Thursday, 26 February 2015

Pipeline 2: Shader FX in Maya - Intro to Shader FX Networks

Film Review: Persepolis

Persepolis (2007) is an animation directed by Vincent Parannoud and Marjane Satrapi. Satrapi also wrote the animation and is the lead character within it. Satrapi is an Iranian born woman who moved to diferent countires to escape the conflicts that were continuing in Iran. Satrapis visual style stems from her graphic novels, it is a simplistic 2D style with a childlike feel to it as it comes across naïve. However, traditional Iranian illustrations also encompassed this style so she was probably influenced by her own culture. However, the style and atmosphere of the film is somewhat opposite, the use of black and white to represent memories that include horrific events, and the mood of the film overall is just discomforting because of the events that take place.
Persepolis follows Marjane Satrapi through her childhood all the way to an adult; we see and understand the thoughts of the Iranian Revolution that go through a girls and young woman’s mind, she is outspoken and questions the rules and authorities that are put in place. As she grows and lives abroad she is exposed to what western culture is like and slowly creeps away from her own culture and roots, this puts her in a bad place. Her Grandmother is also a key character as she is almost like a guide for Marjane, she points her in the right direction and gives words of wisdom.

I think Satrapi was trying to get across a new perspective of the war, more of the repercussions on everyone and women in particularly. The experiences of an individual rather than a squadron in a military force or a victim of warfare. She did this well with the script and particular scenes where simple and forceful answers are given to onlookers. The editing with black and white representing the ‘horror memories’ and the colour scenes representing the present was delivered effectively though her happiness doesn’t really change throughout the film so the atmosphere is diminished slightly even though the colour scenes are portraying her breakthrough of guilt and pain. This was mildly entertaining and in some ways relatable, though the audience is more specifically for women.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Adaptation Part B: Rottcodd further Stances and Outfit Basics

I have sketched up more stances of Rottcodd using myself as a reference, though I feel they would come to life further if I knew the basics of the outfit like a droopy cloak or an accessory that gets in the way of particular activity. I have done 12 basic outfit designs, these do not include details such as accessories, patterns and colour, just how they fall on the body and how can I reflect his personality onto his clothing. Though I am thinking heavily patterns on the bodices, possibly jewellery and emblems and dark moody colours as he is embodying a vulture. My personal favourite is number 10
All feedback is welcome

Film Review: Waltz with Bashir

Waltz with Bashir (2008) is a documentary animation directed by Ari Folman. Folman is Israeli born and the child to parents who were holocaust survivors, when he was 19 he was in the Lebanon war and stayed with the army for 22 years. His previous work is film, not animation, this includes Saint Clara (1996) and Made in Israel (2001) one of which is a more family friendly Sunday afternoon film and the other is a comedy, thriller Nazi chase. Folmans style has ranged with his previous work but with Made in Israel and Waltz with Bashir they both have war elements there, and the style is quite harsh. One mocks Nazis and their whereabouts and the other gives the audience the harsh reality of a war. Waltz with Bashir has a particular moodiness about it there are specific scenes where the colours become muted and abstract; this sets the tone for the film. It is also a very personal film as Folman has used his own experiences to create the animation he also voices 7 of the characters.
Waltz with Bashir is about an Israeli film director, Ari Folman, who interviews past friends who are also war veterans to reconstruct his own memories of the Lebanon war as he can’t remember everything within his service.

I think the animation was trying to portray the brutality of the massacre but make it more watch-able through animation so the feature could be viewable to more audiences. Folman did achieve this even with subtitles it was interesting and evoking especially the opening scenes and the more abstract parts. I wouldn’t recommend this film to everyone, only someone who is interested in military warfare, due to the length of the animation it becomes less entertaining.

