Friday, 31 October 2014

First Thumbnail Explorations (1-10)

To start my thumbnail work I thought I would try and emulate some of his designs and then experiment with colour over them. I'm fairly pleased with these and I think to continue my thumbnails I will perhaps work with silhouettes and greyscale with overlays of colour.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Film Review - Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)

Fig 1. Alien Poster

Although Alien has a fairly simple plot which doesn't stand out from other horror films of the time, its set design and the design of the 'alien' are what makes it so much more advanced in comparison to other films of the decade. The spaces aboard the derelict ship and the creature itself were designed by surrealist H.R. Giger. Through Ridley Scott's Vision and Giger's design, it is no surprise that Alien is a cult classic that has since inspired many sequels and more recently, a prequel.

''It was Giger who cracked Alien, not just with the creature itself (rarely seen in full anyway), but with the organic innards of the derelict ship and its ghostly egg chamber.'' (Newman, s.d.) 
Giger's designs for the 'alien' and the derelict ship environments are very organic and uncomfortable for the viewer. These designs clash very clearly against the warm, industrial enviroments seen aboard 'The Nostromo'. As such it is easy to determine the division between hot and cold. The human interiors use whites, reds and blues (See Fig 2) while the alien interiors use blacks, blues and greens (See Fig 3).

Fig 2. Nostromo Interior

Fig 3. Derelict Ship Interior

If it wasn't for the breath-taking design, the film may well have gotten lost in the mess of generic horror. The plot is simple and in some ways, weak. If you take the plot in its simplistic form it sounds so generic, its barely worth giving it a second look, as Derek Malcolm from The Guardian explains ''The basics of the plot are simple. Seven astronauts, working on a battered space tug that is apparently commercially owned, touch down on another planet, find something odd for the boffins back home, bring it back into the ship and are faced with an ever-growing monster.'' (Malcolm, 2009). Perhaps the reason it took off as it did is because the mix of design, characters and plot just worked.

Illustration List
Scott, R (1979) Figure 1. Alien Poster. (Accessed on 26/10/14)

Scott, R (1979) Figure 2. Nostromo Interior. (Accessed on 30/10/14)

Scott, R (1979) Figure 3. Derelict Ship Interior. (Accessed on 30/10/14)


Newman, K (s.d.) (Accessed on 29/10/14)

Malcolm, D (2009) (Accessed on 30/10/14)

Ernst Haeckel - Initial Research and Thoughts

He was born in Germany and was an evolutionist and a strong believer in Darwinism. Initial looks at biography's and discussions of his work leads me to believe that, perhaps his idea of a city would be one that evolved or grew as his drawings did. A city that arose from nothing and built upon itself like a plant or animal. Constantly growing in complexity and efficiency. With initial thumbnails I will try to capture this at least at a simple level by making buildings out of his own designs and making them look very organic. Maybe I'm taking his work as more than it is but those are my thoughts thus far.

Also, I think that using vibrant colour is a good starting point for my thumbnail ideas.

Haeckel, Ernst
Ernst Haeckel (Left) and his assistant Miklucho-Maclay in the canary islands.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Invisible Cities DVD Cover

Film Review - 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)

Fig 1. 2001: A Space Odyssey Poster

The word 'surreal' would be putting it lightly when describing this film. It paints a picture of the future of space travel in the year 2001, from the perspective of 1968. Scenes from act 2 in the film suggest that taking a shuttle up into orbit are as ordinary and routine as taking the bus or the train.
The setting of the film suggests that humanity is living in a golden age of technology, where it is beginning to reach out to planets further and further through the solar system.

''If we conquer both time and space, then what? The final sequence of 2001 is speculation through imagination, positing a new Xanadu, a world of wonders where time and space no longer exist'' (Milne, 2010). This quote from Tom Milne brings up an interesting point to do with the plot. The entire film and especially the final act are in some way an exploration of human evolution and quantum physics. In this sense the film can be seen as being quite experimental, as it is very much an exploration through film in every sense of the word.

Fig 2. Face Close-up

This film keeps you at a distance for the most part, characters are only ever seen up close in particularly dramatic sequences(). All of the spaces in the film are very clean, very precise and very cold. Film Reviewer for '', Angie Errigo captures this with his verdict on the film. ''What 2001 lacks in warmth it makes up for in ideas, style and no end of gobsmackage. Moreover the film boasts a prodigious power to provoke argument - is it profundity personified or plain old pap? Wherever you sit in the debate, movies were born for experiences like this'' (Errigo, s.d.)

''The movie consequently becomes for the viewer an intensely subjective experience which reaches his inner consciousness in the same manner that music does, leaving him free to speculate about thematic content.'' (Phillips, s.d.) This is another key point to be taken away from this film. It gives you facts, dates and a small semblance of plot but the film is completely open to the audiences own opinion and perception. It is almost engineered precisely for that, to simply be interpreted by the viewer.

Illustration List

Kubrick, S (1968) Figure 1. 2001: A Space Odyssey Poster. (Accessed on 18/10/14)

Kubrick, S (1968) Figure 2. Face Close-up. (Accessed on 22/10/14)


Milne, T (2010) (Accessed on 18/10/14)

Errigo, A (s.d.) (Accessed on 22/10/14)

Phillips, Gene D. (s.d.) (Accessed on 22/10/14)

Final Images Colour Composition Thumbnails

Exterior Shot

Low Exterior Shot

Interior Shot
I feel that the combinations of reds and blues work best in these environments. As such these colour compositions were created using mostly those tones but with some exceptions.

