Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Sequences in films.....Research *300*


That would be the first thing that would come to mind when mentioning this film....we all know that, second to that is how great a film it is in comparison to most that re-tell historical moments, with it's higly stylised colour pallete, alongside it's great use action and narravtive highly deriving from it's Graphic Novel predecessor by Frank Miller, it's definelty one of the classic greats to spawn out of that area of adapations...

But there's one scene and technique within this film that defineltly stood out from the rest of this amazing film, which is in one of the many fight scenes at the 'Hot Gates', taking a new spin on the overly-used 'Slow-Motion' technique, manipulating speeds and focus to emphasis power and's definealty somthing you need to watch rather then describe, but again, great use.....

Soundtrack to the voices in my head.....Our heads? I have to admit right now, since the begining of the project, I've been constantly thinking about the sounds played in my piece, before I've even drawn anything, alot more than what I should have admittedly, but to be honest, I kinda  feel it's worked to my advantage in some ways, (helping me visual certain images) lot of with having a lot of knowledge when it comes to different types of music, and the feelings they evoke and help portray, it's certainly given insight into how I want to translate the feel of my story futher......

In terms of sound effects, I decided, with the help of Phil, that to give the characters voices (barring the human element completely) would definetly take away from the general tonality of the animation, and it's delicacy...that said, there are ways to show narrative through replacing voice with tones and effects that resemble human qualites seen within films such as WALL-E and animated films that have mute characters....though with this particular technique, it certainly puts a strain on the relationship, and interactions and reactions between characters, and events, which also have to be key, and clear enough to replace the lack of dialogoue that would otherwise spur the story with ease....but nevertheless, I belive this could perhaps work to my advantage....if done right....

That said, I feel that to follow the aesthitcs I want to portray in my animations, I have to carefully decide on a song that follows suit, which again, is a delicate situation, if chosen wrong could change it's reception and tonality....

I feel within the last few weeks, alot of expreimental instrumental music, has helped me visualize alot of the panlels I have drawn so far, most of which therefore showing traits and characteristics in terms of tempo, build up...antcipation etc....but there have been other songs that fit the bill.....which has actually left me in a little predicament to be honest....

So....this puts me in the situation, of asking whoever reads this to give me some feedback to the songs I post below.....yes...this is the first time I'm askin for help from you all hahaha.....but would appreicate any critisicism/comments towards the songs, even if you think there crap....would be nice to tell me what you think when you listen....your interprations, and if it follows the feel of my story?

So here's the 4 I'm undecided about.....
Lyida - All I See

Explosions In The Sky - Your Hand In Mine

Mogwai - Hunted By A Freak

Mogwai - I Know You Are But What Am I?

Pay no attention to the vidoe's themselves, there just the best audio I could find...

And the rest that I was unsure about, I'll just leave the names.....

Massive Attack - Teardrop
Coldplay - Strawberry Swing
Josepth Arthur - Smile That Explodes
Inara George - Fools In Love
Jimmy Eat World - Here You Me

Artistic Direction......Calm Before The Storm

Okay, so I have to admit, it's getting on a bit now in terms of time limit to produce my I'm going to stop blabbing on about my feelings extensively every post for a try not to miss it to much.....
but movingly swiftly on, I been thinking about expanding upon the way I want to portray my work more, and feel witthin the past few days, since the group project on romanticism, I really enjoyed some of the works within that movement, particularly the colours and expressioisms.......with examples such as Thomas Cole, and Turner....

I think colour will play a great factor in my work, especially in evoking the connection between the two characters, that said, I want it to contrast it significantly to the surroundings, with the deep greys/black of the water/sky merging the two elements together in unison towards the end, metaphorically speaking....

So I began starting to look at more classical styles of painting, especially since the sea was quite a commonly potrayed element in older style of paintings....touching briefly on romanitcisim, I have to say I can't quite put my finger on who did some of these images, or to what movement/style they belong to, only that I wanted to resource them and they looked a great deal of help.....

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Artistic Direction......Which Way Is Up?

When I was searching for resource material to work from, I came across this image from 'Banksy', the notorious street artist....and it set me on my way to thinking what sort of look I actually want my animation to follow along, which is proabbly the most important question there is....and just looking at this piece not only helped me character wise, but also how powerfully colour can portray feeling....


