Saturday, 26 March 2016

Maya Tutorial 16 - Post Weights and Interactive Bind

I found these to be an interesting set of tutorials, and quite relaxing once in the swing of things. It'll be nice to transpose this knowledge into my own models in the not too distant future.

With the knowledge on how to build a rig, and then attach geometry I can now start to explore and envisage how my characters will move in my Fantastic Voyage project.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Maya Tutorial 15 - Rigging continued.

I'm making good progress with this selection of tutorials. I found it rather interesting when dealing with rigging the hands, as they require a lot of work and seem rather finicky - but as Alan says, it's all worthwhile.

Should be moving to the head soon, then skinning.

Maya Tutorial 15 - Rig WIP

Okay, so today has been rather productive.

This is where I'm at with the rigging tutorial. Moving onto the arms shortly, and hopefully speedily :D

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

"Rosemary's Baby" (1968) - A review.

Fig 1.
Rosemary's Baby (1968) directed by Roman Polanski, centers on the eponymous Rosemary, and charts her journey into motherhood, from the hallucinogenic fever dream conception of her baby,  to its birth. Throughout, there’s the suggestion of foulness afoot, as a paranoid Rosemary begins to piece together a possible plot against her, a threat, coming from a Witch cult who happen to be the new neighbours.

There’s a lot to be said of Rosemary’s Baby, in particular, the trickle of feminist ideology present within the film. First, it is important to note the charged environment in which Rosemary’s Baby was released into. For it was around the time that the pill had started to become available. “Enovid became the first FDA approved birth control pill in 1960. However, as late as 1965, the Supreme Court case Griswold vs. Connecticut proved necessary to end state laws that restricted access to ‘the pill.” (Poole, 2013) The difficulty, and perhaps taboo around the subject seems secretly galvanised in Rosemary’s Baby. Which is largely about a woman imprisoned in the world of others, wherein she loses her agency to her husband, and to an extent, the little society of her apartment complex - and to a lesser extent, to that of her healthcare providers.

Fig 2.
To start though, let’s consider the changes Rosemary goes through during proceedings. At the beginning, Rosemary is perhaps, a typical example of the doting wife ; Supplying her husband Guy with sandwiches and beer as soon as he comes home from work. She spends a large portion of the movie improving the flat with little flourishes gleaned from reading her home magazine, and generally seems to enjoy her role - to begin with (In that regards, she is a housewife). After the demonic rape however, this role is shown in a different light, “..her once beloved apartment has become a cage, her health, weight and hairstyle critiqued and managed” (Poole, 2013) This role, then becomes constrictive one that dresses up the paranoia of childbirth, birth control, loss of self, marriage and all of the worry these things entail and subverts them into a parabolized Witch coven plot wherein Rosemary is host to the child of Satan.  But it isn’t at all as hopeless as it seems, for there are little victories for Rosemary in her attempts to reassert her own control ; Her haircut, attempts to escape, changing of her doctor and eventual investigation into the Witch cult, are an extension of her own agency, even if at every turn she is seemingly thwarted, from Guy’s criticism of her hairstyle, her failed escapes, the doctor she trusts betraying her.

Fig 3.
But then, this raises an interesting opportunity at the finale, and indeed helps it become so utterly chilling - For Polanski  avoids “...supernatural or doubt-worthy effects, he leaves his finale rooted in the veracity of Rosemary’s reaction.” (Eggert, 2009) and merely supplies us with an uncertainty around things, as though in not showing the baby to the viewer, he leaves us to make our own minds up about the cause of her screams. Perhaps an exploiting a fear that parents experience in the immediacy of a birth, in hoping their children will ‘turn out ok’. But also, exhibiting Rosemary regaining control of her life, by accepting the child. In doing this, Rosemary’s Baby seems to buck a trend of sorts, showing us a somewhat realism to things, rather than hamfistedly ramming a “good wins against evil” ending down our throats.

There’s plenty to talk about in Rosemary’s Baby. It’s a wonderful example of the slow burner, where everything feels correct.


Eggert, Brian “The definitives, Rosemary’s Baby” [online] Available at: http://www.deepfocusreview.com/reviews/rosemarysbaby.asp [Accessed 23/03/2016]

Poole, W. Scott “Rosemary’s Baby and the Politics of Women’s Bodies” [online] Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/w-scott-poole/texas-abortion-bill_b_3709368.htm [Accessed 23/03/2016]


Fig 1 Rosemary’s Baby Poster [image] Available at: https://www.movieposter.com/posters/archive/main/73/MPW-36630

Fig 2. Rosemary’s new hair [image] Available at: http://bloodygoodhorror.com/bgh/files/promos/3THF7D3uPqhV6k7iKsr2EyjqVPK.jpg

Fig 3. Scratches [image] Available at: https://iheartingrid.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/rosemarys-baby-screenshot.jpg

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Fantastic Voyage - Pitch reflection

I feel like the overall pitch went very well. I came away with a lot of positives about my work thus far.

