Friday, 15 December 2017

Maya Tutorial | Lighting & Rendering - Stylised Internal Lighting

Collaboration | Reflective Statement

I think this project went very well overall. I was put into a group with Michaela and Douy which I was very pleased with as I know they both complete their work to a high standard. Through the pre-production we had a little bit of trouble coming up with a cohesive story that fit the brief well, but as soon as we did, everything calmed down and we were able to get together to do all of the work necessary.

Our group never had any arguments and were always able to calmly discuss any problems we had with where our project was going.

The concept art process was a lot of fun as I turned the blank Moom model into a recognisable Superhero - I think there could have been more added to the models to give them slightly more character, although I feel I got them to a point where they're each recognisable as their comic book counterpart without spending unnecessary time.

I don't usually enjoy animating very much, as I prefer the process of taking my concept art and then modelling it all, but I found that I really enjoyed animating the Flash and Batman scenes a lot, although I do feel that I could have done a better job when Flash is going down the stairs as it feels slightly static at the moment.

After I finished animating my scenes, I creating our 'Making Of'. I think it turned out well as I tried to make it seem like a more professional printed 'art of' book, although I think the general design and placements throughout the document could have been more appealing and engaging - I'll definitely be using more reference material in the future to create a better Making Of.

After this project, I definitely feel that I'd be open to the idea of collaborating for the final project as the whole process of working with a friend and sharing our ideas to make the project better was a lot of fun and a great experience.

Film Review | Exploitation Cinema - Mad Max

Exploitation in cinema can take on a multitude of forms, although some of the most common include violent, romantic and sexual content, although they can also focus on niche and current trends. All of these are purely exploited as a means for the movie to make as much money as possible. Often, large-scale Hollywood productions have no need to exploit cinema in this way as they are far more likely to make money than smaller productions, therefore exploitation of these types of content are commonly considered a 'B-Movie' type of move as a mean to make more money than they could otherwise.

Much of the cinematic exploitation that takes place in Mad Max: Fury Road is quite sexual - as are the majority of films made in Hollywood, although Mad Max goes even further - , as every woman (Furiosa is an exception) is seen as a sexual object by the males. There are extremely few females in the film, and the majority of those seen are for breeding and nothing else. On top of this, the vast amount of men seen throughout the film are half naked, meaning both the women and men are appealing to the 'gaze' or, more commonly, the 'male gaze'. Another very common aspect to many Hollywood films is the exploitation of violence - it works to help the audience relieve stresses, but once again is commonly seen as something manufactured towards the male viewership. Mad Max is no exception to this inclusion of violence as the entire film revolves around Max and Furiosa being chased across the Australian outback as they transport the aforementioned 'breeders', with much action, suspense and gore taking place along the way.

Despite all of this, George Miller, the director of Mad Max: Fury Road, received an enormous profit of approximately 300 million USD and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Costume Design.

Film Review List

The Hero's Journey
Django Unchained

Baby Driver

Pan's Labyrinth

Character & Storytelling
The Wolf of Wall Street

Documentary & Mockumentary
What We Do in the Shadows

Hot Fuzz

Film Review | Comedy - Hot Fuzz (2007)

Hot Fuzz, directed in 2007 by Edgar Wright is one of  the three 'Cornetto Trilogy' and stars Simon Pegg as Nicholas Angel and Nick Frost as Danny Butterman. The film largely focuses on Pegg's character and he is forced to leave the London Metropolitan Police and instead given a role as a Patrol Officer in the tiny village of Sandford. However, here, he finds a murderous cult that kills anyone who plans on leaving their perfect town, with Danny Butterman's dad heading it all.

At it's core, Hot Fuzz's comedy revolved around the idea of spoofing the boring life of a police officer working within a sleepy village, while also incorporating the idea that many have of village people being in some ways mysterious and 'curtain-twitchers'. Then, Wright throws in some wit, word play and 'blue comedy' to give a lighter and more childish humour to the film, as well as 'black comedy' (via the many violent and gory death scenes) to satiate those with a darker sense of humour, all the while the actors give a very British dry and and deadpan performance.

The comedy largely works due to the actors' flawlessly dry performances throughout the film, coupled with the over-the-top action and activities as well as the charicature-esque setting and people. Of course, comedy can be very hit and miss as it all depends on those who watch it and the sense of humour of the writers/directors but Hot Fuzz ticks so many boxes, especially for the British audience, that it is considered by many to be a very successfully funny film.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Collaboration | The Making of Hero's Journey - Updated

Film Review | Documentary and Mockumentary - What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

'What We Do in the Shadows' (2014) is a mockumentary film directed by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement. It revolves around a group of vampires living together who each have difficulties coping with the modern world in some way, and a newly-turned vampire who is trying to adapt to this new culture, making mistakes along the way.

Mockumentaries, also sometimes called Docucomedies, are a genre of film that is based around a fictitious story, but represents it all through the lens of a factual documentary, often commenting on culture and/or history at the time. What We Do in the Shadows does not contain these comments and is very clearly meant solely for comedic purposes. The way the movie has been filmed gives a definite feeling of a documentary with it's hand-held camera shaking, mistakes in framing and strange angles as opposed to the perfection of Hollywood cinema, creating a feeling very different from most films and certainly the vast majority of comedies as they commonly feature very boring and flat framing. On top of this, the viewer feels as though they are being allowed into a sub-culture due to the constant mentioning of the cameraman being human, yet allowed to film the private lives of vampires.

