Hercu-Liz the Final Trailer

 

Here is my Hercu-Liz animated trailer for this final project for the Foundation course at Farnham UCA.

Please click on the image to view it:

 

Rating

Click here to see the finished Hercu-Liz Trailer on Youtube

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bww3R6yXEj8&feature=youtu.be

My project is based around a strong, independent female character role.  Both my final concepts were always going to be animations. Apart from my initial idea, I did not know which direction to go with it at first. However, I developed the idea from previous projects done throughout the units within this foundation course, I extracted ideas from these works I did previously.

The final choices were between a theme on ‘Survival’ (that would include a female explorer, connected to the survival-kit summer project).  Alternatively, I developed a theme based on the MIP project ‘Ritual’ (originally  in that project I wanted an animation that included creatures from myths.) This  would have either a theme involving sacrifice, or a heroine on a journey pitted against various mythical beasts.

I progressed with my understanding of the area. I researched Greek mythology, fantasy art and stories. Additionally I drew inspiration from concept art in computer games and various comics.

After consideration, the style I was aiming for was an 1980’s cartoon animation, such as ‘He-Man’ and ‘Thundercats’. I knew I wanted to capture a distinctive and clear retro feel. By aiming for a bold style with detailed drawings I felt it could stand out.

 

 

I developed possible plots with my storyboarding and scenes. I then cropped these into shorter lengths as the idea for a trailer emerged. Originally I had planned for one long detailed story. I realised that if I had stuck to that idea of a singe scene I couldn’t have showcased my skills or shown the character. I wanted to show more than one creature, and my choice was then to make short takes divided with the title and characters/creatures to be used.

In my sketchbook there were many character designs that weren’t used in the final piece. I wanted not only  to include only the original creatures Hercules did fight, but also adapted mine to include my favourite mythical creatures.

Research into current and past interpretations of the  Herculean saga and also helped me develop the back-story. I realised that if I was going to develop a female version of the Demi- God, I would need to change some aspects of the plot! In my version not only were creatures different, but I also included an arch enemy. In the end, I removed the villain as viewers watching only a short trailer may have been confused.

To create originality in a subject that has been done before many times was a formidable task in itself.  Ancient Greek myths have been redesigned and reinterpreted repeatedly! So to make new, different versions needed lots of research to help create and avoid imitation of other works.

Without a good sources of research, this project would have been weak and suffered through
a lack of inspirational designs and back-story.  Looking into influential artists’ works, past and present, helped build up my ideas, the styles and methods of how I could create this final project.

I feel my research into the possible theories is integrated into my project in the clothing, armour and scenarios developed. In my final cartoon research is evident through the ‘stone lettering’ which gave it an ancient feel (futuristic fonts would have been misplaced). Also, my research into my interpretations of the Minotaur and Medusa show in the final cut

min 26 3D Minotaur Head

Med 21 blood

 

By watching trailers, that included battles, I edited to show quick scenes for the action and to showcase the story.

My sketchbook helped immensely with character designing, storyboarding, techniques and mediums to use.  More detailed notes have been recorded in my journal which ran alongside my sketchbook, often I found myself referring back to this during the animation process.

I found myself experimenting and exploring my ideas further by influences of cartoons by Filmation (an 80’s cartoon company), plus looking at how animated montages and movie trailers are done.

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Translating sketchbook experimental designs into animated characters was a challenge as I still had all the in-between images to consider and workout.  However, without the original sketchbook works, I would not have had anywhere to work from.

The use of a light-pad was very successful during this project and helped tremendously. When I did a brief hand-drawn animation for the interview project in part 2, I didn’t have a light pad at the time and achieved my work during the day and by tracing against a window. Tracing wouldn’t be recommended technique as I would have been limited to when there is was sunlight glaring on the glass! Secondly, I would have to draw in pencil every time, then re-ink afterwards as using an ink based pen vertically causes the ink to run and the pen nib dry out.To create my minute long animation this way would have been impossible.

