Act-4-Climax

Carl achieves his goal of getting his house on paradise falls, but it's only when he realizes how much he is being held back. Carl needs to let go of the past in order to progress, and this is shown through the house. Carl then dukes it out with Charles in order to save everyone and return Kevin to its family.

Now a clever bit of symbolism in this animation is when Carl has finally reached paradise falls but still doesn't feel content with his final outcome, it is only when he open his memory book he is literally told by Ellie to move on and have another adventure.

The way in which you can see him moving on is him trying to get the house to fly, and the only way he can do that is by getting rid of all his possessions to make the house light enough so it can float. This is a very cleverly done scene, the fact that the symbolism and the film's message can be picked out so easily is quite the achievement. This is the point in the film where everything the main narrative related is closed off.

Act-5-Ending

The film ends, showing that Carl, Doug, and Russel have stuck together in order to go on adventures together.

So the film is most likely a partial ending, the reason being is that one of the last moments in the film is Russel and Carl flying off in the house to go have some other adventure,  potentially hinting that we could see more of Carl and Russel's antics. However this film could also be a closed ending because of all the plots in the film have been resolved, all goals have been completed, and they lived 'Happily ever after'.

Figure 2: Carl Fredrickson, Russel, Doug & Kevin

Plot Points

As stated before a film can have as many acts as it needs, what is contained within those areas are certain plot points, build-ups, and exposition. An example of this would be in UP when there are multiple stories going on at once. Russel saving Kevin and Carl reaching paradise falls. Each plot point can lead to ultimate goals or ends of certain acts. As stated earlier Carl leaves paradise falls to go help Russell, this is an example which is relatively easy to spot, Carl achieves his objective and then through storytelling is put back onto the path to finish Act 4.

The whole film in plot points would be:
  1. Carl and Ellie meet.
  2. Carl and Ellie sequence.
  3. Carl's life alone.
  4. Legal authorities trying to take his home.
  5. Introduction to mRussel.
  6. Carl Attacks construction worker.
  7. Carl flies his house.
  8. Russel accidently goes with carl.
  9. The house gets lost in the storm and they end up at paradise falls.
  10. They encounter Kevin.
  11. They encounter Doug.
  12. Doug's Plot is revealed.
  13. Russel's story is revealed.
  14. We are introduced to Charles.
  15. Charles true intentions are revealed.
  16. Carl, Russel, Doug & Kevin escape Charles.
  17. Carl is faced with a loss of friendship.
  18. Carl achieves his ultimate goal.
  19. Carl Obtains a new goal, to rescue Kevin and Russel.
  20. The plots main climax begins to build, Carl must save Kevin.
  21. Carl dukes it out with Charles.
  22. Charles is defeated and Kevin is safe.
  23. Russel, Doug, and Carl return home and become a family.
Image Bibliography

Figure 1: 'Up' (2008) Poster,
http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/pixar/images/f/ff/UP_Poster_AllChar.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20110412110514

Figure 2: Carl Fredrickson, Russel, Doug & Kevin,
http://static.cinemagia.ro/img/db/movie/02/10/37/up-145316l.jpg

Friday, 7 October 2016

Character Design Class: C3-P0 + A Clown 07/10/2016

Page 1
Page 2
I had to merge 3C-P0 with a clown, so I came up with the idea of a robotic butler turned into a clown. He is sort of a smart clown, constantly saying witty jokes that no-one understands and generally being a very bad clown.

Narrative: Archetypes, Kung Fu Panda (2008) 07/10/2016

Figure 1: 'Kung Fu Panda' (2008) Poster
This film review will focus on the film 'Kung Fu Panda' (2008), the story follows a Panda named Po, a Panda stuck in a dead end job as a chef's assistant. Little does Po know he is destined for greatness and must undergo train to become a Kung-Fu master. Faced with his entire village being destroyed by the evil snow leopard Tai Lung, Po must rise to the challenge and defeat Tai Lung.

The film was released in 2008, was directed by John Stevenson and produced by Melissa Cobb. Ethan Reiff created the story and Hans Zimmer composed the music for the film. The film is heavily influenced by Chinese design and folklore, the most notable being the Yin and the Yang for Po's character, him being a Panda and all.

The topic this time for the film review will be Archetypes in films. Archetypes are used in a number of Hollywood films as a means of character creation & character definition. This review once again will focus on some aspects of the film for its creative qualities but for the most part this review will be picking out the Archetypes in the film.

This film is loved by many and is widely stated that this is one of Dreamworks best films, whilst its plot can be predictable at times, its technical beauty is something to behold. "The story is way too predictable, and truth to tell, Po himself didn't overwhelm me with his charisma. But it's elegantly drawn, the action sequences are packed with energy, and it's short enough that older viewers will be forgiving." (R Ebert. 2008)

Figure 2: Po
So the first main question is what is an Archetype and what kinds of character Archetypes are there? Well, to start off we will answer the first question, archetypes have been around for a long time, going back as far as 400 Bc and starts at the roots of human psychology. The way in which we as humans analyze things can sometimes lead us to assume traits. For example, you would assume Darth Vader to be evil because of how he is presented, whereas, on the other hand, Luke Skywalker is the complete opposite. We assume Persona's for characters based on looks and sounds in films, once again the example with Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.

Now there are certain character Archetypes in films, these characters include:

The Hero
The main character for the story.

The Herald
The person who could either start the adventure or foresee what will happen.

The Mentor
The character who teaches the Hero skills, knowledge and is generally the source for most wisdom.

The Threshold Guardian
The character preventing our hero from proceeding with his quest.

