Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Psycho - Film Review

fig.1 film poster

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, ‘Psycho’ is a 1960 American horror film that is well recognised and received film even in today’s society. Based upon Robert Bloch’s book under the same name, ‘Psycho’ was completed under a low budget yet retains a large number of memorable scenes. An example of this is the famous shower scene, married to the distinct sound track of unsettling notes. This film in particular stands out from the rest of Hitchcock’s films like ‘Rear Window’ and ‘Vertigo’ that utilise a larger budget and so relies less on expansive and complex sets and scenes.

The film starts by following Marion Crane, a real estate secretary who steals a large sum of money. After running away we see the psychological effects it has on Marion as it impacts upon her nerves. She eventually reaches a motel where she is murdered. From this point on the story follows her sister, Lila and Marion’s boyfriend, Sam. They attempt to trace down the location of Marion resulting in the discovery of Norman’s split personality.

With the film being directed by Alfred Hitchcock it is no surprise that ‘Psycho’ is full of suspense. Achieved through using Hitchcock’s formula of providing the sufficient amount of information the film is capable of holding the audience’s attention. "Hitchcock devotes his full attention and skill to treating them as if they will be developed for the entire picture” (Ebert, R. 1998). ‘Psycho’ has been written with the first half following a character that is killed off later in the film. While this is a convention that is not commonly used today it is used to great effect by Hitchcock. From the start the camera is led to believe that the main protagonist of the film is Marion the camera takes up her point of view through a variety of features. These include over the shoulder shots, close ups and non-diegetic dialogue.  For instance while Marion is driving the audience can hear her mind wonder and imagine the conversations taking place in her head. The increase of noise and blinding imagery describe the psychological stress building up without explicitly telling the audience.

fig.2 Marion driving car through rain
The camera pans keeping the brick of money and Marion fresh in the audience’s mind hinting towards her train of thought. 

fig.3 camera focuses on money
Throughout the first portion of the film the audience is encouraged to form attachments towards this character leading to an altogether more shocking death. This forces the viewers to transfer their invested emotions from Marion to Lila and Sam.

Hitchcock was also far bolder in terms of imagery that was being shown. The famous shower scene would not have been considered suitable for screens at the time. While considered tame by today’s standards the scene consisted of a naked women and the use of violent imagery and blood. This questioned the norm of cinema standards at the time.

“That had more than a hand in redefining the role of the spectator in terms of mainstream cinema, most notably perhaps in the famous shower sequence which re-explored the nature of cinematic voyeurism.” (Wood, D. 2000)

Following Hitchcock’s concept of information being key he ensures that the viewer’s attention is directed to essential components of the story. Alongside conveying the Marion’s thoughts through merely directing the camera angle, Hitchcock is able to withhold information with a number of carefully planned shots.

As always the biggest surprise is left towards the end and ‘Psycho’ is no exception. Incorporating psychology into the film, Hitchcock has managed to create a twist that reflects upon the split personality of a broken man. While better understood by the greater public today psychological issues such as multiple personality disorder was not well known at the time of the film’s release. Leading to what is often discussed as the film’s low point the penultimate scene takes up a much slower pace lacking the suspense that is shown by the rest of the film and would be seen as unnecessary in this age. Despite this the final monologue that is given by Norman’s other personality leaves the audience on the edge of their seats as the camera focuses in on his face and the personality changes to something far more sinister. In all ‘Psycho’ has retained its psychological horror factor and is easy recognisable even 50 years later from its original release.


Ebert, R. (1998) 'Psycho'
http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-psycho-1960 (accessed 31/01/17)

Grant, R. (1960) 'Psycho: Archive review'
https://www.theguardian.com/film/2010/oct/22/psycho-hitchcock-archive-review-horror (accessed 31/01/17)

Wood, D. (2000) 'Psycho (1960)'
http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2000/12/13/psycho_1960_review.shtml (accessed 31/01/17)

Illustration list

fig.1 'psycho' film poster
http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_md2wvk9i5A1qh35m6o1_1280.jpg (accessed 31/01/17)
http://1125996089.rsc.cdn77.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/psycho021.jpg (accessed 31/01/17)
http://alivingston.qwriting.qc.cuny.edu/files/2011/12/money-psycho.jpg (accessed 31/01/17)

