The feedback I got from my presentation was to focus on doing daily studies of towns and paint digitally as much as I could to improve my background art. As I wanted to focus primarily on background work I joined another student who wanted to focus on animation. I decided to join his group as he had the stronger idea which is more engaging with the audience. Instead of doing an environment in Portsmouth I will now focus on London. The music has also changed from alternative rock to rock music, which sets the faster more intense pace of the film. Below are sketches from photos of famous locations in London.
My initial idea for the design of conservative London was tall, square high-rise buildings. This was meant to look boring and overpowering. I got inspiration from concrete buildings made in the 1970’s that look rundown and grey.
I think using contrasts grey for conservative London in comparison to really bright and colourful Punk London. This will not only show the contrast in the types of society, but the personalities of main characters.
I have especially had some issues thumb-nailing the Punk London. I think a key issue is with the colour pallet, so I have re-done my thumbnails in black and white. As well as researching city streets in London using photo reference. Alfie and I also walked round Portsmouth taking photos to get some reference for streets in a city. By doing a mind-map and research for the Punk aesthetic I realised bright colours were not an accurate representation of punk culture, rather dimmer colours but patterns or textures such as tartan or leather.
Below are some developed thumbnails thinking about the initial shot for the film, depicting key locations in London influenced by traditional design.
Transition Ideas – The Beatles – Free As A Bird
Alfie and I thought that the use of camera shots in the Beatles music video was an interesting way to transition from one scene to another. Below is a quick After Effects attempt to test the transition. After looking at the test Alfie and I decided not to use this form of transition, because we found other methods which broke the fourth wall.
This camera test wasn’t successful as the two scenes didn’t match well, but we have researched other Beatles music videos as other transitions seem more useful.
Alfie found this Beatles video that had interesting scene transitions that wiped across the screen and enabled them to travel across the city efficiently without confusing the audience.
Inspiration for city environment
The background structure and line is interesting in Paperman. I like how the background is simple, tall and shows the audience that the animation is set in a traditional city. I think incorporating colour that reflects the society that lives in that location will be interesting to develop, for example Brixton Market has dim purples and blues, while Oxford street has whites and light blues.
The use of contrasting light, the dim colour pallet with the bright light used as a focal point could be a useful way to create focus on key aspects of the film. I like the soft colours which I might use to symbolise the original mundane life in Conservative London.
John Atkinson Grimshaw
Like the painting above I like the use of bright lights in comparison to the dim desaturated colours. The use of texture and reflection of light might be an interesting way to convey underlying messages.
I like the quick cuts that Wright has used as transitions for Simon Pegg’s character in Hot Fuzz trip from London. Especially cuts on movement and use of road signs and the bars decreasing on his phone. Alfie and I spoke about testing this idea out on tube signs and London buses as a quick method of allowing the main character to get round London easily.
Sketches for individual environments
I was struggling with being specific with my backgrounds, so decided to do some sketches from photos and expand from there.
Initial ideas of the control room are an all watching government, which implies a lair like control room. Another idea could be a really small rundown and underfunded room, but that wouldn’t give the impression of an all seeing government. I like the idea of a really high-tech room which has hundreds of computer monitors flicking to different locations in London.
I have developed the idea for the control room to be huge and very dim with a blue/green glow to it from the monitors. The rough idea is below.
Update control room
Feedback for Jordan was that the design above isn’t quite common for a control room so is boring. The animatic also changed so the control room is in the Shard rather than the London eye, as the Shard is very tall, pointy and dominates the London skyline. Below are some rough sketches of the control room.
I like the idea of a pole in the middle of lots of monitors, similar to a TV or radio signal pole.
I chose the red colour pallet as it implies a more evil watchtower. Originally I was going to use blue for the monitors light, but I think red conveys the message of the tower being more villain like. The monitors will have places in London flickering on and off screen. I will probably reuse introduction shots on the screen.
I plan for the sky in the entire Conservative London to be green, to not only imply it is cloudy but evil; I like the idea of a cityscape of London being in the background to imply the control room is all seeing. The desk will have monitors and buttons, with desk chairs but only one man in the control room.
I think Brixton Market should look quite run down, Alfie suggested looking at Victorian markets. As not only does the style of the markets look interesting, but could emphasise the poverty and wage gap of Brixton Market and Oxford Street. The idea of lots of scruffy small shops and stalls with towering flats on top, with tiny windows is the initial idea I got from reference photos. I explored this idea and emphasised the market and flats. The idea for the CCTV cameras were to be more steampunk and rundown rather than the very futuristic pristine camera in 10 Downing Street and Oxford Street.
Brixton Market was inspired by Victorian styled concept art. The style is simple to imply poverty. The shops and flats are shown to be small, cramped and dark, with the buildings towering over the people. This could imply that their social class is impacting them in a huge way.
Feedback for the houses above was to make the line neater to fit in more with the Oxford street line style but to keep the look of the houses similar.
Initial Oxford street ideas are that it is quite futuristic with square buildings. The colour pallet will be whites and light blues to imply a Utopian city, with hints of gold to imply wealth and capitalism. Although the buildings will be tall, they will be more spaced out to imply they are a luxury. This amplifies the point of conveying the contrast of higher and lower society.
The buildings above need improvement. I don’t like the colour pallet and need to redo the buildings in more light blues, silvers and white. Also they need to have more detail which I need to research.
10 Downing Street
I like the idea that style of this location is very fancy and royal with red, white and blue being the colour pallet. The CCTV in contrast will be very white, square and futuristic implying that the government is traditional, rich and protected.
