Thursday, 29 October 2015

What If? Metropolis Artist Research: Constantine Brancusi

Life Drawing Halloween

I have found that the life drawing courses are helping me with my overall drawing skills. From this week I had a few drawings which I quite liked and found the movement excersise very useful

What if? Metropolis: Travelogue

When arriving at the city known as Brancusi, there are a few things that really stand out and catch the visitor’s attention. The first would be the scattered bronze and marble statues of the heads of the Gods around the city. These range in sizes from on top of a podium to the size of a building. The people within the city are extremely religious and they worship these statues and treat them with the up most respect. Keeping them clean and have a constant shine, these extremely old pieces appear to be no older than a few years. These statues are not of what you would imagine a God to appear as though. The structures of the faces resembles almost alien like creatures combined with abstract faces. The eyes being the largest feature of the face, with the most sacred of these statues it could be said that they eyes look deep into the soul of those who stare at it deeply enough.
From a distance the first thing that you would notice is the row of assorted coloured flags. The flags are all in a round line around the city forming a complete circle. They are all on a pole and are attached from the top and bottom as almost a sail style. On the flags are different patterns and mixtures of colours to help the city’s elegance stand out.
The next feature of the city that you would notice when entering is the sheer size of the towering buildings. They appear to be pyramids on top of one another going from large at the base to smaller the higher up it gets. The colours of these towers rarely changes from one to another, the most used colour scheme is a pale blue with gold highlighting. The only difference between the many towers is the shades of blue along with the highlighting and the size. These buildings are the main structure of the city as residents do not live in houses, rather they live in apartments within these towers. Unlike most societies with the top apartments being the most expensive and desirable, the lower levels of these buildings are where the higher classes would be living in. This is for several reasons, one due to the structure of the tower with the larger apartments being at the base to help create a stable structure. Another reason is due to the size of the towers, meaning to travel to the highest apartment is seen as a task that the upper class should not take part in. These buildings all include incredible lighting at night time as well which compliments the beauty of the city. Each level of the towers have lights facing upwards and the apartment above, due to the structure of the building and the varying sizes this created amazing lighting and shadows which appear to be touching the sky.
When walking through the city and exploring the streets it is almost inevitable that you will arrive to the cathedral in the exact centre of the city. One way or another, no matter what path you travel down, if you follow it for long enough you will always arrive at the cathedral. The city was laid out in this way as a sign of respect to the Gods and to help promote worshipping to allow the city’s residents to be to pass into the afterlife and not to be condemned. The cathedral is huge in size, clearly standing out within the city from an aerial shot. It is lined with statues of the Gods but rather in bronze the ones that line the cathedral are all made out of pale marble with gold detailing.
The location of the city is placed at the bottom of a valley, surrounded by grassy mountains which turns into dense forests, then into rocky mountain tops. The location of the city is very useful for the residents as the Rocky Mountains supply the city with fresh spring water every day, filtered through the rocks filling up springs dotted around the city at the bottom of the valley. This layout also provides residents of the city endless activities. When in the grassy hills there are flat plains which are ideal for children to play games and for sporting events.
Once you scale the grassy hills you then enter the forest which has endless hiking trails which leads to hidden sanctuaries with amazing wildlife and scenery that will please any visitor. If you are lucky enough when following these trails you will find the main trail, referred to as ‘The View’ as at the end of the trail you will arrive at a part of the mountain the sticks out almost as a balcony. From here you will have a full view of the city and can bask in all of its beautiful buildings and statues. When and if you make it past the hiking trails you will arrive at the thrill seekers paradise. The Rocky Mountains that range from small easy to scale cliff faces to steep and dangerous walls that could make an experienced climber doubt himself. Many of the residents take part in rock climbing activities because the residents try to incorporate the surrounding areas as much as possible to show the Gods appreciation for what they have provided them.
 The city is very recluse and can be very reluctant to accept visitors as they worry that their traditions and monuments would be disturbed or damaged. Due to its recluseiveness they will regulate the amount of visitors that come and go from the city to not disturb the balance. The waiting list to visit the city to view the beautiful statues and surrounding areas can be up to several months.

