Category Archives: assessment

I Have Been Working…Really.


Ragnarök & Pickachu Go Pokemon Hunting

I have a lot of things to reflect about and to write. But by the time I would have the time to put all of my scramble thoughts on paper in a concise and intelligent manner, my final assessment would probably be over. I am working to complete my projects in time but I think my blog is a good place (and excuse) for me to at least organise what I have done in a way that will be useful when my presentation comes and I am at a lost as to what to say to the row of intimidating (not really, but also yes) looking tutors.

As an introduction image I present Ragnarök running with Pikachu because I cannot fathom Pokemon-Go and the craze surrounding it.


Research Poster: Exploring Colour & Lighting As Effective Tools For Visual Storytelling

This is the completed poster for my research topic; Exploring Colour & Lighting As Effective Tools For Visual Storytelling. It took awhile to arrange all the information I’ve gathered into cohesive and understandable sentences. I think at this point of the research process my understanding of what I want to research is clear and I’m confident that when asked, I can explain and summarise the context of the research.



This research intends to understand and analyse how colour and lighting are used in films as tools to support and communicate a story. While there will be a primary focus on animated films, investigation into live action features will be referenced as well. Comparisons between various films including Tonko House’s The Dam Keeper (2014), Pixar’s Wall·E (2008) and Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak (2015) will discuss these concepts in relation to the creation of a compelling story. This research will also explore the methods that filmmakers – both student and working professional – can employ to safeguard the core theme of their narrative so that it does not become lost during the lengthy process of production.


From a research perspective, the cognitive examination of animated films represent challenges and explorative queries unique to its medium. Unlike live action films, the animator is not confined to logic or to the physical laws of the real world as they no longer exist, the filmmaker in this instance is confronted with creating the entire narrative space from scratch (Buchan, 2006; Buchan, 2011). The creation of the life and core structure of that visual world is only limited to their choices and imagination. Although the visual space and characters should have some roots in realism, for the most part animators have the freedom to defy laws of physics and bring life to characters and objects that are impossible to create within the confines of a live action film (Brunnick & Cutting, 2014). Every aspect of the project from the concept art, character design, environment design, modelling, layout, animation, special effects, colour, lighting, sound, music, rendering and editing must be considered and then developed by the filmmakers. This process of bringing the extremities of the believable and the fantastical together is immense, complex and intricate.


‘Visual storytelling is a vast topic that reaches far beyond the realm of lighting’ (Calahan, 1996). Colour and lighting in a film are meant to affect the viewer subliminally without being noticeable on a conscious level. The purpose of these principles is to add depth to the film’s story and to the viewer’s overall visual experience.

A change in lighting can alter the meaning of the story effectively. The Dam Keeper (2014) is an example of a film that sought to animate light itself. The light in each scene is designed as a separate cinematic component that resulted in a unique visual style of ever shifting images that resembled a children’s illustrated storybook come to life (Kondo & Tsutsumi, 2014). The filmmakers placed emphasis on colour and lighting to not only create mood and atmosphere but to also guide and connect the audience to that scene.

Since Isaac Newton’s discovery of the visible spectrum of light and the invention of the modern colour wheel, scientific discoveries regarding the perception of colour and its relationship to human emotions has influenced its use in art, design, animation and film. Guillermo del Toro’s live action period horror film Crimson Peak (2015) relied heavily on colour and lighting as narrative devices. With custom built sets that gave him complete control of lighting del Toro also made liberal use of strongly saturated contrasting colours as narrative cues. When a scene changed from bright and diffused to saturated and contrasting it was a visual signal to the audience of something supernatural and horrific about to occur on screen.

‘No amount of the best animation in the world will ever save a bad story, or a bad story reel’ (Lasseter, 2007)

Because filmmakers in animation have a more liberal amount freedom of creation, there is a risk for the story development of the film to become neglected as a result of them becoming lost in the technical and aesthetic aspects of production. When examining the film making concepts of several successful contemporary animation filmmakers there is often an emphasis placed on cinematic storytelling. They would utilise tools such as colour, lighting and composition in the form of extensive storyboarding and colour scripting before creating animatic story reels that become the ‘living blueprint of the finished film’ (Stanton, 2008). Wall·E (2008) is one successful example of an extensive storyboarding process. Over 80,000 storyboards were completed as the story arc evolved and reshaped over the years of production (Reardon, 2008). The filmmakers understood that the story reel should entertain and evoke wonder into the audience just as the final film would. If the story reel is unable to communicate the narrative to the viewer succinctly then there is little chance that a fully animated film would.


