New Narratives – 30 Second Animation – The Curtain And Poster

Due to my car letting me down and the gear box going in it, me and Hollie could not attend the meet up at Rebecca’s house to do curtain experimentation although they kept me posted and shown me the notes to said experiments.

From what we discussed on facebook it is apparent we are now going with the inspired scene from the icon horror film “psycho” shower curtain scene of a woman being murdered abruptly in the middle of a clean.

To think this scared the living day lights out of people at one point in time.

Rebecca had found a really good video on the breakdown of events in the scene from the composition, rule of thirds and camera set up along with music to see what made this visual so worthy even in todays time!

Highlighting different aspects of cinematography and editing of one of the most famous example of flash-cuts and excellent camera work. It emerges a very different style from Hitchcock’s one: rumors (never confirmed) said that the scene was directed by Saul Bass. He just storyboarded it but his modernist influence is evident.

Lorenzo Gerbi

When i met up with the group again the following day it was apparent Lorna was bumping into problems with her curtain tests so i was assigned to help her out whilst the others did their parts for the animation, at first it was rather fidgety trying to get the character to position at the correct place to drop the curtain over her but in the end we got there, the next problem was that the curtain was not making it to Lumen so we have to extend the time-slider to more frames so as the planes would drop on her on time and enough so that she could be engulfed. *I never noticed that Lorna had make a blooper reel of some of the biggest fails so i updated this section so it could also be in my blog!

I felt good that i had a basic understanding of the Ncloth function on Maya as Lorna was experiencing some trouble with it, we sat together tweaking the settings such as dampness of the planes so as it would stick to Lumen but still have that fabric like effect that a curtain should have but a digress, we could not get the feeling of a thin paper curtain like you would see in a hospital ward so we reached out for Alecs help, he pulled us through and we got it in the end but hey, look more experiments!

Once we got the curtain sorted Lorna went ahead to do the pose to pose sections of the animation that consist of Lumen falling over whilst entangling herself in the curtain sheet, i would now go on to do my part of the little things in the room such as the poster Cassie and Rebecca wanted so i will now leave Lorna to it unless she needs any help~

Poster Visual Research –

I wanted to take in key posed i felt that would be used in the poster and what better way to get those solid poses? By getting Rebecca to post for the camera of course!


Cassie had mentioned to think of Lumen as the guy infront then my poster being the lady in the back of this reference picture, so the next question is, what pose is Lumen in?

Very awkward looking I see, we had agreed that the poster will be something of a health and safety poster enforcing the health and safety of washing hands, so i needed to have a look into some posters before creating my version for the scene~

I really like how alot of these poster straight up just tell the people who read their designs to wash their hands, honestly i dont know why people use restrooms without washing after, ewww, i think for my design that i will go with the enforcing wash your hands rather than the generic please wash you hands bull.


Heres my design for the scene, i decided to go away with the “wash you hands” in the end and instead go toward a hand sanitizer as those are commonly seen in a ward and not a sink, so i just thought it would make more sense to use a sanitizer instead and to my relieve the group had agreed on this.

They wondered if i could make the person in the poster seem more Conánn so i did an alternative….


BOOM….*drops mic


New Narratives – 30 Second Animation – Lighting And Ambient Occlusion

Since i did not work on the lighting, here is the appropriate blog to read on the progress that Lorna has written.

Moving on to the lighting issue,

We needed a way to convey the showing of objects in the dark, we discussed how x-ray vision could be implicated but i thought it would be weird for a skeleton to be doing its business around a ward~

We then looking into night vision, a very scary but inspiring source would be Outlast, a survival horror game that the player controls helpless Miles Upshur, a reporter with a night vision camera that needs to find a way to escape from the tormenting asylum full of crazed individuals.

In the remote mountains of Colorado, horrors wait inside Mount Massive Asylum. A long-abandoned home for the mentally ill, recently re-opened by the “research and charity” branch of the transnational Murkoff Corporation, has been operating in strict secrecy… until now.

Acting on a tip from an inside source, independent journalist Miles Upshur breaks into the facility, and what he discovers walks a terrifying line being science and religion, nature and something else entirely. Once inside, his only hope of escape lies with the terrible truth at the heart of Mount Massive.

As Waylon Park, the whistleblower who emailed Miles Upshur, you’ll witness psycho killers and asylum security face off as all hell truly breaks loose. Survive, and you may just have a chance to expose the terrible secrets at the heart of Mount Massive and unmask the true face of the Murkoff Corporation for all the world to see.

I think the Outlast franchise is perfect for the lighting of the objects when the room is pitch dark although i think we are going to go with the style of another indie horror game called Lurking, a game that is somewhat like a sonar radar but for every vibration that is made in the level a ripple on the ground is generate that can attract unwanted company! Here is a video walk through of my favourite YouTuber, Markiplier.

they’re watching you from the darkness…
they’re listening to you from the silence…
they will find you… -Markiplier

A YouTuber by the name of Will Rose was mucking around with his camera experimenting with the thermal effects on his camera, i felt this was a great find by the group and i think we will be going with this sort of style for the animation as it is very much achievable at this point because if we cannot make the effect on Maya then all we have to do is upload to after effects then apply a layer effect over the rendered scene to make this style.

It is also used in the police to catch people who have maybe out run a car or on foot officer, usually its common to see these in the TV shows were the helicopters fly over the radius area the criminal has disappeared then spotted by the air police and taken down by a on foot officer with a hound, pretty cool no?

Ambient Occlusion –

What is it?

Ambient occlusion allows you to simulate the soft shadows that occur in the cracks and crevices of your 3D objects when indirect lighting is cast out onto your scene. The soft shadows that are created from ambient occlusion can help to define the separation between objects in your scene and add another level of realism to your render. –Digital Tutors 

It is more commonly seen in video games and half of the time we don’t know it!

How Is It Done?

Using the instructables website to look into how the Ambien Occlusion is done i tried to follow this tutorial although I could not get anywhere as I like to see the exact process that is used when learning how to do that exact technique.

