Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Adaptation Part B: Animation, Events in Chronological Order & Design Details 28/02/2017

Knights 1100-1700

When Knights were around there was always a sense of honor and respect, whenever you saw a duel between two knights very rarely was there ever any cheating, it was a test of strength and skill. Technology in this era obviously existed but was nowhere near as advanced as we have today, the intention of the technology has carried over to our times but has become much more industrialized.

The knights are meant to be the pinnacle honor and combat so keeping to smaller details will be quite important.

Setting Theme:
  • Honour
  • Respect
The Gunboat War 1807-1814

Gunboats are not like huge battlecruisers but rather pirate ships, the jump that intended for this section is showing how when we work together we become more efficient, and having some sort of crew on a ship is a very good way of showing this.

This conflict was set in the Napoleonic wars back in the 1800's, now whilst this jump may be large from 1100 to 1800 there is a reason for it, it meant to show how long it really took for these ideals to set themselves in stone and really show how we began to change and progress.

Setting Theme:
  • Technological Advancement
  • Scale
WWI 1914- 1918

WWI has a lot of names, The Great War, War to end all Wars and Hell on earth, now whilst this time is horrible and should never be repeated it did show true courage, people who would be willing to charge headfirst into danger. Whilst this can also be depicted is insanity courage is something that does stand out in this particular time period.

Now whilst some details of this conflict can be associated with greed and manipulation there is and underlying theme here, and when elaborated upon there is a very real sense of nostalgia, a memory of the British people.

Setting Themes:
  • Chaos
  • Courage
Aden Emergency 1963-1967

Now the Aden Emergency is a conflict that is now widely well known, but the contents of the conflict are very interesting. In 1963 there was an uprising in British controlled space in South Arabia. In the end due to guerilla style hit and run attacks the British eventually did have to retreat. However, an event that is not very well known was an incident in a place called Gibraltar. Right before the Aden Emergency, (Or Leading Up to it) in Spain, there was a suspicion that an uprising would take place.

My grandfather was actually stationed there in order to prepare people for the potential oncoming attack. Now this section would show how we have gained valuable skills, and are willing to share them, no for our benefit but for others, showing care and compassion for different people.

Setting Theme:
  • Skill
  • Refinement
  • Care
Gulf War/Iraq War 1991-2009

Now the Gulf War is much more current, and with the second Gulf war taking place right after it (Also known as the Iraq War) talking about this particular conflicts may be slightly controversial. One of the main reasons for the conflict taking place was the acquisition of useful resources like land and oil. Now whilst this conflict is one of the most refined a well executed to a modern standard it is still not a good cause.

The fact that the main intention of this attack was for resources and not for causes we had previously been in, this shows how corruption has always unfortunately been a part of history, but that does not mean our old traditions and ways have faded out.
Setting Theme:
  • Greed
  • Corruption

First Chronological Storyboard Layout

This is the first rough timeline I've come up with for the animation, there are a couple things that should be addressed.

Issue 1: Not including WWII
So starting off with probably the most noticeable out of these is the fact I'm not going to include WWII. Now there is a reason I have chosen not to include it, and it's mainly for two reasons. First being from a production standpoint having WWI and WWII right next to each other might be slightly difficult to show how the two are different from one another but still having designs in a roughly similar environment I don't think would be interesting enough for the viewer.

The second being some of the contents of WWII, the main one being how the Germans were supposed 'Evil', which is not true. The idea of this animation is to show how far the British have come and what they have accomplished, I would not want to smear anyone else, or another country just because of the origins of the conflict.

Issue 2: Massive/Odd Timeline Jumps
The time jumps without a doubt are probably the biggest issue, having this odd sequence where first time jumps forward 700 years, then 100, then 50 and then 50 again? I wanted to keep each event fresh and recognizable, so having each conflict be very distinct from its previous, whilst still being able to see earlier influences would be the main goal for this time jumps.

I have done quite a lot of research into British conflicts and these particular events seem to convey the messages I want to convey, however, if something does pop up from somewhere which makes the jumps much less jarring then I will try and rework my timeline.

Issue 3: Modern Day Conflicts Controversy
Talking about the effect of the gulf war and some of it details could be slightly controversial, not all the 'actual' facts are known about the conflict but there are details which seem to be known by a large majority of people, through people talking about it, to internet cultural sources, some details may not be as true as they are stated.

