Friday, 31 October 2014

[Narrative] 23: Female Character Re-Design; Thumbnails 18 - 28

Main thumbnail

Working from advice given to me by my teammates and others including Alan and Jackie, I began to redevelop the design of our female character. This advice included:

Basing the body shape off of a more curved French pepper grinder than the one chosen, because the body shape was to close to that of the male character. 
To suit the new art style of the kitchen, having my new design inspired by 60's French chic illustrations. 
Losing the clothing's stripes due to the connotations associated with a stereotypical French chef. 
Losing the jumper, and returning to the dress. 
Making her dress' neckline lower.
During the process I was asked to bring the shoulders lower, and bring the inside of the legs closer together.

Also during the process I received advice from Alan concerning gaining better proportions, as well as correctly achieving the female body curve and positioning of the bust. During the colouring process the black outlines will be replaced, to better suit the French chic style as well as the style of the kitchen itself.

Other Thumbnails

Influence Map

Monday, 27 October 2014

[Narrative] 22: Female Character Development 02; Thumbnails 13 - 17

After receiving more feedback from my teammates, I have designed the female character further. Sukhi provided me with more influence images, which I used along with my original Influence Map.

Thumbnails 13 - 17

Thumbnails 13 - 17 with overlay.

Further influences.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

[Narrative] 20: Male Character Development (02) | Post-Feedback

During the continuation of the male character design process, I received consistent feedback from my teammates e.g. having a bowl haircut rather than a hat, or removing the "Elvis" collar; leading to a design we all enjoy. (13)

Influence Maps
Bowl cut Influence Map.

Ugly character & nose Influence Map.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

@Alan -- [Narrative] 19: Character Development | Pre- and Post-Feedback

Pre-Feedback Thumbnailing
Using the relevant Influence Maps, for the first pre-feedback batch of male character thumbnails, I played with modern French fashion and French stereotypes. I also used the relevant Influence Maps to map out possible silhouettes for the female character.
Female thumbnails.
Male thumbnails.
Further influences.

Post-Feedback Development
Post tutorial with Alan, character design advice included paring down our designs a bit, and researching French salt and pepper grinders to influence our characters shape, thus connecting their body to France and the kitchen. Alan explained that while pairs of salt and pepper shakers / grinders match (in design), they are opposites; a curvy grinder being feminine, and a predominantly tall and straight grinder being masculine, for example.

Post-feedback male thumbnails (so far).
Post-feedback male thumbnails - grinder overlay.

Even though the chosen grinder had some curve to it, I was able to use this to my advantage; since the curve lay in the bottom half of the grinder, I was able to convert the shape into trousers of a shape relevant to the male character. 

While our character is trying to act like a chef and be romantic, he is also very clumsy; a bit of a clown in that respect - for that reason his trousers take on a form reminiscent of those of a clown, in shape. 

Our animation will be designed with slapstick in mind, a technique often used by clowns; supporting further the choice to incorporate this aspect into the design.

Post-feedback Influence Map.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

[Narrative] 18: "Bon Appétit" Influence Map - Character 3D Models

In order to help prevent us designing characters that are too complex to create within the available time, I have researched multiple character 3D models with varying levels of simplicity.

[Narrative] 17: "Bon Appétit" Influence Map - French Women's Fashion

Imagining our main character's date would be a woman with whom he would be "punching above his weight" (she's better looking / better dressed than him), I've put together this Influence Map for inspiration as to what she might wear, and partly what she may look like. However a more specific Influence Map will be produced for her overall design.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

[Narrative] 16: "Bon Appétit" Setup, Chain Reaction and Ending Ideas

The idea below is in its pre- teammate feedback form. 
The updated, edited version will be posted on the Screw Loose Productions blog.


The Setup
Our main character is trying to follow a cooking show / cook book, to prepare a romantic meal for his wife/girlfriend/date. 

