Go N⋅Sane for Crash Bandicoot!

Woah! After 21 years, Crash Bandicoot is finally back!

Ready to go N⋅Sane for Crash? I sure am ready, it was long overdue but it’s finally a relief to see the marsupial bandicoot make his remarkable comeback.

Just last year, Sony & Activision announced Crash Bandicoot’s return, which brought rumours and speculation to an end after so many years. It’s oddly eerie how I wrote a review on Crash Bandicoot: Warped on the 9th July 2015, because I mentioned in that review that it would be nice to see the classic trilogy being remastered and it was quite ironic to hear a year later before my 18th birthday that Crash Bandicoot was finally making a comeback to PlayStation. How crazy is that? To think I was talking about wanting to see the game being remastered, only to have my prayers and everyone else’s prayers finally be answered with the trilogy being given the official remaster treatment. I marked my 19th birthday exactly two weeks ago today so it’s triple the celebration for me.

The marsupial bandicoot himself, including his villainous counterparts, return to wreak havoc once again, as Crash foils Dr. Neo Cortex‘s plans for world domination.

I won’t lie, I am so pleased with the gameplay I have seen recently and for the fact that Activision have gone to all that hard work and effort to keep the trilogy as true to the original proves they wanted to make sure the games paid all the attention to detail whilst keeping the marsupial bandicoot breaking boxes while dodging dangerous obstacles.

The bosses for the trilogy are so good that it almost feels realistic, given that the attention to detail makes you feel like you’re in the game and for the fact that Activision have been showing footage of the games on YouTube proves that they wanted to keep it as true to the original trilogy so that we can all play the Crash Bandicoot games of the past and present.

I love the fact Activision have paid homage to Naughty Dog by slapping their iconic dog paw on Coco Bandicoot‘s laptop, which is really nostalgic considering that Naughty Dog’s efforts to release the games in 1996, 1997 & 1998 made Crash Bandicoot the iconic gaming legend he is today.

I cannot wait to get my hands on the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy! I pre-ordered it in advance of today’s release, but I will be uploading gameplay footage of the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy to my YouTube Channel, so I can assure you that my YouTube Channel will consist of gameplay footage from all three games: Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back & Crash Bandicoot: Warped.

Stay tuned as I’ll be publishing a review on the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy at some point over the coming weeks, but for now, let’s go N⋅Sane and welcome back Crash Bandicoot to PlayStation! We missed you!

Alex Smithson

© Activision, Vicarious Visions & Naughty Dog 2017

© The Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy Official Box Artwork, including the Crash Bandicoot franchise, are all copyright of Activision, Vicarious Visions & Naughty Dog. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

HOUSEKEEPING

As I was able to meet my deadline with all of my coursework backed up to some hard drives, I did a massive clear-out on my laptop. I needed to get that much-needed storage space back as my laptop was being cluttered with all of the coursework I’ve done over the course of the entire year.

I was so glad to have taken all of my work off my laptop, as it’s completely spacious once again, and after defragmenting and optimising the drives built into my laptop, I have managed to get some extra space back, and I have noticed my laptop is running much faster now and it’s also working much more efficiently than before.

I won’t lie, I didn’t realise how much coursework I did this year until I got all of my coursework together in one folder. I am pleased that I have done all of my work, as this gives me a sense of relief knowing that I can use the research and photography skills I have by putting them to good use.

It’s hard to believe that after Monday 3rd July, my time at Croydon College comes to an end. Croydon College has given me so much and has helped me to realise my potential in becoming the photographer I am now, and never did I think I would be saying this three years later that I have managed to achieve so much in such a short space of time. Photography has always been a passion and a hobby for me as it is a hobby I want to take up as a full-time career, and I have noticed lately with this website’s Instagram account that some of the photography work I have published on this website’s Instagram account has been receiving a lot of positive feedback, which has helped me to come up with all new ideas for this website.

But again, doing a much-needed clear-out has done me a favour as I can now come up with better ideas that are free-flowing, which is essential for me in that respect considering I love photography and now that I have had the opportunity to photograph some friends of mine for my Final Major Project, including the famous actor and Mental Health Awareness campaigner, Oli Regan, I actually want to photograph people as well as producing photography work that is nature-based, landscape-based and portrait-based, as photographing people fascinates me, given that facial expressions are something that interest me. A facial expression, in my eyes, can describe more than just a thousand words. A facial expression can describe unlimited amounts of words, as well as speak volumes.

