Thursday, 30 September 2010

Boar/human foot splice

Here are some sketches for the hybrids feet, fusing elements of both human and boar aspects together into several ideas.

Foot with side hoof
Foot with extended heel and hoofed toes

Boar sketches 3 skeletal foot

Here I have done some studies of the boar's hind leg structure. This bone structure differs in several ways to that of the front legs. Notice how the hind foot is much more raised, allowing for larger hooves and more balance. The foot bone is also larger in size which helps to accommodate the weight of the boar and spread it out evenly.

Boar back leg bones and knee joint
Side view of the back foot bones
Front view of the back foot bones

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Life Drawing: Week 2

A few more drawings form our second life drawing session. 
Figure 1
Ok, so figure 1 was another 30 minute drawing that we started with. This time my main focus was to look at lighting as well as shape. I think I got the proportions quite nicely here possibly with the exception of the head which looks smaller than it should be. The addition of the lighting really helped to make the drawing more 'real' than the one I drew in the previous session which I'm quite pleased with. 
Figure 2
Figure 2 is a mixture of four drawings each about 10 minutes long. These were done to look specifically at different parts of the body. This time I looked at the hand, breasts and arms, leg and lower body.

The hand was just a simple quick sketch with no lighting or much detail. The aim here was to get and idea for the shape of the hand and to improve on drawing fingers, which I think was more successful than the previous weeks attempt.

The breasts and arms were quite quick and simple to draw as well. This time I worked in some shadows using a heavier pencil, just so that the body parts could be told apart.

The leg drawing was in my opinion the least successful due to the thigh looking much larger in comparison with the lower leg and foot. Again I working in more shading with a heavy pencil to capture some of the legs muscles and bone structure.

Another simple sketch this time of the lower body looking at the shape of both legs. The right knee proved to be a little challenging due to it's odd shape from the angle I was drawing from so it took a couple of tries to get it but it worked out well in the end.
Figure 3
Figure 3 is the final sketch of the session. This time instead of drawing out exactly what we saw with curves and smooth lines, we were challenged to draw the model using four and three sided shapes in a sort of cubist style. I enjoyed this drawing because it made me look at the body in simple shapes which actually helped me to draw the model much faster. I stuck to larger shapes rather than smaller ones in order to cut out any unwanted details and then added some shading to it to make it look more 3D. 

Film Review: Cat People

The fourth film we watched from the ‘Shapeshifters’ film programme was Jacques Tourneur’s ‘Cat People’ released in 1942.

The story follows a young serbian women Irena Dubrovna (Simone Simon) who fears her ancestral blood line of being a satanic cat woman. She eventually falls in love with a young man Oliver Reed (Kent Smith) and marries him but unfortunately it doesn't last and Irena stalks Oliver's new lover. Towards the end of the film Irena kills a doctor who she has been visiting only to be wounded and then killed by a panther she releases in the zoo.

Unlike the films we've seen throughout the programme so far, Cat people uses very little in the way of any transformation. 

 "...with developments of surprises confined to psychology and mental reactions, rather than transformation to grotesque and marauding characters for visual impact on the audiences."

Without the physical transformation that carries out in most films of this genre, many of the characters believe that Irena is being paranoid about her ancestry or the risks that are involved with being in love with her. Her lover Oliver, believes her stories to be fairy tales that she has somehow forced herself to believe are real and recommends she sees a doctor. This is paranoia and fear at their best. Due to the psychological damage she has caused herself Irena's stories, although prove to be true, are considered to be no more than just stories and this cause her to be afraid to do a lot of things that are considered normal, like falling in love. Irena effectively has become a 'scaredy cat'.

Due in most part to Irena's fears and paranoia, her capacity to share herself openly and her capacity to love become very limited.

""Cat People" is constructed almost entirely out of fear."

Tourneur exploits the psychological effects of metamorphosis quite well in this film, such as exploring the ideas that Irena, if she gave into her temptations and lust, may allow her supposed predatory instincts loose or that cats seem to have behavioural issues towards her as if she were a cat herself and they were fighting.

Omens play a part in this as well and appear at moment when something terrible or frightening is about to happen. A good example of this is in the scene when Irena is playing with her pet bird. Just before it dies we see the shadow of the bird fluttering around the mouth of a painting of a panther.

 "...this 1940s classic offers more subtle chills."

However these omens tend to blend in well with the surroundings of the film making them difficult to spot, Tourteur makes them subtle so that when we find them, the audience will being to feel the suspense build up and the effect of the terrible deed become that more frightening.

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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Foot sketches

Some pictures of the foot sketches I've done so far. Feet are definitely not one of my strong suits (I've never had to draw them before really :S) but I think some of the sketches are good enough. Any advice on how I can get them to look better would be much appreciated.

Film Review: La Belle et La Bete

The third film we watched from the ‘Shapeshifters’ film programme was Jean Cocteau’s ‘La Belle et La Bete’, released in 1946 in France, which is a film adaption based on the story of the same name.

The story follows a young woman called Belle (Josette Day) who is kept in the Beast's castle as a substitute for her father after he is caught 'stealing' a rose. Belle and the Beast begin falling in love, however he eventually lets her go. Belle returns home but once she see's Beast is sad she goes back to him. Upon arrival Belle finds Beast dying from a broken heart. The curse of the Beast lifts and the two fly away.

This film is very much a fantasy with so many aspects of the film connected to the use of magic:

"From the opening credits, written in chalk on a schoolroom blackboard, to the final ascent into the clouds by Beauty (Josette Day) and the Beast (Jean Marais), transformed into a handsome prince, this is one of cinema's most magical films..."

The curse that the beast is unfortunate enough to have bestowed on him, the magical glove and key and the statue of Diana are all very fantasy based and all use magic in some way either good or bad. In the case of the curse it seems that this form of magic was implied to be bad, much like witch craft.

The use of the statue of Diana is an excellent example of suiting historical figures as Diana is seen as the Goddess of the hunt and with animals being part of her association the statue rightfully play the part of controlling who is man or beast.

I did feel that this film was too much fantasy and not enough realism, which made it more of an off putting film to watch:

"...he has some trouble capturing the right tone for the 'realistic' scenes..."

However on a plus the film was able to better capture the fantasy with all the inputs of magic and curses, innocent young female characters and love, Cocteau does himself justice making this film a very unique piece.

Like the previous two films this one employs the use of a physical change in the human appearance: 

"Before the days of computer effects and modern creature makeup, here is a fantasy alive with trick shots and astonishing effects,"

Much unlike both versions of The Fly, La Belle et La Bete doesn't disfigure or brutally transform the main subject. Instead it employs simplistic changes that help maintain the gentleman's appearance behind them. The cosmetic effects are much better than the rubber mask used in the 1958 The Fly but baring in mind that this film was made 40 years behind Cronenberg's film, the effects can in my opinion rival those of Cronenberg's The Fly.

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Monday, 27 September 2010

Boar/human hand splice

Several ideas I have about the look of my hybrids hands. My particular favourite is the second idea because it keeps the hand looking like a hand only with a few additional features, like the fur and and hoof-like finger tips.

Hand splice 1
Hand splice 2
Hand splice 3

Boar sketches 2

Here are some more sketches of boars including the skeletal structure of their front legs. These were done so that I could get a better idea of how to structure my hybrid internally, looking at shapes and differences in the boars bone structure.

Boar snout and snarling version
Skeletal structure of the boars front leg
Elbow joint of the front leg

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Sus Scrofa: Skeletal structure

If we're to build up our hybrid forms from the inside out, then looking at the outside of a boar isn't going to be much help. So instead I have started looking at images of the internal structures of boars, in particular the skeletal structures. This should hopefully give me a better idea of how the boar moves and looks from the inside rather than what it looks like on the outside. I also found several images of human skeletal structures for a visual comparison and to see how the hybrid might come together (see figure 1)
Figure 1
Figure 2
 Figure 2 is the first example of the wild boars skeleton with a representation of it's flesh exterior in in grey. This is useful in showing how the flesh forms around the skeleton producing a sort of hunched back and also very little in the way of a visible neck.

Figure 3
Figure 3 shows another model of the boars skeletal structure this time without the flesh outline. At first glance the leg structure in the boar may look completely different to that of a human but it isn't. Both consist of three joints; one at the hip, one at the knee and one at the ankle. From the outside it will look completely different but structurally they are quite similar. The only difference is that the back of the foot extends out more than a humans foot does.

The spine (also quite similar to a humans) appears to be slightly larger and stronger which could be used as a support for the muscle on the back and the pelvis appears to be much thinner than a humans.

Figure 4
 Figure 4 is an example of the boars skull. From it we can see that at the front of the mouth there are four teeth in the lower jaw but not in the upper. The rest of the teeth are set further back in the mouth away from the front four. There are also two sets of tusks. The lower tusks protrude up out of the jaw whilst the upper tusks protrude down and out to the sides of the jaws behind the lower tusks. The nasal passage run along the top of the skull down from the eyes sockets which are located on either side of the skull. The shape of the skull is much different from that of a human being more triangular in shape rather than round.

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Photoshop tutorial: Boars tusks

Here are both the pieces I worked on during the first photoshop session. This is the second time I have used photoshop for painting so the drawing may need some more work. 
Boar tusk
This is the first of the two paintings I created and is a quick study of the boars tusk. It took a while to figure out where all the brush types were and this was really just and experimental piece just so I could get used to using the drawing tablet again. 

Boars lower jaw with tusk and teeth
The second painting I made was based on the lower jaw of one of the boar skeleton images I found previously. For this painting I was trying to go for an X-ray approach but the colours were too solid to make it work that way. The tusk came quite well on this one and the teeth did as well but as for the jaw itself I think that could use a little more blending.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Maya tutorial: Dice

Here are some screenshots showing how I got on with the first Maya creation which was a pair of dice. As this was my first time using Maya my opinion varies on it. I enjoyed using it for the most part but I think rendering is something I'm just going to have to practice more and get used to (even though it worked) as it took a few tries to get it right. That and I only figured out how to use the mouse to rotate the object until I was nearly finished.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Film Review: The Fly (1986)

The second film we watched from the ‘Shapeshifters’ film programme was David Cronenberg's ‘The Fly’ which is a remake based on the original film directed by Kurt Neumann in 1958.

The story follows the genius scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) who has created a matter transportation machine but unfortunately it has a few glitches. After several attempts at fixing the problems, including several horrific mishaps, Seth manages to get the machine to work and tests it on himself only to be integrated with a fly that got into the machine at the same time.

The 1980's were a time when the AIDS epidemic was in full effect and awareness of the disease caused a huge fear in the transmission of bodily fluids. A large number of safe sex campaigns started every in the world to help prevent the spread of the disease. When Cronenberg's 'The Fly' was lauched to the viewing public, they assumed that the film was an allegory for the AIDS epidemic, due to the grotesque bodily changes of Goldblum's character. However this was not what Cronenberg had in mind for this film:

"Many saw the film as an allegory for AIDS, which Cronenberg denied while welcoming the interpretation."

To me, the idea Cronenberg had was to explore the physical changes and characteristics of Goldblum, that were typical of the fly he 'fused' with, ie. craving sugar or being able to walk on walls. Cronenberg explores these new changes and characteristics in such depth that it almost make Goldblum's transformation real. He even goes as far as to have the changes documented in the film which suggests to me his fascination of the physical and instinctual changes.

The appearance of the physical changes in the original film by Neumann and those used by Cronenberg drastically differ. In Neumann's version the human/fly hybrid is effectively a man with a fly's head and arm. In Cronenberg's, he makes Goldblum's transformation a full body experienceand shows the changes gradually take place:

"David Cronenberg's remake of the 1958 horror classic The Fly is not for the squeamish."

This is definitely the case for this film. The transformations and special effects are fantastically horrific for their time with the loss of teeth and nails, deformation and puss! It even goes as far as making a 'museum' in the film of all the changes in the body.

"Along with his looks goes his personality" 

Like its predecessor, this film looks at the change in personality of the metamorphic subject. Goldblum goes from an enthusiastic, brilliant minded scientist to a deranged, obsessive 'thing'. Of course though these changes occur in conjunction with the physical; the more his body deteriorates and changes, so does his mind.

I have seen this film multiple times but it was so much better viewing it on a big screen. This was a very enjoyable film and with a big screen comes intensified horror and disgust which I loved (even though it was a bit sickly). Again the messages that were conveyed through the film were made quite clear, as were the consequences!
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Hand Studies 1

Here are some examples of hand sketches I have done over the past two weeks. I have reproduced them all of the sketches so far in photoshop in simple black and white format. I intend to do more in different poses (which I haven't decided on yet) and then produce more of them as photoshop paintings. 
Back of the hand and thumb
Forearm and open hand

Hand gripping a rod

Raised index finger with palm and other fingers

Hand in a spider-like pose
Side view of the fingers

The palm and thumb (with basic shape outline)

Clenched fist

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Sus Scrofa Studies

Just a few sketches of some of the images of boars I found, most of which are looking at the head with a few others.