Saturday, 31 October 2015

What If? Metropolis: Thumbnails 66 - 83 (Buildings)

This time round, I worked from black to white - using the lasso tool to erase areas and create negative space. I also experimented more with the square marquee tool and made some silhouettes very different to how I normally would go about it. I'm liking #70, #74, #75, #78 and #80.

If anyone has any feedback or ideas on shapes / forms / progress, they are more than welcome!

What If? Metropolis: Thumbnails 50 - 65 (Buildings)

Following Phil's advice to look at creating basic forms using a different technique - silhouettes. At first, I didn't really like the outcomes, but I experimented more with the lasso tool and sqaure marquee tool. I also looked back at my reference images and influence map to get the basic flow of the buildings. I also duplicated and resized portions of the silhouettes to create something new. I quite like #54, #61, #62 and #65 at the moment.

Friday, 30 October 2015

What If? Metropolis: Thumbnails 38 - 49

As I wanted to portray a more elegant and rich looking city, I feel i delve into too much detail still, but I do like the taller, slimmer buildings. I also roughly sketched some composition ideas I had.

What If? Metropolis Thumbnails 19-37 (Building ideas)

Some ideas for my buildings, inspired by McQueen's creations. These buildings are quite "clunky" and futuristic, yet I think I should make them slimmer and leaner to relate to the elegance of McQueen's work. I guess I'm thinking too far ahead of how these would be modelled, but I will make a different set ideas next. I'm quite fond of #22, #23 and #30 - I really like the shapes and style.

Any feedback / ideas would be great!

Toolkit: Old Alley Modelling #1

We have begun a larger modelling project in Maya, using the exercises we've done and putting them into practice. Here is the beginning of creating an old alley scene, using images as a guide.

Toolkit: Bouncing Ball Animations

Simple bouncing ball animation. At first I added too many frames towards the end, making the ball drop too slow, so I deleted some. The outcome is quite nice.

Adding a secondary animation onto the first one.

Bonus! In the spirit of halloween, I added a creepy little face.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

What If? Metropolis Thumbnails 10 - 18

I am getting more of a feel for composition and the style of buildings I want. I think I should take a step back and look at designing important components such as the buildings themselves, the floor, the atmosphere, among other things before I come back to full scene thumbnails.

What If? Metropolis: First Thumbnails Set 1-9

Here are my first set of thumbnails after looking at Alexander McQueen's work. Initially, I'm not entirely sure what the city should consist of, how it should look or the composition, but I know I want to incorporate the fashion designs and nature theme of McQueen's work. I think at this stage I will write down some descriptive words and do some more research.

What If? Metropolis Influence Maps and Ideas

With this first influence map, it is clear to see a theme in Alexander McQueen's style: nature, elegance and perfection. The dresses are mostly long and flow, and resemble bird feathers, thus creating it's elegant shape. The colour schemes are complimentary and similar, which makes it very pleasing for the eye. There isn't any (by what can be seen) deliberate wear and tear, imperfections or worn away colours that you  expect to see from nature, because as nature is left alone, the forces of weather mangle plants and flowers away, yet with McQueen's work the clothes are neatly wrapped around the figure and some show intricate detail.

After dissecting McQueen's fashion, I researched some elements that were familiar to me and that he may have got inspiration from - for example, birds and feathers are a big influence in his designs, as well as plants and flowers. Even textures such as gold, pearls and leather can be seen, all pointing towards elegant and high class style. This gives me a good starting point for looking towards creating my city - there can be a royal element, everything seen as "perfect", but to achieve this perfection takes strain and hard work.

What If? Metropolis: Alexander McQueen Research

Toolkit: Life Drawing Halloween Edition

20 minute study

2-1 minute studies
30 second studies
20 second studies
10 second studies

30 minute study
It was a very interesting and enjoyable life drawing session today. I like the last image I did because of the colours used, and the pose. It was also quite intense drawing in 10 second intervals!

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

What If? Metropolis: Artist Initial Research - Alexander McQueen

A collection of initial images of fashion designer Alexander McQueens diverse and unique work. These images will straight away help with ideas, forms and colour schemes with the journey of creating my city.

Life Drawing Homework

I chose to do a self portrait as usually, drawing female faces are more difficult for me rather than drawing men. I do feel this has masculine qualities, so I need to improve on this. I also want to improve on my eyes and mouths.

Space Oddities: La Belle et la Bete Review (1946)

Fig 1: Film Poster

Most will recognise Jean Cocteau’s “La Belle et la Bete”(1946) as an intriguing adaption of the classic fairy tale. The more modern animated 1991 version by Disney was certainly inspired by the timeless feature and thus lead to it’s enormous success. However, much like Roger Ebert suggests: “Those familiar with the 1991 cartoon will recognize some of the elements of the story, but certainly not the tone” (Roger Ebert, 1999) the 1946 features a more adult and uncomfortable viewing experience, supported by a strange land that is discovered and the peculiar objects within.

Some may say that the beginning of the film bares a close resemblance to the plot of “Cinderella”(1950)  - Two sisters that torment a tender hearted sister, that isn’t as glamorously dressed everyday, plus cleans and does the chores ( can be seen in Fig 2 below.)

Fig 2: The Prince and Beauty talk.

