The lonely shed sat in the quiet forest. There was not a sound. As Brian walked toward the shed, dead dry leaves crunched under his feet. There was no escape, no running away from what he had to face. He trembled, his face filled with fear.
He inched closer to the shed, now merely a few meters away. The clutched tightly onto the gun in his hand, yet knowing that even that would be able to save him from whatever lurked inside. He stepped forward, and with an outstretched hand opened the door to the shed. The shed was deceptively huge, about the size of a master bedroom. He stepped inside and walked toward the end. There was an uneaten pie in the center of the room which was surprisingly fresh and 3 lit candles on a dust-covered table. Moonlight seed through cracks in the ceiling and a rugged carpet lay on the floor.
It was filled with mundane uninteresting shed stuff, save for a shovel that glowed with a mysterious green aura.
He had heard of the legend, that whoever possessed this shovel could make his wishes come true. He looked around and made sure there was nobody around before grabbing it. As soon as he did, the doors to the shed slammed shut.
The second part of the legend also said that the shovel was being guarded by a powerful demon. He rushed to the door, slamming his body onto it in an attempt to break out.
“No matter what, I got to get outta here!”
No matter what, I got to get in there. Jake stood before the gigantic spaceship. Smoke came out from its vents and there were sparks and torn wires exposed on its exterior. It had been heavily damaged. Something had brought the spaceship down, but what?
“We have to go to the police! The CIA! The government!” Mark nervously looked around, his eyes darting side to side.
“We have to find out what’s in there man!” Jake yelled. “There could be an alien that needs our help!”
“I’m out of here,” Mark exclaimed, running in the opposite direction. The spaceship was in ruins, but was fresh.
Jake turned his eyes back to the spaceship. Slowly, a hatch that appeared to be the spaceship’ entrance opened. An unidentifiable silhouette could be seen through the billowing smoke that poured out from the hatch.
“No way,” said Jake. “I know you!”
“Damn! Where is that smell coming from?” Dog barked.
“Now what?” Cat meowed.
“There’s this smell in the air that’s so tantalizing!” Dog exclaimed.
“It’s just your nose playing tricks on you.” Cat sighed, wondering what Dog meant.
“It’s coming from inside that house.” Dog turned, facing the source of that wonderful smell.
“I want to be friends with whoever lives there!”
Cat walked proudly toward the house, then lamented. “I don’t smell anything!”
Dog’s curious eyes widened as he approached the house. He eyed the house. He stood at its door. It had white walls, a bright red roof and posh windows though he could not see anyone inside through them. The smell was getting stronger. He had to know what was producing such an addictive smell. Then, he noticed that there was a dog hatch at the door.
“No matter what, I got to get in there.” Dog smiled.
In he went, and on the table was the most beautiful hot dog he had ever seen.
A story about a group of friends who encounter a truck that was just about to hit them, only to mysteriously vanish. Together, Jim and his friends must find out where the truck has gone, what its purpose is, and how it seems to disappear into thin air!
A psychological horror film by Alfred Hitchcock. This was the scene that was highlighted as one of the most interesting scenes in the movie. I was curious to find out how Hitchcock had directed it to make it so impactful to the audience, so I chose it!
Fun fact: The blood in the scene is actually chocolate syrup!
The movie being in black and white helped me see the tones really clearly. Compared to the other storyboard, I noticed one thing as I was drawing. There were a lot less “details” in Hitchcock’s shots, especially the starting scenes. They were kept simple and plain, often showing just the subject against a wall or curtain.
Something I also noticed is how he has different “angles”. At the start, he films the lady’s legs stepping into the bathtub at a low angle (worm’s eye), then later has a high-angle shot on the killer in one of the shots. I think it was to give a distorted look, to make you feel uneasy as you watch her enter the bathtub, like the Dutch angle. To me, the switch to a high angle shot later on showing the killer also amplifies how the killer is “triumphant” over his victim, as though he is above her and winning the fight.
I felt that Hitchcock showing the woman bathing from all camera angles at the start made me feel safe, that there was nothing to be afraid of, until he switches to a shot where the bathroom curtain is behind her.
Suddenly there is a contrast in tone behind the curtain, and it amplifies the tension in the scene and the scene splits into background and foreground because of the introduction of the figure, with the curtain separating the two layers of depth.
The camera slowly zooms in onto that scary looking black figure, whom the audience only sees as a silhouette against the light in the background. I noticed the light appeared a few times as I was drawing the storyboard, which I think is to make the silhouette stand out and have a greater contrast in tone. It felt to me Hitchcock knew how important it was to light his scenes since he wanted this movie to be shot in black and white.
The quick cuts during the stabbing were also very effective at portraying the violence, like as if the killer was stabbing her in rapid succession. Even though we don’t see the knife physically pierce her skin or flesh, we can feel the violence from the quick motions of the killer’s hand as it swipes past the camera.
