Monday, 12 December 2011

Unit 3: Environment - Interim Online Review - 13/12/2011

Unit 3 - Environment - Green Light Review

Time Management:
http://stitchshift.blogspot.com/2011/11/unit-3-environment-time-management.html

Maya Exercises:
http://stitchshift.blogspot.com/2011/12/unit-3-environment-pre-viz-camera-setup.html
http://stitchshift.blogspot.com/2011/12/unit-3-environment-pre-viz-camera-use.html

Life Classes:
http://stitchshift.blogspot.com/2011/12/unit-3-environment-life-class-week-8.html
http://stitchshift.blogspot.com/2011/12/unit-3-environment-life-class-week-9.html

Film Reviews:
http://stitchshift.blogspot.com/2011/12/unit-3-environment-review-jack-claytons.html
http://stitchshift.blogspot.com/2011/12/unit-3-environment-review-nicholas.html
http://stitchshift.blogspot.com/2011/12/unit-3-environment-review-peter-wiers.html
http://stitchshift.blogspot.com/2011/12/unit-3-environment-review-robin-hardys.html

Unit 3: Environment - Thumbnails - The Salvage Planes (1-20)

Hello Everyone,

The following are thumbnails 1 - 20 of my isolated outpost set in the dreaded salvage planes of the Rhinoa - the fallen city. This scenario is an occurrence which happens on a regular basis in the planes, due to heat storms - which are comprised of severe heat.

This provides my scene with basis as to why it is abandoned, people are trying to regulate their body temperatures by remaining inside... but in some cases even that cannot save them.

Anyway with that back story in place, we move on to the thumbnails.


Thumbnails 1 & 2 (above) were just experimentation's really. 1 was just to isolate what the outpost could look like from a frontal position. 2 was the second slice of my development the 3d Mirror, with these two combined I will have my 3d model reflecting my painting.


Thumbnails 3, 4, 5 & 6 (above) were when I decided to begin bringing in charcoal on a more intense level. I like 3 & 5 here - 3 because I love the eccentricity of the broken glass edges, 5 because of the setting it looks kind of like a grave yard outpost... very me.


Thumbnails 7, 8, 9 & 10 (above) were more experimentation into angles utilising multiple perspective points at different angles. I liked 7 here because the idea of having a sign cut in half makes one wonder what the rest says. 10is possibly my most favourite for perspective.


Next came Thumbnails 11 - 14 (above) I reverted back to the mirror here initially which inspired 11 & 12. My favourite is 11, I love the cracks that project the outpost scene. 13 & 14 were more plays on perspective and lighting. These stages were also exploration into expanding the detail of my buildings.


For thumbnails 15 - 18 (above) I let myself go. Casually dipping into the collection of imagery on my influence map. 17 was a back alley inspired very much by Francois Barangers Heavy Rain Alleyway concept. I overused the darks purposely here... i really wanted to convey the correct lighting.


For thumbnails 19 & 20 (above) I found myself moving closer to buildings and conveying less and less. 20 was literally moving closer to a shack in the outpost. You cant see it well but there is a cross in the ground - charcoal smudged due to the fixident solution.

Well that concludes the thumbnails for now, I will have more hopefully by the end of this week with a little more creative development to wet every ones taste buds :) MIA tomorrow though I have a games tournament to go too.... Fun fun fun!!

Take it easy everyone!

Over & Out,
xXStItChXx

Unit 3: Environment - Supporting Research for Written Assignment

Analysing the perils of the Uncanny Valley in Video games - David Cage’s “Heavy Rain” (2010)

Websites on the Uncanny & the Uncanny Valley in Video Games

Uncanny: L.A. Noire, Blade Runner, and gaming's quest to capture humanity
http://www.theverge.com/2011/06/22/uncanny-valley-la-noire-blade-runner-heavy-rain/

Freud’s Essay on the Uncanny – Online Version
http://web.mit.edu/allanmc/www/freud1.pdf

Reviews on Heavy Rain

IGN Review: Heavy Rain
http://uk.ps3.ign.com/articles/106/1067755p1.html

Gamespot Review: Heavy Rain
http://uk.gamespot.com/heavy-rain/reviews/heavy-rain-review-6251617?tag=summary%3Bread-review

Eurogamer Review: Heavy Rain
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/heavy-rain-review

Kotaku Review: Heavy Rain
http://kotaku.com/5468585/heavy-rain-review-no-wrong-conclusion

Books on the Uncanny Valley Origin & it’s use in Video Games

Reset: Video Games & Psychotherapy
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=cGdh1_UBx3kC&pg=PT51&dq=the+uncanny+in+games&hl=en&ei=eJzmTtvhAYu08QP1y-XiAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&sqi=2&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

User Centric Media: First International Conference
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ti8WoFmQHdoC&pg=PA68&dq=the+uncanny+valley&hl=en&ei=go3mToiWLIKr8AOLnbyUBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=the%20uncanny%20valley&f=false