It's nighttime and his date stands out on the balcony outside the kitchen, looking out at Paris while smoking a cigarette. 

The table is romantically set up on the balcony; with a table cloth, burning candles, empty plates, knives and forks, a bottle of wine and empty wine glasses. 

In the kitchen a saucepan of water, chopped carrots and celery lightly bubbles on the back oven hob. 

The chicken is nearly finished cooking in the oven - indicated by the oven's timer. 

There is a low shelf above the oven which condiments such as mixed herbs, salt, pepper and vinegar sit on. 

There are some rogue vegetables scattered on the floor e.g. un-chopped carrot or celery.

Chain Reaction: The Build Up
  • Guy takes onions out of a knee high cupboard, which is next to the oven and leaves it open. 
  • He chops the onions on a chopping board. 
  • As he feels the onions effects he rubs his eyes and sniffles at random moments.
  • With his head just below the shelf, he drops the chopped onions into the saucepan. 
  • He lifts his head from over the pan to grab the condiments, narrowly avoiding hitting it on the shelf.
  • While affected by the onion, he removes the lid off a blocked salt shaker and pours too much salt into the pan. 
  • As he lifts his head from over the pan he nearly hits it on the shelf. 
  • Forgetting to put the salt lid back on, he puts it on the shelf and grabs the mixed herbs shaker, takes the lid off, pours some into the pan - while still affected by the onion smell.
  • Again forgetting to put the lid back on and again nearly hitting his head, he puts the herbs shaker back on the shelf.
  • The oven timer goes off and he struggles to remove the heavy roast chicken tray from the oven, slamming it down on the oven, in front of the saucepan - causing a loud thud. Due to lack of space it sits dangerously over the edge.
  • Hearing the thud his date turns to move and check out the noise, but decides not to, not wanting to ruin the surprise. She rubs her stomach in hunger.
  • Guy awkwardly bends over the chicken to stir the saucepan.

Chain Reaction: The Chain
  • As he lifts his head, he hits it on the loose shelf, knocking it up and causing the open condiments to tip over and pour into the saucepan.
  • In pain he steps back but slips on a carrot on the floor, as he falls backwards he reaches forward, trying to grab the oven to stop himself falling. 
  • Instead he grabs the chicken tray, catapulting the chicken onto his head.
  • Blinded by his chicken "hat" he gets up and tries to pull it off.
  • Finally managing to pull it off it flies through the air, out onto the balcony and onto the table; giving his date a fright. Hungrily staring at the chicken, she quickly grabs her knife and fork...


Post Credits
Some options:
  • Guy walks out of the kitchen with the saucepan to see if his date is okay, only to catch her hungrily tearing at the chicken. He drops the pan in shock. After recovering, he smiles.
  • Guy and date eating their meals with the chicken badly damaged from the the ordeal. Date enjoying her meal.
  • Date eating her meal greedily, tearing at the chicken with one hand and gulping down her 'saucepan soup' with the other. Guy sits at the other end of the table hesitantly sipping his portion of the soup as he stares shocked at her.

Friday, 17 October 2014

[Narrative] 15: "Bon Appétit" Roast Chicken Dinner - Influence Map

While researching romantic French meals, I came across roast chicken as one of the options. The multiple ingredients and utensils involved in preparing a full roast chicken dinner leaves plenty of room for chaos. Since our animation will rely on slapstick comedy, I thought of the chicken somehow landing on the man's head. This premise has been approved by my team members.


I later discovered that the popular 90's TV show, Friends had also made use of this method of slapstick comedy - to this day, the show is still being repeated. Audience members who are fans of the show, of whom have seen this episode will not only be amused by the events of the chain reaction, but may also feel a sense of nostalgia.

