‘Fight’ Research

‘Fight’ is a 2D animation about a dystopian future, where people are compelled to fight by a system (government) which keep control of the populace using various means. They use a figurehead to communicate with the masses.

The fighters are remote-controlled by other people using some advanced virtual reality technology.

The idea is that it is like a real life arcade fighting game. I’ve grown up playing these kinds of fighting games, and they have proven to be popular video games. There is often debate about how violent video games are, and whether that has a negative effect on people who play them, but there have been millions and millions of violent video games sold worldwide and the society hasn’t completely collapsed just yet!

I found some stats for sales figures to show how popular they have been:

Tekken – 45 million 

Street fighter – 38 million 

Mortal Kombat – 32.5 million                                                             [1]

Mortal Kombat

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  • 2D (The way i want the fight to be presented in my film – although there will be other shots in the film, and I am not ruling out using other shots in the fight completely – that’s just the view the characters who make up the audience in the film get to see)
  • Pixelated! (A lot of these arcade games rose to popularity when technology was far less evolved than today – and i want to capture some kind of retro feel harking back to those days with my animation).
  • The way ‘FIGHT’ grows on the screen, flashes yellow and red, has an exclamation point, a shadow and the announcer says the word as well. (This is found in many fight games – at least some signifier of when the round starts).
  • The characters rock back and forth while waiting for the match to begin.
  • Very colourful – characters stand out. (The easier the character stand out from the background the easier the action is to follow).
  • Very Gory and violent (lots of blood) – which I think is something i don’t want to shy away from with my animation – the more intense and realistic the violence the better.
  • FINISH HIM! (Reminds me of the gladiator games of Rome where the Emperor would decide the fate of the loser of a fight, and decide if they are allowed to live or die – the audience of the fight in my film could have a chance to vote and decide if losers win or die – like a modern day version.)
  • FATALITIES! – There was a chance to kill someone at the end of the game with special moves – maybe in my animation the winner could be given a weapon to finish off their opponent with. Very gruesome and difficult for the character to go through with – but he has no choice if he wants to have a chance at a better life (Which reflects the lengths people can be pushed to by others. Perhaps if you refuse you have to keep fighting and risk your life, or you’re just killer anyway, or you’re so scared you dont know what would happen?! There are lots of possibilities and things to think over…)

Tekken

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  • 3D
  • A really big opponent against a smaller opponent. (A visible difference in the fighters is good to make the action clearer to follow).
  • Very colourful! (Characters don’t stand out as well from the background).
  • Sparks flying from the punches (effects!)
  • Numbers appear showing hit damage amount (Slightly different but it makes me think of the old Adam West Batman tv series where words appeared when he hit bad guys like ‘ZONK!’, ‘WHAM!’, ‘KABLOWEE!’ etc…)

Street Fighter

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  • Effects when hits connect
  • Strong poses
  • Background movement (people, objects)
  • Character uses ineffectual moves (As its a game people can make punches which miss and jumps for no reason – and I think thats something i should remember when i choreograph my film).

All these fighting games have health bars, but in real life there is no health bar. Is there a way to incorporate this into my animation?

Perhaps their heart beats are monitored and we see the graphic for that on the audience’s screen?

Scientist Street Fighter

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These gif’s are from a parody style fighting game where the player can fight with famous scientists! When the scientist moves with speed there are effects, like his arm blurring – and leaving a blur as he jumps forward.

The Sims

The Sims is a video game where you can build houses and control the characters who live in them – deciding what they do and making sure they stay alive, or not…

This video shows how the walls can peel away so you can see inside the houses as you play the game. I want to incorporate some aspects of video games in my animation, and I really like this aspect of the walls disappearing to allow the godlike player a better view. I don’t think The Sims is the only game to do this, but it is probably the best known for it.

(It’s a rather long video but i couldn’t find a shorter one quickly, and this demonstrates what i mean well enough at the beginning of the footage.)

Fallout

I really like the contrasty, glowy green style of the ‘pipboy’ in the Fallout video game. The pipboy character is in a very simple style and there is a different ‘pipboy’ for different things. e.g. a stronger pipboy, a quicker pipboy, a smarter/more intelligent pipboy, etc…

The world of fallout is post-apocalyptic, with radiation a common problem and cause of mutation among some member of the population who weren’t protected in the vaults. The green colour reflects the radiation and gross degradation of everything – as things can be sickly green. Green however can also represent nature and health, but i suppose it depends how it is utilised and the different shades and hues used as well.

When used like this the colour green appears to be unnatural and not cold, but not warm either. It sits closer to yellow/green as well, and it’s kind of saturated which helps make it appear unnatural as well.