Light Pad

Light Pad

 

Light Pad

Light Pad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An improvement that I made during this project was redoing the end title as I was not completely satisfied with its outcome.  I felt that I did not have enough time left to alter it, but I decided to draw up a whole new version.  The current title affected me every time I watched the finished trailer, annoying me as it wasn’t as good as it felt rushed. I decided to redo it.  In the end, I am glad I spent the extra time in doing this, as the result  was more successful.

.Title

TitleScreenshot 2014-04-27 13.40.46

 

My sketchbook designs and illustrations show my strengths, and I tried to capture these in a moving version for the animated trailer.  Research helped my inspiration and highlighted strong and weaker areas, by focusing on inspiring images, quotes and styles of particular practitioners. Some artists I have know of before. Some artists who were completely new to me.

I intend the viewer to be able to experience the detail of both the hand drawn stills and the motion of them when in animated form.  I would like the audience to also notice the 80’s influence within the style, and that it resembles cartoons of that era.  I have not uploaded my project online at all, and don’t intend to until after the assessment, but I have shown it to close friends, and friends of friends.  Their response has been what I was after in that they stated: “It looks like He-Man”, in a positive tone.  I was very happy with this answer.IMG_4575

The emotion I feel viewers will have are varied. Depending on the generation I am hoping for nostalgia, enjoyment and humour. However some may feel shock or offence. I am aware and happy that  it may only appeal to a certain audience.

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Hercu-Liz Project: Zeussanna the Amazon Queen

 

Zeussanna designs

Zeussanna designs

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Zsuzsanna=Zeussanna

Zsuzsanna=Zeussanna

After all the beasts and labours Hercu-Liz must conquer, I wanted there to be an eternal challenge for her.  A main rival, of equal or even greater godlike powers – like Skeletor is to He-Man.  Mumm-Ra is to Lion-O.

I was looking at Muscle and Bodybuilding magazines to copy and draw the muscular physiques from, for my Minotaur designs.  I found in the issue I brought an advert for ‘Scitec Nutrition’ with a bodyfitness champion modelling for it.  What caught my attention (apart from her inspiring form), was this female bodybuilder’s name: Zsuzsanna Toldi.

As soon as I saw the letters, it was like they all moved around and jumbled up to create the name ‘Zeus-Sanna’!  I thought this was the perfect name for my main enemy for Hercu-Liz, with the ‘Zeus’ part of the name being a personal connection to her.

There is potential with this character design as I wanted to include some Amazonian Warriors in this project, as this was one of Hercules’s labours in which he had to obtain the girdle from the Amazon Queen.  Zsuzsanna Toldi being a female bodybuilder/fitness champion helped with my sketchbook designs and artwork as she is practically an amazonian herself.

 

Hercu-Liz Project: Medusa pt. I

Medusa design sketches

Medusa design sketches

Hercules did not fight with the Medusa, It was Perseus that was sent to slay and bring back her head.

However, as Hercu-Liz is my very own version of the demi-god hero, she can battle a whole variety of mythical creatures.  I really like the idea of Hercu-Liz out to slay the Medusa herself or even some of her Gorgon sisters even?  The other Gorgons differed to Medusa as they were described as having wings (like Harpies), and talon-like claws as hands.  I prefer the actual design of Medusa because of her snake-body replacing the legs, and I am not too fond of drawing feathers wings, especially if I am to animate this.

I could however, overcome this task with the wings if I changed them for feathers to bat-like wings, that should be slightly easier to draw and to animate?

The Medusa is probably one of my most influential characters still to this day.  Her design as a character.  She is versatile in ways of defeating her foes, and she is unique in a very haunting way.

Medusa designs

Medusa

 

Places

The last part of this pathway was to work on an extended project called Place. We had to ‘foster a sense of place’, introduce lighting techniques and experiment with developing the sound. We also had to research contemporary and historical practitioners who capture different environments.

After watching a clip from Oliver Twist by David Lean, I was inspired with possibilities for this project. I originally wanted to base my work on one of my favourite games ‘Shadow of the Beast.’ I love the impossibility of the formation of the rocks in the picture as well as the futuristic, yet almost primitive environment.