I decided to use this video by Jofftech on YouTube to do my Ambient Occlusion, this proofed alot easier on me as I could follow exactly what to do to make the render work for me, when I achieved the right setting for the occlusion I had shown my team mates, they seemly liked it at first though once given feedback from one of the lecture we decided that it needed some extra tweaking because we felt it had too much noise (grain) and that needed to look smoother, here are the test results on a chair and our character model!


Ambient Occlusion on my chair animation for the scene.


When I look back to character design week when Hollie produced that beautiful piece of work of Lumen in a 3D spin view, I wanted to do a angular reference sheet of Lumen in her rendered state, I personally feel this gives the character more of a professional appeal compared to her in a poly view with no sort of Occlusion added, also makes her that bit more polished for others observing her.

Sound Update –

Lorna and Cassie have been working their butts off to get the sound to be better quality for the next presentation, i had offered to lend a hand but they seemed perfectly happy working on that between each other so i decided to work toward my next task which was the poster that will appear in a shot with Lumen a the end of the short.

You can revise out sound below!

Metronomes put me in a trance like state oddly… is that weird?

If you wish to read more into the sound of our project, check our this blog post!

New Narratives – 30 Second Animation – Modelling And Animatic

Modelling The Certain For The Scene-

For our scene tasks, i was assigned the job of modelling the curtain for the room and im not gonna lie i was baffled on how i could achieve this so i took to the internet for references and tutorials on how i could make a curtain on Auto Desk Maya 2016.

I would had used this although the version of maya was out dated and i could not navigate correctly to nail the feel of this curtain but listening in it seems a curtain modelled on maya consists of planes and the use of the FX/Dynamics tool called Ncloth which will essentially make a flowing effect when the object is turned into a live object.

Same principle, making curtains from planes then altering the shape through the vertex window then creating a locator plane to keep the curtain in place, then creating your Ncloth and selecting the gravity option then finally make the object live to achieve the drape effect.

This was the most coherient tutorial on how to make a curtain on Maya so i decided to follow the commentator whilst making my own curtain, again like the the other tutorials he began with planes then altered the shape, made into an Ncloth although this time around the live object tool was not used as the modeller had a different technique to make pull back curtains were as our group wanted curtains that hang on a railing. I followed the tutorial to the very ending and i honestly found this very helpful as i could not get in touch with a tutor as it was the weekend (not that they would not answer but more the fact i find it rude to interrupt their free time)

I was quite proud of my attempt of creating the curtain as it was rather daunting but nevertheless i got through it with the help of the YouTube tutorials, Cassie felt she could had made the curtain look better so i allowed her to have the file to play with and here is her attempt below:



Cassies version is to the left, i felt her version would benefit us more as you can delete the history of the object thus retaining its shape unlike my file which would go back to its normal stiff ridged self. Good job cass!

Animatic –

For our narrative, sound is the key player to tell the story so we decided as a group that the animation will be animated mostly in dark lighting so naturally the sound is going to tell us the in-between sections when we cannot see what is happening, we also discussed the use of music for the animation and came to the conclusion that the animation would probably be better without the use of music in the background as it would take away from the potential voice acting and sound effects, i feel this is a smart idea as too much sound in the piece will just distract the audience from the most important part, the narrative. We watched a animation short called “Alarm” that consists of a man’s morning routine but more importantly the key focus of the short was the alarm that is highlighted from the very beginning.

Watch more Asian Short Films at

The story is about a salaryman living in a single apartment. But he has a problem getting up early in the morning. He would rather die than wake up early. He decides to set many alarm clocks everywhere in his apartment so he can get to work on time. The next morning, after struggling with his alarm clocks, he barely finishes preparing for work.




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With me being put into the group mid way through production, i was not informed but Hollie had infact made a storyboard animatic on the animation so we pretty much had a base for the animatic that just needed extra scenes or drawings added to give more detail.


This version seems short and sweet, although i know we have new ideas to improve and get the narrative through more clearly for the audience that will be watching, that audience being our classmates and lectures.

However over the past couple of weeks our animatic to help us with camera shots and timing of the sounds, as well as how that sound works, has changed greatly over the past couple of weeks. Our first anamatic was based of Hollies originally storyboard created which we added more frames and movement to. In this version we tried to avoid using dialogue as we though this again would distract from what was actually happening in the scene.

“However the reason why this animatic did not work was because what was happening was not very clear. Although we have that gollum light shot of her going for the light bulb which worked well, how she gets there is not clear as well as the space. Further more the white screen which shows after she falls was only more confusing as to what was happening. We needed more sound effects and more information in the scene to make it work as an effective and fluid story line.”

Lornas Blog

I took this extract from Lornas blog as it some up the problems with the animatic and since I was not in the team for that feedback I felt it was appropriate to have the comments from an original team mate to back up my comments on the animatic above.

Cassies drawing of Lumen.

In the newer version of our animatic we attempted a version which had we removed most of the dialogue as we had a feeling that it would pull away from the narrative of what was happening in the scene but i was informed that the main reason the animatic storyboard did not work out as well last time was because the story was not clear, no objective from A to B as the saying goes.

This our improved version of the animatic, i done the dark scene with the eyes looking around the room then find its “objective”. I took inspiration from Scooby Doo’s in the dark scenes that consist of that iconic bobbing motion with exaggerated emotion in the eyes movement.

Although from feedback the animatic needed more improvements to the story, we got help with this when Cassie introduced the Monty Python series, a over exaggerate comedic sketch group, i loved Monty Python and we wanted to take in as much inspiration as possible from their skits. One thing i came to realise about the Monty Python skits is that they also use music as their main advantage to tell the audience their narrative despite there not being a very complex one to begin with. We all took a keen interest in the Coconuts short which consists of the men running about with horses that are not actually there, its bloody gold! Cassie also has the final rip off album on her computer that has the audio played the scenes of Monty Python skits and the best part is that we could understand what was happening in the scene even without listening!

Micheal had also mentioned that day that the sound always came first before animation, i kind of knew of this concept before being told as i would personally find it hard to animate without a structured audio file.