Obviously, the effects of this event are very real and are something this shouldn't be joked about so the choice of language here will be very important and very key in the elaboration of the themes in this section.

If any of the information dosn't seem very clear or is incorrect please state the issue and I will make to to correct it and refine what I have already done.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Adaptation Part B: Animation Test and Colour Test 24/02/2017

Right now I've got a pretty good idea of what I want this animation to look like, now its just a case of doing lots of color tests, seeing what does work, and what doesn't. Just wanted to show some small progress.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Adaptation Part B: Influences and Research 23/02/2017

Art Style is something I would feel very passionate about, having a particular minimalist style at times I'm going to try and play to this strength with this decision. In terms of how the animation will look, it will be like a 2D game and will have much more detail even in small little things. Having designs where only minimal design is put in, however, the shape has enough character to it so it can be identified.

The theme for the animation is ultimately about redemption and sacrifice. Britan has been in a few conflicts in its years, and corruption and power have always seemed to sneak their way in. However, there is always a sense of 'There is a job to do, and someone's gotta do it'.

Having the main undertones be about honor, valor, anxiety, and fear will be crucial in some scenes and making sure the message is clear in each segment.

The part that should make this project slightly easier is that there is a ton of references and key resources I can use to interpret these events. This is kind of a double-edged sword, because whilst I will have all of this information available to me, I'm going to have to spend a lot of time refining the designs of my environments.

I have got a first draft of each of the scenes and that they are comprised of on the way, so expect those to be uploaded soon.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Adaptation Part B: The War Machine Initial Research 21/02/2017

The War Machine

Time of Knights (1100)

The Great Northern War (1700-1721)

French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802)

The Gunboat War (1807-1814)

WWI, The Great War (1914-1918)

WWII, (1939-1945)

Falklands War (1982)

Gulf War (1990-1991)

Iraq War/Second Gulf War (2003-2011)

Research and Observations

So the Machine of War is the idea of using a whole force in order to have military seige, using tactics and number to make the battlefield unfair territory. At one point fights were fair, but over time this idea has corrupted because of money, land and power.

There are a couple main themes that need to be conveyed, the first being the whole idea of honour. Knights traditionally have been about honor and respect, but over time that has seemed to fade away with other soldiers or fighters.

The whole theme for the animation is that its a continuation, this tale is still being told, whilst this loop is not endless its easy to see how each conflict can lead into the next. So the whole animation is about progression, and how one event leads into the next so expect a map of how these themes transition from one another very soon.

The main message of the animation will be about how we honor those who were brave for us and with the current world situation, how the future is uncertain and the outcome has yet to be seen.

Useful Links


Thursday, 16 February 2017

World Cinema, Film Reviews: Waltz with Bashir (2008) 16/02/2017

Figure 1: Waltz with Bashir Title

This film review will be focusing on the film 'Waltz with Bashir' (2008), this animation is based on the true story of the director of the film Ari Folman. Serving in the 1982 Lebanon War, Ari Folman has trouble remembering his time on the frontlines. He then embarks on a journey, finding old friends/colleagues who served in the same war in order to find answers. The message of the film depicts trying to recover a memory that he has lost, or is choosing to repress.

This film was made in 2008, was written and directed by Ari Folman, Max Richter did the music. The thing that makes this film stand is for three major reasons, first being is that is an interpretation of an event in history, the second is that the film is Israelian in production and that this was the first animated feature film in Israel in over fifty years.

The films content and message is something that isn't for the faint of heart, very dark topics are spoken about in this film like war, logic of human atrocity and human psychology. The film's message is very powerful once realized and the symbolism in a majority of the films content is something that is quite impressive. This film does show a devastating side of this unfortunate incident, but it does give people a glimpse, into the minds of the troops in this war. "'Waltz with Bashir" is a devastating animated film that tries to reconstruct how and why thousands of innocent civilians were massacred because those with the power to stop them took no action. Why they did not act is hard to say. Did they not see? Not realize? Not draw fateful conclusions? In any event, at the film's end, the animation gives way to newsreel footage of the dead, whose death is inescapable." (R Ebert. 2009)

Figure 2: The Re-Occurring Vision
So to kick things off, what makes this film Israelian? Well for a start the films setting and the general tone is something that doesn't change throughout the entire film. The country itself has had a history of conflict for a very long time, so having the general theme of the film related to an event in the countys culture is no suprise. What is a surpise is the way the story is told, it's almost done in segments, and like in chapters but like you would be reading a comic book, but all the drawing are done by different people. Thats not to say the art style is inconsistent but there are slight differences with the colors used in the shot, most scenes comprise of having either realistic, cartoon shading, whilst other sections are themed around cutout shading.