The colour scheme is also reminiscent of the movie ‘The Matrix’ where the virtual world’s coded with green symbols on a black background – much like old computers which used monochrome screens – as they produced sharper images and text, and so were easier to use then their colour counterparts.

This retro look was something that Fallout utilised to make it’s retro-future vision come to life – and The Matrix drawing subtler links.

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The Great and Powerful Oz

A scary disembodied floating head – fire and smoke used to make the whole thing more grandiose and intimidating. The wizard wanted to seem all-powerful, and like a magician who wants his audience to believe the illusion the more grandiose and impressive the better. Again green is utilised to make the wizard-head appear unnatural and add to it’s scary and strange nature – and throughout the emerald kingdom.

 


 Dystopian Worlds

 

The main character lives in a gloomy dystopian environment, which is dark and dangerous, shadowy and blocky – concrete and steel, cold and hard. It should also be dirty and run-down, with a lot of things broken. I also want it to seem like it’s quite claustrophobic, with walls and fences and things partitioning different areas that we see.

Will there be any trees or nature at all? At this stage i don’t think so, and it could be that there are images of nature – highlighting their absence.

I’m thinking of movies like ‘Bladerunner’, ‘Robocop’ and ‘Judge Dredd’.

Bladerunner

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In Bladerunner there are lots of neon signs and screens everywhere, for advertisements – by huge dominant corporations – giving the impression of a large consumer population. The newer stuff is built over the crumbling old. The roadworks make me think about how cities are always building – as they are so big someone is always developing something. The city looks like it’s endless, and the highways/transport high above the skyscrapers is reminiscent of the futurism style. The chimneys spewing out smoke in a highly populated area show how industrial the city is and how over-crowded the city has become.

Judge Dredd

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The Dredd comic images are sometimes a bit too colourful for the dystopian world i want to create, but they have a great feel to them. There are wires hanging from dripping pipes, where people are out shopping – so they are in disrepair and not a great state. There are roads high overhead and flying cars – with a wide variety of shapes in the structures. It’s another overcrowded future metropolis.

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The Dredd movies’ vision of a dystopian future was to have huge megastructures dominating the landscape, like redwood trees among weeds. They are planned structures that have been purposefully placed among the old skyscrapers, which you imagine was to help house a hugely growing population. They are built from concrete and steel, with hard edges and are like big cube blocks, they dont have many soft or round edges at all.

Nivanh Chanthara

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Nivanh Chanthara is a freelance concept artist from Canada. His dystopian future scenes are very busy and the scale of them is huge – you think you must be looking at dwellings that thousands upon thousands of people live in. They are similar to shanty towns, but on such a grand scale, and are built out of all kinds of different materials – kind of bolted together rather than planned out in advance. There are lots of asian influences in this work, along with slum dwellings from around the world as well.

 Josan Gonzalez

Gonzalez says that he started out with a style that was more painterly, and only more recently adopted the ligne claire — clear line — style he’s become known for, a look that was pioneered by Belgian artist Hergé on Tintin. [2]

Josan has created this amazing dystopian future world, and his use of colours and space in his illustrations is really inspiring. I like how his characters pop out from the background and his use of different tones to make the characters come alive. He uses little touches of colour to highlight different parts like light and eyes, etc.

1984

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Big Brother is watching you!

1984 is a book written by George Orwell (and has been adapted in film) about a dystopian world with perpetual war, public manipulation and omnipresent government surveillance. The people are controlled by a tyrannical government who punish independent thought and outlaw individualism – enforced by violent ‘thought police.’

The people are heavily policed in a world where the government’s control cannot be challenged and people’s behaviour is monitored and manipulated. Big Brother is the party leader who enjoys a cult of personality – although he may or may not actually exist, which reflects past real-life authoritarian government leaders whose images were in every home.

So for my film, which is a grim look at an over-populated world where the population is heavily controlled and things for the lower classes are dire – there could be a revered figurehead (the one who advertises the fights – could be a recurring things – screen around the world with his own repeated mantras?).

Dystopian Real Life

 

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The big imposing face of mussolini on the Palazzo Braschi building in Rome, which was the headquarters of Mussolini’s Fascist Italian party from 1934 looks like something out of a movie. Reminiscent of George Orwells ‘1984’ – Big Brother is watching you!

It feels imposing and intimidating, evoking strength and power – which is something that fascists and totalitarian/authoritarian leaders would find appealing.