Shadow of the Beast II_Front

The artist Roger Dean was renowned for his rock album covers of the 70’s for bands like Asia and Yes. In 1989 he developed the game cover art for Shadow OTB. The sequels for the games heavily drew on his fantasy style. Dean made other games covers but it was his fantasy land that drew me to research him further. If you have time, check out his website. 

I briefly toyed with the idea of basing my work on War of The Worlds after visiting an exhibition at the lightbox art gallery in Woking. The Martian theme was again appealing as I grew up listening to the Jeff Waynes album. Art covers on the album were again an influence as a child.  http://www.thelightbox.org.uk/events1/october2013/15oct19janalieninvasion I reluctantly decided to leave this theme after the heavy weather made me doubt the feasibility of working outside in Horsell Common!

 

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Photos for wasteland for potential Urban Battlefield theme

 

Third attempt on ideas I team up with another student Petros aka Guildmaster Wigglytuff.  He had thought through the project and wanted a teammate in developing his detective/ secret agent scene set in Farnham. I’ve worked with Petros before and knew we could be a good team.

We took various photos at different times of locations around Farnham- alleyways, graveyards, the castle and the river. Knowing we needed to create atmosphere we revisited the places at different times of day and in varying weather.

 

Farnham castle was interesting, but not the right setting. 

 

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The location settled on was a  graveyard in Farnham. The atmosphere at night and during the day are clearly different- and exactly what we wanted. The area was ideal for the story as it had both an eerie vibe and an uncomfortable them at night- like most graveyards it was pleasant during the day.

WE needed several alleyways for locations- below is  photo of one we used for the wanted poster scene.

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Locations decided and analysed this helped build up the basic plot. Knowing we were going to do a detective / spy theme led to research on  Hitchcock. I’m not a huge fan of every piece he’s done but I love the tension created in Rear Window by choosing  limited locations. By telling the story in one area the eery feel develops. Perfect for our movie as we certainly weren’t flying of to the Bahamas…

Inevitably as we were filming in a cemetery research had to be done on Horror movies- who better than a man who could contend to be  the King of Horror Movies- John Carpenter. A fabulous director ( from The Thing to The Warriors to Halloween) I wanted to recreate some of his dramatic  suspense and tension through use of  dim lighting.  Assault on Precinct Thirteen develops the fear of the unknown akin to Rear Window as characters are trapped  in a claustrophobic Police Station and forced to survive. Elements of this are recreated with our slightly cheesy good agent vs the inhuman and deadly emotionless killer.

 

 

 

 

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The dim light at night helped our mood- corners and poorly lit alleyways are great for atmosphere.

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The Paint-stain / mark on a garage door became central to the plot as it was highly distinctive.

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Dressed as the killer who we originally called ‘Snake’. This was changed for a better name at the last minute  ‘Diablos’


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We filmed during the day and at night over 7 days. Our main enemy was the cursed weather ! Filming outside in January storms with very expensive night vision camera equipment on a shoulder cam and tripod was treacherous.  If  we were to recreate it would be in August….   We had many hours of filming early when it got dark at 5- until our latest shoot which finished at 3:30.

I’m really proud of our final piece. With Petros’s musical overlays and editing skills the storyboard I drew for our plot developed  came to life. I feel it has a genuine spooky feel reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes meeting Jack the Ripper.

 

Screenshot 2014-02-02 15.21.35

 

Click to see the final video.

Richard Williams

Richard Williams –

What does he make and how? 

Richard Williams was passionate about animation from the age of ten. He started with cell animation, moving onto in recent years computer animation. He is most famous for his work on ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’, a film combining  acting and animation.

What is the idea behind his work?

Richard animates fictional characters in an extremely life-like fashion. He captures expressions, personalities and characters all with humour in his films. Also, he is very detailed in the movements that he shows in his characters.  The way Williams shows animals with human characteristics (anthropomorphism) is unique.

Abe's Laugh

Abe’s Laugh Williams, R. (2001)

What can I extract from his work to help in the development of my work? 

Richard Williams was given the great advice from Disney Guru Dick Kelsey:

“First of all kid, learn to draw you can always do the animation stuff later.” p25 Williams, R. (2001).

This is really important to me as I don’t have knowledge of editing work, but I do have the drawing techniques! He was told this at fifteen. From this he has become very stylised with perspective, colour and detail. Reading this made me ‘re-realise’ that drawing is essential to have good quality animations.

Dressing

p 255 An exam in flexibility Williams, R. (2001)

“Emery Hawkins said to me ‘The only limitation in animation is the person doing it, otherwise there is no limit to what you can do. And why shouldn’t you do it?’ “ p20 Williams, R. (2001).

You can have no boundaries in animation- you can make the most ridiculous and impossible idea come true- this is what I find inspiring about this field.

How and why is he important in his field?

Williams has over his career, won three Oscars and three British Academy Awards (as well as 250 other achievements).

In the 1960’s he could be described as having saved the industry by hiring experienced animators when other companies were letting them go. Richards hired key personnel from DIsney to Warner Brothers to work with his company.

Recently, he can be credited with revamping modern animation and saving it from becoming outdated. His animation masterclasses were turned into a best selling book, series of DVD’s and now a Ipad App.

Are there any related practitioners who are relevant?

Within Cell animation the studios of Hanna Barbera and Disney are directly comparable. However, it should be noted that The Pixar team, having just finished Toy Story , attended his Animated Workshop Series (Wroe, N.   (2013)).

Movement

Body action Predominating Williams, R. (2001)

What has been said about his work, do I agree?

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was the first feature length movie to blend live action and animation. At the time the critics were very excited about it:

“Dense, satisfying, feverishly inventive and a technical marvel…” (Benson S. 1988)

Still to this day, I watch and enjoy this film, not just due to it’s intense and smooth animation but also the fantastic character design. Not forgetting Jessica Rabbit…

jessica-rabbit Click on Jessica for the trailer….

I agree that he is a  “pioneer of hand-drawn animation” (Wroe, N. (2013)).

Benson, S (1988), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Critic Reviews writing for Los Angeles Times, At: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096438/criticreviews , (Accessed on 26.10.13)

Williams, R. ( 2013) The Animator Survival Kit online, At: http://www.theanimatorssurvivalkit.com/biography.html ( Accessed on 26.10.13)

Wroe, N   (2013), Richard Williams: the master animator for The Guardian  At: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/apr/19/richard-williams-master-animation,( Accessed on 26.10.13)

Wells, P (2013) , Williams, Richard (1933-), Written for the BFI Reference Guide to British and Irish Film Directors, At: http://www.screenonline.org.uk/people/id/868599/ (Accessed on 26.10.13)

Life Drawing- Mixed Media

My first life Drawing session since 1997. I was nervous of being quite rusty at this! This was a life drawing exercise that didn’t solely focus on pencil skills- we had to use graphite sticks, charcoal- crushed and normal, white paints and indian inks.

Challenges for me throughout the day included: successfully remembering and implementing the measuring method, setting up a stable easel, drawing quickly and with precision. Life drawing is normally time bonded – but we only had 3 minutes per pose! Our final composition was a longer session involving all the materials and techniques.

Successes: I feel I captured the models proportions and position accurately, I completed them in time ( and for those of you who know me – you understand how little I like to be rushed!) and it was well placed on the page- unlike my other attempts at life drawn pieces his feet didn’t hang off the page.

My prelim 3 min sketches.

Life Drawing

 

 

 

 

Using Inks- you brush water over your sketch, then drop in ink using a paintbrush.

Life Drawing

Life Drawing Life Drawing Life Drawing

The completed image once dried. I was proud of his arm.
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The final life drawing of the day. For this we had to use a graphite pencil in a stabbing method to create texture and depth. We were advised to think of something that had recently annoyed us. The noise of fifteen angry artists was deafening! Life Drawing

When I next do life drawing I wonder if it would be harder to draw a woman? It might be interesting to draw a person drawing objects. A future post is on Richard Williams who advises every artist to do as much life drawing as possible as it’s important for artists.

