Wednesday, 25 November 2009

And Another Thing...

My friend Paul got this awesome Ezio figurine with Assassin's Creed II and it's so beautifully crafted and painted I had to do a spontaneous photo shoot with my mobile phone camera.

These are heavily touched up and re-coloured in Photoshop, but hopefully still preserve the beauty of this model! Thanks Paul! :D

Enjoy some of favourite pictures...

Ok, bye-bye for real this time! :D
Love Gemma xxx

Life Drawing in Cardiff Take 2

This week, the intention was to arrive at Winter Wonderland in Cardiff at 12pm to draw the ice skaters there. But as usual, the Welsh weather spoiled our plan and the rink was instead a shallow pool. Plan B was to visit the art museum next door, naturally, the museum was not open on a Monday, so we reverted to the city centre and drawing at St. David's shopping centre again.

It was a good session this time though, Zara and I did some good work outside drawing people with umbrellas and all huddled up and gloomy from the cold. Inside, we found Matthew at these nice circular sofas overlooking an escalator, so that was a fantastic place to draw. My results can be seen below, experimenting with pencil, pen and a little charcoal, though this wasn't too successful.


Please click to enlarge the pictures as always. :) I think these are starting to improve again after two slightly disappointing classes. Here are my results from the previous trek to Cardiff Bay (see previous post).

I may upload my last indoor drawing session, only that I did it on two A3 pieces of paper taped together, which would mean scanning each piece four times and stitching it together--not fun!

Anyway, I spoke to Matthew on the "good" Cardiff session last Monday and he gave me a printout of my life drawing feedback which was very complimentary! Basically it's all great--I can carry on as I'm doing but concentrate on looking ahead to where I'm going. As in, introducing more experimentation and colour, doing some animal studies and thinking about my characters to use to get closer to my goals and dream career (Character animator / Character concept artist / Storyboard artist etc for Video Games or Movies... so obviously believable characters and storytelling are my near-goals).

We also talked about where I could go for work experience next year and where my work could take me. Pixar has been mentioned a few times, which makes me very happy and excited!

In other news, my friend Rob from animation is now engaged to his girlfriend, Charlotte, so congratulations to them both! They make a lovely couple. :)

I saw "The Men Who Stare At Goats" at the cinema with my boyfriend Alex last weekend, which was really nice. The film itself was pretty good, certainly entertaining and thought-provoking. I don't think it was great for the big screen, it was quite short and seemed like a small scale film, the kind better suited to TV or DVD really. Peculiar, considering the star actors in the cast.

With such an amazing collection of actors, the performance could only be brilliant. The script is good, if a bit random. But overall pretty funny with some extraordinary facts and is very relevant to today.

My next animation project, "Manifesto" was introduced to us yesterday, but to be honest, it's awfully confusing! We have to do a presentation in pairs next Tuesday morning and nobody knows whether we are analysing and presenting an image that we like, or researching an art movement (e.g. Cubism, Dadaism) that we like or agree with it's intentions and talking about that. The lecture itself was rather confusing also, it tailed off into the realms of what art actually is, and lost everybody in its complexity.

We haven't even decided partners yet! Never mind, we'll get something together in time.

Anyway, I'll keep you all posted, apologies for not posting last week, I am busy with a commission outside of Uni and it's pretty time-consuming. Almost done now though. I will post a link if and when I am allowed to publish it.

Can't wait for Christmas break! I'm also coming back a couple of days early to see Paramore in Manchester with my sis, Emily and Alex----excited!!! Their new album 'Brand New Eyes' is stunning. :D

But for now, cheerio!
Love Gemma xxx

Monday, 9 November 2009

Abstract Animation, Weekend Wonder, Christmas Carol and Cardiff Fail

Unlike the title, this post will be documenting the mentioned topics in reverse order, because I am currently in sleep deprivation mode.

Today was supposed to involve life drawing in Cardiff Bay from 10am-1pm, but after a 20 minutes walk from the train station and a wander around, we concluded that the entire area was deserted. It was a little unexpected as normally it is supposed to be absolutely packed. But I took some nice pictures of the buildings and the bay and various Doctor Who signs in the area.

It was worth seeing the place, but after returning to Cardiff and having an unproductive session drawing shoppers in the St. Davids shopping centre, I couldn't wait to get home! At first some officials came up to us asking what we were doing and we got the impression that we were not permitted to draw random people walking past (which I find utterly ridiculous considering that it is impossible to capture any detail of a person they are gone so quickly!) however it turned out we were allowed to sketch them, but we couldn't sit down--not even out of the way!

I assume that was due to obstruction, despite being nowhere near anyone walking past. Ah well.

