Monday, 23 January 2012

Maya Tutorials: Character Facial Rig and Face Cam...


Some stuff didn't work so well and there were a few glitches with the vertices around the eye but it's almost there at least and I did learn a lot from it! :)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

'Night of the Monsters' Summary Post...

For the group project I was mostly in charge of:

  • Direction
  • Environment/prop modelling (Except the military base and its contents)
  • Animating
  • Editing
  • Rendering
  • Sound
It was a very difficult project because for a long time it felt as if we were just going in circles but after Katy adopted the simplistic style in one of her drawings it really went well.  The team dynamics weren't so great sadly, but character (Katy) and environment modelling (mostly me) went really well and by some stroke of luck I managed to put it together in time for some final tweaks too. This all lead to something none of us expected to have by the submission date and it's also something we can be pretty proud of too.

Maya Tutorials: Cartoon Character Blink & Eye Control...


The blink didn't work properly at all but at this stage I just want to complete the character and I can always go back later to fix it.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Night of the Monsters Trailer (Final Edit?) ...

I feel pretty good about this one, I must say :)


Scott Glosserman's 'Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon', 2006...



Behind the Mask is a very interesting and entertaining parody of a horror film shot in the 'mockumentary' style.  It uses many of the traditional conventions you would find in any of the 80's films from the genre: scary, seemingly all-knowing villain plans to hunt and kill a group of attractive teenagers, until he's defeated by the virginal 'last girl'.  However, it is not conventional for the film to explore the making of these plans, which is the best and most ingenious part of the film.  Eric Goldman explains that "The idea of following around a Michael Myers type guy before the events of a slasher movie, and seeing all the hard work that goes into preparing the perfect night of terror is amusing...Rather than a raving lunatic or a mute psychopath, Leslie's just your normal, average, friendly guy… Who just happens to have a plan to hunt down and kill a group of teenagers, before facing his ultimate virginal adversary." (Goldman, 2007)  With horror films, if the killer's plans are revealed to the audience or characters it would normally only be in the final portion of the film. However, in the very first scene that introduces you to the lead female character and Leslie himself, the audience is told his intentions straight away.  As Goldman said, this is really amusing because not only are his plans very clever and intelligent, but he is a very normal and friendly guy to be around. The audience warm to him more than the lead female and her faceless crew behind the cameras.

Fig. 2 Leslie relaxing with a friend.

Due to Leslie being so likable it allows for a lot of unexpected comedic elements. One of the reasons this film is so entertaining is because, despite it being introduced as a horror, it is also a comedy and it succeeds in being as funny as it is unnerving. Don Sumner expressed that the film is "somehow able to present a horror/comedy in a way that does not ruin the horror or taint the comedy...They do not intermingle, that's the secret." (Sumner, 2010:115)   Sumner believes that due to the film keeping the comedic and horror parts separate, it has allowed it to successfully do both without the risk of one ruining the other. This could be true, as some of the funniest moments are during the mockumentary style sections that are much more casual.  During the film, when the footage is handheld in this style, it is much more relaxed and the audience gets to see Leslie being his very entertaining self. One of the best scenes is his explanation about what people normally do when they are being attacked by a slasher horror killer. His delivery of the lines are so innocent about the most horrific acts, one example is his bemusement at why people never break the lower floor windows to escape, it is always the upper floors.  Though the horror elements are very clichéd, the reason they are is because he is recreating the same things that the killers, like Halloween's Mike Myers. He is using the clichés because that is what is needed to create the right horror situation.  It is worrying how much the audience enjoys Leslie as a character, even when they know he is officially a murderer and he's relaxing with a murderer that's not retired his naivety and innocence when he is being himself is still charming.

List of Illustrations

Figure 1. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon poster. At: (Accessed on: 17.01.12)

Figure 2. Leslie relaxing with a friend. At: (Accessed on: 17.01.12)


Goldman, Eric (2007) Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.  (Accessed on: 17.01.12)

Sumner, Don (2010) Horror Movie Freak. USA: Krause Publications.

Music for the Trailer...

I've decided to use the  piece of music below:

It's not perfect but I'm running out of options at the moment, hopefully it'll do!

Aging the Trailer Update...


The top image is the most recent and minimal, the one on the right is the very first attempt when it was too much and the one at the bottom is the level I have it at now.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Final Trailer? ...

I think this might be it...

Aged Trailer (First Attempt)...

It's looking good!

I'll bring it down a few notches when I finish tweaking the trailer though because it's a bit too extreme, but I like it! :P

William Friedkin's 'The Exorcist', 1973...