Research links

Thursday, 16 October 2014

[Narrative] 14: French Kitchen & Balcony Influence Map

[Narrative] 13: "Bon Appétit" Fixed Shot Block Out and Collage

After talking with Alan about the current state of our Narrative project, while satisfied with our general story, he suggested that we should instead have it in a fixed shot perspective, in which the the animation plays out without the camera moving. We also decided upon the location to be set in Paris, due to its romantic connotations. I have produced a collage and blocked out of what this shot might look like...

The shot block out

Full model 01

Full model 02

Shot collage

Responses from teammates indicated that the block out felt a bit too cramped. 
Another layout idea has also been put forward.

Monday, 13 October 2014

[Narrative] 12: Kitchen Block Out for Narrative and Concept Art

Scroll down for more shots

Basic Info
Research of real objects was used to influence the dimensions of the objects in the kitchen; I made use of a tape measure to visualise what these dimensions would look like in reality. This design represents that of a cramped kitchen in a one bedroom flat. The block out deliberately does not include utensils such as pots and pans as it allows further creative license when designing the concept art. 

Project File
As part of the project file, features include...

Walls and the ceiling are on individual Layers, can hide a wall whenever the camera requires.

A red & orange cuboid represents the male character's possible dimensions; the orange face marks the front of the character. 'His' current height is 180cm / 5ft 9" tall.

Everything is nicely named and put in Groups, and their history has been deleted and their transformations frozen = a clean Outliner.

The door swings accurately on its axis so can be rotated if needed.

Some Measurements
By default Maya measures in cm, so below I have provided some of the x y z measurements I used...

Kitchen dimensions - X 300cm x  Y 200cm x Z 220cm

Countertop dimensions - Y 95cm x Z 60cm

Sink dimensions - X 80cm x Z 50cm

Sink bowl dimensions - X 40cm x Y 20cm x Z 35cm

Oven dimensions - X 50cm x Y 90cm x Z 50cm

Table dimensions - X 75cm x Y 80cm x Z 50cm

Possible character height - 180cm / 5ft 9”

Door gap dimensions - X 75cm x Y 200cm (Frame - Z 12cm)

Width of average house outer wall (IRL) - approx. 34cm

Other Shots






Sunday, 12 October 2014

@Alan -- [Narrative] 11: The Day After Tomorrow (2004) - Freytag's Pyramid

Fig. 1: "The Day After Tomorrow" Poster. (2004)
This takes place between 0:03:00 – 0:21:45, as the audience are introduced to the film’s important characters.

Inciting Incident
This happens when paleoclimatologists Jack Hall and Jason Evans; NASA meteorologist, Janet Tokada; and head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Tom Gomez witness the destruction of Los Angeles via multiple large tornadoes on a live news broadcast.

Rising Action / Complications
01.   The first complication comes at the beginning of the movie when Jack, Frank Harris and Jason are drilling out ice cores from Antarctica’s Larsen B Ice Shelf. Jason is left to man the drill, soon after a large fissure quickly opens up of which Jason is saved from falling into.

In order to gather the core samples Jack jumps over the crevice. As the gap widens he tries to jump back over, saving the core samples and making it to the other side. Suddenly the ice caves in beneath his feet and he falls into the crevice, however he is saved by his ice axe, eventually being pulled to safety by his colleagues.  (0:03:00 – 0:06:00)

02.   In Tokyo’s Chiyoda District, a sudden very violent hailstorm with large hailstones brings the film’s first casualty as a man is hit directly on the head by a falling hailstone. (0:10:50 – 0:11:32)

03.   Multiple large tornadoes devastate Los Angeles at the same time, one of which destroys the Hollywood sign. (0:26:00 – 0:27:47)

04.   Three military helicopters fly into the eye of the storm, the helicopters quickly begin to freeze over and lose control. After the final helicopter crashes, one of the men tries to escape but he is quickly frozen in place as soon as he makes contact with the cold air.

05.   Heavy rainfall begins flooding the Manhattan streets, meanwhile a tsunami over two-thirds the total height of the Statue of Liberty approaches New York. At 0:46:52, the tsunami hits New York, flooding the city.  Some survivors including Jack’s son, Sam Hall and his friends are forced to quickly take refuge in the upper levels of the New York Public Library.

