Thursday, January 27, 2011

Our True Identity

Last year, I did a series of illustrations for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was an awesome project and the message is beautiful. Thank you Trevor for the referral!!

I started each of these out as extremely rough painting sketches before receiving feedback from the art director. Once the direction was set I put in local color, details and highlights. These we're a challenge due to the extreme level of detail they wanted in each piece. Sometimes I had to pull detail back to avoid it looking hyper real.

This was a concept I pitched but we didn't end up using it.

The Final Product!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

DreamGiver Post 4: Concept Strip and More Backgrounds

Here is some more work from DreamGiver. These are some explorations I did for the Dream sequence. Thanks for stopping by!

More backgrounds from the film....

The amazing Michael Murdock put my painting into after effects. He came up with this beautiful sunlight and atmosphere idea which you can see in this clip.

Michael should get a blog.......

DreamGiver 10_C from Tyler Carter on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

DreamGiver Post 3: Concept to Background

Value Study

Color Study


The Dream World-
When I started developing the look of the dream world, I threw together quite a few concepts. The first two posted here were early value and color studies. As you can see, we didn't end up going quite as dramatic with the lighting in the final background (the bottom piece) but these initial studies were really helpful for the 2D team to get a feel for what this world was and allow me to make some design decisions early in the game. The quick studies really help out when it comes to making the deadline. Even though the third image is quite different, I had a good idea how my color relationships would be working before I started the painting.

Monday, January 10, 2011

DreamGiver Post 2: Cut shot and concept

Here is a shot that didn't make it into the final cut for story reasons. Because of the uniqueness of the film, I was occasionally working on the design for finalized story sequences and finessing the story in other less developed areas. Even though it was nearly to a completed stage, I decided the shot must be cut and the sequence reworked because....well, as a good friend of mine once said...

"sometimes things don't work even when they're planned. You have to eat the $%#@ pie and start over! my job as a story artist is to make $%#@ and find out if that $%#@ works. It's hell but I love it. I'd say 90% of the time it doesn't work, but it's my job to find out what does."

I think one of the biggest things I learned on the project was to never get attached to anything I was working on. I had one thing in mind, does it accomplish the story's purpose? If not, we scrapped it. Sometimes we thought it was working as a separate shot but in the sequence it may not be so good. Usually I wasn't in a situation where the thing being scrapped was nearly finalized. On occasion, like this shot, it happened.

Once again, I began with a quickie thumbnail to nail down the idea and appease the story first, then I began looking for ways to design the environment/color around the story.

In the end, I was happy with the direction it was going in as a solo piece of art but because the shot itself didn't satisfy the big picture, I had to let it go.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

DreamGiver Post 1: 10H Temple Wide Shot Process

DreamGiver is a short 6 minute film I've been directing/producing here at Brigham Young University. I decided early on that having 2D and 3D animation would best support the story but it would create a lot more work. In the end, story trumphed the work load and we made it happen. I'm really glad we did because it turned out wonderful. I want to share a little bit about my process on one specific environment in the 2d sequence of the film.

I started out doing a number of thumbnails keeping in mind the context of the shot I was working on. I like to think about the shots previous and following the one I'm on. When I do that, I communicate much more and can help the story occasionally have one more layer. The most important thing is progressing the story. I have to be careful not to sidetrack because I tend to do that if I'm not careful!
In this scene, we introduce a new environment; it is the first time the audience and the character see it. There is trouble lurking and coming in the next shot. There was trouble foreshadowed in the previous shot. I have in the back of my mind a few things: 1. Temple Ruins need to be in your face. They are big, bulky to make the boy feel small and insignificant. If I succeed in this, the audience will imagine something to fit the clues! They should be more interested in the movie. 2. Ruins need some type of foreboding personality to direct the audiences feelings in preparation for the next shot. Similar to 1, the environment needs to give the audience another bit to think about. What is coming? What is this ruin? Is it abandoned? It surely isn't safe, what is its subject matter? 3. Is the composition the most effective for telling these things? How should the camera be placed? Where should the eye level be? 4. Is the lighting appropriate to the story? Is my contrast appropriate to the story? 5. Where do I need to direct the eye?

After I thought about these notes, I spent 10-15 min. on each thumbnail. I think I did about 15 total. Some turned out really poor but became building blocks to help me get to where I needed. This is why I'm only spending a few minutes on each of these. I need to have a set idea before I begin to get into detail. It might sound silly but if I go forward without a solid study I will spend the majority of my time solving problems and not painting. I'm trying to solve all problems in these thumbnails and when I feel comfortable moving forward, it will go much smoother. You can always add more at the end.

Happy with this thumbnail. It addresses the story points and will put me into an effective lighting position where I will be able to really enhance the scene with foreground elements in shadow. I'm pumped to go to the next step.

Directly over my thumbnail I begin placing neutral colors onto the image. I'm just throwing this stuff in and shrinking my image down to look at it small. I do this 2o-30 times as I lay in colors. I begin to set up some layers because I know the image will require parallax movements in post. I enlarge the image and work big. I'm organizing and thinking about what we will do in post.

Working out color relationships. Looking for the best way to simplify elements. I'm considering story points to determine color intensities and major and minor keys like mentioned in my thumbnails process.

Finessing what I can with the production schedule I have. Looking for the simplest way to suggest something: texture on a rock, moss on a tree. At this point, I'm only worrying about what is in the light. This will really help direct the eye if I do it right. Its also going to create some nice light shadow relationships which will add depth to the piece.

I've arrived at a final place to stop. It's not perfect but I'm out of time and it gets the job done effectively for the story. I need to move onto another environment. I name my layers and organize them for hand off.

DreamGiver 10H from Tyler Carter on Vimeo.

In After Effects, we lay the shot out and add elements to the image to create the illusion of a camera. My amazing friend Michael Murdock laid this shot out....and all the shots in the film. I'll be talking about him a lot. He should make a blog...don't you think? After the layers are in, we review the story points, create depth of field and add some artificial lighting. Anything else we can do to polish the story point visually is made here. Then we sign it and ship it!