Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Shining Film Review

The Shining

 The Shining, released in 1980 and directed by Stanley Kubrick, is a film about how vast isolation can drive a person into insanity and torment an individual’s mind. It tells the story of writer Jack Torrance and his family who are caretakers to the Overlook hotel over the winter break and Jack’s slow descent into insanity which eventually leads to acts of terror and violence towards the ones he loves.

 Figure 1. Hysteric (c1980)

 The props in the film are used to unconsciously unsettle the viewer. The film switches props mid-point in scenes for example the same object but of a different size and colour or by the props appearing in one scene, not being there in the next but reappearing afterwards, which might also be a way to express that the un-natural nature of the hotel, but could also express a sudden character change in mood or opinion. As Kimpton states: “Yet the scariest thing about The Shining is how it always plays with your perception. (…)  in a precursor scene in the same Colorado lounge, when Jack tells Wendy not to disturb him when he is writing, the typewriter changes from a small white model to a large grey one, and a chair in in the background disappears, reappears and disappears. The film is full of other object and hotel layout anomalies which subconsciously cause us disquiet. They simply cannot be continuity errors from a director so well known to be painstakingly meticulous.” (Kimpton, 2014:2)

 The film often uses a filming technique which is referred to as steady cam which steadies the picture while the cameraman is taking the shot which allows for very long shots without the camera shaking up and therefore giving the ability for the directors to create quite unique shots and scenes, for example the distant girls, a long shot scene where we are almost looking through Danny’s eyes and seeing a very un-nerving far off sight. There are also several scenes where the camera is used for dramatic affect for example the camera being close to the character in many scenes which is perhaps used to create the feeling of the viewer being caged together with the character creating a feeling of further tension.  Haruvister writes:The bit that encapsulates Kubrick's genius, for me, is when Danny is on his tricycle, about to face the Grady sisters. We've been following close behind him all this time, and suddenly Kubrick's roaming camera stops, as if afraid. When we cut to Danny again, we're no longer following, we're actually attached to his vehicle. No escape.” (Haruvister, 2014:2)

Figure 2. Danny with tricycle (c1980)

 Colour is used subtlety in the film to emphasise situations. Red seems to be used a lot during moments of hallucination and fear. The red doors of the elevators, the red bathroom where Jack has a hallucination, red appears in a lot of core moments to almost indicate something surreal is occurring on set. Red is a bold colour that stands out, used in many cultures to portray acts of madness and violence, perhaps this is what the directors are trying to emphasise with the use of this colour.

 Green is used in a less symbolic but more direct way, it is worn by the ghost in the bathroom of 237, which is painted in green, and who at first appears healthy and young but then reveals sickly green patches all over her body and her true age, which might be a symbol for Jack’s progressing sickness of mind which eventually leads to acts of intense violence towards those he loves.

Figure 3. Room 237 (c1980)

 Sound is used effectively in this film in times of no music a different sort of soundtrack is used, a growing sound in the back of things that builds and builds to the point of action where a character either sees something horrifying or something horrific occurs. An example of the growing volume of a high pitched sound can be found in the scene where the wife is looking for Jack but cannot find him only to suddenly see walls covered in writing confirming her worst fears that her husband has lost his mind. Ashley Clark states:Even more chilling is the sound design, a deeply unsettling contrast of dead silence and piercing noise.” (Clark, 2012:2)

 The sound track is also used to compliment anticipation and anxiety for example a very shrill high pitched sound is played whenever something supernatural or unexpected is about to happen like the child having visions of the girls and floods of blood, the fathers further descent into insanity coupled with hallucinations of parties that cannot happen in an empty hotel as well as the wife’s hallucination being further emphasised with the haunting soundtrack giving the viewer a much higher form of dread. The soundtrack is a core feature of the film, it is used subtlety and boldly to emphasise moments of terror and fear as well as to portray the emotions of the characters and the direness of the situations they are facing.

