Jan 22 2012, 12:20 PM
Things on this project are steadily moving forward...(so hard to find the energy)...So I have the script finished(until I read back through and start tweaking issues) but it's there. So I decided to start on the main character. Latimer. Here's the start of his head. I think it's about 30 minutes of work. Still needs massive amount of tweaking but it's a start.
Jan 22 2012, 12:28 PM
Great start! I never got around to proofreading your script, I still can though if you want as I did get your e-mail
Jan 22 2012, 01:04 PM
I'll have to send you the latest revision as I've been editing it quite a bit the last couple days. Rodney gave me some feedback that was really helpful in rounding out one of the characters, so kudos Rodney!!! Here's the character with ears added.
Jan 22 2012, 05:07 PM
A little more work on Latimer here. A little more personality is starting to creep out. Did a bit of shifting of the splines. Added a few here, took a few away there. Added eyes and redid the ears completely. Overall he's looking pretty good. Like everything I model I have to wonder if he'll animate well....of course IF I animated any of them I'd know LOL.
Jan 22 2012, 05:19 PM
That's looking like a great style you have going, keep it up!
Jan 22 2012, 05:58 PM
He's looking good. It looks to me like you've got a very economical spline layout.
Expressive eyes too!
It's not clear at this point if you already have it... I think you do... but make allowance for the mouth and jaw to really open wide and move from side to side. You may never need to go to the full extent of those extremes but then you'll have it if you ever need to push the pose to it.
Jan 22 2012, 08:02 PM
Thanks for the feedback guys! Funny you should mention that Rodney. I've spent the entire day tweaking the splines and then decided I didn't like the weak jaw so I brought it forward a great deal. It's much better looking and gives his mouth and jaw a better look. I also went ahead and added hair to get a better feel for the his personality. Next I cloth the guy!
Jan 22 2012, 08:05 PM
wow, wish I could produce that much in the same amount of time as you! Probably gonna take a gander at your script on Tuesday, don't have the time yet to commit to reading something until then
Jan 22 2012, 09:00 PM
Thanks Darkwing. I've actually went back and checked out some of my older posts and was like, WOW! LOL It's sad when you impress yourself...anyway I hope to get some good feedback about the script. Good or Bad I'll take it all!!! So I'm calling it a night but on a side note here's a final render of Latimer with texture maps and hair. I went a head and played with the settings on MuhHair and I can can this is probably as good as I can get it. Tomorrow I start clothing the guy!!!!
Jan 23 2012, 11:21 AM
Alright I've decided instead of finishing a model completely, I'm going to just work on the entire casts heads. Faces are really complex and take the longest time for me because I will tweak them for days. So I have Latimer, the main character, and now I'm working on his mothers head. Here's what I have after an hour.
Edit:Here's a render of her with particle system hair. The results are really nice.
The Mother's head is complete. Textures, teeth, gums, and particle hair! Ta-Da!!! Moving on to the Father.
Jan 23 2012, 06:36 PM
Quick question. Should I devote the time into creating a new model for the Father, or would aging Latimer work? I hate to go the short route and it not come across convincingly. I don't won't people being pissed cause I was lazy....never mind, answered my own question. Here's a quick render I did playing around with Latimer.
Jan 23 2012, 08:08 PM
Great stylistic continuity!
Jan 23 2012, 11:50 PM
With regard to using Latimer as a basis for his parents I think that should work well.
Keep in mind that a lot of kids seem to pick up a few traits from each of their parents.
So Latimer might have his Dads nose but his Mom's eyes or similar hair color or jaw line.
While there is a lot of variation carried through in the genes, in my experience Boys tend to favor their Mother while Girls tend to pick up traits from the Father (call it natures way of keeping things in balance). Hardly universal but I'd say enough to be noticed. There is also the matter of dark eyes and hair being predominant. The Dad might have brown hair while the Mom's hair might be black. This would increase Latimer's chances of having hair black in color.
I'm really liking the Mom and Dad. I think you are onto something!
Jan 24 2012, 06:25 AM
Hey, this is some great work and nice style! Using the son as a starting point for the dad will work fine, especially if the story involves some common trait they share (much to mom's chagrin!)
