Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Transcription proposal - Source material

The brief is to "transcribe" my own chosen source material into another. I propose to take this video and interpret it into my own visual style. This video is extremely personal to me as it features actual footage from a World War 2 air raid, of which my grandfather was part of the crew.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Lip Syncing Tutorial complete

Here's the completed lip sync tutorial:

I've also started to animate the body as well. I will complete in due course.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Timetable for this week @ Alan and Phil

My plan of action this week is to complete the remaining tutorials:

  • Lip syncing tutorial
  • Weight lifting animation
  • Character modelling
I also want to start thinking about my next project entitled "transcription". My initial ideas so far:

  1. Develop a trailer for a movie based on the graphic novel by James O. Barr called "The Crow".

2. Develop a short animation based on a novel by my dad (Ken Lavey) called "Dad's Story". It's about my grandfather (Harry Lavey) and his experience in the RAF as a rear gunner during WWII. It would involve highly detailed models / renders of a Lancaster Bomber, something I have attempted before....


Summary of Group Project work "The Skeleton Key On Broadway"

Intial Research


Script / Treatment development

The Skeleton Key on Broadway
The Treatment Version 2
The year is 2085, New York’s skyline has changed dramatically. Home to some of the World’s tallest skyscrapers, the glow of lights and advertising billboards can be seen for hundreds of miles. The city’s inhabitants live out their lives high above ground, commuting between buildings via advanced bullet trains and flying cars. The streets below are distant memory of the World today.

Technology has developed to the point where people can download and share memories and experiences directly into their minds. Entertainment is now a digital “experience”; people can virtually interact by plugging their minds into what was once called the internet. Cinema’s, concerts and theatre productions are considered an old pastime. Old Broadway is struggling for business, with only a few traditional plays and theatres still performing.

(Detective character) is a former Cop with a dark history. His wife left him and his daughter years ago when she was still a baby, his world revolved around his work and raising his daughter. Under mysterious circumstances, his daughter disappeared when she was 15 years old. The case was never solved and after 10 years of searching, she was listed as presumed dead. Devastated by his loss, he left the force to start his own Private Detective agency, specializing in “missing person” cases.

One day he is anonymously assigned a new case; to find a woman who writes traditional plays on Old Broadway who has mysteriously disappeared. Usually the detective never works for unidentified clients, but when a large sum of money is transferred to his account, he reluctantly accepts. 

Initial research reveals the woman only has records going back a few years.  As the detective delves deeper into the case, he discovers she has adopted a pseudonym. Very rare in the security cautious world they live in today. Further research reveals she is the descendant of a pioneering scientist who developed the technology everyone uses for entertainment. He discovers the girl’s family were tragically killed. She was adopted by ____ a high ranking Government official.

As the detective delves deeper into the case, he learns that the woman also worked for the Government and had a unique talent. Her Scientist grandfather implanted her with technology which gave her the ability to unlock people’s memories, thoughts and secrets and manipulate their decisions. The Government and her adopted father immorally used her talents to gain advantage over their enemies, politically, economically and in modern warfare. The woman ultimately found out that she was being used. Worried about the consequences of her actions, she used her ability to adopt a new identity and hide from the Government and pursue an honest life as a writer of plays.

The detective realises the benefits of having this woman’s abilities and the power it would bestow to anyone in control of her. He also believes she maybe the key to discovering the mystery around his own daughter’s disappearance. It dawns on him that her cover has been blown and he has been hired by the Government to bring her back. He carries on regardless. He attends her plays and discovers hidden messages within them, as most of the storylines depicts events that have happened, or are happening in her life. After examining her apartment, he finds the script to one of her last plays in which the female lead kills herself. The detective must race against time to find her as he believes she intends to do the same rather than be forced to return to her former life.

Concept work

Animatic development:


New New York:


UV mapping examples

UV mapped

Test Render

Detectives Office:
Interior render 01

Interior render 02

Interior render Alternate Desk 01

Interior render Alternate Desk 02

Final render



Texture Maps

UV mapped



Test render

Old Broadway

Render test

UV mapped

UV  map examples

Left building 01

Left building 02

Right building 03

Theatre Scene


UV mapped

Car Take off Scene


Test render

Rooftop Scene


UV mapped

Texture maps




Test render shot 01

Test render shot 02

Rendering examples / Animatics and final edit

Mustang car completed

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon - review

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon - 2006
Director - Scott Glosserman

1) Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon - poster

Plot Summary / review:
"Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon" is Director Scott Glosserman's attempt to capitalise on popular meta-horror franchises such as Wes Craven's "Scream"; Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez's "Blair Witch Project and Oren Peli's "Paranormal Activity".

