Friday, 29 January 2016

Infographic panels

Last night I worked on a miserable rabbit that can't stand the carrots anymore, but my computer seems to have a problem with the adobe software at the moment as all the programs keep crashing! I'll get it fixed over the weekend :)

Adaptation A first draft of one panel Infographic

This is my idea of what dogs think of us, as I can do that to my dog all day long and he won't even bat an eyelid. I have already ideas on how to improve this but have to catch the bus first :)

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

@Alan Adaptation A

 I am trying to keep the shapes simple and iconic but still understandable, the items will be grouped up in after effects and brought onto the screen like an old tiny theater stage where paper characters and props are propped on sticks and are being moved by people behind the scenes.

 Am I going in the right direction? And is it better with a grey or white background? Illustrator already crashed on me twice, hope my graphics card will hold up long enough :p

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Mudbox 19/1 pumpkin


Today in our Mudbox lesson Simon asked us to model a vegetable from a sphere, we had the choice of either a pepper or pumpkin, and as Simon went ahead and demonstrated how to model the pepper, I had to improvise at times. It was great fun!

Friday, 15 January 2016

Mary and Max Film Review

Mary and Max Film Review  

 Mary and Max, produced by Adam Elliot and released in 2009, is a Claymation feature length film from Australia with a style distinct to Elliot. The cutesy style of the clay characters is deceiving as, even though the protagonist Mary starts the story at 8 years, it’s not a children’s animation at all as there are plenty of dark topics like alcoholism, mental health, obesity and trying to deal with loneliness. It starts off with the narrator’s voice who stays for the whole film, leaving little direct speech but adding to the charm as Mary is being introduced as a girl with glasses, a big nose and a mud-coloured mark on her forehead, with a kleptomaniac alcoholic mother who has to sample sherry all the time and a dad who strings tea bags together.

 One day in the post office, she finds an address book for New York, America and decides to write a letter to Max, a random name she found in the book. Max receives the letter and after a severe panic attack, he manages to write back and a pen-friendship flowers into being, both Mary and Max sharing an immense love for chocolate, having no friends except for animals and families that don’t function as well as they should. They exchange advice and answer the other’s questions like “where do babies come from? In Australia they come from beer”. Max, being socially reclusive despite being in his mid-forties and living in New York, makes Mary wonder about his diagnosis with Asperger’s, depression and obesity while the audience wonders how someone can identify as a Jew and an atheist at the same time – surely one must come after the other? Growing up, Mary has to deal with her father dying of a tragic accident soon after retirement and a mother who chooses drink over her daughter and accidentally reaches for the bottle of formaldehyde instead of sherry – leaving Mary orphaned and alone from a young age, now sharing that trait with Max. Mary marries her child hood crush and all is well, as he has a pen pal too and is very accepting of their relationship.
Figure 1. Mary (2009)

 Mary and Max uses strong stylistic elements and colours throughout the animation, as for example Mary’s world is in varying colours possibly describing her mental state (tinted pastel pink when happy and darker, nearly colourless when sad) while Max’s world is thoroughly in black and white, except for the items he receives from Mary, like the red pompom which he puts on top of his kippah.
The whole story is riddled with tragic accidents but also a certain type of hopefulness, and with the feeling of almost reaching, almost being there, in a happier place but narrowly missing, but nonetheless not giving up hope fully. It is a complex film with complicated themes that might be able to teach children a lot about tolerance, bullying, making friends and mental health but it is not lighthearted and should not be seen as easy entertainment but discussed with the family.

Figure 2. Max (2009)
 Mary and Max is immensely uplifting as the film has a very cute way of dealing with bullies – when Mary is told by a classmate that she has poo on her forehead Max advises her that it is chocolate coloured and that – when she arrives in heaven, she will be in charge of all the free chocolate and give it to everyone but her classmate which gives a young girl power over something she only ever thought negatively about. Mary also has eyes the colour of muddy puddles, and as about 90% of the world population have brown eyes I’m sure many people can identify with that phrase and take strength from it, where Mary once only saw weakness.