The only comment I would make would be to add a touch more detail to Latimer's ears. they're looking a little doughy and underdeveloped compared to the rest of the face.
Jan 24 2012, 09:59 AM
great looking characters!
Jan 24 2012, 03:15 PM
I couldn't stand the thought of short changing on a model so I hunkered down today, with no inspiration of where this charactet was going, and so far this is what I have for Latimer's father. Over all I like where it's going. It started out rough but I've spent a couple hours tweaking, adding splines, deleteing splines. Now I have to add hair, glasses, and teeth. Compliments, Critics!!!
With hair. I guess next I'll add eyebrows and then teeth and his inner mouth.
Jan 24 2012, 07:02 PM
In between making character heads I'm working on sets as well. I figure as long as I do something each day I'm getting somewhere. So I divide my time between a character a day and a set or a prop. Here's a render of Latimer's room, near the door. I used Thom, though he isn't to scale and the room. I also set up some lighting to see how it would look. I would like a sort of gray and dismal look and I don't think this lighting works. If anyone has pointers on getting a nice depressing color scheme please feel free to drop a line. Thanks.
Jan 24 2012, 08:20 PM
Nice looking characters and room, like the way your using tom for scaling.
Jan 26 2012, 12:54 PM
So each day I continue to work on this, regardless if it's models or refining the story. Today I sat down and modeled out Latimer's body. I want to keep it simple and stylish. Here's my results after a couple hours. No textures for the main clothing parts as I am still considering the overall color scheme of the story. I am considering a gray and dull color scheme for the land of the living and a more robust scheme for the land of the dead. Sort of like a Tim Burton feel as I really love his movies and the overall feel from them.
Edit: I've added to renders today in hopes of getting some lighting feedback. Lighting I believe is very important to the overall color scheme of the project. I rendered out both images to OpenEXR. Then they were loaded into Photoshop. The JPG is a 16 bit image. The PNG is a 32 bit image (thus the size. more information embeded in it). They have both undergone tone, contrast, and color correction. Both have there plus and minus effects. Which in your opinion is the better of the two renders? And how can I improve the look and feel of the lighting to give a more oppressive and depressing feel. Or have I achieved it? I thought about using radiosity but haven't quite got the quirks of that method worked out.
Jan 26 2012, 05:45 PM
I'm not sure which image is which format* (blind tests are good!) but it seems to me that the one on the right with the blue lighting is considerably superior to the other in almost all areas. It may just be that lighting but it seems to occupy space whereas the other, not so much.
I'm generally a fan of JPG but because of it's transparency (and a very small hint of promise in the realm of animated sequences) I've been moving toward PNG.
I hope you are sketching these ideas out on paper and taking good notes. That way you can always refer back to them.
While I haven't done extensive tests I've noted that that PNG images can be problematic in compositing. PNG seems ideal for posting on the internet and since EXR isn't up to that task I say you'll be using both.
My gut tells me that if you want softer images you might just convert all of your images to JPG later.
With some of the programs now available that should only take a few minutes for even really large sequences.
*The transparency in the window appears to give the format of the image on the right away as PNG. Although why the ground should be transparent while the sky opaque is not entirely clear to me. Edit: Tis odd that in the original image the ground is white but in the thumbnail it's converted to black. That is usually reversed from what I've seen here in the forum. Hmmmm....
Jan 26 2012, 06:17 PM
For some reason your last update on the father makes me think of Gravedigger.
That may be because of my first impression of him (see attached image)
I ran across these thumbnail sketches yesterday.
They are from when you first pitched the story here on the forum (at least I think that's when I drew them).
It is an attempt to capture the mood from where Latimer chokes on the cherry... transitioning to the gravesite with Latimer's parents say their farewells... to where Gravedigger greets Latimer but before he sends him on his way.
I don't think I doodled anything beyond this but will check.
Not a lot of detail here to see. The height of the Gravedigger thumbnail on the left is about 1 to 1 1/2 inch and it was altered little in the cut and paste. I'd say the Gravedigger figure on the right is closer to 1 inch.