“La Belle et la Bete” (1946) displays fantasy style special effects that delves the audience into a dream – like state. Much like Peter Bradshaw describes, “When bodies appear through walls or fly up into the air, it is almost as if Cocteau's camera has miraculously recorded a dream.” (Peter Bradshaw, 2014) Within the Beasts castle lays an array of magical going –ons – doors that open by themselves,  and here Harvey Karten describes: “The candles on the castle walls are held not by gadgets from Tru-Value hardware but by human arms. Candles brighten and darken magically according to the mood of the moment. A fog swirls outside–the sort of ambiance represented by the fog machine on the legitimate stage” (Harvey Karten, 2002). The assistants are not full human people, but rather just two human body parts: the arms and hands. They serve food and hold up candle lights, a magical mirror show’s the viewer a troubling future, the existence of a solitary Beast (seen in Fig 3) defies normal reality that people are used to: all of these attributes transport the audience into a fantasy, distorted and unsettling world, and much like the longing of Beauty wanting to return home, the viewer seeks normality again. 

Fig 3: Beauty and the Beast talk.

 Much like Roger Ebert states: “Before the days of computer effects and modern creature makeup, here is a fantasy alive with trick shots and astonishing effects,” (Roger Ebert, 1999) the special effects of this film can be seen as a marvel at the time of its release during World War II – and even now some still say it remains impressive. Cocteau also conveys a certain message with this feature, as explained here by Ebert: “...but was adapting a classic French tale that he felt had a special message after the suffering of World War II: Anyone who has an unhappy childhood may grow up to be a Beast” (Roger Ebert, 1999) indeed, it can be seen that the Beast longs for love and companionship, which many believe is essential when growing up.

Cocteau is thought of by many is more of a poet than a filmmaker. Just like Karten explains: –“Cocteau, who converts his poetry into art”(Harvey Karten, 2002) , “La Belle et la Bete” is a story turned into live action art. In addition to this, along with the props, extravagant costumes and wonderful sets, these aspects are also seen in a theatrical, artistic performance.

Fig 4: The Beast returns to a human form.

 The plot consists of the kind hearted Beauty (Josette Day) bullied by her two sisters. Their father is confronted by the Beast (Jean Marais) after a rose is plucked from his garden. The father is threatened by death unless one of his three daughters takes his place as a hostage. Beauty without hesitation takes her fathers place and meets the Beast, who asks for her hand in marriage. She declines, however slowly becomes fond of him, and sees the kindness in his heart. After a while, Beauty wishes to go home to see her father, in which the Beast agress, however if she did not return within a week, he would die of grief. Upon her return, the rest of her family see the immense riches she comes back with, and the two princes set of to kill the Beast to gain the riches. In a sudden twist, one of the princes is pierced with an arrow, and whilst being killed is turned into the beast, while the Beast becomes human (Fig 4). At the end of, the couple agree that even the most gentle man hides a beast within. 

Fig 5: A happy ending.

Evaluating the plot,it can be seen that even one with the most gold, silver and wealth; extravagant clothing and beautiful home isn’t truly content and truly seeks emotional satisfaction. Even Beauty is torn after coming from a less privileged background to a lavish lifestyle, and sets to comfort the beast.  

Indeed, it can be agreed that this film must be seen to appreciate the success of the 1991 Disney adaption that more people are familiar with. Cocteau depicts the more “real” harsh reality of the fairy tale, and in doing so captivates the viewer and warps them into is vision. 


Bradshaw, P. January 2nd, 2014. La Belle et la BĂȘte – review, The Guardian, (Accessed on 27/10/2015)
Crowther, B. December 24th, 1947. La Belle et la Bete (1946) the screen in review, The New York Times, (Accessed on 27/10/2015)
Ebert, R. December 26th, 1999. Great Movie: Beauty and the Beast,, (Accessed on 27/10/2015)
Karten, H. 2002. La Belle et la Bete,, (Accessed on 27/10/2015)

Illustration List

Fig 2: "The Prince and Beauty talk." (Accessed on 27/10/2015)
Fig 4: "The Beast returns to a human form." (Accessed on 27/10/2015)

Monday, 26 October 2015

Toolkit: Maya Batch Rendering

Here is the space shuttle after batch rendering.

Toolkit: Photoshop 2 Word Designs

A small project in our Photoshop session today: designing something once we chose two words out of a box. My words were "Rhino" and "Carriage". I looked into Rhino anatomy, wheel styles, the habitat of Rhino's, traditional and worn away carriages and took all these elements to create these designs.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Toolkit: Maya Ball Animation

In this Maya tutorial, I animated these three balls in three different ways: Keyframe, scripting and dynamic simulation. It looked quite complex but it was fairly easy to do. This a screenshot for the dynamic ball simulation.

All three animations.

Toolkit: 1,2,3 and 4 point lighting - Maya

One point lighting. This creates a very eerie atmosphere and the lighting is very dim.

Two point lighting using two spotlights.

Three point lighting.

And finally, four point lighting.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Invisible Cities: Octavia Low Angle (FEEDBACK ?)

This is the low angle shot for Octavia. It's not 100% done but I would appreciate some feedback at this point

Toolkit: Life Drawing #2 - Male Nude

Another enjoyable life drawing session. I'm quite happy with the results. This first image was done in 10 minutes (or 20!)

2 minute and 1 minute poses.

20 minute drawing done on black paper. I really like the freedom the white chalk and pink oil pastel gives, and the end result is quite interesting, along with the mark making.

Some further body part studies. I think I need to improve on feet!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Invisible Cities: Exterior Establishing Process GIF

Invisible Cities: Interior Establishing Shot for Octavia

So here it is - a special room within Octavia. A symbol of hope - people who have left a legacy, proved that after many years Octavia still stands tall. The citizens come here for quiet time, a prayer to the shrine to hope that thier city remains and that thier wishes are granted.
  The interior is well presented but grubby and worn away, much like the exterior or Octavia.

And here the gif process:

Invisible Cities: Exterior Establishing Shot of Octavia

I believe this is now my final painting. I have cleaned up and painted into the city, used hue and saturation, blur and a oil painting texture within Photoshop. I do like the outcome and the colours work really well together. If anyone would give some feedback, it would be much appreciated!