06.   Sam is forced to go to one of the Library’s flooded lower levels in order to access a payphone to call his father. Wading through waist deep water he successfully manages to contact his father, but nearly drowns beneath the rising floodwaters in the process. Jack tells Sam he will come for him. (0:54:15 – 0:57:00)

07.   Jack, Frank and Jason are forced to trek towards New York in snowshoes after their car breaks down when it hits an overturned lorry hidden within a snowdrift, while slightly north of Philadelphia. (1:15:00)

08.   Unbeknownst to them, Jack, Frank and Jason walk across the glass roof of a Galleria, while connected to each other and their sled via cord. Their heavy sled causes the glass to begin to crack until it shatters and the sled falls through, leading to the men being pulled towards the hole.

Saved by Jack’s ice axe, and with the sled cut loose, Jack and Jason attempt to pull up Frank, who is left hanging within the Galleria, however doing so causes the glass to begin to break further. In order to save his friends, Frank decides to cut his cord, falling to his death. (1:17:25 - 1:20:00)

09.   As they take refuge in the Library, Sam sees Laura shaking beneath multiple blankets and asks if she is okay, noticing that she looks like she has a fever, but she claims she’s fine and just can’t sleep. (1:22:20)

10.   The next morning, Laura does not wake up, having used a book to identify her symptoms they discover that she has a cut on her leg and has contracted blood poisoning through it. It is revealed that she needs a large dose of penicillin or broad-spectrum antibiotics to survive. (1:25:55)

11.   Via thermal data sent from astronauts aboard the International Space Station to Huston, Janet and Tom discover that the superstorm’s vortex is 50 miles in diameter while getting larger, and that it will hit New York within an hour. (1:27:50)

12.   As Jack and Jason trek towards New York in the snow, Jason passes out while attached to Jack. (1:28:15)

13.   Sam, Brian and J.D. leave the Library in search of medical supplies. They search a stranded ship, which had drifted in front of the Library at the mid point of the film, via the now frozen over flood waters.

During their search, three wolves climb onto the ship, and attracted by the noise, encounter the boys. Having gathered the supplies, the boys barely manage to escape, but not before a wolf bites into J.D.’s leg. (1:28:40 – 1:34:40)

This is reached between 1:35:10 - 1:37:22, as New York goes into a deep freeze as the superstorm’s eye reaches the city.  As this happens, the boys rush to escape being flash frozen by the freezing air, while dragging J.D. along in a life raft found on the ship; reaching the Library, Sam has to drag J.D. while Brian barely manages to close the doors to the fire heated “safe room” in time. To keep the fire burning they throw as many books into it as possible.

Meanwhile after reaching a Wendy’s while dragging an unconscious Jason along behind him, to escape the storm Jack drops Jason through a vent into the Wendy’s, barely avoiding the chill as he jumps through himself. He drags Jason through into the kitchen and slams closed the metal door. In an attempt to warm the room and stop the freeze reaching them, Jack quickly lights the burners on the kitchen’s stove.

Falling Action / Reversal
Jack, Jason, Sam and the others who took refuge in the Library’s safe room, survive the deep freeze. At 1:35:40 Jack reveals that the eye of the storm has passed, and that he and Jason are 40 miles from Manhattan. After reaching Staten Island in New York, Jack and Jason take refuge from the snowstorm in their tent, for the night.

The Reversal truly begins at 1:41:12 as an exterior shot of the Earth reveals the storms are dissipating, which is soon confirmed by an astronaut aboard the ISS. As the sun rises, Jack and Jason leave the tent and discover that the sky is clearing.