Monday, 30 January 2017

Artist Toolkit - Maya, Pre-Viz part 1 (22/01/17)

Contra-zoom exercise

Coverage exercise

Falling car shake exercise

passing car shake exercise

Friday, 27 January 2017

Artist toolkit - flash, Dancing Women Animation (27/01/17)

Dancing women animation

Artist Toolkit - Adobe Premiere, Like for Like Animatic (27/01/17)

For today's exercise the class was tasked to use the storyboards that have been drawn before hand to create short animatics. This was completed by editing the storyboards to ensure they are a consistent size and are saved as separate images. They were then put together using Adobe Premiere.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Rope - Film Review

fig.1 film poster

Rope’ is a 1948 American film, directed by the "master of suspense", Alfred Hitchcock. Despite having negative reviews at the time of its release ‘Rope’ has been recognised as a significant film, being one of the first major films to replicate the use of a single take.

The film revolves around two characters, Brandon Shaw and Phillip Morgan, who have committed what they believed to be the perfect crime. The story follows the two as they try to ensure that no one knows about the murder that has taken place in their home. Eventually the two are caught, the body in the room discovered and authorities closing in on the building, it is clear there is no escape.

As a result of being based upon Patrick Hamilton’s 1929 play under the same name the film retains a number of components. Including the fact that the film draws inspiration from the real life murder committed by Leopold and Loeb. Using a twisted logic the two thought with their “superior” intellect they could commit the perfect crime which made the headlines of many of the newspapers in America.

Because of this the film was not shown in all states due to how recent the murders have been. This would have been preferred by Hitchcock as he referred to ‘Rope’ as a “failed experiment”. The unique feature of this film, the single shot, allows for a different take in film. Recording in a “single” shot gives a more theatrical feel adding towards the sense of a play. However it can be argued that the single take has not been used to its full potentials. Never the less ‘Rope’ has been regarded as "one of the most interesting experiments ever attempted by a major director working with big box-office names” (Ebert, R. 2008).

With Hitchcock’s biggest strength being suspense it is no surprise that the film revolves around this element. In this scenario it is the evasion of the killers from being caught that creates the tension. On occasion an event would arise alarming the audience adding to the effect. Hitchcock himself has implied that by giving information to the audience a film can give suspense; while the lack of knowledge may create fear in men the right amount can create tension.

The film from the very start has been written with this in mind. By starting from the murder the information is already presented in front of the viewers with the killing already underway. The next important piece of information presented by Hitchcock is the location of the body.

By imitating a single take the film provides a strong template for providing knowledge, essential to Hitchcock he also takes great care in ensuring that the information is easily accessible to the viewer. This is evidenced by the way the actors and the camera interact with the scene in order to draw attention towards certain objects or actions. A clear example of this is when Brandon Shaw, one of the murderers, twists a revolver at an unnatural angle revealing the loaded chamber. This alone draws focus onto both the character’s conviction to kill and capacity to kill increasing the stakes. Without even committing the act of killing the audience’s attention has been captured and from this point on the tension is kept high all though giving information. The audience’s attention is taken in “the only way to uncover the truth is to keep watching” (Hutchinson, P. 2012). To assist in this the camera focuses in on the object of interest insuring that the viewer knows what to take in.

fig.2 loaded gun is presented to the audience

“Murder in the movies is usually more about motive than consequence. The bad guys have it coming, and killers are much more interesting before they start repenting their crimes. But Rope rejects that formula by taking inspiration from a real-life murder, a particularly cold-hearted one, and rubbernecking on its aftermath.” (Hutchinson, P. 2012)

 One interesting factor that has carried on from the play is the psychological reason that has driven the act of murder. The concept of a higher being draws focus upon real life situations where the same moral has driven heinous acts. Throughout the film we can see the two rationales represented through the two murderers as one represents the moral compass, the other a cold guilt-free ideal. Altogether Hitchcock’s ‘Rope’ uses a number of devices in an experimental method to portray tension and suspense while also questioning the mortality of taking another one’s life.


