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Tom Allen

If at first you don't succeed, edit out your failures.

Editing Process

Planning

You will now need to take charge of your production. You will now be able to produce detailed planning documents like
mindmaps, moodboards, sketches or storyboards, scripts and shot lists that will help when communicating your ideas
to your intended audience. You should produce a production schedule with milestones and deadlines.

Below is my mind-map detailing my production of my piece

moodboard2

Below is my mind-map detailing my project. As shown it details basic requirements and ideas for my product’s design details.

moodboard

Below is my first storyboard of my piece

storyboard.png

 

 

Post 4 – Experimentation

As I found out from last year’s FMP drawing each frame on paper is a hassle due to the extremely long time it takes to produce each drawing. To circumvent this I researched forms of digital drawing.

Through my research I studied the benefits and drawbacks of two forms of digital drawing.

Method 1: Mouse:

As you can see from the image below the drawing done with a mouse is more shaky than its tablet counterpart. I believe that this is in part due to not being used to the method as while I believe I did the best job I did at the time of drawing I believe I could improve it given enough time and patience. The use of a mouse also led to the lines being a set width lending the piece a more consistent but rather bulky feel. A way to improve on this would be to alter the width of the lines with each stroke to more define the piece.

Jester

Method 2: Tablet:

As evident from the image above the tablet version of the drawing is much smoother than it’s mouse counterpart. I believe that this is due to the versatility of the equipment. The fact that the pen was able to alter its thickness depending on the pressure allowed me to create smoother lines. A way to improve this art would be to speed up the process as the way I drew it was rather time consuming.

jester completion

A possible solution to this would be to draw all the lines on one layer however this would also make it so I would less accurate with erasing them. This could be detrimental to the general quality of the piece however as the lines would be rougher overall and in my opinion not worth the time saved.

Conclusion:

In conclusion I believe I will use the tablet method with multiple layers for lining as it allows me to refine the artwork to a higher degree.

Unit 13 Post 1 – Reflective Journal

Week Commencing 20th March – This week I wrote my proposal and started my research for a second character for my short. The character will most likely act as an opposite to the main character as they will embrace their machine side.

Week Commencing 27th March – This week I created a document regarding the design of the second and third characters within my animatic using Google images. The document details the necessities for both characters as well as a scrapbook of potential design ideas.

Week Commencing 3rd April – This week I researched different styles to animate my animatic.

Unit 13 – proposal

Centre Name & Number The Sheffield College – 36510
Candidate Name Thomas Allen
Candidate Number 82836
Pathway
Project Title Project: Yi
Section 1: Rationale (Approx 150 words)
Over the duration of the last 12 units I have learnt many things to do with the production of films and media. Some things that I have learnt within the course are the methods films are developed and the work that goes into managing a social media campaign or crowdfunding. I have also developed an understanding the work that goes into an animation and the struggles that come with planning an entire project yourself. With the knowledge I have now I can further improve my work, for instance I now understand that I require more working hours to do my animation due to the lengthy process of drawing the images. The reason I have focused on animation is to improve my drawing skills in hopes to someday become a concept artist. I also chose animation as my preferred medium as I am uncomfortable with ordering people around like a usual director does.
Section 2: Project Concept (Approx 200 words)
I intend to create an animatic using a mix of traditional and contemporary animation styles. I came to this idea while listening to the song that I intend to use as a basis for the animation, Project Yi (By ViceTones. See bottom of section.)  and noticed the different instruments and sounds used to create the melody and backing, such as the mix of violins and electronic instruments. This contrast between the old and new is the reasoning behind my mix of different animation styles. Another influence for the idea is content released by Riot Games (the commissioner of the track) In which characters from their game were augmented [See: design-doctuments] To effectively complete this project I will not need many resources from college as most of the equipment I own already. I intend to use the majority of my time drawing the animation as being a solo animator is incredibly tough and during Unit 8 I found how time consuming animation is. I also intend to ask my peers how my work looks at the end of each week. Hopefully by the completion of the project I will have created a worthwhile animation that I can use in my portfolio and perhaps have developed my drawing skills further. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIwtr-VqwcM)
Section 3: Evaluation (Approx 150 words)
 I intend to use blog posts to record my decisions using weekly journals to keep track of what I have done. I believe my audience will be people 15 and up and intend to design the piece around what I think will be visually impressive yet still coherent. I will not be working with others as I intend to use flash or draw my designs by hand. This is done to reduce me relying on others as people can be unreliable and might flake out if I need them to do something like act. If, and when, I come across issues I aim to solve them with as little disruption to my work as possible. I will look at a few ways to solve them as I usually take the first option available to me however I understand that this does not always work out. I intend to screen the video to my intended audience and peers and gather their responses in order to analyse how to improve or change my work.
Section 4: Proposed Research Sources and Bibliography (Harvard Format) – this needs to be a separate post
 

Job application

capture

To whom it may concern,

I am contacting you regarding your job advertisement for a concept artist.

