Saturday, 20 December 2014

Maya Winter Submission

Intro to Autodesk Maya:

e )      Character Part 2: Texturing and Shaders - http://chelsea-a-butler.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/maya-character-part-2-texturing.html
g )      Character Part3: Lighting and Rendering - http://chelsea-a-butler.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/maya-intro-to-maya-character-part-3.html

Modelling 1: Digital Sets


Lighting and Rendering 1: Intro to Lighting


Visual FX: Visual Effects 2

Maya: Digital Sets Part 6 - Dirt Maps and Final Render



Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Film Review: Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' (1980)

Figure 1. The Shining Movie Poster
Based on Stephen King’s novel titled the same name, Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” (1980) is one of those unforgettable horror thriller movies that never ceases to impress each generation it is displayed to. The visual effects and the immense performances are what make this film such a success. The consistent eerie-ness about the feature stimulates our minds to ask so many questions, such as the how, the who, and the why, a technique that continues throughout Kubrick’s films.

The production value of the film is certainly rather memorable for enhancing the film’s intention of maintaining discomfort and suspense. As Peter Bradshaw states, “Instead of the cramped darkness and panicky quick editing of the standard-issue scary movie, Kubrick gives us the eerie, colossal, brilliantly lit spaces of the Overlook Hotel (created in Elstree Studios, Hertfordshire), shot with amplitude and calm.” (Bradshaw, 2012). With it’s overly glossy walls and that ghastly geometric carpet, the Overlook Hotel doesn’t feel welcoming, but rather it feels too clinical, and despite it’s colossal size, a sense of claustrophobia is portrayed in some scenes. Sometimes this was achieved through Kubrick’s favoured technique of the steady camera shot. The camera tended to remain too close to the character, thus achieving an understanding of how they are feeling and thinking by being within their personal space.

Figure 2. 'Wendy terrified of Jack's Advances'

Although we may not be able to delve too deep into our character’s back stories and behaviours, we can somewhat gather that this family isn’t as close-knit as we would want them to be. There’s little to no emotion in their interactions with each other (prior to the mad events) which is another notable feature with Kubrick’s methods of directing. That unsettling atmosphere identifies the fact that there’s no love there, essentially, some viewers have speculated that there is a potential abusive relationship going on between the family, the root of it being Jack Nicholson’s character, Jack Torrance. As Roger Ebert stated, “Jack is an alcoholic and child abuser who has reportedly not had a drink for five months but is anything but a "recovering alcoholic.”” (Ebert, 2006). It is therefore noted that the character, Jack, is quite violent, this being realised within the scenes of whenever he enters the ‘Gold Room’ and hallucinates into thinking he is having a drink with the bartender. But it’s not just Jack that is imagining these strange illusions, it is all three characters that slowly become delusional from the suffocating atmosphere of the Overlook Hotel.

Figure 3. 'Jack peering through the smashed door'

Not only do the character’s spiral down towards madness, but it is lightly suggested that The Overlook Hotel is haunted, hence why Danny, the son of both Wendy and Jack, experiences these terrifying disturbances and visions. Whether the paranormal activities are causing the characters to lose their minds or not, we are unsure, but we can see that something that was essentially somewhat buried within Jack Torrence has been awakened. As Ian Nathan observed, “Grady, the previous caretaker, a man driven to slaughter his family (the source of Danny's disturbing second sight of the blue-dressed sisters) is another of Torrance's visitation states — "You have always been the caretaker," Grady suggests menacingly.” (Nathan, N/A). Looking at the fact that Jack has envisioned this malicious murdering caretaker is clue enough to the fact that Jack could also be potentially dangerous. Suggesting that Jack has ‘always been the caretaker’ foreshadows that he will do the same as the previous caretaker had done to his own family; murder them. Or, at least attempt to. And so leads up to the big event of the film where Jack chases both Danny and Wendy throughout the Overlook Hotel in an attempt to kill them, screaming the classic quote, “Here’s Johnny!”. Luckily, it doesn’t have such a bitter ending. But instead, a twist is included.