Fig. 1 The Exorcist poster.

On the surface, The Exorcist is a supernatural horror film that arrived in cinemas at a time when the genre was only just becoming recognised in the industry.  There was a plethora of traditional horror films that came before that were mediocre at best, but The Exorcist challenged that. It is a highly thrilling film that still scares and disgusts the audience successfully, despite it being almost forty years old.  As Steven Schneider explains that "The mordant reality of the horror film is never merely dark, but always dark and stormy. not just possessed: her head spins 360 degrees, she vomits gallons, and we hear the piss hit the floor as the Devil’s work begins." (Schneider, 2004:153) This shows that the film contains many of the traditional techniques seen in horror films.  The visceral imagery of urine and contorting bodies as the young girl falls deeper under the control of the demon possessing her are all associated with the horrific themes contained in movies from this genre. Part of a horror film's appeal is its ability to contain scenes that ordinarily would be considered criminal or inhumane to witness, but due to it's fictional setting the audience can be thrilled by the graphic imagery without there being any kind of consequences.  These 'dark and stormy' activities allow the audience to be disgusted and entertained without being judged.

Fig. 2 Mother and daughter.
Although it contains many of the themes seen in the usual horror film, it is not the visceral imagery that makes it so unpleasant to watch. Granted, the images are powerful, but it is the reality of the suffering that the audience witnesses between mother and daughter that really makes the film upsetting. Richard Nowell supports this, as he explains that "The Exorcist, which, despite its title, had dealt predominantly with the turbulent relationship of a lone mother (Ellen Burstyn) and her adolescent daughter (Linda Blair)." (Nowell, 2010:86). Despite its conventional horror genre visuals, it's the most realistic situations that are the most unpleasant. One example is when the daughter undergoes a series of scientific tests to make sure she is not suffering from a physical or mental problem.  She goes through slow and painful examinations that her mother can only watch. The emotional suffering between the two is upsetting to see, the mothers complete inability to help her child because they both have no idea what could be happening. This relationship, however powerful, is easily overlooked by more visceral physical suffering that surrounds them. 

Fig. 3 The priests exorcise Regan.
 Despite this under-acknowledgement of the mother and daughters 'turbulent relationship' Linda Ruth Williams and Michael Hammond have made an equally important observation from their experience of the film.  They expressed that can be interpreted as "both a meditation on the potency of youth protest (the possessed little girl Regan as emblematic of her gender and age group) and a celebration of reactionary controlling forces (the triumph of the priesthood as substitute father figures)." (Williams, Hammond, 2006:121).  This can be seen as interpreting the child's possession as a physical mannefestation of puberty and the cultural significance that surrounds that time.  During this period, the teenagers, females more specifically, were trying to gain a level of independence. This is also during the time when the second wave of feminism started being noticed, and women were starting to win the rights to have control over their own bodies.  These 'controlling forces' represented as 'substitute father figures' can be interpreted as the male government trying to exorcise the wilder aspects of Regan's development into a woman, if you can consider the possession as a manifestation of the fear associated with women's liberation.

List of Illustrations

Figure 1. The Exorcist poster. At:

Figure . mum and daughter At:

Figure . Bed scene. At:


Nowell, Richard (2010) Blood Money : A History of the First Teen Slasher Film Cycle. USA: Continuum International Publishing.

Schneider, Steven (Editor); Andrew, Dudley (Contribution by); Rothman, William (Contribution by). Horror Film and Psychoanalysis : Freud's Worst Nightmare. USA: Cambridge University Press.

Williams, Linda Ruth; Hammond, Michael (2006) Contemporary American Cinema. GBR: McGraw-Hill.

Night of The Monsters Trailer (First Edit)...

I was in charge of building the the environments (except the military base), animating, renderring and editting the trailer. Here's what I have so far:


I'm going to add something to age it a little, probably in after effects and I know some scenes feel rushed and some sounds need tweaking. I might also swap out the text for some of the ones I made in Photoshop if there's time to. Not too shabby for a first attempt though!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Tod Browning's "Freaks", 1932...

Fig.1 Freaks Poster.


Freaks is a horror film, but not in the conventional sense.  Its main focus is on the day to day lives of the performers in a freak show and not their actual performances. These performers are absolutely incredible because they are all real-life members from a freak show.  This is absolutely fascinating for the viewers as it is completely unexpected, but it also caused a lot of trouble for the director.  The display of these 'freaks' was considered a great worry, as Joan Hawkins explained that "Confusion about the film seems to have stemmed largely from the use of real freaks to play the parts. 9 Critics worried that the film merely replicated the most unsavoury aspects of the “Freak Show.”" (Hawkins, 2000:142) This is perhaps the main concern for a film covering this kind of subject matter. Freak shows are a completely barbaric and unpleasant business that profit from taking advantage of the vulnerable and unfortunate sufferers of deformity. Any film that would include such an 'unsavoury' topic might also be doing it to earn money from the audience's disgust at those unnatural 'freaks', but this is not at all what the film is trying to do.