This is an exciting opportunity to work with industry professionals in a company that continues to be innovative across the gaming landscape. I am a creative individual that would thrive designing within your company.

I am an artistic person and am able to sketch and colour with precision. I have skills with lining and developing characters with fine-liners and markers.

I have designed, created and drawn a range of characters from urban samurai and frankenstein’s monster to witches and wizards. I take great pride in my designs as I try to make them as practical as possible while still keeping the feeling of disbelief with certain design aspects. For example I designed a magic scholar for a fantasy world and gave them a hand that was formed from the excess magic they were putting out. I also try to develop my characters to the point where I can explain their motivations for being good or bad.

Unit 12: Essay

Area of Investigation –

In this report I intend to research the ways that movie monsters have changed from the 1950s to the present. I have chosen this topic as the craft of monsters has interested me since watching things such as Alien or Predator. I believe that the way that monsters are designed can significantly impact a film’s reception and as such wish to look into what makes them effective and not so effective.

Intended research –

Within this essay I shall focus on the first Alien film, The Thing from Another World, The Thing (1982), The Thing (2011) & The Babadook. These films interest me as the way they offer horror is different depending on their time period. I will most likely get most of the sources off websites as I have struggled to find books relating to this topic

Practical Experiment –

In my practical experiment I will be designing three original monsters that I will draw up and present to an audience. I shall then question which the audience finds the scariest and then what makes them so. With this information I believe I will be able to improve future designs and understand why people are scared of some things.

How this will help me –

This research will help me to improve as a film maker as I will understand the strengths and weaknesses of different techniques of showing movie monsters effectively. I will also understand what makes different elements of designs work allowing me to create more memorable characters.

Analysis of Alien (Ridley Scott – 1979) –

Picture1 

(H.R. Giger’s original Alien design)

The film alien is an interesting film to study as it blends sci-fi and horror effortlessly, creating a memorable yet still scary piece of media. The use of tight corridors of the Nostromo juxtaposed with the emptiness of space lends a more classic horror element and with the introduction of the xenomorph, standing at 7ft within the claustrophobic corridors, gives the film it’s unstoppable killing machine.

The “Bio-mechanics” of HR Giger’s designs are particularly interesting to analyse because of their radical and cutting edge properties. A huge part of what makes the design so interesting its human features, such as the torso, which while clearly in the fashion of a ribcage it is altered by the bio-mechanical pipes on the back of the figure lending it an unnatural look. As Ciseri L.M (2014). says “ultimately, it is the monster that gives the world the gift of normality.” This quote is rather interesting as it muses that while monsters may be horrific they are necessary to give the world its sense of rightness, as there cannot be a right without a wrong.

The texture of the creature gives it an archaic quality, as if the creature is a part of some myth. The way the creature is posed also leads to some mystery as it seems to be in a foetal-esc position which could lead the viewer into believing it is either a child or the start of life, which is interesting as it spends most of its time killing all other life.

The human-like face of the creature is also interesting as the creature lacks eyes. This is particularly important as animals and humans have evolved to determine someone’s intentions and emotions through their eyes. This immediately gives the audience an unnerved feeling as the creature’s intents are hidden.

“At its essence, Giger’s art digs down into our psyches and touches our very deepest primal instincts and fears.” (Scott, 1996). I think this quote is thought provoking due to the implications, as it says that Giger’s art reaches our deepest fears. While this is rather vague may be relating to the fact that Giger’s art seems to be centred on disfigurement of the human form, perhaps a metaphor for people becoming monsters through their actions.

 

Analysis of The Thing series (Howard Hawks 1951/ John Carpenter 1982 / Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. 2011) –

Picture2.png

(The monster from The Thing from Another World.)

The monster from Howard Hawks’ Thing from Another World (1951) is interesting, from a historical perspective, due to its significantly human-like appearance, using simple makeup and prosthetics to create the costume. However, the design for the monster is pretty tame nowadays, perhaps due to the oversaturation of monsters such as Frankenstein or Dracula or by the fact that monsters have got increasingly gory as the decades have gone on and as Nathan Rabin (2011) explains, “…the film’s egghead scientist breaks the news that the creature menacing them is essentially an evolved houseplant” This is rather interesting due to the fact that the reviewer isn’t scared by the monster at all, meaning that while the monster might have been scary at the time it has lost its impact on modern audiences.