Illustrations on Heavy Rain & CG Uncanny

uncanny-rain-rm-timn.jpg
http://cdn2.sbnation.com/imported_assets/845500/uncanny-rain-rm-timn.jpg

450px-Mori_Uncanny_Valley.svg.png
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f0/Mori_Uncanny_Valley.svg/450px-Mori_Uncanny_Valley.svg.png

Heavy-Rain-Face-Close-Up-580x326.jpg
http://www.toy-tma.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Heavy-Rain-Face-Close-Up-580x326.jpg

heavy-rain-raindrops-wallpaper-concept-art.jpg
http://www.videogamesblogger.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/heavy-rain-raindrops-wallpaper-concept-art.jpg

tron-legacy-jeff-bridges-uncanny-valley.jpg
http://livingwithanerd.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/tron-legacy-jeff-bridges-uncanny-valley.jpg

lanoire2.jpg
http://createdigitalmotion.com/files/2010/12/lanoire2.jpg

Unit 3: Environment - Pre-Viz Camera Use - Week 2

Hello Everyone,

I am just coming in with the final 3D modelling update for camera rigging. Basically this post is to show the construction of composition in feature films and published media. These shots were not easy to find but I think they cover the 5 required by the brief.

I have chosen to cover 3 thirds and 2 diagonals, this will convey my understanding of the brief and the use of camera placement.

Well, the images are below...


Figure 1, shows a still of south park the signature bus stop where they wait to be picked up to be taken to school. This shot is commonly used in Comedy Centrals episodes and is seen as a stage of sorts which builds up the premise of any episode.


Figure 2, shows a still from Avatar a very close composition but the divide can be clearly seen. This is to expose the intensity of the situation as Jake is just about to wrangle himself a mount - of which will try to kill him.


Figure 3, is a still from Gears Of War 3 showing the impending battle of Marcus Phoenix running through a realm of ash bodies. The central camera position is ideal for this shot showing a strong sense of urgency, highlighted by reflected armour.


Figure 4, is a still from Inception showing the incline of an imaginary building. This scene conveys De-Caprio's location as he looks up to a surreal landscape that folds on top of itself. The viewers eye follows his into the experience.


Figure 5, is a still from Edward Scissor hands this still is more simplistic then the others but the viewers eye moves across the shot in the required Diagonal fashion. This scene is interesting in itself as this is the house where the Majority of the film is shot.

Well that concludes this post, I hope everyone found this interesting and more importantly I hope that I can apply these methods to my future settings. Well take it easy everyone and I will see you soon.

Over & Out,
xXStItChXx

Friday, 9 December 2011

Unit 3: Environment - Pre-Viz Camera Setup - Week 1

Hello Everyone,

Just posting a quick update for 3D modelling. Another post will follow a bit later showing the use of Diagonals and Thirds in published productions (films, etc). I don't mind saying that setting up these cameras is a little bit of a nightmare...

Still, Mayhem averted for now. The one thing I can tell myself is that I now have the camera rigged and ready to go and can use the same camera for a number of scenes (not just this one).

Anyway lets get down to the visuals!


Image 1 shows the camera plane dividing the scene into thirds, this is derived from the Mathematical rules of composition which stem from the Fibonacci Spiral (Golden Spiral). This is standard for depicting the standard trajectory of the viewers eye.


Image 2 shows the camera plane dividing the scene into diagonals, or to ones eye a satisfying visual Z. One tends to scale across a camera shot with their eyes usually to the route of a Z shape therefore isolating key points, these are exposed in the the diagonal shot above.


Image 3 shows my camera on its rotational ring. This will allow me further freedom when operating the camera controls. Focal length and angle of view can also be adjusted by manipulating the camera parameters (or by clicking the name of the parameter and dragging).


Image 4 shows the 4 panel shot of my scene. My Pre-Viz thirds & diagonals are setup on different layers and are not render able (hence why the images above are all screen grabs). This concludes the pre-visualisation process my camera is now good to go.

My published production images will follow later on today, hope everyone has enjoyed this post.

Take it easy people,

Over & Out,
xXStItChXx

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Unit 3: Environment - Life Class Week 9

Hello Everyone,

New Life Class update, but the last before Christmas. I guess next Tuesday I'm just going to be kicking back possibly reviewing the last film for a programme this term. Over Christmas I am probably going to have a play with some more drawing exercises, I want to be at the top of my game when we return.

Anyway, this week in Life Class was kind of a free lesson although it was kind of focused on Shade. We had a spell of speed drawings and long drawings, when I say Speed i mean 15 seconds long... was horrifying but educational.

Anyway lets get onto the drawings...


Figure 1 shows our traditional spell of warm up drawings, 1 minute per pose in which we have to isolate the form as soon as possible. Still getting to grips with these but I'm sure they will get better as we go on.