Ebert, R. (1984) 'Rope' Available at: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/rope-1948 (accessed 26/01/2017)

Hutchinson, P. (2012) 'My favourite Hitchcock: Rope' Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2012/jul/27/my-favourite-hitchcock-rope (accessed 26/01/2017)

Bosley, C. (1948) 'THE SCREEN IN REVIEW; ' Rope,' an Exercise in Suspense Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Is New Bill at the Globe' Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=980DE3D81630E03BBC4F51DFBE668383659EDE (accessed 26/01/2017)

Illustration list

fig.1 Rope film poster
http://img.moviepostershop.com/rope-movie-poster-1948-1010272233.jpg (accessed 26/01/2017)
fig.2 Rope. (1948) directed by Alfried Hitchcock [https://www.youtube.com/watchv=mEuPy4doa3c]

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

@Phil - Storytelling & Commision: From Script to Screen, Finalising Story 2

The Premise – Love for one’s child will drive people to complete what is not deemed possible

The Logline – Even when presented with death a lone soul will use what little time he has borrowed to make amends for his daughter before the soul-stealer claims his life.

The Step Outline

In the morgue the lower floor is presented, rows of bodies all laid out upon the sterile, steel tables, being prepared for storage.

Suddenly the last body on the row sits up, springing to life.

He uses both hands to cradle his head before looking at his own wrist noticing the thin drip diverting his attention to a lit suspended bulb (in the style of an IV drip).

He hears an audible noise of a bulb being unscrewed and turns to his left seeing the thief, several bodies down the row as he pockets a bulb.

The bodies can be seen with their light bulbs all floating above them with a tether connected to their wrists.

In a calm, methodical mood the thief navigates from the body in front of him to the next one down the row bringing the thief one body closer to the man.

The thief can be seen with the current body taking the light bulb examining it closely.

The thief brings the dim bulb closely to its ear hearing quiet whispers, memories of the dead body before unscrewing it causing the bulb to produce an ethereal gasp (or last breath) going out completely.

Drawing attention to his own bulb the man grasps his bulb bringing it closer, he can hear a number of noises before hearing a clear voice of a young girl (his daughter with the background noise of children playing, at a park?) “Where are you daddy?”

He reaches into his jacket pulling out his wallet revealing a picture of him, his partner and his daughter.

The man’s attention returns back to the thief who has begun to move onto the next light bulb before directing his vision to the opposite side of the room seeing a telephone on the wall.

Seeing this, the man changes his focus from the thief (who is methodically closing in), his picture and the phone.

Suddenly the man jumps off the table rushing towards the phone and dials in a number.

He turns back, seeing that the thief is on the last body on the row.

The phone dials but no one picks up, a loud noise of the footsteps can be heard slowly getting closer.

It seems like no one is going to pick up and the man closes his eyes the footsteps right behind him.

The thief moves his hand towards the man, placing it upon his shoulder and the phone picks up on the other side.

The man opens his eyes, turning his head slightly to acknowledge the thief before return to the phone, “Hey, honey, I’m not going to be home tonight so I just wanted to say…”

The short ends with darkness.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Artist Toolkit - Maya, Texturing part 1 (23/01/17)

Dual Sided Texture

X-Ray Texture

Glass Texture

Rim Lights

Story Telling and Commission: Soundscape, Sound Design for Space

Today's Adobe Audition class entailed using sample sound files in order to create a soundscape for a space setting. Alongside sample sounds the class was given the choice to build a soundscape from our imagination or a sample video. I have designed my sound file around camera footage from a reentry. 

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Storytelling & Commision: From Script to Screen, Finalising the Story

The Premise – Love for one’s child will drive people to complete what is not deemed possible

The Logline – Even when presented with death a lone soul will use what little time he has borrowed to make amends for his daughter before the soul-stealer claims his life.

The Step Outline

In the morgue the lower floor is presented, rows of bodies all laid out upon the sterile, steel tables, being prepared for storage.

A small light can be seen shining through the jacket of one of the bodies before fading.

Suddenly the body sits up, springing to life, looking around he can see that the bodies around him, of which all look content in their deaths.

Reaching into his jacket he finds a light bulb that is lit looking at it trying to remember.

In a panic he begins to search his personal belongings finding a number of items including his keys, spare change, and his wallet; soon he comes across an unsigned divorce papers and a small picture.

While examining both these items his attention is drawn to the light bulb as it flickers before dimming slightly.

Turning around he can make out a figure in the unlit part of the hall closing in.

He begins to run using the dimming light to guide him, the figures continues to give chase.

The man begins to think about what he is going to say voicing it inside his head “Sorry, I’m so sorry”, “I wasn’t there for you”, “

As the light fades he finds that his skin is turning pale, death has started to settle in.

“I love you”

Upon reaching a phone on the wall the man forces change into it and dials a number, panicked he turns to see the figure once again closing the gap.

The phone dials.

The dial tone stops and someone picks up, the light fades out completely with the figure right behind him.

The phone drops with a young girl talking “Hello? (talking away from the phone) mum, the phone.”

The photo floats down revealing an image of his daughter before the bulb crashes onto the floor and shatters.

Storytelling & Commision: From Script to Screen, Putting the Components Together 2

Following onward from the previous feedback given for the story I have built upon the positive components of the story. Continuing to focus upon the raw components the following combinations are to be fleshed out later.

Board of ideas, characters on the top row

1.A lone soul is lifted from its body, in the morgue the souls gather in line ready to pass on to the next world. Looking around the soul finds that all those around him have dimly lit light bulbs. Finding that he does not have a light bulb of his own he focuses onto another like him but before he can reach out sluagh take the other soul away. The main character runs away hiding in the morgue where he finds a worker, unknown to the worker the soul unscrews his brightly lit bulb (full of life). Before the sluagh can take away the soul they are warded away with the newly found source of light. The main character is able to rejoin the others and pass on. Unknown to him the worker has died his body soon releasing its soul which lacks a light bulb.

2.A worker at a morgue finds that he has been gifted with the ability to see the life force in people through the form of light bulbs. However he finds that some bodies are missing their bulbs in the morgue. On the night shift before he leaves the guard appears unconscious but he sees that his bulb is missing, following a mysterious shadow he enters a room where a sluagh has been stealing and hording the life force as they hang above him across the room. Before he knows it the slaugh has crept up behind him.

3.A burglar breaks into a morgue with the intention of stealing the property of those who have died. Going through the bodies he finds a light bulb that is lit despite not being connected to any source of power. The grim reaper comes to finish his job only finding the burglar and so claims his light (life instead). The burglar refuses to give in and so chase the reaper.

4.A man wakes up in a morgue finding that he was about presumed dead. After searching his possessions he finds that he has a bulb in his pocket that is dimly lit. The soul stealer arrives telling him he is on borrowed time and must use what little is left to complete his wish. The man has no memory and tries to go through the rest of his possessions in an attempt to remember. After enough searching he finds a picture of his family, remembering everything he runs to the nearest phone finding that before he can finish dialing the number his bulb has faded.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Artist Toolkit - Character Design (18/01/17)

During the character design class the group was informed about the formation of characters through the use of shapes. Following the principles of triangles, squares and circles we applied this to different characters of our choice, in my case this was Grim from 'The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy'.

Billy, Grim and Mandy

Initial attempts

Second attempt at a bulky character

Lecturer's example of a more 'sinister' reaper

my own attempt at a 'sinister' reaper
After completing a number of drawings from the example character we were given the task to create 3 more characters from a random category. As the category was misheard I repeated the task twice, one for zombies and another for pirates.

3 zombies

3 pirates

Artist toolkit - flash, Flour Sack Animation (20/01/17)

For this week's animation class the group was asked to create an animated flour sack. Alongside bringing the bag to life it was also necessary to incorporate the previous lessons adding weight, arcs, anticipation, emotion, follow through, secondary animations, squash and stretch, staging, slow in and slow out, timing, exaggeration, solid drawing and appeal. 

Flour sack animation

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Storytelling & Commision: From Script to Screen, Putting the Components Together

In order to form the most basic concept of the story all ideas surrounding the morgue, burglar and light bulb have been posted collectively onto a single board so that can be rearranged. Currently it appears that there are two main groups, one formed around the morality of stealing and the other being that of a more spectral nature.