Its "mock-umentary" approach follows Nathan Beasel as an enthusiastic wannabe serial killer, Leslie Vernon. Leslie, (a cross between Jim Carrey and Matt Dillon's "Pat Healy" from "There's Something about Mary"), allows determined film student Taylor Gentry (Angela Goethals) to document his rise to fame. He "invents his own mythos -- a backstory involving a purportedly drowned youngster -- while scoping out potential victims among the teen population of his small town." (Variety. 2007).

2) Nathan Beasel as Leslie Vernon

Glosserman is obviously a fan of meta-horror / comedy genre's, cutely paying homage to other films of its genre. He references every popular killer from Michael Myers to Freddy Kruegar and even casts Robert " A Nightmare on Elm Street" Englund in a small cameo role. However, as Bill Stamets of Cicago Sun-Times reviews, Glossermans script and directing "can't match the wit of Scream" or "the fright of The Blair Witch Project". (Stamets. 2007).

3) Gentry interviewing Leslie

"Behind the Mask" is ultimately let down by poor acting and an obviously low budget. The synopsis is an example of an excellent idea, badly executed. Its biggest flaw occurs when the action moves away from the gritty, handheld camera to traditional horror movie camera work. This breaks the audiences illusion of witnessing a real life psycho path plotting his murderous spree. Glosserman is "desperately overcompensating for the fact that most horror films are already parodies of themselves, Behind the Mask takes a bite out of the dumb Scream franchise before devouring its own tail, proving that you are what you eat." (Gonzalez. 2007).


Gonzalez, Ed. Village Voice Review 13th March 2007.

Stamets, Bill. Chicago Sun-Times Review 16th March 2007.

Variety Magazine Review 22nd September 2007


1) Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

2) Nathan Beasel as Leslie Vernon

3) Gentry interviewing Leslie

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Exorcist - movie review

The Exorcist - 1974
Director - William Friedkin

1) The Exorcist - Poster

Plot summary / review:
Based on William Peter Blatty's novel of the same name "The Exorcist" stars Ellen Burstyn as Chris Macneil, a Hollywood actress in Washington filming her latest movie. Accompanied by her twelve year old daughter, Regan (Linda Blair), she balances her duty as a mother whilst rubbing shoulders with a host of upper class society. Strange things are afoot. Regan is having trouble sleeping, complaining her bed keeps bouncing around. Unexplained noises creek from their Georgetown house attic. Chris rationally dismisses it as an over productive imagination and pesky rats in the attic.

2) Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn as Regan and Chris Macneil

The unexplained events slowly ramp up and appear to be fixated on Regan. Chris hosts a party for a range of guests and is horrified when Regan interrupts in the middle of the night in her pyjamas. Urinating on the floor, eyes fixated on a guest who is an astronaut, she claims " you're going to die up there". Each passing event grows more violent in nature and Chris witnesses these events first hand. Regan begins to show signs of physical distress and is uncharacteristically destructive. Chris seeks medical help for Regan and after a series of tests, experts are unable to diagnose her.

Meanwhile, across town lonely Priest Father Karras (Jason Miller), is losing his faith. Struggling to cope with his terminally ill mother, he questions his chosen path in life. He is called in to investigate Regan at Chris' request. After a series of agitated encounters with Regan, he reluctantly suggests the ancient religious practice of Exorcism. He seeks permission from his superiors and along with Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow), he is tasked with ridding the demon from Regan's body.

3) The Exorcism of Regan Macneil

Friedkin's "The Exorcist" arguably marks the start of modern horror in cinema. It is widely considered to be the first to use special effects to enhance demonic powers usually bestowed on stories of saints. This had a huge affect on the audience of the time. Jay Cocks of Time magazine called the movie "vile and brutalizing". He goes on to say "Friedkin and Blatty seem to care nothing for their characters as people, only as victims-props to be abused, hurled about the room, beaten and, in one case, brutally murdered." (Cocks. 1974). Numerous critics were baffled by its R rating, questioning why it was not given an X. 

In Britain, the films reputation preceded itself and was inevitably banned. The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) refused to grant it a film certificate. Like Stanley Kubricks "A Clockwork Orange" (1971) and Sam Raimi's "The Evil Dead" (1981), the ban only served to enhance the power of the film. Speaking of it's 25th year anniversary, Andrew Collins of Empire magazine comments; "The Exorcist attained the mythic power of unattainability. Then, in 1999, the spell was broken. The BBFC woke up, smelt the coffee, and finally saw fit to grant The Exorcist its requisite 18." (Collins. 2007).

