Friday, 27 March 2015

After Effects: Parallax Editing


Not exactly the best image but this is a really interesting feature! I might consider using it within my project.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Film Review: Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" (1963)

Figure 1. The Birds Movie Poster

Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” (1963) presents it’s audience with the consistent droning of frantically flapping wings and the cries of both birds and humans. Such a spectacle may have started off light-hearted, but as the film progresses, it has a series of rather drastic mood swings.

Contrary to belief, some individuals would say that this film is used as a representation to many things such as the behaviour of women, the perils of futuristic machinery and how it may come to destroy us, or it could just be about rather malicious birds. Partaking on the birds representing women idea, it is notable that the overall film is mostly based around the emotions of women. Symbolism of the birds behaviours portray how catty women can be, with possibly the violent outbreaks relating to woman’s stereotypical catty attitude. As Xan Brooks speculates in a review, “When teasing out the meaning of The Birds, many critics take their lead from the hysterical woman who links the attacks to Daniels' arrival ("I think you're the cause of all of this"). This implies that the birds are a manifestation of sex, some galvanic hormonal storm that whisks sleepy Bodega Bay into a great communal lather.” (Brooks, X. 2012)

Figure 2. Melanie Daniels and Mitch Brenner

But what truly adds to the terror of each bird sequence in the film is how they are panned out. For example, Alastair Sooke observes, “The bird-attack sequences are tremendously complex (the movie contains more than 370 trick shots), and the absence of a score renders the horror more immediate: Hitch's long-time composer Bernard Herrmann fashioned an eerie soundtrack from caws, strident screeches and rustling wings.” (Sooke, A. 2015). The melodramatic acting from the cast gives the audience a sense of terror with a hint of frustration, leaving them on the edge of their seats as they internally yell at the cast to ‘get out of there’. It is an intense atmosphere for the most part, due to the birds, but also due to character interactions and relationships.

Melanie Daniels and Annie Hayworth

Tippy Hedren played our main heroine of the story, who comes across as somewhat promiscuous and adventurous, but that facade falls flat as she is first hit by a gull whilst on a boat, her mask of composure slowly crumbling. Bosley Crowther takes note on the emotions linked into the film, “…a young woman who is made out to be the vaguely resentful ex-sweetheart of the son is killed by the birds in one of their onsets before they zero in on the mother's house.” (Crowther, B. 1963) The point coming across here is then relating us back to the first argument that the attacking birds are symbolic of what was thought to be most women’s attitudes towards each other. The jealous and overbearing mother, and the resentful ex-girlfriend, in particular, are experiencing an unease when confronted with the main heroine of the story, and are in a sense, feeling threatened by her sophisticated and model like demeanour. These emotions have successfully been conveyed by Hitchcock through the manifestation of birds that swarm Bodega Bay.

Figure 4. Birds Attack the School

It doesn’t go unnoticed that Hitchcock’s aspirations for his work is to create suspense, mystery, and to portray intellect in an artistic way. The unspeakable horrors of how malicious these feathered creatures have acted has been presented to the audience through tension, a noticeable lack of musical soundtrack throughout the attack scenes, and the incredible directing of Alfred Hitchcock.

Bibliography:

Brooks, X. (2012) ‘My Favourite Hitchcock: The Birds’ (31.07.12) In: http://www.theguardian.com/ (2012) [Online] At: http://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2012/jul/31/my-favourite-hitchcock-the-birds (Accessed on 21.03.15)

Crowther, B. (1963) ‘MOVIE REVIEW - The Birds (1963)
Screen: 'The Birds':Hitchcock's Feathered Fiends Are Chilling’ (01.04.63) In: http://www.nytimes.com/ (1963) [Online] At: http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9D05E7D9143CEF3BBC4953DFB2668388679EDE (Accessed on 21.03.15)


Sooke, A. (2015) ‘The Birds, review: ‘disturbing’’ (09.01.15) In: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ (2015) [Online] At: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/filmreviews/11334674/The-Birds-review-disturbing.html (Accessed on 21.03.15)

Illustrations:

Figure 1. 'The Birds Movie Poster' (1963) [Poster] At: http://the.hitchcock.zone/files/gallery/org/4714.jpg (Accessed on 21.03.15)

Figure 2. 'Melanie Daniels and Mitch Brenner' (1963) [Movie Still] At: http://derekwinnert.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/7.png (Accessed on 21.03.15)

Figure 3. 'Melanie Daniels and Annie Hayworth' (1963) [Movie Still] At: http://the-dandy-life.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/The-Birds-Fashion.png (Accessed on 21.03.15)

Figure 4, 'Birds Attack the School' (1963) [Movie Still] At: http://bavatuesdays.com/wp-content/images/thebirds3.jpg (Accessed on 21.03.15)

Monday, 16 March 2015

Fantastic Voyage: Rough Storyboard

Fantastic Voyage: Malaria Title and Character Select Screens

So I think that I'm going for an arcade sort of approach to the selection screens, taking things to the more retro side of gaming, I guess? I've included the main characters on the title screen and with the character selection screen, each playable character is seen as a silhouette until the cursor is hovering over them.



Sunday, 15 March 2015

Fantastic Voyage: Example Gameplay Screen and Text Box

As the title says, I've created some examples as to how the "gameplay" might look like during the animation. I even included a power up! (More on that later!) Watch this space for more!



Fantastica Voyage: Initial Environment Concept

Here's an example as to how I could go about creating my environment. To make it more authentic to a side scroller game, I have included a "ceiling and floor" which I have brought into the foreground, and then I pushed the background behind by using slightly lighter colours. In a way, this emphasises the effect of a tunnel, which I wanted to convey here in particular to display how I thought the bloodstream could look. The little critter on screen is an example design for the sporozoite organism.


Saturday, 14 March 2015

Fantastic Voyage: Initial Cell Ideas

I have to admit, this project is pretty tough, and unfortunately I have been slightly struggling with grasping my concept. But I have managed to jot down an idea of how I could take it, and to demonstrate this, I have drawn up a few cell thumbnails to portray the style I could aim for. As I will be creating a "game" to show the life cycle, I thought about creating sprites for the cells and they could potentially become playable characters within the sequence.



Sunday, 8 March 2015

Fantastic Voyage: Mosquito Character Initial Ideas

And so the design process begins! And I thought that I should start with some character designs, and for one of my main characters that will appear in the character select screen, I have chosen to create a mosquito, seeing as it plays quite a role in the malaria life cycle. Because I am creating a "game", I wanted my character to appear somewhat cartoon-y. I didn't want to over complicate the designs as I thought it would be best to keep it simple for when I transform the character into a game sprite. I looked at images of mosquitos and jotted down a few key words to aid with my designs. The outer shell of the insects body appears robust, hence the armoured outfit, and the limbs are thing and skeletal, so I played with the thickness of the arms and legs, including sharp edges on the armour to display his bad guys traits.


Friday, 6 March 2015

Artist Toolkit: Animation and Character - Describing Taste

At the beginning of today's session, Meg showed us a clip from Disney Pixar's "Ratatouille" of the scene where Remmy is tasting food and reacting to it. So our task for today was to create a short animation to describe the taste of a food. We couldn't be literal about it though, we needed to be a bit more abstract in our approach. I decided to describe tomato pasta, to which I wrote down a few key words to help me out. I also needed to consider how colour play into it, and I couldn't be literal about it, so with my key words, I decided to keep the tone warm and smooth to emphasise what I perceive my food to be. 


Sunday, 1 March 2015

Film Review: Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest" (1959)

Figure 1. 'North by Northwest Movie Poster' (1959)

The more comedic side of the infamous director has finally come through in Alfred Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest” (1959). With charming characters and the classic camera angles, this film is sure to please it’s audience with an atmosphere as that of a James Bond spoof.