I will miss Croydon College, but life has to go on and I can honestly say that despite all the ups and downs I have had, that all of us have had in that respect, this college got me and everyone else through and allowed us to realise our potential, and this college have been so supportive and given me and everyone so much to be thankful for. Croydon College is a good college but I will miss it, but still, life goes on and I will work my socks off from here on out even after I finish my last ever day at Croydon College as a college student, as I want to become a full-time photographer and even get the opportunity to do photography-based projects that I actually want to get paid for.

It feels so good to do a lot of housekeeping but now I can come up with better ideas from this point forward. I haven’t published in goodness knows how many weeks due to the coursework, as I met the deadline and did my last Maths exam, and I have had a lot of free time to use lately. I have been gearing up and preparing myself for the hype of this Friday, as this Friday sees the remarkable gaming legend make a comeback after 21 years, and that legend is Crash Bandicoot. The Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy, produced by Activision (original Crash Bandicoot series by Naughty Dog) will be released on Friday 30th June! Keep your eyes peeled for the article I’ll be publishing that will be celebrating the release of the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy on Friday.

Does it feel good for you when you have done a lot of housekeeping? Please tell me, I would love to hear your response.

Alex Smithson

Headshot Photographs / #1 to #10 / Facial Expressionism / Final Major Project / Contact Sheets

As I prepare to end my Final Major Project, which comes to a close on Monday 5th June, I have created Contact Sheets for my Final Major Project, which will be in my sketchbook once printed.

All of the Headshot Photographs which consist of my close friends, which are Jonathan McCartney, Steven Geer, Oli Regan, Leonardo Mouza, Terrence Mathew, Mhamad Rauf & Kasra Soltani, are almost ready for the End of Year Show, and all I need to do now is get the photos put on to a large number of slides, timed around 10 to 20 seconds each, and then all that’s left is to finalise my proposal and then the sketchbook annotations, along with the Final Evaluation.

I hadn’t anticipated my last year of college would fly so quick! Time flies when you’re having fun, also when you’re working your socks off to make sure you can achieve the best from the work you produce.

Below are all of the contact sheets from #1 to #10, including the photo edits and black and white versions of the original photographs.

Headshot #1 – Jonathan McCartney

Headshot #1 – Jonathan McCartney / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #2 – Jonathan McCartney

Headshot #2 – Jonathan McCartney / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #2 – Jonathan McCartney / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #3 – Steven Geer

Headshot #3 – Steven Geer / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #3 – Steven Geer / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #4 – Oli Regan / Black Backdrop & Red Backdrop

Headshot #4 – Oli Regan / WordFoto Edits / Black Backdrop & Red Backdrop

Headshot #4 – Oli Regan / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #5 – Leonardo Mouza

Headshot #5 – Leonardo Mouza / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #5 – Leonardo Mouza / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #6 – Terrence Mathew & Leonardo Mouza

Headshot #6 – Terrence Mathew & Leonardo Mouza / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #6 – Terrence Mathew & Leonardo Mouza / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #7 – Mhamad Rauf

Headshot #7 – Mhamad Rauf / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #7 – Mhamad Rauf / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #8 – Kasra Soltani

Headshot #8 – Kasra Soltani / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #8 – Kasra Soltani / Monochrome (Black & White) / Facial Expressionism Photographs + A Continuation of the First Set of Facial Expressionism Photographs

Headshot #9 – Kasra Soltani

Headshot #9 – Kasra Soltani / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #9 – Kasra Soltani / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

Headshot #10 – Kasra Soltani

Headshot #10 – Kasra Soltani / WordFoto Edits

Headshot #10 – Kasra Soltani / Black & White Versions of Original Photographs

These contact sheets are essential for the project work I have produced, as they cover all of the work I have produced for the Final Major Project and given the fact I have named the photographs, this is beneficial for me as I can prepare for the end of the Final Major Project whilst I prepare a photographic presentation for the End of Year Show.