Its funny how one image can portray so much, and people can interpret things differently, and from a personal opinion, I can't help but feel there's a portrayal of a love drifting away, and in that sense wether we take the chance to chase it, or set it free.....

This is possibly the perfect emblem of the relationship in my piece.....

Monday, 22 February 2010

Reference Stock images *Shipwreck/Masts*

Pretty much a two in one bit of research, I wanted to try and get some decent pictures of natural shipwrecks that appear to be abandonned and lifeless, with no human recognition. so I had a good snoo aroung and found some really pleasing photgraphy that gave a good scope to work with, and a sense of art direction also....

Reference Stock Pictures *Birds*

With the birds scenario, I ovbiously chose Seagulls to play the part, as it seemed logical, and also it was relativley easy to find some anatomical pictures of them, doing there thing in the sky, and near to coastal area's, with lots of reference to water...and mid flight being key aspects of the research....

Reference Stock Pictures *Hellium Ballooon*

Finding resource material for this object found to be a slightly bit more tricky in terms of indivualality, essentially, a balloon is a balloon, so I tried various other different sources to work from, such as shape, colour, decoration, material (dullness) and even accesories *weights/ribbon* etc....and managed to find a few good sites to help.....

Aside from that I feel I've got again, a good basis to work from.....especially with the attempt of trying to characterize the object, into a female....the heart shapes in particular appeal to be quite a bit...

Reference Stock Pictures *Life-Ring*

So I had a good look for some reference material for my objects, although they are simple and I could proabably create them with ease, I think it's always better to have references for certain accuracy.....

When actually looking for reference, I found there was not much varietation between them to be honest, though there are slight differences, I tried to gather as wide a grip as possible, finding some really nice images...altogether quite pleasing, which should help me with my art direction, as well as characterizing the object....

Sequences in films.....Research *Final Fantasy VII Advent Children / Complete*

Seeing as this one of my favourite film/game of all time, and possibly the best game-to-film adaptation ever,(fan boy moment) it was only a matter of time before I blogged about it, especially since it's a CG piece through and through, with ultra real styled characters, that also appear quite stlyised, its intresting to see, from my personal opinion, that the 'Uncanny Valley' seems to be a passing factor as time goes by, this touching upon the first bases of it's development...

That aside, I felt really inclined to blog about this film in terms of both editting, storyboarding and research because it exectues both atmosphere, and style to it's upmost within the CG realm, in such a way, it's feels humanly natural, which is the creative achivement it's intended be on the frontier of realism...(an element which has been boosted with the 'Complete' Blue-Ray Version)

I choose this scene in particular, with the fight in edge, becuase I felt it was a good basis of comparison with the relationship of the ground and sky, and how the camera techniques seem to portray the sense of space and distance, giving depth and logic between the two, as well as the characters, especially towards the end of the fight scene, when Cloud Strife heads towards Bahumat Sin, the cutting between the two characters as they come together appears quite effective, which is why I feel I can relate this scene so much to both my 'Life-Ring' and Hellium Balloon'

Anywho, here's a taster of the scene, which lacks the quality slightly, and has also been dubbed with some pretty good music over the top, but still contains the elemtents I want to portray....

Friday, 19 February 2010

Sequences in films.....Research *Coldplay - Strawberry Swing*

Whilst checking out some music and instrumentals, I stumbled across one of my favourite songs by Coldplay, and relised there was an oficial video for the song, so I checked it out, and was really taken aback....

