Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Man Vs Machine - Story Workshop Aftermath & Research

Man Vs Machine

"His Knees Steadied, His Heart Beat Fiercely And He Began To Run Again"

My group Stride Animation has constructed a story from the aftermath of the workshop. The experience was enlightening and shed some light on elements we can use for a proposal for animation. The ending sentence is sourced from Blair Witch Project and that film is littered with abstract shots, close ups and values highly sound design to increase tension. So the first step to strengthening our story is looking at what makes a high speed chase so intense and the shots we can create to illustrate that. Below is the summary of the story - The overall jist
- We hear smashing glass and hot-wiring as a man breaks into a car. He seems quite pleased with himself speeding down the street and enjoying himself. It soon comes apparent to the audience he is a criminal on the run from the law, he notices a warrant for his arrest and paranoia sets in. Street lights turn into flashing blue lights and the sounds around him are amplified, he thinks someone is shooting at the car when in fact its a car backfiring. The criminal speeds up even faster, tension builds as he thinks the threat of apprehension gets closer. He goes through a tunnel where he focuses and calms down, realises he's being paranoid. As he leaves the tunnel speeding still he is seen speeding by a real police car and a crash happens fades to black.

Bullit (1969)
1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT 2+2 Fastback.
Quantum Of Solace (2008)
Aston Martin DBS V12
Gone In 60 Seconds (2000)
Ford GT500 Shelby Cobra

Reviewing some iconic car chases there are actual set camera placements that compliment different actions for the driver. Placing the camera about the car could give us a sense of what kind of shots we can aim to produce. But before that we need to choose a Time and Place for this animation to take place. Somewhere that compliments whats going on in the 90 seconds and doesn't add any un-needed designs to our animation.

We ultimately aim for the point of the animation to be clear to the audience so perhaps simplistic and stylised is really the way to go.
The Journey

Monday, 26 September 2016

Narrative - Man Vs Machine - My Assigned Roles

The members of Stride Animation have all been designated 5 roles each totaling to the 20 seen in the briefing booklet we were all given last Tuesday. After reviewing the roles the group communicated and selected the roles which best suited us and our styles. I received the following;

Screen Writer
Layout Artist

These assigned roles maybe subject to change in the future depending on the circumstance, I think at the moment these are my key strengths and also areas I can improve on helping me develop a style.

If you haven't already you can follow Stride Animations Blog here

Narrative - Man Vs Machine - refining some initial ideas

I've done some more thinking about the ideas my group could use for the story workshop tomorrow. Its to my understanding that we should receive our genre then, helping us refine the story a little further.

I uploaded an initial ideas post a few days ago but I feel like I should annotate a little further on some of the things I might have touched on.
Man Vs Machine
'His knees steadied, his heart beat fiercely and he began to run again'

Wall-E (2008)
Wall-e is a great example of the direction I wish for our group project to go for. Its about the distant future, a small waste-collecting robot inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind. It also represents independence for a machine from going from being a 'worker bee' to becoming a self sufficient machine.
For a period of time Wall-E wasn't independent and was in a way shunned by humanity and we feel sad for the machine because the films done from his point of view. Seeing how lonely he can be in his little shack and how the journey is from him being a designation of cleaner obsolete robots, to becoming a respected individual when he saves humanity. A large jump from cleaning streets, something he was designed for.
Artificial Intelligence

I want our group to incorporate some form of artificial intelligence, its the safest way to give the machine form and personality. Plus it might help the audience understand that the machine is developing.
-Perhaps the machine was made to assist humanity in some everyday activity, along the way the machine is abused and misused? And toward the end of the animation we have the machine realize it can do something for itself and begin independence.
Ideas for story workshop
  • A Tool like Microsoft Word 'Clippy', designed to assist computer users. It begins off being a tool that helps the user but after pestering to help the user consistently the user throws the tool to the side of the screen, into the recycle bin, basically shunning it. It ends with the user no longer using the computer and the tool begins to make work instead of assisting.
  • A 'Car Arm' machine that is capable of helping design vehicles, the company buys it or commissions the building of the machine and the designers who work with it start discriminate it. Start pushing it away from its work. So it finally is pushed outside of the company and thrown into the trash heap, where it designs a brand new machine and engine that amazes everyone.
  • A machine built for war is reactivated in a dense forest and starts to retrace how he ended up where it started, it quickly realizes that when it encounters something new it releases a new armament. It scares itself by harming the wildlife and begins to despise itself. Something convinces it to 'Live on' and the machine begins a new path.
These are just a few ideas I had that could be spoken about more in-depth, but I will probably come up with more after the workshop and it needs to adhere to the 90 second animation restriction.

Maya - In Class Tutorial - Animating Poses

We completed some In-class tutorials with Alan, working with the model that had been made for us to specifically mess around with just to compose it into a few poses. I decided to do some random and some inspired poses. Hopefully you can guess some of them!


