Perdido Street Station, thumbnails and a storyboard

Perdido Street station is a book by “weird fiction” writer China Mieville. We were given and excerpt and tasked with creating a story board to go along with it.
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First of all, I needed to get images in my head onto paper so I know what to put in the storyboard. Some research as required to confirm things like what an Aerostat is. I couldn’t find anything on Wyremen, but with phrases like “Wyremen clawed their way above the clouds leaving streams of profanity” I could only assume they are multi-engined jet craft leaving vapor trails.
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The excerpt mentioned slums far away out of the city that the “Milita Pods” would travel to.
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Finally, because I love a bit of character development, I couldn’t resist drawing in “Rudgutter”. That kind of fat cat politician that lives in his ivory tower funded by greed.
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In the initial story board, your eye is meant to flow from one scene to the next, guided by the object of focus. Starting with bugs, then onto birds, then aerostats then wyremen and so on. Finally settling on Rudgutter himself. I made a mistake here, I’ve not followed the story path, as the excerpt ends with focus on Perdido Street Station rather than Rudgutter. My reluctance to focus on environments has been my downfall but I can remedy this by placing greater emphasis on buildings in my life drawings.

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Perdido Street Station, thumbnails and a storyboard

Portraits, Perspective and anatomy.

Swl

Swl

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A couple of Self-Portraits done over the weeks. I still have a problem drawing eyes way to big. But as the drawings go on, it seems the facial proportions seem to equal out.

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A couple of anatomy drawings done from Burne Hogarth’s, Dynamic Anatomy. Mid sections in bodies are a weak point of mine, as they’re often clothed, I wasn’t actually too sure what the interior of the muscles and bones looked like.

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A couple of faces in places drawn from a hairstyle magazine.

Portraits, Perspective and anatomy.

Audience and Aesthetics part 3

In this part of the brief, I am to rework my current animation (Working title: Children’s Tale, so far only visible as an animatic.) Researching from a list of styles and narrowing done to one. Initial research.

An Indie Animation in the style of Marjane Satrapi. Persepolis, 2007.

The black and white style brings greater focus on objects of interest in Persepolis, specifically on a jacket that says “Punk is not ded”, it also highlights the burkha’s the muslim women have to wear and how it doesn’t give them any individuality.

A stylised animated folk tale version of your story in the style of Karel Zeman

Almost a cut out styled animation, it’s washed out colours and period clothing designs give it an antiquated edge.

A show styled after The Powerpuff Girls (inspired by Maragaret Keane’s art)

Her work feature’s oversized eyes, possibly to exagerate the innocence of youth, but it is clearly seen in the Powerpuff girls also. Professor Utonium, their creator appears to have a more “normal” appearance with eyes that are in line with his head shape.

A found object animation in the style of Kayla Parker or Jan Svankmejer

Jan Svankmejer looks as if he’s done a lot of surreal claymation pieces that are surreal in nature. This one is definately out of my comfort zone, I’m not unused to surreal, but claymation is an area I’m quite weak in.

A folded Paper animation in the style of Garry Bardin.

Looking like a combination of cut out and claymation with cultural references to Russia.

An animated Music video version of your story with some of the punk rock/retro styling of Matthieu Bessudo (aka McBess)

The animation hails to the old steam boat willy era of animation, with the big black eyes.

A anthropomorphosised character animation in the style of Adrien Merigeau (Fangs)

Stylised with empathises on pointy ears and long snouts.

A kids animated show using a similar style to the Murikami/Tim Teen Titans show, the characters for which were desinged by Jon Suzuki.

A show in the style of Klasky Csupo (and Peter Chung’s) show, Rugrats

A cut-out animation in the style of Terry Gilliam’s early animation work.

Noad
Noad

I looked up Mcbess’ (Mathieu Bessudo) website. He certainly comes across as an eccentric individual. Refering to himself as an “Expensive Illustrator/Director“. He’s taken a direct influence from Max Fleichers work but has added his own unique vulgar twist to it, often depicting himself in a surreal world surrounded by meat, music and tattooed friends.

I drew upon a great deal of Fleicher and Mcbess’ work to accomplish the concept designs of the images.
Bess
Bess
Bess

A worrying aspect to encounter was that a lot of Mcbess’ work tends to sexualise the female figure, despite it very obviously remaining a Merry Melody cartoon shape. Full busts, narrow waists and wide hips tend to accentuate the female figure. This was somewhat problematic for my child character, as it is a young girl, it wouldn’t be right to portray her in that sense, especially with tattoos and provocative clothing. Instead it simply says “Generic Vulgarity” or “Something Vulgar” on her hoodie. The father figure has “Roks” with a skull on his hoodie, a nod to Dead Pirates “Wood”.

