Monday, 29 August 2011

Sunset Colour Studies

Here's a progression of a sunset outside my window yesterday, as a rough colour study. The first image took around 10 minutes in Photoshop and the following two took just over 5 minutes each to change colour, mood and make tweaks to the original painting.

I had to be very quick as the colours vanished in just a few minutes! Enjoy! :)
Gem xox

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Final Film Idea 'Seedlings'

Hey all, (not neglecting the bloggin's today, hurrah!)
So, as previously mentioned, I've been racking my brains ALL summer trying to come up with an idea for my Final Film for the third year at University. This has proved unimaginably difficult as it's got to be a story that..

A. Has entertaining characters and story
B. Has personal meaning to me
C. Is actually FUN to do, otherwise I'm spending a year developing and animating (at 24 drawings per second!) something I don't even like!
D. Makes a statement
E. And (hopefully) displays my abilities as a character animator, designer and storyteller so I can get some kind of employment after Uni

So I've been really stressed out about this, though it's not like I haven't been coming up with ideas, the problem is coming up with the right idea.

After writing a couple of shorts that would work well as storybook animatic videos (but not my final film) I came up with a short animation idea about the creation of Earth, but from the perspective of twin creation students (or Gods-in-training). One (sister) is creative and passionate, while the other (brother) is wise and logical, so, naturally, they bicker and everything goes wrong. I also dabbled with the prospect of them creating humanity too, but eventually I decided against this one as the characters just aren't involving enough. Perhaps I will reattempt it at a later date.

Fortunately, just the other night I was hit by a brainwave while trying to get to sleep (isn't that always the way?). I'd been watching a DVD of Pixar shorts with the Director commentary on which was really interesting. I wrote a list of what I thought each short was trying to say, for example, For the Birds is about bullying and peer pressure, but not condoning it of course! Later I wrote a list of messages that I would like to say, such as self-acceptance and the grass not always being greener on the other side.

Eventually it hit me: I'm a very sentimental person and nostalgia the loss of treasured possessions means a lot to me, which is why Pixar's Up, really gets to me! Thus, I wrote a story that centered around sentimentality. Without further ado, here is an image illustrating my three favourite ideas (some old, some new) I'll explain them below. Open the image to view it at a larger size if the text isn't readable enough.

1. The first, Princess-in-Waiting is all about a short-tempered Princess who is fed up of waiting for her Prince so she travels on her very own pet dragon to seek Mr. "Charming" for her revenge! She's a modern, arse-kicking girl who much prefers black glasses and leather jackets to her embroidered dress and tiara! It's a bit of a joke short as just when she thinks she gets what she wants (peace and quiet) suddenly there are Prince Charming's everywhere, all desperate for her hand in marriage!

So this is a fun short, but it's not particularly personal to me and a little too "Shrek-like" for my liking, so it's more of a back-up.

2. Second is an untitled film where I was thinking about self-acceptance through physically destroying your inner demons. This would take place in a surreal world, perhaps in this girl's mind, where she has trapped herself with her own thoughts and fears. I thought a series of trials would be interesting to see her tackle them in different ways until she at last realises the answer lies in eliminating the negative aspects of her personality, rather than killing the demons her mind has conjured around her.

Not a lot of development on this one, but might be interesting at some point to do a crazy Alice in Wonderland/Labyrinth style tale.

3. "Great Oaks From Little Acorns Grow" or "The Girl Who Won't Grow Up". This is my favourite story so far (not to create bias or anything...) as it's personal and has an emotional character arc. It's about a little girl, Amber, who grows up in and around this majestic oak tree, it's got a tree house, a swing and her friends would go there to play. We see snapshots of her life as she grows up, but she remains as childish as when she was young. It's gonna be all about growing up, letting go and moving on, but in an emotional and maybe touching/heartwarming way if done right.

There's a bit more to this story, which I'll cover in future posts, but for now, I hope you guys like what I've come up with, and if you don't please leave a comment with some constructive crits as any feedback will be appreciated!

