Sunday, 21 October 2012

Simon and Carl Finished Concepts

The character designs all finished and ready to come to life. Introducing Simon and Carl.

Pre-Viz Scenes

In this week, we have been working on our Pre-Viz and we are now able to show you some scenes of it. In this video, we have also added some versions of the same shot that we have done to see which one suits more into our animation and we have to finally decide which one we will use to our animation.

Friday, 19 October 2012


Character Creation is underway with the completion of our orthographs. I started off drawing by hand and using a ruler to make sure every element was as identical as possible.

Then I scanned it in to work with it on Photoshop to create a nice crisp edge for modelling.


Carl - there are three versions of carl. Each have a different variation on the cape. The cape will be a separate element to our model as we're not sure how well it will animate so we're leaving the possibility of detaching it from the model altogether.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Production Schedule: 22nd-28th October

Timetable 22-28 October
This is our group production schedule that allocates time to areas of work when we are each at university. The weekend has been left blank as the time used then is at the individual's discretion, e.g. if they have prior engagements outside of university etc.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Constructing the Props

During our story Simon builds two inventions, a Hang-glider and a Boat. Conveniently, Leonardo da Vinci designed a flying device that greatly resembles a hang-glider. I took this invention and adapted it so it became possible for Simon to have built it using the resources of a tropical island. The hardest part was replacing the fabric with a viable source. Upon my research of palm trees I found that 2 main leaf types existed, a typical leaf shape but very large and a long twig with smaller leaves branching out.

Over-sized Leaves
Small, long leaves on stem

I explored both possibilities in the design but feel the that the normal leaf would be too delicate and the weaving of the other leave provides a stronger cloth. 

This image demonstrates how this method of palm leaf weaving is used in the modern world
Palm Tree Weaving

Next challenge was the boat. I read through H. Anna Suh's collected works of da Vinci's notebooks (Leonard's Notebook, Suh : 2009) to find inspiration but he never explored anything floatation wise. So I was challenged to create a device that would function but also had the finesse of a da Vinci invention. The boat in the story need only carry them across a lake and isn't needed for long time/ repeated use so logically only a raft would be needed but as a studio we felt it needed to be more elaborate without being a full on boat with bowed wood and flooring. Here are my sketches exploring the boat:

I tried different shapes but found a way the the two characters could build a conventional shape boat that would float. By interlocking the palm tree stems and cutting them to form a comb joint. This would be hard to make water tight so the addition of two buoyancy aids on either side keep it afloat. The sail will be made of the same weaved fabric from the hang-glider. I'll be making up a very simple model in maya to demonstrate the construction for my studio.
Comb Joint

Monday, 15 October 2012

Colour Palette

Using the influence maps created for each character and an image of a tropical beach I created a colour palette for each character and the environment. I then overlaid these three palettes to give the studio an idea of the colour tone that will be created by combining the three together. The resulting palette flows well and has a feel of the renaissance. We feel that the colours that represent the renaissance are neutral colours (browns to creams) so the overlaid palette is a good sign that this is the feel we'll create. 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Soundtrack research

Having done more research about the soundtrack of the animation we have found that there was also a rebirth period on the music style. In addition, there were new tendencies like the Ricercare, the Tiento or the Canzona that broke with all done before. So we think that we must use this type of music for our soundtrack because it will be helpful and representative for us and for the people who will be watching our animation to know in which period the history is taking place.

After doing some research of this period, we have found a diagram with all the music composers that broke with all done before and focused they work on the new styles of the rebirth period.

Once, we know which type of music will fit into our animation we had done some research on Youtube of the music of different composers of the period. Some of the most relevant results we have found are:

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Character and Environment Concepts

Having finalised the script and storyboard as much as we can at this stage (before a pre-viz) we began to look at refining our two characters and the setting.


As concept artist I was challenged to create two boys that had the same features and shape but differ in personality. The reason we decided to have the boys look identical is an extension of the Prince and the Pauper, the story that inspired our narrative. It works best for our story as the idea is that the boys are exactly the same except that one embodies religion and the other science. They are parallels of the same person. This helps us show metaphorically through our narrative that the two opposites, Religion and Science, leave massive imprints behind them (in history) and combined together they form a functioning world.

Getting a Face

We knew that we wanted a cartoonish style. In a studio discussion we decided which level of cartoon we wanted. This is a scale ranging from ‘Phineas and Ferb’ to ‘Polar Express’. We settled on somewhere in the middle.

I drew up some faces and tried variations to give the studio a variety of options. We agreed that number 1 with eye shape b would work best for our characters as it is sweet and would make them both instantly appealing.

Getting the Shape

Using the basic face shape I experimented with different body shapes. We wanted out boys to be young teenagers so their beliefs aren't attributed to naivety. I began with a long body with exaggerated features then tried different variant on this. To make sure there was a variety of a choice for the studio to pick from I created a shorter character option too. We decided that shape 1 worked the best with the action genre of our story. It would show the movement of the boys clearly with exaggeration on the feet that will leave an imprint behind.