The Shapeshifter
The shapeshifter is someone who has intentions but is not always clear.

The Shadow
The shadow is the inverse of our Hero.

The Trickster
Someone who causes mischief and is usually there for comedy relief.

Allies
To show support.
(Can be multiple characters.)

The Father
To show authority.

The Mother
To care, love and nurture.

The Child
The child represents innocence and honesty.

The Maiden
The maiden is the symbol of love in the film.
Figure 3: Master Shifu
Now those are more or less the core Archetypes, however, archetypes can also be merged together, for example, Deadpool is the Hero, but he is also a mixture of The Shadow and The Child, creating this hilariously cryptic and childish anti-hero. So the Archetypes can be merged to create more diverse characters, so let's try applying this to Kung Fu Panda.

The Hero:
The Hero of the story is Po.

The Herald:
The herald is Master Oogway, having a vision of the events to come, starting the whole plot for the film.

The Mentor:
The Mentor is technically two characters, them being the father Mr. Ping and Master Shifu. Master Shifu teaches Po Kung Fu and Mr. Ping gives Po the revelation of "Just be yourself".

The Threshold Guardian:
The Threshold Guardian is two characters, one being Mr. Ping because of him wanting his son to become a chef and the second is actually Po. Po is quite large and not exactly 'Adapted' for Kung Fu, so he has to overcome himself in order to become better.

The Shapeshifter:
The furious five are meant to be the guardians of the valley of peace, the most powerful Kung-Fu warriors in all of China, so when the 'Dragon Warrior' shows up it is unclear whether they either want him gone or will help him turn into the warrior they need him to be.

The Shadow:
Tai Lung is the obvious main villain of the film, locked up for years and on a path for horrible revenge against everybody and anybody who stands against him. More or less being a complete opposite of Po.

The Trickster:
Master Shifu is Po's mentor but makes no secret that he wants him gone, so he gets him into constant trouble and pain.

Allies:
The furious Five are the obvious sidekicks to Po, even though he is the least experienced compared to all of them.

The Father:
Master Shifu and Mr. Ping both have some influence over Po, one of them being his father and the other being a source of all knowledge and wise, or Po's idol.

The Mother:
Master Oogway is not a 'Mother' but he is the only real character who shows care and affection for everyone. Being old and wise makes his wisdom much more useful, he almost seems like a close old grandparent.

The Child:
Po is the child in the film just because of his innocence, he never wants to truly hurt anybody and tries to stay away from conflict as much as he can.

The Maiden:
Tigress is the only real love interest in the film. She can take care of herself and is more of an independent character the love is only slightly hinted at.

You can see nearly all the roles play off of the hero, making choices based on Po's actions effect later events. Oogways death being the most significant action to get the ball rolling in the film.

Figure 4: Tai Lung
The films plot is interesting but at times can be somewhat predictable, with no real plot twists or turns the film does struggle to immerse to viewer. What the film does do correctly is create believeable characters who all have purpose/meaning, apart from a couple of the furious five everyone seems to be involved somehow. The designs of the characters are also very well done, the most exceptional being Po. It is just a shame some of of the characters are neglaected in the film, the most notable being Jackie Chan as Monkey."With Kung Fu Panda’s heavy emphasis on action and Black’s humor, there’s bound to be something that gets the short shrift. In this movie, it’s the Furious Five. Although they are voiced by fairly big names (Angelina Jolie as Tigress, Jackie Chan as Monkey, Seth Rogen as Mantis, Lucy Liu as Viper, and David Cross as Crane), the characters don’t really distinguish themselves."(E Perkins) Jack Black voicing Po is very strong, but the main problem is that all the attention is alaways on Jack, never really anyone else.

Po being a Panda, his colour scheme is already the same as the Yin and the Yang. This leads to Po's character right from the very beginning being portrayed as someone who stands out. He towers over all of the other characters whilst presenting himself in a way which make him seem inferior to everyone. Take that and then compare Po to what seems to be what Po wants to be, Master Shifu. Shifu is the opposite of Po, being extremely hostile and much smaller than Po one would expect Po to have the upper hand, however in this film that is not the case.

Hans Zimmer also does a wonderful job with the soundtrack, giving off an ancient china vibe in most of the music really hardens down the fact that the whole film is set in china, a particular moment where this is strong is the choosing of the dragon warrior. There is the same theme played over and over again every time a significant event happens, but the music never gets old.

After making Shrek there may not have been much that Dreamworks could have done to top it, but Kung Fu Panda visually and technically is very impressive to observe. "There’s a level of visual beauty here that’s a notch above anything DreamWorks has attempted before - a sequence where the ancient master, Oogway (Randall Duk Kim), blends with a cloud of cherry blossom is achingly gorgeous." (C Hewitt. 2015) Supposedly in this sequence, every single blossom was animated very specifically, which is quite impressive when you think about how many petals are in that sequence. Overall the film is very good, whilst it struggles from some story and casting issues the film is pretty great.

Bibliography

Hewitt, C. (2006) Kung Fu Panda. 
At: 
(Accessed on 7 October 2016)

Perkis, E. (2008) ‘Kung Fu Panda’. 
At: 
(Accessed on 7 October 2016)

Ebert, R. (2008) Kung Fu Panda movie review & film summary. (2008)
At:
(Accessed on 7 October 2016)

Image Bibliography

Figure 1: 'Kung Fu Panda' (2008) Poster
At:

Figure 2: Po
At:

Figure 3: Master Shifu
At:

Figure 4: Tai Lung
At: