Interesting stuff

Interesting post here on Cartoon Brew about the possibilities films like Tin Tin are introducing to directors, and the new direction the medium is evolving towards. Im not a 3D person myself, but seeing TinTin really gave me ideas about ways the strand of animation could be pushed, and how it could be a real benefit. Also, the errors that CB point out in TinTin, I quite like. I quite like that Spielberg made these mistakes because atleast he's trying something. They say of people coming out the cinema feeling exhausted - perhaps this is an ideal way to make people feel after watching an action movie... its certainly interesting that a family action movie could make people feel this way.

Also some interesting animation i've seen recently:

I like this as an example of animations ability to say something differently. Virginia Woolf described film as having the possibility to "suggest so much more than the actual gestures of words by men"... Animation like this, to me, is fulfilling that prophecy.

Yes it's playful and fun, but it's also coherent, and perhaps the imagery will stick with the viewer more than if it were shot in live action, or written words on a page.

This is another example. Perhaps the imagery of Balance will stick in peoples minds as a metaphor for the balancing act of society? Or perhaps they'll recall it trying to manage a team of people? With silly little stick men it speaks of humanities greed and dystopian power struggles.

Your stance on art

Here's a few videos that will provoke opinion:

I find it hard to disagree with this. And I also have mirrored his stance about Picasso
 'earning his right'; however, you feel these words are laden with ignorance and objectivity... you can't be so righteous about something of such subtle nature (art) and dismiss it objectively, but you also can't be so open that people are left to take the piss (Tracey Emin... stand up) And yet in a society were capital rules, we are left to ask these questions.

Love this video, if only for the shoe.

If any of these videos rouse any sort of opinion in you, please feel free to leave a comment below
Want to go for an 80's teeny-bopper style for the bible layout

Wife Left Home animatic

Here the bugger is! Final animatic.

Job done, lets have a song.

WLH - final update

Works going well, wrapping up the animatic nicely. Am pleased with it myself. I think the story is all there. It may confuse in a few places on first watch, but on second I think those niggles are cleared up. I believe they are just niggles that'll go when the thing is actually animated.

I watched 'The Wind That Shakes the Barley' last night. I think the complete naturalistic nature of Ken Loach's films is something I really admire and something I would  like to think this could retain. However with all the cutting I'm worried that that has been lost. It may of gone too 'hollywood' in its cutting. I 'ope not. Anywho, again that's a niggle that'll be either evident or not-so come production. Perhaps more length could be added later if necessary.


The second page to the production method I posted the other day. Have been thinking about the best way to compose when the project reaches post production. Reason being, because i've been staring at this for the last few days:
Not what I want to be seeing come April. 
But still have learnt alot. The messyness of After Effects when it gets really over burdened is a real turn-off to getting the film finished. Hopefully with a little foresight can dodge some of that slack.


Right now i'm considering different ways to animate the film. I want the film to have a strong, unified 2D look to it, however I want to look into ways that we can emulate the 2D look, whilst saving time on some shots.

One option is something like the following. Because we have a lot of different shots, alot of quick shots also in CU, it might be ideal to build something like this to go from:

I don't know the feasability of it myself, but it looks like it offers a good level of control for getting subtle movements into a character - which is something I really want. If I were to build flat versions of the characters like this, it would be ideal for several of the midshot/CU's in the film, for example:

Another thing i'm interested in doing is merging 2D & 3D in a way others have sneakily done before. Am thinking Belleville Rendevous - how alot of it is 3D with a 2D facade - eg the bikes. Another good example, and the one that got the ball rolling, is Matatoro:

Matatoro has a lovely style to it. I believe they did the reverse to what i'm thinking - 3D characters on 2D backgrounds, but still the mixture is a good example of how they can work together.

I'll be looking to use 3D in the film, possibly building all the sets as 3D (for example, this early kitchen build by Jake). I will then most probably go over them in line to give them the 2D look. The reason I want the backgrounds in 3D is because of the shot count. I want to be able to play with the camera when productions underway as if I were on a film set. There'll be a few shots in the film that will be quite clearly 3D, one of them, is this one:

What i'm looking for is a 3D person to really come in and grab this with open arms, make this shot their's, and a big shot for there show reel.


The only big changes I see that need happening with the film are firstly, a well written bit of dialogue. Right now it's just the necessities chucked in, when in actuality, am gunna need some really strong dialogue in there. It'll add alot to the characters, our empathy for them, and therefore the story as a whole.

Second, am considering adding in some sort of time motif, like keep cutting to a clock, or the characters watch, to show time is passing, and to re-enforce the idea that this is all happening in one day.

And finally, the music. Am really keen to have someone come in and produce a score for it that really boosts the empathy. Right now we don't get into the characters, and I think that audio throughout would be a big part of that.