Figure 2 was a 30 minute sketch using charcoal. Aside from the leg I was quite proud with the tone achieved. The face needed more delicacy but what captivates me is the darkness of the background, it really makes the model pop.


Figure 3 was further speed sketches which began with the standard 1 minute as used in our warm up sketches. A couple of these I thought were pretty good considering the time frame and the difficulty of some of these poses.


Figure 4 was when things became very difficult. Chris has us do an entire round of 15 second sketches which felt as if they were over before they began. Not really sure if people can tell what the form is in these but hey here they are all the same...


Figure 5 was another lengthily sketch but shorter then the original 30 minute one. I think this was 10 minutes, I was happy with the detail acquired on the body specifically, I really need to address my leg and face development, so they can be done quicker.


Finally Figure 6 was a shorter sketch I think 5 minutes, this felt okay proportionally but I think what bugs me here is the stomachs lack of under hang, the face as well. Oh well more things for me to work on in my own time.

Well this concludes week 9 of life class before Christmas, for those of you actually watching... thank you :) For those of you that are not, oh well I tried :)

Take it easy everyone!

Over & Out,
xXStItChXx

Unit 3: Environment - Review - Robin Hardy's The Wicker Man



Figure 1. The Wicker Man Poster Art

A conspiracy for the ages. The Wicker Man is shrouded in uncertainty only revealing its true nature moments before the credit roll. The locals of the isolated Scottish isle sell their beliefs so convincingly one almost considers Edward Woodward’s Sgt. Niel Howie to be the true prophet of heresy. Suspicion of the town only increases the further Howie descends with the entire film playing like a game of cat and mouse.

•Directed by: Robin Hardy
•Written by: Anthony Shaffer & David Pinner
•Cast: Edward Woodward as Sgt. Neil Howie, Britt Ekland as Willow, Diane Cilento as Miss Rose, Ingrid Pitt as Librarian, Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle & Roy Boyd as Broome.
•Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery, Suspense & Classics
•Duration: 88 Minutes (aprox)




Figure 2. "A missing child is always trouble”

The film starts as one thing and then becomes something entirely different with a voyage overseas immediately causing one to reassess every situation. The ambiguity surrounding the location of little Rowan’s body is very much the epitome of this story with the locals sticking to their beliefs that the lost girl doesn’t exist. One is reminded specifically of a point in the film where Howie is directed to a grave yard which is completely devoid of Christian ritual; there he bumps into the most eerie of sights as reviewer Peter Bradshaw observes:

“…there is genuine fear in its nightmarish tableaux: the breast-feeding woman holding an egg in the ruined churchyard is like a detail from Hieronymus Bosch.” (Bradshaw: 2007)
One could attribute this visual alone with the scientific process of life contrasted with the chilling inevitability of death. The entire feeling is wrong with the woman almost smirking at Howie in this spiritual albeit un-homely locale. The very idea of stripping the church of its Christian identity leaves one unable to relate to its intention. This could be what terrified Sgt. Howie, Christian but unable to identify with something that he considered familiar, which is possibly why he felt the need to create his own cross for an unmarked grave.



Figure 3. "You are despicable little liars”

One could say that the most poignant features of the town are its very reference to sex and the refusal of Religious belief. With everything taken into account one could attribute the mere suggestion of sacrilege as an even bigger threat, for the biggest climax of the film is when the locals dress themselves with animal masks and begin to dance in ritualistic fashion. On the other hand one could say that Director Robin Hardy looked closely at the passage one takes as a child specifically with the use of maypoles & fancy dress - the rituals of child innocence, only to convey this message in the most unholy of ways as Reviewer Adam Smith observes:

“The pagan imagery, of hobby horses, maypoles, the "Green Man" pub and Mr. Punch, are all instantly recognisable as existing in our everyday lives, and particularly our childhoods , but Screenwriter Peter Schaffer's depiction of these elements as part of a living religion based upon fertility and sensuality, as opposed to the repression of Christianity, is the engine of the movie.” (Smith, 2002)
The town’s seemingly appalling nature is in itself the transformation of our homely beliefs that we grew up understanding and accepting. To consider these tropes of innocence getting tarnished creates an underline uncertainty, a broken taboo. One could even attribute the young maidens running around naked to situations when we as children would run around naked but with the innocence removed leaving only the feeble unholy lust. One could say it is therefore the films refusal of purity which makes it un-homely.



