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.

hqdefault cheetarun1 1244946588958_fthundercats_intro_0811

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.

Advertisements

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!

 

IMG_0671IMG_0675

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. 

 

IMG_0876IMG_1023

IMG_1025IMG_1033

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.

IMG_1165

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

IMG_1170IMG_1166

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

IMG_1173

 

 

 

 

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

IMG_1157

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


IMG_1160

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.

Marks & Traces. Pt. 2

I have gotten over my fear of Photoshop!  I was becoming more and more frustrated and flummoxed with the complexity of it.  I would thought that it’ll just be a slightly more advanced version of ‘Deluxe Paint 2’ that I had on the Amiga 500?  Boy was I wrong.  To me, using Photoshop for the first few attempts is the equivalent of trying to pilot the ‘Millennium Falcon’ blindfolded!

I found the whole concept of layers and background baffling.  Quite frankly, the only ‘Magic Lasso’ I was familiar with is Wonder Woman’s Lasso Of Truth.wonder-woman-lasso-of-truth

Magic LassoBut…

I am working my way towards getting on the course of Computer Games Art, so I knew I had to start to become more comfortable with it.

For the ‘Marks & Traces’ project we had to use my digital nemesis to merge my photos (which I took over the Xmas break) with a drawn version.

Firstly I scanned in my experimental hand drawn copies, of which I thought we needed to work from?  This wasn’t the case as I hadn’t realised that we were to take the standard original photos into the workshop lesson, not the modified ones.  This held me back due to my mistake, and therefore had to do them again in my own time.  This was fine, as I managed to achieve the objective in the end.

Here are my finished ‘Marks & Traces’ pictures done in Photoshop:

Traces in Photoshop

Traces in Photoshop

bucket bin chickenbone4 drained umbrella2 urban door

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)

Xmas Project – Traces (part 1)

I loved taking the photos for this project as I found this a really intriguing idea to follow. Marks and traces involved initially taking photos of items of things that could have been left behind- specifically after Human activities or festivities.

My initial thought was to: left over food, litter, graffiti, abandoned clothing. As I had a full three weeks to gather the information, I took them whenever possible.

Even though I’m not a fan of detective stories and murder mysteries, I did feel I was on a ‘case’. Or maybe it was the Xmas spirit. Anyway, taking photos around Woking, Farnham, London and Dublin was amusing. Even if my enthusiasm led to me taking photos of bones from Christmas Dinner, discarded umbrellas and crouching in public for the best shots of rubbish! It was pointed out that my photographing in toilets might be a step too far…

Here are a selection of my favourites:

These are a selection of images based on the theme of grafitti. Amazing how much you can find when you look.

  Traces

Traces Traces

Leftovers: Christmas is the season of many dead birds and other animanls- these were what was left….

Traces Traces

Traces

Litter on the streets- Urban litter is really easy to find! I was fascinated by some of the back stories that these items could show us….

Traces Traces TracesTraces

Overall, I found many more interesting things that I thought I would. I found some fascinating objects- you don’t look for how many items we discard until you have a camera attached to your wrist and a need to document it! I really became absorbed in the process behind the project and am pleased with the themes I explored.

If I were to do this project again, I would have only focussed on the projects listed above- Litter, Leftovers and Graffiti. I think that to increase the atmosphere I would have shot a variety of times. A future post is on how we then used these items using Photoshop.

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.

Moving Image and Photography: Breaking Time

This past week was the final week in Moving image and Photography where I was in a group of five to make a very short animation in a few days.

The subject we had to base our animation on was the words ‘break’ or ‘brake’ – I did a big mind map of BREAK as there were seemingly far more ideas for this definition….

  • Emotional Break – up ( Heart break)
  • Break dancing
  • Breaking Bones
  • Breaking Glass
  • Breakfast
  • And my personal favourite ….BREAKING Wind.

The rest of the group wasn’t too certain of my favourite theme for a comical animation based on the last idea. ( I wonder why?)

So, instead we developed our ideas on Time being broken. Ours was a surreal animation which when you see it, I feel  has a resemblance to some of the works Pink Floyd have done.

Storyboarding it begins with a clock face that jams and freezes. This then explodes to reveal a basic silhouette of a human head. Cogs and gears resemble the brain. As the mind works we have different emotions shown: sadness, rebirth and finally death. After this the clock face reassembles over the head completing the cycle.

The materials used in this included: an actual clock, which I disassembled to scavenge the hands,  variety of foam board, plasticine and black. These were chosen for more depth and texture and a slight 3D look.

Animation   Above and Below: The Silhouette of the head and the brain. Unfortunately the brain didn’t make it into the final cut.
Animation

  IMG_1702 This was a really cheap clock, bough in a shop, taken apart to use the hands. I chose this one as it had eccentric cogs!

As a team we all took turns to animate . A camera and light rigging was suspended above the scene. We worked on the Mac, using Dragon Frame to capture each shot. We then edited it using Final Cut Pro.  I thoroughly enjoyed working in this team as we all participated well and shared ideas. My section of animation was the raindrops emerging from the clouds and rolling down the head. I really got into this by making the rain splatter and trickle the nose.

IMG_1705 My hands animating the raindrops. Point, click, shoot, move, repeat. (x at least 24)

IMG_1706 JP using dragon frame to animate the sequences.

IMG_1707

HS doing the editing using Final Cut Pro.

IMG_1711

Overall, this was a great teamwork experience. We all worked well: quickly, enthusiastically and professionally. Below is the final piece.

Breaking Time

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5lZnb6FZC0&feature=youtu.be

Sexy Snail

This was an animation I completed in ’98 at Richmond-Upon-Thames College based on the theme of  fashion.

Sexy Snail

Vis Comm: Lion Hunting

This is my Visual Communications work.

Our first stage was to choose from a recent newspaper and pick an interesting article. I chose a story from a newspaper, which was on Lion poaching.  I thought this was an interesting and powerful piece. Within this I selected certain words and sentences and used these in a text style.

Vis Comm

Next I bought a fashion magazine that had model Cara Delevingne, because to me, she is the lioness of the catwalk.  I combined these particular sentences or words with images and played around with different font styles.

first attempt draftI then chopped photocopied black and white and colour pages to make a booklet.

Lion Shoot  I gave the final folded booklet a mainly black, white and red them inspired by Frank Miller SinCity Style.

IMG_0026

The final unfolded layout.

lion shoot

Cara with a lions snarl starts off the project.

lion shoot

End (this)... Back page of my booklet summarises my feelings on this horrendous subject!