Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The Haunting (1963)

The Haunting (1963) Directed by Robert Wise is a very atmospheric gothic ghost story. Dr. Markway is an anthropologist who is determined to prove the existence of the paranormal. He, along with a carefully assembled team investigates the huge creepy mansion Hill House. The house has a violent and mysterious history and was built by an exocentric mad man.

The house itself is very strange it doesn’t seem to have many 90-degree angles in the interior. This makes the house seem a little disorientating and almost organic. When the characters are walking though the halls of Hill House its like they’re walking through the internal organs of a huge beast. The sound also adds to this organic feel there is a gusting wind sound throughout the movie. This almost makes it seem as if the house is breathing. The exterior of the house is littered with dark windows that give you the subtle impression that it is watching you. All these elements make the house seem like a conscious being. Interestingly for a ghost story you don’t see any ghosts. The main antagonist of the movie is the house itself.

Hill House Exterior

Guillermo Del Toro director of Pans Labyrinth (2006) and The Devils Backbone (2001) put The Haunting in his top 5 ghost movies at number 3. There is a reference/homage to the famous ‘who’s hand was I holding’ scene in the movie The Orphanage (2007) Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona and produced by Del Toro. Del Toro also talks about how the house seems to be a conscious being, he praises the Director Robert Wise saying “he makes exemplary use of sound, camera work, the pallet of darkness and the black and white film to really invoke not only the presents of something supernatural but actually the malevolent intelligence of the house itself” [Guillermo Del Toro, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nmfpjsXIvQ].

The only problem with the movie is the main protagonist and her extremely frustrating narration. The character is extremely winey and annoying and difficult to sympathize with. Her narration always seems to interrupt some great atmospheric creepy moment and take you out of the movie. She is always telling us what she’s feeling and its completely unnecessary. Actors are meant to show the audience how they feel not tell them.

Overall this movie is a fantastic, atmospheric and creepy old fashion gothic ghost story.   

Monday, 29 November 2010

Final Street Scene

I had a bit of trouble rendering the scene. I could only get the beauty layer to render.

The occlusion layer kept rendering like this (below) which didn’t look right.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Final Paintings So Far

These are my final paintings so far. I’m really struggling to get these done. 

Friday, 19 November 2010

Nautilus Library Design 2

I have set the pov future back. I have also added a few more details and changed a few things. I have added more clutter to the desk (newspapers and books) like how it is described in the book. I changed the shell design around the port hole to incorporate the air purification pipe; I think it makes it look a bit like a sea creature. I also changed the lights to be more like the domes described in the book.   

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

House Stage 2

For reasons I don’t understand I lost all my progress last week so I am a stage behind.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Nautilus Library Design

This is my sketch for the Nautilus library design. I have tried to keep the indian feel of the Nautiluses exterior. I have used lots of spiral shapes because they suggest in an abstract way lots of different aquatic shapes such as waves, shells and squid tentacles. I have also attempted to abstractly suggest a few other aquatic shapes. I wanted to use lots of bolts in the walls to make it seem more constructed like a vessel, as-opposed to just a posh library that could be anywhere.  I have also included details like the air purification pipe that is described in the book. I have also added an electric light with fluorescent ringed tubes I wanted this to resemble a chandelier. I also added a porthole to further suggest that this is aboard an aquatic vessel. I like the way the constructed feel contrasts with the luxury of the room.

Library Sketch

This is a quick sketch i did of the Library just to help me establish the visual style of the room.

More Thumbnails for The Nautilus Library

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

First Thumbnails for Nautilus Library

Underwater Forrest Scene

This is the drawing I plan to use for my final forest scene. I want to add more plants and things in Photoshop to make the forest seem more busy and alive.

Another Random Plant Idea

This idea is intended to look related to my tree plant idea (it has the same unsettling spider leg-style spines, and fleshy body). It is supposed to look like it could be ether a creature or a plant. 

A Few More Horrible Thumbnail Drawings

Last Weeks Photoshop

This is another attempt at my underwater forest scene in Photoshop I’m still not happy with it so I am going to do a hand drawing as a guide.  