I post these pitiful scratches mostly to encourage the use of pencil and paper as an effective means of getting all those ideas out of the brain and into reality rapidly. The simpler the sketch the better as that will more likely captures the essence of the idea.
At any rate, your work on the revised father reminded me of this thumbnail.
Jan 26 2012, 09:57 PM
The JPG is the left one and the right one is PNG. I'm also leaning towards PNG because it transitions better, keeping alot of the details. I haven't loaded after effects up but I'm sure it should handle the OpenEXR format easily. Love the sketches. They are alot like my own. I've taken your ideas from the last email and incorporated them into the script, so it's growing. I also added another action scene to the story. A real good scene that let's Franky, Edgar, and Death really shine. I've also started doing the storyboard. I'm using index cards so swapping them around is really easy. Soon as I get an animatic done I'll send you a rough draft.
Jan 26 2012, 11:14 PM
Awesome. I look forward to it!
I don't know if you had the time to rummage through the PDF file but hopefully you saw the comment on the scene with Franky and the teddy bear and its similularities to another project.
Jan 26 2012, 11:30 PM
QUOTE(Ilidrake @ Jan 26 2012, 11:57 PM)
I've also started doing the storyboard. I'm using index cards so swapping them around is really easy.Treepad Lite
(freeware) is like virtual index cards...there are also paid versions
with more bells and whistles. I've used it occasionally.
Hope that helps.
Jan 29 2012, 05:32 PM
I've been experiemening with color schemes and lighting set ups. I purchased Lighting and Rendering by Jeremy Birn, and it's full of good stuff. So below is what I have so far. This shot includes both set and character lighting based on real world RGB values for lights. I rendered to a Targa, as OpenEXR is difficult to work with. I converted it to Jpeg for the web so some of the detail has been washed out a bit but the look is more of what I want.
I think I will make a short document detailing what I have learned in the process. I'm sure someone will find it useful.
Jan 29 2012, 05:49 PM
You're doing an awesome job! I started reading your script BTW, I'm gonna wait until I'm more through it before sending off some suggestions, but on the whole it seems pretty good so far. I'm liking your characters and look forward to seeing ones like Death and Gravedigger modeled!
Jan 29 2012, 06:27 PM
I purchased Lighting and Rendering by Jeremy Birn
Potential (mild) spoilers abound in this topic so for those that would prefer not to know about the story... move on... move on.
I can see already that Birn's book was a worthwhile investment. Very nice!
I like this current lighting specifically because it is in contrast with the whole idea of Latimer being depressed/disconnected/despondent at the beginning of the movie. As I am assuming the middle section will be more into the greytones and such it'll also provides a nice bookend to match the one at the end of the whole story arc. I'm liking it!
I think I will make a short document detailing what I have learned in the process. I'm sure someone will find it useful.
Follow your instinct in that. Not only will you provide insight into the process to others you'll be documenting your project!
Also, consider that old saying, "If it's not documented, it didn't happen."
Looking very nice.
Random thought: You know, I really like how that desk fits so tightly into the nook at the window. To me this suggests this home is owed by a family with a considerable income. Someone must have measured that space before buying the desk or perhaps even had it made custom. If I owned that house there is no possible way the desk would fit as snuggly. I can almost sense Latimer's Mom directing the room layout.
Jan 29 2012, 08:00 PM
Jan 29 2012, 08:27 PM
Looks great so far, Lloyd!
Jan 30 2012, 12:04 AM
Modeling continues. As I said in a previous post I am attempting to get all the cast's heads done. I have three so far. I am working on the villan as of now, Cleopatra. This is the start of her head of course so try to look past the odd angles and what-not and see the finished product....I am myself am trying LOL. Anyway, 2 hours work so far.
Jan 30 2012, 12:34 AM
I must confess, I like this Cleo more than the one I envisioned in my mind. I saw her more a young beauty she would likely to be see as in everyone else eyes.
My primary thought to your Cleopatra model is to be careful not to make her too much like Ysma from Disney's "The Emperor's New Groove". What you've got right now looks great but it also looks like they might be closely related. As they may have some similar traits in their performance that may make them more similar than you'd like.