Figure 4. "I suspect murder, conspiracy to murder”

One could not help but attribute the demise of our poor Sgt. Howie to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ with an artificial wicker man playing the personification of the sacrificial cross. One notes the term “Artificial” for this particular point as Sgt. Howie & the audience are lead to believe this town is following a false prophet, with the belief that their harvest will thrive the following season. The sacrifice itself is not one of respect but one of celebration which plays on ones interpretation of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, again converting purity to the unholy. Drawing from respected psychoanalyst Freud’s essay on the Uncanny one observes:

“As soon as something actually happens in our lives which seem to support the old, discarded beliefs, we get a feeling of the uncanny.” (Freud, 1919: 154)
One could argue that Director Robin Hardy distorted our perception of “the Crucifixion” to play on our Christian beliefs ultimately making them un-homely. The local’s loss of purity renders them tarnished and thus unholy. Sgt. Howie was the heretic’s sacrificial lamb of purity, which felt meaningless when one considers Jesus Christ’s sacrifice was to purge his people’s sins. Sgt. Howie was sacrificed for a harvest (food) which one struggles to attribute to the theme of death. Instead one cannot help but attribute Howies sacrifice for food as an act of gluttony – a deadly sin.

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List of Illustrations

Figure 1. The Wicker Man Poster Art. (com) [Online image]. At: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-c0maP9wFEU0/TY-GV1BcAQI/AAAAAAAAATg/C31IjiT4gP4/s1600/600full-the-wicker-man-poster.jpg (Accessed on: 08/12/11)

Figure 2. A missing child is always trouble. (com) [Online image]. At: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-cwbejW1_8vE/TqrHr3izIeI/AAAAAAAAAgk/IuqPh5dPubs/s1600/Wicker+Man+2%252C+Rowan+Morrison+pic.jpg (Accessed on: 08/12/11)

Figure 3. You are despicable little liars. (com) [Online image]. At: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_4jv9_nniV8g/StNcQEJzlLI/AAAAAAAAE7U/73brSD86cE8/s400/orchards.jpg (Accessed on: 08/12/11)

Figure 4. I suspect murder, conspiracy to murder. (com) [Online image]. At:
http://www.electricsheepmagazine.co.uk/features/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/thewickerman_lordsummerisle.jpg (Accessed on: 08/12/11)

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Bibliography

Peter, Bradshaw. (2007) the Wicker Man Review. At: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2007/aug/24/horror (Accessed on: 08/12/11)

Smith, Adam. (2002) Empire Essay: The Wicker Man Review. At:
http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?DVDID=7892
(Accessed on: 08/12/11)

Sigmund, Freud. (1919) Essay on The Uncanny, Penguin Classics, 3rd Edition
(Accessed on: 08/12/11)

Unit 3: Environment - Review - Peter Weir's Picnic at Hanging Rock



Figure 1. Picnic at Hanging Rock Poster Art

Picnic at Hanging Rock is mystery on entirely different level. One could say that the film does not reveal its true intention before hypnotising its audience, on the other hand we know going in what the story is about. The Beauty of the young girls in this natural overgrown environment is temptation itself, or is it? The Hanging rock would have one believing different, with the more probable possibility of a satanic nature at it’s under workings.

•Directed by: Peter Wier
•Written by: Joan Lindsay & Cliff Green
•Cast: Rachel Roberts as Mrs. Appleyard, Dominic Guard as Michael Fitzhubert, Vivean Gray as Miss Greta McGraw, Helen Morse as Diane de Poitiers, Kirsty Child as Dora Lumley & Karen Robson as Irma.
•Genre: Drama, Mystery, Suspense & Classics
•Duration: 115 Minutes (aprox)




Figure 2. "It waited a million years, just for us”

Picnic at Hanging rock opens to a rather posh Victorian school for girls in which the young ladies are going on a picnic to local landmark – “The Hanging Rock”. Upon arriving 3 of the girls decide to explore leaving only a trail of suspects & suspicions. It is later learned that one of the girl’s teachers who was seen climbing the rock face is also missing. After repeat visits one of the girls is finally found but she remembers nothing of the incident. By the end credits the audience are left scratching their heads wondering what actually happened to the missing girls, Ebert observes:

“Of course the entire point is that there is no explanation. The girls walked into the wilderness, and were seen no more. Aborigines might speculate that the rock was alive in some way -- that it swallowed these outsiders and kept its silence.” (Ebert: 1998)
One could draw any number of possibilities and attribute an outcome; the very fact that there is no answer is unsettling in itself. The most important thing one contemplates is that evil did not lose it won and it did it with everyone watching. One cannot help but consider a satanic possession but even then that is not confirmed. The whole occurrence is therefore best explained as “other worldly”. The same thing one attributes to the appearance of UFO’s or an unexplained abduction. The simplest answer would be that the girls fell down a hole in the rock and died but the lack of a body really discounts that theory to its audience.