Futurism

Futurism was an artistic and social movement that originated in Italy in the early 20th century. It emphasised speed, technology, youth and violence – and objects such as cars, planes and the industrial city. There were parallel movements in Russia, England and elsewhere. Futurist practised in every medium of art, from painting and sculpture, to urban design, fashion and even futurist meals. Futurists believed that cooking and eating neede to become subservient to the proper aesthetic experience that futurism favoured. This included, for example, the abolition of the knife and fork, use of perfumes to enhance the tasting experience, food for the eyes and nose but not for eating, food small in size but containing many flavours and sculpted foods. Futurism glorified modernity and aimed to liberate people (Italy) from the ways of its past – and bring it into a better future. [3] [4]

I specifically want to look at some futurist architecture. Characterised by long dynamic lines suggesting speed, motion and urgency. [5] Futurists celebrated the modern city, rejecting historic features and classic building styles and replacing them with new visions aimed to revolutionise life. The emphasis on speed was accommodated in futurist designs by the inclusion of unimpeded transportation systems.

 Architects Mario Chiattone and Antonio Sant’Elia proposed utopian visions for cities of the future in two series of drawings: Buildings for a Modern Metropolis and Città Nuova (both 1914).

Embracing new materials and industrial methods that would alleviate the need for internal load-bearing systems, these designs feature soaring, narrow structures outfitted with thin, lightweight facades. [6]

La Città Nuova by Sant’Elia, 1914.

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Mario Chiattone, Bridge and Study of Volumes (Ponte e studio di volumi), 1914

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Tullio Crali, Sea Air Rail Terminal: Marine Center with Mooring Basin (Stazione marittima aerea ferroviaria: Centro marittimo con bacino d’attracco), 1930

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William Pereira was an American architect from Chicago who was noted for his futuristic designs.

University of California, Irvine (William Pereira) 1965

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Transamerica Pyramid, San Francisco (William Pereira), 1972

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Geisel Library, San Diego (William Pereira), 1970

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Williams use of lines is apparent, and is like an exoskeleton around his buildings – making them come to life. They create these uniformed patterns that are pleasing to the eye and look like they are utilising form over function, but i’m not sure. They are in my opinion, however, visually appealing and create interesting shapes and patterns that draw the eye.

Art Deco

Deco combined modernist styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials. During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress. The most famous Art Deco architecture can probably be found in New York.

The Chrysler Building, New York (Van Alen), 1930

Chrysler Building Celebrates 75th Anniversary

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These birds are the kinds of architectural flairs that are classic of the Art Deco style.

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The Genesee Valley Trust bank building (now The Times Square Building), New York (Ralph Thomas Walker), 1930

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The windows are uniformed and symmetrical. The main feature being a metal claw-looking thing at the top front of the building – a feature that reaches for the sky and symbolically represents that futurist speed and art deco flourish. It looks like some wizards tower from lord of the rings, and has an unnatural feel to it – making a fairly everyday building suddenly much more interesting.

The Empire States building, New York (William F.Lamb), 1931

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New York landmarks and attractions: Empire State building

Probably the most well-known recognisable building in the world.

Things i like about these types of architecture that I think would work with the dystopian vision i have for my film:

  • Strong clean lines
  • Huge structures
  • Many small windows separated by concrete and steel
  • Art Deco architectural flourishes – e.g. Chrysler birds
  • (Majority) Hard edges and square shapes (With some) rounded edges

 


 

There are few natural elements to dystopian worlds – helping to create an unnatural environment for audiences. One of the two dystopian worlds i am building is for a population that represents a lower class, so I want their living conditions to resemble a prison. With high walls and a focus on utilitarianism, with practical features that are necessary – taking cues from futurism and perhaps some small deco touches here and there.

The other world is for the middle classes (with audiences never seeing the higher class living conditions – similar to how it would be in real life for the majority of the world) which is a lot nicer – but is still far from the paradise that the lower class character dreams it is.

The people we see from the lower class are miserable, destroyed and outwardly unemotional – they are merely surviving. They represent the industrial working force, but one that is no longer utilised as robots have probably replaced them all – but for whatever tragic dystopian reason, they are not deemed worthy enough to join the ranks of the middle classes – representing some people’s attitudes today.

The people from the middle class are violent, and greedy. They represent the consumers, who take without thought for how it will affect the world around them or even themselves.

 


References

 

[1] http://vgsales.wikia.com/wiki/Best_selling_game_franchises

[2] https://www.theverge.com/2016/4/2/11345640/josan-gonzalez-the-future-is-now-sci-fi-art

[3] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futurism

[4] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futurist_cooking

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futurist_architecture

[6] http://exhibitions.guggenheim.org/futurism/architecture/

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