Perspective Drawing

1 Point

2 Point

3 Point

Monday, 8 November 2010

The Wizard of Oz (1933)

The Wizard of Oz (1933) directed by Victor Fleming is a classic family movie based on the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum. The plot revolves around a girl called Dorothy who is board with her dull (literally) sepia toned life. When a tornado strikes her families farm in Kansas she is transported to the magical colourful Land of Oz.
The movie is made with a very cheerful, artificial and dreamlike style. This is true of both the Land of Oz and the “real world” in Kansas. There is no colour in the opening scenes of the film which gives a sense of dullness and the everyday. But when Dorothy is transported to Oz it is full of bright colours and the true whimsical nature of the film is revealed.

Dorothy in Kansas

 Dorothy in The Land of Oz

All of the sets in the movie look very intentionally artificial. It looks almost like Dorothy and co are walking through a hand painted landscape. In fact its like a collection of paintings, the sweet shop like Munchkin Land, the glowing green Emerald City and the dark gothic Dracula (1931) style witches castle all have a distinctive look to them.
 Munchkin Land

 The Emerald City

The Witches Castel

The music also adds to the whimsical tone of the movie it’s all very upbeat. The fact that this movie is a musical in combination with the artificial looking sets gives the move a theatrical feel.
The charectures in the movie are all very cartoonish and a littel 2dimentional which makes sence in the context of this movie, because it is very cartoonish in nature.
Overall I enjoyed this movie; it’s a lot of fun.

The Nautilus Library Influence Map

Saturday, 6 November 2010

King Kong (1933) Directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack

The plot of this movie is simple but classic, filmmaker Carl Denham and crew travel to a mysterious island to shoot a movie. When they get there they find a lost world populated by giant prehistoric creatures, including a huge gorilla named Kong. The natives of the island sacrifice the leading lady Ann Darrow to Kong. The ships crew sets out to rescue her. Eventually Kong is captured and brought to America were he causes chaos.    

There is wonderful stop motion animation by Willis O’Brien who also worked on films like The Lost World (1925) and Mighty Joe Young (1949). The effects were revolutionary at the time probably more so than Avatar was in 2009. It’s impossible not to appreciate the sheer amount of effort that must have gone into this movie. There was lots of new techniques used like rear projections that make the monsters look huge.There is a great scene when Kong fights a T-Rex its surprisingly brutal for a 1930’s film. It ends horrifically when Kong breaks the dinosaurs jaw by pulling its mouth apart. There is a scene in Jurassic Park III (2001) were two dinosaurs fight that is almost exactly the same as the fight scene in King Kong.  This entire movie is actually fairly brutal for the time you see a lot of people die horribly.    

King Kong vs. T-Rex

Stop motion puppets from the movie

As well as the stop motion animation there is also full size animatronics. These are used mainly for close up scenes of Kong’s face, hands and feet (normally because some unfortunate person is being crushed or eaten by Kong). 

  Full size Kong face (i love the crazy looking grin)

This movie has a really suspenseful atmosphere this probably has a lot to do with the music score by Max Steiner. It’s really dramatic and provokes a great sense of adventure. 

This movies plot is remenisent of Victorian boys adventure books like H Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines and more obviously The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It has similar themes about adventure and discovering new unknown worlds.

The film undeniably has some raciest elements. Although it’s likely this can be put down to the general ignorance of the times rather than any real raciest agenda. The natives of Skull Island are perhaps the most obviously raciest part of the film, It is fairly embarrassing to watch. Some critics even go as far as to say there is a raciest subtext to the movie. They say that Kong is a metaphor for black men coming to America and seducing white women. They even say that the empire state building is a giant "phallic symbol". However it’s more likely someone simply thought it would be cool to see a giant gorilla climbing the empire state building.
There is also a fantastic remake King Kong (2005) directed by Peter Jackson. Apart from a few over dramatic moments it’s a real solid film. It’s almost like the true story of the adventure on Skull Island, with far more believable characters and monsters. This idea is reinforced by the fact we see the characters filming a scene from the original movie. It also removes the raciest stereo type natives in favour of more creepy fantasy based natives. Jackson also introduced a strong black character to the main cast in an effort to remove the raciest stigma surrounding the film.