As Hitchcock has become well known for his thrilling suspense filled features, some would consider this film to be a new perspective on the director’s style, pointing out the comedic aspects of the film. As stated in one review by A. H. Weiler, “With a tongue-in-cheek attitude and a breezy sense of humour, they [Hitchcock and Ernest Lehman] are off in high gear right at the beginning as they spin the somewhat improbable yarn of a successful, handsome Madison Avenue executive, who is mistaken for a Federal intelligence man by foreign agents and forcibly pushed into a succession of macabre situations that shock, amaze, perplex, and anger our once-debonair hero.” (Weiler, A. 1959) The film is therefore comedic in the sense of all of the unfortunate mishaps that happens to the main protagonist of this story. Despite the protagonist being lured into these dangerous situations, such as the crop duster trying to take him out, the atmosphere remains light-hearted and adventurous, capturing the audience and peaking their excitement.

Figure 2. 'Mr. Thornhill pinned by his captors' (1959)

Although it is supposedly deriving away from the usual ‘Hitchcock style’, we are still able to identify the infamous techniques that are implied within his work. Bill Weber acknowledges such theories in his review, “…many themes and motifs of Serious Hitch can be found: the fluidity of identity (Thornhill's embrace of play-acting the role of phantom agent "George Kaplan"), the burden of mother love (in the hilarious poise of Jessie Royce Landis as Grant's mocking mom), and even coded-as-queer sadism (Martin Landau as Mason's enforcer, equipped with "woman's intuition”).” (Weber, B. 2008) Essentially, without these characteristics, it just wouldn’t be a Hitchcock styled film. Certain components of these characteristics are what gives the film charm, allowing it to develop as it does.

Figure 3. 'Thornhill confronting the criminal' (1959)

And what would a Hitchcock film be without taking note of the infamous camera work. Tola Onanuga notes, “A slow establishing shot of the area emphasises Thornhill's vulnerability in such unfamiliar surroundings. This is crucial because, up until this moment, Thornhill has managed to charm, bribe or bluster his way out of whatever danger is about to befall him. In this scene, Hitchcock, the masochist, is at pains to make his character appear as helpless and exposed as possible.” Onanuga, T. 2013) Character development is certainly something that Hitchcock knows to portray in an exciting and understandable manner, the sudden realisation from the audience and how Hitchcock’s plan just suddenly clicks in their minds is astonishing to witness and be apart of. This then emphasises the point that Hitchcock wants his viewers to think of him as a genius.

Hitchcock’s work is fascinating to witness. There’s something artificial about the way he writes his characters and scenarios, but there’s also the way he conveys his expertise into his films that allows us to empathise with the people and the situations in his stories. It is an interesting experience to be allowed the chance to delve into the world of Alfred Hitchcock.

Bibliography:

Onanuga, T. (2013) 'Why I love ... North By Northwest's crop-duster scene' (30.09.13) In: http://www.theguardian.com/ (2013) [Online] At: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/sep/30/north-by-northwest-grant-hitchcock (Accessed on 01.03.15)

Weiler, A. (1959) 'North By Northwest (1959)
Hitchcock Takes Suspenseful Cook's Tour; ' North by Northwest' Opens at Music Hall' (07.08.59) In: http://www.nytimes.com/ (1959) [Online] At:
 http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9404E7D91631EE3BBC4F53DFBE668382649EDE (Accessed on 01.03.15)

Weber, B. (2008) 'Film Review: North by Northwest' (09.11.08) In: http://www.slantmagazine.com/ (2008) [Online] At: http://www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/north-by-northwest (Accessed on 01.03.15)

Illustrations:

Figure 1. 'North by Northwest Movie Poster' (1959) [Poster] At: http://static.guim.co.uk/Guardian/film/gallery/2008/nov/03/1/pail46-3935.jpg
(Accessed on 01.03.15)

Figure 2. 'Mr. Thornhill pinned by his captors' (1959) [Movie Still] At: http://i.guim.co.uk/static/w-460/h--/q-95/sys-images/Film/Pix/pictures/2012/8/3/1344010021461/North-by-Northwest-008.jpg (Accessed on 01.03.15)

Figure 3. 'Thornhill confronting the criminal' (1959) [Movie Still] At: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-frIC71C8AXY/Tqyf30vnd2I/AAAAAAAASUU/ciE2PIp2Jdw/s1600/NorByNorthwest_231Pyxurz.jpg (Accessed on 01.03.15)