The most beautiful time of day is around sunrise. The sun rises from the back of the valley so the light shines upon the whole city creating intricate shadows from the tall and odd shaped building with a combination of flags and the hills from the back.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Space Oddities: 2001 A Space Odyssey Review

Fig 1.

When watching Stanley Kubricks '2001: A Space Odyssey' there are several defining moments that you will have seen manipulated or transformed in some way throughout the history of cinema post 'A Space Odyssey'. As James Berardinelli said "Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Despite gaining additional adherents and growing more respected with each passing day."(J. Berardinelli)  With this film there is a much deeper meaning then simply the plot. In a way this is a plus due to the difficulty to fully understand the story without leaving the viewing full of confusion and thought. You can see similarity's from this film with recent blockbusters such as Interstellar. Not only that but shows such as The Simpsons have had their own versions of this story by Kubrick. This shows us how influential this motion picture has been for cinematography, still being referenced years after its initial release. 

Fig 2.

Throughout the film there is very little character development that takes place. This is partially because Kubrick was focusing on something deeper then just the characters and their journey through the story, but rather focusing on the viewers journey. We can see this from a quote from Rodger Eberts review on the film "There is hardly any character development in the plot, then, as a result little suspense. What remains fascinating is the fanatic care with which Kubrick has built his machines and achieved his special effects." (R. Ebert 1968). Another reason in which it is believed that character development was kept to a minimal is due to the state of the character. You jump from characters to characters and there are times where you wont see the character again once the switch has happened. Such as the apes at the start for example. Not only that but one of the main characters is a computer named Hal. The way in which Kubrick depicted this sinister machine was brilliant. He was subtle yet slowly used to portray a view that may have been from Kubrick which might possibly be to not trust machines. 

Fig 3.

Another aspect you can see come through with the inspiration of this film is simply the time of production. The film was made in the late 60's, a time where a lot of people would consume psychedelic drugs. One of the main scenes is when David Bowman ( Keir Dullea) enters the space time tunnel. Kubrick uses a lot of different coloured and streaking flashing lights which many people have described as a 'trip'. This can been seen even from viewers who have not consumed any substances, it feels as if you're being drawing through the portal a long with Bowman. The use of the high speed zooming and the alteration of the lights is visually stimulating and also a very impressive piece of visual effects for the time. We can see the influence of the time due to the reaction of the audience when it first was out in cinema. As Bill Gibron said in his review when talking about viewing the movie for the first time " 2001 wasn’t done screwing with my underdeveloped brain. Not by a long shot. As the scent of marijuana mixed with Tic Tacs filled the theater, that infamous space baby made his grand finale entrance, and frankly, I was floored." (Bill Gibron, 2005).

2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the films that will always be a classic and revolutionary in the cinematic world. The complexity of the idea and the plot joined in with the endless meanings behind it. Not only that but just the experience that it can bring to the viewer, in past or present. This will be a film that will stay in your mind and you will not forget about for a good amount of time to come, if its the extensiveness of Kubricks prolonging methods or about the difficulty to understand and comprehend what you just watched. 


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Berardinelli, J. -

Ebert, R.(1968) -

Gibron, B. (2005) -

Invisible Cities: Thumbnails

I have been working on some more in depth thumbnails trying to use the different skills and techniques that we have learned in our digital painting classes. I still struggle with trying to get the digital paintings to look realistic but I am going to work on this and try to improve on my overall skill for the final pieces.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Space Oddities: King Kong (1933)

When talking about classic stand out, revolutionary films, King Kong (1933) will appear on the majority of peoples list. This timeless classic has a story so different to anything prior to it viewers found it extremely intriguing and it was a completely new cinematic experience. Directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, King Kong was different from many of the films of the time such as Metropolis (1927) in the way that even though it was only produced 6 years later it actually contained dialogue sound, whereas Metropolis was a silent film with a score put over it for dramatic effects. We can see this point backed up from Almar Hifladason " "King Kong" defies such limited expectations because it was so ahead of its time."(Almar Hifladason 2001) This is a huge just in cinema history, even though Kong was not the first film to contain dialogue it was one of the bigger original ones making it stand out to viewers everywhere.