At 1:45:40 Jack is reunited with his son, it is also revealed that Laura has survived. The next scene takes place at the United States Embassy in Mexico. Tom informs the US President of Jack making it to New York, as well as the fact there are survivors. Via a televised broadcast the President addresses America, as helicopters fly to New York and rescue the survivors. The movie ends with a shot of the Earth with an almost cloudless sky.

Illustrations List
Fig 1. "The Day After Tomorrow" Poster. (2004) [Poster] At: (Accessed 12.10.14)

Friday, 10 October 2014

@Alan -- [Narrative] 10: The Descent (2005) - Archetypes

Fig. 1: "The Descent" Alternative Poster. (2005)

A year after Sarah, the main protagonist, loses her husband and her young daughter in a terrible car accident, her and her five friends go on a caving holiday in the Appalachian Mountains; as arranged by Juno. The six women enter the caves, only to be trapped within by a cave-in.

They soon discover that Juno had knowingly led them to an uncharted cave system; she explains that she wanted them to claim it and that she would name it after Sarah. Then begins their desperate search for a way out, all the while they are hunted by blind humanoid creatures, perfectly evolved for the darkness, which hunt by sound. Below are some of the main Archetypes depicted in the film…

Tragic / Reluctant /  Loner Hero

Sarah becomes the tragic hero as the result of the death of her husband and daughter. She is reluctant to go on an exploration in the Appalachian Mountains. She becomes the loner hero when she is broken off from the main group, and when in the end she is left the last one standing.

The Shadow

Carnivorous, they kill the girls one by one.

Juno’s dark side
When Juno accidentally stabs Beth in the throat with a climbing axe – thinking it is a creature behind her, she leaves her to die without even a sorry. She also had an affair with Sarah’s husband.

Sarah’s anger
After discovering from a dying Beth that Juno left her to die, Sarah is asked to put Beth out of her misery, of which she reluctantly obeys. Sarah also learns about Juno’s affair with her husband. When Juno and Sarah are the only ones left alive, Sarah reveals what she knows and stabs Juno through the leg with a climbing axe, incapacitating her.

The Threshold Guardian

The Cave
The cave’s claustrophobic composition as well as its many dangerous hazards provide constant obstacles as the girls struggle towards the exit; “guarding” its own exit via its hazards and the creatures within it.

Just as it seems Sarah is about to escape she falls down a hole and is knocked out. It seems that she then escapes the cave but it is revealed that she is simply hallucinating as she stares at a lit torch; the cave appears to have won.

In order to reach the cave exit the girls must get past them – or die. When the entrance to the cave is blocked off by the cave-in, the girls must attempt to find another exit – they discover that there is a way out via ancient cave paintings on the wall.  At the end of the movie, the creatures can be heard, leaving it open as to whether or not Sarah survives.

It is to be noted however that in the sequel she does manage to escape but in the end, on a forced return to the caves, she sacrifices herself in order to allow another woman (a mother) to escape; unfortunately this woman is then knocked out by a shovel and dropped back in the cave – in the end, the cave and the creatures win.

The Quest
This begins as the girls’ original intention of exploring the cave, but becomes their quest to survive the cave and escape from within.

The Herald
Juno takes the role of the Herald, due to the fact that the exploration of the cave system was her idea. Sarah’s first sight of the creatures heralds the challenges that lay ahead.

The Shape Shifter
Both Sarah and Juno fill this role. Sarah could be descried as beginning as a Beta, she is the tragic mother who is reluctant to go on an adventure but becomes strong and able to do what must be done, she becomes a leader; when she incapacitates Juno, she removes the alpha-female status from her, claiming it for herself.

Juno fills this role in that the audience is first led to believe she is caring, with good intentions at heart e.g. wanting to claim the cave and name it after Sarah; however she becomes the enemy when she leaves Beth for dead, and when it is revealed that she had an affair with the husband of the very women she supposedly cared for.

The Mentor
The mentor takes the form of the girls themselves, working together in order to escape the cave.