Getting the Costumes

After a trip to the library to find costumer books on renaissance fashion we walked away with a lot to sift through. We looked at religious figures like the pope to see the style of dress they wore and at the ‘current’ fashion of the era. We wanted to represent the differences of the boys visually through their clothing. The trick was to make it so the audience, assuming they don’t have a prior understanding of renaissance fashion, could read the beliefs of the characters through appearance. We found that clocks and loose, draped fabric with simple patterns was often worn by the religious figures. Tight, shapely and elaborate clothing was worn by young fashionably men. Fashion works in representing science as fashion is all about the new, the re-design and what’s next.

Here are the most influential images from our book research.

I quickly sketched out some rough ideas for each characters costume.

Then combined the whole lot together; face, body and costume. The next stage is to colour the two in to match their art style (da Vinci – Simon, Michelangelo – Carl) and create the image planes so we can begin to model the characters.

Environment Concept

The style of our environment will be a cartoonistic style that works best with our characters. Not overly detailed but not abstract. The textures will be fairly basic but still reflect the real life object it represents. The following concept art looks at the colour palette and the hot and hazy effect we want in the first scene when they characters find themselves stranded. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

First Draft Shooting Script

Here is our first draft shooting script with all the shoots that will be taken to create the animation result on the production process. We will be updating it at the same time we update the Storyboard and it will be helpful for us on organizing ourselves during the whole project.
Moreover, we had worked on the animation soundtrack and we have found some music that could be a reference for us and we would like to show it as well.

  • Greatest Mystical Music Of All Times - Fairies
  • Dragon Rider (Long Version) - Two Steps From Hell
  • Friday, 5 October 2012

    First Draft StoryBoard

    Here is own first rough storyboard. Just starting to look at how to move the camera and how we want to show our story. After a meeting with Alan about adding extra action and tension to our story we discovered we could do this by adding ‘action shots’ to show the characters fast movements from closer up. We are now starting work on a more refined storyboard to use for an animatic.

    Michelangelo and da Vinci

    Now that the concept of the contrasting styles is set we began to look at the two artists we are using more closely. Both are very fascinating men and were high influential in the era and to future generations.

    Born: 1475           Died: 1564
    Michelangelo was an Italian artist who massively influenced the future of western art. He was a forerunner in the high renaissance movement and highly regarded in his own lifetime. One of his biographies, written by Giorgio Vasari, described him as the pinnacle of all artistic achievement since the beginning of the Renaissance. He learnt to paint under the apprenticeship of Dominico Ghirlandaio. He had many disciplines but is mostly known for his paintings and sculptures. Two of his most influential paintings are his fresco works in the Sistine Chapel, Rome.

    Leonardo da Vinci:
    Born: 1452           Died: 1519
    Da Vinci was an Italian polymath, in that he had many creative disciplines, most of his studies were in the arts and sciences. In his own time he was something of a celebrity. His most known works as a painter include the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. He’s also renowned for his note books that hold his inventions (including a tank, helicopter and solar power) and his anatomical studies. He never published his scientific findings so they never contributed to the furthering of science.  

    Thursday, 4 October 2012

    Scriptwriting: Revision- Version Three

     This is the third revision of our script, with elements added in response to our tutorial with Alan today.
    (Also, Scribd worked, finally!)
    Renaissance Script Version 3

    Tuesday, 2 October 2012

    Scriptwriting: Second Draft Script

    Over the weekend each studio member wrote their own version of the story we had discussed and settled on. We found we had written much the same script with only marginal differences. We also felt that the ending lacked that extra tension; there was no danger pushing them ahead. After testing out a few ideas verbally we decided that using the ‘ticking bomb’ technique would work best. We don’t intend on blowing up our two boys, but have the sun sinking in the corner like a counter going down, suggesting that the boys need to reach their goal before the sun sets. We’ll also use music to increase the tension i.e. faster paced when building to a climax and the music suddenly starting to suggest a chase/sudden action. Using incidental music, the ‘ticking bomb’ and other elements of our story, such as the opposite character types, will help our audience follow our story as they aid the narrative.

    This is the second draft of the script with the addition ideas included.

    Monday, 1 October 2012

    Testing Concepts

    Latest at the studio is working on our design concept for the characters. Here we have been testing to see how effective our idea for the contrasting styles will work. This isn't our final character design, just a quick character outline to test the designs on.

    The scientist character will look like a da Vinci drawing while the religious character will look like the painted masterpieces of Michelangelo.

    We discussed these designs earlier today and decided the best way to achieve the desired effects would be to hand paint and sketch the texture maps physically then scan them in to be wrapped around the models. This means we the textures will look more natural and effective as opposed to trying to recreate the effects using Photoshop, which will always look synthetic.