 Mary and Max is Adam Elliot’s only feature length animation as he prefers to do shorts, but after winning an award for his short story “Harvie Krumpet”, he decided to try himself on feature length and admits in an interview that if he would have known how much more it takes to make a full long animation he would have never done it (Pond, 2009). Elliot also admits that the animation is more a documentation of his own life and deals with many topics he had to deal in his childhood and when growing up, as he has a pen pal in New York who is Jewish, overweight and has Asperger’s.

Altogether, Mary and Max is a very powerful film with strong emotions that translate well from the screen into the viewer’s heads. It deals with adult themes but isn’t overshadowed with hopelessness and cynicism, as too many adult films are. The overall message seems to be a positive one, no matter what life throws at you. It is an excellent blend of styles with music and voice overs and truly heartfelt.


Illustration List:

Figure 1: Elliot, A. (2009) Mary [still of Mary and Max] available from: (accessed: 5/2/16)
Figure 2: Elliot, A. (2009) Max [still of Mary and Max] available from: (accessed: 5/2/16)


Pond, Steve. 2009 available from: (accessed: 15/01/16)

Dynamics Part 1: Sketching Particles Maya tutorial

I followed my notes because I didn't have any headphones with me so I may have forgotten a detail or two but it works!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

First Mudbox lesson

Today we learnt how to import from maya into mudbox, add paint and stamps and import the scene back into maya. We also tried photoshop which seems very specific in the way one has to draw in the layers, but it did work in the end.

Adaptation B Ideas

For my adaptation b project I ordered the book beanstalk - adventures of a jack of all trades a while ago and decided on two characters that would suit the project as I want to design and create a character for animation.

Jack Farris:
- red hair, long enough to hang into eyes
- brown skin
- freckles
- very tall (~2m) slim but toned, narrow shoulders
- barefoot, calloused
- big hands, calloused
- 20
- many scars
- academy uniform: jacket, shirt, trousers, boots (he doesn't wear the boots)
- small sly grin, big and wide smile
- knives in back pockets
- knapsack full of medicines
- green badge around his arm, stating he's studying to be a guide

- darkish skin
- short, maybe 5'1, 5'2
- thick coarse black hair with purple streaks
- sharp smile
- sturdy boots
- small cap for coins / to keep her hair tamed
- curvy
- loose pants/ fringed skirt
- strings, ribbons and yarn knots hanging from belt loops and pockets
- plenty of pockets, deep enough to fit envelopes without revealing them
- purse for coins
- looks like she is in her early 20's but is actually late teens
- purple theme clothes (eyelashes?)
- street performer, juggling torches
- illiterate but very intelligent

Alan strongly advised me to decide the style I want to work in to make this project achievable.

Adaptation A Infographic first ideas

Things your pet doesn't tell you:

   - Cat (while scratching the couch): Oh if you are wondering about the smell behind the couch I left a present there for you, you always hide eggs at Easter. I'm disappointed you haven't found it yet...

   - Dog (getting ears pulled by child): Aaaaaand she's at it again, first the airplane, then helicopter...

   - Fish (singing on top of its lungs): Lalalalalaaaaa defyyyying graaaavity - oi why did you turn it off??

   - Rabbit: Fucking carrots again, Fluffy broke up with me last night, I need chocolate and wine not vegetables....

   - Hamster (running its wheel): Have you ever had a look at yourself? If my running would slim you down too you'd look soooo amazing but I don't seem to inspire you at all....

   - Spider: What did you get there? A venus fly trap? Am I not good enough for you anymore??

   - Fox (staring at the TV through the window): She better be voting for that foxhunting ban that was on the news the other night...

Other animals I could use: horse, pig, bat?

Friday, 8 January 2016

Adaptation Project Infographic

My sentence for the infographic is: Things your _____ doesn't tell you.