So something that should be touch upon is the method of story telling, it doesn't really have Freytag's Pyramid but has a very weird Half-Breed. The plot seems to start escalating, stay on a plane, escalates again, goes back onto the plane and then shoots through the roof. There is a slight ease out and a formula can be seen but it's unclear to tell if this was put in for the creative direction or because of the content of the film. Another very key element in the storytelling in this film is the use of real reporter footage.

Now, this part of the film has two sides, but for the sake of explaination here is a quote from the guardfian "Finally, the film puts him right at the scene of the crime, and there is a bold shift from animation to TV news footage. I am not sure quite what to make of this shift, and have an uncomfortable feeling that it is an aesthetic error, and a tacit concession that the animation techniques used until that moment are lacking in seriousness: once the tragedy is directly broached, they must be abandoned. A minor loss of nerve, perhaps." (P Bradshaw. 2008)

This review is not the only to critisize the ending, not its contents but the way its shown. On one hand you do have the issue of breaking immersion in the film, even stated by Bradshaw as an "Aesthetic Error". This can be seen and is an issue, it can be seen what the intention was but for a majority of the final scenes, this method does break the immersion slightly.

On the other hand for people who could spot this, the final scene can send serious chills down your spine, up until now the film has still felt like a film, using a beautiful art style accompanied by beautiful sound makes the film seem like a film, not a documentry, and the final scene it two plot twists at the same time. Now the first and main plot twist is that Ari was present at the massacre of Lebanon, but the other one and much more powerful is the fact that this is not a fictional tale. This was a real event that really happened, but when this all click is the last shot in the film

Now earlier in the film one of the men monologs about a child in the camps who bears a striking resemblance to his daughter and event describes the position and placement of the dead child in detail, and the final shot is of the dead child.

Once that single connection is made the whole instantly turns from Feature film into documentary which at the same time from a narrative standpoint is extremely clever it is also terrible that a such an event had to take place a human lives were taken in what could only be described by the contents of the film as 'A slightly more modern version of Auschwitz'. So whilst this last scene can cause some controversy it is a seriously powerful 4th wall breaker, showing that something that just entertained us with it content was a real event and had real impact on it participators, and speaking of impact there needs to be a little elaboration on the man/character Ari Folman.

The main theme of the film is regaining a memory, now the whole film shows this man trying to regain a memory which he has lost? Or is it a case of his brain repressing the memory in order to protect Ari from the mental traumas of the massacre. At one point in the film the massacre being compared to the Auschwitz incident, there is a very quick and clever comparison to the soldiers partaking in the massacre as Nazi's who don't know they are Nazi's.

If this was the case then no wonder this memory is something that wouldnt want to be found, a humanitarian atrocity buried in memory to protect the victim and villain, being a part of something terrible and having no power to do anything about it.

Figure 3: Tank and Crew
The artistic style in the film is something that seems to be a mixture of the art style seen in most Gorillaz music videos. However, the process of making this wasn't just a case of putting it into either After Effects or Photoshop and turning on a couple effects.

"The animated film, Waltz with Bashir, “uses a unique animation style invented by Yoni Goodman at the Bridgit Folman Film Gang studio in Israel. The technique takes real video, and maps it out so it can be converted into hand drawings and then into traditional animation.
2,300 original illustrations were drawn based on the storyboard, which together formed the actual film scenes using Flash animation, classic animation, and 3D technologies”" (NLB. Singapore 2009).

Every single shot almost seems like something ripped out of a comic, and the way this film was developed it not hard to see why. These almost postcard-like scenes in the film give a sense of remembrance and telling, and the film itself and it clever simplistic art style can make some of the more disturbing shot a lot more powerful.

