Friday, 30 November 2012

Queen's Lair: General Set and Hero Prop

Queen's Lair so far: 

Photoshop: Speed Painting

From today's (30.11.2012) photoshop classes.
Few minutes for each of these. I can't say these look successful but at least I tired with slightly different techniques.

More developed pieces:

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Queen's Lair: Pillars and Lanterns

More Maya progress and changes:

1. Lanterns:  
                  I decided to not to make too many different versions of these just to avoid the
                  problem with deciding with one I'd like to see in my queen's lair.

2. Pillars: 
              only number 4 is new, though I decided to put it with previous versions just for comparision
              and to show the difference. Personally, I still like number 3 the most. I feel like number 4
              would draw way too much attention when placed in the foreground. 

Monday, 26 November 2012

Queen's Lair: Bed and Lanterns

So far the modeling stage of the project is going quite slowly but forward.

1. Queen's bed:
                          I don't want to say: 'The bed is in the background of my scene so I don't have to work
                          on it too long'. All elements are important, though at this stage I'm going to move
                          forward, eventually coming back to the bed later.

2. Lanterns: 
                      Again few more versions here as I am not quite sure if any of these look good enough. 
                      If I had to choose one right now and here I would go for number 6, though number 
                      1 seems to be fine too. 

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Secret Lairs: Hero Prop Thumbnails

In my feedback I was advised to rescale the machine in order to find the right proportion between the feathers and the mechanism. In response to that I decided to work more on the feathers.
After looking at different kinds of fan I decided to add more feathers to the upper part to make it look bigger without rescaling the mechanism.

Subsequently I realized the first version of the hero prop looked quite boring and bald just as though the feathers had been taken from a very old and sad peacock.

Here is the result of my further development of the fan:


I am not quite sure which one I prefer. Any feedback would be appreciated :)

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Secret Lairs: Edward Scissorhands - Review

Edward Scissorhands is a movie made in 1990 and directed by Tim Burton, being his first collaboration production  between himself and now famous and respected actor Johnny Deep.

Edward Scissorhands explains where the snow comes from in a fantasy way with a mixture of drama and romance. The main character of the movie Edward (Johnny Deep),who is an artificial man whose inventor (Vincent Price) died before changing Edward's scissorhands into harmless artificial limbs.
The movie starts with an overwiev on the suburbs in which the main plot takes place. A pastel-coloured houses of the same shape, green mowed lawns and small community of people who pay no attention to the huge gothic castle with rules over them and destroys the treackly image of a perfect neighbourhood. Only Tim Burton was able to created such twisted mixture of two completely different environments and moreover, mix them in perfectly compatible way.

"It’s become one of my favourite films, an almost flawless creation, a shimmeringly beautiful, gothic fairytale full of the most astounding colours and set design (...)."
(O'Connel David, 2008)

The director himself said the story of Edward Scissorhands is personally his favourite and most successful production, it may be because the plot has been inspired by Burton's personal life and early childhood experiences when he couldn't find his own place in the world; struggling between different people and not being accepted.
Edward, who's been taken in by Peg (Dianne Wiest) gains trust of the neighbourhood by showing his artistic skills, innovative visions of fancy hairstyles and fantastic frontyards. He falls in love with his saviour's daughter Kim (Winona Rider) and adopts to the whole community quite easily, unfortunately he's soon to realize that apart from Peg's family, nobody cares about his kind soul and will of helping and doing good. As soon as people discovered his honest personality they started using him for bad purpouses accusing him of breaking the law, what eventually led to tragic events. As Shutle states in his quotation:

"As sad as Edward’s story is, it’s also beautifully entertaining(...)"
(Shutle Brian)

Clearly, the story is entertaining though with a very visible mark of endless sadness and confusion. For sensitive people even parts of the movie in with everything seems to be leading into the right direction it might have a negative feeling with unexplained sadness lurking from behind Edward's pale and innocent face. There is a hint of tragedy in every held event; considering human's nature and the stereotypical image of suburbian neighbourhood Edward's visit couldn't have finished in a good way.