We also want to take on from our lecture slides that not all dialogue has to be spoken out directly and more so internally thought by the character, this would save us time and not have to worry about lip syncing and what not, we have not even covered lip syncing yet in class so i would not feel comfortable tackling this until we get the correct guide on how to perfect that technique. Alot of movies actually use this as a chance to tell the story in more depth just like this scene from scrubs which always relates to me…

I believe cassie found this video whilst doing our individual research that tell us in detail on how comedy can be told though the use of camera angle/shot which in turn exaggerates the humour in a certain scene; you can watch this video that tells us in more detail below!

If you love visual comedy, you gotta love Edgar Wright, one of the few filmmakers who is consistently finding humor through framing, camera movement, editing, goofy sound effects and music. This is an analysis and appreciation of one of our finest comedic voices.

For educational purposes only. You can donate to support the channel at

And follow me here:

For further reading/viewing, I highly recommend
David Bordwell’s essay on funny framings:…
And David Chen’s video essay on Wright’s use of close-ups:
And Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal:…

Sex Bob-omb – We Are Sex Bob-omb
Primal Scream – Loaded
Tubthumper – Kick Out the Jams
Rob Viktum- 4/17/75
Pete Woodhead & Daniel Mudford – You’ve Got Red on You / Shaun of the Dead Suite
DJ Shadow – Why Hip Hop Sucks in ’96

Help us caption & translate this video!

We then decided to re make the animatic, this version is defiantly better as the audience was able to get a better understanding of what was happening throughout the scenes with internal dialogue.Despite these changed we feel we could push on a little more and achieve something more comprehend able that the audience can truly understand

Our final animatic, we await feedback on this version.

Feedback On Presentation –

Here you can view our recent presentation slides. 

Feedback Notes –

  • that the objects are fine and well modelled.

  • that the lighting is along the right tracks but does need work.

  • that the concepts for this, especially Hollies final concept for the character works really well and is very predominate.

  • that character design is not shown as well in the model.

  • that ambient occlusion could do with more work to convey that scene in the dark better.

  • to make more sense of why the objects are glowing, did the bulb going out give her such power, that she absorbed the electricity of it and so cannot control it?

  • that the room needs to be much bigger to establish the scene much better, that we should pan down a long hospital room in the opening shot and that way it would show it was a hospital much better.




New Narratives -30 Second Animation – Character Design

Today i was moved to a new team, not completely sure i am okay with the decisions made to our group breaking up although that is life, gotta nut up and move on as the saying goes.

After being caught up by my new team mates, Cassie, Lorna, Rebecca and Hollie it seems I am now working on a Narrative that consists of a women in hospital named “lumen” or “Dolly” that is seemly obsessed with a light bulb but ends up getting in trouble by the nurse that works in the hospital.

It turns out that this is based of a true story that Cassies mother was in hospital and whilst one of the nights that she was staying over night there was an electrical error with one the the bulbs which in turn caused “Dolly” to attempt to fix it but instead got caught by the Nurse

Personally i had my concerns when hearing our character was going to be humanoid despite her being in a bed for most of it although seeing as im new to the group i am not going to throw opinions out whenever i have not heard a full in depth version of what the narrative was going to be of initially but after Rebecca had filled me in everything was fine

I found this video so enlightening to watch as it gave me that sense of insight on how the narrative was going to work and how the character of the animation will take form, the group already has a base design of her although it would not hurt if I decided to implicate some of my style into the design as i want to be apart of the group as much as possible!

Before getting stuck into developing the character further we needed to get some visual inspiration to get a general charisma that the character will give off to the audience, so with that we discussed that the best research will be characters with glasses seeing as Cassies mother wears them herself, it was at that point i suggested to the group that we made the characters facial expressions speak through her glass similar to that of Cartoon Networks Deters laboratory.

Dexter’s Laboratory was probably one of my earliest childhood television shows, it has alot of slapstick humour and generally made the family chuckle from time to time. The most notable feature of dexter was his glasses, they portrayed his emotion, his sadness, his smug attitude when beating his rivals with science! I felt we could implicate this into our characters expressions.

After watching the video and analysing cassies mothers traits we began to doodle on the whiteboards of potential designs we could go with for the final draft of Lumen, Rebecca came up with the name Lumen which is short for luminescence (Perks of having a science student in the group!), we began to talk about how the character could possibly look more geometric as it would make modelling alot easier in the next week to come – personally i felt the character being humanoid despite have nubs as arms and legs would be too complex for our animation, i could literally have had a cylinder with a Lumen head and achieve the same effect we are going for but a digress, i am still new to the group and will not forward such suggestions as Lumen is already set on the sand.

Further look into characters what have glasses, my personal favourite would have to be Daria as she is a cold brutally honest woman, to speak… Here is some footage of her below, enjoy!

Also College Humour was going to make a live action movie of Daria starring Aubrey Plaza, one of my favourite actresses! Really wish this became reality…

Daria Morgendorffer returns to Lawndale and discovers her shallow classmates have grown into shallow adults.

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With us gathering a general idea of what aesthetic we want for Lumen it seems that Carl from Disneys UP (2009) and Edna from Pixars Incredibles (2004). I have to admit i loved Edna from The Incredibles, she had such a charisma not many characters have in the pixar universe and that what i love the most about her! The cunning grin, the sassy attitude, what is there not to love about wee Edna?

Ednas moments in The Incredibles (2004)

When we talk about the character looking like a geometric shape at heart i decided to look further into Cartoon Networks character designs, they are compiled of geometric characters –

Although out of all these characters I felt Madam Foster striked the most interest for me, she is very geometric in design.

Pretty much a square with a circle and added nubs as legs and arms, this is pretty much the style we are wanting to go with Lumen for our animation although the others edged toward the Disney style more but being the rebel teenager i am (but you’re 20) I decided to go with this simplified style of drawing which in turn will hopefully make producing art of Lumen relatively quick (and painless)

Cassies Color Palettes 


Lornas Color Scheme to apparal and glasses design

Once getting a good look into these design templates, we went ahead and drew Lumen in all her pride then came back to each other the next day to show what we had achieved, i loved everyone’s efforts! We decided that Lumen would be conveyed as a grumpy, elder woman that takes no nonsense from no one!