It was certainly a relief getting back home, I caught up on some sleep and warmed up and then my flatmates and I blitzed the kitchen--it was in need of a very good clean! It looks quite nice though, but could still do with curtains to make it more homely.

OK, a little rewind now. My sister, Emily came over for the weekend taking to train straight from her college, which was pretty convenient! I made dinner for her, Jess and Vikki who came over Friday night to eat and watch movies in celebration of finishing out animations (I will come to this later). We saw Goldmember and Dudley Doright and had a great night, later joined by Dale and Alex.

Saturday was a bit of a chillout 'nothing' day. 'Cause apart from washing towels, we pretty much did nothing! On Sunday we went all out. We visited the Roman Amphitheater in Newport which I haven't been to before. It was actually really cool and looks like a great spot for picnics when it's sunny.

After that, we took a bus and train to Cardiff for shopping! We went to the relocated Disney shop and bought 'Up' pins and badges! It was an awesome find, so awesome in fact, that I went back and bought two more pins for £3 each for Jess and Vikki too! Emily got a lovely soft new scarf and we had a big explore of most of the shops.

In hindsight, we probably should have gone on Saturday, as everywhere shuts early on a Sunday and it's difficult to get buses. There was also lots I hadn't looked into properly, so we didn't have a very well planned out weekend! Emily wants an itinerary next time!


After shopping we went to the cinema to see '9', (Em had not seen it yet) but there were no showings at the time, so we saw 'A Christmas Carol' by Robert Zemeckis and starring Jim Carrey instead. I had rather mixed feelings about it and have much to discuss, but shall try to be brief!

The first point, which has been said by many already, is of course the decision to remake a story that has already been adapted to death. This makes it difficult to really stand out as a unique and creative version and avoid copying previous films. I felt that 'A Christmas Carol' fails to do this.

Once again, high tech graphics and the pursuit of photo realistic animation left little room for story development. The film starts promising and a lot of attention is put into showing exactly how cruel and cold-hearted Scrooge is, but his character is lost somewhere in the middle only to be redeemed for five minutes at the end with some great acting and dialogue by Jim Carrey, who gives an excellent performance. But it's really not enough, and instead we are given pointless action sequences in which Scrooge attempts to escape the clutches of the final spirit.

It was mildly entertaining but didn't particularly deliver what Zemeckis was trying to hype up about this film. His previous work shows such expert storytelling, ('Back to the Future' being a classic example) but he appears to have put that skill aside in favour of 'real life' computer animation. And yet, for most of the film, I found it completely unconvincing! Perhaps it is different in 3D (I saw it in 2D) and perhaps I have a different perspective being able to spot CGI a mile off, but the movement often felt rigid, textures were sometimes flat and the lighting looked incredibly artificial (this being true, it's not supposed to be quite so obvious).

While there are some lovely shots and the camera movements had an interesting style (though it's refusal to 'cut' to another shot was a little annoying) and Jim Carrey's likeness is quite scary, I didn't find it enough, though certainly a good attempt. Also, did anyone else notice how long it took for Scrooge to realise it was him who had passed away in the future? He even sees his own dead body under a sheet in his bed, but has to see his name on a gravestone before he actually twigs. Why couldn't they just go straight to the gravestone like in 'The Muppet Christmas Carol'? Personally I consider the latter a much better adaptation that did a better adaptation, though the Muppet's are definitely difficult to beat!

Nevermind, I think I've had enough of a rant now. It was a good attempt, but very disappointing Zemeckis. I would have loved to see more of Jim Carrey's hilarious dialogue and performance throughout as there were some fantastic moments with his character development! Ah well...

Finally my sister and I got back home, had dinner and had an awesome night of gaming at Alex's flat before hitting the hay. I had to get up very early today however, to see Em off to the train back to college and to catch my own train to Cardiff...

And at long last, my animation! Apologies for the long rant! Here it is, all finished and complete with sound!

It was quite a task to complete, I was in my animation room all Thursday morning, afternoon and night to get it finished. I think it was worth it and I actually did something that was quite abstract I think. I used a lot of charcoal though, (thanks Vikki for the extra ones!) and only managed 25 seconds of pure animation out of the intended 30, but got it to 37 seconds with some editing and 'atmospheric' black screens. We have a presentation tomorrow to show our animations to our class and to talk a bit about it as well, here comes some on the spot improvisation!

Also, here is a video that my sister made at college for an anti drink and drive advert competition, her group came through as winners in their county and are through to the nationals next I think!

There Is No Reset Button from Emily Roberts on Vimeo.

That's all from me now methinks, time for some food and digital Disney drawing with Jess tonight, ciao!
Love Gemma xxx