Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Transcription Head Concepts

Brainstorming possible head designs, based upon medieval helmets and animal heads.  The one I've decided to use is circled in red.

Mary and Max (2009)

This film is based around 2 different characters, each inhabiting their own distinctive world.  Mary Dingle, an 8 year old Australian girl described by the Narrator in shades of brown, lives in a world of low saturation browns and greys, with the exception of the red lipstick worn by her uncaring mother.  Max Horovitz, a 30-something New Yorker with Aspergers syndrome, lives in a world of cold greys.  Almost the only time a bright colour enters Max's world is when Mary sends him a red pom-pom, which he wears on top of his yarmulke; this splash of red becoming as indication of the status of Mary and Max's friendship, disappearing after Mary accidentally offends Max, reappearing when he finally accepts her apology.  Interestingly however, there is another element of crossover between the two worlds, in the form of the letters that Max and Mary send each other - Mary's letters are invariably handwritten on brown paper, while Max's are typed on light grey paper.

Story-wise, Mary and Max is about an unlikely long distance friendship, and charts the way their friendship changes both of their lives, both for good and bad.  Indeed, the film is notable for being at least as interested in the low points of Mary and Max's lives as it is in the highs.  At first, these lows are treated with black humour - the deaths of Mary's parents, for example, are offset by the epitaphs on their tombstones, while the tragic fates of Max's pet goldfish become a running gag.  Later lows are played straight, emphasising the tragedy.

The animation is stop-motion claymation, and the camera is animated as well, rather being relatively static.  This is particularly evident in the sequences where the animation and editing is matched to the music in the background; for example when Max types his first letter to Mary (set to the "typewriter symphony") and Mary's suicide attempt (set to a melancholy version of "Que Sera, Sera").  The film's limited colour palette helps to emphasise the care that has been taken on the animation, particularly the facial expressions (Film4, 2009).

Film 1: Mary and Max - Musical Typewriter (2009)

Film 2:  Mary's suicide (Mary and Max) (2010)


Film 1:   Mary and Max - Musical Typewriter (2009) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-aN6Kd6ynY (Accessed on 28/02/2012)

Film 2:   Mary's suicide (Mary and Max) (2010) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uq17zxmTMY8 (Accessed on 28/02/2012)


Film4 (2009) Mary & Max (2009) At: http://www.film4.com/reviews/2009/mary-max (Accessed on 24/02/2012)

Parkinson, D (2010) Mary and Max At: http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=136981&page=2 (Accessed on 15/02/2012)

Pulver, A (2010) Mary and Max - Review At: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/oct/21/mary-and-max-review (Accessed on 12/02/2012)

Friday, 24 February 2012

Transcription Silhouette Development 2

Trying out different tail lengths/proportions.  I think 5 looks best, although it might be a little long; what do people think?

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Dynamics Tutorials 5 - Curve Emitters

Curve Emitter: Fireworks 1

Curve Emitter: Shockwave - modified

Curve Emitter: Water Foam

Curve Flow: Motion Path Dynamics

Monday, 20 February 2012

Transcription Silhouette Development 1

Developing the most popular silhouettes (mainly by copy/paste and transform tools) with some shading to separate different sections

I quite like the way the carapace on 5 wraps around the shoulder joints, but my favourite overall is 1.

Anyway, what do people think?

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Transcription Concept Doodles 3

Experiments using different animals as a basis:

(1) is based upon a more beetle-like idea, with an armoured carapace
(3) is based upon a pangolin (of all things)
(6) is based upon a human, as a sort of twisted parody of a knight in armour.

Game Character Modelling Tutorial Step 2

Total Triangle count: 1378

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Transcription Concept doodles 1

Mainly trying out different body plans and posture.  Of the top of my head, 4 looks the most threatening, although the long arms of 3 are interesting

Transcription Project update

Firstly, a few extra details gleaned from the source material

Head described as "dome-like", also features visor-like lips over knife-like teeth and some kind of jaw mechanism.

Now for the "Diegesic analysis" (assuming my translation of the brief is correct).

The world is fairly standard western-european fantasy, with a technology level equivilent to medieval europe.  The killing machines are the product of two in-world cultures - they are designed by someone from a central-european-style culture, but produced in a northern-european-style culture.

Based upon the descriptions, its hard to tell whether "killing machines" are principally humanoid or more based upon animals, so the next step will be to experiment with some silhouettes.

A Monster in Paris (2001)

Although criticised by some for a weak story, I found this an enjoyable film.  The visual style was distinctive, not only in the characters, but also the sets.  An interesting feature was the way in which most of the buildings in Paris are stylised, with verticals and horizontals distorted.  However, buildings that formed important locals were much less stylised, with verticals and horizontals correct, although they maintain the vertical stretch found in all of the sets.  Vehicles are heavily stylised in a similar manner to the buildings, with small wheels and tall bodies; somewhat unusually however they are also stretched width-wise, helping to reduce the top-heavy appearance that this sort of distortion can otherwise create (such as in "The Incredibles" and "Monsters vs Aliens").

The animation is very high quality, particularly during the musical scenes, where the synchronisation between the music and the animation is excellent.  The set-piece sequences are great, usually managing to incorporate some humour along with the action; and the pacing works well.  At the same time, the 3D was done to a level where it was unnoticable (possibly one of the greatest compliments that can be given) with no gimmicky jump-out-the-screen moments - I particularly liked the way that dissolves between caption cards and the film itself were handled.

Finally, it has one of the greatest assets available to a film - incredibly catchy songs.