Given Mark's personality and antics in the script I'm even more apprehesive about comparisons to 'Emporer's New Groove' but I know you'll rise above them. There are certainly worse things than to be compared to a Disney production.
Jan 30 2012, 12:39 AM
Holy Schinkeys!!! I used ET's face for the inspiration!!! After I read your post i went and checked it out and your right...It never occured to me I was drawing from her!!! So I'll be changing that up then. I don't mind it being similair but it's a little too close for me. Thanks for pointing that out Rodney. I'll have to do some research into Cleopatra outfits through the years and use that to help me come up with a look more original. I do like the look of her face, I'll just need to modify the jaw as it is as you say too close to Yzma for my taste.
Jan 30 2012, 01:18 AM
Trust me when I say I was tempted to say keep it!
Now that you mention it she does look like ET!
(Makes me wonder if that isn't where they drew some of the inspiration for Yzma's.
There are a lot of variables here but one thing very clear, you are doing great with the design of these characters.
Jan 30 2012, 08:24 AM
I think I'll try a young and sexy version of Cleo. I'll keep this version and modify it. Then I'll have get the community's opinion on which one is the better of the two models.
Jan 30 2012, 08:43 AM
Perhaps it will be a good idea to look at some ancient Egyptian art and pull some styles from that (ie elongated heads, pronounced chins etc)
Jan 30 2012, 03:51 PM
Okay here's Cleo Version 2. I'm honestly at a standstill on this head with the hair. I don't know what to do hair-wise. I'm totally open to suggestions. I'm not really that good with hair and the things I'd like to do I have no idea how to even begin much less accomplish. Suggestions???
Jan 30 2012, 04:48 PM
No takers yet. I don't begin to have any expertise on hair but I can formulate an opinion on everything.
Here is this until more able minds are represented.
My thought is to not worry too much about Cleo's hair at this point, for the following reasons:
- She should change her hair to some extent in the movie (this grants a view into her personality and demonstrates progression/regression)
- Her headdress(es) will cover/effect her hair (therefore the headdress is more of a priority)
- Particle Hair requires some research and you'll want to approach that with specific targets in mind.
- Your idea of what her hair may be like will probably change.
- It's not a pressing decision.
- Perhaps she is bald (probably too cliche') or has really short hair... think Rapunzel in Tangled or just shorter than her final hair. This should also provide a nice way to explain some pretty outlandish hair and -should- make animating her easier as it would push hair effects largely into the FX arena)
- It would be good to research ancient egyptian hair styles
and make a determination of what 'the real Cleo' would prefer to wear.
- The perfume/honey that reportedly flowed out of the headdresses of women sticks in my mind for some reason. Don't need to show it but it might be good to know that is what she might be wearing.
- As you get her to the Posing stage render out the bald Cleo in a scene and then annotate over these frames how you think the hair in that scene should behave. The critical scenes with Cleo in them will suggest an optimum hairstyle and/ length.
Added: Here's an interesting (and short!) write up on egyptian hairstyles: http://blog.aurorahistoryboutique.com/anci...n-hair-fashion/
As their hair was captured by artisans in some detail in the ancient reliefs we can sense the importance of hairstyles in their society. In the reading of this I could easily picture a scenes where Cleo is fussing with her attendants (not whining... Good grief no... please... all the movies do that and it undermines the character! Cleo thinks she is in charge here. Whining indicates she thinks otherwise.) over their unsatisfactory treatment of her hair. Perhaps this is going on when she is interrupted by the entrance of the five.
Jan 30 2012, 05:50 PM
Good stuff. I like the thought of her fussing about her hair and really giving Marc some grief. Here's what I have so far. This is just one of a few styles I will be using for Cleo, because I agree that she should change her apperance as this would really drive home her conceited outlook. The colors are not final but I like the look and feel of this render. I will probably do about 3 or four more headresses, later. For now I have a basis from which to build and I will now move on to another head as my primary goal is to have the heads done because I believe that by doing them I really get a sense of who the character is.