He also uses a number of extreme close ups during the stabbing, on the woman’s mouth as she screams, so even when her scream isn’t that loud, I can almost hear her pain.
Finally, the scene approaches its conclusion. Hitchcock shows just her hand in the frame on the wall, sliding down, showing how the last of her breath and life is disappearing as the hand descends unti l it is out of the frame.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2006 Animation)
I really love Star Wars! And the reason behind that is this animation made back in 2006. I watched it on Cartoon Network, and as a kid, this blew my mind away. This particular video may be of a fight scene, but I only want to focus only on the first 3 minutes, which is the build-up, rather than the fight itself. The build up prior to the fight scared me as a kid. I was so scared before the fight even began. It was just so full of tension, and I could feel the fear of the characters in this scene. And now, I want to go back and see what made this scene so visually powerful to me as a kid.
The scene starts by showing an army of battle droids (the dark blue evil-looking robots that are shooting a bunch of red lasers in a certain direction). I notice a lot of overlapping of the droids, especially in the first few frames.
The overlaps helped to create depth, and drawing the droids in varying and contrasting sizes really helped to achieve the depth required to make the battleground look really really huge, and you feel overwhelmed by how the droids appear to stretch across the horizons in one of the frames.
One of the frames has an aerial shot, a bird’s eye view, which achieved something the other frames didn’t show as effectively – it showed the scale of the battleground and the explosions show how “destroyed” and broken the ship is.
In terms of storyline, the purpose of this scene was to introduce a powerful antagonist. We first capture a glimpse of him when he raises his white claw, which against the dark army of droids, captures our attention immediately.
Immediately after this, we see all the droids stop attacking, and we know this guy in the white cape and clad in white everything is the boss, the commander, the big guy. The way he is framed in front of the ship and at the center of the frame also places importance on him.
From then on, it switches perspective. I don’t see the droids anymore as I dive into the ship. I start to see quite some tonal contrast, and I find it interesting. It’s as though we were peering through the debris and makes me feel like I’m there in the wreckage. It also directs my eye to the silhouetted man that is running through the debris.
Then, the people (revealed to be Jedi) have gathered inside a hideout. Now, the composition is mostly of darker colours as they are in the shadows, with occasional lighting from outside, which we see through cracks in the wall or holes which the Jedi eventually use to peer through, to see what’s outside.
The scenes then show the Jedi nervously trying to pinpoint the source of the sound which they are hearing. They can’t exactly tell where it is coming from, and we as the audience are equally confused by the cuts.
The shot goes from this in an earlier frame:To the environment, and then back to this:
And then back to the environment.
There are many cuts to show the same environment, the same ones the Jedi are looking at and the director cuts between the character and environment while gradually zooming in onto the character/the background. It creates a lot of tension. Nothing is happening, but the way the sequence is cut and slowly centering on something makes us feel that something is about to happen, we just don’t know what.
The frames now go from close ups to extreme close ups, and the framing manages to show us anxiety of the people within the building, from letting us see their perspiration to showing their eyes darting from side to side.
Overall this scene definitely sticks to me as a very tense scene, and manages to make the bad guy feel extremely intimidating. I hope I don’t have to face such a scenario in real life.
A comic! That was what I wanted to do for my Zine for the town of Newton.
Above is the basic storyline I had drafted out for my Zine when I decided to do a comic. I also decided to use an illustration style based on my inspirations which I will talk about below.
Inspiration / Artist References
During my first consultation I was told that I could look at children’s storybooks such as the Ugly Duckling and the like. I thought it’d be interest to go back to not just see how these stories were crafted but also see how they were drawn and illustrated.
It’s an online website of various children storybooks. I was amazed. My favourite book is ‘Brave Monkey’ because it has a very meaningful story and that was what I wanted to do for my Zine as well, something meaningful. Aside from looking at their art style, I was also looking at how they used their text and the placement of it. I wanted to see how they did their layout.
I wasn’t able to think of a story very easily since while the place itself was interesting, they were all fragmented events – eg touting, renovations, they were events that were either too short or boring to develop into a concrete idea. So I decided to draw from my experience – the kindness I experienced from the old lady who talked to me and even treated me to drinks and a meal later, as well as how closely knit the community is for the Auntie. As such, I decided to do something that revolves around the compassion of the people there and write a story about kindness, which is something I felt about the auntie on my visits there and how helpful she was. So that was my theme for my zine – kindness, with a quote that I wrote down to inspire myself:
“in one way or another, we are all looked after”
So I got my first story draft, but the story was very lame and underdeveloped.