Will post the final animatic up later, stay tuned.

WLH - Concept art / coloured frames

This one is coloured by Kat. The lighting on Dim is perfect, but i'd like the kitchen behind to be brighter too. Thought about the idea of having the window in view too & light reflecting off it (see next pic)
My edit of Kat's pic. Inspired by Larry Sultan. I think doing it like this is a good cheat way to make the kitchen lighter, and also more muted.

Will post up more as it's done, big work day today

Wife Left home

A few questions I keep get asked about ze film:

 - Why set it in the 80's?
Have set it in 1989 firstly,  as that's the day (19th of April '89) the Sun printed its article 'The Truth' about the Hillsborough disaster.
 Also however, i've set it this date as I want to create a true representation of the late-80's.  When we see nostalgia on TV, the 80's is misrepresented as this pastel-coloured George Michael vilified nightmare, everyone walking round like their in Saved By the Bell. I want to correct that, and create a real paradigm-view of the late 80's/early 90's that is more truthful, more mundane, more down to earth.

Animations power for subjectivity will come into play too however, it'll be  reminiscent of what I remember as normal from when I was younger, what I see in old photograph's, and anything really that is overshadowed by the 'hairspray-memory' of the 80s. It'll be pushed truth, caricatured enviroments.

The 80s has been miss represented, and the 90s doesn't yet really have it's own paradigm window. One good example that's tried to right history is This Is England.

 - Why use Animation and not film?
Truthfully - why not? Why not give it a go with animation? Just because film is quicker it doesn't mean it's better.
If however you mean to ask 'what is it about the medium of animation, that reinforces your film - what is it's purpose in supporting the telling of the story?' that's a different question.
 In that case, firstly, i'm using animation because it'll caricature the story, the characters, and as I mentioned, the environment. Not in the sense that everyone is walking round with big noses and funny teeth, but in the sense that everything's reality will be pushed to promote it to the audience, to give it more meaning.
 The main characters are caricatured shapes - both of them made up of simple circles and triangles, but relatively quite plain of features. I want them like this because they become 'everymen characters'. The bloke looks like a leering caricature of a man you might see leaving a chip shop on a saturday night, or perched up against a bar. And his wife, you've seen her in Trago Mill's, or pushing a pram through town. I've seen Jean several times over since I draw her. She's everywhere, I just never noticed till I started drawing her.

Second major reason, because of the inherent message of the film - people stuck in a repetetive cycle - a loop. There'll be several segments of the film that'll be looped actions - an old man drinking at a bar, a tescoe's employee endlessly shelf stacking, scanning bar codes; the wife cleaning. This wouldn't work in live action. You could say it a different way, yes, but animation says it its own particular way, and in my opinion better.


So yeah, only two questions, and please pardon the rant, have been asked that question quite a few times now..

As to why i've chosen to do a film about a serious subject, I think every animator has a hunch on his back regarding animations appearance as only this 'childrens genre' to the general public. I guess that's why  you get alot of dark animation too (thinking jan svankmajer, Brothers Quay etc), a backlash to the Disney mould.
When I went into this film I was thinking 'Yeh! Im gonna change the way people see animation! Lets do this!' but now i'm a little less naive. I see people have been feeling this same way for years (looking at alot of the Channel 4 animations for example) and that it's a mould that perhaps only time can change.
 I do feel however that in 20 years things could be different. Things are on the rise that denote Disney - i'm thinking all the kids that are into anime/manga, and the rise and rise of video games. The next generations perception of animation could very well break the mould.

Right, that's the end. Will post up some concept art inabeeet.

WLH Colouring

I'm not the best at colouring myself, so i've inquired the help of a few people who are. Here's firstly my attempts:

There too 'fuddy-duddy' (as the saying goes) or too 'namby-pamby'. Eitherway, most of all there not atall 'right'. I think there much too over worked in the wrong direction.

Here's more accurate attempts.

Firstly by Paddy.
I always remember Paddy's brilliant colouring for his pre-production project last year, I really liked his loose way of colouring lines, and his Photoshop/handdrawn style. What I asked him to do is impart that style on this picture of Jean:

I think this style is perfect for the film. It illights feelings of slovenlyness in the characters, and the looseness re-emphasises how loosely held there lives are. I think perhaps if the Supermarket scene were to be coloured in this way it'd especially so work there. I especially like the way Paddy has merged the colours between her hair & her face, as if it's melting down her.

And this is by Kat. I remember Kat's work fondly from last year (her backgrounds for both Swing Heil & Inbetween a Fable) and her strong use of colour. This is for Dim walking home, the world is peaceful all around him, and he is silhouetted against the backdrop. This is a spot on attempt as far as i'm concerned.

More to come soon