Thursday, 18 November 2010

Productions and Outcomes


As visual communicators we can only be concerned with what is in the present and what was from the past. Although we can make something look like it’s from the future, or give a representation of what we think something might be communicated like in the future, we can’t get a true representation because it just hasn’t happened yet. People talk about this being a zeitgeist - the situation that somebody is in now will affect how they communicate their ideas and make their work, because it is influenced by the social, political, economical (everything) going on in the world around them.

The Dr. Who series shows how the time it was created affected it.

A video showing all the Doctor Who titles at once (
A major factor that influenced the making of the films is technology. As technology in film and media has progressed, the programmes have experimented more and been able to develop characters further due to C.G.I. Initially they would have worked mostly with puppetry and costume. I find the difference in the Doctor’s representation interesting as well.
The first and eleventh (most current) doctors.
 The first Doctor Who was a fairly old man who wore Victorian looking clothes and generally looked more mature. The most current Doctor seems much younger, more attractive and wears what seems more casual clothes in comparison. This is because they want to attract a very different audience as they are both from different times where the audience would have been completely different.


Communicating visually is highly dependant on the format you use to present your work. If a piece is going to be displayed on a sign facing the motorway, it needs to communicate everything you want it to in the short amount of time that someone is going to be able to see it for. However, in a newspaper, someone is more likely to spend more time reading an article on the page or near your piece, allowing you to consider different aspects of communication.
Loius Vuitton billboard
This Louis Vuitton billboard is simple but effective because it tells a viewer exactly what brand it is, shows them what they are selling, and hits them with their logo and name in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Another Louis Vuitton Advert
However this advert looks like it is most likely from a printed advert or perhaps even a screen grab from a moving image advert. Because people are more likely to spend more time looking at the advert, Louis Vuitton can include more complex ideas. They haven’t included their name (which suggests its from a moving image advert), but rely on the iconic branding of the logo on top of a darker brown to inform the viewers of what they are looking at.

They are both very effective because they are striking and fulfil their purpose of selling the Louis Vuitton brand. The simplicity of the billboard image works because it is very striking and bold. The scale on which it is produced would help make it more striking as well. The second image works well because it is selling the brand more subtly, drawing a viewers attention and making them be more involved in the idea of the image than they would with the billboard

Development of Ideas and Structure In Moving Image

Character Design

In stories there’s four aspects of character design; the Protagonist, who is the main character in a story. They do not have to necessarily be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but the audience tends to see the events of the film through their eyes; the Antagonist is gives conflict in the film. People, pets, items, robots whatever can be the antagonist; the Dialogue that the characters uses affects how we as an audience receive them - it allows us to understand the intentions of the character; Stereotype communicates a character to an audience in a relatively short amount of time.

Those aspects can be acknowledged in Mysterious Skin (2004), directed by Gregg Araki.

The characters Neil and Brian

Protagonist - Neil. A dark character, we are never comfortable liking him as a character though. Also     could be Brian who’s story we also follow.
Antagonist - Could be Coach, the character that abuses the two lads. It could also be Neil himself, who     introduces Brian to Coach so he can abuse him.
Dialogue - Brian speaks softly and never seems to raise his voice until the end, but Neil swears lots so     we can see the difference between the characters there.
Stereotype - All characters seem stereotyped, the paedophile is very paedophiley, the dark one is all dark and fucked up, the simple one wears glasses, simple.

An in depth analysis of the two characters.

Through Neil’s relationship with people that aren’t Brian it enforces the fact he’s a dick. Through Brian’s relationships with people that aren’t Neil it enforces the fact he’s a weird guy. It’s only through the interaction between these two characters that we see other sides to them.

Story Development: The Hero’s Journey

The Hero’s Journey is a theory explored by Joseph Campbell, who describes (in A Hero With a Thousand Faces - 1949) stories having a journey, and that journey being in three stages of rites of passage:

Although these three stages seem simple, they are built of a number of different sub-categories.

I have chosen to look at the 2009 film Avatar  as a way to explore the Hero’s journey theory.

Avatar poster
1.1) Call to Adventure.
    Jake Sully is called to Pandora.
1.2) Refusal of the Call.
    Dr. Grace Augustine is angry about having Sully work for her, asks for him to not.
1.3) Supernatural Aid.
    The Avatars are created
1.4) Crossing the First Threshold
    Sully gets attacked and lost on Pandora
1.5) The Belly of the Whale
    Night time on Pandora on his own.

2.1) The Road of Trials
    Following Neytiri through the forest.
2.2) The Meeting with the Goddess
    Meeting Neytiri
2.3) Temptation Away from the True Past
    Sully sells information about Pandora to the miners.
2.4) Atonement with the Father
    Sully reconciles with Neytiri’s father
2.5) Apothesis
    Sully tames The Great Leonopteryx
2.6) The Ultimate Boon
    Defeats the Humans

3.1) Refusal of the Return
    Decision to stay or go home
3.2) The magic flight
    Flee from Pandora’s human base
3.3) Rescue from without
    Neytiri saves Sully from suffocating
3.4) Crossing the Return Threshold
    Defeat Colonel Miles Quaritch
3.5) Master of the Two Worlds
    Sully gets turned into Na’vi by the Tree
3.6) Freedom to live
    Humans retreat, Na’vi can live in peace

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Reflective Visual Journal

Working By Hand...

Reflective Visual Journal. Visual. It makes sense that your journal is going to be creative - a visible record of what’s going on in your mind at that moment and what interests you. Noting down your thoughts, drawing the world around you, doodling and sketching your ideas allow you to creatively engage your mind and enables you to get a connection between your creativity, eyes and hand. An RVJ can be referred to as a sketchbook, visual diary or anything really, but as long as it shows a visual progression of your thoughts it’s the same thing.

As visual communicators we are concerned with just that. Journals with lots of writing defeat the purpose of developing a visual idea.
Leonardo da Vinci sketchbooks show how he recorded and developed character, position, composition and concept. (
Historical and contemporary practitioners all use sketchbooks to develop ideas. Things they recorded can then be taken and used in a different concept later on in their creative process.
Sketchbook pages by artist Craig Atkinson (
Craig Atkinson uses his visual journal to explore mark making and colour as well as recording people around him. It is the space he uses to experiment with technique but also a way to progress his ideas. Later on in the same sketchbook you see how the initial works (as above) have been developed and collected together into something that seems more developed:

RVJ development of Craig Atkinson (
The RVJ is a blank canvas that is personal to the artist working in them. They are usually not created for any other purpose than to inform the artist working in it, and as such it can include whatever you want. It does not need to be traditional mark making with a pencil or pen, it can be collage, print, rubbings or painted work.

Utilise Your Creative Brain…

Your brain has a creative part (the right), and an organisational part (the left). It is important to involve both parts of your brain when working in the Reflective Visual Journal as it allows you to develop your ideas in a much more productive way.

Being able to collect visual information in a free and expressive way whilst keeping to a general theme gives method and direction to the right part of the brain, which can then focus ideas and develop concepts much further.

Sketchbook by artists Domonique Goblet who is utilising the left and right parts of his brain (
In this exploration, Goblet focuses his ideas to typographical experiments and studies. (

Although you can see how Goblet uses a very ‘free’ and expressive way to explore the things he encounters, he keeps to a theme - type, peoples faces, or whatever theme he chooses to explore.

He uses annotation to clarify points and ideas which he feels are (or might be in the future) important. The annotation however is not the most important part, it is still the visual elements.

Making the brain bring together creativity and method, it allows for a much greater focus and usually more informed final outcomes.