Figure 3. "Stopped at 12, never stopped before... Must be magnetic”

Probably the most distinctive occurrence of the paranormal is the films recurring use of time which appears significant from the start. Clocks are present in most of the interior sets with one dominating the outdoor set of “The Hanging Rock”, namely the pocket watch of Miss McGraw. Everything appears to stop with the watches tick as every person in the vicinity gets a sudden case of narcolepsy, gently resting where they stand. At this point one cannot help but feel as though a greater force is at work with everything grounding to a halt. Reviewer Andrew Urban observes:

“The scene, for example, in which the four girls stop in a plateau within the Rock and simply, gently lay down to sleep, carries a subtle yet powerful sense of intangible foreboding, created simply by the actors precise actions, the images and the sound design.” (Urban, 2007)
One cannot begin to question the power present in this scene and how horror suddenly follows. When the girls wake one almost expects them to begin playfully laughing but this is met by silence as an uncanny primal force drives the girls to continue on. Everything which was once pure and beautiful now spirals down as survivor Edith (played by Christine Schuler) runs away screaming. This is particularly powerful as the shot of Edith escaping is distorted from a crevice on the rock which appears to almost be stalking her as she vacates the shot.



Figure 4. "Everything begins and ends at exactly the right time”

... a suggestion and yet a sentence without conclusion, very much like the entire film. One could attribute these common feelings of uncanny with an incomplete picture. One could notice that films built of the Freudian Uncanny suspend the linearity of storytelling, finishing mid sentence leaving a multi-linear conclusion. The possibility of satanic possession almost feels ideal, our psyche feels threatened by this very real unknown, with its very absence revealing insecurities within us all. Respected psychoanalyst Freud observes:

“Even a “real” ghost, as in Oscar Wilde’s Canterville Ghost, loses all power of arousing at any rate an uncanny horror in us as soon as the author begins to amuse himself at its expense and allows liberties to be taken with it.” (Freud, 1919: 158)
One could say that the absence of a figure or antagonist makes Picnic at the Hanging rock that much more terrifying. One could relate this to Freud’s castration complex where we cannot use our eyes to identify the spirit; we can only feel its presence. If the audience were aware of the true nature of the hanging rock they would be less afraid of it, for this film plays on mankind’s fear of the unknown. The return of one of the girls mid way through the film is quite possibly the most tantalising, mainly because this makes the uncanny of demonic possession much more likely but still not a certainty.

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List of Illustrations

Figure 1. Picnic at Hanging Rock Poster Art. (com) [Online image]. At: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-1wtlvNWI7Fw/TaRgLerIVqI/AAAAAAAABRQ/cTbvTFaqxmk/s1600/Picnic.jpg
(Accessed on: 08/12/11)

Figure 2. It waited a million years, just for us. (com) [Online image]. At: http://pessimiss.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/picnic_at_hanging_rock_1975_dc_1080p_bluray_x264-cinefile_mkv_snapshot_00_29_58_2010_11_25_16_41_16.jpg
(Accessed on: 08/12/11)

Figure 3. Stopped at 12, never stopped before... Must be magnetic. (com) [Online image]. At: http://ferdyonfilms.com/Picnic%208.jpeg (Accessed on: 08/12/11)

Figure 4. Everything begins and ends at exactly the right time. (com) [Online image]. At:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2504/3744740185_a52490ce2d.jpg (Accessed on: 08/12/11)

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Bibliography

Ebert, Roger. (1998) Picnic at Hanging Rock Review. At: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19980802/REVIEWS08/401010325/1023 (Accessed on: 08/12/11)

Urban, Andrew. (2007) Picnic at Hanging Rock – Directors cut DVD. At:
http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/view.asp?a=13349&s=DVD
(Accessed on: 08/12/11)

Sigmund, Freud. (1919) Essay on The Uncanny, Penguin Classics, 3rd Edition
(Accessed on: 08/12/11)

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Unit 3: Environment - Life Class Week 8

Hello Everyone,

Well this will be my final post of the day before bed. I have more life classes on Tuesday so I figured I would get this up all ready to go for when the next load is due to go up.

With the start of our new Unit (3 - Environment) we are being tasked with identifying shade as opposed to line. This requires us to just consider the bare basic lights and darks of our model bypassing the lining process entirely - this is quite a challenge :)


Fig 1 (above) was our initial sketches, I found this idea a little difficult to grasp at first. Being so used to line I reverted back to my old methods but I did attempt to grasp the principles after an initial line was present.


Fig 2 (above) was our first drawing for 30 minutes, I found this pose particularly difficult namely for the weight in the arms. Shade was also a constant concern which is hence why it took so long. It certainly wasn't my best attempt but it was the means to Fig 3.


Fig 3 (above) was much more refined, if I was being fussy I'd say that the proportion is out but I was much happier with the result as opposed to Fig 2. The tone on the back was specifically accurate which is where I spent a bit of my time. I think I did well with this image.


Fig 4 (above) was the first in a series of 6 minute sketches, I think for these Chris was trying to get us all to let go and just focus more on tones as opposed to shape. Fig 4 was probably my least favourite of the 3 6 minute images I did, my first is hardly ever my best.


