Saturday, 28 April 2012

Andreas Deja!?

Hey guys, bit of an exciting post (at least for me)

Andreas Deja, Supervising Animator at Disney (Scarface, Lilo, Gaston, Mama Odie, Jafar, Roger Rabbit, King Triton etc.) Replied to a post I made on his blog about the future of animation, and he replied! And Agreed!

Ok Starstruck moment over, back to some 'real' work...

I've been working on a 'trio' of illustration's as part of a personal project to try and improve my photoshop skills as well as professionalism. It is basically going to be a collection of 3 'pin-ups' consisting of Catwoman, Poison Ivy & Harley Quinn. I've got a rough ballpoint pen sketch for you to see of Harlene Quinzel.

And I've also got a very quick sketch (also done in ballpoint pen) of Batman, I have been watching a lot of Batman: The Animated Series lately and I was aiming for simplicity and to be honest pretty much the style that they animate with, however it turned out rather well and I was impressed with the style that I conjured up for it, simplicity is the key in drawing, it adds strength and appeal to drawings, because after all Good drawing is Good design, and vice versa...

Anyway Guys thanks again for watching and I hope to see you back again soon


Friday, 27 April 2012

Robin's Reckoning

Batman: The Animated Series...
                                                                        I decided not so long ago to invest in the first two series on dvd and rediscover my childhood years. I've been meaning to make a post about the series for quite some time now and after watching the award winning episode 'Robin's Reckoning', I felt that now was the time. But before I get into the episode I want to talk a little about the technique and texture used in this series

When the series was in production the creators came up with an innovative method of painting the backgrounds. The overall vision and style became known as 'Dark Deco' and aiding in acquiring this effect was the painting of backgrounds on black paper, so instead of adding darker values to white paper, they were instead 'pulling' out the 'lights' from the black which, of course, is more realistic and also fitted with the genre of animation perfectly.


Watching this series really cemented the idea of using texture for me, I'm sorry that I haven't got any great examples here to show you but they were hard to find on the internet and I couldn't screenshot any for copyright reasons. But hopefully if you ever get the chance to watch these episode's you will be able to see the excellent use of fine 'splattered' paint in providing texture to the 'dark deco' world of Gotham City and the dramatic lighting accentuated with bold brush strokes. It is such a wonderful idea and a helpful 'tool' at your disposal in taking the 'ordinary' to something a little bit more 'extraordinary'. Little things like that just add depth and richness as well the difference between a professional piece of work and for want of a better phrase 'a silly youtube animation'.

What an episode....

Robin's reckoning was an emotional masterpiece and one that I have learned a great deal from. Such wonderful storytelling and great use of 'symbols'. The writers and storyboard artists did an awesome job here and they had so many ideas that many had to be left out! The scene where Robin's parents are murdered is such a strong and resonating moment. It's hard for me to describe without the appropriate screen shots so that you are able to see for yourself, but this scene is a good example of the use of silhouette and the importance of music to create impact. And even though this is primarily a children's programme, it is still greatly appreciated by an older audience and still brings a tear to my eye. In this scene you get a clear understanding of how to tell a story, something that is a simple concept but rarely understood properly or executed well, that is. Show what you are about to do, do it, and show them that you've done it.
The rope about to snap and the agonising close up of robin's face, set's you up for whats going to happen as the moment approaches where his mother will leap out and grab his father's hands, un-aware of the sabotage at hand, all in silhouette against the spotlight with such a dramatic musical ensemble, showing you the pivotal moment, as she is caught, both acrobats hanging high above the ground with no safety net, they swing out of shot and as the music and the crowd quietens, against a held background, the snapped, frayed rope swings back into shot with an intense operatic 'punch', showing you exactly, what has been done...

You also see a lot symbols used in this series, in one example, there is a wide shot where Bruce Wayne consoles the young Dick Grayson, as they are 'framed' within the foreground composition composed of toys (this is bruce wayne's old bedroom in the manor) and there is such a striking theatre mask with a sad face that is held amongst these toys, I say it is striking but really, it's because I am aware of these contrivances as an animator, but really it is subliminal and adds to the mood of the scene. Along with the 'cool' blue shadow and subtle moonlight they are captured in, give's you a powerful feeling of loss, but also the comfort and safety, in expressing these feelings with someone who has felt the same pain.

All of these things that I have 'researched' and 'acquired' are tools, and the more of these 'tools' you have, the more you can set about using them to create more interesting piece's of storytelling, because after all that's what it's all about! We are telling stories with visuals as animators, as comic artists, in fact in a vast majority of the 'arts'. Without story, you would have nothing to draw...

Anyway I hope you found this somewhat informative, I have learnt a lot from these episodes and can't wait to put them to good use in my future projects!

Stay Tuned


Saturday, 21 April 2012

Headless Productions

Man I love these guys!

Headless productions are an animation studio based in spain run by Adrian Garcia, Alfredo Torres, Victor Maldonado and Julien Bizat.

They are doing really exciting things with traditional 2D hand drawn animation and are definitely one of my favourite studio's right now. I just wish I had the confidence and creativity to draw character's like these in such a fun and expressive way. To show you what I mean I've got some clips for you to peruse.