All of the characters feel very much like charicatures of what a vampire should be, frequently making mistakes that should be clear, or a very memorable moment being Viago (Taika Waititi), being a clean-freak and having lured a woman into his house to feed on, he spends an extortionately long amount of time laying down towels while conversing with her, only for him to accidentally bite her in artery, causing her blood to spurt all over the room. This level of silliness is ongoing throughout the entire film, while still being addressed as being a documentary, causing this comedy to feel very new and refreshing from the norm.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Film Review | Character and Storytelling - The Wolf of Wall Street 

The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by Martin Scorsese, follows Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he breaks into the stock brokering business on Wall Street and his journey to becoming a billionnaire through illegal business. While the film has an enormous cast full of minor characters, each playing off eachother in memorable and purposeful ways, everything almost entirely revolves around Jordan Belfort through his perspective, with the only real threat being Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler), a member of the FBI trying to take Belfort down for his crimes.

Jordan Belfort -

Personal History:
He originally got hired by a stock broker on Wall Street which soon shut down. He then began working for a minor company selling pink slips for high prices to major corporations and, from there, began his own company, eventually becoming a major player on Wall Street himself.

Personal World View:
He believes that he deserves the money he takes from major company owners because he knows exactly how to spend it, but it'd go to waste on others.

Inherited World:
A loud workplace that favours lude behaviour and difficulty outside of work due to a similar lifestyle.

Wants and Needs:
Jordan only really wants more money so that he can buy more drugs, own more 'rich people stuff' and have more women.

Internal vs External Traits:
Loud, outgoing and very manipulative

He has no off switch and can't tell when to say no to something, instead following a mantra of living every day like it's his last.

Overall Story Arc:
Jordan goes from rags to riches which corrupts him, causing him to go to prison and for his wife to leave, leaving in rags again. However it does seem as though he begins recouperating afterwards, following a different line of business.

Belfort has many conflicts with most minor ones occurring with those who he works with, however a major conflict comes from the FBI Agen Patrick Denham who is attempting to take him down for everything he's done.

Value Change in a Scene:
He enters Wall Street with an air of innocence and turns down anything illegal that's handed to him, however when he starts making large sums of money after he starts his own company, his outlook completely changes.

Patrick Denham -

Personal History:
He once aspired to be a stock broker, but ended up working in the FBI.

Personal World View:
He wants to set the world to rights and hold Jordan accountable for his crimes.

Inherited World:
Not much information is given about Denham's worklife, other than he didn't want to take the case against Belfort, instead it landed on his lap.

Wants and Needs:
He wants to hold Jordan accountable, but has a desire for the money gained from stock brokering.

Internal vs External Traits:
Calm and tends to get what he wants via tricking people into giving information.

Slightly over-the-top when it comes to catching criminals and is unrelenting.

Overall Story Arc:
Comes out of nowhere pursuing Jordan Belfort but has difficulty until Jordan makes the mistake of helping him with the investigation, after which he eventually wins and imprisons all who were accountable.

His only true conflict comes from his tug-of-war with Belfort.

Value Change in a Scene:
On the yacht when he notifies Jordan Belfort that he originally intended to be a stock broker, and later on the subway train when he reminsces and wonders what could have been if he had taken that route.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Collaboration | The Making of Hero's Journey

For some reason, Scribd is causing all of the images to be low quality - if anyone knows how to fix this, please let me know. Thanks

Collaboration | Batman Scene - Playblast (UPDATED)

After the previous playblast, my group thought that the reflections on Batman's scooter looked unnatural so I tried to increase the roughness, however this had no visible effect when playblasting, only when actually rendering. Instead, I changed the material entirely to give it a more matte finish.

Collaboration | Batman Scene - Playblast (UPDATED)

Collaboration | Flash Scene - Playblast (UPDATED)

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Perspectives | Lecture 8 - 5 Ways 'The Truman Show' is Postmodern

Hyperreality -
Truman has spent his entire life in a constructed reality, which he firmly believes is real, disregarding all signs that the space around him isn't real, until a certain point. The end of the film, when Truman ascends the stairs and walks through the door, could be considered to be Truman leaving behind this hyperreal space and transitioning into what could be considered the 'real world'.

Simulacra -
The world in which Truman lives is a simulation of the 'real world', however it has its limits. These limits are what cause Truman to try and leave in the first place as all of his experiences were on a rotation, and he could never stray too far away from his home, nor could he speak to those who were not part of the main narrative of Truman's story.

The 4th Wall -
The fourth wall is broken a number of times during 'The Truman Show' as the viewer is made to feel just like the audience members within the film. One seen in particular that breaks the fourth wall is the moment before Truman steps through the doorway at the end of the film, and says "In case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight" right into the camera, then he turns and the screen fades to black.

Parody -
The town in which Truman lives is an exaggerated parody of suburban America, and so are the people, including Truman himself.

Metanarrative -
While Truman has his own life and all of the actors around him have to play to his narrative, there is an overarching story of a TV show, which everything is based around. Even if Truman wanted to do something, if it won't make for good TV or fit into the creator's story, then it won't happen just so everything fits to the metanarrative.

Perspectives | Lecture 8 - Word Definitions

Hyperrealism - Something that is 'more real that reality' or 'more true than truth'

Simulation - An imitation of a situation or process

Simulacra - An image or representation of someone or something; an unsatisfactory imitation or substitute

'Fake News' - The posting of news that is 'not true'. However, this truth can be subjective

Perspectives | Lecture 7 - Word Definitions

Metafiction - Fiction in which the author self-consciously alludes to the artificiality or literariness of a work by parodying or departing from novelistic conventions and traditional narrative techniques

Intertextuality - The relationship between texts, especially literary ones

Mise-en-Abyme - Self-reflection within the structure of a literary work; a work employing self-reflection

The 4th Wall - The space which separates a performer or performances from an audience

Collaboration | Batman Scene Screenshots

Collaboration | Flash Scene Screenshot

Collaboration | Flash Scene - Test Renders