Though it does contain many people with varying deformities and disabilities, they are not there to be laughed at or mocked, they are there to show the audience that their reality is almost exactly the same as the viewers'. One of the most delightful things about this film is the comradery and love that's seen between the performers.  Their abilities vary from the extremes of the 'The Human Torso' (a man that appears to have nothing more than a torso with no limbs) to an 'average' man that just wants to make people laugh. It is possible that this conveying of the 'freaks' humanity was the trigger to so many critics outrage towards the film, as Colin Odell and Michelle Le Blanc divulged: "It is easier to dismiss them as grotesque side-show entertainment than contemplate the horror of an active loving mind being subjected to the casual cruelty of the gawping public." (Le Blanc, Odell, 2001:51)  This film is one of the first times that the audience members have been able to see these 'freak show' performers as they are behind the curtain. Before this film they were mere forms of entertainment to be revolted by, but this film allows the viewer to see who they really are and how wonderful their life together is because there they can live without judgement.  The humanity they show through their love for one another is truly heart-warming. The performers each have an innocence that seems to make them more human than any audience member at their show.

This is particularly clear when the performers' comradery is juxtaposed by the selfish and vain trapeze artist. She's beautiful and 'normal'. She has no physical deformity but her absence of compassion and sincerity is far more monstrous and inhuman than anything these performers could have. This is where the real horror of the film lies, not in the 'unnatural' deformities of the performers but in much more malevolent realities of human nature.  Ina Rae Hark expressed that "The status of what defines an abnormal monster, the role of violence in society, and the place of community codes of conduct, all timely themes, were also in play in the year’s most reviled film, Freaks." (Hark, 2007:76) This shows support towards the idea that the definition of an 'abnormal monster' is challenged in this film. It is no longer the traditional deformed monster that seeks to tarnish everything that is good and pure, but is replaced by the far too ordinary reality of human selfishness and greed. The mention of 'community codes of conduct' also plays a part in the horror of this film. The last section features the performers act of punishment on the trapeze artist and her partner for being deliberately horrid and abusive towards the 'freaks' as she called them. Sadly, most of the sequence is lost because it was deemed too terrible to be shown, but the aftermath at the end is quite terrifying. Another shame is that the performers had to stoop to the level of becoming things of horror in order to do this, but the viewers are still undoubtedly on their side.

List of Illustrations

Figure 1. Freaks poster. At:

Figure . Table: At:


Hark, Ina Rae. (2007) American Cinema of the 1930s : Themes and Variations. USA: Rutgers University Press.

Hawkins, Joan. (2000) Cutting Edge : Art-Horror and the Horrific Avant-Garde. USA: University of Minnesota Press.

Odell, Colin; Le Blanc, Michelle (2001) Horror Films. GBR: Pocket Essentials.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Rendered Empty Establishing Shot....

It's much longer than it will be in the trailer but that's so I can cut it down later. It's also not great, I'll go in and tweak the camera to make it a bit wobblier but also the texture isn't rendering randomly so I'll have to tweak that one too. Still, looks good when it's rendered though :D

Broken Lab Scene's Wobbly Camera...

Seeing as most of the cameras are stationary but a bit wobbly in the trailers I've seen I've had a go at replicating this (Also, it's actually been rendered so this is how our animation will actually look, pretty cool stuff! XP)

Clumsier Camera Work: Lab Scene...

Here's the first attempt at making clumsier camera work:

Monday, 9 January 2012

Rough Lab Camera Shot...

A bit of a long establishing shot but it can be cut down if needs be:

Roughly Animated Farm Scene...

Again, very clumsy and basic but it does make me laugh :P

Very Roughly Animated Trailer Scene...

It's clumsy and needs work but maybe that's a good thing :P -

Broken Town Image...

I've just tweaked it so it looks more broken than before:


Some of the outlines are starting to look messy but it's not too bad really.

Footprints Test...

They aren't too clear, and I might not have them there, but they look okay to use later:



Farm Scene...

It's only been updated from before but it's pretty much there:



Monday, 2 January 2012

Town Scene Progress...

Building the town scene:










It still needs a lot of tidying up but at least it's almost there!