Sunday, 30 October 2011

Influence Map

Tower of Flint

"Over their irregular roofs would fall throughout the seasons, the shadows of time-eaten buttresses, of broken and lofty turrets, and, most enormous of all, the shadow of the Tower of Flints. This tower, patched unevenly with black ivy, arose like a mutilated finger from among the fists of knuckled masonry and pointed blasphemously at heaven. At night the owls made of it an echoing throat; by day it stood voiceless and cast its long shadow."

Fuchsia's attic

Split in three rooms; the lumber room, the acting room and the 'secret attic'. The lumber room is filled with clutter, junk and the most iconic piece from this room is a broken piano. The acting is a very open, spacious room in which Fuchsia imagines characters to occupy the space. The 'secret attic' is where Fuchsia sleeps and keeps her most treasured items. She can also look out onto the city from the window.

The Hall Of Bright Carvings

This is where the top three pieces of work (sculptures) are put on display. It is quite dark as the occupier keeps the shutters down. It also has an emerald piece, that would appear to be the main object of interest. The sculptures are of wood. The hall itself is very large in size, as would need be with all of the art of the city contained inside.

The Room Of Roots

A room consisting of "a thousand branching, writhing, coiling, intertwining, diverging, converging, interlacing limb" like branches. The stems thickened at a converging tall, narrow aperture on the far side of the room. The upper half has a pouring grey, amorphous light. It is described as a "labyrinth", "writhing maze" and a network of weird arms that rose and fell, dipped
 and clawed, motionless yet alive with serpentine rhythms. 

This room is described, at first, as a room infested by plants with roots dominating the interior. However, the room is later reinforced to be a giant painting with immaculate detail. The giant painting also is strangely coloured.

The Great Kitchen

The Great Kitchen, is a part of the kitchen quarters that also contains the slaughter-house, the bakeries, the wine vaults and the underground network of the castle cellars. The Great Kitchen has a steaming, airless concentration, giving a sickening atmosphere that is only intensified by the sun's rays streaming through the high windows. The fires of the ovens, raging with the festivities, left the walls with moisture, that were built of grey slabs of stone. The Great Kitchen undergoes a constant flux of shifting figures with the momentary chaos .

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920)

Fig. 1 The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari poster
Sporting sharp, jagged angled landscapes, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, follows a man named Francis (Friedrich Feher) as he tells a stranger his story. However, all is not what it appears to be. Robert Wiene has created the general structure that has, undoubtably, been the inspiration behind many films that follow some form of delusion. Shutter Island comes to mind, following an almost exact script of plot direction. 

Francis, a delusional man whose past is unclear but speculative, tells a story in which he is personified to be the hero and Dr. Caligari to be the villain. With such distorted view of the past it could be that Cesare, when portrayed in the story, is Francis' dark personality. Thus explaining the first of three murders, since Francis and Alan were in a contest for Jane's hand in marriage. Such details are not explained, but can only be interpreted. Just one of the many traits of this film.
Fig. 2 Dr. Caligari and Cesare
With strong, sharp edges, blades of grass, tilted windows, walls and staircases, this film stands out, not because of it's age, but with it's unique set design. As Roger Ebert put it, 'the visual environment plays like a wilderness of blades; the effect is to deny the characters any place of safety or rest' (Ebert, 2009), commenting on the design as it compliments the story. The loss of perspective in the set design, is a plot point that Robert Wiene uses as a visual aid. The setting 'squeeze and turn and adjust the eye and through the eye the mentality' (variety staff, 1919). With Francis losing all sense of perception of the world around him, being locked in a tight-enclosed room, it is only right that he has lost all perception of reality. 

Fig. 3 Cesare carrying Jane
Robert Wiene has portrayed delusion, deception and madness in a brillant manner that has inspired many directors to follow in suite. It has such an apt use 'of the medium as it existed in the first quarter of the 20th century that it is difficult to imagine the film done better with the benefit of sound, colour, or any innovation since' (Hilditch, 2007).This inspirational piece has become a standing point, and nothing could visually depict a loss of perception and distrotion better than The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

Figure 1. Robert Wiene (1920) The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari poster. At:,0,214,317_.jpg
Figure 2. Robert Wiene (1920) Dr. Caligari and Cesare. At:
Figure 3. Robert Wiene (1920) Cesare carrying Jane. At:

Roger Ebert (2009) Roger Ebert. At:
Variety staff (1919) Variety. At:
Nick Hilditch (2007) BBC. At:

Life Drawing

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Unit 2 - Space

Gormenghast, Titus Groan
For this new unit, Space, I had chosen, at random, folder 6 which contained The Gormenghast Novels by Mervyn Peake made in 1946.

