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.

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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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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.

 

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Click to see the final video.

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.

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

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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….

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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.

Morphing Animation

Last week we worked as a group to develop our skills in how to create animation by merging two objects together.  This was done in a chain-like way, in that the whole piece flowed with other drawings so that everything continued from each other, and then formed a looped motion.

Morph Animation

This exercise worked really well, and the result was very successful.  The object I took in was a mini snake-lamp light, which I thought was an interesting item to use for this task because of its articulation.  The second was a pair of dark sunglasses.  Starting off with the first drawing of the lamp as Picture One, I drew the lamp as normal.  My next drawing was the last (the sunglasses) as Picture Fourteen, and then the middle scene drawing of Picture Seven that was a blend of both objects together.  Working in-between these three stages allowed me to create the rest of the morph-from snake light to sunglasses.

Morph Animation

Morph Animation

To me, it had a Sci-Fi, shape-shifting alien feel to it.   My only worry is that it may look a little phallic?

Fine Arts: Anti-Trolling Traces

For Fine Arts, our broad brief was around a theme of ‘Traces’, although this was just a helpful starting point as the final design did not have to be linked to this.

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We had to search the room for ‘traces’ of previous fine arts students remains… ( not dead bodies but the things they’d left behind.) I found a half used  tube of bright red fake blood and a kitchen fork. From these I created a very sticky Rorschach image. We could do what we wanted- mistakes were not an issue.

After this and learning to become even more experimental, I wanted my next work to link to animals. My initial thoughts were of dinosaurs- my first intention was to merge dinosaurs/ extinct species and modern animals together in a weird taxidermy picture eg a Velociraptor with bat wings or a Dodo with a lobster.

But, I wanted to do something based on an old Goat skull I’ve had for years…. I find it a fascinating object- it’s appearance, the past that could be behind it.  Saying that, how could I link it to traces?

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My next path was to do a brainstorm of everything I could think of relating to goats/traces.

Should I make a huge bust? Make it into a helmet? As it was spanish breed should it be painted in red, yellow and black? Play with colours- paint it vibrant shades of pink, purple, blue?

At lunch – Eureka– The children’s fairy tale ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’ was always a favourite as a child. Finally, the troll in the story was defeated by the final goat by butting it off the bridge!

I had the idea of goat vs troll- whichbecame trolling, then internet trolling. “Being a pest on the internet just as you can.

WOW ≈    A Troll from Blizzards World of Warcraft Series.

I only had one attempt at this as I only had one resource- goat skulls aren’t easy to come by. So, a simple but effective idea was always my plan.

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Painting the skull white, leaving the horns natural colour was a way to make the images stand out more. Also generally backdrops for computer screen  are pale.

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Finally I researched logos of sites ( old and new) where trolling predominantly happens. Not wanting to over clutter the skull, I selected the most recognisable designs: from chat sites, social networks and  the internet.

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Fine art

The Final Display

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FINE ART