My Family And The Wolf

I just adore this trailer, it capture's everything that 2D animation should. It's got wonderful story and feeling, absolutely gorgeous texture and vivid colour, not to mention the actual animation technique itself, along with the charming and fun character designs. I am definitely thinking of pursuing this sort of style for my second year film, not only do I feel it is true to animation as a medium and as fine art, but also something that I can see flourishing in the future, with possibly more feature length films being released from small creative teams like these guys over at Headless Productions.

I'm A Monster

Another teaser trailer and again sweet character designs and an interesting story, in films like these you can just see the love of 'life' that these guys have, with their innate feeling for humour, entertainment and sense of fun. Also just the sensitivity and acting that you can get with a pencil is unparalleled in any other form of animation, at least to me personally.


And finally a trailer from their 2007 feature film release "Nocturna", I think the idea behind this film is just great and again a return to traditional animation but in a new and stunning way, or in their words "classicism with a modern perspective" which is a beautiful way of putting it, because after all, all art work is just that, most ideas have been represented in the past, but it is just a way of saying what you want to say from your respective that makes things fresh and appealing, humans will always have the same emotions. Love, fear, jealousy, hatred, humour... It's just a way of tapping into those but from a new angle that's so intriguing, we all love cute things, we all like to laugh, we like to cry, we love a good underdog story, we need love scenes and being affected or 'entertained' by these animated masterpiece's helps secure our feeling of being human, of being connected, of having a place in the universe. It helps us to feel alive, especially in this ever digital age of Facebook, BBM, Twitter and Blogging where people spend increasingly less time talking to each other in actual person!

Anyways, that's all for now folks

Cheers, Liam.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Rise & Shine

Just a quick update regarding my practice/pre 3D animation run for my digital skills module at college, this little guy's starting to come along.

Animating subtle actions is so hard compared to broad action, trying to get the right timing and emotion whilst using slow subtle movements is very hard, even when using 3D software! The beauty, or I suppose repulsiveness in some viewers eyes in 3D software is the ability to have practice runs without actually ruining your animation, just *click* place keyframe and see what happens, then change the timing up with a well placed in-between... You can constantly 'line test' your scene with ease compared to shooting all your frames individually with a camera only to find your timing is off or your line quality is messed up. Still, it will always lack the same sensitivity you can achieve with a pencil, the simple reason is that the drawings are made by a human, not a machine...

Anyways that's enough talking! Here's my progress.

Thanks again for watching!


Thursday, 12 April 2012

Understanding Composition

Hey Guys,

Man It's been a while since I posted anything! Or done any work but keep that on the down low... So I thought I'd do something a little more, 'scholarly'.

As well as trying to get back in the swing of writing because I've still not touched my essay! At all! Aw man, hate essays...

Greig Rapson an artist that I admire, recently (maybe not so recently now) posted a piece of work called "In The Hills" that I felt had some solid composition and intelligent use of colour and I thought I would share with you my understanding (or lack of understanding) of composition with you.

To the left here you can see the image as the artist posted, and below you'll see how I 'dissect' the digital painting with a series of overlays showing you my thoughts and realisations.

In the first image you can see the armature of the rectangle in which the image is 'sculpted'. I have used dashed lines and solid lines where the composition is more appropriate. First we see the strong and dynamic 'Baroque' diagonal running along the dragons back from the bottom left corner to the top right corner, not only grouping the figures below it but also balancing the positive and negative space within the image. We can also see how these lines 'relate' to each other and predict where certain elements of the image will lie such as the position of the girls back leg, also the height and position of the character's eye level's. There are strong diagonal's running through this composition interlocking and arranging these character's in a confident and pleasing manner. The artist has used lots of diagonal's in order to subconsciously affect the viewer, you can feel the impending action and tension, their eye's alert and transfixed.

The second image allows you to see specifically the arrangement of the character's themselves, it is this method of 'organising' the individual elements within one another and so forth that you can create images that are easily read and satisfying to look at, your brain isn't fighting the mess on the page. Here you can see also how the girl's pose holding the sword directly mirror's the dragons right leg, this bold statement adds strength and unity to the character's. Serving to direct your eye as well as understanding the emotion of the character. Symmetry is a very powerful tool when used correctly. In animation you should try to avoid 'twinning' or having things move at the same time, but if used intelligently you can make strong statements.
And finally the third image, here it's all about the rhythms. Not only can this image be broken down 'mathematically' using divine proportions but it also inherit's beautiful s-curve like flows or 'arabesques'.  Achieving these in any image always serves to intensify your work. This holds true for all the arts. But here you can see how these run through the entire piece, from the dragon's wings and horns as well as entire group of figure's themselves. These serve to not only add harmony and tempo to an image but here also it aids in leading your eye through the image, I have also indicated a line in which the characters heads fall in a pleasing arc, all these tricks are imperative to strong story-telling.

I would like to say, that all of this can be achieved through studying the human figure from life, it is proportionate to the golden section and has its own fundamental rhythms. It's how you manipulate these to your advantage which allow you to say what you want to say, subtly affecting the viewer.

Anyways thanks again for looking, I wonder how many actually read all that! Haha quite intense, but hopefully it will start you on your own path of understanding composition.


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