Xmas Projects

Over the the Christmas holidays we all had some homework to do. Storyboards, photos for a project on marks & traces and my essay.  On the plus side, this made me feel young again, and that I was ported back into my youth.  It also gave my brain some exercise after all the booze and Xmas food.

The project consisted of creating, drawing and mounting up three A1 storyboards based on a five minute event in your life.

After using brainstorming strategies, I finally chose the event of my engagement as it’s a wonderful experience for us.

The storyboards were to be shown in three different ways of which one was the event, one focusing on the light and the other signifiying sounds.  The use of materials or medium was left up to yours truly, so I went for one of my favourite style of a comic book format, in black & white and then mounted on black card as I found this effective.

My main influence for this project was Frank Miller of whom has such a powerful unique style for his graphic novels.  Even though my engagement story didn’t go along the lines of Sin City, I had his superb use of angles and view points in mind as well as his strong, bold comic images.

The Spirit by Frank Miller

The Spirit by Frank Miller

Frank Millers amazing works are often distinguished by his fine contrast between the use of black and white with a small section of red in places to bring out certain points of interest.  As these combined together, it really gives a dramatic visual impact.  I was originally going to have this same effect for my storyboards, as a tribute to his style, but after I drew out all my storyboards I figured that it might be too dramatic for what my projects subject.

Storyboard: Event

Storyboard: Event

The Event- focussing on clarity of the story and how it would fit.

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Sound – Focussing on sounds of St Ives- seagulls, seashore, seaside village atmosphere. More realistic in style than the other two- this was to have a ‘comic book’ feel.

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Light- Focussing on reflections/ glass/ crystals. Both this, and the event storyboard were to be more abstract.

Even though I’m proud of all three, I did find developing them taxing! My personal favourite was the second board, based on sound, as I liked the different viewpoint filming from a birds eye view could allow. If I were to have more time to improve I would firstly add more shading into the pictures – blocks of black or textured shading could make the images stand out more. A second improvement I’m tempted to add would be to add red hints- but I feel that this may mimic Frank Miller too much! I might trial adding green or blue to these, as they might add to the atmosphere.

My next post will be on the second project we were set over Xmas- Traces!

PES

PES

This is a copy of some work I have in my research file on the Artist PES. More updates to follow on all the work I did over Xmas holidays.

What did he make and how? 

Adam Pesapane, known as ‘PES’, makes witty and cleverly thought out ways to create animated short films. Each of his twenty stop-motion shorts and over twenty commercials, made since early 2000, has it’s own quirky characteristics and peculiar taste (Roof Sex and Pee-Nut for an example).

 

PES Guacamole

Click image  above for video Fresh Guacamole

What was the idea behind his work?

I find that PES’s work gives inanimate objects life and character.  His videos also makes you realise how many items are scattered around your own living environment that can be used in creative ways.  I have noticed that in a lot of his animations he re-uses particular objects for certain effects.  The good use of Halloween Candies (image below) are frequently appeared to capture flames- could be seen as his signature.

These sweets are commonly seen in his works, such as: ‘Fireworks’, ‘Game Over’, ‘Western Spaghetti’ and ‘The Fireplace’ (aka Yule Log).

Candy-Corn

Halloween Candies – not jut great to eat- but useful for animation- click above for the link to one favourites ‘GAME OVER’

What can I extract from his work to help in the development of my work?

Because of my love for animated cartoons I grew up watching from a child, I tend to stereotype animation as being mainly of a drawn form, but of course it isn’t. Animation is a vast, wide ranged creative process that involves all types of mediums and materials.

PES said in an interview about the items used in his works saying:

“It’s all stuff most people are trying to throw away.  There is beauty to be found in these objects” (p68 Robinson, C.)

Therefore I could use this idea for future project ideas. It could be a way of building the animation, or a story around random objects?