It’s hard to believe that on Monday 5th June at 11:30 AM, all of the work I have produced will be handed in for what will be the last time. I still cannot get my head around the fact I have only a few weeks left at Croydon College. The time sure flew! School went quick, there’s no denying that, but college, on the other hand, went like a blip!

These contact sheets, which go in conjunction with all of the coursework I have produced, will be viewable in the E-Folio.

Please submit below your response on whether there are any improvements I can make for when I produce photography work similar to the headshot photography work I have produced in the future. I would love to hear your response.

Alex Smithson

PlayStation 4 Slim: Your Favourite Console Just Got Slimmer!

As I decided to treat myself to the new PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB console after a tough year, it’s safe to say I was not disappointed, as I was able to get in on a deal with PC World as they were selling three games bundled with the PlayStation 4 Slim; those games were DRIVECLUB, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End & The Last of Us Remastered.

Thankfully, I was able to get in on the deal when I did because Sony never disappoints where consoles and gaming are involved, as the console itself is much quieter than the original PS4, given that I know a friend of mine who has the original PS4 whose PS4 actually makes a noise even if the console is standing upright or horizontally when gameplay is in progress or when a film is being played on the PlayStation 4.

For the PlayStation 4 Slim, it’s so quiet! It can surprise you though when you stand it upright when a DVD is inserted into the disc compartment, as it makes quite a noise while it reads the DVD, but that, to me, is a good thing, because if the PS4 Slim can make that much of a noise while it reads a DVD, then you know the DVD will play with no problem.

So, What is in the Box?

The PlayStation 4 Slim comes bundled with the following items:

  • PlayStation 4 Slim
  • PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 Controller
  • HDMI Cable
  • PlayStation In-Ear Headphones (these can be plugged into the PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 Controller if you join a Party in progress with your friends).
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Guarantee Booklet
  • PlayStation Guarantee
  • PlayStation Protection Policy
  • Safety Guide
  • DualShock 4 USB Charging Cable.

If you brought the three game bundle that I purchased with the PlayStation 4 Slim, you would get the following games:

  • DRIVECLUB
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  • The Last of Us Remastered.

Other PlayStation 4 Slim game bundles are available and are listed below:

  • PlayStation 4 Slim (1 TB) / DRIVECLUB / Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End / Ratchet & Clank – 3 Game Bundle
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Bundle
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (1 TB) / Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Bundle / Includes a Digital Copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered with 10 MP Maps
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / Watch Dogs 2 Bundle / Includes the first Watch Dogs.
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / Includes FIFA 17 and a 1-Year PlayStation Plus Subscription
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / Battlefield 1 Bundle
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / The Batman Bundle / Includes: Batman Arkham Knight, Batman: Return to Arkham & Batman: A Telltale Series
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / Includes Battlefield 1 and an Afterglow AG9 Headset
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / Includes Titanfall 2 and a 90-Day PlayStation Plus Subscription
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / Grand Theft Auto V Bundle
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB) / LEGO Star Wars Bundle.

If you prefer the standalone PlayStation 4 Slim with no games, below are the listed PlayStation 4 Slim storage choices:

  • PlayStation 4 Slim (500 GB)
  • PlayStation 4 Slim (1 TB).

What do I think of the PlayStation 4 Slim? I think it’s so good because the speed of the console is extremely fast and thanks to Sony making it possible to share gameplay from PS4 Games, I have been able to upload some gameplay videos to my YouTube channel. Plus, I love how you can keep in touch with your friends over the PlayStation Network, including the added ability to play games that you don’t have that your friends have with Share Play, which allows you to invite friends to play a game that they don’t have over your internet connection. This is beneficial for me because if I don’t have a game that a friend does own, then I can receive the controls from the game from a friend and then play that game that they are playing, and that’s a massive bonus.

In terms of the size of the console, I am pleased that I was able to get in on the three-game console deal when I did, as I find the console spacious considering I can stand it up vertically without worrying about the PlayStation 4 Slim heating up, and because I have also got a stand for the PlayStation 4 Slim, this helps me in many ways as I can still find the space to move things around in my bedroom whilst the console is in its own place. I have noticed even though this is my first PlayStation 4 that it’s a little smaller than the original PlayStation 4, so that’s perfect for me considering I like to have enough room to position a console or two. With that being said, the console itself is really quiet and it works perfectly in my bedroom.