It was pared with the feeling of isolation that being in an Arctic outpost cut off from the rest of the world. This feeling of claustrophobia is empathised by the fact that the monster stood well above the rest of the cast contrasting by the tight corridors and even further contrasted by the wide open nothingness of the Arctic, which plays on the common phobias of claustrophobia and isolophobia.

 

Picture3.png

(The Thing – 1984)

The Thing in John Carpenter’s 1982 remake of The Thing from Another World (from 1951) is an intimidating monster in my opinion as rather than it be a visibly malevolent monster such as the Xenomorph from Alien, it spends the majority of the film disguising as members of the cast. The fact that The Thing hides within people is particularly intriguing as it plays on the fear that people could be something or thinking something and you wouldn’t know until it’s too late. This is particularly compelling as John Carpenter (1998) says during the director’s commentary, “The paranoia is the glue that holds the movie together.” This shows that he had a clear understanding on what makes the concept scary. The fear from the monster also comes from the fact that despite the cast’s best efforts to destroy “the Thing” It doesn’t die, however it doesn’t seem to be malevolently hunting down the cast, rather it is simply using its abilities to survive like a wild animal, only fighting back when its discovered. I believe that this is instrumental to the fear factor of the thing as it has such sophisticated mechanisms for blending in and protecting itself.

This style of presentation is consistent with the era as most monster movies around the 1970s and 80s didn’t have the budget or the CGI to properly render out an intimidating or horrific monster so were limited to using practical effects and suits, as such the monsters were saved for more dramatic moments rather than being constantly on screen. This works in favour of The Thing as while the times that the monster isn’t visible are the films downtime, there is the constant threat that the monster will pop out at any moment due to it hiding within the cast.

 

Picture4.png

(The monster from 2011 The Thing)

Moving onto the 2011 prequel for John Carpenter’s imagining of The Thing, we can see monster is more open in its monstrosity and while the majority of the CGI is well made it doesn’t hold up to John Carpenter’s 1982 version in my opinion as it doesn’t feel real enough. The monster also seems to be more visual for its horror as it shifts into its more horrific form more frequently probably due to the change in audience and increased budget.

“The state of the horror industry is hotly contested. With the genre seemingly relying on churning out remakes, reboots and endless sequels, many argue that it’s languishing in the doldrums once again with little originality to offer a modern audience.” – (Helen Kantilaftis. 2015) This quote is engaging as it talks about what has changed within cinema as a whole. The explanation of a lack of originality resonates well with me as I believe there are too many sequels within the horror genre on its own, not to mention the entire industry.

 

Analysis of The Babadook (Jennifer Kent – 2014)

Picture5.png

(The book in the film The Babadook)

While the 2011 The Thing is a bad example of modern horror a good example would be The Babadook, a psychological horror that tackles the subject of grief. Within the film there isn’t a physical monster that stalks the characters rather the monster only makes its true appearance towards the end of film. The films main tension comes from the reoccurring book The Babadook, a children’s book that shows graphic imagery and generally disturbs the main characters. The film also does a masterful job of keeping tension throughout with the use of clever uses of the Babadook’s jacket and top hat. The actual design of the monster is very simple, a pale faced figure in a dark jacket and top hat constantly trying to “get in”.

“On the other hand, glimmers of hope shine through with examples of extreme originality and artistry. Cabin in the Woods (2012) has been heralded as this decade’s Scream, and the recent releases of The Babadook and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (both 2014) have breathed new life into the genre.”

(Helen Kanilaftis 2015.) The above quote is thought-provoking to me as it explores how many newer, more indie horror films are getting ahead and bring more horror to the horror genre.

It also interests me that the Babadook is reprehensive of grief and loss. In the film the main characters; a mother and her son, are constantly dealing with the grief of losing her husband (and his father) to the point where the mother asks people to refrain from saying his name and where the child breaks another child’s nose for saying that they didn’t have a dad. The fact that everywhere the two go their grief follows them is parallel to the common phrase within the book, “You can’t get rid of the Babadook”

Conclusion

In finalisation, I believe while modern day horror has a long way to go there are clearly some outliers that subvert genre tropes and make some genuine scares. I have discovered that sometimes the best thing to do with a horror monster is to make it barely visibly present a technique used by the first Alien, The Thing (1982) & The Babadook. I have also learnt about the use of mental anguish, depression and anxiety being personified or rather ‘monsterified’ to create a relatable abomination.

