Thursday, 30 September 2010

Silhouette Experiments

Since pretty much all the books on concept art I've borrowed from the library have talked about how important it is to get the silhouette right first, and crearting silhouettes that "read" easily, I figured I ought to give it a go for the anatomy project.  And so, here we go

Peacock head experiment

although Phil said he didn't just want someone in an animal skin, I didn't think that an elegant bird like a peacock really suited the full David Chronenberg treatment, so I did a quick test to see what it would be like trying to map the facial markings onto a human head

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The Fly (1986)

image copyright Brooksfilms
Although sometimes described as a remake of the 1958 film of the same title, this movie is more of a reinterpretation of the basic premise - a malfunction with a prototype teleporter causes a scientist to be crossed with a housefly - viewed through director David Cronenberg's distinctive imagination.  As a result, this version of the film is closer in spirit to the classic 50's B-Movie monster horrors, making full use of special effects, particularly makeup, in order to shock and unsettle the audience.
It must be said at this point that this film is considerably more gory than the original picture, a contrast that is well illustrated by the fate of the first animal test subject.  In the original film, the scientist tries out the teleporter with his pet cat, which unfortunately fails to rematerialise, disappearing into the aether with a haunting wail.  In this film however, the scientist chooses to experiment with a baboon.  Whilst the baboon does successfully rematerialise in the second teleportation pod, as the smoke clears, it is revealed that the unfortunate creature has arrived inside out, living just long enough for it's horrific death spasms to be captured in all their bloody glory by director David Chronenberg.
Image copyright Brooksfilms
Although some effort has gone into trying to make the science of the teleporter vaguely believable, it is let down by careless inconsistencies - as Lindy Loo says in the blog "come play with us danny", "at the beginning, he transports steak on a plate through his teletransporter devices, but they don't become steak-plates or anything. And yet later, teletransporting himself while a fly is accidentally in the pod with him, the two conjoin to become one."
However, while the special effects are stunning (and disturbing), they cannot rescue a plot that was described by the New York Times film reviewer, Caryn James, as "a film that tries to be too many things at once - funny but not campy, sad and scary, a horror story and a human tragedy".  The story is most successful when depicting the relationship between scientist Seth Brundle (Geoff Goldblum), and the reporter Veronica Quaife (Geena Davies), particularly the tension that Veronica feels as the man that she is in love with starts to transform into a hideous, subhuman monster.
Whilst this film is less heavy handed in it's delivery of a moral on the hazards of playing god and messing with forces we do not understand, it is still fundamentaly a tale of a man who experiments with knowledge that man was not meant to meddle with, and as a result is cursed to transform into a hideous monster.  Like the original film, the descent into bestiality is made all the more horrifying by the fact that we can see that he is aware that his humanity is slipping away from him - as Christopher Geary, of says, "It's a powerful scene of human horror that ranks highly among the best genre movie performances of all time"
image copyright Brooksfilms

Dice Render

2 attempts, and 2 computers later, here is the finished dice render.  I added an ambient light as the first render was too dark in my opinion, and this had the lucky side-effect of creating a visible reflection of the white dice on the side of the black one.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Photoshop class speedpaint 2

Going for the full monstrous hybrid approach, hence the asymmetry and toothed beak

Photoshop class speedpaint 1

Trying out a relatively low-key approach to hybridisation - basically a midway image, after the nose and ears have fallen off (birds not having either)

Thursday, 23 September 2010

The Fly (1958)

Image copyright Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Ostensibly a monster horror film, of the sort that was doing well in the box office at the time, this movie derives the majority of its thrills from the psychological effects caused by the transformation of the main characters husband into a human/fly chimera, and consequent decision to kill himself for the good of the world.  As a result, the titular monster spends a fairly small amount of time on screen, leaving a film that has more in common with a mystery thriller, rather that a strait horror fest.  Indeed, the New York Times film reviewer, Howard Thompson, described it as "...a quiet, uncluttered and even unpretentious picture, building up almost unbearable tension by simple suggestion."
The basic plot is one of a brilliant scientist, who accidentally discovers the secret of teleportation, and in the process of attempting to perfect it, has his head and left arm swapped with those of a house fly which has accidentally been teleported along with him.  Whilst this is often dismissed as logically flawed - why is the fly head human sized, instead of housefly sized; why is the exterior transformation instant, but the mental metamorphosis slow, the fly's instincts slowly asserting themselves - but this can be explained by thinking of the transformation not as a strait swapping of body parts, but rather a patterning error, of the type seen earlier on when a teleported ashtray emerges "back to front", with the writing on the back reversed.
Although the dialogue can feel dated in places, especially when dealing with attitudes to women, another important part of this film is the high quality of acting, with all the characters beautifully portrayed with a delicacy that makes them believable, with none of the overacting that mars many "monster horror" films.  As Brandt Sponseller says in his review, "(Vincent Price)’s portrayal of the brother-in-law has just the right combination of emotions to capture a man who just lost his brother to a possibly insane sister-in-law who he loves as much as his brother and his nephew"
Overall, this film does not conform to "monster movie" stereotypes, with very few gratuitous "surprise shocks", relying instead on the beautifully realised portrayal of the psychological impact of the transformation on both the main character, Helena Delambre, and the victim, her husband Andre.  Although it starts out with an unusually gruesome (especially for the time) scene, where Andre is found crushed under a hydraulic press, and Helen confesses to killing him, as the film progresses we come to see that this was not an act of violence, rather an act of love; Andre having chosen to die this way rather than place his family in danger from the bestial instincts of the fly.
Having said that however, the film uses the few shock reveals to marvelous effect, hinting at the "grand unmasking", where the fly headed man is seen for the first time, a moment that even film4's otherwise fairly critcal review of the film describes as "...the most effective scene of its kind since The Phantom of the Opera in 1925.
image copyright Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Hand Sketches 1

The weird looking poses are due to my hand resting of the edge of a desk (top left) or my knee (bottom left and bottom right)

Hybrid sketches 1

Started trying to combine features of human skeletons and Peacock skeletons

Friday, 17 September 2010

Sketchbook page 1

After Steve's talk, I figured I might as well start posting sketchbook pages as I fill them up.  Unfortunately, it will reveal how random my mind is, but that's a risk I'll just have to take ^^;

creature feature

had an idea about the teleporter chimiric project, so did quick speedpaint (I got peacock).  Unfortunately, it looked a lot better in my head :(

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Fairy WIP

Now that I've started adding colour, I hope it's easier to see what style I'm trying for ^^;

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Tonal Experiment update

Finished working out the rough tonal values, so now I can move on to the colour phase

Monday, 13 September 2010

Tonal Experiment

I'm trying out a new way of painting a linework, starting with a greyscale tonal study to try and spot and sort out errors, and then painting on the colour

101 Sketch Lifeform Turnaround

A large predatory fish, suited to life in coral reefs.  Its primary method of propulsion is the two long arrays of spines on its flanks; these move in a waving motion like a ray.

101 Sketch Structure Turnaround

A large stone lighthouse, designed to be built on a large reef

101 Sketch Machine Turnaround

A mechanical insect for surveilance purposes, powered by a micro-fusion power cell

101 Sketches part 8

101 Sketches part 7

101 Sketches part 6

101 Sketches part 5

101 Sketches part 4

101 Sketches part 3

101 Sketches part 2

101 Sketches part 1