Friday, 13 December 2013

Film Review: The Shining

Fig 1
The shining is another Stanley Kubric film from 1980 and is a physiological horror about a man slowly loosing his mind in the a cabin far away from anywhere with his son and wife. The Shining is one of Kubrick's most iconic movies all of time with it's most famous scene with Johny coming through the door of the bathroom with the axe. But it is also well known for its stunning interior design, Ryan Lambie had explained how the colour can affect was used an audience within the interior design, “Kubrick uses violent contrasts of colour to heighten the feeling of unease” (Lambie, 2011). One of the best examples of this is in the carpet of the cabin (Fig 2). The contrasting colours help the audience maintain that sense of unease and discomfort that is seen throughout the film. Kubrick is also well known for his one point perspective and this tends the cause the audience the feel perturbed and causes discomfort within the viewer.
Fig 2
This pattern uses contrasting colours to cause uncertainty but it also reinforces that the cabin is a like a maze where in the design it is designed to be in a maze like fashion, to once again reinforce that sense of entrapment. Although it is strange how different the interior designs where in comparison to most horror films with it's cliché setting, it seemed to be authentic and more designed like a labyrinth, this was explained by Kubric himself, “We wanted the hotel to look authentic rather than like a traditionally spooky movie hotel. The hotel’s labyrinthine layout and huge rooms, I believed, would alone provide an eerie enough atmosphere. This realistic approach was also followed in the lighting, and in every aspect of the décor,” (Kubrick, 1981). This approach of making the sets to look more realistic and not to rely of the heavy of use of lighting to create a sense of ease within the film is a very unique way of portraying horror and isolation towards the audience and this is what makes Kubrick stand out with his attention to detail to provoke these emotions.
Fig 3

One aspect of the film is each room has a difference appearance and different use of symbolism with the scene. One of the most iconic and yet most confusing scenes is the scene with the blood coming out of the elevator (Fig 3),what Emma Dibdin says about this scene is, 'The moments that remain most terrifying are those that don't actually further the narrative at all in a traditional sense - the blood-gushing elevators’ (Dibdin 2012). Although that it could be argued this scene could almost be the 'belly of the beast' and although there is no mention of the house being alive is does seems to have an eeriness about it that leads to audience to believe that perhaps this house is the one in charge and is in fact a 'alive' in terms of the narrative. Although at the face of it the scene that seem to have an importance to plot as said by Dibdin but it could be argued to once again reinforce that sense of entrapment and unease that the film is flourishing throughout.

Illustration Lise

Fig. 1. The Shining Poster (1980) From: The Shining Directed by: Stanley Kubrick [Poster] United Kingdom, United States. Warner Bros. URL At: (Accessed on 13.12.2013)

 Fig 2. The Shining Carpet Design, From: The Shining, Directed by: Stanley Kubrick. At: (Accessed on 13.12.2013)

Fig 3. Blood coming out of the elevator. From: the Shining, Directed by:Stanley Kubruck.
(Accessed on: 13/12/2013)


Emma Dibdin (2012)
The Shining. In:   [Online] At:

Lambie, R (2011) Iconic Set Design:  The Shining. The Shining Overlook hotel at: (Accessed on 13/12/2013)

Kubrick, S. (1981) Kubrick on The Shining


Film Review: Black Narcissus

Black Narcissus
Fig 1

Black Narcissus (1947) is a British film directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Oressburger. The script was adapted from a novel written by Rumer Godden. The use of the paint over technique on glass is extremely impressive and realistic and convince the audience that you are within the scene, even though it was filmed in studio's. When looking at the production design for this scene Michael Howelles had explained how they use the matte painting effect to create realistic sets, ''“The glass painting technique involved hanging a sheet of glass between the camera and the scene, and painting in the view you needed.” (Howells, 2011). Similar techniques had been used in earlier films such as the original King Kong and began to make it's way into this film too. As you can see in figure 2 this technique had created very believable sets that were only paintings on glass. Colour had played a vital role within the film with the colour red becoming more vibrant over the course of the film.
Fig 2

