New STYX gif

edited styx.gif

I wasn’t very happy with what I’d created for my styx layer. It was ok in composition and colour, and I’d liked the boat and the character, but the background had been way too flat and light, and the stalagmites weren’t brilliant. I’d experimented with using silicon sealant to make them, hoping that they would let light through and look ghostly, but they didn’t. In this one I have instead used papier mache to make the stalagmites bigger and as if they are connected to the ceiling (I believe they are called pillars when a stalagmite and stalactite connect). I think it looks a lot grander. I also papier mached the back, and used acrylic paint instead of water colour to get a more solid layer. I think there’s a lot more depth to this gif, and I much prefer the colours and how the water moves when his rowing stick (?) goes through the hair gel (that’s what the water is made out of). I also am very proud of the way the light reflects off the water. I hope people notice it.


But how does this fit within the story, the rest of the boxes, and the concept of the subconscious? This section of the story is supposed to represent the journey through the brain, the exploration of the subconscious that Freud was so intrigued by. The light at the front at the boat is both the illumination of knowledge, and also the supposed purity of the Super Ego.


I like to think about what Freud would see if he saw this gif. He would probably comment on the phallic imagery of the staff and the pillars. And also perhaps the shapes in the background and placement of the farthest stalactite.



After a talk with Amelia I decided that I should have lights in the boxes with models in. A lot of my work is about the strong contrast of light and shadow, and the models speak best when they are lit dramatically. I had some buttons that were threaded with a nut at the back so that they could screw into a hole, so I drilled some holes in my boxes (really carefully as the models were already glued down!), and wired some LEDs in. The battery packs and light bulbs will be hidden by a frame around the sides of the box, that also serves the purpose of hiding the scenes within, unless you are looking into them.




I wasn’t sure how these boxes were  going to turn out, but I’m fairly happy with how they look. I like the fact that they were 3D, then they were 2D, and now they’re almost 3D again.

This one is for the ANGER layer. It’s supposed to represent the gate to Dis, the inner circle of hell, where the active sins are separated from the passive sins. In the poem, the souls fight each other in the swampy water of the river. I’ve instead pictured them reaching out of the mud, as if they’ve been sucked down, to represent the superego reaching for something more moral than the Id (the mud represents the id, as it it base, and dirty and of the earth). The door to the City of Dis is slightly ajar, to carry on the feeling of the viewer travelling through the boxes, and to add intrigue.


This is the box for ENTRANCE, the first box that you see. The camera gave some glare off the paper, it’s not really that shiny. The three animals are the three main components of the id, lust, violence,and hunger; the leopard, lioness, and wolf respectively. I tried to make the leopard look a bit slinky, and less scary than the others. The lioness has scratches as if she’s been fighting, and a claw up and the wolf has a visible ribcage.

Virgil is there beckoning the viewer into the gate, another way of connecting the boxes together.

STYX gif

styx-editted-.gifThis is the animation I made for the part of the story where Dante and Virgil travel across the River Styx, and into hell.

I’ve tried again to subtly incorporate the shape of neutrons, hopefully along with the water, it looks a bit like he’s travelling through a brain. I didn’t include Dante in this scene, even though he is present in the boat. I wanted the viewer to feel like they were Dante. Dante very much takes on the role of spectator and judge in the poem, and I want the viewer to feel the same.

The lantern is also present because it hopefully it helps to paint the picture of the superego as a kind of moral force, trying to control the less moral urges of the subconscious.

This part of the story is really about delving into a journey.



This gif is to represent the FRAUD level of hell in Dante’s Inferno. I think I might redo it. I do like the set, and how the feet are moving, but I also think that it could be a little better. If I get time to re do it, I would change the lighting, how Bertrand is holding the head, the mud around the feet, and the stance of the body.

The man holding his own head is called Bertran de Born in the poem. Bertran is singled out by Dante as having a punishment that particularly mirrors the sin. He caused a rift between the King and his son, and as that relationship was divided, so now is he. This goes back to the cautionary tales that I looked at in the first and second term, and also speaks of how the subconscious is also split.

Again, feet, hands, and head are key to this image, but also cut off. They seem to be swallowed by the scenery. Submerged, fighting against the id.

Gifs for HERETICS and LUST


I’ve finally gotten started making things to go into the boxes. I’m going to make the gifs first, because I’m worried about them the most time-wise. Here I’ve got the gifs for HERETICS and LUST.

For the HERETICS level of hell, Dante and Virgil come across fiery graves that the heretics emerge from and tell them their stories. When I looked up past depictions of this scene they seemed more like crypts that graves, and I decided to show them how I imagine classic gothic graves. I’ve also just included hands because I wanted to have the feeling of hidden things emerging through all of the images. Also the white hands reaching upwards out of the dirt are meant to symbolise the Superego reaching to overcome the Id. For me, hands, feet, and heads are of the superego, and the body is of the Id, because hands and feet and mind are a kind of symbol of our intelligence and separation from animal, whereas the rest of us holds the heart and stomach and reproductive organs that operate on the level of the subconscious.

You wouldn’t think that the second one would symbolise LUST, but I thought about how I wanted to portray it, and I decided on this. I hate that lust is always represented by a seductive woman all in red, why not a lecherous old man? And I didn’t want to represent the act of lust anyway, I wanted to represent the punishment that would fit it according to Dante. Dante describes for this level of hell, a hurricane of souls, and that is what I’ve tried to show. I think a hurricane of souls well represents the feeling of lust, as consciousness is swept aside for the desire of the Id.


