Thursday, 16 August 2012

Lord of the Rings


Rough Summary:
  • Gollum is depicted as a frail yet deceiving creature, but he has his 'human' qualities too, e.g. through his emotions.

Mike Ness Visit's Jimmy Egan's Boxing Academy

On the 1st of August 2012, Mike Ness from the band Social Distortion came to visit my dad and uncle's boxing gym: Jimmy Egan's Boxing Academy.
My dad asked me if I would be able to come down to the gym with him and take some pictures of Mr. Ness training. He thought it would be good publicity for the gym.

These images below are just a handful of how many I took. I've put two albums on facebook of Mr. Ness's visit to the Gym.
You can find the pics on mine and JimmyEgan's Boxing Academy Pages.
My Page: [Link]
JEBA Page: [Link]

Above: A series of shots of Mr Ness training with my uncle, Steve Egan.

Above: My dad, Shaun Egan, Mr Ness and Steve Egan.

It was a great experience photographing Mr. Ness. Quite surreal too, at the time I knew he was famous for something but wasn't quite sure as what for. 
In person, he is a very nice and polite man.
At the time, I believe Mr. Ness was on tour with his band, and he was due to play at the Rebellion Festival in Blackpool:

I think I could have improved my photography by finding more knowledge that is associated with my camera. Maybe I'll need to look for a digital manual for my model or youtube tutorials.
I've had my camera for nearly two years and I'm still learning how to use it.
Because of this, I struggled to find where to change the ISO and shutter speed, this is evident in some of the blurry pictures. Eventually, I managed to find the ISO, and I changed it to the highest pixel rate that was available. As a result, the pictures become less blurry and more sharp the more you see.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Van Helsing

Summary of youtube clips. Numbers mean play clips from:
Dr Jekyl/Mr Hyde:
  • Shuler Hensley acts as both Mr Hyde and Frankenstein. He had to wear a helmet with a giant picture of Mr Hyde head on top - to give animators an idea of where he would physically stand, etc - 2.17.
  • Shuler Hensley went to Ireland to wear a Motion Capture suit. His actions in the suit, the overlaying rough animation of Hyde and the real time footage of Hugh Jackman, all combined acted as a good guide of the motions that Hyde goes through - 2:50.
  • Robbie Coltrane voiced 'Mr Hyde'. Animators relied on the expressions Coltrane conveyed whilst saying his 'Mr Hyde' lines - 3.35.
Brides of Dracula:
  • Douglas Griffin - Motion Capture Engineer - 'Two techniques to build the same character: their body was digital, their face was shot on film' - 4:13.
  • The crew shot background 'plates'/scenes of where the brides would fly [in Prague]. They then tracked how the film camera moved through the space. Then they created rough animatics with a digital version of a bride flying through that tracked space. As a result of this, the camera men and the stunt men knew how and where to move their camera's and performers. After that, the real time footage of Bride's face, the Bride's digital body and the background were merged together - 6:10.
Van Helsing - Werewolf:
  • Because there's essentially no limits with animating anything, the animators could digitally create even the smallest of details like the simulation of hair and muscle movement. Stephen Sommers [Director] wanted the Van Helsing transforming into a werewolf to look sexy and like a rock star. The set had to be fabricated because of the characters leaping around within Dracula's castle. 
  • Challenges were the 'to and fro' transformations of the characters into monsters and vice versa. During Dracula and Werewolf Van Helsing fight sequences, the transformations of the two were depicted in painfully grotesque ways -7:48. But when Anna saves Van Helsing of the curse and is killed, Sommers wanted Van Helsing to hold Anna in an iconic romanticist way against the moonlight. His last transformation would be that his statue and fur 'slip away' - 8:53.
Industrial Light + Magic:

Monday, 6 August 2012

Coldside: What have I been up to...

Everything has been busy as of lately, I'm struggling to multi-task at the moment.

As for work experience, I've not arranged rondevus with the guys to talk about what they specifically want. Although, when we've had parties and special occasions in the past, I've spoken to them then.
The artwork they have asked of me is:

  • Character art of themselfs - as cartoons, much in the style of Jamie Hewlett's Gorillaz.
  • Some album cover designs of their' cartoon selves in a living room like scenario.