After the half way point of the film it is apparent that the colour red is starting to overcome the scene. This notion of red becoming almost a 'fever' is described by Michael Mirasol in his film review, '' But it is in the second half of the film where Powell's use of Technicolor is stunning. The introduction of the more vibrant hues dominate the film. The use of red is feverish'' (Mirasol,2010). In figure 3, you can see the indian girl is the first to introduce the red into the colour palette representing love and lustre, everything a nun shouldn't be. But later on in the film Sister Ruth finds herself wearing a completely red outfit similar to the picture,after that it seemed as though the nun's were  suffocated with the overpowering red colour palette, with tightly fitting red dresses and red lip stick both classic signs of love and sexuality and a complete opposite of how nun's are.
Fig 3

Although red is a symbol of love, it is also a symbol of danger and this film could categorized as a horror film with it's unearthly sets, howling winds and the sisters slowly losing their sanity.  As Keith Uhlich says in his review; "There's something truly unearthly about this place of howling winds, yawning chasms and atmosphere thick with temptation." (K. Uhlich, 2012) this is what most contemporary audiences recognise with this film. Although it is not structured like most horror films, it is very slow but as the film goes on to when Ruth becomes over powered by lust the film turns a lot more dramatic and then you can feel the tension between the characters.

Overall this film is a great experience and the use of matte paintings can make the audience believe the scene is real without having to shoot the scene in a specific location. You can see the influence the artists had on this film also with the use of red flowing into the scene's to give the sense of love, sexuality and danger towards the characters. 


Illustration List

Fig 1. Black Narcissus Poster (1947) From: Black Narcissus - Directed by: Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger

Figure 2 Behind the Scenes – Matte Painting [Still Image] at (accessed on 13/12/2013)

Fig 3, Black Narcissus [Film Still] from: Black Narcissus - directed by Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger. At: (Accessed on 13/12/2013)


Mirasol, M. (2010) Black Narcissus Review

Howells, M. (2011) Production Design in Black Narcissus

K. Uhlich (2012Black Narcissus Film Review (Accessed on 13.12.2013) 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Secret Lair: Final Render

Just so there is no confusion, this is my final render of my secret lair :)

Secret Lairs: Character Bible

Secret Lair: Hero Prop and Set Orthographics

Secret Lairs: Creative Partnership Archive

I thought I had commented more than this, I may have missed a few, but I see everyone from day to day and advise them and help them on their project so I think this is why I don't have much of an online presence as it appears from the lack of creative partnership comments. Even though I said this last project, I need to start commenting on more people's work outside of the class room so I have an archive as appose to not having much in the archive.

Secret Lairs: Production Artists (Who is Who)

Secret Lair: Build up

Secret Lair: Crit Presentation

Secret Lair: Final Renders

Final renders of my lair, overall I'm pretty happy with the result considering thisis my first maya attempt and modelling an interior :)

Secret Lairs: Disk Art Work

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Secret Lairs: Progress... UV's and texturing

Finished laying out my UV's on my scene and started to texture my scene. I also increased the lighting I will go back once the textures are painted in, and then 'pump' them up a bit more and play with the contrasting oranges and blues. I was playing around with the floor and still unsure how to make it work, the plain text and puring (First one) seemed too genericlain so I decided to make a plain with a 3d texture and then used a displacement map to give it depth within the image, I think this is working better however it still needs some work. Also included using a bump map on the walls to make it feel more 'cavy' and 'rocky'.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Secret Lair: Basic Lighting Set up

Experimenting with the basic lighting set up seeing how dark I want the scene to be and seeing how the distance on the ambient occlusion node effects the scene. It seemed to of made everything mid grey at first but by increasing the distance I feel it has given the image more depth. Now onto texturing and I can tweak the lighting later on when I am texturing. I had a pink light source under my font in my concept art but I'm not 100% sure how I would do this, so I will experiment with that later on. Any advice for this scene would be great :).

Monday, 9 December 2013

Secret Lairs: Lighting set up - beginning

Experimenting with the lighting set up, these are my first couple of renders and my final composition that I am going to work with. I need ot capture the essance of the light blue and the warm candle lighting therefore I had an idea of the blue light source coming from the font it self, this will also help with the focal point of the image.