Board of ideas consisting of the most basic ideas.
1.A burglar who fell out with his mother for his career choice, goes to a morgue that has been closed off and worn down with the lights flickering on and off, the burglar who is carrying a light bulb, reaches one of the lower floor of the morgue fitting the light bulb giving a fixed light revealing his mother on the table where he tries to find a resolve with his peace

2.The thief of souls (equivalent of grim reaper), goes around the morgue to allow the souls to rest and bring them to the other side, uses the light bulb to signify when a person will die (Greek mythology, three sisters cutting the thread of fate), is spotted by a worker who continues to live his life in fear of the reaper into old age where the reaper shows himself to him revealing his dim light bulb

3.Victorian burglar is on the loose, stealing body parts in order to sell to those curious in the human biology, he leaves a trail in a morgue and a lone police officer wanting to prove himself

4.A memory thief, has no clear memories the he can call his own uncertain with his identity he hunts for happy memories that he can call his own, these memories are taken from the dead in the morgue, stored in light bulbs
(I am thinking that ideas 3 and 4 would be better together as one story the burglar is trying to find and extract the memory from the body, however the police officer is closing in closing his window of time to escape.)

5.A burglar is shot and killed, the body is taken to a morgue where the souls of the bodies form a collective group where they are then judged to pass on, a light bulb is used to represent the goodness left in the person

6.A trapped first time burglar is trying to get out of the morgue after stealing possessions of the dead, the light goes out and his morality and worries being to materialises in the form of the dead he has stolen from, he runs trying to find a spare light bulb to replace the light to keep the dead away, after succeeding he looks down at his loot questioning if his morality will allow him to complete his actions

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Story Telling and Commission: Soundscape, Initial Thoughts and Word Stacks

Image 1 

Symmetrical, Smooth 
Discolouration, Thermal, Heating and Cooling
Organic, Shell, Sprouting, Growing, Spreading 
Layered, Multiplying, Complex, Structured, Rounded, Hollow
Matte, Reflective, Catching the light
Coral, Underwater, Floral, Bright, Suspension, Darkness
Brittle, Delicate, Ceramic, Hard, Cold to the touch

Image 2

Hairy, Fur, Brush
Scaly, Shiny, Reflective, Skin,Snake, Sliding, Cold
Nature, Green, Particles, , Fibers, Smooth
Hexagons, Nature's choice of shape
Rubbery, Friction, Elastic, Stretchy, Dense, Heavy

Image 3

Spreading, Viral, Infection, Floating, Free, Exposed
Transparent, Thin, Glassy, Plastic, Molded, Man-made 
Colourful, Bright, Attraction
Winged, Structured, Delicate, Petite
Smooth, Reflective, Shiny, Glassy
Alien, Alternating

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Artist toolkit - Flash, Weight in Movement (13/01/17)

For this week's exercise the class was required to draw a number of figures that portrayed weight in the object. This was done though using various postures to help convey the sense of weight.

Heavy object

Light object

Weighted object
Alongside drawing 3 different postures an animation was also created from a reference video showing weight in the stride. 
Strained pulling

Thursday, 12 January 2017

La Jetée - Film Review

fig.1 Movie poster
Directed by Chris Marker ‘La Jetée’ is a 1962 French film, having a total run time of 28 minutes. Despite the relatively short run time for a film ‘La Jetée’ has been regarded as one of the greatest “time loop” films. The film itself consists of a rather unusual, experimental method of storytelling within the film industry. Containing only one live action shot the majority of the film is formed by a series of stills and sounds.

‘La Jetée’ follows the story of an unnamed man who is kept as a prisoner in a post-apocalyptic Paris. Following World War Three the human race is forced to live underground doomed to extinction. The protagonist, against his will, undergoes several experiments that send him to different points in time. Eventually this results in his inevitable death.