Modern audiences, accustomed to state of the art computer generated imagery, may snigger at the physical effects. At the time of release, Dick Smith's makeup prosthetics were suitably horrifying, deteriorating Linda Blair's body as the demon slowly takes over. However, the true horror of "The Exorcist" lies within the sound and music. Mike Oldfields "Tubular Bell's" still manages to send shivers down the spine. Robert Knudson and Chris Newman rightfully won Oscars for their sound editing, subtly enhancing the eerie nature of the film.

4) Pre CGI effects

"The Exorcist" is arguably the best example of films ability to exploit and manipulate feelings. It manages to tap into the human primal fear of graveyards and the supernatural. "During the movie there are no reservations, but only experiences. We feel shock, horror, nausea, fear, and some small measure of dogged hope." (Ebert. 1974).


Cocks, Jay. Time Magazine review. 14th January 1974

Collins, Andrew. Empire Magazine review. 21st September 2007

Ebert, Roger. Chicago Sun-Times review. 26th December, 1973.


1. The Exorcist - Poster
http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2008/aug/22/2 Accessed 09/01/12

2. Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn as Regan and Chris Macneil
http://flickriver.com/groups/1073922@N23/pool/interesting/ Accessed 09/01/12

3. The Exorcism of Regan Macneil

4. Pre CGI effects
http://listverse.com/2009/10/30/25-fascinating-facts-about-the-exorcist/ Accessed 09/01/12

Monday, 9 January 2012

Freaks - Movie Review

Freaks - 1932
Director - Tod Browning

1) Freaks - Poster

Plot summary / review:
Adapted from a magazine by Ted Robbins entitled "Spurs", "Freaks" was MGM studios attempt to capitalise on the rising popularity of horror films in the 30's. Directed by Tod Browning (who had achieved massive success the previous year with Universal's "Dracula"), he sought to deliver a truly horrifying film. The resulting picture delivered on his promise, surprising studio execs and critics alike. After trouble with the censors and a brief cinema run, the film was ultimately dropped and marked the end of Browning's career. Jamie Russell of the BBC comments; "It's easy to see why reactions to the film have been so strong - it's a catalogue of the abnormal, the bizarre, and the grotesque that's still as unsettling today as it was 70 years ago." (Russell. 2002).

The plot revolves around a travelling circus of sideshow performers, controversially played by genuine "freaks". They are sensitively portrayed for the majority of the movie, as Kim Newman of Empire magazine observes; "It's oddly charming for much of its length, showing its human oddities as child-like innocents or heroic survivors" (Newman. 2005). Taking place behind the scenes, the film never shows the "freaks performances". Instead it depicts them living out their lives between shows, coping with typical domestic problems and the prejudices that comes with their disabilities.

2) Real life sideshow cast

The "freaks" are led by midget Hans (Harry Earles), who has fallen in love with beautiful trapeze artist Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova). Cleopatra learns that Hans is heir to a significant fortune and agrees to marry him. Together with her lover, strongman Hercules (Henry Victor), they plan to bump off her new husband and run away with his inheritance. When Hans' deformed friends discover the truth, they exact their revenge on the "big woman". However, as Newman notes this truly horrifying ending "undermines everything else in the movie as the freaks crawl through the mud and rain to avenge the martyred midget, at last becoming the monsters the monsters the world thinks them to be." (Newman. 2005).

3). Olga Baclanova as "Cleopatra" and Harry Earle as "Hans"

Writers Willis Goldbeck, Leon Gordon, Edgar Allan Wolf and Al Boasberg reverse the slander originally intended for Harry Earle's character from Robbin's magazine "Spurs". Instead the villain is portrayed by Cleopatra, intentionally done by Browning to make his audience question their assumptions of the normal and abnormal. Variety magazine comment that "Freaks" is "sumptuously produced, admirably directed and no cost was spared. But Metro failed to realize that even with a different sort of offering the story still is important." (Variety. 1931). 

After it's release the studio tried to distance themselves from the project, selling it to grindhouse distributors who screened it under the title, "Nature's mistakes".  It fell into obscurity until it was revived in the 60's and restored to its original release print. It has since been recognized as a masterpiece and confirms Browning as a unique director and a true specialist in horror.