The objective of the research is to show the crucial role that colour and lighting play in the production of an animated feature. By focusing on the aforementioned examples the research will also reveal effective storytelling methods and concepts that animators can adhere to so that their work engages and resonates emotionally with their audiences.

METHODOLOGY Several methods will be implemented during the research process in order to investigate and understand these topics as thoroughly as possible within the given time frame. Practical applications and experimentation of colour and lighting theory will also be used to further support the research.

  • OBSERVATION Research, identify, observe and analyse films that empathise or rely on the use of colour and lighting as mechanisms of effective visual storytelling.
  • CRITICAL ANALYSIS Examining research to gauge an understanding of the different practices employed by filmmakers in their usage of colour and lighting during the production of their work.  Critical evaluation of these processes is intended to nurture deeper comprehension and implementation of such storytelling concepts during practice.
  • VISUAL DESIGN World building. Designing character and film concepts, storyboard scenes with focus on communicating narrative before transitioning to colour scripting to establish mood and the characters’ changing emotional states.
  • PEER REVIEWS Peer (both student and professional) interviews, questionnaires and feedback to examine and discuss their opinions and understanding regarding the importance of colour and light in animation.


  • December Research. Moodboard. Draft Script. Concept Art (Character & Environment). Story Development.
  • January Research. Script. Concept Art (Model Sheet). Storyboard.
  • February Animatic. Rough Character Animation Test. Rough Paint Render Test. Peer Discussion. Music Research.
  • March Story Adjustments. 3D Modelling. Character Animation. Digital Rendering. Backgrounds.
  • April 3D Printing. Animation. Digital Rendering. Screen Test With Audience.
  • May  Animation. Digital Rendering.
  • June Final Animation. Digital Rendering. Clean-Up.
  • July Editing. Credit Graphics. Rendering. Making Of Artbook.
  • August Touch-Ups & Editing. Printing of Artbook. Final Submission.



  • Brunick, K. and Cutting, J. (2014). Cognitive Media Theory. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp.124 – 138.
  • Buchan, S. (Ed.). (2006). Animated Worlds. Eastleigh, UK: John Libbey.
  • Buchan, S. (2011). Ghosts in the machine: Experiencing animation. In G. Hilty (Ed.), Watch Me Move: TheAnimation Show. London: Merrell.
  • Calahan, S. (1996). Storytelling Through Lighting: A Computer Graphics Perspective. SIGGRAPH Course Notes. [online] Available at: siggraph_courses/s96_course30.pdf [Accessed 20 Nov. 2015].
  • Stanton, A. (2008). The art of WALL-E. San Francisco: Chrotnicle Books. Reardon, J. (2008). The art of WALL-E. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.


  • The Dam Keeper. (2014). [film] Robert Kondo And Daisuke Tsutsumi.Tonko house
  • WALL·E. (2008). [film] Andrew Staton Disney, Pixar Animation Studios.
  • Crimson Peak, 2015. [Film] Guillermo del Toro, United States: Legendary Pictures.
  • Skwigly Online Animation Magazine. (2015). Lightbox – ‘The Dam Keeper’ directors Robert Kondo & Dice Tsutsumi (Pixar/Tonko . [Online Video]. Jan 13, 2015. Available from: [Accessed: 20 November 2015].
  • The Film Theorists. (2015). Crimson Peak and The Color of FEAR – Frame By Frame. [Online Video]. Nov 5, 2015. Available from: [Accessed: 16 November 2015].
  • Schoolism. (2014). Painting with Light and Color with Dice Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo. [Online Video]. 02 December 2014. Available from: [Accessed: 03 November 2015].

Character Design: Primordial (Moodboard & Concept Sketches)


Primordial Character Design (Reference Moodboard)

For the Character Design assignment I have my goals set to create a giant primitive monster. Visual references in the mood/inspiration board in the above picture are from Blizzard’s Diablo, Neon Genenesis Evangelion, Pacific Rim, John Carter as well as other various sources. I drew the concept sketches below trying to conceptualise a character that is ancient, primordial and destructive. I wanted it to have four arms with three fingers on each hand, an elongated body and no eyes.