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Character - Designing from Clip 4 - initial thoughts

Clip 4 - 'This is happening, he said he was going to do it and he's doing it now, the most stupendious, the most incredible crime of the century.'

Worlds To Choose from

Childrens Entertainment / Clowning

As far as I can tell it's from, 'The adventures of Sherlock Holmes'(1939) in which "The master sleuth hunts his archenemy Professor Moriarty, who is planning the crime of the century." The man playing Professor Moriarty in this particular reactment is George Zucco.

George Zucco Caricature Possibility
It was made quite clear in the briefing yesterday that we must remove the quote away from where it can be sourced. I believe that I can use the reference from that quote to instead refer to who it was regarding. George Zucco. I reckon I could use him as caricature and although I briefly researched him online I think he has some key features that could distinguish him apart from his co-actors and could breathe life into the basis for animation.

From the two worlds given to me I can connect a crime to both initially in the following ways;

  • Stealing a pet/food
  • Escaping the cage
  • Holding up the Clerk
  • Murdering the shopkeep?
Children's Entertainment/Clowning
  • Stealing a present/celebration food
  • Slap-stick (Punch and Judy style)
  • Murdering or devouring another character ( Itchy and Scratchy type)
  • Age restricted violence?
I will be brainstorming further when I think of more, but I think Caricature is a possibility and if that fails possibly using the key words from the sound clip to exaggerate the character.

Narrative - Man Vs Machine - My initial thoughts

So yesterday we received the brief for the Narrative project, we already have been designated groups and are in the very early stages of drafting ideas and are looking to form a basis for research soon. If you haven't seen my groups blog please defer to here.

The restrictions given for the short animation we were asked to create are as follows;

  • A Film Genre
  • A Conflict
  • An End Sentence
  • A Non-Realistic Design Style
  • A Stylised Construction Method
  • 90 Second Duration
We've also been tasked with adopting roles to mitigate time management and reserve responsibilities for certain areas;
  • Animator
  • Art Director
  • CG Modeller
  • Compositor
  • Director
  • Editor
  • Graphic Designer
  • Layout Artist ( Cinematographer)
  • Lighting Technical Director
  • Marketing Manager
  • Media Planner
  • Producer
  • Production Designer (Concept Artist)
  • Render Wrangler
  • Researcher
  • Rigger
  • Screenwriter
  • Sound Designer
  • Storyboard Artist
  • Texture Artist
I am fairly certain we can split the 20 roles amongst the four people in the group, I can acknowledge there will be hurdles along the way that may divide the work flow and pause until something is unto scratch. This should be the time we all intervene and come together to make sure we achieve the most desired effect in the time allotted. 

Man Vs Machine
So the conflict we were given yesterday as to what to base the project on was 'Man Vs Machine'. A conflict that is both rich in potential but also includes a lot of areas in my own personal opinion have been explored excessively. I wish to push our group toward originality instead of being based on work that has already been made. If I was to refer to Film and Tv, In my eyes this conflict is often resolved with man realising his mistakes too late and overcoming the odds and defeating machine. Its something thats been battered to death and seems rather cliche and a common trope. 

Instead we should push forward the idea that it is machine which overcomes man. 

To strengthen this idea I would then speak about Stephen Hawking's warnings against artificial intelligence.  “The real risk with AI isn't malice but competence,” Professor Hawking said. “A super intelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals, and if those goals aren't aligned with ours, we're in trouble." you can read the article here for more information.

Examples Taken From Film and TV
So I quickly highlighted some existing examples trying to show what I mean about machine overcoming man. I have included four images, two to explain one route and two to explain another.

In short, 'Ex_Machina' and 'A.I.' are two films that explore the idea of machine out-living man and becoming independent, self preserving things that at some point think themselves as beings of their own. 

'The Six Million Dollar Man' and 'Robocop' are two separate examples that play on the idea that by integrating a damaged host with advanced cybernetics, allows them to achieve things either on par to norm or exceed them exponentially. 

Both examples of the possible routes are interesting and can be explored in-depth in a stylised form. Just finding the appropriate story for the style would no doubt compliment it.

'His Knees Steadied, His Heart Beat Fiercely And He Began To Run Again'

So the above phrase is what we were given to be the ending sentence to our piece. I believe it ties in quite well to our conflict. From this phrase we can base the animation on either the Man or Machine overcoming the other, and becoming independent. Again we could avoid the trope of falling into the obvious and instead explore newer ideas if we but took the risk.

I would like to see;
  • A prosthesis attached to a living host that enables them to move or perform to norm or beyond what was anticipated.
  • A machine that is somehow oppressed by man and is put beneath them, but once man disappears they can become independent and perform something.
  • A machine that ironically creates a man? perhaps their idea of perfect is being inside a body instead of being a data stream.
I think we have a lot of ideas to play around with and I would remind you guys to follow our group blog if you haven't already its here again. All of these ideas can be condensed into a 90 second animation and if you have any insightful ideas or knowledge please comment :)