Saturday, January 28, 2012

An inspiring little film,....

Waaaaay back, ... a few years ago in fact,... I was watching "James and the Giant Peach" with my daughters.  I had recently animated a mockumentary about someone retiring from were I worked with Flash and AfterEffects, and was pondering the next piece to work on.

We're watching the movie and the dream sequence came on. It's like a mini-movie within the movie with it's own set of rules and it's own sense of distorted reality independent of the rest of the film. (If you haven't seen it, definitely hit the link below and check it out. Animator Tim Myers did a brilliant bit of work with this sequence. I'm still a huge fan of it.)

Jame's Dream Sequence

As the evil aunts popped up from their car and began to antagonize the caterpillar/dream version of James, I started thinking that I really wanted to see an entire film done in this style.  The collage construction of the figures greatly appealed to me, since one of my main styles as an illustrator was a similar technique. 

I wished to see this dream-world developed it into a full length film of it's own.   

After the movie was over, I sat and watched the sequence a few more times, playing it in slo-mo, frame by frame.

Then I remembered a quote I'd heard years earlier that someone had offered about their motivation as an artist. It went something like "...we should create art that we want to go and see ourselves."   Well,... yeah!  Why hope for someone to make what I want to see? I should be doing it myself.

So I dug through short stories I had laying around from when I was working in underground comics, hoping to find one I could adapt into a short animation.  But a few weeks later Kait came home from school with her monster story and the unlit lightbulb above my head popped on!

The look I developed for "monster,me" is based on my illustration style and quite different from the dream-sequence that helped inspire it, but that sequence is one of the major reasons for what I've been working on the last few years.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Scene development

Here's a few examples of the development of a scene starting with the penciled storyboard, collage for the set, Photoshop model, and ending with the final shot.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"monster" in motion

As it turns out, it's a little tricky to put up an animation sample that doesn't give away too much of the story when the film itself is under ten minutes long!  But here are a few clips of her in action. They need a few 'atmosphere' effects added, but are pretty close to the final look.  Enjoy,...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Getting the "Look"

This a close up of one of the models. Her skin is a layering of details from photographs of bluegills and sunfish out of the pond near my house (All were released after the pictures were taken).   It took 5 separate layers of textures and scales to get the effect here.

Her eyes are also a result of layering photos (images of eyes belonging to both people and fish). A little inter-species experimentation.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Since this blog didn't exist back when production started, I thought I'd put up a few images from the early stages of the process, before I start adding new images & animation samples. 

These were composition and lighting work-ups for the opening shot:

Clips from various storyboards drafts: