rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href=""/>

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Transcription: Second Concept

Here is my second attempt at concept for my environment, which is the hotel description in the book. 

After finishing this concept I realised that I will have to follow a set of rules to help with designing the environment. So the rules are 

1. Everything will be off centred in terms of shape.
2. Each building will have its own type of patterned and colour (still needs deciding) as this will allow the viewer as well as me to understand what they are seeing. 
3. It terms of colours scene browns, yellows and oranges will be used.
4. Something transparent for examples windows etc will be either have a faded pattern or will be completely white when light shine onto it.
5. Faded pattens will express shadows. 

Now that I have a basic set of rules to follow, next I will be designing the different buildings for example cafes, hotel , restaurants etc that will go into the environment. But also things like sign, lamps, roads and pat's. Then I will be able to to put everything together and get a concept that I can then start to model. 

Friday, 24 February 2012

Transcription: Concept Art

So I have start creating some concept art for my environment and to be honesty it is a fun experience using this style and it can create some usually things. This first concept is just a Paris street but I don't think this concept express France but one thing it does is express  the 1970s. So more development and experiment is needed. But here is my first attempt at visualising the environment..........

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Transcription: New Style Direction

Personally for me I have had  several problems with style for my idea but finally I feel that I have got a style that I feel happy with but also that will satisfy my selected audience. So with my idea, when it came down to sketching environments it was starting to feel like I was just redrawing  a 1970s Paris and I was not adding any of my own style to my drawings. So After a talk with Phil yesterday about how I could get away from this he suggested I take a look at Andrew Allen short  film 'The Thomas Beale Cipher'. And maybe think about doing something similar with my own environments.  


In this animation, everything has a different texture and when the light appears on these textures they either become brighter or if the texture is  transparent or shiny they become totally white. So for me I would still modelling a 1970s Paris but apply the rules of texture, shadows and lighting from this animation to my own. 

So I decided to give it ago and experiment, by taking one of my reference photos of Paris and using several 1970s and French textures/wallpapers I have found. And apply the rules I noted from the animation about shadows and light I created this image below. 

I think for first attempt this is okay but I think there is much more I could do with this idea  and maybe I should think about making a set of my own rules to follow when design my environment. But more experimenting is definitely needed but know I am feeling a lot happier about the direction my idea is going in.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Trnscription: Film Research on Idea

To help with understanding my idea more clearly in terms of environments, in our last tutorial Alan suggested looking into the  background of the 'The French Confection'. So that meant looking at the films and history that came before. As this might allows for me to visualise  the environments better and help with when it comes to designing environments that are described in the book.

There were two films that came before William Friedkin's 'The French Connection' (1971) and then it sequel  'The French Connection II' (1975) by John Frankenheimer.

So after watch both films, I found out that the book is actually more about the second 'The French Connection II'. As the story is for a younger audience the author Anthony Horowitz has changed several thing, so there are many differences among the book and film. For example instead of set in Paris in the film it is set it Marseille, France. But one thing that has help watching the film is though it that it has aloud me to visual a French city would look like in 1970 even though it might not be Paris. Now the next step is to start working on concepts from all the research and influences I have gathered. 

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Maya Tutorial: Emit from surface 1 (Barrel)

Maya Tutorial : Emit from particles (Fireworks2)

Transcription: Paprika (2006) Film Review

Fig.1 'Paprika' (2006) Film Poster

'Paprika' is a 2006 Japanese anime, science fiction film by director Satoshi Kon. With his previous works Perfect Blue, Millennium Agent, Tokyo Godfathers Satoshi Kon has proved himself one of the most innovative anime creators, his work is frequently complex, disconcerting and surreal. 'Paprika', adapted from a novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui, is a visually and thematically ambitious addition to his work. 'Paprika' explores the line between truth and fiction in this future-shock sci-fi anime feature.

Fig.2 "Paprika" (2006) Film Still

'Paprika' is a story that appears to take place in modern day. A Japanese technology company has created a piece of technology knew as the DC Mini. Dr. Atsuko Chiba, is testing a the DCMini which allows her to enter people’s dreams in a lucid state. As a psychotherapist, she uses the device to diagnose and treat her patients. Copies of the prototype device is stolen and someone is using it to download the dreams of schizophrenics into people’s heads. It’s left to Chiba and her friend set of on wild goose chase to solve the theft, retrieve the prototypes, save the people, and of course, save the day before dreams become fused with reality. Along the way, we get to see controlled dream worlds, people’s subconscious, the breakdown of the lines between dreams and reality. All it is served with a bit of Japanese moralising and philosophy.

Fig.3 'Paprika' (2006) Film Still

'Paprika' retains a very Japanese identity, but is easily understandable by western audiences. The film is brimful with imagination, attempting to  visualize the impossible and highly surreal. Critic Bill Thompson writes  in a review of  'Paprika' that "There is not much, if any, of a cognizant plot to be found in Paprika, but unlike say, Akira, that was far too overbearing in its attempt to present a theme instead of a coherent plot, Paprika doesn’t push any message or theme on you. Paprika is more about the experience and allowing the viewer to take whatever they feel away from said experience." (Thompson,2009) The subject topic of dreams merging with reality has been done before,  but Satoshi Kon has made it remain interesting in 'Paprika' . The lack of a plot leaves ample time to question but with 'Paprika'  it lives and breathes with the art of interpretation. There is not a moment where it says, “This is what is happening, we will tell you what to think.” That type of free interpretation makes for a thoughtful experience and leaves 'Paprika' as a film.

The reason why so many enjoy 'Paprika' is because of its animation style which makes 'Paprika' amazingly beautiful. It's full of texture and depth in every moment and incredibly clean and crisp in its presentation. The depth of the animation helps with the interpretations. Kon seems to function much like my director, Hayao Miyazaki, in that he makes sure the animation doesn’t just add style to the film but also gives you more to ponder.

Fig.4 'Paprika' (2006) Film Still

'Paprika' pushes past what a traditional anime is about, and utilizing anime in a very original way. One of many critics, Keith Dudhnath writes in his review of how 'Paprika' went one step further in terms of anime and he states that  "Paprika is exactly what anime films should be. It couldn't be made as a live action film, but it still has enough depth of character and plot so that the audience is drawn into its world. It has an astonishing array of grand scenes that could only be drawn rather than filmed, but they're never showy for the sake of being showy. Everything is fully appropriate" (Dudhnath, 2006) It stays well clear of Anime clichés and presents a very creative film. Anime creates a medium where a director can literally translate what is in his mind onto film, and 'Paprika' is a film that personifies this fact.

One thing that is seen when researching into 'Paprika' is that alot of critics and fans have written in reviews about Christopher Nolan's 2010 film 'Inception'. This is because 'Paprika' and 'Inception' are films based on essentially the same concept. While both movies tackle the “dream state” theme head-on, they both have their differences as well. Really, the two stories go in fairly different directions from the outset. Sure, they both discuss dream worlds and are both psychological. But, Inception is generally more of a heist movie. It is also very dark and brooding. 'Paprika' is very colourful and vivid. It deals more with the possible therapeutic aspects of dreams. This was the case with Inception and 'Paprika'. Both films might’ve been spawned from the same idea, but it mutated into two separate and distinct movies. But some some fans still disagree "Yet there are clear parallels to be seen and there are a lot of anime bloggers/fans out there screaming at the injustice that Inception ripped off Paprika in a big way." ( Farfromthesilverscreen,2011) 

'Paprika' is smart, creative, and out of the box on an animation level makeing it stand out as a film. This is action sci-fi at its best, also a great introduction to modern Japanese anime.

Fig.5 'Paprika' (2006) Film Still

List Of Illustrations

Figure. 1 Kon, Satoshi (2006) Paprika Film Poster. (Accessed on 16/02/2011)
Figure. 2 Kon, Satoshi (2006) Paprika Film Still. (Accessed on 16/02/2011)
Figure. 3 Kon, Satoshi (2006) Paprika Film Still. (Accessed on 16/02/2011)
Figure. 4 Kon, Satoshi (2006) Paprika Film Still. (Accessed on 16/02/2011)
Figure. 5 Kon, Satoshi (2006) Paprika Film Still. (Accessed on 16/02/2011)


Thompson, Bill (2009) Review: Papurika (Paprika, 2006). (Accessed on 16/02/2012)
Dudhnath, Keith (2006) Paprika Film Review. (Accessed on 16/02/2012)
Farfromthesilverscreen (2011) Anime vs. Hollywood: Paprika & Inception. (Accessed on 16/02/2012)

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Transcription: Style Research Part 2

Continuing with style research I decided to look at a more 2D style which was something I wasn't really look at until I come across this animation. "Cat in Paris" (Une vie de chat) that caught my eye. A 2010 animated film by the French animation studio Folimage, telling the story of a young Parisian girl whose cat leads her to unravel a thrilling mystery over the course of a single evening.

"A Cat in Paris  brings with it a beautiful return to old-school hand-drawn animation. The deliberately old-fashioned, even by 2D standards, animation is in stark contrast to the plethora of 3D animated films on the market, an it certainly adds a distinctive charm to the picture. Reminiscent of children’s books, the soft-palette background paints Paris in a whimsical light, perhaps one that only ever existed in the kinds of fairy tales that this is inspired by. From the almost noir-meets-expressionism rooftop sequences at the start of the film, to the dramatic conclusion at the Notre Dame Cathedral, the animation is a love-letter to the Paris that the French want the world to see. The film looks crafted, rather than manufactured, although in some cases this deliberate styling has been done at the expense of substance. It is a superficial view naturally, but a beautiful one at that."

I really like this style used in this animation, even though it 2D there is something that I think would work nicely with my idea and create some unusual environments. Maybe this is something I should think about and look into a bit more.

Transcription: Style Research Part 1

I spent some time look at different styles I could reference when it comes to design my environment for "The French Confection". But the first decision I had to make was whether I was gonna to have a more realistic style or a more cartoon style. And the one that I think would work best for the age range I choose (10 - 15 year old) would be a more cartoon style.

So I have been looking at the work of Pixar. There are a couple of their animations that actually take place in Paris. Like the likes of

Ratatouille (2007)

Some concept art

Cars 2

There is just something about the colour palette that they have used in both films that make me feel like Paris for me. I think that this is something I should think about using in my own project when it comes to design and colour palette.

I know that it is not a Pixar animation but I recently went to see Monsters In Paris. It was amazing in terms of art direction, style and story. It is exactly the direction I was thinking about going in terms of the environments which are simply but with enough detail.


I think that having a cartoon style for my environment would work best for the story and the age range. Something that I am definitely sure about is the colour palette that I want to use inspired by these films.

Transcription: Evironment Idea

To help with understanding and getting my head around the story I have just write up a  quick summary of the story.


The Diamond Brothers win a dream holiday in Paris due to an award from a yoghurt company. On the train, they meet Erica Nice, a French baker, and Jed Mathis, a Texan oilman. The Diamond Brothers mention to them that they are staying at Hotel Le Chat Gris. The steward drops some coffee at hearing this. As the Diamond Brothers get off the train, they are met by the steward who tells them to beware of someone called the Mad American and hands them a sugar sachet. The steward is later pushed under a train. the hotel, they see a man in gray who seems to be interested in them.  Whilst sight seeing two thugs, Bastille and Lavache, threateningly them demand to know what the steward gave to them. While trying to get away from them, Nick and Tim jump from a bridge into a passing bateau mouche. They are locked up by the gendarmes but when they mention Bastille and Lavache they are hurriedly released. They return to find their hotel room has been turned upside down, soon after they are kidnapped and interrogated. They realise they are in a drugs factory, and Nick guesses that the sugar sachet must contain drugs. The criminals try to kill the brothers by giving them an overdose, but fortunately they are taken to hospital just in time, as the Police were out looking for them. The man in grey, who is from the Sûreté, asks for their help. He is revealed to be from a French company fighting against drugs, and says Le Chat Gris is sometimes used by the Mad American, meaning he thought the Brothers had come to buy drugs. Nick remembers some things about the place they were held and realises the place is in the Jewish Quarter, due to a blue star he saw, and they track down the Mad American - who turns out to be Madame Erica Nice. She is arrested for running a drug smuggling racket after Nick and Tim knock her out with a giant cake when entering her cake shop, 'The French Confection'.

I have gone through and noted down the description that I would think would be good to create.

First is just the a description of Paris overall
  • Paris is a big city and a lot prettier than London, with its narrow streets that lead onto many other side-streets. The heart of Paris is a busy place, full of car, cyclists, tourist but when you take a side street things become less hectic.
  • The narrow quiet antique streets are fill little antique shops, with brasserie's everywhere and hidden side-street cafes.
  • There are cars parked everywhere on the streets on the pavements, you cant tell which ones are parked or which ones are stuck in traffic.
  • Other places that a stated are the Eiffel tower, the Notre Dome, Champs Elyse, Jardin de Tuileries, River Seine.

Secondly it the description of the exterior of the hotel
  • Le Chat Gris was in the Latin quarter, a dark busy area on the south side of the River Seine. Here the streets are fill of students and the smell of cheap food.
  • It was a small narrow building, wedged among a art gallery and a cafe.
  • A metal cat, more rusty than grey, hanged over the main entrance and there were brightly coloured flowers in the front windows. On closer inspection they turned out to be made of plastic.
  • Just down the street there is an old-fashioned, artistic sort of cafe. La Palette, which is the very same cafe that the steward asked the brothers to meet them.

Third is the description of the place where the Diamond brothers were taken when they were kidnapped which is also the drug factory .

  • It was a grey building, three storeys high. Most of the paint had flaked off and there were scorch marks, as if it had been involved in a fire. About half the windows were shattered, others had been bricked in. the place look derelict, it was supposed to look this way so that it blend in with the other building that surrounds it.
  • This building is located in the Jewish sector of Paris Le Marais. Which was originally a swamp, the Marais has gone to become one of the most fashionable areas of Paris. Its narrow streets are filled with shops and boutiques including some of the city most elegant cafes and cake shops. The Marais is home to the Jewish quarter with numerous synagogues and kosher restaurants based around the Rus des Roisers.
  • It has dozen of roads but it was not the biggest place in Paris.
  • At the start of Le Maris, is the Place Vendome, is one of those Paris squares where even the trees look expensive. With a big, elegant building that turned out to be the Picasso Museum is placed just off the square.
  • There is a series of long, narrow streets with buildings rising five storeys on both sides.
  • With the star of David placed in every kosher food store and restaurant in every area.
  • Usually street of an area called Rue de Sevigny lies the brunt face of the building, the broken windows, the ugly chimney stacks. And there was an archway that and there was a courtyard on the other side which is were the white van had been parked.
  • The biggest drug factory in Paris was right in front of them, just sitting there among a cafe and a cake shop, right in the middle id Marais.
  • In the window of the cake shop was the sign "THE FRENCH CONFECTION" in bright red glowing letters.

Now that I have got the descriptions sort out there is quiet a bit that I could research into to hep with the development of this idea.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Transcription: Akira (1988) Film Review

Fig.1 "Akira" (1988) Poster

Produced in 1988 by Katsuhiro Otomo, "Akira" is considered a classic and a landmark in the Japanese sub-genre of animation known as anime. Based on the acclaimed Manga series by Katsuhiro Otomo himself, "Akira" is the highest-budget anime film ever produced at the time and one of the most expensive animated movies made in Japan. Making an international splash with its flawless animation and, to a lesser extent, splashy violence and apocalyptic story, becoming an overwhelming, breakthrough, animated science-fiction tale, that is both visually stunning and deals with recognisable human characters.

Fig.2 "Akira" (1988) Still

Years ago, Tokyo was destroyed by an unknown force that sparked WWII. Now, in the middle of the 21st century, Neo Tokyo has been rebuilt on the ruins of the old city. Ravaged by aimless youths and bike gangs, rife with political intrigue, cults, and the undercurrents of revolution, this new city a sight to behold. Its the tale of Tetsuo and Kaneda, childhood friends who grew up inseparable until Somewhere in the underbelly of the city, Tetsuo, runs into a strange boy. The boy is part of a military experiment involving psychics, and a mysterious project knew as AKIRA. When Tetsuo begins to manifest psychic powers, along with bizarre hallucinations, he becomes a target of a shadowy government organisation dedicated to stopping a repeat of the incident that destroyed the city once at any cost.

