Friday, 30 September 2011

Maya - BMW Big One

Thought I'd start modelling Kenada's bike from Akira. I wont spend too much time on it, just a few minutes here and there.

Maya - DVD Shader

Another tutorial from digital tutors.

I modelled them using a polygon pipe, in hindsight I should have used nurbs as there ended up being way too much geometry.

Here's the shading network. I used an anisotropic shader, plugged a ramp into the spec and duplicated it with slightly different settings. The blinn has the transarentcy turned right up and the difuse right down so only the reflectivity is seen. They are all then put on a layered shader.

Here's the finished result. It has some strange artifacts in the center of the DVD and I couldn't work out why. I'm not too worried though as I think it looks like flaws in the plastic of the DVD

Character Design - Rough Sketches (Villian)

The rough sketches are just to get an idea that I can build on. They all need to be exaggerated but that will come.

Maya - Mustang Front

Modelled the front today, will need some tweaking here and there. I tapered the wheel hubs in too.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Postmodernism - Lecture 2 Notes and Main Points

Reflections on transparency.

Modernity is likened to a magnifying glass.

"Modernity has been haunted... by a myth of transparency" (Vidler: 1994)

‘The Enlightenment Project’ 1668 - 1789

“Enlightenment was defined as the project of dispelling darkness, fear and superstition.” (Spencer: 1998)

"Transparency it was thought, would eradicate the domain of myth, suspicion, tyranny, and above all the irrational..." (Vidler: 1994)

“… an age of classification. Insects, plants, animals and the races of
man were divided into genera, species, and sub-species. It was
commonly supposed that this would lay bare the Divine Order or rational structure beneath the face of nature…” (Honour: 1991)

“The modern man who tattoos himself is a criminal or a

“The evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal of
ornament from objects of daily use.”

“Ornament is wasted manpower and therefore wasted health.”

“Ornament can no longer be borne by someone who exists at
our level of culture.”

“The lack of ornament is a sign of intellectual power.”
from Ornament & Crime, Alfred Loos, 1908

‘The International Style’

(“ornament is crime, form follows function, machines for living, truth to materials”)

Ahistorical, irreducible, objective, transparent, universal, definitive, fixed.

One size fits all.


“A method of enquiry which proceeds from the premise that
cultural activity can be approached and analysed
objectively as a science”. (Innes: 1996)

Post Modernity is likened to a mirror.

1) Meaning exists ‘out there’ and is ‘transparent’. Man means Man. Simple.

2) False. If meaning exists ‘out there’ and is ‘transparent’, meaning would
always translate precisely. It doesn’t. (Pinto = horse and ‘small genitals’)

3) Saussure argues that ‘man’ can mean nothing in isolation. Man means man
only because ‘man’ doesn’t mean ‘zebra’. Meaning exists ‘in here’ and is
‘opaque’ with cultural encoding.

4) Saussure concludes meaning is structured from difference.

5) Saussure investigates the system of differentiation (the langue, not the
parole), dismissing the ‘ornament’ of individual use and cultural variety to
get to the ‘real’ or ‘pure’ structure beneath.

6) Levi-Strauss identifies system of difference as functioning through binary
opposites (i.e., man derives its meaning from its opposition to woman).

7) All human interaction – irrespective of time, place and culture - can be
explained by the structure.

8) The structure is transparent.

9) False

Maya - Lip Sync 2

Here's the second video with lip movements. It's still not finished, there will be some expression in the face to come and perhaps some tweaking.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Narrative - Lost In La Mancha

Fig. 1

Lost In La Mancha (2002) - Directors: Keith Fulton,  Louis Pepe.


An in-depth, voyeuristic look at how all the ingredients to make something good can still manage to go bad. Terry Gilliam’s 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote' never hit the cutting room; the film was abandoned weeks into production due to 'Force Majeure'. What did make the cutting room was the footage documenting the unfortunate lake of production.

Fig 2.

When watching a film there's always a desire for the viewer to want to see something succeed, a protagonist that battles the odds and wins. When watching a real life documentary that desire is still there but often doesn't get quenched. During the documented production of 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote' Gilliam was our protagonist, he battled the odds trying to make a film that he had planned for many years. Gilliam had set back after set back to cope with, but his tenacity was still so strong, the BBC elaborate "Gilliam, whose enthusiasm and imagination keep the shoot going long after it seems impossible to continue." It was heart breaking to see him defeated time and again.

Fig 3.

Late acters, an ill lead actor, severe weather problems, and a sound stage with bad acoustics all contribute to the demise of Gilliam’s project. What little footage that was shot is a rare glimpse of what could have been. It could be difficult to really see how the film would have been, but you can’t help but wonder. Time Out conclude “One may not get a clear idea of how the film would have turned out, but there's certainly poignancy to seeing these brief fragments of a shattered dream.” A shattered dream that should have another chance.



Lost In La Mancha, BBC, 2002, [Online] avaliable at   [Accessed 27 September 2011]

Lost In La Mancha, Timeout, 2002, [Online] avaliable at [Accessed 27 September 2011]

Image Bibliography

Fig 1 . Lost In La Mancha, DVD cover, 2002, [photography]

Fig 2 . Lost In La Mancha, Still, 2002, [photography]

Fig 3 . Lost In La Mancha, Still, 2002, [photography]

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Character Design - Rough Sketches

I started sketching out some ideas today of the hero and sidekick characters. At this time I was just getting a feel for the clothing. With the hero I've tried variations of musketeer and arabian clothing to see how easy it would be to mix the two and at what level of mix of each would work. The top right is really just musketeer, the bottom left I've started to add more arabian clothing and even more so in the bottom right.

With the sidekick I already had an idea in my head, but it's not quite coming out yet. This is a good starting point and I'll be working in to these over and over again as the weeks go by.

Character Design - Lesson 2

Today in the character class we learnt about the different shapes that characters can adopt in order to show there personality and traites. Although each shape represents a specific archetype they can be to a degree mixed. For example the character 'Batman' is a strong hero with lots of squares in his form, but there are also triangles within him and this shows that he can be dangerous. 

Using squares to make a charcter appear stronger and more heroic.

Using triangles to make a character appear more villainous.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Character Design - Clothing Influence Maps

Evil Sultan costume ideas

Arabian desert clothing

Musketeer clothing

Character Design - The story.

OK, so here is the idea I came up with over the weekend for my back story for each of the characters. 

The Hero

Ex-musteteer, betrayed and framed, disappears from Europe and travelles the trade routes to the Middle East but becomes a desert nomad. Due to the difference in climate and terrain he trades his horse for a chamel and begins to adopt some qualities of the nomad, wrapped in robes over his musteteer garb. If trouble arises his robes are dramatically flung from him to reveal his heroic nature.

On his journey he finds an abandoned child, a boy who is marked with an ancient launguage on his skin. Legends says the language has an unprecedented power. Deciding to take care of the child as his own, he teaches him the ways of the musketeer.


A child of legend and prophesy born with ancient markings on his skin if spoken correctly will allow the reader a power yet not known to the child. His family were killed by evil men hunting for the boy for his powers.  Too young to exact revenge but the boy is foolishly looking for it. Luckily he has his mentor the musketeer to keep him in check and prefare him for what he must one day face. He fashions out of rags his own musketeer clothing.


The evil Sultan reigning over the Middle East with a iron hand. He dispatches his guards to hunt for the boy of the legend, with the marking of the anceint language and is responcible for the death of the boys family. Using the power of sorcery he believes he has unmasked the true nature of the prophesy. In that whoever utters the words when the boys blood if split will have control of an army of Golems that will rise up from the ground. He intends on killing the boy and gain control of his power.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Maya - Contemplation

I'm thinking of having a crack at modelling this. kaneda's BMW Big One from Akira :)

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Maya - Mustang Wheels

I thought I'd model the Mustang wheels, no tutorial needed as I've already done a few wheels. This was a little tricky but once you work out how many subdivisions are needed in the pipe primative to get it right you're half way there.


