Monday, 9 November 2009

The First Men in the Moon... Environment 2 Concept Art

Writing to come... just developing some of my sketches in the digital painting stage...


  1. Interim Online Review - Unit 2 : Space 10/11/09

    Hi Ethan,

    It's clear that you've upped the ante regarding your involvement with the blog; I'm liking the comprehensive approach; however, there is still an aspect missing from your work - and it's the same aspect that was largely missing from your previous submission and I urge you to address it. The brief asks you, as part of the blog, to evidence research into the source material - when it was written, its themes and meanings etc., its various adaptations etc; this isn't simply to make work for you, but rather to ensure that your approach to designing for the book is literate - that you are very aware of the world you're working in. I see that you're beginning to design the machines themselves - this is good - but from where are you deriving the justification and rationale for the designs of the machines? For instance, the selenites are insect-like - wouldn't their form, their physicality have a bearing on the shape and manufacture of their technologies? Wouldn't the machinery derive from their culture? This is the argument for 'extended logic' and it's true of most production designers - they have to identify a set of rules by which to begin their design process - the do's and don'ts. So, Ethan, what is your rationale for the design of these environments? Where is your wider research into the hives of insects, for instance? (Aliens would be a good place to start, perhaps?). And - as importantly, what kind of science fiction are you making? Alien gets its reputation from the fact that it is not pulp - it is 'real world', with realistic characters in a realistic workplace; but if you check out the film version of The First Men in the Moon, you'll see that it's much 'lighter' in tone - much more of a boy's own adventure.

    So - yes, you're creative development is being archived, but your rationate - your design ideas - are not yet being articulated. I think there's a more general point to be made here - and to do so, I'm going to quote something you wrote in an earlier post;

    "I prefer to watch and admire great films insted of reading into them, becaause i feel it starts to ruin the effect of a film..."

    This, Ethan, is a nonsense of a statement and position you cannot maintain; it is now your principle responsibility to be able to 'read' into narratives and their construction; if you ever want to make your own work succeed, you've got to engage with culture/images/stories/ideas at this most basic level; let me be very clear for you; all narratives are constructed; they are based on ideas; those ideas drive and propel narratives into the popular consciousness; why is it, do you think, that Alien is so popular - even now? Is it because it is about a monster loose on a spaceship (there have been loads of similar movies before and since), or is it because it is meaningful?


    Meanwhile, please see second comment for general advice re. the written assignment

  2. Written Assignment stuff…

    Some general structural advice regarding framing your essay in the more general context of ‘production design’ – by way of introduction to your specific case-study (i.e. the movie or game of choice), you’ll need to demonstrate your understanding of the purpose of production design/designers in enshrining certain ‘narrative values’ within the look of the production; you should discuss the general aims/objectives/definitions of production design – see below:

    “Before designing anything, the designer develops a "design concept," an overarching metaphor for the film's appearance that governs individual choices. This "concept" may or may not be established in conjunction with the director. Once settled upon, however, it structures all decisions made, helping the art staff to give an individual film visual distinction.”
    Read more:

    You’ll find alternative definitions that you may want to include, but your following analysis of your chosen exemplar should be an in-depth discussion of that ‘overarching metaphor’ that organizes all the various components of the production’s design; you need to be looking for recurring motifs, colour values, use of space, set-design etc. that, collectively, create ‘the look’ and be able to talk insightfully about the narrative contribution of ‘the look’ – i.e. – how does it assist in the audience’s understanding of the narrative or thematic framework.
    IMPORTANT; try and think of your written assignments as ‘complete worlds’ – i.e., that they must contain all information necessary for your reader to follow your discussion coherently. Never presume prior knowledge on the behalf of your reader; do not, for instance, presume that your reader understands or is familiar with ‘Production Design’ – you always need to define your terms WITHIN the essay; likewise with films and games; give their release date, their director etc. Use footnotes to give definitions or information that would otherwise interrupt flow of argument; for instance, if you don’t want to pause rhythm of sentence by giving reader additional information about a particular artist or designer, use a footnote to put this data into the ‘margins’ of the discussion. On Word, goto to Insert and then ‘Footnote’ to install footnote at bottom of page.

    AVOID DESCRIPTION – obviously, you will need to give some plot details to contextualise the scenes you want to discuss, but I don’t want a blow-by-blow account of the game/film; give a brief précis and get on with the ANALYSIS.

    Below is a list of useful websites; use them in addition to other sources of reference (books, docs, making ofs) to SUPPORT your observations; you need to gather EVIDENCE to corroborate with your analysis. GENERIC observations (i.e. ‘stating the bloody obvious’) are to be avoided at all costs. Tell me something I DON’T know!


    The gloves are coming off; the brief asks you to produce 1,500 words… and that’s what I want; shortfall assignments will be penalized accordingly – or failed.

    Good Luck! ☺

  3. Hey, cheers for the feedback Phil i will edfinitely take everything into consideration. I see where you're coming from in terms of narrative and i understand the importance of it within the film world. it isn't neccessarily that i don't lok into the deeper meanings, i was just saying that sometimes i people look into things a lot deeper than i do, for instance the whole vagina dentata theory. Sometimes i admire film more from its surface than what lies beneath but i will always understand the meaning and point behind the narrative.