Monday, 7 November 2011

Long time, no blog!

My goodness, a lot has happened since the last time I posted, and once again I have failed to update my poor little blog (another slap on the wrist for me!)
Over the past few weeks we have all been frantically working on our final major project ideas and cobbling together some pre production work that would really sell our film concept.
Throughout this post I will show my progression starting from my initial story synopsis through to concept art, character design and... the scary pitch! (eeep!) For the first few weeks I stressed about getting the plot of my story perfect when I should have been focusing on putting together some pre-production images that would Here is the brief synopsis I wrote to give a brief overview of the story:

By Emily Stone

‘Nestling’ is a stop-motion animation set in a Cornish fishing village, where a young girl named Ivy lives. With a mother who has little time for her, and no friends in sight, Ivy is a lonely child... until she finds a seagull chick fallen from its nest, alone and vulnerable like herself. Delighted at the discovery of her new feathery friend, Ivy hides the chick in her bedroom away from her mother and the outside world. But as the gull grows bigger than expected, Ivy’s own morals are challenged when she realises it may be better off in the wild...

To start the pre-production ball rolling, I drew out some character designs of both the little girl Ivy and also the seagull (using the previous design of the seagull puppet I made previously)and scanned them into the computer. I then added tone and colour to them in photoshop, and cleaned up the messy edges to give them a cleaner look. I wanted Ivy to look small and vunerable next to the giant stature of the gull, as the seagull itself acts as a metaphor for how insignificant Ivy feels at that point in her life, so I gave her an unconfident awkward pose. Here are the initial scans and the finished colour images:

Once the initial character designs were completed, I could then start planning out how to make a puppet version of Ivy ready to show at the pitch, to show that I was able to follow my previous character plans. In order to keep the proportions and scale accurate, I drew up an armature plan that would be strong enough to support Ivy's childlike frame (her head is large in proportion to her body, making it tricky to balance. Once the armature was mapped out, I started constructing it using K&S brass metal tubing for the solid limbs, aluminium wire for the bending jointsand a combination of balsa wood and sculpted milliput for the head.

Once I had completed the basic armature, I then padded out the limbs using cut up pieces of kitchen foam and glue, and then started painting the skin tones and features onto the puppet. I wanted to closely follow my initial character designs, so I tried to capture the same illustrative style and colour palette shown in my designs earlier on in this post.

Once the painting was completed, I could then start making clothes for Ivy. I cut up old tops and fabrics into sections, then glued them together to make a teeny tiny dress and top to go underneath which once again mirrored the drawn designs. I then added finishing touches by giving Ivy dotty tights made from ribbons wound round her legs and a small piece of blue dotty ribbon round her neck for a scarf. I was really pleased with how the puppet turned out, because initially I wasn't sure if the drawn character design would work as a 3D model. But it turned out ok, phew!

Now that I had an idea of what the scale and proportions of the characters were like, I could then get cracking on some concept art using both hand-drawn images and also the puppets. To start off, I drew out some detailed fineliner 'snap shots' of certain events that occur in the plot to provide an insight into the story. The harbour image is in fact a set design example I drew up, to try and capture the cornish theme of the story, and the seagull sleeping on the bed was eventually used as my wow image. Here are my completed colour images:

To make the most out of the Ivy puppet, I thought it would be a good idea to put together some concept art that involved it. For the first image I took a picture of the puppet, cut it out in photoshop then super-imposed it into the harbour drawing shown above. Scale plays an important part in the story becauce I want to use specific camera angles to make Ivy appear tiny in shot (adding to her vunerability) which I hope is shown through this image:

For the next concept piece I built a basic mini-set which consisted of two painted cardboard walls with a door frame, and for this one I used the older seagull puppet I made a few weeks ago by showing it trying (and failing) to get through the door. I then scaled down an image of the Ivy puppet in a 'pushing' position, and super-imposed it behind the gull to make it look like she was trying help push it through the door but looking tiny next to the 'big' gull. I don't think this concept piece worked very well, because the background looks like it is just a painting rather than a 3D set. Here is the final image:

This next concept piece worked a bit better! To use up the remaining piece of milliput I had left, I sculpted and painted a little solid model of a baby seagull. I then drew out a basic fineliner image of a chipbox, coloured it in photoshop and then super-imposed a photograph of the model baby gull into the image to make it look like it was sitting inside the chip box. Here are a few photos of the seagull model I made,shown to scale against the Ivy puppet, and also the finished concept piece:

Once all the pre-production work had been completed, we then had to put it all together into a 'mini bible' that contained imagery that would really sell our idea, ready to be pitched. After sleepless nights and frantic practising, the build-up to the pitch drew to a close... last friday we actually pitched our final major projects in front of a huge audience (which included some industry proffessionals from well- known animation companies... eeep!)It was absolutely terrifying standing up and speaking in front of so many people! But luckily it went well on the day and I didn't jumble up my words (phew!) Here is the powerpoint I put together for my pitch:

Nestling Power Point PDF

Yesterday our tutor emailed us the results for the pitch, and I foud out mine has been picked... eeep! It's fantastic news but I dont have a clue where to start with it all, I better get cracking! I promise to keep my blog updated more regularly now, instead of doing one heuuge blog post a month :P

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