Illustrations List
Fig 1. "The Descent" Alternative Poster (2005) [Poster] At: 
(Accessed 10.10.14)

Thursday, 2 October 2014

[Narrative] 09: Bullet Point Ideas - The Chef...

Group 5: "In the kitchen" + "Every cloud has a silver lining"

Chef, Gordon Ramsay [source]

In order to avoid writing over-complex ideas, I have decided to limit them down to three bullet points.
  • Chef puts food in oven, falls asleep (/ reads book / leaves room).
  • Food burns, chaos ensues, chef tries to remedy the chaos (running for oven gloves etc.).
  • Curious, chef tastes burnt food, enjoys it, founds own restaurant.

Other ideas:
After a discussion with Alan, it is clear these ideas are weaker than the one above.
  • Chef is washing up.
  • Goes to walk away, slips over on suds.
  • Sees money hidden under nearby oven, takes it.

  • Chef is flipping pancake.
  • Flips pancake too high, drops on face while mouth open.
  • Bites into pancake, loves the taste.

  • Chef flipping pancake.
  • Flips pancake too high, it falls in pan of sauce.
  • Takes it out of pan, hesitantly takes a bite, loves the new taste.

[Narrative] 08: New Ideas - The Chef who Seared his Beard

Cartoon chef [source]
After a discussion with our tutor Alan, I have been informed that it is still a bit too complex for a 1 minute animation. I will use this and my previous animation as jumping off points for more economic, less complex ideas which also encompass "The kitchen" and "Every cloud has a silver lining." Below is the original idea...

The story begins in a restaurant kitchen in which the lead chef, a lonely, rather plump man with a long scraggly beard --of whom is some years past middle age-- is left to work alone, due to short staff. The hustle and bustle of this popular restaurant can be heard from beyond the kitchen doors.

Sweating as he does so, he attempts to juggle the incessant orders of food from the customers. He is surrounded by the various sounds of the kitchen, including violent bubbling as pots heat on the gas stoves, and the scream of a steaming kettle. Distracted, he bends down to open the stove, on top of which gas burners heat a foaming saucepan, brimming with food. 

Without his knowledge, his long beard has become entangled in the stove's burners, at least not until he gets the whiff of his own burning hair. He has at this point removed a tray of cooked fish from within the stove. Feeling the heat of the fast approaching fire upon his face, he reflexively throws the tray up into the air and rushes over to the sink; dunking his face beneath the water like a child frantically bobbing for apples. At this point the chef has lost all his facial hair.

Hearing the racket his manager enters the kitchen from the restaurant's main interior, seeing the mess they become lost for words and grow furious with the chef, pulling him out of the kitchen, in front of all the diners. 

As he exits the kitchen, the diners go silent, with the only sounds made being the synced dropping of steel cutlery onto china plates. Just before the manager can scald the chef, you hear feminine wolf whistles echo throughout the restaurant, aimed at the chef himself; whistles which originate not only from women but also from some of the men.

The chef's "new look" has taken many of the diners fancy. With a sudden burst of confidence, the chef faces the diners and unconsciously smooths back his hair and does a hesitant wave.

The animation can either end at this point, or fade into a photograph showing the now beardless, older chef standing outside own restaurant with a younger woman kissing him on the cheek. Another option for this end photo would be a picture of the older chef, wearing a suit standing outside a church holding hands with his elegant younger wife - suggesting they have just been married.

NOTE: The restaurant diners do not have to be 3D modeled, they can be entirely 2D. They don't even have to be seen, and can simply be suggested by a well crafted soundscape as well as a tactical use of camera angles. 

The final photograph would not require any 3D and can be created entirely within Photoshop, saving any need of modelling, texturing etc. for this shot. 

No characters necessarily have to talk during the animation, with the closest thing to it being the whoops and wolf whistles of the excited customers, as well as the shocked shout of the chef. Emotion can be shown by facial expressions and sounds such as grunts, groans and gasps.