Fig.3 "Akira" (1988) Still

Stories that take place in these settings tend to have the same atmosphere: crime out of control; corrupt government; revolutions, science and technology worshipped as gods. This film takes a bit of all these aspects and many more, mixes them together so what we get is a good sense of an abstract reality and an intense reality.  Basically there is really no single plot driving the film. Critic Rafael Ruiz states "Akira works wonderfully as a tone poem of the narrative, capturing the look and emotion of the original story through brilliant production design, fluid animation and direction." (Ruiz,2004)

But on the other hand critic Marc Marshall in his review explains why some viewers have a confusing experience when watching "Akira" " When you try to pack all that into a single film, you get an incredulous tangle of information, characters, and sociopolitical interplay. You also get a very confusing movie--it is, frankly, a narrative mess." (Marshall,2006) With all these things going on it's not surprising that many viewers find the films narrative confusing. But for those that have read the Manga itself probably do not have much trouble deciphering what is going on in the film.

Fig.4 "Akira" (1988) Still

It's a convoluted story compacted down from over 1,800 pages into two hours and a lot of story is lost yet almost too much of it is kept. So it not surprising that "Akira" contains a high proportion of mind-blowing images and scenes, making it a truly intense experience. In one review Critic Damian Cannon writes "The most phenomenal aspect of Akira is the quality of its animation; it's smooth, crisp, dynamic and colourful. Always the story moves on with pace, unhindered by the fact that it's all animated (in fact this aspect may have precisely the opposite affect). This wonderful fluidity conceals an incredible attention to detail and sub-surface complexity, the fruit of tremendous effort by the Akira team." (Cannon, 1997) Style and substance run neck and neck in this thrilling landmark film that just refuses to become dated. So there is no doubt that "Akira" is ground-breaking work, that deserves the credit.

Fig.5 "Akira" (1988) Still

List Of Illustrations

Figure.1  Otomo,Katsuhiro (1988) Akira Film Poster. Figure.3 Otomo,Katsuhiro (1988) Akira Film Still. (Accessed on 11/02/2012)
Figure.4 Otomo,Katsuhiro (1988) Akira Film Still. (Accessed on 11/02/2012)
Figure.5 Otomo,Katsuhiro (1988) Akira Film Still.  (Accessed on 11/02/2012)


Cannon, Damian (1997) Akira (1988) Film Review. (Accessed on 11/02/2012)
Ruiz, Rafael (2004) Akira Review. (Accessed on 11/02/2012)
Marshall, Marc (20060) AKIRA. (Accessed on 11/02/2012) (Accessed on 11/02/2012)
Figure.2 Otomo,Katsuhiro (1988) Akira Film Still. (Accessed on 11/02/2012) 

Maya Tutorial: Curve Flow Motion Path Dynamics

Maya Tutorial: Curve Emitter Water Foam

Before Curve Emitter

After Curve Emitter

Maya Tutorial: Curve Emitter Shockwave

Maya Tutorial: Curve Emitter Fireworks 1

Transcription: Ideas Development

After my second tutorial this week I finally know what direction I want to go in. So I decided to go with my first original idea to create and environment for a children's film noir film. When doing some intial research into this idea I came across an author Anthony Horowitz that creates children novels/short stories based on noir films.

For example

- The Maltese Falcon: The Falcon's Malteser (1986)
- Public Enemy Number Two (1987)
- North by Northwest: South By South East (1991)

The one that I decided to go with was "The French Confections" .The story is the based on the film "The French Connection", a 1971 Oscar-winning film based on the real-life drug-smuggling operation between France and the United States.

When I left my tutorial with Alan, I wasn't sure if I could get hold of this book and I was worried with how long it would get here, so this idea was up in the air. But surprisingly it was delivered yesterday and I have already read the book through once. Next is to read it again and then take the description from the story and start researching into the era, the history and also the style.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Maya Tutorial: Particles, Emitters & Forces Part 1

Sketching Particles: Clouds

Directional Emitter: Explosion

Omni Emitter: Fuse

Volume Emitter: Smoke