Now I can relax and focus now I actually have some ideas! Many thanks, I'll be posting again soon!
Gemma xox

Friday, 5 August 2011

Summer, Sonisphere and Stuff

Hi all, and surprise, surprise, another massive gap between journals. I'm really gonna have to break out of this seeing as I'll need to keep an up to date blog for my next film!

So, last time I updated was April, when I was developing a group film at Uni: Dimensionality. Good news is, we just about finished the film and passed, bad news is, we handed in late and lost a lot of marks for it. Moral of the story? It's better to hand in unfinished work ON TIME than it is to let it get overdue to finish it.

Unfortunately the film isn't online yet as the effects are still being finished by one of the group members, but here's a compilation video of all the animation I did for it.

Here's a matte painting example of the look of each shot... hopefully the finished film will be online soon!

And here's the stack of paper I went through... 1277 sheets!

Fortunately the rest of my work went well, I got a high mark for my essay about Masculinity in The Incredibles (using Susan Jeffords' The Curse of Masculinity 1995 as my source), helped third years in making three films by doing 2D animation and even a voiceover (!) and designed some new business cards below!

I asked family and friends and members of DeviantArt to vote for their favourite, turned out the giraffes won, so that's what I printed at for my cards, although I will probably redesign it again to correspond to my final film next year!

I also applied for work experience at Beryl Productions in Cardiff with Joanna Quinn where I enjoyed three days of animating, drawing matte lines (for colouring the muzzles and tummies of the Charmin bears!) and learning from the talented animators and clean-up artists there! I can't wait to work there again next term!

Here's a lil' frame from a walk cycle I animated with help from Joanna for a pre-commercial... I don't think I can put it anywhere until it is broadcast though, so enjoy this taster! ;)

Now my second year is over, I'm spending the summer to gear up for my third year, in which I'll be writing my dissertation (similar themes to my previously mentioned essay) and making a short animated film, solo, with some help from second and third years (with luck).

No plans for my final film just yet, I've been actively writing stories and getting back into painting, it should just be a case of sitting down and writing a film idea that I want to produce and is personal to me... I've been putting it off for far too long, so this month I'm going to have to write it before my next semester starts in September so I can present it! I'll be posting progress up of course, either on this blog or a new one which I will link to. All I really know so far is that it will be a 2D film, possibly to do with gender roles! (Like my dissertation!)

And in addition to this, I'm drawing comics with a director/writer I'm working for, doing an animatic about a short duck story for a friend of mine and attempting to do some personal work while I have the "time"!

Other than that, I've been to the Sonisphere Festival in Knebworth last month, camping with friends which was amazing... it was probably the biggest amount of people I'd ever seen in one place! I saw the Big 4 with Metallica, as well as Sum41, Airbourne, Weezer, Biffy Clyro and Bill Bailey... who were all awesome. I even got to high-five Rivers Cuomo--whooo! :D

Here's the four of us at the campsite! (I'm the short one!) :P

Apart from that, things have been fairly uneventful, I've been on the South Beach diet for a few weeks now and I've already lost a stone! I don't have much to lose, it's just a case of cutting back after having too many carbs at Uni! :P Will have to eat healthier this year! >.<

I've got some new artwork that went up on DeviantArt recently... here's the linkage! I submitted it to ImagineFX's 'Rising Stars 2011' competition, so wish me luck! :)

Guardian Spirit of the Forest by ~AmberDust on deviantART

And I'm thinking of investing in a new iMac 21.5" for my work and Uni, particularly after my sister got one a few days ago... but still mulling it over... And of course there was the epic Harry Potter conclusion recently, which I've seen twice but that's me just about up to date for now... I'll be making myself update more regularly for the next year to get into the habit of doing so... it's quite therapeutic really! ^.^

I hope this update wasn't too overwhelming... I'll be posting something (shorter) again soon though! Ta ta for now! :)
Gemma xox