I've just noticed from the 3Q views that the spokes taper in, I will correct that when I start modelling it agian.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Maya - Mustang

Started the Mustang today, this is slightly different to how I modelled the car over the summer, this is starting from primatives rather than using nurbs curves.

Maya - Lip Sync

This video is demonstrating the up and down movement of the jaw, no lip movements have been added yet.

Maya - Harley Davidson, Nightrod Special.

I've just modelled the brake calipers and cables and it's now not too far off completion. I'll aim on getting it finished tomorrow.

At last I've finally finished the geometry, it shouldn't take too long to get it shaded :)

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Character Design - Finding The Story Behind The Villain

Ok, so it seems that around that time of the Musketeers the Ottoman Empire had many rulers. There is one though who ruled briefly by the name of Mustafa. Through my research I have decovered that he was described as mentally unstable, mentally defective, mentally retarded or at least neurotic.

Perhaps something to inspire my villain.

It also seems important that a villain needs a MacGuffin or some sort plot to take over the world. I googled legends and found that the legend of the Golem originated in Hebrew culture. In retrospect this seems quite obvious as in the Hebrew Bible Adam was in effect a Golem made from the dust by God. It's interesting that it's also has it's roots in the same geographic location.

Maybe my villan has a plot to take over the world with the power of an army of Golems. Maybe he needs something to get this power and the hero is the only one standing in his way.

It's all food for thought.

Character Design - Finding The Story Behind The Hero.

After having a chat with Alan about the idea of a character that is a Musketeer with an influence of Arabian Night I got some ideas.

I'm thinking at present that my hero character could have once been a Musketeer, he has left his homelands to embark on a quest that brings him to Arabia where he begins to accustom himself there. As a man of peace he's always sworn himself to protect the weak and help the poor etc.

To get a better picture I'll need to look at what was happening in the 17th century in Arabia when the musketeers was set.


I found some interesting information about Arabia in the 17th cetury. The Ottoman Empire was ruling. Looks like it might be wise to do some research on the Ottoman's at that time.

The Ottomans occupy Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula at the beginning of this period. As in all of their provinces, their presence is minimal outside of the major cities. After the 1600 chartering of the East India Company, the British start to compete with Dutch, Portuguese, and French concerns for control of the lucrative Persian Gulf trade, but the region itself does not benefit from this boon as European traders have found sea routes to circumvent the overland transport of goods through Arabia. Ottoman control of Yemen ends in 1635, and the Shici Zaydi imams return to power atSanca. In Oman, the al-Bu-Sacid clan takes Muscat as their capital, and in Saudi Arabia the present line of kings—the al-Sacud dynasty—is established in 1746.

Key Events.

The Zaydi imams, who had controlled Yemen in the twelfth century, reassert themselves after the Ottoman departure. They survive a second Ottoman occupation of Sanca in the late nineteenth century and continue to rule today.

 Sultan bin Saif al-Yacrubi wins Muscat from the Portuguese, who have occupied the trading port for over 150 years. The Yacrubid imams rule in Oman until 1749.

The Ottoman governor of al-Hasa in the Arabian Peninsula is overthrown. Control of the region reverts to Bedouin chiefs.

Narrative - Destination Mars.

There quite a few films relating to Mars and/or space that have a variety of premises that are useful to watch as reference. As I watch them for research I will post the trailer and a brief description.

Red Planet (2000) Director: Antony Hoffman.

Earth is dying due to polution and climate change, scientists are in the process of terraforming Mars for a new home but something isn't right. A team of astronauts and scientists are sent to investigate.

Mission To Mars (2000) Director: Brian De Palma.

The first mission to Mars ends with the crew dissapearing once on the planet. Another ship is sent out with a resue party and to investigate what happened. When they arrive they find more then they imagined and discover the origins of live from aliens that once lived on Mars.

Silent Running (1972) Director: Douglas Trumbull.

In the future all plant life is exstinct, the only place it's been conserved is in greenhouse domes on a large spaceship. After 8 years of drifting in space the ships crew are ordered to return to earth for commercial duties but not before jettisoning the the greenhouses and destroying the last forrests in existance. Freeman Lowell a scientist maintaining the forests will stop at nothing to prevent it from happening.