“PES’ INVENTIVE USE OF HOUSEHOLD OBJECTS BRINGS A NEW LEVEL OF MEANING…”  Allen, A. (2013)

If I have to be negative about any of PES’s masterpieces, it would be about concept of the idea, not in any way of the animation.  I find Roof Sex disturbing and odd and didn’t like the ending of it as I’m a cat lover!

Roof Sex

Roof Sex

How and why is he important in his field?

PES is very inspiring to any aspiring animator and his work done for advertising is broad and distinctive.  He was nominated for the shortest film ever nominated for an Oscar, with good reason too as they are original and unique. Ironically, “PES doesn’t like to be called an animator as it’s too limiting.” Wilson, H. (2005)

Are there any related practitioners who are relevant?

PES’s style is different from most stop motion animators, but if I had to compare something to him it would remind me of Aardman Animation’s ‘Morph’: the use of objects ( pencils, craft tools etc). However, PES steers away from claymation figures.  Another source of his inspiration are video games : “I still don’t watch TV. I play video games!” (Zahed, R.  2008)

What has been said about his work, do I agree?

Whilst researching this artist ‘Childlike- simple and fun’ were repeatedly used to describe his work. I do agree with this though the adult material he uses and the innuendoes he develops are not always for a younger audience.

When researching the full series of his work so far, I am more drawn to his recent pieces as some of his earlier work is too short- even for  a short film! I prefer his commercials to his early work. I’m looking forward to The Garbage Pail Kids which will be his first collaboration for a film role and this might give him the scope needed to show off his talent.

Cut-Out Animation influences

Whilst researching for my joint project on Day Of The Day, I thought about any form of cut-out animation I had seen before.  I looked at music videos and remembered these of which helped me experiment, and bring back some memories…

Charly

Charley Says‘ was a cut-out animated cartoon in the 70’s and 80’s by Richard Taylor Cartoons – which also did Crystal Tipps & Alistair.  This was quite a psychedelic looking cartoon that reminds me of  The Beatles ‘Yellow Submarine‘, but that was made by George Garnett Dunning. Things I can take from this for my work are the deliberately jumpy movement which gives it a rugged- retro feel. Back in their rave days, Electronic Punks – The Prodigy used samples of ‘Charley Says‘ in their track ‘Charly‘, (click on the picture of Tony & Charley above for the track).

Another later Prodigy track ‘Warriors Dance‘ used  a clever mix of puppetry and paper model animations as well, directed by Corin Hardy. I like the way the bands ‘ant logo’ is displayed on some of the characters and the attention to detail, the storyboard is quite dark in hindsight.  I would like to have a chance to animate a track to music, but fitting to the theme of the music must be difficult.  I love the music too.

warriors-dance

Another amazing animator/illustrator who’s superb style influenced me is Katy Davis (AKA Gobblynne).  She has done wonderful animation for music videos such as: Bim / Second Person / Lucid Edge. I love the simplified characters overlaying the real photograph and other real objects- it hadn’t occurred to me to merge my own work and other produced materials before I saw this several years ago.
Teaser/viral for company: Whipcar Ltd / Learn Big Teach Big.

Bim

Ritual- Day of the dead

This past week has started a new joint project on the theme of ritual. I had the opportunity if working on my own,  but felt that from my experience on the first project brief  I wasn’t confident enough yet with my editing skills. I’m paired with the very talented & witty Mr Mestre for this project who not only has excellent editing skills , but is an expert in Photoshop and great at choosing colour- what a great person to be in a team with!

Tuesday, I had a taste of Premier Pro– I found this difficult, firstly as I’d never done any editing in depth before and secondly as for those of you who use Adobe products ( amazing as they are) they aren’t designed for the casual user! My hopeful  Xmas present is a subscription to Adobe online.