"This is classic Burton, dealing with the well-trodden themes of the outcast, the definition of normal, the desire and inability to communicate, and the many masks we wear."
(Horne Darren)

Horne makes a very strong point in his quotation, summing up the fairest truth about Tim Burton and his production. The movie acoompanied by Danny Elfman's beautiful music is a perfect combination of fantasy, romance and drama. It leaves the viewer's mind widely opened for thougths and consideration.
During the screening there might be moments of doubt, questions to ask about the sense  of the production, the plot and it's coherence, nonetheless what makes a fantasy story a fantasy if not the simple act of doubtless faith in what we see and experience. No questions should be asked as there's no point in asking "why and how?" if the story has not been made to explain it.
Edward Scossorhands is a production oriented on the heart and soul of every human being.  Its kindness and innocence is so strong that it simply makes the audience believe in everything it shows.

* O'Connel David, 2008, online source:
* Shutle Brian, online source:
* Horne Darren, online source:

2. Stills:
* Poster:
* Still:

Queen's Lair: Pillars

For the modeling part of the project I decided to start with particular elements of the scene and I ended up doing the pillars. Here is the development of them:

In my opinion number six is the most interesting and look a lot like the pillar I placed in my final concept for the Venusian Queen's lair. 

Toolkit Animation: Pixilation

From 21.11.2012 animation classes:

Making it and adding the music was fun!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Toolkit Animation

Animation exercises from past three weeks.

1. Week One:

2. Week Two:
                      Metamorphose using Dragon

3. Week Three:
                        Bouncing Ball

Toolkit Maya: Old Alley

Old Alley exercise so far:


No screenshot for UV Mapping part.


Bump and Specular Maps:

Dirt Maps and Final Render:

I think I kind of messed up the UVs as I couldn't get all the dirt maps to work properly. I tried to fix it but failed and the only visible dirt map is the one around the lamp. 

Life Drawing - 6.11/13.11.2012

Drawings from classes from 6.11 and 13.11.2012 with the use of charcoal, ink and pencils. 

We've been encouraged to try different techniques and mediums. 

Toolkit Animation: Quick Sketches

Quick sketches done during last week (14.11.2012) animation classes:

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Secret Lair: Final Set Progression

Progression of the final set of the Venusian Queen's lair: 

And the final concept art:

Secret Lairs: Hero Prop Progression

When I started working on the design of the hero prop I wasn't really thinking about its funcionality but I knew this stage was awaiting me in the closest future. 
Here are the steps of the work on the Venusian Queen's fan:

I tried to understand the mechanisms of such bizzare device. At first seemed to work just fine. I decided to go more into silver and gray colours but... turned out to look more like a machine from movie like "Alien" or some kind of futuristic and science-fiction modern production. 

Stages of work on the final concept.

Final Concept Art for the Venusian Queen's Hero Prop.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Secret Lairs: La Belle et la Bete - Review

La Belle et la Bête is a French production from 1946 by Jean Cocteau who was a filmmaker, sculptor and poet. Together with help of Rene Clement (director), Henri Alekan (cameraman) and Christian Berard (theatrical designer), they managed to create a fantasy-romance movie which is said to be the best movie of the fantasy genre ever made.