Kronos/ Charybdis animation

I really struggled to incorporate the Tantalus part into my animation. I knew what I wanted, but in practice it just didn’t want to work. I thought about mounting the hand to some wood, and attaching string, but that would mean I’d have to have a whole support structure around the scene. And I thought about how to do it coming out of water, if it should be hair gel, like I used in the Cthulhu scene, or if it should be just a bucket of water.

I also thought about if it should be upright, or on its side. In the end I decided on just lying it flat and photographing it from above, as it is much easier, especially if you want to do it quickly. I learnt this last year doing the TED Talks project.

I really couldn’t figure it out, and when I got round to giving it a go, the method I used didn’t work, and I chose to cut the animation short. I think I was just too ambitious this time.

Anyway, I have a shorter animation that I’m still fairly proud of.


I think that the falling needed to happen quicker, and there was an issue with zooming in without focusing, but I like how it looks, and I think it incorporates the themes I wanted to talk about, like the link between power and consuming, and the obsession we have with both. I think these are very prevalent in our society today, as the power is not so much with the consumer anymore. But there are a lot of stories that bestow a lot of power in the act of consumption, almost like a sort of show of dominance or defiance.

Final Animation for this Week Preparation

As per my plan for the term, at the end of each week, I want to have a 3D animation/ photograph that depicts the themes I’ve been thinking about in relation to the cautionary tale I’ve been looking at. Because this week it’s been greek mythology, and I’ve been looking at a few, I wanted to find a way to link them all. I’m going to try and create a long animation that seamlessly links all of them. This is my story board.

story board 1

story board 2

I want it to kind of zoom in and zoom in, to different aspects, and also, to turn around, so you’re never sure of which way is up and which way is down. Uncertainty is one of the main aspects of horror in my opinion.

I do realise, however, if I’m going to keep zooming in, the hand is going to need to be made very big. So I have made it very  big.

big hand

This hand is slightly bigger than life-size. It’s got a wire skeleton, with masking tape on the palm to keep it all in place. Then I built it up with foam that I whittled into shape, cut in half, and then glued back together around it. Then I covered it in plasticine, painted it, added texture, hair, and hot glue for the nails. It’s not completely anatomically correct, but I think it still looks good. I think it looks enough like a real hand, and enough like it’s not, for it to be uncanny, which is the same reason dolls and puppets are always a bit creepy.

Whenever I think of the uncanny, I think of the first time I heard the term in this V-sauce video that describes it really well, and also talks about the scientific research behind it.

little fella mouth

This is the guy that’s going to fall into the big hand. He’s made in the same way, with wire, foam, and plasticine. I made the teeth out of paper, because they were a little small for making out of plasticine, and plasticine doesn’t like being spiky.

Now to figure out the logistics of actually filming it all.

Making the Street


I didn’t take as many pictures during this process as I probably should have. But I can explain what I did anyway. I made some sketches of what I wanted the set to look like and the kinds of angles I wanted to include in my shots.


I looked at different ways I could create textures, and specifically how about to do the cobble stones. I first tried glueing pieces of cardboard down and then layering plaster bandage mesh over the top. The texture was good, but the cobbles weren’t defined enough.


Instead I chose to use two layers of cardboard instead of one. You can see in the picture about, the piece of wood I used for the bottom, the other wood I used as a curb, and the many many cobble stones I glued down.


I made the houses out go cardboard boxes. This meant that they were out of proportion with the puppet I had made, but I hoped to try and from the scene so that it would look further away.


You can see here that I started to paper mache over the cardboard to made them slightly more cohesive and to give it more texture. If I were to do it again I would add a type of textured paint, because I don’t think that the paper mache was enough.


I got my dad to help me make the insides of a lamp post. I want a lot of the mood from my animations to come from the lighting. And I think by incorporating a working light into the set, it will add shadows and allow the outsides of the set to be darker.


This is the finished houses. I don’t think it properly shows the amount of time that went into making all the windows and window frames. I made the windows with a thin plastic and the frames out of plasticine.


And this is it finished! Over all I think it works quite well. Although I think I did cut some corners and I want to try and be less lazy with the way I work. But it’s definitely going in the right direction

Making a Puppet

I wanted to start making the puppet before the set to see if my tie-down method would work. Here is what I made.


He looks a little scary at the moment because he doesn’t have any eyes. I’m going to use white beads as eyeballs, because they’ll have a hole in them I can use with a pin to move the eye balls.

I;m pretty happy with him at the moment. He has a wire from, thats been padded out with plaster bandage. I think next time I’m going to use thinner wire, as his limbs are a little difficult to move. I’m also going to rethink how I’ve done the hands. it doesn’t matter much for this scene because there aren’t going to be any close ups on his hands, but at least I’ve learnt how NOT to do them!

I’ve added a layer of clear nail varnish over his shoes, to give them a different surface to his clothes, more like leather, and also to prevent them getting misshapen, as they are what I will be touching the most when moving him around.

I think I’m going to try and give him some different colours on his face using some kind of paint. I’m proud of his feature, and I want them to stand out more.