What I've been working on lately:

  • Whilst I've been on this project, I've struggled to draw Wayne's cartoon eyes. Everything else seems to have gone into place with his facial structure, it was just the eyes, they never looked right. Anyway, I decided to draw up Wayne's cartoon emotions in hopes it would help shift the project forward more, and give the cartoon wayne more of a physical essence, that he isn't just static. I've tried to tie it in Jamie Hewlett's art style, so there would be some resemblance and yet it would be original. I've done this by archiving some of his work together in an album and just looking through his pieces for reference. 
I'm a fan of Manga/Anime art as it is anyway, so this project is right up my street. The images below are what I've made and showed Wayne. It's just a mock up, but it's one of the best things I've drawn of Coldside.

For Wayne's expressions, I was referring to this image below:

Another part of the drawings I need to take into consideration is to have grunge art in them. But I've struggled as to find any good references to them. Although I found an interesting video the other day:

I think it's a student creating work for an art show, but I thought it was interesting that she used paints. I have been working digitally so I think that was why I've been struggling: not taking into account other methods. Because some of the stuff I've produced has been too clean according to Wayne, so I'm really trying to push myself and get the work up to the standard Wayne is asking for.
Some experiments and comparisons, could do with improving:
Below on the right has some recent feedback from Wayne:
This video is another experiment. I wanted to rotate cartoon Wayne's head to get an idea what it could look like if animated:
  • I've also done some bit's of photography/recordings for them when they've been at gigs. These pictures were taken at Wythenshawe Park on the 29th of July 2012 [Link]. The guys performed live on behalf of the BBC. They started around 6:00 pm, they were one of a handful of acts that played during the day. A fair amount of people turned up and the weather wasn't too bad either, cloudy and sunny at the same time. It was a good day.
I spoke to Dean later about some of the artwork I've put up on facebook for them to see. I get critical feedback off the boys, however, I've found I've sometimes had to wait a bit before someone gets back to me. I think I was expecting we'd all continually bounce ideas off one another through conversations on facebook. Especially Wayne, because he has some background in Graphic Design.
Speaking to Dean though, I can now understand why they've sometimes not got back to me. 
He said they can get busy arranging gigs to perform at. Plus when they go on facebook, their' group fans message them all the time, sometimes they have to scroll through the messages just to find mine. So it was good to know for future reference, I forget they actually get busy with what they do, that I assumed they would instantly respond.
Anyway, the screenshots below are of the Wythenshawe performance.
These screenshots below show the guys Dean & Jamie using some of my pictures from the Wythenshawe concert. I'm glad when they do this because I don't ask them to, they just use them. 
I feel like I'm contributing to their 'cause' if you could call it that. Taking pictures/recordings has been one of the best ways I've spent my free time during the holidays.
I'm no stranger to doing this either. I've took recordings and pictures of the guys from a previous event, the Manchester Academy on March the 3rd, because they asked me to. 
I've also taken pictures for my dad when he has organized events for Jimmy Egan's Boxing Academy. So I'm quite comfortable using my camera, but I'm still learning how to use it.
This video is an interview of my cousin Dean/Red on the day of their' gig at The Manchester Academy, when I went to take some pictures/recordings of them.
You can see me in small glimpses recording them in the backgrounds of this video, if you played at 2:32 and 2:43:
I don't think I'll complete what I want to do this summer, as I am managing two summer briefs, but even without them, this project won't end, because it's too big a thing to do in a small amount of time.
I want to get the character designs of Jamie, Wayne and Dean all finished at first. Then I want to animate them somehow, perhaps from a music track of theirs. I've already told Dean this idea and he's thrilled about it. He said 'That would be sick! It would give us a whole different dimention. You should try something from the demo (CD) like Faded or Don't Worry.'
I'm hoping when I enter my final year of Moving Image, I could take this idea up as my project. It's the year where we get more leeway with our projects and decided ourselves what they are to be about.
The project itself has made me appreciate more of the effort that goes into animation work, like from my last post about Duncan Studios. There's a substantial amount of thought, work and time that goes into the pieces, we barely bat an eyelid to them unless we have the privilege to see 'behind the scenes'. I know this from past works when I've had to complete college briefs, but I've found it's more evident with my project. I think more than anything, it's because it's personal.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Duncan Studios & Deviant Art

Where this all started:
I meant to post this a few months ago, but forgot because I was a bit busy :/ .
Anyway, the image below is of a blog post of someone I've been following on Deviant Art.
The artist/blogger is the lady who created the 'Lady Ice' film: [Link]
In May, she posted an entry about a studio called 'Duncan Studio'. The post itself is about Duncan Studio in need of funds from the public to keep it open. But that wasn't what caught my interest.