That was before I got into reading deeper into children storybooks and also taking a look at Little Big Books to see if I could get inspired too. I note down stories that made me interested and emotionally invested in the characters. For example, on that website, I noted these two stories:
Invisible Alligators – has a morale, and lovely ending statement
Wolstencroft – Very touching ending that is very rewarding because the story really exaggerates the problem
I saw that the stories there have a main character that guides the story along. They also presented their main character with a problem that they had to solve, something which my story did not initially have, making the world a little too ‘perfect’ for my character.
So I added new frames to add a little more depth to the story.
Colours / Drawing
The colours I used were mostly extracted from the original images I had. I bumped up the saturation so it would look more attractive and colourful, especially for the food and also to go in line with my inspiration. However, looking back, I think I could have used colours a lot better for some of the frames.
I also kept in mind what I learnt with how the Pingu character was drawn in the previous semester so it’s great to be able to link with previous assignments.
Converting live images to illustration Printing Process
I went to TrueColors at Bugis to get my Zine printed. It was quite a nightmarish process for me actually. I believe for most of us this is our first time printing Zines but I felt a little less unprepared for it than I could have. Problems I faced with printing zines were aplenty.
My first printout was actually in A3 because of miscommunication. I passed the person in the printing shop A3 paper, but they thought that I wanted an A3 size booklet. This was also my fault as I did not set a correct resolution in photoshop. The size I had set was incorrect and I had used the wrong DPI for my photoshop file, leading to the size of the zine being closer to A3 than it was to A4. Thankfully I could still fix this.
The second mistake I made was that some of my text were too close to the edge of the paper so when my zine was printed and cut, some of the text were actually cropped off! It was my mistake as I had not thought about how close the text was to the edges.
I went to edit my Zine on the spot to change the affected text, but for some reason, the cutting was inconsistent and another part of the Zine now had their text were very close to the edge even though it was previously okay. At this point I had already printed three copies and spent $12 so I decided to just deal with it as the cutting was a little inconsistent and I didn’t want to risk it getting worse.
The final mistake I made was realised only on the day of presentation itself that my paper was actually not the 80 gsm that was listed on the store. I had somehow gotten 250 gsm paper? Which had me totally shocked and caught me off guard. I guess this is a huge lesson for me to check carefully and also perhaps bring a sample of 80 gsm paper along for me to compare so I know how to feel the difference.
Despite all this, I am really thankful to the staff at TrueColours. It was really late at night when I went there. Even though they kind of scolded or chided me for coming so unprepared, I think they’re really kind to help me despite them being so busy. I am really thankful that they helped me get my Zine printed wonderfully. Then I went to have my dinner at McDonald because no place was open that late.
So nevertheless even though I actually wanted to raise my hand when the question “Who regretted their choice of paper?” was asked in class, this is just a very good experience for me to see for myself the different types of paper to print Zines on as choice of paper had never been something I considered much before and something I had always overlooked in previous assignments.
I think one way I was really hoping to learn by the end of this module (Foundation 2D) is how it actually ties in to our careers. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to link many things to Animation or Interactive media, my first and second choice of major respectively and am as such left with plenty of questions as to how this will help me develop as an artist in those aspects. Definitely I learned something along the way of course, but I still feel a lot of wasted learning potential. I could have learnt so much more if I knew what to look out for and what will help contribute to my career so that I can focus and improve my learning experience in my 1 year in foundation term as I still feel there is much I need to do to prepare myself before streaming into our majors.
Overall, printing this zine (along with the typography assignment) was a good learning experience for me and after 1 year of foundation, we are now going to stream into our majors. I am curious to see what awaits us.
Thank you Mimi for guiding me through my first and most important foundation year!
When I came to Newton, I was expecting to see many Condos, which I did, and wondered if perhaps I should do something about condos since Newton had many of them – Newton One, etc. Even the research I did prior to my visit confirmed that Newton had many condos (and in fact, just mostly condos).
Then I came to Newton Food Centre to have my lunch and bought a plate of Hokkien Mee. With my camera, I took a picture of the stall and the auntie, an old elderly woman who is the stall owner.
Upon seeing me take a picture and ordering from her, she said to sit down in front of her stall to have my meal.
It was a Saturday afternoon and there were fewer people. The seats were only half filled and it was a very relaxing place. Everybody was just having a good time.
The lady I had ordered my food from sat in front of me. She asked if I could send her the photo I had just taken, and that she would pay for it whatever the price is.
We ended up having a conversation and I asked her a great many things about Newton. We had problems communicating as we both only had Mandarin as our common language, and it was neither our main spoken language. She was very friendly. I was very surprised that I ended up starting a conversation with her and we talked for a good hour. She asked about my school, what assignment I was doing (and I shared with her about 2D), and then I asked how her life was like. She told me about her children and how they have grown, and it was just a fairly relaxing conversation on this cool Saturday afternoon.