Audience and Aesthetics part 3

Symbolism in the scene – The Cypher

For this brief, we were to establish a scene in which a masked individual approaches an object or a statue. The main focus being on the symbolism and what the masked person represents as well as what the object or statue represents to him. I used the chess pieces symbols that I had chosen in an earlier brief to represent a pawn and a queen. It could be viewed in a multitude of ways, with the pawn, a piece that’s only real purpose is to die for more valuable piece, gazes upon it’s queen for the first time. It could even be that the pawn has reached the other end of the board and is being gifted the power of the queen for the first time.
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In my inital drafts, I used obvious objects to represent certain things (A Q shaped scepter for Queen, and a sword for power), but my tutor put the idea in my head that the Queen’s power is less obvious and more of a reflection of the power she commands, rather than straight up martial prowess. The designs were reviewed, instead now she holds the crown and offers it forth to the pawn, who exchanges it for his expressionless mask. The sword is still relevant but less so, as it is not so clearly in view.
CYPHER

cypher2

One of the main things I took from this was composition and camera angle. Important elements when it comes to establishing the scene and setting the characters. In both scenes, the ‘Pawn’ is in a much lower position than the ‘Queen’ to represent his station, even though he’s being promoted, it’s important to remember where he came from.

It was pointed out that the square shaped composition wasn’t well thought out. Whether the final piece is to be for a poster or film concept, the piece’s size was 1600×1600 pixels. I could change this to reflect standard 16:9 ratio quite easily, but I would have to reshape the characters to better fit the scene.

Another problem with the composition is the lacking background. The blackness is almost crushing but it doesn’t do anything to establish or set the scene. I can change this to reflect the Queen’s power perhaps, regal and rich fabrics to line the walls along with a grand doors that the pawn has pushed open.

Recommended to look at the works of Franklin Boothe and Joeseph Clements Coll.

Franklin Booth – I like this design for how daunting it is, but it makes for a beautiful portrait piece. With the figure seeming content surrounding by so many books.

Joseph Clement Coll – Has far more evocative figures in his compisitions, not just in the facial expressions but in the positioning as well.

I did a few more thumbnails in an effort to change the positioning and see about adding maybe just a bit more detail.
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I like the idea that the pawn had to climb a mountain of black and white skulls to get to the crown. The idea that he’s had to witness friend and foe die. I pondered the state of the bodies around him as well. If they are recent, it implies he perhaps killed them himself. If they are old and desicated, it’s more like he came across a very old battle ground.

Symbolism in the scene – The Cypher

Rotoscoping 101

I rotoscoped the first few seconds of the Dr’s Meeting to better establish and capture the finer, more subtle movements in animation and exaggerate them a second time around

It was good practise, but the process was -very- time consuming, even when I decided to shoot on twos rather than use all the frames available.

It’s a good technique to fall back on if I’m struggling to create a more realistic movement.

Rotoscoping 101

The Doctor’s Room – acting for animation

As one of our group projects, the entire class was tasked with creating a short narrative that would then be recorded onto video to use a reference for an upcoming animation project. We brainstormed various ideas, ranging from retail scenarios to military conflict, ultimately, we decided on a Doctor and a councilor giving bad news to a patient and their relative. This had good opportunity for subtext, being able to show emotion without having to speak aloud, as not many of the students were comfortable with acting in front of a camera, or acting in general for that matter. The script was designed and can be viewed on Joseph’s Blog. I felt it needed refinement, as there was far too much dialogue in a situation that needed very little, the less talking the better, that way we’re relying more on the acting than on the dialogue to drive the narrative in the scene. Some trimming was also necessary so that way, everyone had roughly equal speaking parts. Though we weren’t all comfortable with this method, it was important for pulling us out of our shells and revealing in what areas we were weakest. The new script looked like this;

Dr – Well, we got your test results back… I’m afraid it’s bad news.

*Patient & relative react*

Dr – It was a longshot, but it was worth a try.

Relative – Is there nothing else we can do?

Dr – No. I’m sorry.

*pause*

Patient – So… what now?

Counsellor – I empathise this is difficult, you should spend time with your loved ones and… perhaps consider getting your affairs in order.

*Patient & relative nod, pause before rising, thanking the pair and leaving.*

 

We used multiple cameras to capture the footage and even multiple takes at different angles for dynamic camera changes. After the footage was aquired, we went our seperate ways to edit it together individually. I’ve imported mine into a flash, and I plan on rotoscoping over some parts of the footage for reference.

 

The Doctor’s Room – acting for animation