Friday, 29 May 2009

National Portrait Gallery II

I've managed to scan in all my sketches from the National Portrait Gallery so here are a few more highlights. I also made another attempt at painting, this time just using the pastel brushes in Photoshop, which turned out a lot better than I hoped. At the moment I'm currently storyboarding my character animation project and, as if their isn't enough already to do, tomorrow I'll be animating on one of this year's graduation films, a fantastic pixillation film called 'Oscar' directed by Vicky Mather (you can check out her blog in my links). So exciting!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

National Portrait Gallery I

As part of the prep for our character animation project we recently took a trip to the National Portrait Gallery in London to do some portrait studies and some 'people watching'. I drew a load of sketches so I'm just in the process of sorting through them now and scanning them in. I'm really pleased with how some of them turned out so I'm going to try and add some colour to them at a later date. Until then..

Saturday, 23 May 2009

La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc

Every Monday there is a screening at school, a chance to see films we often have never seen and sometimes never even heard of. This week they screened Joan of Arc, Directed in 1928 by Carl Dreyer. It tells the story of the trial of Joan of Arc after she was captured by the English during the 100 years war.

The film is completely silent but was accompanied by a composition called Voices of Light by Richard Einhorn which was amazing. It contained a libretto based on excerpts of ancient writings which gave the film a very spiritual atmosphere and only served to heighten all the moments of Joan's muted suffering against her captors frustration and anger.

The whole film consists almost entirely of close-ups so all emotion is internalised, expressed entirely by the face. All the actors wore no makeup so it has a very raw feel to it (especially compared to other silent films of the time where everything seems very theatrical).

I've included a couple of screen grabs from a very emotional scene in the film. At the moment we're currently in pre-production to begin our character animation projects so it was fascinating to watch just how much emotion can be communicated to the audience using only muted close-ups of characters.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Character of Place

For the past two weeks we've been working on a pixilation workshop (if you've never heard of pixilation then check out Norman Mclaren's fantastic film 'Neighbours' on youtube for the best example I can think of). Each of the animation directors teamed up with a cinematographer and a production designer and we had to build and light a set in one day then animate in one day then strike the whole set! It was fantastic, the production designer Chloe did an amazing job building the interior of an old wooden boat, and the cinematographer Stil lit the whole set with just ONE light! (and a crazy amount of flags!).
It was great to collaborate with such a brilliant team. Everyone had such enthusiasm and we all tried to be ambitious and push ourselves with the little time we had to do everything. The finished set was better than anything I imagined and I was totally gutted when we had to take it down after only one full day of animating.
Pixilation took a little while to get used to animating on such a large scale and I wish that we had just one more day to capture even more footage. I had the idea to have the boat 'rocking' as if in a storm so we animated both the camera and the objects on set to create the illusion of the whole stage moving which worked really well but took ages to plan and setup.
I've included a couple of stills from the set to show the final setup..

Through the video monitor: The interior of an old wooden boat.

The set in all it's magical movie glory!

So many flags to create the great lighting effect.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Busy as a busy thing doing something busy

I've just finished working on a 2-week pixilation workshop with the production designers and cinematographers at the school and am currently in the process of sorting through all the footage and production stills so I'll write about it in more detail very soon. Until then here are some more sketches. I didn't have chance to do much drawing being on set directing but the train journeys are always a great opportunity for doodling. The colour pic is a quick paint study I made based on a costume from an opera.