Fig 5 (above) was much better, while the right knee is slightly out of shape I liked the way the figure was only defined by its shade. The feet are firmly on the floor which meant my feet perspectively were accurate (an occurrence I wish to get better at).


Fig 6 (above) was me finally letting go and trying to justify the shape using tones only. The fact that I only had 6 minutes was also pretty difficult but I think I was beginning to get the idea. For me its just nice to have some illustrators but when you have 6 minutes there is no time for that.

Well, that concludes week 8 of life class, can't believe I've had 8 lessons already kind of weird when you think about it in weeks. 8 doesn't sound like many but I feel as though I've learnt quite a few new tricks... Wish me luck for Tuesday :)

Over & Out,
xXStItChXx

Unit 3: Environment - Review - Nicholas Roeg's Don't Look Now



Figure 1. Don’t Look Now Poster Art

Nothing can prepare one for this experience. Don’t look now is a film that has its audience bewildered at the subtleties of a photograph or back alley, turning seemingly every day moments into glass fragments of a larger picture. One can only describe a feeling of Déjà Vu as the film’s most prominent feature all while Donald Sutherlands John Baxter stumbles into yet another montage of the eerie on a rather daunting backdrop of Venice.

•Directed by: Nicolas Roeg
•Written by: Chris Bryant & Allan Scott
•Cast: Julie Christie as Laura Baxter, Donald Sutherland as John Baxter, Hilary Mason as Heather, Clelia Matania as Wendy, Massimo Serato as Bishop Barbarigo &
Renato Scarpa as Inspector Longhi.
•Genre: Horror, Mystery, Suspense & Classics
•Duration: 110 Minutes (aprox)




Figure 2. "Nothing is what it seems”

One can only look on from time to time to consider reading between the lines of any feature. Media to date has dropped most of the uncongenial methods of entertainment to draw the masses, clearly defining genre for the attractable demographic. Very rarely nowadays is one’s intellect truly tested requiring a deeper level of thought & understanding, Don’t Look Now is such a film. The epitome of which follows a platitude of sorts but unlike many it is not without its reasons as reviewer Leo Goldsmith of notcoming.com observes:

“Each fleeting glimpse represents only a tiny part of the larger picture, like a mosaic tile, the fragment of a broken mirror, the light reflecting off the canals of Venice, or an individual frame of motion picture film.” (Goldsmith: 2004)
From the onset one feels as though they have been dropped into a story that began long before they started viewing. One would like to think that this keeps us on the edge from the onset, knowing something more is at work then what we can possibly fathom at this particular moment. The scare then bursts through our subconscious as a crimson mess encumbers a seemingly peaceful Holy Polaroid of a church interior it is only at that moment we and John Baxter realise his daughter is drowning and already he is too late to save her, as were we.



Figure 3. "She wants you to know she is happy”

Probably one of the most chilling elements is the films portrayal of the spiritual rendering the sisters Heather and Wendy as melancholic hags chanting in the demeanour of sexual deviants. The dark manor in which the sisters are portrayed does not lend one to trust in their intentions which therefore cause one not to trust in their prophesized truths. One is therefore forced to journey into John Baxter’s psyche which is unclear and rife with subliminal messages portrayed in disarray as reviewer Jay Cocks of Time Magazine observes:

“Don't Look Now uses the occult and the inexplicable as Henry James did: to penetrate the subconscious, to materialize phantoms from the psyche.” (Cocks, 1973)
We are informed throughout the film that John Baxter is in fact psychic himself which would force one to come to the assumption that these distortions of realty are John Baxter seeing fragments of his own impending future. This much is not made clear until Baxter see’s his wife Laura with Wendy & Heather when she was in fact at home with his son. It is therefore accurate to conclude that Baxter’s phantoms were fate trying to warn him of his own impending doom & are not of bad omen as one is forced to originally believe through the suggestive hauntings and eerie collages.



Figure 4. "What is it you fear?”

... a good question for the viewer to consider without any simplistic answer. In short, our minds cannot comprehend the logical when it is distorted in any shape or form. When a setting or state of mind is safe it is considered to be an everyday reality. Fiction sits on a different plateau with things that are obviously not of the real and are therefore not of the mental psyche. It is therefore intellectual uncertainty which sits in between the real and the fictitious. When our minds cannot find a place to seat a particular feeling it is discarded as an emotional unknown, dropped into the realm of the Uncanny as respected psychoanalyst Freud observes:

“There is no question, therefore, of any “intellectual uncertainty”; we know now that we are not supposed to be looking on at the products of a madman’s imagination behind which we, with the superiority of rational minds, are able to detect the sober truth; and yet this knowledge does not lessen the impression of uncanniness in the least degree. The theory of “intellectual uncertainty” is thus incapable of explaining that impression.” (Freud, 1919: 139)
Director Nicholas Roeg knew that voicing John Baxter’s erratic state of mind would create a sense of insecurity within his audience. Baxter’s psyche is the feeling of fear on a level of the unknown, one which we all sense but cannot compensate for. What is interesting is how Roeg makes the correlation of Déjà Vu (an occurrence we can all relate to) a fragment of Baxter’s precognition, this approach once again reaches his audience in new and profound ways. One could not help but feel as though the lasting thought Roeg leaves his audience is that the uncanniness of Déjà Vu is in fact our protection from death should we choose to listen to it.