Jan 30 2012, 06:00 PM
Jan 31 2012, 04:43 PM
Put a few props together just to break up the time. I also went ahead and did a cool down of all the set textures I have to give the scene a bit more depressing feel and to help pull Latimer out and bring attention to him. He really pops now which is what I want. I also tweaked the tone and color of the bounce lights to help the overall mood. I also reconfigured the window and some of the room textures. Right now I would say this set is 100% ready to go. I will not be working on more props at this time. Instead I will focus on the remaining 4 sets and the rest of the cast's heads. After that I will start on body, texturing, and rigging of the cast one at a time.
Jan 31 2012, 04:51 PM
Has a nice feel.
One thing that bothers me is the repetition of the floor board texture. Perhaps you could grunge it up some to obscure the pattern and have it vary more.
In a still, it's obvious. It may not be that important for an animation.
Jan 31 2012, 06:17 PM
Looking very good indeed!
Jan 31 2012, 07:17 PM
I have to give the scene a bit more depressing feel
I know you are on the right track here but I feel I should register my concern with going for the depressing feel in the pre-dead world. Since I've mentioned it twice already I should just accept that you've seen it and are pressing on with your vision.
The thought is that to the pattern of mood throughout the film. For discussion sake only submit the following just as a review of what I am seeing:
Depressing. Dead. Happy Ending. (This seems to be the basic mood that is playing out at present)
That certainly works.
Something to avoid would be: Depressing. More Depressing and then Hopeless. Happy Ending (Note that I've added the four Act nature of this progression to at least make it workable. If it was three Act in nature (Depressing/More Depressing/Happy Ending) it'll be tough to slog through.
I feel you are adequately avoiding that flawed approach in your current script but be careful not to have the middle Act(s) read too similarly to the pre-dead world or finale unless you are specifically and artfully weaving a story that suggests this present world and death are pretty much the same thing. That'd work but will be harder to pull off and definitely harder to keep the audience in their seats as most folks go the see movies to escape boredom and depression.
One question seems important to ask (for yourself and only for the audience vicariously) is why Latimer is so depressed (morose?) at the beginning of this film. Especially as that is one of the element you are resolving at the ending. This is something that at least has my mind playing with the idea of the intro actually being set better as a bright and sunny day. Latimer should be happy but he isn't and we are going to find out why as the story progresses. Considering further I cannot help but wonder if the first Act could not consist of a mirror to the whole story within itself (Bright Sunny Day, Depressing Family Dinner, Death). Note the downward progression here is attempting to set a pattern with the audience one that will be repeated again in Act 2 as things go (literally) from encountering Death to encountering a fate worse than Death; namely Cleo. Then the stage is fully set for the final confrontation and resolution breaks out of that eternally downward spiraling pattern. Utimately, my thought seems to be that if you don't take advantage of a Sunny Day in the land of Latimer's living you have less of an opportunity to visually suggest the range and patterns of change. If you start with Depressing what comes next? Happiness? No... you've got that held in reserve for the ending. If beginning with Bright Sunny Day/Happiness this immediately allows a contrast in Latimer's demeanor which is not in sync with the required mood of the day. Latimer isn't happy and this is despite all the things around him that suggests that he should be. I do think if you were to go with the Bright Sunny Day at the beginning it should be a fleeting moment though and be interrupted with the knock on the door from his mother. He will then descend down the stairwell to the dining table where his father and mother reveal the bright future that awaits him; a path he only escapes after encountering that fateful cherry. In color terms this seem to suggest brighter colors fading to grey and then black. Would it work the other way? Dark and depressing in his room? Brighter in the hallway, down the steps and into the Dining room? Brighter still as Latimer's father reveals a glorious future and then suddenly this is all interrupted by the cherry? It might but that seems to work at odds with empathizing with Latimer in some key ways. His outlook certainly isn't getting brighter at this stage.
Too many words and if you manage to read through them all I will be considerably impressed.
These are just thoughts not suggestions.
Keep on keepin' on and especially, keep on doing *your* thing.
Jan 31 2012, 07:46 PM
Looking good. I like the bed and globe.
Jan 31 2012, 07:54 PM
Looking at Latimer more closely, he looks alot like Linguini from "Ratatouille".