Concept Artist Who's Who

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Perspective Drawings

Exterior, Low Exterior and Interior Shots (Greyscale)


These are almost the final images for the exterior, low exterior and interior shot.  I will use these images to create colour composition thumbnail pages. Once I have determined which colour schemes work best for them I will refine them into more polished images.

Any and all feedback is appreciated on these!

A quick Page of Interior Ideas

I found that number 5 was particularly strong and is probably what I will take forward for my final interior shot.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Texturing Part 1 - Common Shaders Tutorial

Old Alley Modelling Tutorial

Argia Exterior Progress

Working with the ideas of the city as a kind of rocky hive with the main building being this shape. Possible exterior shot idea could be seeing the hive from above where it is a pattern covering the cavern floor. While lower down in the city for the low angle exterior shot it could be something similar to the image directly above.

Friday, 17 October 2014

A quick enviroment experimentation for Argia

This took me about 15 minutes to complete. It was for testing light gradients and how the rock may look around the city. I'm not 100% happy with it as it is very rough and the textures don't look quite right in many places. Luckily though it was only a very quick sketch.

Argia Refined Thumbnails and Colour Comps 1

After doing these I am going to focus on how the buildings in Argia will look. I have done some possible designs of that here already but I think that the focus needs to be there.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Film Review - King Kong (Merian C. Cooper, 1933)

Fig 1. King Kong Poster

King Kong, the classic beauty and the beast story translated into film. It is seen as such an iconic film for many reasons. One would definitely be the special effects that were used. Stop-motion animation was used for the beast (King Kong) and also for the dinosaurs. Although by todays standards, the special effects were rough and somewhat unrealistic, in 1933 they would no doubt have been considered state of the art and perhaps even frightening to audiences. This is most certainly the view of film critic Mordaunt Hall ''Through multiple exposures, processed "shots" and a variety of angles of camera wizardry the producers set forth an adequate story and furnish enough thrills for any devotee of such tales.'' (Hall, 1933).

In terms of the plot, the film follows Carl Denham who is a film director and looking for his next big film. He is eager to go off in search of an uncharted island with a wall cut across it, which is said to be home to a colossal beast. Carl wishes to film the beast for his film. At the beginning of the film he has already arranged for transport to the island and most of the other parts for his film are already in place, however he has no leading lady for his film and must go into the streets of New York to find her. It is here that he finds Ann Darrow who after seeing, realizes that she is perfect for the role. With everything in place, the cast and crew for the film set off for the island that Carl has told them about.

Upon arriving at the island they encounter the island natives, who are in the process of a ritual for 'the wife of Kong'. After the crew disturbs their ritual, the chief of the natives sees Ann and decides she would be a good women for Kong. Carl and the others decline the chiefs offer of a trade and head back to the ship, assuring the natives of their return the next day. While they are onboard the ship, the natives capture Ann and take her back to the island for their ritual. After finding that Ann is missing, everyone onboard discovers that she has been captured and rush back to the island to rescue her.

However, soon after the party's arrival, Kong takes Ann with him back into the dense forest beyond the wall. The party then rush off in pursuit of the ape. They have encounters with Kong and more and more of their party die, until eventually they rescue Ann and capture the beast through the use of gas bombs.

After they capture Kong, Carl Denham decides that he will bring the beast back with them to New York and show him on Broadway. This, unfortunately does not go to plan and Kong escapes the shackles built for him and captures Ann once more. The following scene is the most iconic in the film, as Kong climbs the empire state building with Ann in hand and makes his final stand against fighter planes. After he is shot many times, Kong eventually loses his strength, lets go of Ann and falls to his demise.

''the characters are (even by the standards of the day) half-baked, and the performances - with the exception of Armstong as the P.T. Barnum-alike - wooden.'' (McCabe, s.d.) This is something that could be attributed to the fact that the actors were often expected to react to things on command instead of working off of the other actors. The special effects used could have been a fairly new experience for many actors to work with at the time.

Fig 2. Island Natives

Fig 3. King Kong 2005

''There have been two remakes of King Kong (one had Jessica Lange; the other was directed by whiz kid Peter Jackson), but the original is still the best.'' (Thomson, 2010) In Peter Jacksons 2005 remake of the film there are many references to pay tribute to the original hidden in plain sight. One of which is when (in the 2005 remake) the beast is captured and the show on Broadway features actors portraying the natives (See Fig 3.). In the original, the natives are dressed in the exact same way and performing the exact movements when they are performing their ritual for Kong (See Fig 2.).

Illustration List
 Cooper, M.C (1933) Figure 1. King Kong Poster. (Accessed on 16/10/14)

Cooper, M.C (1933) Figure 2. Island Natives. (Accessed on 16/10/14)

Jackson, P (2005) Figure 3. King Kong 2005.
vfx/King_Kong.jpg (Accessed on 16/10/14)

McCabe, B (s.d.) (Accessed on 16/10/14)

Thomson, D (2010) (Accessed on 16/10/14)

Hall, M (1933)
668388629EDE (Accessed on 16/10/14)

Monday, 13 October 2014

1st Life Drawing Session


I really enjoyed the life drawing. I had done some previously but only with human models and not objects like this.