From the original brainstorm of ideas for Ritual we thought of several options : sacrifice, hunting, celebrations, religion, festivals and many more.  We quickly decided on a  theme of the ‘Day of the Dead’.  For those who are unfamiliar with this celebration, it is yearly Mexican originated festival that like Halloween has the dead returning from the grave to reunite with their loved ones.    Unlike Halloween,  this is a joyous festival of love and fun, rather than scaring, haunting or terrifying others.

day of deadWonderful face painting, scenery and costumes are used. Central to the festivities is food and drink of all kinds- check out http://www.mexicansugarskull.com/dod/index.html for some beautiful sugar skulls.

day of dead day of dead day of dead

I began researching Voodoo halfway through the week, as I’d mistakenly jumbled these thoughts in my brain. I have a soft spot for snake dancers and I was a wee bit distracted…. I had Salma Hayek in Dusk til Dawn in my mind. Anyway, I will use this later on in a different project.

Salma Hayek

Looking in to famous Mexican Artists, led me to the work of Frida Kahlo- http://www.frida-kahlo-foundation.org. ( Salma Hayek also played her in the film adaptation of her life.) The  use of colour within her portraits and paintings, I feel dilutes the darkness of her oftenemotional work.

The-Little-Deer- Frida Kahlo

Colour and character design has to be central to our plot development so far. Currently we’ve divided up the project so that I will be responsible for character design and Mr Mestre for the backgrounds. We’ve both contributed to the storyline and are now developing our Storyboards for comparison to start the making of the project this week.  Below are some character designs I have come up with so far…

My Day Of The Dead character designsfridge Look what I found when having a beer break!

COMPLETED PROJECT.

Our plot was originally very long- too long! It involved a little girl, who loses her mum and when she arrives at the  families sepulchre in a graveyard she finds her mother spirit rising to meet her from the grave. Along the way she sees parades of people and cars.

After consultation we decided that it would be too long, and not showing enough focus on the day of the dead. Too much detail would have to go into the development of unnecessary detail.

So version 2 involved a much simpler approach. The little girl walks from her house on the left and using a side scrolling pan shot we had her moving through the town, entering the graveyard. This distilled approach allowed us to complete quickly, but focus on smaller details for movement of characters and features.

We divided up the work: Mr Mestre. worked on the background for the stills. He drew, then scanned and finally edited in Photoshop. The smooth texture and quirky perspective made this a highly suitable background for our project. On reflection, I think it draws some of its influence from Lowry. ( see his picture below).

It also reminds me of the work Friz Freleng did on the Pink Panther show. (Unlike the theme tune I didn’t agree with the statement ‘everybody loves a panther that’s pink’ – I would only watch it as a child as it was  A) a better choice than the Waltons and B) it was a cartoon.)

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A Village Square, Lowry

A Village Square by L.S. Lowry

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Pink Panther show by Friz Freleng.

I  developed the character designs using foam board sheets. I see my research on the day of the Dead to inspire me and give greater detail.

living dead female
characters day of dead

The final cast

Dragon frame
Capturing the stills using Dragon Frame. This was much easier this time around. Familiarity with software is they key!work in progress

Signor Rossi was a cartoon , which I loved as a child with a far better theme tune than the Pink Panther Show tune! The abstract backgrounds, psychedelic colours and catchy music I feel are reflected in our final pieces.

The final Videos. After capturing with Dragon Frame the video was edited using Final Cut Pro.

Day of the Dead COlour

A still from the video- the undead mariachi band. Click on the film for a real life version!

Our Final Colour Video

Day of the Dead COlour

Click above  for the colour video

The video was then edited into black and white.  I think in this style it looks reminiscent of Disney’s Silly Symphony Skeleton Dance. When shooting it we wanted it to be set in the 1920′- having a vintage, blurred atmosphere.

Skeleton Dance

Click to see full Silly Symphonies

Day of Dead B & W

Our Final black and White Video- click above

Overall, The videos simplicity worked in its favour. I did realise that simple does improve things sometimes! I thought it would be quicker using foam board as time could be saved in colouring each individual piece, however the fiddliness of manipulating these tiny pieces in the animation process slowed us down. Looking back- these were quite awkward to animate and even though I loved the end effect I may not use them for a while!