Thursday, December 4, 2008

"Turtles Can Fly" and Movies can Hurt

So I saw a film called "Turtles Can Fly" a while back and ended up having to write a paper on it. Really I never wanted to think about it again, but when I do all of my pent up feelings about it explode. So I'm going to write about the most painful experience I've ever had watching a film...

"Turtles Can Fly" is an unconventional but painful, politically subtle war expose. It follows an orphan named Satellite as he goes about life along the border between Iraq and Turkey in an area called Kurdistan. A natural leader and genuinely likeable protagonist, Satellite organizes a huge gang of orphans and other children in order to make money and survive in a world torn upside down by war. Frankly, even though "Turtles Can Fly" was well done and beautifully handled for the majority of the time, it made me sick. After seeing that film I sat sobbing, heartsick and repulsed to the core of my being. Maybe that means the director achieved his objective. I saw a new face to war and I’ll never be the same — but I feel like I was manipulated into getting there. The director crossed a line.

I would do anything to erase a single scene from this film from my memory. When the prophet gives talks on pornography and how some images once seen will never leave us — the images they’re talking about don’t hold a candle to the horrible scene I had to watch. It’s burned into my brain. The image of the little boy looking frightened and calling for his mommy, his dad, anyone. The girl who should have been protecting him, picking him up, looking into his angelic tear stricken face. The little boy’s tortured expression easing at the sight of one who he trusts. He doesn’t understand that the day before the girl had left him in the middle of a mine field to die. He has no idea she sees him and is filled with hate because he reminds her of that night. The night her family was killed and she left in a broken pile, raped with horrifying memories that will haunt her forever. The boy doesn’t understand as she ties a rope around his little body and sets him awkwardly on the ground. He’s at the pond where he let the turtles they found go free. She’s beside him, pushing the large rock tied to his waist closer and closer to the water. The little boy’s wide, innocent eyes blink before the boulder crashes into the pond and everything goes black. Cut to the girl slipping out of her sandals and stepping off of a cliff.

That scene haunts me. And I’ll never be able to forget it. I don’t care the cause merits that kind of emotional response — there is no reason to create that type of pain for your viewer. No one with any shred of human decency could sit through that without falling to pieces inside. So what — because I’m a sensitive human who cares about children and can’t even think about this scene without crying—now I’m going to agree with the film maker’s view point? Yes, war is horrible in ways as a sheltered American, I cannot truly imagine. But I have not been moved an inch closer to the director’s cause—rather, I’ve gone the opposite direction. To have created child characters for the audience to come to love and care for and then rip those children’s lives apart with suicide, murder and atrocity after atrocity, I can label it as nothing other than manipulation. And it makes me sick.

And yet my film analysis trained mind betrays my heart and asks if the film accomplished its purpose. If the director’s intention is to cut to the heart of a human atrocity and reveal it for the painful, senseless reality that it is — can he cross that line? Why not? In war, far worse scenes play out. Why should we be sheltered from the worst when it actually exists? If a director wants the world to see what horrible realities are truly happening and provoke his viewers into trying to change something, can he cross all lines no matter how painful? Was using children to elicit such a strong response a cheap trick or was it a genuine reflection on haunting realities?

I’m not sure what I think anymore. But it hurts.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Animal Scales of a Sort

Not sure where this came from but I had fun making it! Actually, it was a doodle from Joe's class so maybe it's not so weird after all.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gesture Collection

These are from the summer, I was compiling some favorites for my demo reel and thought I'd post them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Robo Textures

So 3 projects have been planned to all hit me at the same time. I'm still reeling... But happy with the one that I've completed so far. (I'm not finished--it needs some spec, displacement and bump mapping, but that can be added later...)

So the UVs took seven and a half hours one day. Then I threw the textures together yesterday. (No, they're not painted. I took some photo reference of a well used cookie sheet of mine and manipulated it for each of the different sections.)

It's a killer robot. Really.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I've been working a bit more on modeling lately which has actually been pretty awesome. It's like sculpting on the computer. For the most part anyway. These snapshots are from different work and school related projects.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Onion Study

So I'm going to be getting to know a certain onion for the next long while. So if I look like I'm about to cry you'll all have to be understanding and supportive...