Jan 31 2012, 10:00 PM
QUOTE(mtpeak2 @ Jan 31 2012, 09:54 PM)
Looking at Latimer more closely, he looks alot like Linguini from "Ratatouille".
He is not. He is actually based off of my own father LOL....if he only knew. My dad has a rather large...er....um....nose so I simply took most artists advise and enlarged it. I realized after I created him that he resembles Linguini, but at this point I don't care. I like the look and the show must go on!!!! HUzzah!!!!
Thanks for the feedback Rodney!!! I see what your saying but my main consideration when creating a color scheme for the land of the living is to make it feel less alive. My color scheme for the Land of the Dead was going to be bright and vibrant colors, more alive than its counterpart....but I'm considering what you say so please continue to comment. It really gives me alot to consider when I make my final choice.
Feb 1 2012, 12:57 AM
My color scheme for the Land of the Dead was going to be bright and vibrant colors, more alive than its counterpart....but I'm considering what you say so please continue to comment. It really gives me alot to consider when I make my final choice.
Interestingly, I thought this might be an option you might pursue and that we might be talking about it.
I didn't explore that thought beyond the aspect that it has an established track record of working rather well; MGMs's classic 'Wizard of Oz' being the classic example but so many other films using a similar methodology to enhance the fantasy world and provide a means of comparison with 'reality'. As you state, to make it more 'vibrant'. There has also been films that try to reverse that and take out all but the more important elements of color. 'Schindler's list being a good example of that.'
I can see why you would pursue this but there are aspects of it that are problematic. Of course they may not be problematic to you because you have an inside into the story that others do not.
Pursuing the exploration of the idea of having the middle Act(s) more vibrant, it also seems to have good potential for use of the recurring mood cycle. Let's say that Act II, starts out with a whole lot of wonderful color. That certainly would jolt the audience out of their commonly held understanding of what the graveside is like. You could use this rather effectively and subtly to hint to the viewer at the beginning (to guide them a little off track) that this is in fact Paradise. The only clue that it is not is Gravedigger, whose mere presence and disposition seems to indicate that it is not. This is a dangerous area for me to comment on because of the potential to muddy up your story in ways that I should not. As such I need to reemphasize, if only to myself, that this is not my story. In a way I suppose you could say it's not your story either. It is Latimer's and Edgar's and Nora's and Franky's and Cleo's and Mark's and Death's etc. etc. ad infinitum.
I think it might be a given that as Act II reaches it's climax it will not be gaining brighter and brighter vibrancy (although again it could with some motivator in the story to guide it there logically). It seems to me that similar the Act I that I described above Act II would start rather vibrant and then spiral its way down. I don't think it is an accident that this once again would (literally) follow the path and progression taken Latimer; he awakens in the graveyard and then moves on down the road to the town (city) he then follows the trail of Nora down, down, doom, down. The odd thing about the whole scene being this incredibly beautiful creature who seems to be the essence of power and perfection... a beautiful siren... the arc angel of light (Cleopatra just in case you were wondering). Thus we see that as Latimer's second world continues to spiral ever further downward, Cleo's light appears to be burning brighter and brighter. So we have the environment at it's very darkest even as the plot reaches it's climax.
Act III is then prepped and ready to play out the story's emotive cycling one last and final time.
Using the entire range/scale from darkness to light and setting and then repeating patterns set the tone and conditions the audience.
As the story gets to end, the finale will resound all the more if the audience is right where you want them.
(I was thinking your Latimer model looked amazingly like a picture of Arthur Christmas I recently saw. I should have copied and posted that.)
If you are going to have a problem... having Latimer look a bit like Luigi or Arthur is a pretty nice problem to have.
Added: (A considerable shifting of focus for a moment)
One of the things I haven't delved into yet with you is the primary through-line of the story (it should be clear to everyone already just by the title alone that it concerns death). Authors should very carefully consider the messages they are sending and how the story's through-lines will automatically play out. For instance, do you really want the primary theme of your story to be "This world is a lousy place and death is a great way to get to paradise if you can quickly find your way out of it." This might not be your intention but it might be the message that through-line spits out.