Not knowing anything about this, I read up the plot of the story. The series of novels follow Titus through his life and his relationship to the castle, Gormenghast, detailed in four books; Titus Groan, Gormenghast, Boy In The Darkness (though the castle is never named) and Titus Alone. There were two other books planned, Titus Awakes and Gormenghast Revisted, but due to Parkinson's disease Mervyn passed away only ever writing a few hundred words. 

Whilst the story has two protagonists, Titus Groan and Steerpike, the novels also explore the lives of the denizens of the castle. 

The selected book from the series given is Titus Groan, the first entry. 

Upon reading the selected sections given, there are a number of well described places. The Hall of The Bright Carvings, features wooden sculptures that the craftsmen, of the extremely large city, create for a festival. The light entering and reflecting off of these sculptures would be a great example for colour, consisting mainly yellows, oranges and reds giving a warm feeling yet a cold loneliness to the occupant. 

The Great Kitchen would be another prime choice, giving yet another warm feeling and chaotic mood when in motion. The environment can be perceived in two ways. The first being a calm, clean and static as it is first imagined to be in the book. Then as it becomes occupied, it becomes drenched in the fires on the ovens, stained with food, making it feel animated, with the shadows in motion.

The next location is The Attic. This one location is divided into three sections, all of which are occupied by the mind and memories of Fuchsia. The first of three, is the lumber room which isn't as useless at it sounds. It contains worn out furniture, a broken piano, hundreds of pictures, with a centred light giving a vague image of the dark room. The second is the acting room, which has quite a dark, gloomy presence about it, occupied by five imaginary figures conjured by Fuchsia's mind. Past this room, is the balcony with an overview of the city, which is in itself another location. Then finally the 'secret attic'. It is here where her most wild and self-contained thoughts are apparent. There is a window, from which she observes others and her paranoia grows the most. Though the downside to this room is that it is bare of detail and fascination.

The last is The Room of Roots. At first, this room is depicted as an ivory infestation covering every inch of the enormous room with demonic hand-like branches, to only later be described as a painting. A colourful one at that. With that in mind, I could depict it as I first imagined it to be or how the author later reinforced it to be.

Either way, this seems like an excellent novel and I look forward to expressing my imagination of the world.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Anatomy presentation


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Final Hybrid - Colour

My final piece in colour. I like how it came out, and I would appreciate any criticism or suggestions.

Final Hybrid - Greyscale

Near enough finished. Just gonna add some colour to both the hybrid and the lighting.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Life Drawing

Splice Review

Fig. 1 Splice poster
Breaking the rules of science and blurring the lines of morality, comes Splice. Two scientists splicing multiple animals DNA, bidding to create the optimum hybrid, decide to add the DNA of a human into the procedure. Focusing on the moral issues of science and religion, Vincenzo Natali explores the dangers and issues on the subject. Splice is a combination of Frankenstein and David Cronenberg's The Fly, mixing the chaos of the creature at the expense of it's creator and the moral complexity of a hybrid and human relationship.

Fig. 2 Clive and Elsa
Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) are a part of a name game with both of their names originating from James Whale's Bride of Frankenstein, in which Colin Clive played Frankenstein and Elsa Lanchester played the hideous played, ' and sure enough, here the human characters are no less a messy mismatch than their medically constructed offspring', (Bitel, 2009) as a suggestion that we are a product of our own genes. Another pair of names that are well known, and follow a similar trait, are Bonnie and Clyde.

Sarah Polley brings a level of intellect to the role, but with the directed actions given Sarah fails to bring any reality to her part. As Claudia Puig pointed out, 'The story raises questions about her damaged upbringing, then inexplicably drops them. And poor Clive lacks the motivation for his climactic actions' (Puig, 2010). Truly the film is left with only one star, and that is Dren (Abigail Chu as the child and Delphine Chaneac in the adult stage). Consistent throughout, the two actresses maintain their role and adapt as Dren is becoming self aware.