While using stop animation in real-time, as opposed to other works, using simmilar techniques, for instance 'Wallace and Gromit' and Tim Burton's 'A Nightmare Before Christmas' which focus on modelling, this video uses camera techniques to give the illusion of constant movement, on a flat surface, which in this instance is a road, ontop of that, they use the road itself as a blank canvas, by illustrating in the road in coloured chalk to give narratvie to the music, as well as emcompassing objects and combining images with them that seems to give more depth to the otherwise flat projection, which in itself works perfect unison, it's child like deliverence with the pastel colours, and light-hearted plot, alongside the events that take place enhance the sound and delicacy of the cheery song

Here's a really good interview about how they went about creating the video, and what was involved, industry wise also:

This is definately is an element I want to portray in terms of the connection between song and animation, as well character and almost 'cute' sense, which is a rather delicate state to achieve

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Sequences in films.....Research *Massive Attack - Angel*

So as I was thinking about more musical animation in terms of captruin the esscence of my animation, I was racking my brain for Instrumenalist bands, which led me to Massive Attack, so whilst I was researching I popped it on in the background, catching a glimpse of the ending of the official video, which really intrigued me, so on a second listen, I decided to watch it through properly, and was pleasently surprised with the relationship between both the visual, and musically.

The story within the video, alongside the editting and camera angles in it are what really make it quite different from moat generic music video's, as it leaves alot of open ended interpretation, but the main gist follows along the lines of the life, and how we perceive it as being a minority in the majority, feeling powerless against the people, things remaining unchanged, hinting at conformity...unitl we reach the point where enough is another, and take rise and control of our situations....the end result the hunter, becoming the hunted....acting wise the characters in the peice deliver on such a delicate note, that every facial expression sells us the theme of the video...

Through the use of editting, it really feels easy to translate just by watching the video into a story board, with the speed starting at a normal relaxed state, shifting rapidly to running, but conveyed in slow motion style, also the camera angle techniques used really give a sense of area and well the sheer number of people....with quick cuts, and slow pans, the ending leaving a more then statisyfing taste...that something so simple can encompass so much meaning....

Sequences in films.....Research *Walt Disney's Fantasia (The Sorcerer's Apprentice)*

A classic animation from disney, I immeadiatly thought of this when it came to possible storyboard effects, montages in particular, especially in animation, and within this piece there seems to be a comprimise between both cute, and dark scenery which works, as well as it's fantastic use of montages....

For it's time its clear that the use of technique in the animation was certainly effective, as well as the edditing, which directly compliments the orchestrated score for the soundtrack, using primarilys clashes of symbols to represent waves of noise and natural elements, at the same time hints of destruction, that asise, from 3:50 the clever use of overlaying montages to portray a sense of despair, which I find really effective, alongside capturing the dark esscence of the particular how it employs these aesthetics in such a short space of time, really helps when thinking about storyboarding a 1 Minuite Sequence....

It goes without saying that this is quite literally a definitve piece of animation in terms of it's time, and style and definitley a must watch...

Monday, 15 February 2010

Sequences in films.....Research *Land Of The Lost*

I've been thinking alot about what particualr camera angles and styles I think will work particularly well within the region of my story, as a result, I've been sifting through the films and scenes which I thought were shot really stylistic on terms of camera angles techniques, and editting, and wanted to pick apart what it is I find useful from them....

With any Will Ferral film, I'll love instantly just becuase it's him, and I love the way he overexagerates everything, shouting at any given chance, with his smug, but stupid appearence, that said, in this particular scene it seems to work in conjucntion to the movement of the Camera, which is what I really want to anaylise.

This scene for me really begins 1:26, where the dinosaurs enter the frame, panning left to right as though we ourselves are taking in the fear of what is about to occur, the way it's shot itself putting us into the scene through first person. It's from that point on that there characters scatter that really makes the scene for me, with the camera angles that franticaly change height and location, as well as panning left to right, and zooming in/out it really convey the sense we are watching through the eyes of another character, or ourselves in the scene, as well as playinga longside the nature of the film, it somehow resembles films like Blair Witch Project, and Cloverfield, where we see through the 'Cam-corder' documentary style where the camera 'Shakes' to show human movement...but taking away from those serious films, this employs comical elements that are intergrated into the characters, such as Will Ferrall's character, who appears indecisive and unsure of what he's actually doing most of the time, in this scen, it's taken to the extreame through the use of the camera angle well as that, throughout the scene, there seems to be a good use of editting where we are made to believe somthing has occured, but actually hasn't....

All in all, I love the way this sequence employs the documentary style, in a completly different way to other films, at the same time conveying character into the techniques.

Basic Story Scenario's....Helium Balloon, Lifeboat, Pole Vaulter *Revisted*

So in regards to the mising scenario in my story involving the 'Pole-Vaulter' I feel a little stuck, as I dont want to take away from the delicacy of the relationship between the two objects, though this action which occurs is infact the key part in their relationship.....

So I began to think of more literal terms of pole-vaulting, for instance 'thrusting a person/object from a pole shaped object' perhaps in a seesaw movement, catapulting the lifeboat towards the balloon....which led me (with the help of Phill) to thinking about entering a third character into the story again, but instead of human, an animal, which allows me to play within the dlicay of the realtionship, but also an outside view, or witness to the love between the to objects (almost romeo+juilet like) and help them to somehow reunite in unity....

So I began to apply logic to my world once again, and upon the talk with Phill in regards to everyones story's, Phill suggested a few scenario's, for instance the animal element, and then suggested with his magical object wand, to turn my 'Lifeboat' into a 'Life-Ring', found on ships when someone goes which I immeadiatly took oppurtunity and found the conncetion between the new object and balloon to be even close in terms of size, and decided from that point on, the Helium Balloon, would act as the 'Female', and Life-Ring the 'Male', (and how he longs to be with her) which just makes sense in terms of the scenario, which allows me now to start basic characterizing....Animal wise, there seemed to that a bird, or group of birds was the perfect way to intialize the 3rd party,

as they are the only animal that can travel between both land/sea and air, acting as an intermeditary between the two...

Though in terms of logic, the Life-Ring must have came from somewhere, this also allowed a loop-hole in the story for me to manipulate, resulting in placing a ship wreckage into the equation, leaving many objects for me to futher manipulate and somehow act as the catalyst in my story...

Which now leaves me with the choice of combining both the shipwreckage, and the birds in the scenario to some how pole-vault the Life-Ring ino the air, to renuite the two.....
So using the 'seesaw' action to my advantage, an suggestions fom Phill, I again wanted to use the idea of a 'storm element' both physically/emotionally to roughen the situation, and tides, washing the 'Life-Ring' through the waters harshly, until he's hurtled into a ships mast, wherein the birds have started to gather at one end, lifting one side, until the 'Life-Ring' lands onto rising edge and slides off into the skyline......

I think both visually, and emtionally, this will capture suspense, at the same time evoking many different storymaking techiniques, as well as allowing many more to be employed  into upon futher definition.....but I really feel as though this is a final basic outline to all my scenario's, my next step tackling and defining the actions and the events that occur in more detial, as well as the chronological order of the story....

Basic Story Scenario's....Helium Balloon, Lifeboat, Pole Vaulter

After properly researching the objects I was given, things really started to pan out in terms of storymaking,  in particular to my usual stayle of creating somthing quite epic, and dark in emotion, I really wanted to play around with a seperate style. Instantly I felt there was a strong connection between both the Helium Balloon, and the Lifeboat, (as they are both opposing elements 'Air and Water') and I began to feel compelled to characterize the both, in particular the boat, making it the central point of my story, so I began to think of possible situations between both the balloon and the boat, and how I could relate the two somehow

Then in my first few thoughts, I couldn't help but think of the love element, and how these two objects, both so distant from eachother, and oppoosites, could never be together, unless one of them sacrificed themselves, or both for a split second where the meet....

Which was where the 'Pole-Vaulter' intially came into play, by somehow popping the lifeboat, and then with the air inside it releasing, spiralling the boat into the air, hurlting towards the balloon (Which with the bouyancy involved, begins to decend slowly) together bursting on impact....thought this leaves the aspect of the pole vaulter unexplained, it gives a basic outline of the relationship between the Helium Balloon, and Lifeboat...

So I began to apply appopiate logic to the story.....with a basic outline, though with the end result I wanted to play around with the chronological order...

Balloon and Boat made in same rubber factory, where the meet for short period of time, then seperated into their desired objects...from there on the object are taking to there area's, which happen to be in greece olympics, set on an island edge, the boat acting as a lifeuard vehicle, for prepations of the olympics, then at the start of celebration of event fireworks and balloons are set of, where he see's the balloon from the factory...floating away amound others...suddenly a storm errupts through the first few events, as the balloon fly's futher away....which happens to be the pole-vaulter event, everyone goes inside, leaving the equipment, thunder begins to roll, the boat alone and tied up loosly is set free, and washed into the shore, onto a lone pole-vaulter rod, which acts as a conducter, struck by lightening, punctures and shocks the lifeboat.....

From then on this piece connects to the Balloon/Boat Scenario.....although my intial thought there after the scenario was to somehow put an 'Alpha/Omega' situation where they both are picked up after impact, and recycled again, somehow this took away from the emotion of the sotry itself, with it's bittersweet ending, I felt it really began to turn into somthing quite delicate...

In fact, on futher thought, the whole idea with the pole valuting aspect, though logical and fulilling storywise, it was too long a sequence to animate, at the same time it did however, somhow spoil the relationship between the two objects, in particular placing humans into equation could also take away from the feelings felt toward them....and I indeed felty with a little more work on the realtionship between the two, and how they finally come together, I could capture the audiences emotion, so I took the Greek Island Olympics out of the equation, and began to think of some other way of replacing that scenario....

Directing With A Pencil.... Overview....

Here's just a basic overview of the lecture notes on 'Directing with a Pencil' and the definitions of the method's involved that I can refer back to...

Storyboarding stages
Thumbnail, basic sketches
Developmental, more detail, motion, action
Final Frame, clear view, colour, artistic motion

Script comprimises scenes
Scenes are sequences that take place in one loactaion at one point in time

Shots are the different camera angles used to shoot each scene

Panels are the individual drawings/frames in storyboarding

Illustrated Camera Techniques
Camera moves and transitions show with special markings on a storyboard:
Tracking Shot
Lines of Motion
Canted/Swaying Frames

Motivated Shots
Shows what the key transtion between frames is, and the motivation behind the choice

Screen Direction
Refers to the direction that objects/characters move on screen

Line of Action
An invisble line in whic the camera does not cross once defined in order to make sense of area established(if this does occur, refered to as 'crossing the line') and stops confusion with audience

Silhouette is key in terms of Storyboarding, the stronger one is, the clearer the pose will be in full real time.

When art breaks the boundaries of a frame in Storyboarding, this increases dynanism and allows entering/exting a frame, communicating effectively

The term 'S/A' allows communication in a panel to be translated into another frame, carrying simmliar detail

Minor changes in action that still include the same aesthitcs can be noted in the descriptive part of a frame, allowing parts to be editted rather than whole frames...

Storymaking....Lecture Overview

Before really starting to blog about my work, I really want to ge the basic information out of the way and down to refer back to when actually starting in terms of storyboarding etc...

So here's a basic round-up of the first lecture with Phil....

3 Act Story Structure
Begining (Act 1) Capture attention, Introduce Problem
Middle (Act 2) Provide Tension, Present Obstacles
End (Act 3) Provide Closure, Resolve Problem

The depth behind the current story, that gives definition and reason

Allows characters to progress smoothly through a story

A pshyical manifestation of a goal, that everyone in the story is after, acting as a plot enabling device that means nothing in terms of story, but everything in terms of plot

Internal Concflict: Stops charatcer from reaching a goal
(Character vs. Self)
External Conflict: Physically stops character from reaching a goal
(Character vs. Character)
(Character vs. Society)
(Character vs. Nature)
(Character vs. Supernatural)
(Character vs. Technology)

The Inciting Incident/Catalyst
A moment an action or Line Of Dialogue that sets the wheel in motion and the story turning, the defining pouint in the film where the story fully begins and irrevocably changes

Denotes a necissary relationshoip between one event (Cause) and another event (Effect) and the direct consequence (Result)

Ticking Clock
In order to add immeadiacy, tension and suspense to a sotry, many writers employ the element of the ticking clock or deadline to reach a goal

Narrative is a series of events related to one another in terms of 'Cause-Effect' logic
The 'Cause-Effect' logicmis motivated by the need, wishes of the 'Backstory' of characters
Narratives are structured in terms of a begining (The intial state of equilibrium), middle (Disruption of equilibrium) and end (Restoration of equilibrium)
The prgression from the intial state of equilibrium to it's restoration always involves a Transformation (Usually Protagonist)
Middle period of a narrative can be called 'Liminal' because it dpecits actions and transgress everyday habits/routines
Narratives are structured using devices 'Ticking Clocks, Macguffins' etc
Narrative events re not necessarily presented in a linear chronological order