Overall, I was lucky to get the PlayStation 4 Slim when I did, because as Sony & Activision recently showed off the comeback trailer and the first gameplay video of some of the remastered levels of Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy, it’s safe to say that I am absolutely excited for the trilogy considering it’s out sometime in 2017, and once it’s out, I am definitely purchasing it. A lot of good games are coming to the PlayStation 4, so I cannot wait to find out what games are in store next year.

But overall, I love the PlayStation 4 Slim and I wholeheartedly recommend the PlayStation 4 Slim to all of you.

To end this in spectacular style, as Sony would say: “This is for the Players.

If you enjoyed my review of the PlayStation 4 Slim, then please feel free to submit feedback below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

© Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sony Corporation 2016

© Any logos / promotional images used, such as the Registered PS4 Trademark, including the Vertical PlayStation 4 Slim Stand and the PlayStation 4 Slim & DualShock 4 Controller are all copyright of Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony Interactive Entertainment and Sony Corporation. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy Unveiled at PlayStation Experience!

A short while ago, I wrote an article following my excitement that Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back & Crash Bandicoot: Warped were being remastered after years of rumours and speculation, and tonight at the PlayStation Experience, Activision unveiled the first ever look of Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy and I have just seen the comeback trailer of the new Crash game and believe me, I wasn’t prepared. It’s so good! To reminisce the nostalgic fever of the PS1 Classic Crash Bandicoot, Activision showed the original levels from the Crash Bandicoot PS1 game, and then they put the original levels together with the remastered levels and it’s so good!

I know I keep saying it’s so good, but trust me, it is that good that your jaws will drop the moment you see the comeback trailer. I have provided the comeback trailer below so all of you can see Crash Bandicoot in his full glory, officially remastered for the PlayStation 4 in 60FPS (Frames Per Second)

Sony & Activision couldn’t have picked a better time to show Crash Bandicoot off, and just in time for Christmas, they have given all of us hope and have put smiles on all of our faces, because the marsupial Crash Bandicoot is back and marks his 20th Anniversary of being on PlayStation.

What did you think of the comeback trailer for Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy? Do you have all three of the original PlayStation 1 Crash Bandicoot games? Are you just as excited as I am about Crash Bandicoot’s comeback? Please let me know if you feel nostalgic by submitting feedback below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

It’s a Beautiful Day.

Lovely Summer weather today.

Here is the downloadable version of the photo. Please feel free to download and use as your Laptop / PC screensaver, and also please feel free to use this photo as a mobile wallpaper or as a wallpaper for a gaming console.

Original Version
Edited Version (as seen in featured image).

Have you all got this lovely Summer weather where you are? Please feel free to submit feedback.

Alex Smithson

Weekly Log 2 (Tuesday 6th October 2015 – Thursday 8th October 2015) – Light Play Project

Below is the second Weekly Log that I completed which was made shortly after the start of October, when I developed my darkroom experiments further, among other pieces of work that I did.

Research / Context

I looked at three different artists that had created their own works, who were based around the Surrealism movement, and that was Francesca Woodman, Paul Nougé & Jan Svankmajer. I’ve used the ideas that I’ve gathered from these artists’ works and have put those ideas to good use by creating my own form of Surrealist Photography, so that the research I have will connect and relate entirely to my own ideas, as well as my own form of Surrealist Photography.

After gathering some research about these 3 artists, I was able to develop my own understanding of the processes that these artists had used on their own work, and because I was able to develop my own understanding of these processes that these three artists had used, I was able to put my own form of Surrealist Photography into my own perspective, and also make it something that would be my own, so that nothing is copied, but what I would create would be entirely original.

Practical Tasks Done

How did I do it? Well in order for me to develop this process, I would need to use the research that I had gathered and come up with my own ideas, so that I could put my own ideas that I would come up with to good use, and to also make sure that the ideas that I have come up with connects entirely to my own form of Surrealist Photography.

