Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Film Review - Picnic at Hanging Rock

Picnic at Hanging Rock is a 1975 film directed by Peter Weir. The film is about a group of school girls as they go on a school trip to have a picnic at hanging rock. A few of the girls as well as one of the teachers go missing and only one is later found. The film was based on a book written by Joan Leslie in 1967.

Figure 1 - Movie Poster
In the novel the story was shown 'as fiction but hinted that it might be based on fact.' (Ebert, 1998). This presentation led to people believing the events had happened and as such 'old newspapers and other records were searched without success for reports of disappearing schoolgirls.' (Ebert, 1998). This could be due to people not having experienced stories presented as fact before or conversely due to people desiring to find an answer to the mystery left in the story.

Figure 2- The Rock
Theories of what happened to the girls ranges from UFO's to kidnappings, though there is no real answer. Some theorise that the rock itself may have taken the girls, which is supported by the way 'Russell Boyd's camera examines the rock in lush and intimate detail -- its snakes and lizards, its birds and flowers -- certain shots seem to suggest faces in the rock, as if the visitors are being watched.' (Ebert, 1998). This is particularly noticeable when people are climbing amongst the rock, first with the girls and later with the two boys that look for them. Another factor supporting this theory is that the girls themselves seem helpless to stop climbing the rock. The four of them keep climbing as if drawn to the rock, even when the know the should be heading back. The exception to this is Edith, the seemingly youngest of the group, who frequently requests they go back and doesn't want to climb any higher. This is then brought to a head as 'Edith, the young and geeky member of the group, watches her companions shuffle off like robots, as if they're being led by a supernatural force.' (Buckmaster, 2014). Edith is then seen fleeing and the girls are never seen again.

The music in the film creates an interesting atmosphere around the rock. This is due to the low, humming, buzz the rock gives off when close to it. The sound itself starts of almost subtly, with less menace as the girls climb. However when the boys try to find them the sound of the rock is loud and insistent, pressing down on the senses and screaming danger, This is all in stark contrast to the more cheery panpipe music that plays throughout the rest of the film. As scenes are shown of the students and teacher travelling to the rock, and of the rock itself, 'Music, some of it classical, played by panpipes, is an unsettling contrast.' (Ebert, 1998).


Buckmaster, L, (2014), Picnic at Hanging Rock: Rewatching classic Australian films - https://www.theguardian.com/culture/australia-culture-blog/2014/jan/23/picnic-hanging-rock-rewatching-australian-films

Ebert, R, (1998), Picnic at Hanging Rock - http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-picnic-at-hanging-rock-1975

Image List:

Figure 1 - Movie Poster - http://www.impawards.com/1975/posters/picnic_at_hanging_rock_ver1.jpg

Figure 2 - The Rock - https://neithernevernor.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/picnichangingrock.png?w=676&h=411

Monday, 15 May 2017

Fantastic Voyage - Reflective Statement

I found this project to be enjoyable as it allowed me to explore an art style I hadn't previously. I found that during this project my main struggle was creating the work fast enough, I feel this was due to a mix of being slow and having bouts of poor time management. I think that overall the project went well as while there are things I would change, they are all relatively minor things and not things related to the overall concept or design of the project. I think that the design I chose was fit for purpose and I found it to be one that I enjoyed exploring. 

For the next project I will be working on better time management as I feel that will enable me to get the results I want and have the time to alter the things I find myself wanting to change.

CG Artist's Toolkit - Maya - Final Submission Post

Introduction to Maya 2016

Modelling 1: Digital Sets

Modelling 2: HS and Organic

Lighting and Rendering:

Visual Effects 1: Deformers

Texturing 1


3D Animation 1

Maya - Old Alley Part 1 and 2

CG Artist's Toolkit: Animation and Character - Showreel and Final Submission

Animation Showreel from Alexis on Vimeo.


Walk Cycle:


CG Artist's Toolkit: Animation and Character - Lifting a Box Drawings

Lifting something light, something medium weight and something heavy.

CG Artist's Toolkit: Animation and Character - Flour Sack

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Fantastic Voyage - Chromosome and Growth Point Test

Chromosome on left, Growth Point on right, no glow

Chromosome on left, Growth Point on right, with glow
I like the way the Chromosome turned out but I'm not too keen on the Growth Point since the glow washes out the texture somewhat. I'll be fiddling with the Growth Points texture to try and fix this.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Fantastic Voyage - Colour Testing

G1 Phase

S Phase

G2 Phase
These were just to see how the colours looked next to each other so I could find out which looked the best. I quite like 9, 15, 24 and 27.