Suspense Of Disbelief
This particular theme only works in a world wherin the boundaries rely on, which follow consistency in terms which genre it falls under, in particular, an inmportant area of belief is in Huamn Action, Emotions where Characters must Act, React and Interact in ways which are believably

Logic & Rules = Suspense of Disbelief
Applying logic in places where it wasnt intended to be really allows you audience to interact with your story in a much fuller sense, creating depth to your piece, as well as sense and believablilty, alongside knowing what boundaries your world holds, and the reasoning behind them, leaves room for tension and suspense, placing rules and logic behind every factor, and defining your world, leaving your characters to be fine tunned and well rounded, is possibly the most important part of this.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Source Information; Helium Balloon, Lifeboat, Pole Vaulter

Okay, so 've been a bit lax when it's come to my blog recently, partly because I've just really been thinking about my story tbh, and didn't want to fill up blog with crap about not knowing what to do....wasn't entirely inspired, but I think it's time I started putting my thoughts down finally, and wrapping it up....

So my first steps are to really dig in to the information side of my objects, and get a good feel of what it is they encompass in regards to possible charactersations, I feel the more i know about my source, the more believable the logic and depth of the story really will be....

Helium Balloon:

An inflatable flexible bag filled with a type of gas, such as helium, hydrogen, nitrous oxide or air.
Modern balloons can be made from materials such as rubber, latex, polychloroprene, or a nylon fabric, while some early balloons were sometimes made of dried animal bladders.
Some balloons are purely decorative, others are used for specific purposes such as meteorology, medical treatment, military defense, or transportation.
A balloon's properties, including its low density and relatively low cost, have led to a wide range of applications.
(Rubber Balloon usually have a bouyancy of a day or so)
(Metallized Plastic Balloons usually have a bouyancy of several weeks)

Some example of Balloon Usage:

Party Balloons
Ballooon Models, Balloons In Art
Balloon Drops
Balloon Publicity/Protests
Balloon Rockets
Hot Air Balloons


A rescue lifeboat is a boat rescue craft which is used to attend a vessel in distress, or its survivors, to rescue crewmen and passengers. It can be hand pulled, sail powered or powered by an engine. Lifeboats may be rigid, inflatable or rigid-inflatable combination hulled vessels.

There are generally three types of boat, in-land (used on lakes and rivers), in-shore (used closer to shore) and off-shore (into deeper waters and further out to sea)

Pole Vaulting:

Pole vaulting is an athletic field event in which a person uses a long, flexible pole (which today is usually made either of fiberglass or carbon fiber) as an aid to leap over a bar. Pole jumping competitions were known to the ancient Greeks, as well as the Cretans and Celts. It has been a full medal event at the Olympic Games since 1896 for men and since 2000 for women.


Poles were used as a practical means of passing over natural obstacles in marshy places such as provinces of Friesland in The Netherlands, along the North Sea, and the great level of the Fens across Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk. Artificial draining of these marshes created a network of open drains or canals intersecting each other. In order to cross these without getting wet, while avoiding tedious roundabout journeys over bridges, a stack of jumping poles was kept at every house and used for vaulting over the canals. Venetian gondoliers have traditionally used punting poles for moving to the shore from their boat.


Solid Ash, Tapered Tubular Alluminium , Fiberglass Reisen/ Metal Mandrel

From this information I can start to really define the ground of my story, applying logic to my world.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Storytelling.....My 3 Objects...

Okay, so at first glance, when I recieved the 'Mysterious Envelope' and opened it, I was a bit taken by suprise, with the 3 peices of paper inside, with 3 entirely random words...

Hellium Balloon
Pole Vaulter
Life Boat

As soon as I got these, at first I was thinking WTF, but then started to put together connections between the said objects....

I think my first steps in this project would be to reseach fully into each objects background and daily uses, to get a fuller understanding of how I can connect the pieces together....