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List of Illustrations

Figure 1. Don’t Look Now Poster Art. (com) [Online image]. At: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-iFhTyJGvHPo/TqVgMBMqY0I/AAAAAAAAAZw/wDw99YuTNGk/s1600/don%2527t-look-now-poster.jpg

Figure 2. Nothing is what it seems. (com) [Online image]. At: http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2011/1/18/1295375015857/DONT-LOOK-NOW-1973-DONALD-007.jpg (Accessed on: 04/12/11)

Figure 3. She wants you to know she is happy. (com) [Online image]. At: http://blogs.coventrytelegraph.net/thegeekfiles/Hilary%20Mason%20in%20Dont%20Look%20Now.jpg (Accessed on: 04/12/11)

Figure 4. What is it you fear? (com) [Online image]. At:
http://gatewaycinephiles.com/wp-content/files/BloodDontLookNow.jpg
(Accessed on: 04/12/11)

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Bibliography

Goldsmith, Leo. (2004) Don’t Look Now Review. At: http://www.notcoming.com/reviews/dontlooknow/ (Accessed on: 04/12/11)

Cocks, Jay. (1973) Cinema: Second Sight At:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,908304,00.html?iid=digg_share (Accessed on: 04/12/11)

Sigmund, Freud. (1919) Essay on The Uncanny, Penguin Classics, 3rd Edition
(Accessed on: 04/12/11)

Unit 3: Environment - Review - Jack Clayton's The Innocents



Figure 1. The Innocents Poster Art

A film based on Henry James 1898 novella “The Turn of the Screw” in which a haunted house awakens lunacy on its new occupant or does it? From behind every crisp black and white shot is another startling possibility namely that of sexual frustration. As the questions stack in unison one cannot help but consider that Deborah Kerr’s Miss Gidden’s has gone completely insane.

•Directed by: Jack Clayton
•Written by: Henry James
•Cast: Deborah Kerr as Miss Gidden’s, Peter Wyngarde as Peter Quint, Megs Jenkins as Mrs. Grose, Michael Redgrave as The Uncle, Martin Stephens as Miles, Pamela Franklin as Flora, Clytie Jessop as Miss Jessel & Isla Cameron as Anna.
•Genre: Horror, Mystery, Suspense & Classic
•Duration: 100 Minutes (aprox)




Figure 2. "All I want to do is save the children”

...a noble statement and one that is to be expected from Governess Miss Gidden’s (Deborah Kerr). The situation quickly unwinds as the polite and mild mannered children of the house appear to know and do more than they should. Following an unlikely game of hide and seek Miss Giddens stumbles into a vision of a man and woman who were prior occupants and not very nice people. From there Miss Gidden’s slips further into psychosis hearing and seeing Freudian subtleties as SFX Reviewer Ian Berriman observes:

"Director Jack Clayton further stirs the whirlpool of Freudian undercurrents by devising images pregnant with potent symbolism – a beetle crawling out of a statue’s mouth, for example." (Berriman: 2010)
Deborah Kerr’s performance is erratic but completely believable as a woman who has just gone insane. The children themselves (played by Martin Stephens & Pamela Franklin) appear mild mannered but very alien specifically in Miss Gidden’s presence which involve the children blending innocence with sophistry. One could say that one of the most eerie occurrences is when the little Flora watches Miss Gidden’s as she sleeps with a massive smirk on her face.



Figure 3. "Flora didn’t you say last night that Miles was coming home?”

The film is an amazing sight to watch and considering its core elements are that of a ghost story it plays to its strengths rather well. There are even moments when one expects the children to unburden themselves to Miss Gidden it is this which inspires her acceleration of lunacy. The obscenities mouthed by the children when Miss Gidden finally removes her kid gloves leave one contemplating the possibility of possession ascribing to Freud’s definition of the living uncanny:

“We also call a living person uncanny, usually when we ascribe evil motives to him. But that is not all; we must not only credit him with bad intentions but must attribute to these intentions capacity to achieve their aim in virtue of certain special powers.” (Freud, 1919: 149)
The children had a bond, that much is clear; one is drawn particularly to the fact that young Flora knew Miles would be coming home before Miss Gidden’s had even found out. The true Uncanny was not that they were evil but it was that they would not reveal the truth to Miss Gidden causing her to question everything that they told her (e.g. Miles not revealing why he was sent home and the justification behind it). The children’s politeness was therefore considered to be a ruse for something deeper begging the question – were they possessed?



