Mise-en-Scene refers to the arrangement of all the design aspects of a film or theatre production.
For this blog post I’m going to be analysing the frame below from Guillermo Del Toro’s 2013 film Pacific Rim in terms of selected Mise-en-Scene features used.
In this scene, the type and clothes and colours play into showing characters’ motivations and alliances. Lathrop and Sutton (2015) write that any costume can become a prop, and I think in this scene that idea is demonstrated well.
I want to particularly focus on Mako’s outfit. Although she is wearing the same outfit as Raleigh, the colour matches Stacker’s. Black often represents formality and power, so while the she may have matched outfits with Raleigh (Tank top) which shows a forming relationship, the fact she still is wearing the same colours as Stacker shows her allegiance still lies with him and she is still thematically tied to him
Matching the costumes also works to link the characters and motives together. Not only does the main plot of the movie start in this scene, but the character’s relationships start to link and become more positive. By having them all be connected by their outfits the audience starts to see the characters as a conjoined unit and see that their actions are now connected.
This shot is framed in a way that demonstrates status as well as the tense atmosphere of the scene.
The frame is also stretched to accommodate Stacker and makes the other characters almost look off centre. By having him a head higher than the other two characters, along with him being the only character to comfortably show his full body in the scene shows his power and high status. This also put the characters in a diagonal line going left to right across the scene, which i really like the composition of.
The horizontal lines of the pipes and steps also frame Stacker, ensuring that even though he is the smallest figure in the frame the audience is still drawn to him and aware of his importance.
The pipes and steps being on the edge of the frame also helps make the scene look smaller. This scene is part of a last-ditch attempt by all the characters to get their plan to work, so by making the room dark, highlighting the small size of the room and having the camera’s POV look over the shoulder of one characters helps highlight and increase the emotional and tense nature of the scene.
Lathrop, G and Sutton, D.O (2015) Elements Of Mise En Scene. Abstract (Retrieved from http://www.cantonschools.org/ via wayback machine) p2
Pacific Rim (2013) [Film] Directed by GUILLERMO DEL TORO. USA: Warner Bros.
In the week four lesson I realized my fruit models had a lot of issues and was told several ways to correct this, such as having the shapes not be symmetrical, paying more attention to the references, and making them less spherical.
Here are my fruit pieces.
I’ve worked a lot on the fruit so I think I’m going to look at the antlers and wine bottles, as well as the building project.
Working into my Queen Elizabeth character design more I decided to start adding weightlifting poses into my prep work.
I did three quick sketches of basic ideas I had without referencing-
I was mostly looking at how I wanted to stretch the body and how I was going to bend the legs with such a large skirt.
I then looked at a lot of references of female Olympic weightlifters-
I realized most of them lifted while squatting, so in my movie I might make that the first sequence before making her stand up at the end. I drew the image on the bottom right, paying attention to arm, leg and body stretch. It’s very sketchy but found it really useful to do
I think I should think about storyboarding the piece next before I do anymore prep work as I need to start working on things that will be in the actual animation
For project 1 we were set the task of designing a creature based on a written description. I chose Frankenstein’s monster and this is the extract I had to work with-
As an 8-foot-tall (2.4 m), hideously ugly creation, with translucent yellowish skin pulled so taut over the body that it “barely disguised the workings of the arteries and muscles underneath”; watery, glowing eyes, flowing black hair, black lips, and prominent white teeth. The monster attempts to integrate himself into human social patterns, but is shunned by all who see him. This compels him to seek revenge against his creator.
I did two pages of work based on this without looking at references-
I wasn’t too impressed with this so I decided to see how the monster is represented in pop culture and see what features from the book are used in the designs-
From this I had a better idea of what i liked and wanted to work into my design.
I then created several body shapes using different basic shapes as the basis for each body part, like we had been doing in 2D animation.
I like design 6 the best as it is less human than others and will work well with Maya.
I need to work into the designs more and do more development but I have a good starting part for the project.
In 1004 we were set a task involving working from reference images to create an original design and also breaking down objects into simple 3D shapes.
Using what we learnt in the classwork we were set the task of designing a robot.
Reference images used. I broke the robots down into shapes and wrote down what features I liked.
I started with a few pages of shapes I liked, then when I was sure what overall style I wanted I started fitting them together. I really liked the hospital and security drone robots I looked at so I wanted a design that combined the two, along with it being cute. I realized halfway through that it looked abit like a penguin so I made the arms more flipper like and gave it the same range of movement as a penguin.
It’s main purpose is to move about quickly so I made it fly instead of walk so it could avoid people quickly and the lack of feet also means it wouldn’t track dirt around.
I wasn’t sure how to effectively move the head so I decided just the eye screen would move giving it a larger field of vision. I made the yes extra large and gave it little circle ears to make it extra cute.
I also added useful features like patient information on its chest and scanners in its eyes.
Our next task was to use what we learnt from the sphere rendering to render the robot in Photoshop-
I really enjoyed this. It was a fun challenge and I got to replicate lots of textures using different techniques like tone or brush size.
For the black areas I copied the texture of a flat screen TV and for the robot body I looked at iPhone and hard drive cases to get a plasticy effect.
I liked it with or without the background.
I found it hard to replicate the LED parts on the shoulders but it’s something I can concentrate on improving.
In the second Animation Production lesson we looked at rendering in Photoshop.
The main aims were to use brush size, pen pressure and subtle changes in colour to successfully render a black and white image of a sphere.
It was really useful as it helped with how I look at tone and what makes a shape look 3D. It was also interesting seeing how brush size and pressure made a difference and helped me remember some of the shortcuts we had been taught last lesson.
Here’s my finished first attempt
I’m really happy with this. It was fun working with different tone limits- dark for the shadows and light for the left of the ball. It was also interesting to learn new things like contact shadows and to work without using pure white or black except in very limit amounts.
For homework we had to render another sphere. The image below isn’t finished but I’ve included it because it almost looks like a marble, I think it’s a good example of how brush size and colour can change the texture so much.
For the week four lesson I decided to look at walk cycles.
I read through Richard Williams Animator’s Survival Guide for how to break down the movement but I found his example very complex. I did however use his thirds breakdown for which frames to put the key frames on.
I instead found a more cartoon like image on google and drew it out-
This helped with understanding the arc of each body part
I also animated this cycle-
It was a bit jumpy and I wasn’t too happy with the hand movement so I didn’t neaten it.
As I understood the basic movements I looked again at the Richard William’s version, using these two reference images
This example had much longer limbs so it was easier to create arcs and I also had more room to work with. In this example I spent longer on each frame and had a sketch layer as well as a neat layer. I also made the back limbs solid colour to better differentiate between the two.
The loop of the gif doesn’t really work for this cycle
I don’t think it’s perfect yet, I’m not sure if it’s the frame rate or how I exported it but I want to work into it more. I do think it’s a good second try.