Fig 1.
When watching King Kong there are a few things that particularity stand out. One of these was the use of different background objects to portray depth and also allowed Cooper and Schoedsack to take the viewers to different lands that didn't exist and would have been hard to travel to or to build at the time of production. The way in which they would do this is by having the front of the stage filled with actors on a set within a studio. They would then use smaller objects in the distance to try and use perspective to make it appear to be in some cases hundreds of meters away. Then behind this layer of smaller objects we would see the main background of  the set created by a matte painting. The use of these three different factors allowed scenes to take place and not just appear to be a different setting but it would draw the viewer in to try and inspect to see what was causing these visually enticing effects.  
Fig 2.
Another aspect of King Kong that stands out to the modern viewer is how trapped in time this film is. We can see the racial stereotypes of the time come through with the portrayal of both Kong and the people of Skull Island. At the time of filming people of different races where in segregation. People of colour where seen as less of a person then white people. We can see this from where Rodger Ebert said "Modern viewers will shift uneasily in their seats during the stereotyping of the islanders in a scene where a bride is to be sacrificed to Kong"(Rodger Ebert 2002) When watching this film in our current times you can immediately see how the time difference comes into play with the portrayal of the Asian man on the ship, he was dressed in stereotypical clothing and was made to preform stereotypical actions. We can also see this racial divide when it came to portraying the people of Skull Island. They where shown preforming actions which can be seen as very offensive and if this film was produced in modern times then it definitely would not have been produced the way in which it was. As disturbing as the stereotypes and segregation is it is also very interesting to watch as it is almost a window back in time. You get to see the attitudes towards different people over 80 years ago. 

Fig 3.

We can also see the obsession with race, that was going on at the time of production, within the relationship between Kong and Fay Wray, the blonde hair woman. It is said that Kong's obsession with Fay Wray is to represent the desire of interracial relationships of the time.

Regardless of all of these outdated stereotyping and controversy King Kong is still seen as one of the all time greatest monster films made. This is clear in the simple face that the story has been remade twice to allow viewers to see the spectacle in better quality. Even though the remakes have been in better quality it is hard to remake the nostalgia from the original and just knowing that is what set the ways for so many of today's blockbusters. As Mark Smith from the LA Times said " "King Kong" has come to epitomize one of Hollywood's earliest, best and funniest (often unintentionally so) attempts at horror fantasy--it's evolved into monster kitsch. The story, like "Frankenstein" and "Dracula," has taken on the significance of a modern folk tale, layered with obvious moralizing and as familiar as personal history." (Mark Smith 1991).

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HAFLIDASON, A. (2001) -

EBERT, R. (2002) -

SMITH, M. (1991) -

CG Artist Tool Kit: Abstract Lasso

Here are my brush abstracts and lasso tool abstracts. I am finding working in photoshop much easier now and I am starting to understand the programme a lot better then what I previously did.

CG Artist Toolkit: Master Studies

My Master Studies digital paintings from Jordan's lesson. I feel as if I am slowly improving with my digital painting skills and becoming more familiar and comfortable with different brushes. This will help my with my final concept pieces of my chosen city of Esmeralda.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Space Oddities: Metropolis (1927) Film Review

When thinking of the original impact films that paved the way for today's cinematic industry it would be impossible to overlook Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis' (1927). Just from viewing this film you can see how actions and techniques where used in some of today's most influential films. When trying to describe the plot of the movie and what it is about this can be challenging to an extent as there is such confusion yet understanding. As Rodger Ebert said "The movie has a plot that defies common sense, but its very discontinuity is a strength. It makes "Metropolis" hallucinatory--a nightmare without the reassurance of a steadying story line." Rodger Ebert (1998). The film has an underlying eeriness about it which makes it a horror / sci-fi. There are no visually scary moments that will make you jump out of your seat with your heart pounding through your chest, rather it is a fear that you will feel deep within you when contemplating the idea of a Metropolis.

fig 1.

