Monthly Archives: August 2014

Books Versus Film and My Final Project (The Tube Riders)

As a separate part of my project review I wanted to not only share a handful of the designs from my novel to film project with the wider world but look at the book versus film scenario.

We’ve all heard the phrase “yes I saw the film but I preferred the book”. I see these comments posted regularly on social networks, but why is that?  As readers we have a personal experience when we read a book. The author will guide us and entice us with their own vision, but that doesn’t mean we all see the characters or locations in exactly the same way as another reader or even the author. Novels allow us to get inside a characters head whereas  film, by comparison,  can be more selective. It’s probably because we spend so much time with these fictional people. A book can take anything from a day or two to several months to read depending on the reader compared to a film which is normally set around 2 hours.

Perhaps it’s unfair to compare the two given the time constraints for film makers to produce a believable world. All we can do is to strive for the very best rendition we can, using the best technology, scripts, actors, talent available. Some film versions are better than others for this reason. In many cases some novels are just more adaptable.

My own opinion is that films and books should be treated as two separate  experiences, after all, there are a lot of people who don’t read. Films allow a window into an author’s mind albeit for a few hours and makes a story accessible to all.

What’s important is a good story and a set of characters that an audience can relate to.

For this reason I chose The Tube Riders by Chris Ward. Immediately I was drawn into the world from the first page. There was a great blend of character insight and world building without being too caught up in unnecessary verbal clutter. It also had the right pacing for a film and fell into the science fiction/horror/dystopian genre that is currently popular in both film and TV. Given the time constraints of the project I concentrated on a couple of settings and also worked on some visuals as future guidance for VFX. Working without the normal set up of director/art department/producer I had to make my own decisions through discussions with my tutor. I also used some artistic license as there was no screenplay to work from.

The purpose of this post is to firstly share my work, maybe get some opinions or comments and secondly to hear from those who have read books and seen them transformed into films. What are your experiences negative or positive? Feel free to comment below and let me know what you think about the designs or the subject matter.

tube riders visuals

Below are some photos of scale models for the Medical Research Centre reception area and arena.



arena render 4


The book can be found at:-


Categories: General research, MA Practical Project, MA project | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A Reflection on Skills and The Future 1

Part of the MA process was to gain knowledge and skills through the realisation of a practical project. Because of this I thought that I’d take stock of what I’ve learnt so far and understand where I am heading in terms of the next 6 months particularly in regards to skills and software.

The practical work allowed me to transform some of my existing skills with the use of software, introducing me to a more digital design approach.

My original plan was to learn several programs that were industry standard but given the time scales and the vast amount of knowledge I had to catch up on I had to focus on one or two. The obvious choice was Photoshop and digital painting. Photoshop is an industry standard software; every design company uses it from graphic design through to game design. It is also used in conjunction with so many other 2D and 3D applications. Photoshop allowed me a stepping stone into digital design. It also worked well with my more traditional drawing skills. As I had spent  years painting canvases and using a similar layering technique with paint and collage papers, switching the style to digital layers made a lot of sense, especially when I could create similar effects using photography textures and semi transparent digital washes like watercolour paints.

This is an example of a canvas that I did and a Photoshop collage banner to compare.

into the woods sml    banner a

What makes Photoshop so good is that you can save it in various stages of completion, use them again or alter colours, do different versions of the same image etc. It allows you to erase mistakes easily compared with traditional painting, especially watercolour. It’s also much faster when having to work to deadlines. To fully utilise Photoshop’s abilities in film and TV design I need to combine it with other software such as Illustrator, Maya, Z brush etc.

Currently I feel there are 2 possible routes into the art department, Concept art and model making. At the moment I feel that concept art is probably my strength  so I will now look in detail at the job specifics and types of software used at the pre-viz stage. I will also look at the gaming industry and character design and see where I need to improve in regards to skills.




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