On one rainy, cold night, I went to Newton to visit her a second time. I went to the same stall, only to see its shutters were closed and the old lady was gone.
I was sad that I didn’t get to taste her delicious Hokkien Prawn Mee.
When I visited her again with her photos a third time, it was on Saturday, at around the same time. I went there to have lunch intentionally and we met. I ordered the same dish from her. She rejected my $4 and told her husband not to accept it when I tried to give it to him. She then bought sugarcane from the neighbouring stall for me, to have with my meal.
Here is a picture of her when I passed her my photos. I had printed two photos coincidentally – it was just a feeling that I wanted to have one extra, and I passed her both and it turns out her husband was there so she gave one copy to her husband so they both have the photo. I was really glad to be there and have patronized from their stall.
Overall, it was a very heartwarming experience for me, one that I never expected to get. I thought I would just come to this place and leave after exploring, but I never expected that I would form a bond with someone here or even see myself coming back to have a taste of her Hokkien Mee again.
One thing that we get to celebrate is the disappearance of funerals. There are no more funerals since MemBrain Tech set up its hub here in Singapore and various other first world countries. I guess that’s something to celebrate right?
Nobody actually ‘dies’ now in this world… in a spiritual way. Even though their physical bodies decompose and rot away, almost everyone gets their memories loaded into cartridges when they die. These cartridges hold terabytes of data and can even be fit into the size of your pocket. It’s like how those things that they used to call ‘thumbdrives’ back in the 2020s, though nobody uses them anymore. Instantaneous cloud transfer has made it possible to transfer data freely with worldwide Wi-Fi. Despite that, many people choose to have memories loaded into cartridges. I guess their families still prefer to be able to hold onto something hard and physical to keep with them, rather than having digital copies of everything which is what the world is about now.
There are times when we had to be careful. Tampering with one’s memories is not always viewed as acceptable in the society.
There has to be a set of rules that everyone has to follow.
Not being allowed to get into the heads of others was one rule set by the government. But the truth is… most of the rules are set by our own people. These are internal rules that we set because tampering with our own or others’ memories had long raised moral questions.
When people die here, their memories are transferred into cartridges. MemBrain Tech offers everyone a chance to salvage their memories, extracting them from their brains, turning something that we could never imagine could be held in our own hands – something physical. You had to do this within the first four hours after the time of death, as the brain will rapidly destroy itself when it loses oxygen, essentially corrupting the person’s memories.
There were no “hard” rules to memory transferring. If your wife or girlfriend died, and another person was willing to offer their body to be the ‘physical carrier’ of their memories, you could load your dead wife or girlfriend’s memories into this new body, replacing its old memories. But doing so would essentially ‘kill’ the person. Even though his or her body will live on, he or she no longer possesses his or her unique identity, experiences and memories.
Many people have tried to come up with a hard set of laws and rules regarding when memory transfer is permitted, but nobody has been successful. There are just too many edge cases, too many scenarios where one rule may work in, but not in the other. That’s how MemBrain Tech grew so big. Nobody could stop them or impose legal barriers.
The people here look very normal, but I suppose we have to define what ‘normal’ is.
We used to have four seasons. There were times of the year where the weather would be scorching hot and we would all have to wear light clothing to stop ourselves from burning up into a crispy hotdog, and then there are times when it’s so cold you wear layers of jackets to make you look like the big round snowballs you throw around.
But our world has progressed so much since then. I don’t know if it’s a good thing. Our weather is controlled now – there is no summer or winter. We have perfect weather and climate that fits our needs. It’s never too warm or too cold, so now everybody wears what they like.
It rains on fixed days – every Monday and Thursday now, so I always wear my nylon clothing on those days. Some of my friends like to be hipsters though – they customize their clothes with special fibre that can give off light. Some are even rich enough to buy IMA shirts. IMA is one of the top fasion brands here. Their shirts have the best quality and they have special nanobots weaved into the fabric that allow the shirt to change colour. You could be wearing a red shirt now and then have it turn blue in a split second. It’s easy to dress up for events now.
I would want to have one of those. I’d wear a different coloured shirt each day. You can even install modules into these shirts to have them display customized words or images, modifying each nanobot to display a certain colour or word on the shirt, just like how you would modify pixels of an image. You could literally have your clothing look like anything you want it to. You can even save your favourite designs so you can switch to them anytime you want. Rather than having 50 sets of clothing, we just need one set of clothing that can turn itself into 50 different designs. Just pray it doesn’t get dirty though.
I guess the only thing that’s left to invent is a shirt that turns you invisible. I heard that IMA actually developed a prototype, but what fashion sense is there when nobody can see you?
Now it looks like the clothes here aren’t that ‘normal’ after all.