One of the most impressive features of this film is the set of the Metropolis. When watching it we can see clearly that the sets are not just simply 2d matte paintings, rather then actual buildings. To create this effect of having a real Metropolis city Lang used model sets and camera trickery to make these visually enticing sets (fig 2). Making it appear that a city, which would be extremely futuristic for the time of production, to be of a full scale and extremely realistic for the time. Due to this it could be said that Lang is one of the pioneers in special effects along with Robert Wiene.

fig 2

As beautiful as we see Metropolis conveyed as the big futuristic city with sky scrapers and roads on different levels, there is another level of the city that is much darker and is what brings in the eeriness of this movie. The other part of the city is a workers city which is underneath the Metropolis. The reasoning for this workers city is to keep Metropolis running. The heartless big company owner, Jon Frederson, has no regards for this city which lies underneath his Metropolis other then it is needed to keep his city running. The workers within the city are stuck on repetitive paths of life having 10 hour shifts on and off. From the first scene you see these men who are forced to work are shells of people who have nothing to live for apart from attending work. This is one of the aspects that gives the film its eeriness as it shows the two different aspects of this amazing city. Above the surface everything is beautiful with incredible structures and buildings, where on the other hand there are people who have no lives and are forced to run the city below it in the depths and darkness. This could be said to show the two different sides of things and how nothing can be perfect without a dark side. As Nev Price said "With its immense sets and stark lighting, the workers' city is a credible image of hell, while the overground landscapes were a seminal influence on all subsequent science fiction." (Nev Price 2003)

Fig 3.

Another aspect of this film that particuarly stands out is the story line with the character Maria. We see two sides of Maria, well of her body that is. When we first see her the main character, Freder, she is portrayed as a beautiful woman who is kind and loving. We can see this from the way she is looking after children and the way in which she moves, soft and elegantly. But later in the film we can see how Lang's plot comes into play with Maria.When she is kidnapped by the sinister inventor Rotwang. When being kidnapped we see the iconic scene of her being chased by the inventor but this is represented in her running through dark catacombs but the only light is from a spotlight being shined by the inventor. Lang used a combination of dramatic music and lighting a long with exaggerated movements from the actress to portray the fear that should be felt during the chase. The inventor then uses Maria to create an evil version to manipulate men. The part of this that stands out the most of this is the movements by the evil Maria. To show the difference between the two we can see that evil Maria has very jerky movements almost appearing as stop motion, whereas the original is still elegant and smooth with her movements. As said by Rodger Ebert "The good Maria, always bathed in light, seems to be the caretaker of the worker's children" Compared to the evil version manipulating men with her "The lascivious dance of the false Maria, as the workers look on, the screen filled with large, wet, staring eyeballs." (Rodger Ebert 2010)

Overall we can see a lot of political messages behind Metropolis with many people saying that Lang's personality came through with this film trying to portray the injustices within society at the time.


Rodger Ebert (1998) -

Nev Pierce (2003) -

Rodger Ebert (2010) -

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Invisible Cities - Online Greenlight Review

Life Drawing class

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Invisible cities 65 - 94

Thumbnail 65 is a shot of Zirma trying to convey the girl walking the puma but I found trying to draw the animal rather difficult. Thumbnail 66 is of Moriana and the girls dancing under the chandelier. thumbnails 67 - 69 are of Esmerelda, 67 is showing if you arrive to the city by boat. Image 68 is a above shot of the city and 69 is showing a gondola going down the canals. Thumbnail 70 is of a suspension bridge in Phyllis.