Design Drawings! –

Lornas Drawing
Rebeccas Drawing on size
Hollies 3D View of Lumen
Hollies design of animal Lumen
11053878_842385175873833_8900087053815646233_o (1)
Sketch by me
Sketch by me
Sketch by me
Final Design drawing of Lumen
Attempting Kirtsins style of drawing
Concepts with geometric shapes


Image And Data Visualization – Week 12 – The Art Of Rendering In Animation

Today’s lecture is based on “The Art Of Rendering”

“Rendering is an art of trying to cheat compromises.” – FXguide Rendering Article

To be honest, when viewing this image for the first time i was amazed at the sheer detail that was involved, probably simplistic in the world of animation although truly breath taking in my eyes.

We were then told by Conánn about render farming  and how various software can be used to quicken the process of rendering though time can cost money with render farming software’s. There is a program called, Rebus Render Farm, how this program would work on the likes of my current low grade laptop is unknown,

(probably still too slow, good thing i currently ordered a new computer tower that will in hope render that little bit faster).

How RebusFarm works. – Rebus-Farm YouTube Channel

What if Toy Story 1 was rendered in 2011 rather than 1995?

I came across an interesting read on “”, one of the people that had worked on Toy Story had answered the curious question of “what if Toy Story 1 was rendered in 2011 rather than 1995?” and the result was pretty mind blowing to think that the process of modern rendering took this movie that rendered in months back in 1995 to only days in 2011! *Mind Blown* Our technology is ever advancing~

Craig Good‘s answer to the looming question – 

“Toy Story was originally rendered back in 1995, and to our best estimate probably had frame render times which averaged in the range of 4 hours or so. When we went to rerender it, we obviously didn’t want to be forced to use the same kinds of machines that we used back in 1995, so we made an effort to port the software that we used forward to more modern machines. In testing, we discovered that some minor incompatibilities that had crept into RenderMan since 1995 made it better to target an intermediate version of RenderMan, notably, version 12.5. Similarly, menv had gone from its original architecture to one based entirely upon hooks. (“Hooks” were a way of including models and such in a shot via reference, and replaced a C-like #include/function call paradigm.) We reverted to the last version of menv that was still capable of loading the original models, which was version 22.  The rendering provided an interesting test of Moore’s Law. Well, not the real Moore’s law, but the one that says that computing power doubles every 18 months. In 15 years, we’d get 10 doublings, which would make modern computers 1000x faster. Our original toy story frames were averaging four hours, which is 240 minutes, so we might naively expect that we could render frames in just 15 seconds. We didn’t really achieve that: our average render times were probably on the order of 2-4 minutes per frame (the original productions weren’t instrumented to keep accurate statistics on rendertime, and we never bothered to really reinstrument them to do so.) The renders were fast enough that most of Toy Story was rerendered in “render farm white space”, we never had any sizeable backlog of work queued on the farm.  TS2 was substantially more complex: we averaged rendertimes of maybe 20-30 minutes per frame, with some especially difficult scenes taking maybe 40 minutes.” – Craig Good

RenderMan In Pixar Animation-

Taken from Fxguide article.

I particularly love the process of rendering out a scene, one of the earliest examples i remember as a child was how long it took to render ONE frame from Pixars Toy Story which took anything from forty-five minutes to three hours PER FRAME, this is crazy and it would had been crucial not to make a mistake as im sure the process had to be repeated if one thing went wrong during production.

Toy Story 3 scene design –

Four images above rightfully belong to Disney Pixar.

Composition In CG Renders –

Kshitij Khanna 2015 Show-reel:

A compilation of my work done at ‘The Mill’ (NY).
(Latest as of Jan 2015)

It’s Art Magazine Feature:
Visual FX Hub :
3DVF feature :
CGBros :
Strictly Showreels :
Rocketstock feature :

[00:0000:27] – Anomaly
[00:2700:32] – Bingle ‘Chimpfall’
[00:3200:55] – Penny Dreadful Promo
[00:5501:02] – Budweiser ‘Collective Energy’
[01:0201:09] – Nissan ‘Winter Warrior’
[01:0901:14] – Chevrolet ‘Stingray Showdown’
[01:1401:15] – Playstation ‘Experience More Together’
[01:1501:26] – Bingle ‘Chimpfall’
[01:2601:27] – Playstation ‘Experience More Together’
[01:2701:42] – Lockheed Martin ‘Manifesto’
[01:4201:46] – Chevrolet ‘Stingray Showdown’
[01:4601:48] – Playstation ‘Experience More Together’
[01:4801:56] – Nissan ‘Winter Warrior’
[01:5601:58] – FIFA ‘Feel The Game’
[01:5801:58] – Chevrolet ‘Stingray Showdown’
[01:5802:00] – FIFA ‘Feel The Game’
[02:0002:04] – Anomaly

Music : ‘Good Evening Mr. Hitchcock’ – Gramatik

Taken from Vimeo 

Karol Kolodzinski 2014 Show-reel:

A collection of work from recent years done at Ars Thanea
Here you can watch the Compositing Breakdown Reel:

Taken from Vimeo

Correctly Setting Up A Linear Workflow In Maya –


View this tutorial on Cgtuts+

So you might often find yourself wondering “what the hell is a linear workflow?” It’s the kind of thing that gives cg artists nightmares, waking in a cold sweat, afraid, left stumbling to your computer looking for answers…well you’re not alone. Working linearly is one of the most misunderstood, confusing aspects of computer graphics for all artists, new or experienced. But fear not friends, James Whiffin is here to help turn that frown upside down by giving you a crash course on working linearly.

In this jammed packed tutorial, James will show you how to setup and work with a correct Linear Workflow in Maya and the benefits of using one. He’ll explain gamma correction and the difference between working in Linear space and sRGB Color space, and why problems can arise during rendering and post production if things are setup incorrectly.

CGtuts+ Website:

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Source of description


Image And Data Visualization – Floating City Of Kaunas

For this project we have to create a floating city, usually this assignment is based around Belfast although this year Conánn decided to mix things up a little. This year the two chosen cities of interest will be Kaunas, a city based in Lithuania and Rome, Italy. We have also been told that the module will be heavily based on Maya and statistics to give the creation logic which i am pretty excited for but also very nervous.

I was put into Team 4 so that meant i was allocated to the Kaunas team.