Newman, Kim. Empire Review. 6th April 2005
http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=132536 Accessed 06/01/12

Russell, Jamie. BBC Review 17th September 2002
http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2002/09/11/freaks_1932_review.shtml Accessed 06/01/12

Variety Staff Review. 31st December 1931
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/freaks/reviews/?type=top_critics Accessed 06/01/12


1) Freaks - Poster 
http://whatculture.com/film/freaks-1932.php Accessed 06/01/12

2) Real life sideshow cast
http://thesilverscreenaffair.blogspot.com/2011/10/freaks-1932.html Accessed 06/01/12

3) Olga Baclanova as "Cleopatra" and Harry Earle as "Hans" 
http://whatculture.com/film/freaks-1932.php Accessed 06/01/12

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? - Movie Review

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? - 1988
Director - Robert Zemeckis

1) Who Framed Roger Rabbit? - Poster

Plot summary / review:
Robert Zemeckis' landmark film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" is not the first time live actors have shared the screen with cartoons. It is however, the first to combine the toon and real world into a seemingly tangible universe with an engaging but extremely funny plot. It seamlessly blends the wacky universe of cartoons into a Hollywood-esque 1940's real world. The 1940's visual style of the "real" world is an intentional one. Examining the plot and removing the "toons" from the equation, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" has all the elements of a 40's film noir. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times concurs in his review stating; "they hang out in a version of Hollywood that looks like it was borrowed from a 1940s private-eye movie. As plots go, this one will be familiar to anyone who has ever seen a hard-boiled '40s crime movie - except, of course, for the Toons." (Ebert. 1988). 

Bob Hoskins plays Eddie Valiant, a grouchy, hard-edged private detective with a grudge against all things toons. Hoskins "spends the entire film essentially talking to himself and still manages to give a performance that is foolproof. His Eddie is a gruff, lovable lug who nurses a terrible secret: a Toon killed his brother."  (Maslin. 1988). Reluctantly, Valiant accepts a job from Roger Rabbit's studio to investigate his wife, who he suspects is cheating on him. The case soon develops into a murder investigation. With Roger as the prime suspect, he draws Valiant into helping him find the real killer.

2) Bob Hoskins as Eddie Valiant

Labelling Zemeckis' movie as a pastiche of 40's film noir would seem apt. The live actors (with the exception of Christopher Lloyd's antagonist Judge Doom), don't overact their roles paying homage to the material they are referencing. Instead "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" sits between a pastiche and a spoof. The exaggerated characteristics of the Toons provide the comedic effect accompanied with spoofs, but not at the expense of the seriousness of the "real" world.

Amongst their many achievements, Zemeckis and the producers successfully negotiated a range of licenses for the movie. Uniting the facilities of Disney and Warner Bros. studios (under the tutelage of British animator Richard Williams), practically every major cartoon character appears or cameos at some point. Capturing the spirit of established stars from Betty Boo to Mickey Mouse, they also found the time to create their own  memorable toon characters. Roger Rabbit aside, the most note worthy has to be his wife Jessica voiced by Kathleen Turner. Ben Falk of the BBC notes "an incredibly authentic dash of human-cartoon sexual tension in the shape of Jessica - a torch song beauty whose sashay is enough to put her up there with the silver screen's sexiest leading ladies. Not bad for someone created out of felt tip." (Falk. 2001).

3. Femme Fatale - Jessica Rabbit

Cut from the same cloth as Steven Spielberg (who produces many of his films), Zemeckis is rare breed of director. "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" is a prime example of his ability to combine a serious story with zany comedy, all the while pushing the envelope of cutting edge special effects. However, the final word should be given to the talented team he assembled behind the scenes. They successfully capture the magic of much loved characters and effortlessly integrate them into a believable world. A truly universal film for the whole family to enjoy. Perhaps the adults more so than their children, as they can appreciate how difficult it must have been.


Ebert, Roger. Chicago Sun-Times review 22nd June 1988
http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19880622/REVIEWS/806220301 Accessed 06/01/12

Falk, Ben. BBC review 17 April 2001
http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2001/04/11/who_framed_roger_rabbit_1988_review.shtml Accessed 06/01/12

Maslin, Janet. New York Times review 22 June 1988
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=940DEFDD163FF931A15755C0A96E948260&partner=Rotten%20Tomatoes Accessed 06/01/12


1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit poster
http://www.movieposterdb.com/poster/c35b2bc6/ Accessed 06/01/12

2. Bob Hoskins as Eddie Valiant
http://www.flixster.com/celebrity/bob-hoskins/ Accessed 06/01/12

3. Femme Fatale - Jessica Rabbit
http://singlemindedmovieblog.blogspot.com/2010_04_01_archive.html Accessed 06/01/12