The movie is based on a traditional french fairytale of the same title, though consists of many differences between the original plot from the written and cinematic version. It shows the story of a beautfiful girl named Bella ( Josette Day) who sacrifices herself to the Beast (Jean Marais) in order to save her father (Marcel André) who stole a rose from Beasts's garden.
Later on Belle discovers that not only the owner of the castle is enchanted but also the whole place. The way the movie makers created the fairytale’s location is breathtaking; everything about it is perfect in every detail. The whole creation of the movie set, costume design, make up and scenes are all evidence for stating that La Belle et la Bette is a visual excellence and a production which never had a chance to use computers or digital medias and still deals with viewers perfectly throughout all years. As Boba Fett  states in the quotation:

"There are lots of magical moments in the movie. They spend lots of time on the movie its look and it has some great looking sets and costumes in it, as well as some good and convincing looking make-up for the Beast character and some innovating movie tricks for its magical moments." (2010)

These days the most advanced computers and digital solutions would probably be used for creating the Beast's features but one must say and agree that La Belle et la Bette is a production strong enough to endure in the history of cinema without being remade with use of digital effects and trickery and still be considered as a strong production.
Most of the people know this story because of the 1991 Disney movie of the same title. It's very different from the cinematic version in many aspects, though it doesn't mean one can state that one version is better than the other. Both of them carry the fairy tale atmosphere, show a touching story of love, acceptance and trust. Ewing in his review outline a very important difference of Disney's and Cocteau's "Beauty and the Beast":

" What makes this version of The Beauty and the Beast notable is that there are no real villains. There might be characters that the audience doesn’t like, but everyone has a legitimate motivation, even if what they do might end up being wrong."
(Ewing James Blake, 2011)

Disney’s movies have always been created for children and their fragile minds. In order to depict what's good and what's bad, The Beauty and the Beast needed a terrifying villain, who would interrupt the lovers' peaceful lives. Cocteau's movie doesn't need it, although it can be watched by either older or younger audiences. Children would probably find this version a bit scary yet fascinating, and when all grown up, they would realize the true values behind the movie such as parts of the production which they were not able to notice at the early point of their lives.

"Cocteau creates a world filled with symbolism and a total dreamlike atmosphere. "
(Bonjour Tristesse, 2011)

There is something erotic in the way Cocteau decided to present the magic of the Beast's castle. Candelabra held by human arms, observing statues and following eyes; the whole place gives the feeling of tension of some kind with suspense and ongoing magic, although Belle never seemed scared or suspicious. She accepted her new enchanted servants withough hesitation, without wondering if they have been created to do only good. On the other hand with the castle's ruler being gentle and kind the castle itself couldn't have been an evil place and Belle must have realized that in the very beginning.

"Cocteau's version is lushly, deliciously frightful, embellishing the basic fairy tale with a surreal, delicate eroticism of spying mirrors; of a magic castle with seeming peeping-tom eyes, all the better to satisfy one's every whim; of a beast as gentle and amorous as he is unwillingly corrupt."
(Johansonn Maryann, 2012)

Although the whole movie was a beautiful mixture of magic and theatrical design, the ending opens doors to a new discussion. Enchanted hands and statues with human faces were all so real that nothing really announced 'the flying away into the sky' part which seemed almost alienated and odd. The movie could use more screening time to solve few problems which have been treated less importantly in the end (The Beast having face of Belle's brother's best friend, mysterious guardian etc.). However, Belle’s attitude and compromising acceptance of all events have been summed up into a single phrase which she resites, stating ‘I like feeling afraid’. This statement should leave the whole audience without a doubt.

* Ewing James Blake, 2011, online source:

2. Stills:

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Secret Lairs: Hero Prop Thumbnails

A very quick ideas and silhouettes development for my hero prop. I chose two silhouettes which seemed to be the most interesting and practical.
Personally, I would go for 1.0. from sheet 1:



I can sense Maya waiting for me to start modelling the hero prop.
This is something new!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Secret Lair: Thumbnails

Few more thumbnails which, in my opinion, are very close to the final image of the queens's lair. All four of them seem quite similiar; It's not good, though I suppose there's nothing wrong with it at this point as 2.1. looks like it could work just fine as a key thumbnail for my final concept. 





This time I decided not to pack these ideas with the "meaningless" stuff in order to clarify the room itself. When I'm sure about the lair's size, angle and everything else I will think about queen's items.