Team Mates –

For the project i have been pair with Samantha Dawn Quigley, Phoebe Long and Rosie Mullan. I am excited to work with these individuals as I find them all lovely and aspiring to be around!

Initial Inspiration For The City –

When we got together for the first time after being paired we decided to talk through what interests we had in common and that theme came to be, Sci-Fi. This brings us to our next fun research points, what links can we bring in to potentially be in our cities structure – without going too far we defiantly wanted Halo and Destiny to be our inspiration.

Promotional poster of Bungies game, Destiny
Promotional poster of 343’s, Halo 5 Guardians

Statistical Research –

On the first stage we were allocated numbers to the various statistic points we should research individually for the rest of the day then come back the following morning to update each other on what we gathered. Initially I was given Wildlife, Weather, History and Death Rates.

Wildlife –

Being a small country, Lithuania’s wildlife is pretty much scattered around equally meaning you have a chance of spotting any of its animals around the continent. Common and native Lithuanian animals consist of wild Boar, Elk, Europeon Bison, Deer, Beaver, Lynx, Mink, Weasel, Otter, Dormouse, Badger, Ermine, Polecat, Brown Bear, Wolf and Vole. Its pretty clear some of these creatures also appear in our home country of Northern Ireland, thankfully some don’t such as the Brown Bear and Wolf (Although Wolves are bloody cool and I am 100% for them coming to our country…!)

Their sea life is also blooming with Grey Seal, Dolphin and whales!

“Out of the land animals, the European minx, the brown bear and the garden dormouse are considered extinct, while on the endangered species list are the grey seal and the lynx.

Among the native bird species on the endangered list are the black-throated duck, the golden, the short-toed and the greater spotted eagle, the Peregrine falcon, the willow grouse and the Eurasian eagle owl.” – Animals of Lithuania 

Despite having all these beautiful animals, most of which are endangered or extinct to this day~ Rest in peace might brown Bear… You will be missed.

Screenshot from Wikipedia

 Climate –

Wiki sourced graph as example.
Kaunas climate is pretty stable compared of that to our home country of Ireland, i had spoken to a class mate briefly as she had originated from Lithuania and she had spoken how the weather was beautiful, summer weather was warm and crisp whilst the winters were cold and frozen. I decided to take her words and hit the web to see what i would find and stumbled across and article on Lithuanian weather as a whole”The climate of the country is transitional between the maritime type of western Europe and the continental type found farther east. As a result, damp air masses of Atlantic origin predominate, alternating with continental Eurasian and, more rarely, colder Arctic air or air with a southern, tropical origin. Baltic Sea influences dominate a comparatively narrow coastal zone. The mean temperature for January, the coldest month, is in the low 20s F (about −5 °C), while July, the warmest month, has an average temperature in the 60s F (about 17 °C). Average annual rainfall usually exceeds 30 inches (about 800 mm), diminishing inland. Rainfall reaches a peak in August, except in the maritime strip, where the maximum is reached two to three months later.” – Kazimieras MeškauskasSo after reading on the climate of Lithuania it seems that my classmates words are true on the country,

(not that I did not have my doubts but some research is always good to back up those statements no?)


Ethnic groups, languages, and religion

The official language of Lithuania is Lithuanian (Obviously). After reading  Kazimieras Meškauskas article on the Ethnic groups of Lithuanian city culture other most common languages spoken throughout consist of Russian, Polish, Belorussian, Ukrainian, and other languages are spoken in the larger cities, this would included Kaunas city as a whole. Yiddish is commonly spoken by the remaining Jewish community in Lithuania although it is uncertain exactly how many there are but the number is low.

*Fun fact but as i was reading through some articles I found out that Kaunas is actually the second largest city in all of Lithuania!*A quick Google search had told me the size of the city which turns out to be 157 km², i decided to search up the size of our home city Belfast which is 115 km², not too far away from Kaunas but still considerably bigger in comparison!


Death rate


 From the chart above you can see the death rate in Lithuania is gradually increasing over the years, seeing this death chart i decided to  look into what could possibly be causing the mortality rates to increase.

Food, food seems to be the common denominator that is gradually bringing the mortality rates up as people of Kaunas seem to die from heart attacks and brain clots suggested by a statistic website i had came across.

Looking further into this it turns out that i was right by the cause of death by food although looking at a PDF and related website, it turns out that the common deaths in Kaunas are circulatory diseases, these consist of the following:

  • Coronary artery disease. …
  • Atherosclerosis, arteriosclerosis, and arteriosclerosis. …
  • Stroke. …
  • Hypertension. …
  • Heart failure. …
  • Aortic dissection and aneurysm. …
  • Myocardium and pericardia.

If you’re unfamiliar of any of these circulatory diseases and seem interested to read more on it then please treat your brain to some knowledge on the many ways some foods can cause these diseases can kill us!



The Rule Of The Russian Empire-

Kaunas Fortress

Constructed and renovated between 1882 and 1915 (Wiki source) the fortress was the largest defense structure in the entire country occupying a sixty five kilometer square radius. Its first taste of battle was in 1915 when Germany had attacked the Russian Empire (Risky move) withstanding eleven days of assault before being captured! Although, after the World War One the institution advanced in weaponry, rendering it it increasingly obsolete and was used as a Garrison.


Parts of the fortress during the World War Two were then used by the Nazi from Germany, mostly for interrogation or execution sadly. According to research, over fifty thousand people were executed there if not considerably more that we do not know of.

Kaunas Fortress, image from a good read

Meeting Up With Our Found Research –

After meeting up with my group we compiled our research:

Samantha’s Research


Population: 308,831 (2013), recorded by UNdata

( [Accessed 04/02/16]

The population of Kaunas seems to have been rising over the last couple of years – perhaps there are more jobs and/or educational facilities available which prompts more residents to stay, rather than migrate elsewhere?

Poverty Line

As of 2013, the poverty line of all of Lithuania lies at 20.6%. Unfortunately, I could not find a poverty line for Kaunas specifically despite how deep I tried to research. It seems so far it is not the most documented city despite it being the second largest city in all of Lithuania.

Source:[Accessed 02/02/16]


Source: [Accessed 02/02/16]

Kaunas seems to have a moderate-high rate of crime, with the highest documented crimes being corruption, bribery, vandalism and theft.