Postmodernism - Lecture 1, Notes and Main Points.

  • “The concept of postmodernism is not widely accepted or even understood” - Fredric Jameson, The Cultural Turn
  • "...few people can say with any assurance what the term actually means or involves…”  - Stuart Sim, The Routledge Companion to Postmodernism.
  • Skeptical
  • Relative
  •  “Postmodernity is modernity without the hopes and dreams which made modernity bearable. It is a hydra-headed, decentred condition in which we get dragged along from pillow to post across a succession of reflecting surfaces…” - Dick Hebdige, Hiding In The Light.
  • Post modernism is apocalyptic, schiziod, power, revolutionary, political correctness gone mad, self-obsessed, sell-out, blasphemous, dangerous, creative, unimaginative, bullshit.
  • "....Since the meaning of modernism is also very confused, the reaction or departure known as ‘postmodernism’ is doubly so…” - David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity.
  •  Modernism - the deliberate departure from tradition.
  • Postmodernism, with all its complexity and possible excesses, is an attempt to find new and more truthful versions of the world. 
  • Postmodernism is also saving the environment, recycling and multiculturism. 

    Postmodernism - Kill Bill: Vol. 1

    Fig 1.

    Kill Bill: Vol. 1 - Director, Quentin Tarantino

    Kill Bill: Vol. 1 is the first chapter in ‘The Bride’s’ (Uma Thurman) revenge story. Left for dead by the ‘Deadly Viper Assassination Squad’ for leaving the squad to start a new live ‘The Bride’ is left in a coma for four years. Once she has awoken she embarks on a journey to eliminate the remainder of the squad and its leader, her former lover, Bill.

    Fig 2.

    This film does have a tendency to feel slow in comparison to Tarantino’s previous projects (Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994)) in a way that adds for suspense, but you can’t help wonder what it may have been like if it had been edited shorter, faster passed and with both Volumes in one film. To quote the BBC who say they "just about get away with hacking the film in two". That said, it just adds more excitement for the next volume and from a box office point of view that counts for much.

    Fig 3.

    Throughout the film is a plethora of homage to old Kung Fu and Samurai films, think Bruce Lee’s ‘Game of Death’ (1978) directed by Robert Clouse and the over the top, blood gushing kill fest of ‘Shogan Assassin’ (1980) directed by Robert Housten. Time Out sums it up perfectly “Tarantino, firmly in fanboy mode here. Kill Bill is not about real life, it's just about other movies” True, there are so many references in this film that one could easily not make the most of it without background knowledge of the influences behind it and what made Tarantino tick. Highly recommended for all, but particularly if you have a great fondness to its influences.



    Kill Bill: Vol. 1, BBC, 2003, [Online] avaliable at   [Accessed 21 September 2011]

    Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Timeout, 2003, [Online] avaliable at[Accessed 21 September 2011]

    Image Bibliography

    Fig 1 . Kill Bill: Vol. 1, DVD cover, 2003, [photography]

    Fig 2. Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Movie Still, 2003, [photography]

    Fig 3. Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Movie Still, 2003, [photography]

    Narrative - Destination Mars.

    Max, Sasha and I have had a chat about what we are looking to do for 'Destination Mars'. The options are as follows -

    Genre 1. Sci-fi
    Genre 2. Horror
    Genre 3. Film noir.

    The approach options being -

    Approach: Option 1 - “One Foot in the Past, One Foot in the Future”
    Approach: Option 2 - “The B-Movie: Movies of Dubious Quality”
    Approach: Option 3 - “The Long Lost Film”

    Well, sci-fi is certainly there and as well as that we could be adding a little horror. So far we are leaning towards the B-movie approach, and I've put an idea forward. It's the first idea so most likely wont be the best, but hopefully it will get our brains firing at the next meeting :)

    The idea put forward is -

    On a long trip to Mars it would be needed to have some kind of greenhouse to grow food for the trip and stay on Mars. I know this will sound silly (hey arn't most B-movies) but how about excess radiation on the trip turns all the fruit and veg into mutant killers. Think Triffids, Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes.