Things like the drug trip and the reoccurring vision are good examples of taking an art style and giving it depth. Most scenes that either, were stories not relevant to the film's subject, theories in one of the interviewees about what happened or odd trip sequences that depict a larger story, all use the same stylized format, very strong colors with a creative initial message.

The other two version of this art style are the accurate representations of what happened in this time period and the interviews or interactions with other characters not taking place in flashbacks. This emphesizes the human aspects of the story, or the aftermath periods, whilst the flashback period have a real sense of weight to them, in these scenes however there is another catch.

The concept of death it touched upon in the film multiple times, but some of the animation in the film decides to not follow the tradition of the film, things like people getting comedically shot and personal property being damaged are both serious subject but are given the seiousness of a comdey performance. You can see the intention of these scenes is meant to be something lighthearted for such a serious film, like some sort of comedy break to stop the viewer from being so intense throughout the entire film.

The other side of this is the escalation of certain scenes, this is usually seen in the first contact scenes, where everyone is having a good time, enjoying the scenery and then WHAM. The plot immediately chucks you right into the middle of the situation and the animation here conveys it perfectly. The immediate effect of the shot, its consequences and how the crew reacts are shown very well. Even when everyone escapes the tank and make a b-line for the beach it feels like a reverse situation of going over the top of the trenches in WWI, running for cover, terrified and desperately worrying for their wellbeing and their lives.

The art style for the film is something you can see how it has been done but you cannot see the real intention behind it. The designs the people, animals, and environment are both exciting a repulsing, balanced to a degree with is something anyone could appreciate, wether it the story is being looked into deeply or not.

Figure 4: Rain in The City
The final main topic that needs to be touch upon is the sounds and music in the film, which is a real treat. The music in the film is very specific and choices were made obviously to make sure every song fits in it chosen place. certain volumes are chosen depending on the scenario and the tone for the whole animation is set with the music chosen.

The real treat is the sound design in the film, scenes like the storm and the ending have sounds included which make the film really 'Pop'. An example of this is the sounds of the flare in the massacre act, the screen fills with a light in the sky, whilst everywhere else becomes very dark. Accompanied by the visual the sounds of the flare going off are tweaked to a degree so you know its a flare, which traditionaly could be a sign of hope, quickly turns into a sign of fear and dread. The low thumps are the flare are launched gives this single asset depth and contradt in the current situation.

Another use of the sound design is the closing sequence, where low thumps that slightly resemble a heartbeat and a bomb. This gives the scene some real fear and mystery, using the sound of the heartbeat to convey the fear in the scene is very effective.

To finalize, once again, how is the film Israelian. The depth of the film is something to be admired and the complexity of its production is impressive. Ultimately the film as a whole work incredibly well and the cultural influence can be seen as well. Its unclear if the depth of the film is a general trait within these films from this culture, but the bottom line is that the depth in the film is Israelian through and through. A much bigger point needs to be made however, not that film is Israelian but it's a memory from the director.

Ari Folman partook in this event so the accuracy of the film can be sketchy, it being such a traumatic event obviously, some stones would want to remain unturned. The fact that this is a retelling from a perspective and not just a story based on a story is unfortunate, however, this was an event that took place and the horrible reality of it does show in the film, being its best story telling aspect and its worst.  "The Israelis who were witnesses and (mostly inadvertent) accomplices to the killing, and who came home from the war to lives of relative normalcy and tranquillity, have the time and the means to reflect, to explore, to engage in therapy. The victims are beyond any of that, and the blunt literalness of this film’s denouement is a reminder of that unbridgeable gap between the living and the dead. It is also Mr. Folman’s way of acknowledging that imagination has its limits, and that even the most ambitious and serious work of art will come up short against the brutal facts of life." (A O Scott. 2008) 


Bradshaw, P. (2008)
The Guardian
Film Review: Waltz with Bashir’ In:  
[online] At: 
(Accessed on 16 February 2017)

Ebert, R. (2009)
Waltz of Bashir. 
[online] At: 
(Accessed on 16 February 2017)

Scott, A.O. (2008)
Inside a Veteran’s Nightmare.
[online] At:
(Accessed on 16 February 2017)

National Library Board Singapore (2009)
What was the animation style used in waltz with Bashir?
[online] At:

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Maya/Mudbox Tutorial: Class Practices and Development 15/02/2017

Okay, so after some practice in Mudbox I've discovered two things.