There are a number of schools dotted throughout Kaunas with different levels of education, most of them being colleges/universities dedicated to specific areas of study, such as technology and agriculture.

University of Technology [Accessed 04/02/16]
Vytautas Magnus University [Accessed 04/02/16]
Aleksandras Stulginskis University[Accessed 04/02/16]
Domeikavos Gimnazija (School)[Accessed 04/02/16]
University of Health Sciences [Accessed 04/02/16]
Karaliaus Mindaugo (Vocational School)[Accessed 05/02/16]


[All sites accessed 02/04/16]

During the 1990’s, Kaunas was well known for having aggressive gangs who acted like fashion policed. They harassed anyone who strayed away from the mainstream dress sense.

Kaunas’s overall fashion has a nice modern smart-casual trend which seems to permeate throughout all age groups, particularly teens and adults.

Politics [Accessed 02/02/16]
Political rules that apply to all of Lithuania.

Lithuania has been a democratic country since 1990 when it was free from the hold of Communism.

Left Wing vs Right Wing campaigns noted – common throughout democracies.

We then met up with all the other Kaunas groups to set topics around each other so as we could make more coverage with statistical research as possible, i myself was given Wildlife to look into. Samantha was given Education so we decided to have a chill day to do research together at her house! *Gets the hot cuppa and custard creams*

Extended Wildlife Research –

Extinct Animals:

I found a very informative article by Lukas who covers the extinct wildlife in Lithuania in depth, here are some of those animals that particularly stood out for me in his posts…

Brown Bear – Source image 


The Otter – Source image


The Lynx – Source image 


Whilst me extended search on the Lithuanian wildlife, I was surprised how Lithuania actually have wild Bison! Never knew Europe occupied wilder beast such as them. It was also pretty sad how a lot of beautiful animals such as the Lynx and Otter have gone extinct presumably although i remain wishful that they were out there somewhere in small numbers~

Its a shame we don’t have such exotic wildlife like Kaunas, I mean we used to have wolves and Lynx although they were sadly hunted to extinction by the stupid Irish men from the past! Though, it may be for the better as we are famously known for our livestock and farming and such predators like Wolves would hinder that production tremendously.

At this point we had realised that we actually had not looked into housing in Kaunas, Samantha seemed eager to do the research in that area so we had allowed her to do her thing and it certainly paid off. Interesting stuff may I add.

Seeing as we are going with a futuristic appeal such as Bungies Halo and Destiny, I decided to look into another video gaming franchise that used orbiting mechanical planets that hold lifeforms that do not originate from.

SEGA – Sonic Colors (2010)

Eggmans interstellar amusement park

This “entertainment” park consists of ten main areas that are explored throughout the video games story arc:


Whilst roaming Sonic Stadium I had found a beta design of the world map that SEGA had released for E3 2010.

I believe we intend for the floating city to have tiers as such for the people living within the settlement such as suggested in the sonic colours world map although I think the separate sections should be in layers inside a mechanical sphere so the inhabitants are safe and secure from potential danger in space or while in orbit.

“I was thinking something along the lines of a hierarchy system that divides the city, from the more affluent residents living in the top layer, and the poorer residents living within the lower layers. Business, education and entertainment will be closer to the centre of the structure, and the cores will be located at the very top and bottom.” – Samantha Quigley

I liked what Samantha had in mind for the floating city although I would like to think that the people would not need a hierarchy system as they will not need the likes of politics or leadership as the mechanical sphere will essentially be their main priority. Imagine if the Mechanical structure were to develop an A.I that would recognise that it could hold these people to their wills and make them work for the structure? Interesting…


Took this picture from Samantha’s blog although the source of the image is from BBC.

Halo 4 (2012, The Cryptum –

I think as a whole we have came to the conclusion that the city will in fact be enclosed in a giant mechanical sphere which is perfect because our group is full of the biggest halo nerds in our class and we all know what halo had lots of bright, blue, balls!

(Halo fans reading will understand that last part.)

Any who, there is a mechanical Sphere from Halo known as the Cryptum – a mechanical sphere that is used by the Forerunners for transport or protection, typically the forerunner culture would use these Cryptum to exile one of their own higher ranking Promethean’s if they were to dishonour their people or failing an important role. The high ranking Promethean would then be exiled to a suspended animation for thousands of years until released from their prison, this had happened in the Halo 4 video game when Spartan 117 John had released the Didact by accident thinking it was a terminal to help reach contact with his people outside of Requiem.

“A vault of ages. In search of wisdom, or to flee punishment, a mature rate might choose the path of endless peace. It is allowed only for the most powerful, whose punishment might prove troublesome to the Forerunner hierarchies.”
— Bornstellar-Makes-Eternal-Lasting (Halo: Cryptum) 



The traveller, Destiny (2014) –


Before I get into the Traveller, I really recommend you to read up the known lore so for the Destiny franchise its so good! Honestly one of the best lores I have read in a long wile regarding science fiction.

The traveller is a sentient being that has been around for a millennia roaming the universe gathering its mystery’s and knowledge, the mechanical being also has a magic property known as “light” or space magic known throughout the destiny fan base. This being also has some enemies that wish to take its knowledge and harness its power to take over the universe! Being the clever sentient the traveller is, it went to Earth and gave humanity the knowledge to advance our technology thus bring us to “The Golden age”.

Humanity discovering the Traveller. (Pre-Golden Age)

The Death Star, Star Wars –

“The Death Star was the Empire’s ultimate weapon: a moon-sized space station with the ability to destroy an entire planet. But the Emperor and Imperial officers like Grand Moff Tarkin underestimated the tenacity of the Rebel Alliance, who refused to bow to this technological terror…” – Disney Data Bank 

I don’t actually know much on Star Wars as I never really got into it as a child nor now when I am an Adult (The Force Awakens was a good watch though) but all i know is that Phoebe was right that the Death Star would be a good visual representation on how we want our structure to look like.


Cosmic Motors by Simon D (2007) Titan Books LTD –

Phoebe had got a book and brought it into class that shows a various collaboration of futuristic vehicles, ships and motors on how each machine would work. Truly inspiring and I feel this will help us give the creation more logic into how our floating city will function.