Any suggestions are welcome.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Fantastic Voyage - Pitch Feedback

- Needs to borrow more game language
- Change way text is done
        - Not floating at the back
        - Important words as pop-ups
- Narrator in Youtube Style?
- Inventory
       - Place to go to do other things
               - Prepare for next level?
- Power-Ups
- Gentle shift between level environments
       - Not a hard cut between the phases
       - No Level Screens
       - Narrator mentions the shift?
- Cutscene section feel more integrated or go
- Parallax Problem
- Spellings
- Colours need to be calmer
        - Too much happening at once

Friday, 24 March 2017

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Fantastic Voyage - Level Obstacle Test

This moves a little too fast but I was only using it to see how the moving obstacles would look. I like the way they look though I think they definitely need to be slower and have more defined paths to follow.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Soundscape - Reflective Statement

Initially I wasn't sure how I was going to make the sounds to the pictures I got, however after a while of listing what the images reminded me of and then following those words further I had a better idea of where to start. I found that looking at the images and listing the words I thought of when looking at them was a good place to start as it allowed me to then look at those words and find things they lead onto.

I found that finding things to record was initially quite tricky as I wasn't sure what would be useful, however after a while I started to record things that sounded cool whether I though they were useful or not. This meant that when it came to editing the sounds together I had more than I needed but that I also had some choice in what I could use.

I feel like I could have spent more time with some of the soundscapes however I am happy with the way they came out as they do sound like what I was imagining. I think I understand Audition a lot better now as a result of this project.

Maya - Moving things in Maya - Archer

Maya - Moving Poses in Maya - Archer from Alexis on Vimeo.

reference used

Friday, 10 March 2017

Fantastiv Voyage - Initial Thumbnails 1-4

1-4 (from top left to bottom right)

Fantastic Voyage - Initial Ideas

The Cell Cycle
- Using visual language of 16-bit pixel games
- Each stage of the cell cycle as different level?
      - New level design for each
              - G1 - Gentle, growth, pale blues and greens
              - S - More stressful, replication, reds and purples
              - G2 - Gentler, growth and protein development, darker blues and greens
              - M - Rough/Stressful, cell divides, reds, oranges, deep purples.
- side scrolling or top down
- Cell
    - Still looking like a cell
    - Moving through a slug-like squash and stretch
    - Able to see chromosomes
              - or number of chromosomes as a number on cell?
    - Colours to contrast the environment?
    - Emits a glow?

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Film Review - Duel

Duel is a 1971 film directed by Steven Spielberg. It follows a driver, named David Mann, as he travels along a mostly empty and desolate road, all the while being terrorised by the driver of a large truck.

Image 1, Movie Poster

Duel is a film told with only one human character, David Mann, who is pitted against a truck with an unseen driver. David Mann expresses most things through actions rather than words, not saying very much. 'Mr. Weaver is David Mann, the film's only real character, and he's given a few internal monologues that only awkwardly express Mann's anxiety.' (Maslin, 1983). The anxiety felt by Mann is also shown through his face as he reacts to the truck.

Image 2, Mann's anxiety
Mann's adversary in this is a huge truck he overtakes on a long deserted road. The choices made for both Mann's car and the Truck show the difference in the drivers. Mann's car is small and dwarfed by the Truck chasing him. 'Presented with a line-up of vehicles, Spielberg opted for a Peterbilt gasoline tanker truck, partly due to its strangely human aspect' (Freer, 2000). This then meant that the Truck became a character of it's own, as we are never once shown the driver and we are given to recognise the humanistic aspects in the Truck itself.

Image 3, The Truck
The camera angles used by Spielburg also enhance the idea of the Truck being much larger than Mann's car as well as the idea of the Truck itself being a character. 'Spielberg emphasised the pace and scale of the vehicles by placing the camera low to the road.' (Freer, 2000). The camera being often kept below the vehicles was a way of emphasising the size of them, this was also done by having the camera show both the Truck and the car in the shot. This allowed the viewer to see the stark difference in size between the two vehicles.


Image 1, Movie Poster - http://img.moviepostershop.com/duel-movie-poster-1971-1010378306.jpg

Image 2, Mann's anxiety - http://fr.web.img2.acsta.net/r_1280_720/medias/nmedia/18/68/45/56/19028244.jpg

Image 3, The Truck - http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/villains/images/a/af/Duel1971_truck.png/revision/latest?cb=20120608013215


Maslin, J, 'SPIELBERG'S 'DUEL,' FOUR-WHEEL COMBAT, 1983 - http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9804EFD81138F936A25757C0A965948260

Freer, I, EMPIRE ESSAY: Duel Review, 2000 - http://www.empireonline.com/movies/empire-essay-duel/review/