Thursday, 9 January 2014

Showreel 2013-2014

Music by Ok Go. I chose the track because I enjoy it, it's unusual, and it makes me think of the sorcerer in my film.

Production Bible

Click here to view my production bible.

Final Animatic

Here is my final animatic for hand-in submission. I am much happier with this edit, though I will need to put some polish on the sound effects when I come to make the finished film.

Sound Effects from iMovie, Hollywood Edge, and Soundideas.

Royalty-free music by Kevin MacLeod.

Aesthetic Tests

I tried a couple tests to see how my finished film would look.


I put my coloured characters into the frame, and added royalty-free textures to the background from CGTextures. I then added eye murals and wooden beams, and created a window with dark blurry corners to make it appear as if the scene is viewed through a lens. It adds a feeling of depth to what would otherwise be a very flat image.



Second Iteration Animatic

At this point my animatic was screened in the university cinema, which was rather daunting. However, it did mean I recieved a lot of feedback.

  •  Although I have replaced most of the drawings and cut down the length, I may have cut it too closely to the music for certain scenes to read correctly.
  • The scenes where the sorcerer is ready to kill him but is scared off or interrupted are too long. It seems he should have just killed him already. It needs to be clear he's scared off by the creatures in the walls, too.
  • I didn't leave enough time for people to enjoy the horror / comedy of removing a man's brain. Laughter at the screening was cut short because the plot was still moving.
  • It wasn't clear to some that the creatures from the walls were an entirely separate group- not on the sorcerer's side, just looking to deal with these intruders making all the noise and throwing caustic substances about. I need to have them attack the sorcerer.
  • The creatures weren't scary enough. They look too cheerful and dimwitted. I want them to look crazed and tortured.
My tutor wants me to create a longer introduction, a 'fanfare', and just a little more time to linger on the ending. He's worried that at the rate I have been making new drawings I may not finish my film. I agreed. I resolved to come into the studio more often, daily if possible, and attempt to work without distraction. I want to add a few clarifying scenes that take as little work as possible to animate. We're a fairly ambitious group, choosing to go it alone as generalists, so it is imperative that I can get things done efficiently if I am to finish this by the end of the academic year.

Royalty-free music by Kevin MacLeod.

Character Designs

Thief designs. I experimented a little, but deep down I knew that I wanted him to look as I had imagined him in the beginning. From that point, most of my experimentaion was in the art styles.

 I experimented a little more when searching for alternate designs for the sorcerer, seeing if might work better as a sorceress, an old mystic, a viking, or even a deranged clown. But again, after the initial sketches and script, none of these really felt appropriate. I decided he looked too washed out compared to the thief, so I used the hue and saturation sliders in photoshop to find a colour scheme I preffered.

I wanted my skeletons to appear more in keeping with the aesthetic I had esablished with my thief and sorcerer, so I settled on a design with thick wrists and ankles, to mimic the shape of the sorcerer's sleeves.
The shapeshifters were inspired by a bizzare creature dreamed up by H.P. Lovecraft, the shoggoth. I had many ideas for how to portray their default appearance; square, like the murals they are pretending to be; amorphous with multiple arms and eyes, as shoggoths are often depicted, or just outright birrare, inspired by the eponymous creatures from the board game The Awful Green Things From Outer Space.

Primary Animatic

This was drawn in tiny thumbnail sketches, and was created very quickly this way. However, my feedback says that at this stage some scenes went on for too long, and many of the drawings were nigh-unintelligible. Royalty-free music by Kevin MacLeod.

The Castle

I couldn't name the film Castle Sinister without having a decent castle to set the events in.
I came up with a rough sketch of a fairly simple design based on manor houses, castles from Scooby Doo episodes, and Castle Heterodyne from my favourite comic series, Girl Genius. The exterior is deeply forboding, with many turrets and windows, and murals of large eyes.

Character Designs

Here are the initial designs for the characters in my film. I wanted them to be in contrasting colours to emphasise the opposition between them, and help the viewer to recognise them at a glance.
 The sorcerer is mysterious and arcane, so he wears a robe, necklace, a stole, 'cool' hues. His hood casts his face in shadow, to make him seem secretive and disconnective. The 'stole' is the green scarf-like garment with the yellow squares, and they are usually worn by priets. I believe an evil medieval sorcerer would dress like a priest, to make himself seem to be a miracle worker, and perhaps attract a cult. The stole is, however, a fairly time-consuming garment to draw, so I might remove it in future designs.
 The thief wears warm hues as he is intended to be a warm, likeable character. He wears red trousers to contrast with the sorcerer's green, a tunic, and a scabbard. I wanted to make his face more distinctive, so I gave him a goatee and thick eyebrows. I didn't want him to be wearing armour, as he is intended to be a sneaksthief, and armour would weigh him down and make noise.
When designing the skeletons, I had in mind those animated by Ray Harryhausen in Jason and the Argonauts. They carried ornate shields, and had something of a comical manner in their movement. I gave the skeletons thick eyebrows because I think they look humourous, and to allow them to better perform expressions.


 I have included a link to the initial script here. Origionally it was under the working title Sorcery, but this dodn't seem exciting enough. I decided on Castle Sinister, as it is about sinister things happening in a castle, and 'sinister' is the latin word for left-handed, which my protagonist is.

Click on this text to view the script.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Welcome to Castle Sinister

Here I will be blogging the progress of the animated film I am creating for my final year in university.

Wish me luck.