Thumbnails 71 - 73 are of Phyllis showing the different bridges and the use of barges. Thumbnail 74 is an interior shot of Esmeralda and looking out onto the canal through a window. Thumbnails 75 and 76 are trying to convey the bamboo and zinc houses of Zenobia.

Thumbnails 77 and 78 are of Argia. I found it difficult to try and convey the presence of dirt everywhere. Image 79 is of a statue in Diomira. Thumbnail 80 is an interior shot of Octavia with the hammocks. 81 and 82 are two different imagery I could visualize when thinking of the secret garden pool in Anastasia.

Thumbnails 83 - 84 are of Despina, one approaching the city wall from the sand and the other from a boat. Images 85 and 86 are of Thekla trying to show all the scaffolding outside a building and then a shot of an empty building with tools in it. Images 87 and 88 are one way in which I visualized the houses in Octavia to look like.

Thumbnail 89 is of Esmeralda showing the bridges of the different levels. Thumbnail 90 is another shot of Anastasia secret garden and pool. Thumbnail 91 is a shot of a skyscraper in Zenobia but from the bottom of the building. Thumbnail 92 is another shot of Esmeralda with the bridges going from different levels of the city. Images 93 - 94 are long shots of Octavia showing the huts attached to the spider webb like structure.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Invisible cities thumbnails 35 - 64

 When producing these thumbnails I realised that painting in colour, although making the images more appealing, is a lot more time consuming as I am spending a lot of time trying to decide what colour should be used for what. If I continued like this I would have been in a bad place as I would be very behind I believe. I still feel as if I need to improve my skills both drawing and digital painting but I do believe I am slowly improving.
Images 35 and 36 are of Zirma, one of the cobblestone street and the other of a lunatic internal shot. Image 37 is an internal shot looking out the window of Ersilla. 38 - 39 are of Zenobia with the houses on bamboo stilts. And thumbnail 40 is of Tamara.

Images 41 - 42 are of Leonia, I was trying to represent the plastic coating over the side walk and all new items in a bathroom but I did find this a bit difficult and think the thumbnails are a bit unclear. Thumbnails 43 - 44 are of Thekla trying to show the scaffolding and construction taking place past the plank fence. 45 -46 are of Diomera with 46 an attempt at an internal shot but I have found internal shots rather difficult to convey.

Image of Tamara, I have found it rather difficult trying to portray this city, it is supposed to be a front shot of a store with the scale sign above it. Image 48 is of Armila trying to show the porcelain bathtubs and sinks left behind. Thumbnails 49 and 50 are of Ovtavia showing the bridges and beams from the mountain supporting the city. Images 51 and 52 are of Moriana showing the serpentine encrusted columns and also behind the big rusting metal wall.

Image 53 is a shot of houses along the canal in Anastasia. Images 54 - 56 are of Phyllis, I particularly like this city as there are so many different possibilities with the bridges. Image 57 is of Ersilla looking down from the mountains onto the city and image 58 is a thumbnail of looking down one of the winding streets in Esmerelda
Thumbnails 59 - 60 are internal shots of Fedora inside the building which is a 'museum of orbs'. Images 61- 62 are of Isura, the city of wells. Image 63 is an internal shot of Sophronia, trying to show the two different halfs of the city. Thumbnail 64 is  of Esmerelda, showing a bridge at the end of the street crossing a canal.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Invisible Cities: Images 17 - 34

Images 17 - 18 are of Isaura, the city of wells. Images 19 - 20 are of Phyllis. Images 21 -22 are of Armilla

Images 23 - 24 are of Baucis, with image 23 being a long shot of the city on stilts and image 24 being an internal shot looking down to the earth. Images 25 - 26 are of Ersilla.
Images 27 and 30 are of Sophronia. Images 28 - 29 are of Argia with 29 being an internal shot of the stairs filled with dirt.

Images 31 - 33 are of Fedora with 32 being an internal shot of the crystal globe. Image 34 is Moriana with the light hitting the transparent gate.