 Altogether, The Shining combines all the elements of camera, props, colours and sound to create a very intense horror film that is still being discussed today and has left a footprint in film history. The combination of multiple affects creates a film that is both compelling and terrifying to watch.

Clark, Ashley. (2012) (Accessed on 27/22/2014)

Image List:
Figure 1. Kubrick, S. (1980) Hysteric.  [Still of Wendy] Available from: (Accessed on 27/22/2014)
Figure 2. Kubrick, S. (1980) Danny with tricycle. [Still of Danny] Available from:  (Accessed on 27/22/2014)
Figure 3. Kubrick, S. (1980) Room 237. [Still of room 237]  Available from: (Accessed on 27/22/2014)

Monday, 24 November 2014

Concept Art!

I have done some more improvements on my concept art after talking to Jordan and also have a better idea now how the orthographics should look like! Lots of  work to do this week!


After having a look at what Ryan is doing I decided to start the orthographics in the style he is using, which means that I made a top, front and side view of my model which I will then put into Maya onto image planes and it should be relatively easy and most of all structured to work from them!

Life Drawing 19/11/2014

Negative spaces and 1 minute line drawings with my new graphite pencil.

Whimsy Cottage Maya Tutorial

In today's Maya tutorial we have created a midday light scene with three different lights, added the sky and put both together in Photoshop in a seemingly realistic way using the alpha channel and blur filter.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Concept art improvements

This morning, I already went from this

To this

First I got rid of the loaf of bread on the right from the picture mentioned in earlier posts and substituted it with a building from the back, but I realised that by adding two buildings to the back of that one overcrowded the picture a bit so I took the pink/purple one on the far left out and put the new dark blue green one there instead, but it might balance the colours a bit too much now...
I quite like the sky now, I followed Phil's advice to use horizontal brush strokes and added some clouds with the Kandinsky way of putting white at the side where the light is coming from but I'm also worried it takes too much attention from the buildings so may have to tone it down a little, maybe green clouds wasn't the best choice or I just lighten them up to make them blend better.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Online Green Light Review What If Metropolis 2

Final Concept Art?

I took one of the buildings from the mid-ground forward!

New Concept Art for The What If Metropolis

It's not mirrored anymore :)
Obviously the Digital Sets have changed now so the detailed modelling plan looks like this:

More Concept Art!

This time I have enhanced the size of the most important buildings to put them into a better perspective with the whole picture.

Concept Art Update

I have updated the concept art a little by adding stronger tonal ranges, the foreground should stand out more while the background blends better with the skyline.

What If Metropolis - Breakdown of Digital Set

The first picture contains the Matte Painting which will not be modelled but treated as a texture and projected onto a plane polygon as the background.
The second picture contains more detailed shapes so they will be modelled roughly with textures making up for most of the shapes, with a fair idea of what the shapes look like in 3D.
The third picture contains the foreground which will be modelled and textured in detail, with the floor texture being projected onto a plane like the background.

What If Metropolis - Concept Art

This is my final piece of concept art (for now) if there is anything fundamentally wrong with it please say asap :p I made the brush strokes as visible as possible and used the bold colours Kandinsky is famous for, tried to make the shapes interesting and eye catching but still looking like they could be lived in.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Colour Comps - The What If Metropolis

2 and 3 are new, I tried to work with the concept of 4 but differently, plus I think I'm getting better at making visible brush strokes instead of making it one single coloured plane.

Repulsion Review


 Repulsion, directed by Roman Polanski in 1965, is a black and white horror film in which a young woman loses her sanity whilst in deep loneliness in her own flat. The main character resides in a Kensington flat with her sister and works in a beauty parlour, the main character is already known for “spacing out” but despite her obvious mental issues her sister decides to leave her alone in the flat for a few days while she goes on a holiday with her boyfriend. Carole almost instantly seems to further lose contact with reality and starts to hallucinate which inevitably leads to the gruesome murders of her boyfriend and land lord at her hands.