One, Mudbox and Hard surface modeling are very difficult to make compatible, It can be done, but its very complex.

The second thing is this thing called PTEX, long story short, this is basically a way of texturing a model without UV's. This stuff is basically wizard magic and I'm still working out all the kinks so bear with the blog while I try and work how to get this thing working.

For now, I'm going to continue with doing designs which I can transfer from Maya to Mudbox, so I can better my skills and hopefully I can make something aesthetically pleasing.

World Cinema, Film Review: Sita Sings The Blues (2009) 15/02/2017

Figure 1: Sita Sings the Blues (2008) Poster
This film review will focus on the film Sita Sings the Blues, this animation tells the story of a girl called Sita, who finds the love of her life but due to a series of unfortunate complications, has to prove to her lover Rama. The story also follows Nina's journey in her life, as her boyfriend decides to move to India for work, only for them to break up.

The film was released in 2008 and was completely done by one person, Nina Paley. The entire film is created by her, except for the music which was done by Annette Hanshaw and the voices were done by a number of voice actors. There is a lot of controversy in the film because it kept getting taken down due to copyright infringement the film had multiple issues at release.

This film narrative is a little hard to follow at times, however, some serious credit does need to be given to the creator of the film. This entire thing was created by a single person which is an unbelievable feat for a single person, the whole film is over an hour and generally works. It shows off that Nina Paley has serious talent and deserves to be appreciated.

Figure 2: Sita
The first thing that needs to be addressed is that the film is American in origin but based off an Indian story so this film, is kind of half Indian. Now as stated the film is based off an Indian story and was adapted in America, however, something that should be noted, and that is the use of the narrative. Now this tale tells the story of how the woman known a Sita seems to have everything go wrong at once. She gets kidnapped, neglected and just has a bad time in general, but the way the character is developed can be related to something like the jungle book, where a character goes on a journey of message rather than a journey of growth. What is meant by "Journey of Message" is that instead of the character going through change, the character is meant to be an embodiment of a message. The message being about Karma, Respect and not realizing what you had until it's gone.

The story also has the ideals of redemption and satisfaction, with the ending tying up most loose ends before the actual end. Some narrative elements like Freytag's Pyramid and Hollywood formula can be seen but every now and then the film breaks the 4th wall, initiating a commentary on what is currently going on and the opinions of some of the viewers. There is also an intermission which from an animation perspective can be appreciated by this almost seems out of place, almost breaking what little immersion there is.

Something to note however about the film is its the way it shows the story, using different art styles in order to show different parts of the film. The depths of these art styles will be touched upon later but for now, the main focus is the way they are shown. Now, these art styles are distinct and are only used when a different part of the story is being told, so, for example, the musical parts of the animation are very different to the narrative parts, and these switches almost seem like well-placed chapters in the film. Whilst this method works to an extent it doesn't work completely, apart from one art style, the transition from the 'Sita Sings the Blues' Tale to Nina's story, showing not only a reason as to why she chose to do this story with the parallels between the two.

Figure 3: Commentary
Right, the art styles vary, cover a large number of themes and are all different in their own aspects. First off there is an underlying theme of trying to tell a story whilst still being its own individual art piece at the same time. Some sections make use of After Effects animation methods more than other sections, which use Flash/Animate. The flash animation is simplistic, in fact, the whole film is simplistic in its own respects. However, the depths of that style can be deep and elaborate, for example, the after effects sections, the characters are clearly like puppets and the way they have been colored, shaped and altered conveys the messages that were intended for the characters.

Furthermore, the flash animation section is stylistic in the way that anything that is intended to be in the scene should be recognizable but also not too complex. This animation style rough resembles the peanuts animation style, having well thought out drawn messes. Now when the term "Mess" is used that is not to say that the content is bad, but is crafted in a way which everyone can recognize, relate and understand. There is a lot more emotion in the animations with the flash animations, however, having things like exaggeration in character animation really sells the character of Sita, and of course her cat Lexi.