What did I think was difficult? What I thought was difficult about producing my own form of Surrealist Photography was how I could create a certain form of Surrealism without compromising what my Surrealist Photography was really about.

What worked well? What worked well for me was that I was able to create entirely different forms of Surrealism by getting the small number of students (3 students overall, including myself) in my group to create certain forms of movement with a certain object, whether it would be a doll, a mannequin, a pack of cards or a glass bottle, so that my own form of Surrealist Photography would have certain, if not, many elements of heartbreak.

How could I improve it? I could improve it by making sure that I broaden my research a lot more, and that I have just the right amount of research available, so that I can broaden and extend my own ideas further, without compromising how I want the final result to officially turn out.

Critical Analysis

In terms of composition, that’s in terms of framing and the positioning of objects, that’s including the line, tone, texture depth and many more, I had to make sure that the Surrealist Photography that I wanted to produce would have the people in my group doing certain forms of movement, as well as carrying an object or objects. For example, my form of surrealism focuses around the idea of heartbreak, so I wanted to create a vision where someone would be suffering from heartbreak, but where that person could be sleeping at night while being in a hallucinating world of bad thoughts.

How could my research/contextual studies be applied to help me develop my own experiments? My research/contextual studies, which were based on the three artists in question can be applied to the Surrealism movement, as I will be able to look at the three artists I have studied that are a part of the Surrealism movement, and come up with all-new, and original ideas that can help me to produce my own Surrealist Photography work. The research I have gathered will most certainly help me in developing my own Surrealist Photography, so that what I create is not copied at all, but is entirely original.

This second Weekly Log article has officially come to an end. Check back very soon for the final Weekly Log for today before the Quote Article.

Alex Smithson

Croydon Photography

On Thursday, I headed down to some parts of Croydon with some of my classmates from my UAL (University of the Arts London) Level 3 Diploma Film & Photography Course, as we were doing some filming for our project which is currently based around Ghost Stories.

Whilst me and the small number of the students in my group were filming, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to snap some photographs down Surrey Street Market, Crown Hill and also around Croydon.

The concept of our film was that one of our students would play the part of someone who is depressed, and also on the edge of it all, like as if they wanted to just end it all and never experience it again, but on a more serious note, the concept was about needing an angel to be there for that person who may have been almost bullied into silence, but was stopped from going to the point of no return. The angel would be the natural healer, by being there to pull the victim out of danger, and also out of harm’s way and also out of the midst of it all so to speak.

But back to the subject of things, just after we finished filming, despite having to re-shoot a scene because of one member of the public waving at the camera (which wasn’t supposed to happen despite us all telling him not to do so until we concluded filming), which resulted in a scene becoming useless for video editing, we did a re-shoot of the same scene again, and after we finished re-filming that scene, I thought it would be a fantastic idea to snap these photographs.

Colour Photographs (Original)

Chosen Edited Photographs (Black & White)

Have we actually finished filming? Yes we have, and I’m absolutely pleased to say that the way the production of this film has gone, it has gone well despite a small faux pas moment from a member of the public, but aside that, me and my group absolutely enjoyed filming for this project, despite the weather conditions.

Please feel free to leave feedback on this article based on what you thought of my photography work that I did in Croydon on Thursday :-).

Alex Smithson

Device used to snap these photographs: iPod touch (5th Generation)

The Beauty of Natural Form in Black & White

Hello, to keep this short, I thought I’d upload a drawing that was initially meant to take me at least 2 – 3 weeks to finish, but instead took me 4 weeks to complete.

To challenge myself with this drawing, I did this free-hand, and I wanted to make sure I could bring the surface texture out in the drawing, so I used shading, and one of the techniques I was taught by one of the teachers who came in from a different school was you could use a tissue and very gently smudge the areas that you have shaded really dark, and it does work wonders, because if you notice the areas on the drawing I did, some or most areas of the drawing were shaded in dark to light, and then I smudged them, giving the drawing a 3-Dimensional effect.

I have uploaded to this post the drawing that I finished off last night, and also a version of the original that I needed to change to black and white to help me with getting this drawing completed. Please comment on what you think of the drawing, and feel free to drop me an email via the contact form on the Contact button above this post.