Firstly focusing on what makes the film unique, is the use of still images in place of the conventional footage. Now classed as a ‘Photo-Roman’, the film is made up mostly by black and white 
photographs that are narrated to form the story. Marker himself regarded the piece as a ‘photo novel’ rather than a film. It is this feature that helps to create a far more romantic and nostalgic feeling as the story is narrated over the photographs of the past, much like how one would recall their own story to the new generation. It is not this feature alone that helps to invoke these feelings as Marker also makes effective use of sound design and pacing of the images. It is only when these components are married together that the film speaks to the viewer. As expressed by Bruce Kawin in his book ‘Film Quarterly’, “The visual track consists primarily of still photos connected by straight cuts, fades, and dissolves; the editing rhythms and the variations in camera position are so like those in conventional “moving pictures” that the spectator may feel s/he is watching a move rather than a comic book. “ (Kawin B.1982)  In this regard Marker has been able to integrate the ‘photo-roman’ technique in place of live footage having a similar effect as a conventional film.

While ‘La Jetée’ is strong visually, using a number of black and white images to provoke feelings the film is also strong in terms of sound design. In addition to the narrator there is the additional layer of ambient noise making the film more immersive and believable. The sound track is well balanced with the following images, helping to sustain the story for the 28 minutes of images.

“The soundtrack's texture is similarly sparse, and the fluid montage leads the viewer” (TD, 2016) 

Not unlike conventional film the stills require great use of timing in order to convey a certain feeling. Marker makes effective use of both the stills and timing by increasing the pace at which the images passes over the viewers. More happy, mellow stills are left a little longer to soak in. Frantic scenes such as the ones seen before the protagonist’s death are played in quick succession to invoke worry and the lack of time.

Another reoccurring theme that is present throughout ‘La Jetée’ is the contrast between the darker and brighter stills. These stills often are used to help indicate the location and time of the character during his story with the darker scenes depicting the present and the future. The lighter shots show memories of the past of a happier time. This leads on the bigger question of where one is truly happy, at which period of time. Overall the film contains various thought provoking images combined with a strong sound design leading to a memorable film.


DT. (2016) La Jetée. 
http://www.timeout.com/london/film/la-jetee (Accessed 12/01/2017)

Kawin, B. (1982) Film Quarterly 
http://www.jstor.org/stable/3697180?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents (Accessed 12/01/2017)

Schefer, J-L. (1995)
http://chrismarker.org/chris-marker-2/jean-louis-schefer-on-la-jete/ (Accessed 12/01/2017)

Illustration list

Fig.1 La Jetée Movie Poster. (2016) [Poster] (2016) Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Jet%C3%A9e (Accessed 12/01/2017)

Storytelling & Commision: From Script to Screen, Like for Like Storyboard

Like for like storyboard exercise based upon treasure planet.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Story Telling and Commission: Soundscape, Sound Designer

Artist Toolkit - Character Design (11/01/17)

For our first lesson of character design our class went over the archetypes of characters within a story. To practice this each student was given a character who was then drawn out in either a more 'simplified' or 'realistic' version. My own character that I received was a minion.

the three bottom most drawings belonging to the lecturer looking at how minion could be changed in art style 

Overall the end product of this lesson has been rather strange with the more realistic minion having normal features such as lips resulting in a deranged character. 

Artist Toolkit - Life Drawing (09/01/17)

Artist Toolkit - Maya, Pre-Viz part 1 (09/01/17)

Maya tutorial tasks

Pitch Camera exercise

Dolly Camera exercise

Crane Camera exercise

Tracking Camera exercise

Far Tracking Camera

Mid Tracking Camera

Close Tracking Camera

Pan Camera exercise

Roll Camera exercise

180 degree camera roll

360 degree camera roll

540 degree camera roll

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Story Telling and Commission: Soundscape, My Three Images

The task that has been given for the current project 'Soundscapes' is to create 3x 30 second long soundscapes for the images given. The following 3 images have been selected at random and will have an original sound track created for each one. 
Personally I feel that creating a sound track for anyone of these images will be difficult but also interesting. All these images could derive a sound from various sources but feel as if they would be more organic in nature. 

Image 1

image 2

image 3

Storytelling & Commision: From Script to Screen, My Three Words

The three components that are to be included within my story for this project includes the following

Character: Burglar
Place: Morgue 
Prop: Light Bulb

This task of writing a story will be a first and will prove to be a difficult and challenging experience. Despite the obstacles ahead I am excited to see what will be achieved in the next seven weeks.