My initial idea was to have the reds and blues quite bright but it sees too much colour for the scene. The colour pallet has changed to dimmer reds and blues but imply the underlying corruption in the government.
The initial sketches above are from Google Maps in order to find key imagery of the location, such as lampposts and CCTV cameras. I drew the National Gallery and distorted it to make it askew with straight edges, so it could convey the government is traditional but a bit corrupt. Alfie and I had an idea of signs with slogans such as “No fun, No Joy, No colour.”
My original colour test had too much contrasting colours. The second test used gold and yellow to represent society, financial divide and how this part of London was upper class. The third one down , I liked the red with yellow glow in the background as it implies evil, however this might be too obvious. Line work will be neat and with black lines. The bottom uses light sickly colours with light green glow and an unsettling look to emphasise the askew design. This could imply corruption and how society has become sickly because of it.
Updated Colour Pallet and Line Style
I changed the colour pallet to a less saturated and dull colours, to contrast punk wave. The green glowing background implies the world is evil and corrupt.
Westminster Bridge, 10 Downing Street and Trafalgar Square are all going to be in the the same colour pallet.
I like the idea of wonky busses with exhausts, to fit in with the askew world of Conservative London and to show it as polluted. I was originally going to have a bright red bus, like traditional London busses but then chose a darker colour so it would fit into the cities colour pallet. The busses were inspired by 1980’s London busses.
Parliament was a late location in the film as the story changed quite a bit. In the story it is the central location, so I decided to do a 360 degree idea sketch of the square to figure out the layout, building proportion’s to each other and perspective.
From my other two lighting tests I decided that my lines should be neater so I did a quick line test to try the neater line.
The colour pallet from Parliament will be the dim red with the sickly green sky, as showed in the colour tests above.
Similar to parliament the change of story meant I had to design a stage, which I didn’t have much time to do a colour test. Below are the initial sketches of the stage which I will finalise before the first week of production.
The buildings that have been turned Punk will have textures such as leather, fishnet tights, jean and tartan. I think exploring the buildings having chains, Mohawks and piercings will be interesting. Feedback for Jordan was that the textures made the buildings look flat, so should experiment with having different parts of the building different textures.
I like the texture and form of the collage of patterns but the photos have been taken from Google images, so I will have to take some photos from life.
Character Asset design
The weapon ideas Alfie and I came up with was a guitar gun that shoots paint. So I researched into guitar guns, flamethrowers, grenades and Molotov cocktails. Although these ideas were interesting to explore they were too violent for the story. The police where chasing her because she is punk not because she was an actual threat. So I explored paint guns and water guns full of paint. I think incorporating a guitar into a water gun will be good as it reflects the upbeat but non-threatening character. I also like the idea of paint fireworks on the city and might explore how to incorporate that.
Animatic First Draft
Alfie and I struggled to create a first draft animatic so we drew a storyboard on sticky notes and scanned them into Premiere.
The story is a guy in a control room who is watching the people of London through a huge control room at the top of the Shard. He notices a punk woman driving into London on a Vespa armed with a paint guitar and paint bombs. In a panic he calls the police who start to chase her, the character throws a paint bomb at a traditionally conservative guy and he transforms into a Punk head. The women then grabs the screen (breaking the fourth wall) and rips it apart. She then is running from the police again through Brixton Market and transforms it into punk market. The police see her so she runs and hides in a red phone box and then runs onto a bus to Oxford street. On the bus the women starts shooting her paint-gun and throwing paint bombs at the people and buildings below her. As the bus drives on the audience sees the wake of a punk oxford street. The camera cuts to an over the shoulder shot where you can see 10 Downing Street, with police guarding it. The police laugh as she gets off the bus, then realise that there is an army of punk heads as the bus rides off.
Feedback from lectures has caused some changes to the original animatic, such as changing Oxford Street to the more iconic location in London, Trafalgar square. The original animatic seemed a bit too violent , and made the police seem evil rather than a lighthearted criticism on the government. So Alfie and I considered making the police the prime minister’s body guards instead. Another idea was to only have a few police to emphasise that they are underfunded.
The feedback from the greenlight pitch is that I need to go into more detail in the backgrounds, for example signs, architecture style, posters ect…
Second Attempt Animatic
This is the updated introduction shot, inspired by a Beatles music video. It will be one long shot flowing through London. The style of this shot might be cut out animation or very sketchy. The way the camera will track the shot means there will have to be two files with a bus driving across the scene as a transition. An issue occurred as the first file was too big (1920×7560) to run on a home computer, as a result I had to reduce size for the animatic shot and will have to either test the size on university computers and if that doesn’t work have individual files.
On reviewing the introduction shot test I think that each scene shouldn’t stop, but have a slow pan up, in the breaks.
Due to the previous video being too long Alfie and I changed the story too, all the punks coming to here rather than the main character running round London. The aim for the animatic was for me to do the background, so I can plan the rough backgrounds, perspective and figure out assets needed. Alfie was going to sketch the main characters to figure out key poses. The story is no longer political and more fun which means not including the Control room, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Bridge and Buckingham Palace. This was the only way we could realistically cut down the film to an achievable level as our previous animatic was way too long.
We update the animatic by cleaning it up and altered some scenes and added the updated soundtrack.
My Edit of Final Animatic
Above is my contribution to the animatic.
Art book Link and Production Showreel
Below is a PDF art book and production showreel of my environment art and Alfie’s character work that I composited in After Effects. The art book is in PDF form due to technical issues on the website making it an eBook.
Below is the spreadsheet for mine and Alfie’s production.