Primordial Character Design (Concept Sketch)


Primordial Character Design (Concept Sketch)


Primordial Character Design (Concept Sketch)

My initial inspiration for the character was from Ridley Scott’s Alien (Xenomorph) creature which was conceptualised by H.R. Giger. I am fascinated at the concept of how creatures without physical eyes can still sense and navigate with confidence and in this case; a primal sort of malice and destruction.


Xenomorph/Alien (1979) Source: Tumblr

Robin Goodfellow

Robin Goodfellow

Robin Goodfellow (Mudbox Head)


We were introduced to Mudbox in 3D class over a week ago and touched on the basics of the sculpting  and painting software. I really enjoy using Mudbox but I think I should focus on Maya and Z-Brush as both programs require a lot of time and commitment. Just by opening the program and taking a look at the user interface anyone can tell that it is a lot less complicated and overwhelming than Z-Brush. We were given a model of a generic human male head and after playing around with the different sculpt and paint tools I ended up with a faun or satyr looking character who I named Robin Goodfellow.

Million Hairs Club

This is my double page spread for the Future Of Money project. My idea was that somewhere in the future the majority of the human race have lost the ability to grow hair on their heads and they are bald. To compensate for the lack of a crowing glory, people have begun to wear wigs. And because of the scarcity of natural hair and people’s dissatisfaction with synthetic wigs, the value of real human hair has skyrocketed and it has overtaken paper money and coins and credit cards as the main form of trade and commerce.

Within the concept of hair currency itself, different hair colour and types have varying values with silky blond hair being the most highly sought after.  I wrote a short article set in this fictional universe.


The human race has gone from keeping their wealth and money from the wallet and bank to wearing it on their heads. When you walk down the streets of every village, town or city in the world today you will see a mixture of people in brightly coloured synthetic wigs. Retro-fitted to their scalps with powerful electromagnets to prevent hair theft, each wig will have strands or thin locks of woven natural hair (most commonly coloured black) carefully secured into their weave. Through touch pad and genetic coding each strand of hair can only be carefully removed by it’s owner during a transaction. What transaction? Well hair has replaced money and gold as the method of payment for all goods and services now.

It’s been 47 years since the population of the world succumbed to Folicfailure, the drug that became a disease. Once known as the Fountain of Youth, it was hailed as the answer to eternal life, it instead transmuted into a disease that infected 96% of the entire population of the world. While it may have prolonged youth and vitality by an extra 10 years, the drug also caused every human who ingested it to drop every single strand of hair on their scalp. Soon it evolved into a infectious aerial disease, jumping from one person to the next until only 4% of the world’s population is able to produce hair.

The governments call them Growers, we call them the Rapunzels or Million Hair Clubbers. The elite pool of genetic lottery winners born with the genes naturally resistant to Folicfailure. Kept in a secret location and separate from the rest of the population to prevent any possibility of new infection. Herald as the wealthiest people on the planet, these members of the Million Hairs Club live in a utopian paradise where every need is met and provided ten fold. All they need to do is stay alive and grow healthy hair. We know almost nothing of the actual people who grow our wealth. Not even what they look like, only that the Rapunzels carry the planet’s wealth on their shoulders.  Literally.

With the world’s currency shifting from money to hair, humans have proven once and for all that they are at heart; narcissistic creatures.

Illustrated below is an artist interpretation of the most famous of Rapunzels; Kenneth Dollziwack.  As the only person in the world left with golden blond hair, a single strand of 20 metre long hair from his head is worth a three bedroom house and a luxury car.

MillionHairsClubIllustration(Online)The richest man in the world; Kenneth Dollziwack.

Online Journalism: Google Glass


Google Glass (Image Source

On 15th of April 2014, for a single day only and in a limited number, tech-enthusiastic American consumers had the opportunity to purchase Google Glass Explorer, Google’s prototype device, at the cost of USD$1,500 (£894).

This has been the first instance when Google offered its device for sale to anyone across the United States, previously, having been available only via special invitation through its exclusive Explorer Program of prototype testers.

But even though it has been regarded as a pioneer in the era of wearable communication technology on its first testing in 2012, Google Glass has been in the centre of pro and anti-technology debates with a growing movement firmly opposing the use of it.


Google Glass (Image Source ).

Google Glass’ design, closely resembles a standard pair of eyeglasses which possesses a small optical display, shaped as a glass prism.

It is connected to the user’s smartphone via “Wi-Fi” or “Bluetooth” being designed for micro-interactions, via a touchpad that runs from the user’s temple to ear, or by “hands-free” voice command/actions.