Things your pet doesn't tell you.
Things your boyfriend doesn't tell you.
Things your furniture doesn't tell you.
Things your government doesn't tell you.
Things your horoscope doesn't tell you.
Things your conscience doesn't tell you.
Things your phone doesn't tell you.
Things your book doesn't tell you.
Things your teacher doesn't tell you.
Things your instinct doesn't tell you.

Quality and Hollywood Formula B Movies - The Vampire’s Coffin Review

Quality and Hollywood Formula B Movies - The Vampire’s Coffin Review

The vampire’s coffin (1958) is about – who would have guessed – vampires. It’s atypical 1950’s B Movie shot in black and white and sometimes so dark that it’s hard to see anything at all but nonetheless they really tried to make the monster convincing. The music is very sensational and contributes a lot to the film (i.e. makes it hilarious not boring) and the characters act in the typical over dramatized way you would expect from a play, not a film, but it works.

The special effects consist of a shadow of a man changing into a bat and then with stop motion, flying towards the camera. If the viewer is fully engrossed it might even look believable, unlike the giant claw film where the monster unfortunately turned out to be just hideous.

No one seems to take themselves seriously in the cast so a film that is not meant to be funny has a certain element of humour to it, which adds to the entertainment of today’s viewers.

The film is redeemed by actually having an amusing plot, the music making everything worthwhile, the acting, seemingly coming from people that worked on stage before is nicely over pronounced and would be enjoyable on a very small screen too, the bat is great to watch (it even flaps its wings) and the female lead only faints once.

All together the vampire’s coffin is a film of its time but not too bad as far as 1950’s B Movies go and it is certainly enjoyable in the right set of mind. Unlike the producer intended though, it’s not scary to nowadays standards and therefore not really a horror film.

Adaptation and Transcriptions – A Harry Potter Review

Adaptation and Transcriptions – A Harry Potter Review

Harry Potter has been published in 7 books and 8 films, which makes it ideal for an adaptation review. The first 4 books, up to the goblet of fire had been published before the first film came out and therefore readers would have an easier time to have the characters look after their own idea rather than having them look like the actors – which is unavoidable in an adaptation from anything written.

For the purpose of this review I will concentrate on the Goblet of Fire as it was the first book I read and my favourite. The film came into the cinema in 2005 and with that was published 5 years after the book. To work as one film and not be a 5 hours’ epos, the producers decided to omit quite a bit of everyday story from it. Characters have been left out that play a bigger role in the coming books (to the producer’s defence, the fifth book was not published by the time the fourth film came out so they scrapped a lot of details that were important in later movies) like Percy Weasley, who joins the ministry of magic and fully supports any ideas that his parents are and have always been against, Bill Weasley who meets Fleur, the Beauxbatons contestant for the tournament for the first time and falls in love with her which is only shown in the later films and Charlie Weasley, a character who isn’t featured in the films at all, and many more, including houself Winky who develops a drinking problem when her master, Barty Crouch Senior, dismisses her from his service. All the characters have important roles later on but have been cut out for the sake of more action during the tournament.

There are many incorrect scenes in the film that would require to introduce another character, soften those scenes have been substituted or cut out altogether and many events are not happening at all. For example, the quidditch world championship is a massive event for Harry in that year, but for some reason the film hasn’t bothered to give any details about it, and as Harry wins the tournament by the end of the year he receives a hefty amount of gold, which he gives to the twins and they later use it to fund their shop. This was not shown in the film so how did Fred and Gorge, coming from a poor family, finance the shop all by themselves? Diagon Alley is surely not a cheap place.

As much as I loved the book, I was disappointed by the film as it twisted so many facts and left out many loving detail that brings the book to life. Nevertheless, I saw it a few times in the cinema and it was a success in the box office as it’s the middle part of the Harry Potter franchise. In my opinion, Goblet of Fire was the best book but the worst film as it only deals with the bare essentials of the plot, often not even that and just changing it into an unrelated action sequence. My score would be 3/5.