Went onto the website that has a good few articles of Daniel Simon talking about his futurism vehicles!


Smooth and aerodynamic, these designs are truly out of this world and only we could imagine what it would be like to be around when such designs come to life! You can see the designs are very geometric consisting of spheres and cylinders which would suggest it could be simplistic to achieve in Maya, we are also aiming for our creation to be geometric and simplistic in design yet able to speak what it is!

It is now that we will begin our concepts for the world…


During our constant doodling, Samantha took a keen interest in the Gyroscopes I had implicated into my drawings in hope to give the structure a power source, that being kinetic energy through the gyroscope moving and making vibrations to generate the power to keep the metallic city alive and running.

“Kinetic energy is the energy of motion. An object that has motion – whether it is vertical or horizontal motion – has kinetic energy. There are many forms of kinetic energy – vibrational (the energy due to vibrational motion), rotational (the energy due to rotational motion), and translational (the energy due to motion from one location to another). To keep matters simple, we will focus upon translational kinetic energy. The amount of translational kinetic energy (from here on, the phrase kinetic energy will refer to translational kinetic energy) that an object has depends upon two variables: the mass (m) of the object and the speed (v) of the object. The following equation is used to represent the kinetic energy (KE) of an object.”

Physics Classroom

Coffee Meet Up And Further Development –

I decided to attempt to make the gyroscopes more Gothic in appearance this time around but I wanted to have some visual inspiration to show through. In Bungies Destiny, there are these sentient beings known as the vex. A highly intelligent race that is also ancient just like the Traveller.

Their appearance is very robotic when first impressions come into view although they are not powered with oil, motors ect, they are actually made from organic liquid and are rumoured to used to be living beings that made the great leap into machines to being immortal, defeating death to speak.

Want to see their weaponry and other classes?

After some discussion we had decided that the structure will be powered by kinetic energy although Phoebe thought it would be a better idea for the gyroscopes to move through power and have kinetic flags on the outer rings of the gyroscopes to generate the energy as they would be moving more and making faster vibrations, I completely agreed with this so I went ahead and did what I think would be a plan on how the final design may look like.


For the design of the flags i thought it would be best to go with the visual representation of the Awoken ships from Bungies Destiny as they are light in weight but very strong, I only wish they gave out what material they’re made from but I would imagine it would be very strong stuff considering the speed of their ships!


I had been informed by Samantha as i was off Uni that we had changed the structure from being able to travel in space but more less a structure that floats in orbit or on a organic structure such as a volcano. Rosie then began telling us how the volcano could be made from magnetites.

Rosie’s Research – 

typical magnetite


What is Magnetite?

Magnetite is a very common iron oxide (Fe3O4) mineral that is found in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. It is the most commonly mined ore of iron. It is also the mineral with the highest iron content (72.4%).

Identification of Magnetite

Magnetite is very easy to identify. It is one of just a few minerals that are attracted to a common magnet. It is a black, opaque, submetallic to metallic mineral with a Mohs hardness between 5 and 6.5. It is often found in the form of isometric crystals. It is the most strongly magnetic mineral found in nature.

Magnetite as “Lodestone”

Normal magnetite is attracted to a magnet, but some specimens are automagnetized and have the ability to attract small pieces of iron, small pieces of magnetite, and other magnetic objects. This form of magnetite, known as “lodestone,” was man’s first encounter with the property of magnetism. Lodestone is easily identified because it is usually covered with small particles of magnetite and other magnetic minerals (see photo).

Pieces of lodestone suspended on a string served as the first magnetic compasses and were used in China as early as 300 BC. When freely suspended on a string, a small piece of lodestone will align itself with Earth’s magnetic field. –


Extract from website



From our chat I made these three designs that are from the latest change we made to the mechanical structure, the group seemed to like the two on the left rather than the right which I totally agree on! I like the top left one the most as it sticks to the list of stuff we are aiming for, futuristic, kinetic powered gyroscopes and organic spire. I personally don’t want the city to float above a volcano although the majority decided it would be a nice visual touch so I will trust their judgement and go with it, though we may need to make the volcano a fictional one that is not from Earth as there are no Volcanoes big enough in Lithuania to accommodate our structure.

If I have missed anything so far, be sure to check out my team mates as they have done so much and i would love to share all their efforts so far! Here are the links to their blogs below.

Samantha Dawn Quigley

Phoebe Long 

Rosaleen Mullan (Oscar)



The Material For The Sphere/Spire –

We now wondered what metal the sphere that holds the people of Kaunas city would be made of, very interesting topic for Rosie to bring up. Though it was Rosie and Samantha that took it upon themselves to research into the Rocks.

The next part is an extract from Samanthas Blog. 

After a little digging on Google, I discovered that the three most prominent magnetic metals are iron, cobalt and nickel. Here are images of the three metals below, in their pure forms:

Iron – ([Accessed 01/03/16]

cobolt ore specimen

Cobalt – ([Accessed 01/03/16]

Nickel – ([Accessed 01/03/16]


We now know the three strongest magnetic metals, but we also have to take into account their melting point. We will want a heat resistant metal if it will float atop a very active volcano. So I also dug around Google for this too, and here is what I found in terms of melting points for these metals.

  • Iron: 1,538 °C
  • Cobalt: 1,495 °C
  • Nickel: 1,455 °C

With these figures, we will want the sphere to be made out of iron, as it has the highest melting point.


There were some other metals considered, mostly by me, as I know two particular metals that are very strong and durable.

One was titanium. I light metal, but is very durable. I thought that the sphere could possible be made from this metal. Here is a photo of raw titanium below:

([Accessed 01/03/16]

Titanium also has a melting point higher than iron, at 1,668 °C

It would have been a good candidate, but unfortunately titanium isn’t good on the magnetic side of metal. Therefore it will not be a great metal for our Kaunas sphere.

The same can be said for the other metal I mentioned, which is tungsten. It is a heavy metal which is also very strong and durable. Out of all the metals I looked into, tungsten has the highest melting point at 3,422 °C.