The film relies very heavily on its soundscape, for example the phone ringing when the landlord wants to speak to Carole seems to be louder every single time which perhaps suggests that she gets closer and closer to insanity and increases the overall intensity of the situation. The music is either very prominent or it is deadly quiet which is when Carole seems to have her most disturbing moments or when she is mentally lost. “A microscopic membrane between dreams and reality remains in play throughout, with Polanski and Brach sticking hard and fast to cruel, apparently subjective torture rather than offering pat explanations for Carol's swelling mania. “ (Jenkins, 2012:2) During a scene of hallucinated sexual assault the sound is used in another way, dead silence is all the audience can hear having a piercing effect on the audience as the horrific nature of the scene is communicated soundlessly.

 The main character has deep seated problems with men which becomes more apparent when her boyfriend kisses her and she flees and is clearly shaken by the event. “A Belgian beautician living in London, Carol is undoubtedly repulsed by all the life collected around her. Specifically, the men cause her trouble. As a model-perfect face with thick blond hair, she turns men’s heads in spite of her obvious mental issues.”  (Sorrento, 2009:2) She seems very disturbed when she can hear her sister and her boyfriend having sexual intercourse in the neighbouring room, which perhaps lead to the rape hallucinations (or fantasies?) she has every night after her sister leaves.  They seem to be slightly unreal because the sound of her protesting and the act is cut off but a very fast clock is ticking away and she gets woken up by a ringing phone.

The movie is rendered in a black and white monotone setting. This is probably to help emphasise the depressed and gloom feeling of the main character Carole as she slips deep into depression and insanity. The sets seem almost uninteresting and lifeless when rendered in monotone which is perhaps how the audience is supposed to relate to them and see them almost as through Carole’s eyes. A symptom of depression is to see the world “Greyed out” and perhaps the directors have used this to help push the feeling or depression and helplessness to the audience.

Figure 1. Carole and her boyfriend (1965)

 The camera shots are very long and enable the viewer to take in details about objects or the main characters feelings and state of mind which often becomes apparent in her empty looks while she walks through the city. The main character has a very ghost like appearance as her eyes seem unable to focus which makes her seem distant from the scene and what is happening around her. Whenever she feels threatened she flees into a corner and gives the personalisation of a trapped defenseless animal which turns to primal rage, which further suggests that her mental state is revealing her primal instincts first before it lets her think.

 One of the artistic devices used to make the audience experience her insanity is the growing space of the flat, the first time she walks back into the bathroom after she puts the body in the bath it seems two or three times longer than all the other times perhaps illustrating the feeling of losing touch with reality and the world around her. The living room also seems to expand around the corner into where the main characters sister’s room should be, which might illustrate how she retreats into herself and detaches from her surroundings but maybe also how it takes increasing effort to move forward, almost all action from this moment on takes place in the rooms closest to the front door perhaps illustrating a growing feeling of entrapment in her emotional state.

Overall the Repulsion makes great use of artistic devices of colour and space as well as cleverly choreographed camera shots to also emphasise the growing insanity in the main characters mind and her own twisted interpretation of the world and events around her. The movie also makes amazing use of sound to intensify key moments such as the imagine abuse scenes and murders, perfectly going silent to push across the horrific nature of the abuse scenes and using a ticking clock “the "assault" scene played out to the amplified ticking clock” (Bradshaw, 2013:2) to demonstrate increased intensity of the murder scenes.

Figure 2. Waking up after hallucinated sex assault scene (1965)


Bradshaw, Peter. (2013) Repulsion.  (Accessed on 18/11/2014

Jenkins, David. (2012) Repulsion.  (Accessed on 18/11/2014)

Sorrento, Matthew. (2009) Repulsion.  (Accessed on 18/11/2014)

Illustration list:

Figure 1: Polanski, N. (1965) Carole and her boyfriend [Still of Carole and boyfriend] Available from: (Accessed on 18/11/2014)

Figure 2: Polanski, N. (1965) Waking up after hallucinated sex assault scene [Still of Carole] Available from: (Accessed on 18/11/2014)