Figure 4. 'Jack frozen with a menacing expression'

As Danny and Wendy escape from the frozen prison, Jack, suffering a blow to the head earlier in the film, is trapped within the maze just outside of the hotel, to which he then collapses into the snow. The film then cuts to Jack’s face the next day, frozen from the blizzard in a menacing expression, his gaze staring up at us as if to emphasise the madness within. We are then brought to a photograph hanging on the wall inside the hotel. As we zoom in closer with each frame, our attention is then brought to a man. This man bared and extreme resemblance to Jack himself, but the confusing element lies with the fact that the photograph was taken within the 1920’s. Could this be the fact that Grady was suggesting? Was Jack the caretaker in a previous life? Or was it the poltergeist of the Overlook Hotel that possessed him to consider committing such crimes? Although the ending is unclear, it certainly leaves a chill within the atmosphere. 

Bibliography:

Bradshaw, P. (2012) ‘The Shining - review’ (01.11.12) In: http://www.theguardian.com/ (2012) [Online] At: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2012/nov/01/the-shining-review (Accessed on 16.12.14)

Ebert, R. (2006) ‘GREAT MOVIE - The Shining’ (18.06.06) In: http://www.rogerebert.com/ (2006) [Online] At: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-the-shining-1980 (Accessed on 16.12.14)


Nathan, I. (N/A) ‘The Shining - 'Heeeere's Johnny!!!!!’' (N/A) In: http://www.empireonline.com/ (N/A) [Online] At: http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=132700 (Accessed on 16.12.14)

Illustrations:

Figure 1. 'The Shining Movie Poster' (1980) [Poster] At: http://www.impawards.com/1980/shining_ver1_xlg.html (Accessed on 16.12.14)

Figure 2. 'Wendy terrified of Jack's Advances' (1980) [Movie Still] At: http://cdn.bloody-disgusting.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/The-Shining-the-shining-25586158-1024-576.jpg (Accessed on 16.12.14)

Figure 3. 'Jack peering through the smashed door' (1980) [Movie Still] At: http://mentalfloss.com/sites/default/files/shining_0.jpg (Accessed on 16.12.14)

Figure 4. 'Jack frozen with a menacing expression' (1980) [Movie Still] At: http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140512045133/stephenking/images/e/e4/710.jpg (Accessed on 16.12.14)

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Film Review: Roman Polanski's "Repulsion" (1965)

 Figure 1. Repulsion Movie Poster

Roman Polanski’s “Repulsion” (1965) is certainly a spectacle to behold. It plays on a very psychological level in a sense that the main character, Carol, played by Catherine Deneuve, a young and beautiful woman, who at first may seem rather coy and reserved, but is actually rather repulsed by men, causing her to manifest this deep set disgust to manifest and allow her to slowly descend into madness. Set in swinging London, the story follows Carol as her mind spirals to the point of homicidal madness.

This disturbing drama is reflecting of Polanski’s methods of art house film, which creates these shocking visual effects that really set the atmosphere of making the audience uncomfortable. It’s as if each little thing that makes Carol tick, can now make the audience tick as of the immersive effect that is being experienced. As Mat Viola emphasises in their review, “Nobody but Polanski could make dripping water, ticking clocks, buzzing flies, clanging bells, ringing telephones and the distant playing of piano scales seem so disturbing, yet the persistent use of these nerve-racking aural effects, slightly amplified to reflect Carol’s distorted perception, create an atmosphere of unbearable edginess.” (Viola, 2008) It’s with these techniques that we can truly experience what the character is feeling at the time. With close up camera shots and dodgy soundtrack, the film almost makes the viewer feel claustrophobic and dazed with the absurdity of the feature.