I think the main things I need to remember is that I need to add more panels to convey the evolution of the bacteria more clearly, as currently I've just displayed it via hearsay, when feedback suggested it'd be better actually being shown. 

Another thing to remember is that I need to include 'much more science', which I had thought myself. This is purely a narrative issue though and should be an easy fix, especially if I'm adding more panels, giving me the ability to keep a lot of the structure that my animatic already uses. 

Personally, jumping off from here, I want to ensure that my creature designs develop further, as they need to convey the sense that in evolving via taking bits from other bacteria, they take on bits of its appearance. And, as I mentioned in the pitch itself, I intend to make them far more simian and hairy. 

One thing to note of the pitch is that I need to redress the balance between my metaphor and the science. Yet despite this, I am confident that I can fix these problems, and that my work will greatly benefit from the feedback received. 

All in all, a positive experience! :D 

Sunday, 13 March 2016

War of the Germs - Animatic

Here's a rejigged version of my last animatic, complete with cleaner line art!

All that's left to do is the pitch presentation, and I think I'm golden. Fingers crossed the pitch itself goes well tomorrow. Breathe Joe, just breathe :P


Fantastic Voyage - War of the Germs rough animatic

Here's the really rough animatic for "War of the Germs".

I progressed this way in order to get the basic edit down, including the soundscape, so that when the time comes for polishing it, It's just a case of replacing images. I'm actually really pleased with how this has turned out. I think it's better, sound wise, than my last efforts.

So yeah, just got to add some more panels and polish (make sense of) the rest. To battle!

Fantastic Voyage - War of the Germs screenplay, final version?

After reflecting on further feedback, I've made the necessary changes to the narration. It puts more emphasis on the hopeless cause of the antibiotics, clears up the "Preston" bit at the end, and cuts the wife and son aspect out completely.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Fantastic Voyage - Further environment tests

Okay, so I've done a few more of these tests, just to further cement the look and feel I'm going for, in my mind at least.

I'll post the original thumbnails that a few of these were based upon soon.

Fantastic Voyage - "The War of the Germs" Screenplay

I've tweaked this a little bit more, hoping that it's much more achievable and succinct.

Fantastic Voyage - Environment testers

Under advice from Jordan, I began to explore the "feel" I wanted for my environment, with some quick experiments in tone and colour. Here's three of them, and I plan to do a few more.

I've gone for a muted palette, to enforce the desolate feeling of the place, and I've played about with putting barbed wire in a scene, just to see if it fits with where I want to go with this.

The result though, Is a smoggy, sickly looking place. I'm encouraged by these.

"E.T." (1982) - A review.

Fig 1. 
E.T. (1982) directed by Steven Spielberg centers on a young boy, Elliot - affected by the split between his Mother and Father - who encounters a stranded extraterrestrial, dubbed E.T. Thereafter, Elliot learns about, and eventually bonds with E.T. and eventually aids him in his attempts to ‘phone home’. It’s a slow burner, that takes it’s time to show Elliot’s need for friendship, which pays off so well in the third act, it could probably wring a tear from a rock.

Fig 2.
First, It is useful to note the father's absence in proceedings. For it informs us to Elliot’s isolation, and perhaps could be passed as sound reasoning on why the relationship between E.T. and himself works so well. Indeed, “E.T.” is very much a film that basks in the absence of Elliot’s father. Spielberg himself muses “I really have always thought E.T. was about the divorce of my mom and dad.  Ever since my parents’ divorce (I think I was 16 or 17 years old) I had a lot of stories in my mind about how to tell it, and I had this story kicking around about a boy who finds an imaginary friend (in this case would be an extraterrestrial friend), and that was going to fill his many, many needs for the missing father.” (Spielberg, 2001) Of course, the absence of the father figure is ingrained within the cinematography itself, in that, we don’t see an adult male's face for the majority of “E.T.”’s run time. The ones that we do see are always filmed from the waist down, until the relative end of the movie, wherein we finally see the identity of the man that had been hunting E.T. since he landed.
Fig 3.

This way of filming has another effect, in that it plays on earlier tropes established by Spielberg in “Close encounters of the third kind” where he portrays alien characters in a sympathetic light, and in E.T’s case, builds on this and even reverses it, in so far as we humans seem the most alien of all. A particular scene which sticks in mind is when the men from NASA are walking down the street, backs to the sun. Walking in unison, as if pod people.

Indeed, the absent father is a recurring motif in Spielberg’s works.  “Beyond E.T. alone, Stahl notes that the “workaholic absent father is a recurring character in Spielberg’s movies.” Many of Spielberg’s other films, including Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Hook, exemplify strained father-son relationships, or absent fathers altogether.” ( There is a certain sense of longing, and loss too, that seeps into the very soil of this film, it lends itself to making E.T. an emotionally complex piece; not only in a way that the audience can relate to, but also in a way that seems like a cathartic experience, for both the audience, and Spielberg himself.  “After dealing with the dark and malevolent forces that came from behind and below, Spielberg counterbalanced it with two “light” (versus dark) movies about benevolent creatures from above, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (’77) and E. T.  In both movies the benevolent creatures come from outer space, but E.T. is much more about inner space and inner feelings” (Reiter, 2008) This is shown succinctly at the end, when Elliot is forced to say goodbye to E.T. It’s a moment that resonates for its purity, its believability. Yes the day is saved! - but you still have to say goodbye.

