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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.