During the second year of my course, I went with my college to London to visit three studios: Momoco, Trunk and Double G. 
What intrigued me about Li'ron's post was 'discovering another studio from networking' and 'the fact that it was in America/California'. I was like a little kid when I read this and immediately went on their website and facebook page: [Link]

The studio itself was set up by Ken Duncan in 2007, a world renowned animator who created character animations for Disney, e.g. 'Meg' from Hercules.

  • On facebook, there are a few videos of the animations they have produced. They are amazing (I think)! I'd love to put the videos on here, but I can't because 'they're not blogspot videos', so I'll put up screenshots and when you click them, they'll directly take you to them:
  • Watching these clips, I was speechless. I didn't know Duncan Studios made them! The first clip is from the film 9, created by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov. I just assumed Burton & Bekmambetov independently made this themselves, like got their hands dirty in the paints and colours. But I keep forgetting that it takes a team to make big films and assemble many things at once. Not to mention acquire the help of skillful computer people - which also fascinated me because I wondered which programme this was made in - MAYA! Or at least parcially:
'We have developed an “Digital Inbetween Tool” within Maya. We can assign charts to any part of the character. This is a different way interface for the Graph Editor. Once the charting is done, the Inbetweens are generated. They only affect the Spacing of the character between one Key and the next.Overall this whole process is very similar to the way a 2D animation workflow is done.' [link]

  • These animation clips below are from the film 'How to train your Dragon: Gift of the Nightfury.' This also surprised me because the first film was made under Dreamworks, was it not? Fair enough if your acquiring the aid of an independent studio if your an independent artist; but isn't Dreamworks a company that can utilize the talents of it's employees? Or were they after Ken Duncan's talents and stylistic imput (with these clips being 2D animation, unlike the 3D version) within the pieces? Whatever the reason, I intend to give Duncan Studios an inquiry on this.

  • In terms of examples from youtube videos, this was the only one I could find that features some animations from the realms of either Duncan Studios or Ken Duncan's imagination:
'The video was animated by former Disney animator, Ken Duncan, of Duncan Studio.' [link]

Images from Duncan Studios:
On the Duncan Studios Facebook Group, there are many albums of artwork that Ken Duncan has created, some of which he did whilst working in Disney:
e.g. Storyboard - Film Hercules, Meg being the damsel in distress in the arms of a giant centaur.
These images below are character designs, concepts and experiments of Meg (Megera) from Hercules.
You can tell a lot of thought has gone into our perception of her. 
e.g. The two images, one of Meg, the other of pots - the pots served a purpose in her build. They used references of greek pots to create Meg's body shape.
Image 1: 'Meg's body shape. Another example of the use of vases for her basic forms.' [Link]
Image 2: 'Meg's basic Design.' [Link]
Here are hair style experiments and drawings of where Meg's hair would fall and lift whenever she would move her head. 
Image 3: 'Meg's hair. This is an example of ow Meg's hair would move. It was important to see this as a graphic shape that would drag, squash, stretch, etc.' [Link]
Image 4: 'Meg's hair in motion. During the making of "Hercules" we had a small crew of animators at the Disney Paris studio. We would review their scenes and give notes. This is an example of a note that was "faxed" to them. Meg's hair had to be approached as a simple shape, that was slow moving at the back. You can see the basic drag notes, and the "slow out" and "slow in" spacing at the bottom.' [Link]
In these pictures, there are several drawing designs of Meg's face and how it would appear when positioned at various angles. Meg's design has clearly been taken into consideration, e.g. Where her hair falls on her head. The compression and expansion of her face when expressing her emotions, as well as her facial features.
Image 5: 'Model Sheet drawing: Head Shape.' [Link]
Image 6: 'Model Sheet drawing: Hair. This drawing discusses the way the hair looks from different angles. The front of the hair is a 'cheat', much like Mickey's ears.' [Link]
There is so much on the facebook group of Duncan Studio, it's practically an endless resource, they are always uploading something. 
I just wish I found it sooner. I've been working on character designs too, they're for my cousin's music group: Coldside [Link]
It's part of my work experience for them, normally I've been referring to artwork from Gorilaz because that's the style they would like their' cartoon themselves to be. 
Now that I've found Duncan Studio's group, I can refer to the artwork from there also to help my art get to a better standard.