Fig. 3 Dren and Elsa
Most common stories revolve around the concept 'human to monster', but Splice tries to break the theme by using the reversal to only lose all interest in the last half. With the rapid ageing of Dren, both Clive and Elsa are quickly seen as the monster. Even with every moment the characters are presented a chance of redemption, an unintentional act of comedy is soon to follow. Splice has a foreseeable plot, mimicking Frankenstein's story with the motive of David Cronenberg's The Fly. As Julie Rigg wrote, 'Splice is an unsucessful hybrid: half moral fable, half mad scientist makes monster flick. Worth a look, but no prizes for guessing the ending', (Rigg, 2010) noting the similar, if not same, ending as The Fly.

Figure 1. Vincenzo Natali (2009) Splice poster. At:
Figure 2. Vincenzo Natali (2009) Clive and Elsa. At:
Figure 3. Vincenzo Natali (2009) Dren and Elsa. At:

Anton Bitel (2009) Film 4. At:
Claudia Puig (2010) USA Today. At:
Julie Rigg (2010) ABC. At:

Tuesday, 18 October 2011


Magnifying glass









Bottle and glass
 Finally tackled the maya tutorials, all that's left is the final scene. Had some issues with the last one, the bottle and glass, but managed to fix it in the end.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Elephant Man Review

Fig. 1 The Elephant Man poster
Based on the true story of Joseph Merrick, The Elephant Man aka John Merrick (John Hurt) is the main attraction of an urban carnival until a Doctor named Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) takes John into his care. Having had this disease since the age of 14, in which tumours grew around his entire body, John's mobility and speech have suffered over the years but is well educated. Whilst the transformation is never shown, the pain of the aftermath is present throughout each moment. John Merrick's history is as described by Tom Milne,  'brutalised by a childhood in which he was hideously abused as an inhuman freak, was gradually coaxed into revealing a soul of such delicacy and refinement that he became a lion of Victorian society' (Milne, 2008).

Fig. 2 Dr. Treves and John Merrick
The Elephant Man explores human nature focusing on personalities and tendencies. David Lynch has brilliantly portrayed kindness, happiness, selfishness, aggression and cruelty in a wonderfully sad way. Whilst the focus is on John Merrick, the exposed essence of humanity brings the world to life, populated by the multiple elements of humanity. There is one dominant point and that is prejudice, resulting in both verbal and physical abuse. All of which isn't uncommon in the modern world today. The assumption that John is a monster, to the fictional population, makes it apparent that it's the mob mentality that makes the population a monster. Even with the intention of aiding John, the publicity surrounding John made him a target to the curiosity of humans, yet another, but indirect, monster. Rogert Ebert also noted, on the view of John Merrick, 'whole structure of The Elephant Man is based on a life that is said to be courageous, not because of the hero's achievements, but simply because of the bad trick played on him by fate' (Ebert, 1980).

Fig. 3 John attending the theatre
David Lynch has created a world in which John Merrick is first perceived to be a monster, shrouding his appearance to then be unveiled in horror later leading to his acceptance into society. The latter only lasting as long as the medias eye is on him, then experiencing the cruel, harshness of the world. His acceptance of both sides then later his suicide, 'John Hurt still manages to invest his portrayal of Merrick with dignity and courage' (Haflidason, 2001).

Figure 1. David Lynch (1980) The Elephant Man poster. At:
Figure 2. David Lynch (1980) Dr. Treves and John Merrick. At:
Figure 3. David Lynch (1980) John attending the theatre. At:

Tom Milne (2008) Time Out. At:
Rogert Ebert (1980) Sun Times. At:
Almar Haflidason (2001) BBC. At:

Friday, 14 October 2011

Maya Lighting exercise

Front lighting

Rear light

2-Point lighting

3-Point lighting

Early morning lighting

Mid-day lighting

Late Night lighting

Horror lighting

Sci-fi lighting

Fire lighting
The lighting images, created by using the tutorials, for Maya are uploaded now. Some have worked well, some haven't. A little bit of tweaking is required, but at least I understand the basics of lighting now. One step at a time...