    What do you think? Worth exploring the idea?

    Tuesday, 20 September 2011

    Character Design - Lesson 1

    In todays lesson for character design we were given 2 words. I got 'baby' and 'cheerleader' which meant I had the task of designing a baby cheerleader. As disturbing as it sounds I ran with it and produced the above. Pretty scary ha! 

    Narrative - Ed Wood

     Fig 1.

    Ed Wood (1994) - Director, Tim Burton.

    Ed Wood is a tale based on the struggle of the infamous film director Ed Wood (Johnny Depp) and ultimately the creation of  'Plan 9 From Outer Space' which clinched him the title of worse film maker in movie history. Ed Wood’s film making career was thwart with funding issues causing low budgets and poor production and no matter how determined and sincere in his efforts the results were received badly by audiences and his peers. Ultimately Wood’s career never blossomed and he sank into making porn films and at the age of 58 died of a heart attack possibly aided by his serious drinking problem.

    Fig 2.

    Shot in black and white and with the sets and scenes of some of Wood’s film painstakingly recreated there was an amazing amount of authenticity. The New York Times further explains that Ed Wood “pays homage with loving re-enactments of authentic Wood movie scenes and with actors who look uncannily like members of Wood's freakish troupe.” All of which is a triumph in film making for Burton in that he manages to recreate something that’s so bad you really couldn’t make it up.

     Fig 3.

    Burton ends the film at the part of Wood’s life at the world premier of ‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’ where Wood states “This will be the film I’ll be remembered for.” It’s a perfect ending for the film and because you don’t see the lows of his later life it manages to beautifully portray Ed Wood, the known failure into a lovable eccentric that makes you wish he could some how succeed in his plan to create movies by any means possible.



    Ed Wood, New York Times, 1994, [Online] avaliable at [Accessed 20 September 2011]

    Ed Wood, Timeout, 1994, [Online] avaliable at [Accessed 20 September 2011]

    Image Bibliography

    Fig 1 . Ed Wood, DVD cover, 1994, [photography]

    Fig 2. Ed Wood, Movie Still, 1994, [photography]

    Fig 3. Ed Wood, Movie Still, 1994, [photography]

    Character Design - Musketeer and Arabian.

    Something from the 80's, Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds.

    And something Arabian, Aladdin

    Character Design - Musketeer, Arabian Nights.

    So today I've picked my criteria for my character design, Musketeer and Arabian Nights. Something involving -


    My thinking cap is on, but I think the tricky thing with this is that they are both strong styles in thier own right and so different. 


    As a additional thought I'm really going to need to think hard about this. Both are distinct due to their attire. That for me causes a problem, as the only way I see it will work at the moment is mixing and matching a character with part attire from one and part from the other. That to me seems very weak and I really dont want to do that.

    Wednesday, 14 September 2011

    Maya - Modelling, Motor Bike

    Another DT tutorial in process. The Harley Davidson, Nightrod Special. Looks tricky but here goes :)

    Here's the frame put together by extruding on a nurbs curve. I learnt some nice ways to join tubes and bridge between faces.

    The petrol tank was made using nurbs curves which were laid on the top and side profiles, then a nurbs surface was applied to them using the brail tool.

    The wheels are modelled with a torus for the tires and a mixture of cylinders and pipes for the remainder.

    Mud guards and forks, fairly straight forward polygon modelling.

    The exhaust pipes are made from cylinders and also a nurbs circle extruded on a nurbs curve. The cover is from duplicated faces of the exhaust pipe.

    Modelling the engine using polygon cubes and some really fancy extruding.

    Detailing out more of the engine ect.

    Adding more details and engine parts.

    It's about 15 hours work so far to get to this stage.

    There's so many pieces to model it feels never ending, but it's geting there.

    A few more parts added. I really can't wait to finish it now but there's still a while to go.

    Here it is so far, and looking quite nice. I've done a lot of work over the summer to try and set myself up for the 2nd year and there have been some doubts, but not from me. I doubt nothing!