E.T. is the perfect balance of character development, showing and not telling, and ultimately, Spielberg’s most personal film. Strangely adult for a family film, it portrays the complexities of loss, the magic in being found again, And the bittersweet magic of saying goodbye.  


Arbeiter, Michael “How Steven Spielberg’s Daddy Issues Influenced Every Film from ‘E.T.’ to ‘Lincoln’” [online] Available at: http://www.hollywood.com/movies/how-steven-spielberg-s-daddy-issues-influenced-every-film-from-e-t-to-lincoln-59093251/ [Accessed 10/03/2016]

Spielberg, Steven “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 20Th Anniversary Special”. NBC, 2002. video. Quote found at: http://internationalpsychoanalysis.net/2008/05/22/e-t-the-extra-terrestrial-advent-of-the-absent-father/ [Accessed 10/03/2016]

Reiter, Gershon “E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial: Advent of the Absent Father” [online] Available at : http://internationalpsychoanalysis.net/2008/05/22/e-t-the-extra-terrestrial-advent-of-the-absent-father/ [Accessed 10/03/2016]


Fig 3. NASA [image] Available at: http://deadshirt.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/et_the_extra-terrestrial_6.png

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Fantastic Voyage - Screenplay for "Germ Warfare" (working title) Second draft.

Okay, so here's the second draft, taking the feedback into consideration. I've stripped this way back now, and added in a lot more exposition into the "Germ War" just to regain the balance between my aesthetic choice and what the animation is actually about.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Fantastic Voyage - Screenplay for "Germ Warfare" (Working title) - first draft.

Here's the first draft for the as yet untitled animation (I think Germ Warfare is a bit too goofy, especially keeping the tone in mind)

I think the plot structure is pretty much there, but I think I'm being a bit too vague when it comes to actual information. The problem I face is wedging in the information in a way that feels natural to the story. I think the only way I can do this is through the narration. So I will work on that, but I thought I'd share my progress so far. I think I'm hitting the right emotional beats here though, So I think it's purely just a case of getting the information in there.

One other idea I've had is to make sure the actual names of the antibiotics come up when we first see them.

Anyway, back to work!

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Flash - Lemming - WIP part 2.

Here's an update on my "Lemming" animation. I've got the gestures in there (more or less - I think there's a certain part that needs work) Now for a cleaner version, and then the lip sync.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Flash - Lemming - WIP

I've rehashed my idea for the lip-sync animation from last week. Before It was actually quite mundane, as I had elected to use the sound clip that described a flattened thing on the floor, and then to just literally depict that, by having a generic looking man describe a frog that had fallen foul of a rock.

So, I've changed the character to a lemming, a sardonic one, who's poking fun at the other lemmings for jumping to their deaths.

I'll be working on this tonight, with the hope of completing it. Meg has given me a lot of help in terms of articulating how I would break the actions down, and use "twos" to lessen the amount of drawings I ultimately have to do.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Fantastic Voyage - OGR 2/3/16





Fantastic Voyage - Antibiotic narrator development

After showing Jordan some of my work in maya, he suggested I take screenshots of the model and paint directly over them in photoshop, in order to get a sense of what my character will actually look like in the final animation.

Here, I've played about with button placement and colour. And I do agree that it was a good idea to apply this method, as it's a nice way of visualising things quickly.

I've tried to keep the colours quite desaturated as I'm aware that these colours were typical of the uniforms used in WW1.

Fantastic Voyage - Antibiotic maya development

Tonight I've been playing about in maya with the aim of seeing how I could get these guys to work. So far I've drawn some basic orthographics (negating the accessories for this character) and roughly modelled him in maya.

Moving forwards, I'll need to finish the model, as well as experiment with animated textures for the face. I don't anticipate there being a lot of movement behind those coats, so fingers crossed for animation.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Fantastic Voyage - Antibiotic development

Here's a few developed thumbnails for my antibiotics. I've tried to keep the uniform colours quite traditional and true to life.

I'll be doing a few more of these, and perhaps settling on a "hero" antibiotic, that could perhaps serve as a narrator during the course of the animation. Personally I feel like there should be a few more of these guys with huge mustaches.

I'll have some environment thumbnails to share tonight, so stay tuned for those.

Life Drawing update, the eleventh!

So I went back to my HB pencil and charcoal last session, and I feel like my drawing has improved somewhat. 

I really love that defiant pose in the second image, where Robin has his chest propped forwards. I think I did that justice. 

Soundscape Submission 1/3/2016

Just in the nick of time. Here's my full soundscape project; I really enjoyed working on this one, as the results felt like discoveries and happy accidents. Just being able to hear what sounds you can make from something simple like banging a fork on a bowl is quite gratifying.