 

References

Scott, R. (1996) As quoted by Giger, H. (1996). HR Giger’s film design. 1st ed. Beverly Hills, CA: Morpheus International.

LM, C. (2014). Leonardo Da Vinci, the genius and the monsters. Casual encounters? – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25702382 [Accessed Feb. 2017].

Kantilafis, H. (2015). How Horror Movies Have Changed Since Their Beginning. [online] Available at: https://www.nyfa.edu/student-resources/how-horror-movies-have-changed-since-their-beginning/ [Accessed Feb. 2017].

Rabin, N. (2011). The Thing From Another World/The Thing. [online] Avclub.com. Available at: http://www.avclub.com/article/the-thing-from-another-worldthe-thing-52444 [Accessed Feb. 2017].

The Thing. (1998). [DVD] Hollywood: John Carpenter.

 

Unit 12 Lit review

Article 1

http://www.empireonline.com/movies/features/neville-page-movie-monsters/

Interview with Neville Page – Monster Designer

Rating: 4/5

Pros:

The interview discusses how monsters have to seem like they could exists as what makes a monster truly scary is the thought that it could be lurking in the shadows of the world. The article also says that monsters have to have reasons for their actions. E.g; The cloverfield monster was a scared infant panicking in the city, which also links to the point of how monsters could just be understood as the monster in cloverfield didn’t understand what it was doing and simply wanted to get home.

“That big, gnashing Cloverfield creature was a baby, as opposed to a big, mature animal, and it was frightened, like a scared, penned elephant, and it was looking for its mother, and screaming out for her the whole time. It wasn’t rage, it was just frustration and fear.” – Neville Page

Cons:

The article doesn’t discuss anything that makes a monster bad, e.g. poorly written origins, mediocre design. The article also fails to discuss the benefits and disadvantages of practical or digital effects.

 

Article 2

https://fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/what-makes-a-monster-scary/

Article on what makes monsters scary

Rating: 5/5

Pros:

The article explains the reasons people fear monsters due to their ambiguity. The writer also lists common phobias that monsters can draw from, E.G: the fear of flying, inablitiy to escape etc etc.

Cons:

The writer doesn’t explain the pitfalls that monster designs can fall into.

“Imagine being the first to pick up that horrible, red-brown spider-thing with terrifying claws and twitching antennae and saying, “Yum!” To me, a lobster is a giant bug with claws—I’d have run screaming from a lobster. But now we know what a lobster is and what it tastes like and that it isn’t really dangerous. The only thing scary about it is the unknowable mystery of its “market price.””

Article 3

http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/16256/the-den-of-geek-guide-to-making-a-scary-movie-monster

Guide to making a scary movie monster

Rating: 4/5

Pros:

This article lists and explains good and bad things about various movie monsters such as, monsters that are allergic to water aren’t scary,

  • Explains what makes monsters scary
  • Lists 5 down points that monsters often fall in

Cons:

  • Only lists 9 pieces of advice
  • Only 4 of which are positive things.

“Equally worthy of note is the terrifying Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth, a hairless monstrosity that, while not strictly speaking eyeless, was made all the more unnerving by the fact that its eyes were located on the palms of its hands. Once seen, it’s a creature that’s hard to cleanse from your mind.”

Evaluation of Portfolios

 

WEBSITE ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
WordPress
  • Easy to use
  • Accessible
  • Lots of customization
  • Blogs feel similar to one another.
Facebook
  • Easy to use
  • Highly accessible
  • Easy to upload photos
  • Hard to upload huge blocks of text
  • not much design freedom
Twitter
  • Easy to use
  • Accessible
  • Easy to upload photos
  • Hard to upload blocks of text
  • not much design freedom
Tumblr
  • Easy to use
  • Accessible
  • rather bland
  • strange organisation system.
 

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 13.45.03.png

WordPress –

As shown above it is rather simple to display images of varying size together in wordpress however the images are still rather large and don’t show many all together.

Rating – 3/5

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 13.44.14.pngFacebook –

Facebook is interesting as it’s organisation is rather bland and hard to edit, the fact that all pictures a put together in one slideshow is good however.

Rating 2/5

Conclusion –

Judging from my two selected prospects I have chosen to put my portfolio on wordpress as I am used to the software and able to upload blocks of text alongside the artwork.

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