Figure 4. "The children are possessed”

For one to consider possession is to consider that something inside the shell of a person is somewhat incorrect. When we consider a man and woman being reborn in this instance we constitute reincarnation through black magic not some evident evolutionary ideal. The possession claim is therefore only justified by Gidden’s hallucinations of a man and woman behind or near the children. One could consider that above everything else it was Gidden’s fear of the children growing into adulthood before they were ready which caused her to consider such a drastic approach reviewer Caitlin Collins of the Dark Room observes:

“Interestingly, it’s Gidden’s’ cure that kills Miles in the scene above, rather than the ghosts themselves. I prefer, then, to read The Innocents as a cautionary tale about the damaging impact of adult paranoia with regard to children’s sexuality.” (Collins: 2009)
One could even consider what the kiss at the end of the film between Gidden’s and Miles actually stood for. This is probably the only time in the film in which Gidden accepts Miles as an adult which she justifies with a deep kiss to mark the grounds of his maturity. One could consider that Gidden was crying not because Miles was dead but because he had reached the end of his life bypassing his adulthood while seemingly never having a childhood. Miles and Flora were left behind in life first by their parents and then by their uncle only to be inducted into early adulthood. Gidden’s wanted to retrieve their Innocence but in doing so she ended up costing them their adolescence, forcing them to look in the mirror at the monsters they had become.

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List of Illustrations

Figure 1. The Innocents Poster Art. (com) [Online image]. At: http://cf1.imgobject.com/posters/303/4cf512a77b9aa15146000303/the-innocents-original.jpg (Accessed on: 04/12/11)

Figure 2. All I want to do is save the children. (com) [Online image]. At: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-EEW0mrumPJk/TnRGAxBMGaI/AAAAAAAAA_I/sUrBqyaAkFc/s1600/The%2BInnocents%2B2.jpg(Accessed on: 04/12/11)

Figure 3. Flora didn’t you say last night that Miles was coming home? (com) [Online image]. At: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-aZLeCcGxPGU/TnKEvYzA5WI/AAAAAAAABFs/mT40R1Nj1Rs/s1600/InnocentsFlora.jpg
(Accessed on: 04/12/11)

Figure 4. The children are possessed. (com) [Online image]. At:
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_zuns3TuQa2Q/TTLk6iS86DI/AAAAAAAADaU/KTuUk-D6SeU/s1600/the-innocents-stephens-friend.jpg (Accessed on: 04/12/11)

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Bibliography

Berriman, Ian. (2010) Blu-Ray Review – The Innocents. At: http://www.sfx.co.uk/2010/08/20/blu-ray-review-the-innocents/
(Accessed on: 04/12/11)

Sigmund, Freud. (1919) Essay on The Uncanny, Penguin Classics, 3rd Edition
(Accessed on: 04/12/11)

Collins, Caitlin. (2009) The Innocents Review At:
http://c8ic8.wordpress.com/tag/the-innocents/ (Accessed on: 04/12/11)

Unit 3: Environment - The Uncanny - Primary Research

Hello Everyone,

To wrap up my understanding of the Uncanny I decided to take a few photographs of my own today. To those of you that do not know the mirror will be the key for my final concept. Today I have had a play with a number of different images practising particularly isolation and doppel gangers.

I even created a photo-story board of my own portrayal of the term "doppelganger" this will be posted below in 3 segments. Everything else are just extra shots that I made which I felt kept me nice and grounded.

Well without any further ado, I give you my Primary Research into the Uncanny:


Well as you can see above Doppel Regnag (Ganger backwards) tells the story of a guy who's reflection has its own life. In the end it ends up switching places with him and then dying itself as theoretically it could not survive on this side of the mirror. When his alternate dies so does he, as one cannot exist without the other.

This was just so I could drill the use of the doppelganger into my memory, after this I can quite frankly say that I will not forget the uncanny of a mirror or doppelgangers.


Next came some basic mirror photos (Mirror Snapshots above) just for my own understanding, I want the textures to be perfect on the final drawing. I also had a play with angles and cropping I'm quite fond of 3 I like the flat angle showing what the picture will not allow you to see (out of the window). Is it real?

Last but not least I did Extra shots (above) studying above all else Isolation, I then decided to incorporate my little doggie I know it goes against the rules of this brief somewhat but it is him alone. I then went around my house taking Isolated images one of my favourites is looking outside to the table and umbrella (8).

The final images I did were back to the mirror only this time I angled it up right. 10 is my most favourite here, you can see the edges of my fingers and the angle is just so uncanny.

Well this concludes my research storm, I am more prepared for this project then the last. Now I just gotta get reviews and my Perception Essay underway. Catcha later everyone!

Over & Out,
xXStItChXx