Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Cinematic Spaces: Online Greenlight Review

Cinematic Spaces Online Green Light Review


  1. OGR 12/10/2012

    Afternoon George,

    Okay, well, I've got mixed feelings about your thumbnails and I get a sense that you're actually struggling to get beyond the idea of 'drawing a house', 'drawing some stairs' and 'drawing a room with blue wallpaper'. Obviously, your job IS to depict the spaces as described, but more importantly, your job is to create spaces that make their viewer understand the personality of the house itself.

    There are a number of things about your visualisation skills that are working against your ability to transmit the threat and menace of this building. The first is your choice of a 'hovering' non-specific point-of-view that is keeping everything in the mid-distance and very neutral in terms of evoking emotion or atmosphere. For example, Hill House is described as massive; it looms over Eleanor, rather like some huge cat would loom over a tiny sparrow; and if you put the point-of-view up high and floaty, then you're effectively shrinking Hill House - turning it into a doll's house, and making it the very opposite of what you need it to be:

    It's the difference between this:

    and this:

    You need to use extreme perspective and low point of view to ensure that Hill House feels as dominant and controlling as it needs to be. You need to make us 'feel' something about this house - not simply show it to us.

    This is as true of your other spaces - they are not 'normal' spaces, they are emotional ones - and your mid-distance non-human points-of-view are making it difficult to achieve the effects you've been challenged to create. The blue room is a great example of this; while the description of the room in the book makes it all seem largely normal, Eleanor experiences it as somehow horrible, somehow distorted and threatening. You will be unable to accomplish this unless you start thinking a bit more theatrically about this environment - and about using perspective dramatically: so for example:

    See how this composition feels voyeuristic - as if something is staring down from the ceiling - as a bird of prey might view a mouse. If you were to depict the view of the blue room from up in the eaves, you'd instantly get closer to communicating the menace that Eleanor experiences in that passage.

    I've already suggested that working in charcoal, for example, might encourage you to think more expressionistically about these spaces - and you DO need to reconsider what your job is here, George - it's to make us feel something about Hill House - to understand its menace and how it can effect its occupants in the way that it does.

  2. You need to think too about a more layered approach to composing your shots - i.e. that you make much better use of foreground, midground and background elements to produce spatial effects. Take a look at this image by Magritte:

    Obviously it's a visual trick, but notice how the simple act of putting one image plane behind another instantly creates the illusion of depth. This is known as occlusion, and in reconsidering the construction of your three scenes, I encourage you think of dynamic ways in which you can layer your environments to encourage this same effect.

    Finally, it does seem to me that you should also be considering a much more stylised approach to this whole venture - a more theatrical approach, in which less is used to evoke more: the difference between this:

    and this:

    Remember - this is concept art for an animation - not a live action film, so don't be afraid to think less obviously about how to express these environments.

    Put simply George, I want to see a bit more invention and a bit more determination from you to achieve something striking and original. You have your instructions - be bold.