Feb 1 2012, 11:55 AM
That was a lot to take in Rodney but very well put. You've given me a lot to consider. The one thing that does concern me is the through-line of the story. I do not want the theme of my story to be as you stated "This world is a lousy place and death is a great way to get to paradise if you can quickly find your way out of it." What I was going for is that "life is tough in all instances but everyone can rise above it and find happiness". I'm not entirely sure how I can accomplish this with the way the story is currently, though I have been refining it in the last couple days. It also depends on viewer's perspective. You could also see it as, "Although Latimer's death is entirely an accident, not intentional on his or anyone else's part. Then his feelings follow over with him and he's forced to rise above them and become the person he is supposed to be. Ultimately finding happiness not through his life but with the friends he has in them."
But I'm just ranting now I think
I've been looking at the script and rewriting for about 5 days now so I think I'll put it away for a few days and concentrate on modeling. This should help me clear my head and give me a new perspective when I pop it open in a few days.
On a positive note I'll be starting on Edgar, Franky, and Death in the next couple days. Once they are done that'll leave Nora and Marc. That will be the entire cast heads. I am having some probelms with Death. My original idea for Death was to have just a shrouded figure. No head. I didn't really have any plans to show his face to the audience and thus add to the mystery. But after writing the script I can see that this will make animating him more of a challenge because a great deal of the story hangs on facial animation. Especially with Death at the beginning of Act II. If i do model him a head I have no idea what he would look like because until now I hadn't considered the thought of him having a face...
Feb 1 2012, 06:14 PM
I am having some probelms with Death. My original idea for Death was to have just a shrouded figure. No head. I didn't really have any plans to show his face to the audience and thus add to the mystery. But after writing the script I can see that this will make animating him more of a challenge because a great deal of the story hangs on facial animation. Especially with Death at the beginning of Act II. If i do model him a head I have no idea what he would look like because until now I hadn't considered the thought of him having a face...
When it come to character arcs, I've got to tell you that your story is a treasure trove that perfectly sets the stage for the theme (of character arcs that is). I suppose the real trick though is to not smack a huge sign up in front of them that says "This is the next turn in the arc for this character." The whole idea of character arcs is just a framework with which to build upon because... the story has to be built on the characters.
Why talk of characters arcs here? Because progression (or regression) of characters is what we need to see in a film.
There is a lot on this that goes way beyond me but also consider the idea of the Steadfast character who is someone that could be seen as changing but in the end sticks to the integral core of their character. Usually the progression we see with a Steadfast character is that of them coming to grips with who they are or who they will be.
This relates to the look of Death because there is a conflict in him that gets resolved in the end and it's a powerful one.
A method I use to example a character's arc (or throughline) is simply to state their case:
- This story is about Latimer. And following his perspective throughout the story.
- This story is about Nora. And following her perspective throughout the story.
- This story is abou Cleo. And following her perpsective throughout the story.
- This story is about Death. And following that perspective throughout the story.
This process is just as important (and in some cases almost more important) for the supporting cast and incidental characters but in their case it is complimentary contribution to the main characters. That's why they are called 'supporting characters'. Latimer's parents may be the best example of this. They are effected by what is happening to Latimer in significant ways. They are engaged in it from a first hand perspective (in the beginning) but miss out on some important things. Because of that they don't know what changes have been wrought in Latimer (if any). Everyone in the story seems to be undergoing significant change. Because Latimer seems to only momentarily question his way, perhaps it is only Latimer that doesn't significantly change.
But back to the point of Death and what he looks like. The reason I've written all of the above is because the character of a person, place or thing dictates the form they will take. As such it seems that Death will reveal himself gradually (and perhaps even very reluctantly?) He more than even Latimer seems to be a Steadfast character even though we do appear to see change in him. I think that is primarly because Death is lying to himself (and therefore us) about who he really is even though he appears to be completely honest and forthcoming. We fully understand/accept who he is until the very end because we don't know who he is until he reveals that to the audience. It's this sudden revelation and our acceptance of Death (through Latimer) that seems to be key to your script.