Figure 2. Walls Begin to Crack

The visuals of the film really depict the way the character develops mentally and emotionally. A fine example would be that of the apartment that Carol resides in with her sister. Her environment ‘changes’ around her, deteriorating along with her mind. As Bosely Crowther emphasises, “Distortions in the rooms of the apartment tacitly reveal her mental state. Phantom arms that punch through the walls and seize her visualize her nightmare insanity.” (Crowther, 1965) As the film progresses, it is noticeable that the walls begin to crack, much like Carol herself, and with the rooms expanding and contracting, it is emphasised how distorted and complex her mindset is. Essentially, symbolism plays a large part in putting across the films true intentions. From the rotting rabbit carcass to when she applies lipstick as if to be ‘getting ready for her attacker to arrive’, it is clear to see what Carol is thinking, but we never fully understand why she does.
Figure 3. Male Hands Bursting Through the Walls

The main climax of the film was when Carol killed the two men who pursued her, one being a potential suitor smitten by her, and the other being her sleazy landlord trying to advance. Both murders were carried out within the apartment, as most of the film was, but, as Steve Biodrowski points out, “We are denied even the satisfaction of a last-minute revelation regarding Carole’s unhinged mentality. Polanski’s camera merely zooms in on a photograph of Carole as a young girl, staring angrily at her father, suggesting that the seeds of her madness were planted in childhood, perhaps buried forever, never to be fully explained.” (Biodrowski, 2009) It is unclear as to how and why Carol has been lead to behave and think in these certain ways. Some critics speculate that the panning in on the photograph displays the potential that her father may have possibly been the stimulus of her hatred towards men, as he could have sexually abused her at a young age. But Polanski denies these accusations, he merely wanted to put across that she was effected with this mentality from childhood onwards.

Figure 4. Carol's Family Photograph

Although “Repulsion” (1965) may not be the most fast-paced film, the subtext and symbolism, combined with a striking soundtrack and credible acting, are what makes the feature a notable performance. It’s written within the horror genre, but with it’s own artistic twist on the plot and the aesthetic of the film, conjuring up this suspense filled feature that doesn’t fail to shock. It may not be to every critic’s taste, but it is certainly a film that should be experienced.

Bibliography:

Viola, M. (2008) ‘Repulsion (Roman Polanski, 1965)’ (26.01.08) In: http://notesofafilmfanatic.com (2008) [Online] At: http://notesofafilmfanatic.com/?p=18 (Accessed on 09.12.14)

Crowther, B. (1965) ‘Movie Review Repulsion (1965) REPULSION’ (04.10.65) In http://www.nytimes.com/ (1965) [Online] At: http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=EE05E7DF1739E471BC4C53DFB667838E679EDE (Accessed on 09.12.14)


Biodrowski, S. (2009) ‘ Repulsion (1965) - Horror Film Review’ (27.07.09) In: http://cinefantastiqueonline.com/ (2009) [Online] At: http://cinefantastiqueonline.com/2009/07/repulsion-1965-horror-film-review/ (Accessed on 09.12.14)

Illustrations:

Figure 1. 'Repulsion Movie Poster' (1965) [Movie Poster] At: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/05/Repulsion.jpg (Accessed on 09.12.14)

Figure 2. 'Walls Begin to Crack' (1965) [Movie Still] At: http://onehundredimportantfilmschallenge.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/repulsion_shot25l.jpg (Accessed on 09.12.14)

Figure 3. 'Male Hands Bursting Through the Wall' (1965) [Movie Still] At: https://aaastern.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/repulsion.jpg (Accessed on 09.12.14)

Figure 4. 'Carol's Family Photograph' (1965) [Movie Still] At: http://s3.amazonaws.com/criterion-production/posts/2044-5d1c0e6713202381b41b499aa9890d5a/One_Scene_Repulsion_Still_video_still.jpeg (Accessed on 09.12.14)

Friday, 5 December 2014

Project: The "What If" Metropolis - Blocking Out My City in Maya

So I have finally managed to start working in Maya with my city. So to get a better understanding of how I would lay out the composition of the city, I did some rough models in Maya of the buildings I will create. Not a bad start, now on to the real thing! :)





Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Project: The "What If" Metropolis - New Improved Concept Art

It's taken a while, but I've finally got there! Here is my redesign of the final concept piece. I hope you all like it :)