Secret Lairs: Finish Modelling

 Finishing off the modelling for my scene, I need to work on the hero prop and find a way to model the peacock feathers and then onto lighting :)

Friday, 6 December 2013

Secret Lair: Modelling

Beginning of my Maya scene for my secret Lair. I need to make the lair more 'cave like' and explore with the overall structure. Then finish modelling the candles and lights on the wall and finally onto uv texturing and lighting :)

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Life Drawing: 27.11.2013

This week we were using colours and we focused on the light and dark contrasts within the figure. I feel like I need to force myself to not outline everything when drawing as this tends to flatten the image. I also believe that learning edge control and form building will defiantly help me improve on my draftsmanship and my confidence. I look forward to doing more next term, in the meantime I am still waiting upon Scott Robertson's book...... 

Zoetrope animation

Zoetrope animation, a quick morph of objects associated with christmas :). I am happy with the outcome, I was going to do a fourth morph but I feel it wouldn't work too well on the zoetrope so I decided to my make my morphs slower so the transitions are smoother.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Autodeask Maya: Old Alleyway Scene - Modelling

Alleyway Scene


Lamp post
Modelling done for the Alleyway, now onto the lighting and texturing, well this took longer than expected...

Monday, 25 November 2013

Film Review: Edward Scissorhands
(Fig 1, Edward Scissorhands, Poster)

 Tim Burton's film Edward Scissorhands (1990) was one of his most renowned films with lead actor Johnny Depp playing Edward. Edward Scissorhands  could be argued that it gave you an insight into the world of Burton's childhood. Edward was heavily influenced upon how Burton had felt within his life - the outsider, the misunderstood. Although asperges was not recognized until 1940, according to Helena Bonham Carter had said in an interview: ''I realised he has a bit of Asperger's in him. You start recognising the signs. We were watching a documentary about autism and he said that was how he felt as a child.''( Carter, 2010). The film was created show his seperation from society and showing the world through another perspective. It had created an iconic figure for individuality and to stand out among the crowds through one character alone - Edward. This is one of the most iconic figures of today and has had a huge influence upon the fashion scene and it had all started from a drawing from his childhood (Fig. 2).
(Fig 2. Edward Scissorhand original illustration).

Throughout the film the separation between worlds with Edward and his surroundings is obviously represented through character, but also through scenery too. The film is set in a suburban American town and in the 1950's to 60's. When introduced to the film we are given a one point perspective shot showing the two extreme's of Edward's house and the surrounding area (Fig 3).
(Fig 3, Edward Scissorhands, Film still)
Although Tim Burton is not known for one the use of one point perspective, Stanley Kubrick is and known famously for the use of these techniques. As Lauren Davis had said whilst analyzing Kubrick's techniques: ''One thing that makes Kubrick's movies so unusual is his heavy use of one-point perspective, to focus in on a single character or object, and often to create a sense that we are trapped within the scene rather than merely watching it.''(Davis, 2012). Furthermore this could be argued that we as an audience are trapped within the scene and feeling the emotions that Edward is feeling. Not only is Edward physically trapped within the castle and 'locked' away from the outside world but he is also emotionally trapped inside a body that no one understands, as an audience we are given that understanding which therefore allows us to relate to Edward. 

Altogether throughout the film there seems to be a constant clash between the two opposites, even in the times where he is accepted as part of the 'normal' community he is seen as being used for his abilities rather than being acknowledged for who he is. This was a film which Tim Burton wanted you to see through his eyes in a fantasy environment. With the fantastic set design and character development you can clearly see Tim Burton had payed close attention to all the little details to get across this complexity of messages for the audience to embrace.


(Carter, 2010), Mr and Mrs Mad Hatter, Daily Mail [Article]. URL: (Accessed 25.11.2013)

(Davis, 2012), How obsessed was Stanley Kubrick obsessed with one point perspective? [Online Blog], at URL: (Accessed, 25.11.2013)

Illustration list:

Fig 1, Edward Scissorhands (1990) [Poster], URL: (Accessed 25.11.2013)

Fig 2. Edward Scissorhands (1990), Original illustration [Illustration], at URL: (Accessed on 25.112013)

Fig 3. Edward Scissorhands (1990), Directed by Tim Burton, [Film Still]. at URL: (Accessed on 25.11.2013)