Wednesday, 7 February 2018


Animation Group Project

Individual pitch results are in and I've been selected to work on the Shadow Puppets, directed by Ashleigh Web other members including Danielle Kitchner, Jordan Rutter, Joana Lizarondo.

Original Pitch Animatic (Created by Ashleigh)

The goal now is to build an appealing story that reads well and design characters and environments that emphasise the story.

Through various discussion there was a lot of changes to the overall story, a lot of discussion around who the characters are and their relationship to one another. Due to the current characters relationship being somewhat odd and difficult to relate to we concluded that a father-son story would be quite effective in this case, creating both a family connection and a shared devastation of the dead wife character.

We decided that one of the best ways we could approach compiling everyone's ideas is to allow people the freedom to reimagine the story and come up with their own ideas, loosely based on our group discussions. We're only really creating pivotal sequences, of which could be a foundation as to how everything else builds up around the ideas.

My itial takes on the story were to capture the distance between the characters, both physically and emotionally through extreme perspective shots, creating a large environment that makes the characters seem small. I also tried to capture the scene from the perspective of the boy.

Boy hesitantly opens the door into the dark room, holding a picture representing his family when they were happy together.

The boy approaches his father and reaches to console him, putting his hand on his back. This is where I start to distort the reality from the boys perspective, the environment vanishes leaving just the son and father in isolation, the mood goes dead. The father begins to turn with an exaggerated anger and standing up, filling the frame with his presence and looming over his son scaring him away.

The son drops the paper and the emperor is still angry, but upon noticing what his son dropped he realises what he had done. the door closes and the room goes into darkness.

The sequence creates tension between both the characters and intrigues the audience as we now know that the boy is upset and now thinks his father hates him, whilst the audience know that is not the case once the father has a slight change of heart. thus both characters are left in the dark with how they feel about each other, leading into a redemption story as such.

Once we had a number of different ideas we began discussing them and how to make them work in design. Taking inspiration from the other members I created another animatic that also used a few of their shots combined with my own to try and add drama to a particular sequence.

Art Direction and design pieces

Shrine room lighting tests

Environment designs, where the temple is located and what its like outside. Some style and colour experiments mixed in.

Character Development

I tried to experiment with extremes during character development, ruling out a lot of designs that are definitely not going to work. Since I always find of worth trying the things you'd expect not to work.. just in case. Of course within' reason.
Starting with sketches and exchanging ideas in group meetings.


Taking some of the ideas into digital, experimentation of colour and testing whether a daughter character would work instead of a son.


To make sure everyone is on the same page with story we had a long meeting session where everyone had printed each of their shots, we rearranged them and added some in where needed with sticky notes. Eventually we settled on a sequence of events that we began to build and work on a single edit.

Agreeing that one person would be in charge of keeping this edit up to date, this being Ashley for most of the project. With that said, here's the last version of the animatic before production.

To get a real sense of what the project might look like environment wise, I took the time to do a paintover one of the 3D test environments Jordan created.

Gif of process.
The reduced colour channels actually look quite badass.

Overal with pre-production, I think things went well and smoothly, not amazing, but not bad either. There was little group dispute, which could arguably be a bad thing but there was definitely enough to keep ideas flowing and for people to need to compromise.

My contribution, definitely not as much as I would have liked during this phase, my overall performance during the first half of this academic year has been low. Very low.
Hopefully I've managed to pick this up well in Production.

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