While that is an excellent figure in my opinion, it also falls behind on magnetic strength, so the team and I had to disregard tungsten as well. Here is a photo of raw tungsten below:

([Accessed 01/03/16]

With that research out of the way, we all agreed that our sphere will be made from good ole’ iron.

The Finalized Model –

Finally completed our Floating city model! Collaboration by myself (Spire), Samantha (Gyroscopes), Phoebe (Sphere) and Rosie (Flags). This was so fun to make and I felt our team had such a great chemistry between each other! Now to tackle editing and add our statistics into a rendered video~

Visualisation Data –

What is visualisation Data?

“Data visualization is the graphical display of abstract information for two purposes: sense-making (also called data analysis) and communication. Important stories live in our data and data visualization is a powerful means to discover and understand these stories, and then to present them to others. The information is abstract in that it describes things that are not physical. Statistical information is abstract. Whether it concerns sales, incidences of disease, athletic performance, or anything else, even though it doesn’t pertain to the physical world, we can still display it visually, but to do this we must find a way to give form to that which has none. This translation of the abstract into physical attributes of vision (length, position, size, shape, and color, to name a few) can only succeed if we understand a bit about visual perception and cognition. In other words, to visualize data effectively, we must follow design principles that are derived from an understanding of human perception.”

Interaction Design Foundation

Phoebe is now sorting out the batch render, so whilst she is coding in the right settings for that me, Sam and Rosie will take on making the visuals for the final video. With Kaunas being a new city to the module rather than Belfast it was quite hard to find up to date information on the city on English websites, so with that some statistics may be from a few years ago at the least!

(I believe other Kaunas groups had this problem too from the last meet up.)

Samantha was kind enough to get us the information needed so I could go ahead and create the charts for said statistics.


I will now touch these up and make them more visually appealing for what we want which will obviously be futuristic, you will see that within the final video!


The Final Product –


With all great things a problem is soon to arise. We had came across an issue with the final render (a night before presentation) that the smoke Rosie had created seem to be in a short loop rather than play its full animation like on the timeline. After speaking to Phoebe and the Lectures it was apparent this was because we rendered on two separate computers rather than one as it ruined the timing for the smoke and was alot noticeable than the looping sphere and spire, we will re render the new version in the next few weeks just so we can have a cleaner version!

The presentation as a whole went great, it was a shame we only have six minutes per group to talk (we always go past the time mark) as we would love to had spoken more into what inspired us and why we went with these directions for the structure but I suppose that is what the blogs are for when people want to know more right?

If you wish to few the presentation, here is a PDF of it below.

Project KAUNAS – The Floating City

It was a lovely group and experience to work along with such lovely genuine people that forward and boosted my confidence with my ideas towards a project!


Here is a .Mov file of the rendered animation although due to time constraints i wont be able to add in the visual data until the end of new narratives, though I believe me and Rosie will be playing around with this file when free time arises!



New Narratives – Week 11 – Tuesday Lecture

Narrative –

How do you understand narrative?

How the method of telling the story is done; who is telling the story or it could be told through actions and various camera shots.

An objective to be accomplished? 

To get a reaction from the audience, to feel something. Emotionally engagement plays a huge part.

We can consider a narrative to be a chains of events linked by cause and effect and occurring in time and space.

Typically, a narrative begins with one situation; a series of changes occurs according to a pattern of cause and effect; finally, a situation arises that brings about the end of the narrative. our engagement with the story’s depends on out understanding of the pattern of change and stability. cause and effect, time and space

A random string of events is hard to understand as a narrative. 

Actions: “A man tosses and turns, unable to sleep. A mirror breaks. A telephone rings.”

Narrative: “A man has a fight with his boss. He tosses and turns that night, unable to sleep. In the morning, he is still so angry that he smashes he mirror while shaving. Then his telephone rings; his boss has called to apologize.”


What is the difference between Story and Plot?

“The plot is the what keeps the story alive, development of the plot is kept brief and specific which means better plot development equals to a more appealing story but not vi-versa. The story is about adding detailed that makes the plot more engaging for the audience. The story can also be altered through changes in the plot to create something different.”

The story consists of all the narrative events that are explicitly presented on screen, plus all the events that are implicit or that we infer to have happened but are not explicitly presented.

The plot consists of the specific actions and events that the filmmakers select and the order, in which they arrange those events so as to effectively convey the narrative to the viewer. Plot also includes those things that we see and hear on the screen that come from outside the world of the story, such as score music, titles and credits and voice over comments from a third person narrator.

The story can be presented in different ways- 

From the filmmakers perspective, the story exists as a precondition for the plot, and the filmmaker must understand what story is being told before going through the difficult job of selecting events to show on screen and determining the order in which the will be presented.

For the viewers, the story is an abstraction-a construct- that we piece together as the elements of the plot unfold before us on screen, and our impressions about the story often shift and adjust throughout the movie as more of the plot is revealed.

Characters as causes most often-

In the film, characters make things happen and respond to events.

Film characters can have a visible body, or is only a voice, or is portrayed by more than one actor.

A letter to three wives, 1949 – Trailer

That Obscure Object Of Desire, 1977 – Trailer

I’m Not There, 2007 – Trailer



Cause and Effect-

Along with a body, a character has traits, attitudes, skills, habits, tastes, psychological drives.

If some characters possess several varying traits, we tends to call that character complex, or three dimensional, or well developed.

complexity of characters:

Dexter Morgan – The Dexter Franchise: (Below)

A man who is a serial killer that comes as a anti-hero at times, initially he kills only other killers or horrid people but as the series moves on he begins to make choices to protects those around him thus paying the price in later events.

Taken from a blog on complex characters 

The Wolverine Movies (Hugh Jackman): (Below)

Dreadful past with an organisation that then turns against him, cheating his agreement then altering his body and wiping his memory clean. This sends the characters through a truth seeking revenge path.


Not all causes and effects in narratives originate with characters. In some disaster movies, some natural occurrences, such as an earthquake or tidal wave, may precipitate a series of actions on the parts of the characters.

Jaws Trailer:


In general, the audience actively seeks to connect events by means of cause and effect. Most of films plot withhold causes and thus arouse the audiences curiosity. The plot may also present causes but withhold story effects, prompting suspense and uncertainty in the viewer.