Lastly, the art style that respect the Indian art style the most are the paintings and the complex Illustrator themed drawings. The Indian art style is known for complex pictures made with simple shapes, this is seen throughout the entire film but is made of a blend. However at the start of the film the art style is fully embraced, an animation which pays homage to the original art style in new creative media being seen. Another version of the merging of art styles are the painting/pictures animated with subtly, so thinks like nobody animation, facial differentiation and no follow through aspects. However, since the original image would be based on a painting it would make sense to keep these images as still images rather than moving parts. A painting is something to be appreciated, and when it's moving around constantly it might be a little harder to appreciate the content being shown to the viewer.

So Sita Sings the Blues is something that should be appreciated, a single person made this and the running time is just over an hour. It can be seen how the film is Indian in origin, however, its also easy to spot the American influences as well. The technologies used in the industry and the methods used to create the film. So in a nutshell the film as about an Indian story, created with Indian influence but is American in origin.

Image Bibliography

Figure 1: 
Sita Sings the Blues (2008) Poster

Figure 2:

Figure 3:

Monday, 13 February 2017

Dissertation Development: Techno-phobia, Reverse Engineering and Idealization: The Cone 13/02/2017

So, I've made some developments on the dissertation, using the material I have got, the presentation and this method called 'The Cone of Cogency'. Using this method I have been able to put together what I believe is an accurate representation of what my final chapter structure for my dissertation will look like.

The presentation allowed me to show my resources, research material and general theme for the topic. This presentation can act as a bibliography for the rest of the dissertation as well as an influence map.


Robots: The Quest for Living Machines (1992)
Chapter 7
Pg: 194-203
Quote 1.
"For example one scientist, Joel Kingsolver, has noted that the techniques used in butterfly feeding and thermoregulation exploit physical principles that can be found 'in the operation of many machines.

When we explore specific biological strategies in detail, we encounter a close adherence to what a tightly engineered design makes possible. The characteristics of constituent materials, for instance, are exploited to make biological systems as resilient as possible." ~ Geoff Simons (1992)

Digital People: From Bionic Humans to Androids (2004)
Pg 172
Quote 1
"In both natural and artificial beings, the senses are bridges between the physical operations of a body and the higher operations of a brain or a mind. These sensory bridges carry us into the mental make-up of a digital being: its intelligence, its rational thoughts, its feelings if any, and - if any - its consciousness" ~ Sidney Perkowitz (2004)

The Cyborg Handbook (1995)
Part 3-3.1,
Pg: 142
Quote 1
"On the darker side, children are themselves becoming commodities. As people drastically limit their quantities of children, the seek to improve the chances for high quality according to their own standards, including heredity and sex preselection. Through postmodern approaches, one can now supplement quantity control with quality control" ~ Adele Clarke (1995)

Nanoethics-The Ethical and Social Implications of Nanotechnology (2007)
Chapter 13
Pg: 178
Quote 1
"Should We Play God with our Brains?
This question may seem to have a double meaning. First, it asks whether we should physically modify our brains. Second, it asks whether we should employ out brains in deciding whether or not to play god. Perhaps it implies that only one without brains would play god. Be that as it may, it is the first of these meanings that will occupy us here" ~ Ted Peters (2007)

Chapter 13
Pg: 181
Quote 2
"How do we know what human nature is? How might we know when we have changed or violated it? The answer most frequently offered in this intuition. We intuit what is natural. Now this intuited knowledge could either be rational or emotional." ~ Ted Peters (2007)

Cyberspace/Cyberbodies/Cyberpunk: Cultures of Technological Embodiment (1995)
Chapter 5/Postmodern Virtualities
Pg: 79
Quote 1
"The discussion of postmodern culture focuses to a great extent on an emerging new individual identity or subject position, one that abandons what may in retrospect be the narrow scope of the modern individual with its claims to rationality and autonomy" ~ Mark Poster (1995)

Rough Layout

This will still obviously need to be tweaked so any feedback on this would be appreciated.

Topics for Elaboration

   In no particular order.
  • Child Soldiers
  • Bionics
  • Custom Made human beings
  • Prometheus
  • Augmentation/Nanotechnology in Humans
  • Idealisation
  • Postmodern Design, based on Human Anatomy
  • Technophobia
  • Media Concepts Reverse Engineered into Real Technology
  • True human intention
  • Replacement
  • Evolution
There will be a post following up with the feedback given so expect there to be a lot of other changes in the next post on this topic.