Saturday, 27 February 2016

Film Review - Waltz with Bashir (Ari Folman, 2008)

Fig 1. Waltz with Bashir Poster.

The film follows an Israeli film maker who served as a soldier during the Lebanon War. He has very little memory of his time during the war, as a result asks all of the people who knew him what they remember of him during that time (See Fig 2). Over the course of the film he pieces together his lost memories including one final memory which has bothered him significantly. His key missing memory is of the day of a horrifying massacre that took place in a Palestinian refugee camp.

The animation style of the film is very graphical and similar to the way a graphic novel would be illustrated. As a result it seemed quite bizarre, as the film tackled very serious topics surrounding the Lebanon War, the style would make it seem that these events were otherworldly. The mood created from the sound and loud colours in certain scenes made the entire experience seem completely surreal. It appears as though it is a conscious decision and as such the scenes of the war are extremely compelling and powerful.

Fig 2. Talking with Friend Scene Still.

The film overall moves a fairly slow pace but this makes sense as it is not a story that can be rushed, the pace emphasizes the length of the journey the protagonist goes on to piece his memories back together. It is an effectively told story and without a doubt worth telling.

Illustration List
Folman, A (2008) Figure 1. Waltz with Bashir Poster. (Accessed on 23/02/16)

Folman, A (2008) Figure 2. Talking with Friend Scene Still. (Accessed on 27/02/16)

Friday, 26 February 2016

Maya Tutorial - Instancing Objects

Adaptation B - Rough Colour Concepts

Currently these are my designs for the sound collector and his sound contraption. They are still quite rough designs but overall they show how I see this character currently. I feel that I am getting very close to the final concepts for these as they are beginning to feel like a uniform set.

Sound Collector

Sound Contraption

Possible Voice Over Artists

I have narrowed down my search for the voice over artist to these two I found on the website. I'm quite confident one of these is the voice that best fits the tone of the poem.

-Johnny - North American (featured at top of page)
-Chris - British (further down the page)

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Adaptation B - Mudbox Test Modelling

In preparation for making more refined designs for my sound collector character, I decided to make a rough 3d model of his head. This will prove useful to reference when creating more dynamic and angled concept pieces.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Adaptation B - Continued Contraption Thumbnails

After considering different ideas I feel that I have concluded the basic design on the sound contraption. I am confident that a simple brick-like design will work best with the character. As such I will likely create a design very close to number 5. I have explored multiple faces for that design as I am still unsure on the specific look I want from it. My overall favorites are 5B and 5C.

Adaptation B - Uniform Thumbnails

From the uniforms I have looked at for reference, I found an old postman uniform to be the most fitting as a starting point for my design. I have made four versions of the same uniform exploring some of the key details I may use in the final concept. Some of the smaller details here may change but I feel that these are quite close to how I want the 'Sound Collector' to look.

Original Reference for Uniform

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Adaptation B - Hair and Ear Design Thumbnails

After settling on the basic face design, I have narrowed down my ideas of the hair and ears to 4 designs each. I'm starting to like how this character is looking and of the 4 hair designs I personally prefer B as I think a cheap toupee would work well for this character. Let me know if you have a favorite.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Adaptation B - Further Face Thumbnails

I've created some more thumbnails for the face shape and details as I may have narrowed in too fast on my idea. I am particularly pleased with the face details shown on 4, 5 and 6 and I feel that it is very close to how I picture this character. Personally I am quite confident about taking number 5 forward with some more refined thumbnails to figure out the ears and hair. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Adaptation B - Sound Collector Face Thumbnails

I am fairly certain on the basic shape of his head so I have started to narrow down his hair. I feel that this character would have a thick moustache, but I have created alternatives without to see how much it changes his look. I am currently torn between 1 and 7 as my choice moving forward.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Mudbox - Session 5 and 6

Owl Head Sculpt 

Feather Stencil

In these final two sessions with Simon we were given the freedom to work on our own sculpt in mudbox. I decided to sculpt an owls head and I am fairly pleased with it considering the timeframe I had to finish it. Overall I have enjoyed the mudbox sessions and I'm sure this program will help in future work.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Adaptation B - Sound Collector and Contraption Thumbnails

After talking to Alan on Friday, he suggested looking at specific actors and characters portrayed by actors for reference when drawing the 'sound collector'. I've done some line drawings with this in mind but I think I will need to do quite a few more to figure out exactly how this character looks. 

Sound Collector Thumbnails

Sound Contraption Thumbnails

Friday, 12 February 2016

Adaptation B - Design and Story Ideas

Design Influence Map

After talking to Phil about the style and design of the animation and the assets, he pointed me towards the original Paddington Bear TV series.

Poem Breakdown

I have begun to think about how best to tell this story and how to break it down succinctly. My main ideas so far involve very simple still shots of the objects as they make their sounds. Another idea I have thought about is having the sound collectors hand and a Dictaphone in shot as it happens and either just turn it on and off during shot or have him drain the sound using it. The latter would work much better with the final two lines of the poem;

Left us only silence
Life will never be the same

When thinking about the poems simple structure, having a lot of separate still shots makes sense when trying to convey the collection of all of these sounds. Either that or a single long dynamic shot where the camera moves to each individual sound and pauses while the sound happens.

Adaptation B - Further Character Exploration

Refined Influence Map

No Colour

Basic Grey

Multiple Grey's

After watching the film 'Brazil' as Alan suggested, I am beginning to see the 'sound collector' as a kind of eccentric tax collector. As such I have created these refined thumbnails to further explore the possibilities for this character.

Maya Tutorial - Emit from Particles

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Film Review - Sita Sings the Blues (Nina Paley, 2008)

Fig 1. Sita Sings the Blues Poster.

Sita Sings the Blues is a film by Nina Paley and contains two separate stories. One is about Sita and her part in an old Indian legend called 'The Ramayana'. The other is about the artists own life, mainly focusing on her relationship with her husband leading to a break-up. The film draws these two stories together by intersecting them at key points, the two characters of Nina and Sita share moments of joy and sorrow which helps to emphasize the specific similarities in their two separate worlds.

The film has two unique styles of animation within it. Whenever it is telling of the Indian legend it is a very graphic and bold style of 2D animation and whenever it switches to the artists story it is hand drawn and rougher. This is a clever design decision as it is as a result easy to assume that the rougher style is what's real and the cleaner, more graphical style is the legend.

Fig 2. Modern Indian Voice-over.

In his review of the film, Roger Ebert states ''In addition to her characters talking, Paley adds a hilarious level of narration: Three voice-over modern Indians, Desis, ad-libbing as they try to get the story straight. Was Sita wearing jewelry or not? How long was she a prisoner in exile? How did the rescue monkey come into the picture?'' (Ebert, 2009). The addition of a modern voice over adds a much needed level of comedy to the Indian story. There is regular confusion between the multiple voices over the smaller details of the story as they all remember the story differently. These moments with the modern Indians provide breaks from the main narrative for the audience, and are cleverly placed evenly throughout its telling.

Overall the film has many unique and separate parts and pieces, yet it manages to pull it all together in a succinct and vivid story. This makes it a particularly refreshing film and an astonishing achievement for a single individual to accomplish.

Illustration List

Paley, N (2008) Figure 1. Sita Sings the Blues Poster. (Accessed on 01/02/16)

Paley, N (2008) Figure 2. Modern Indian Voice-over. (Accessed on 10/02/16)


Ebert, R (2009) (Accessed on 10/02/16)

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Mudbox - Session 4

Another useful session, I found the techniques for creating hear in mudbox particularly interesting.

Got a little carried away with the 'Wax' tool and ended up creating a strange Aztec statue.