Monday, September 8, 2008


This is a cropped version of my first project for Joe Olsen's class. We had to combine three references and a theme... I'm not sure if I really understood the assignment but I had a lot of fun making it! Scaaary birds.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bird Quickdraw Fix

Alright, so this was my real try at some extreme exaggeration. I had seen a various artists pick shapes and then fit the bird inside them--I just decided I liked the silhouettes so much that I stuck with them.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Side Project

This is part of a project for a contest. Yes, I enjoy anime and indulge in the style occasionally... I liked how she turned out.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Next Quickdraw...

Topic: Geisha
Style: One hue, can change value and saturation

This one was pretty fun, and I followed the rules for the most part... Right at the end I decided to throw on a sponge filter though. Mmmm. I love photoshop.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Another Quick Draw

Greek Mythology was the topic and the plan was to emmulate a pretty awesome style found at this talented artist's blog: Heidi Smith

And I'll get those behind the scenes Kung fu Panda pictures up soon Eric!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Monkey Concept

Working on some different styles for a project at work. This one is probably too artsy but I liked it the best.

What I've been doing all summer.

These are some frames from G_11, G_12, G_13, and G_14. Kites is a really neat project to be working on! I lit and rendered each of these scenes and composited all but G_12. Rendering and compositing wasn't as hard as I expected it to be which was awesome. Anyway, hopefully we can get the film completely pulled together soon!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Quick Draw @ Work

This was a 40 minute adventure. The first of its kind with many more to come!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Animation Memories from 2008...

Sadly we were missing some faces... But if ya don't show up to class you're bound to miss something good. (Current evidence being Gesture Drawing 101. Don't even bother putting on the headphones. You'll end up wishing you hadn't.) Anyway... I love these pictures. Animation and photography should mix more often. Sometimes it leads to some pretty fantastic results.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gesture Drawings

Here are some of the drawings from class that actually worked. Out of 20-30 drawings I get maybe one or two I like well enough... Maybe that's an exaggeration. But that's what it feels like. And I have lost my painted sketchbook and am feeling slightly devastated. So if anyone happens to see it wandering the halls of the hfac, let me know will ya?

Friday, May 2, 2008

2D FX Project

I'm not sure if there's anyway to get these to loop... And you don't get much of the effect if they don't go for more than a second.

New Sketchbook!

I was pretty jealous of everyone's sketchbooks (Well Jake's in particular)... So I created my own cover. Hopefully it'll trick me into actually carrying my sketchbook around everywhere because I like it. That's the plan anyway. Yeah. This project also made me realize I don't hate acrylics as much as I thought I did. It just takes patience . LOTS of patience.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New Markers!

I was so excited to try out my new copic markers! And I've been converted. They remind me of watercolors--though I was a little frustrated because the sky in each of these turned out a little too dark. If anyone knows how to make a lighter, more smooth gradient I'd be forever grateful.

These are all studies of Geneva Steel for my lighting project. Felt like a spy or something sneaking back across the street to take pictures and draw every couple of hours... Pretty fun.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Dragon Maquette

I'm pretty happy with how this one came out. Though I wish I could lengthen his neck now... The scale detail work really helped helped it look more like a dragon. Oddly enough it had looked more like a sheep than a dragon before... (At least his expression did.)

Friday, March 7, 2008


This is my first project for my sculpture class. For an intro class, I was surprised we started with bronze--but it was really awesome. We did the actual sculpting with wax first, adding air tubes and channels for the bronze to flow through. Then we dipped it in slurry (plaster of some sort) and sand to create a shell... Then melted the wax out of the plaster mold... And then poured the bronze. And then we weren't even done. But it was worth the time in the end. Though I have to say working with molten metal was intense. The teacher was going on about how we shouldn't be surprised if someone got their eyebrows singed off and that sort of thing. I thought he was joking then, but I'm not so sure anymore.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Missionary Sketch

They look a bit young. But then again--missionaries don't feel as old as they used to any more. One of my close friends just left on his mission today and he was already set apart so I couldn't even give him a hug. Sad, but I guess the Lord can have him for a while. *laughs* Hope that wasn't too blasphemous.

46 Hours Later

So I finished my first maquette! It was more frustrating and more gratifying than I could have imagined. Really the only thing I would have changed are the eyes. Definitely have more respect for Hoffman's work now.

This is a detective type character that I've been thinking about developing for a while. No, he doesn't have a name... Yet. It'll come eventually. The dragon maquette is going to be the problem now. I definitely feel done--but have yet to finish him. It's so cool though! Life consuming, but pretty amazing when it all starts coming together.