But even though the device mirrors the abilities of many existing smartphones in the market today, it still possesses seven individual core functions.

Google Glass is able to record video, take photos, perform Web searches, navigate and get directions, send texts, make phone calls and instant message or video chat with contacts via Google Hangouts

Being able to be operated via voice actions, the device offers potential uses in the assistance of various types of clients.

Several conceptual uses have been proposed for Google Glass in education, emergency response and in healthcare.

For example, the Glass is being tested by educators, firefighters, police officers, doctors and surgeons among others.

One interesting example of its usefulness in healthcare is in Newcastle University.

Doctors at the university are trialling Glass to help patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

In collaboration with its users, the doctors have developed a programme that will remind patients to take their medication and to also swallow or speak up; behaviours that can prevent debilitating episodes of paralysis known as ‘freezing.’

From GPS to smartphones to personal computers and to the internet itself, the development of new computing technologies has almost always taken place exclusively in the realms of government, military and business.

So not everyone has praised Google’s more public approach into the exploration of more potential uses and usefulness of the device.

Several businesses have already begun pre-emptively banning it, a number of campaigns sprang, like “Stop the cyborgs” which encouraging businesses to ban Google Glass over concerns about surveillance and invasion of privacy, anti-surveillance group campaigns, and even a software subscription service called Anti-Glass.

The strongest backlash Glass received, has been from a social standpoint.

The rise of a derogatory nickname — “Glasshole” is one such example of the social stigma that has come to be attached to users of Glass.

To try and combat that way of thinking, Google has revealed its own Top 10 Google Glass Myths.

Concerns of social etiquette, electronic surveillance, invasion of privacy and other implications of misused have been prevalent in any discussion concerning Google Glass.

It also became a symbol of class division and gentrification.

Business Insider reporter Kyle Russell wrote about how “a mugger snatched his Google Glass off his face” and then smashed it into the ground while he was travelling through San Francisco’s Mission district.

Though initially confused at the scathing and negative reactions he had received in the wake of the incident, Russell was somewhat understanding of the feelings — writing that “anything associated with Google has come to represent gentrification in the city” thus acknowledging that he should have taken off his Glass.

Users rely heavily on broadcast technology, social media, mobile devices, video games and other innovations to enrich themselves whether in a business setting on in their personal lives.

Google or any company that is pushing wearable technology as evolutionary in the realm of communication technology have not yet effectively defined the utility of devices like smartwatches and heads-up displays, at least for general consumer use. Are they a necessity or a novelty?

 In the case of Google Glass, the use of the device can in fact, come across all too often as over gratuitous consumption.

With such a high price tag labelled onto a product that is technically still in development, experts and general consumers alike are questioning the logic behind the desire to purchase Google Glass Explorer.

For further information:!FaAxO!FaAs1!FaAwZ


Protected: Report Assignment: Design Interventions

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Deadly Cargo: Nuclear Death on the Road

01(Poster)(Digital)DeadlyCargo(Web)Deadly Cargo (Digital)

01(Poster)(ScreenPrint)DeadlyCargo(Web)Deadly Cargo (Screen Print)

For many years nuclear warheads have been regularly and secretly transported along the roads of England and Scotland in specially designed trucks in convoys that include armed escorts, communications and breakdown vehicles.

While a nuclear explosion is unlikely there is more risk of plutonium dust being released in the event of damage occurring to the warhead. On the wind, the dust can be spread to a large area and as the routes used by these convoys include not only motorways but ordinary single carriageway roads that pass close or even through local towns.

My imaginary play Deadly Cargo: Nuclear Death On The Road is based on this very real risk. I designed a screen print poster which focuses on the title and illustration of a cargo transport truck with trident missile warheads in its windshield. I carried on this emphasis towards the warhead transport lorry onto the set design model which transforms the cargo truck into a moving theatre.


For the theme of ‘Eden’ I explored the concept of personifying the realm of Eden as a character instead of a physical space. Similar to the garden paradise in the bible, the Eden character was once ‘perfect’ but eventually became corrupted and tainted by ‘sin’. Eden is portrayed as a flower and a predator at once in order to parallel human evolution and simultaneous deterioration from ‘purity’ throughout the ages.

(Online)EdenFinal Illustration (Digital, 30cm X 30cm)

(Online)(Sketch)Eden01Developmental Drawings

woland scanFinal drawing used for the final illustration.

(Process) Eden (GIF)Digital Painting Process