Film Review: Sita Sings the Blues

Sita Sings the Blues (2008) is a 2D animation created and directed by Nina Paley. Paley had started animating as young as thirteen and published her shorts and comic strips not until 2012 through Creative Commons. The animation style in Sita Sings the Blues is a massive change from her previous work such as Fetch! (2002) and Thank you for not breeding (2002), both of these shorts have a very simplistic free hand style. Whereas Sita Sings the Blues is very decorative and heavily influenced by Indian culture and Bollywood theatre. Taking home a whopping 35 awards from various small festivals and differing countries Sita Sings the Blues being such a success came as a surprise.  The combination of her signature style and then a contrast of the Indian style came about due to her current situation. She had moved to India for her husband’s work, however, the marriage failed and Paley had to reside in India for the time being. Paley had found a plot for her animation and then researched into Ramayana, an Indian influence which could also link subtly to her current situation. Continuing the blending of cultures Paley had used Annette Hanshaw, a radio star in the 20s and 30s, as the soundtrack and voice to Sita when she expressed her emotion through song.
The film is an intertwining plot of Paley’s situation of her marriage failing and the story of Ramayana, a Hindu tale about a prince and princess who are challenged to be together and their kingdom. Rama, the prince, must have respect from his subjects but cannot leave Sita, the princess. Sita is shown as this very attentive wife who understands Ramas decisions and has to return to Mother Earth in order to regain acceptance. Though this is the tale told throughout the animation, there is a comic flair to it as it is described through a ‘21st century’, more relaxed view on the religious tale narrated to us by three Indian individuals who mispronounce names and comment on both Rama and Sitas’ decisions, mocking them as some of the actions seem ridiculous.
Sita Sings the Blues was successful in the deliverance of the style, it was very aesthetically pleasing, and the old jazz songs, though a juxtaposition with the style, made Sita more loveable as it gave her some depth rather than just Ramas wife. It’s unclear what Paley was trying to do other than mock a religious tale – which she did well as parts of the animation were humorous, as the view was relaxed it made the animation more relatable as if that the audience were thinking the same as what the narrators were commenting on.

Overall, I enjoyed the animation but it was far too long for what it was. I would recommend it for more research purposes rather than pure entertainment.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Adaptation Part B: Posing and Expression

I have spent some time getting to know Rottcodd and how simple stances would look with his personality slapped onto it. Also working out which expressions would be interesting to see with his wrinkly face. Overall, though this took time it was fun as not every reference was on google so I used myself for some instead :)
Costumes/outfits for Rottcodd are on the way
All feedback is welcome

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Adaptation Part B: Rottcodd Face and stance

So after the caricature research and following the guide with my own examples I have taken the most favourited head (orig) then tweaked it further to see what other variations I could come up with, I personally liked tweak number 2 so I did a stripped down expressionless version with a full front and side view. I have also worked out his stance by looking at hunchback skeletons.

I have then experimented with hairstyles, facial hair and hats, I am trying to evoke a vulture so I think 2 and 4 work well however, I could do this with his clothing as I also like number 15.
All feedback is welcome.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Adaptation Part B: Physiognomy and Caricature

As mentioned in my earlier post after my tutorial it was suggested to look into three areas (anatomy/stance, physiognomy and caricature). In this post I have looked at physiognomy and caricature as I feel in some ways they cross over at times. 
Physiognomy is where a humans features are influenced by an animal/s, I didnt realise how popular this was until looking back at films including Oliver Twists' character Fagin; who looks to be bird and beaky like and James Camerons Avatar who (facially) where inspired by young deer. However, with physiognomy to be successful you have to find a balance, the person still needs to be relatable, having a good balance of both animal and human, there 'animal features' could also tell a viewer about their personality.

Caricature is simply exaggerated features that we accept. This is usally done on a celebrity with the exaggerated feature being something obvious on their face or a representive of their personality, for example a big nose could mean snobby or proud. I have researched different artists methods and read Mad Blogs article (LINK: ) he says that there are simple shapes but its the distance between the shapes that makes the caricature portrait a success, anything exaggerated needs to be made up for elsewhere. Using his guide of different shaped heads I have done 6 sketches, each one an example of the differing shapes, but applying it to my ow character. Though this might not be what Rottcodd will look like it was certainly a good exercise to loosen up style and become more expressive with the character.
Rottcodd Sketches

Mad Blogs Guide