Saturday, 12 February 2011

End of Semester and Nutshell Reviews

Hello again bloggers, it's that kind of post again where the sheer amount of work has taken my time away from blogging and I have to come up with some sort of apology.... Except this time there was such a swamping of work that I haven't prepared one! :P

Anyway, stuff for me has been good! My last deadline was on Wednesday so I've been free to draw and play Mass Effect 2 to my hearts desire!

In the space of a week after a semester's worth of work, I had to submit and present a: 1-2 minute soundscape project using sound and animation to make a statement (see below); a 2000 word essay about the holy grail of CG, the photo-realistic human; 4 cleaned-up character animations doing something specified in our brief using 2D techniques and After Effects/Flash/Photoshop/Illustrator post-production methods (see below); as well as Power Points documenting the entire process.

An external project I was working on last November really took it out of my work, so I was quite behind on the animation for this, but I think I've made up for it on the explanations/documentation of my 2D animations... We'll see in my feedback tutorials next week!


Danielle Rescues a Mouse (Trying to open an object that refuses to do so)

Hyacinth and Richard Try to Keep up Appearances (Dialogue between two characters)

Missing a Bus (A Groom tries to get the bus to his own wedding)

Lost and Found (A change from one emotion to another)

In addition to work I've been doing, I've seen a few new films recently, which I'll give some "in a nutshell" reviews on so as not to bore you, but really they deserve more!

TRON: Legacy

TRON: Legacy is the 28-year late sequel to the original Tron in 1982, but fortunately the story realises this and places it 20 years after the original film, starring oldies Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner, and newbies Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde. It's an entertaining adventure with state-of-the-art visual effects and funky light suits that does a great job of bringing a film that hasn't aged particularly well to new audiences. Everything's been updated and the difference between the film's real world and digital world has been highlighted with the use of 3D. All real world events are shown in 2D, but everything in the digital world is in 3D, which really adds another level to this film and shows that the creators really thought about it!

The soundtrack is completely composed by French DJs, Daft Punk, who craft a intricately beautiful atmosphere to the entire film, but is still able to get into the beats and electronic feel of the world. So top marks for sound... and see if you can spot their cameo!

My only difficulty is the de-aged Jeff Bridges (Clu) who is is brought to the screen 20 years younger using CGI which hasn't quite shaken off the uncanny valley phenomenon yet. I actually wrote my CG essay on this subject, so that's quite enough about that right now, just go watch this film when it comes out on DVD (preferably with 3D capabilities) and see for yourself! And pump up the volume for those amazing tunes!

The King's Speech

I went into this film expecting a good film, but instead got a great one. It's no surprise it got so many nominations. It's engaging from start to finish and full of inspirational acting. It's a real feel-good film with honesty, character, humour and a wonderful message. It's based off of the true story of King George VI and was written by David Seidler who had to wait years to write his screenplay after the Queen Mother requested that it not be made before her death as the memories were too painful.

Colin Firth plays the king with Helena Bonham Carter as his wife and Geoffrey Rush as his Australian speech therapist. The acting, music and script are all superb and it's a truly beautiful film from start to finish. The speech itself was a wonderful moment, but I won't say anymore in case it spoils it! It's definitely worth a watch, if not at the cinema then definitely on DVD later in the year.


Ok, so the second Disney movie on this list, but please bare with me! I finally saw this film last weekend after the long wait for UK releases... And. It. Was. Beautiful! I thought I'd seen most of what CGI had to offer, but this film blew me away! Ok, so the story is flimsy and loses a lot of darkness and intrigue from the original fairytale, but the characters are wonderful and Rapunzel is just too darn cute! I was so surprised how full of life the 3D models were, they moved just like 2D Disney classics and this was probably because of Glen Keane's involvement. I read in interviews with him that he literally drew over the 3D animation to get the animators to push poses and get the most life as possible out of the animation.

But it's not just the characters, it's the environments too! I was a little skeptical that they had pulled off the 'oil painting' look that they were originally going for, but the lushness of the scenery and all that hair (!!!) made me see otherwise. It was also nice to see the classic musical numbers make a comeback and the songs were lovely. It's a shame that Disney are going to think now that audiences want to see 3D movies and not their 2D stuff after The Princess and the Frog didn't make a very good profit last year, but it's mainly the marketing and feel of this film. The story may be weak, but it's fun! That's what makes this film good from my standpoint, and Rapunzel's little face! I'm obsessed with drawing her right now! Sqqquuuuueeeeeeee!!! [/fangirl]

Ahem. I've also started that classic sci-fi, "Firefly". I bought the box set cheaply as I heard it was good and I'd ironically already seen "Serenity". Fortunately it was a long time ago, so I don't remember how they wrapped up the prematurely canceled series. The pilot started poorly in my opinion, but the series has really got into it now and the character interaction is really engaging. I'm loving the unique sense of humour too! I can see Mass Effect got a lot of cues from it. I'm on episode 5 or something now, so more on that when I've finished it!

I'm nearly done on Mass Effect 2 as well, I've recruited all characters but for Legion and completed their character quests, so all is going well! I'm quite apprehensive for the suicide mission--I don't want to lose the characters! :(

Well that's all for now, hopefully my next update won't be so far away! I'll have to post my feedback for my animations when I get it next week! :)
Gem xxx