Death is hiding something and my feeling is that you will could do well to play this up especially at the beginning. As he gets closer to Latimer we need to be able to see more of him (or who he wants to be). If we don't get these brief looks into his character it seems clear to me that it will work against what you have accomplished in the finale). Death is most definitely a steadfast character but we don't realize that until the very end. Death is a lot more complicated character than we thought he was as evidenced by the acceptance of him by the ease with which Latimer embraces him despite the fact of who he really is.
As a side note: Who Death really is could have more serious ramifications for Cleo than you have in your current script. On that we'll have to wait and see. I cannot help but sense that unless Latimer intervenes on her behalf she and all of her minions are heading for a more terminal fate.
Feb 2 2012, 01:02 AM
This is just a note to let you know I received the latest copy of your script and have starting into it.
In an attempt to find a more efficient way of proving feedback I'm moving toward a three/four column breakdown in order to consider the mood/color right along with the current events in the script. The idea being that the next step after the script is to import these color keys this into A:M where they are layered into the animatic.
I add the attached because it is a scene that asks a few questions that I feel will need answering eventually.
1. There are several areas in the script where events transpire out of plausible timeframes. This may or may not be intentional on your part but it will be disorienting to audiences so I address it here. It also might provide you the opportunity to layer in some interesting characteristics with regard to this city. The city, I confess, is still very much a mystery to me and I've got a few thoughts to send your way including a massive pan shot that might even impress Walt Disney. Best of all though is that it fits your current script and so you don't have to create a lot of space for it. Even if you wanted to expand upon it I'd image would only add about 30 seconds (approx. 900 frames) to the current sequence. That might be worth it to allow the audience a quick raven's eye view of the city.
2. Note that I am imagining the inside of The Raven in warmly lit brown and orange tones. This seems to me a good earthy tone for Edgar. It suggests the color of leather bound books and readings by firelight, warmth and a sense of safety. This might be contrasted a little by Edgar himself who might be a pale greyish color (I assume since we will be seeing a lot of his face that it will be rendered with Sub Surface Scattering which would be especially nice if it could lend a browish pale grey to his face.
3. Regarding the 'out-of-time-and-space' references. As I said before there are several passages in the current script that defy time. I believe those will either have to be adjusted or explained. As you've already got that big clock and several reference that suggest Death and Cleo have access to more modern knowledge than they should have this seems to suggest they don't exist with the same level of constraints as the average person who is dead. This appears to be a golden opportunity and I think can layer in some very interesting elements for this city that collects all things.
The reference to 'poetry' is an example of purposefully pushing that 'out of time and space' theme. The use of the word 'poetry' would apply multiple layers to this scene. To me this is important as dialogue should always add something that cannot be displayed visually into the scene. 'Poetry' would be a word used outside of it's proper time and space and more fittingly applies to the author of the poetry itself. Cleo would have good reason to chuckle for her use of this word in her phrase. Edgar probably gets it too but not fully, he just knows that he the object of that turn of her phrase. Considered another way, underneath it all Cleo is mocking the immortality of his Edgar's fame.
Too deep and too layered for animation? I don't think so.
If nothing else it demonstrates how much gold can be spun from a one-word change.
Note that I am claiming no real insight into history, poetry or whatever. I am suggesting that wherever error is found there is opportunity.
Another example in this same vein is the Gansberg clock which if taken literally places this tale perhaps even as late as the 1930s. I find the clock to be a most excellent addition to this story but it does present some challenges that will need to be addressed. But with a out-of-time-and-space theme running through your script those problems quickly dissipate. With the Gansberg clock in play I would say that the ideal 'real time' (the time when Latimer was alive) was somewhere between 1903 and the mid 1930s. I believe you favor the ealier years?
Now if you are not wanting to purse the idea of this land in between life and death working in such a way, the obvious approach would be to consider such references in the script as errors, root them out accordingly and expunge them mercilessly. Personally, I think the optimum references of this type will give a lot of depth to your city.
Note: I'm not sure if you'll run into issue with copyright regarding the Gansberg clock. My feeling is that you might so you may want to take some care in pursuing that theme.
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