Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Animation Backgrounds

I have always enjoyed animated shorts, since I was a kid, especially from the Golden Age of Animation (1930s-1950s Hollywood cartoons.) This blog has made me aware of the artistry that goes into just the backgrounds to these kinds of shorts.

The following backgrounds came from a post on the Warner Brothers cartoon, Corny Concerto.

I like how in the above background uses a solid colour of black make the silhouette of the podium, stand out in terms of simple block colouring. In addition, you know what the focus is on, without even the presence of any characters that the focus is within that area of white colour for lighting. It also worth mentioning how the lighting affects all the objects, in relation to where they are placed, rather than just placing a layer of lighting over the whole picture. This was how I did the lighting for each panel in my comic, as separate layer, from everything else in the drawing. You notice this because the instruments are all affected by the light in a different way- note the glimpse of the harp on the far left from the white beam of light, which is behind a much darker harp.

Again, just from the lighting, you know that the focus is going to be on the ground, and that the shadowing is different for each tree in the scene. Interesting to note here how the colour scheme is not realistic (unless you have seen pink trees somewhere!). Nevertheless, because that the palette is consistent throughout, the audience accepts the colour scheme anyway. This is something I should note for, when I develop a colour scheme, it does not have to be realistic. Therefore, I should avoid using a pipette on a reference image, in Photoshop, to get a precise colour, and develop my own colour scheme for a fictional environment.

The final background, which I have found interesting to look at, is from the post on The Brave Little Tailor.

This has a very different approach to lighting, as the source is coming from a more realistic light source, rather than a stagy approach used for the backgrounds in Corny Concerto. We know this, from looking at this, that the light s coming from the doorway and the window, because they have a light palette of colour to mark the area of light from the right.

I like this background also for its composition, because the artist has framed the stairway behind the two pillars. This was in fact a pan background (hence the areas of black around the edges), so you can note the layout of the sequence of someone going through this stairway in a scene- I haven't watched The Brave Little Tailor in a while, so I don't know if the character is going up, or down, the stairs.

Monday, 14 April 2008

More William Wray

Here are some more pictures from a painter that I have introduced in an earlier post.

From his latest post, he has done an appealing painting, with such convincing anatomy to the characters, as well as some excellent lighting, and a solid understanding of weight. You get a good variety of sizes and shapes for the characters, like the small boy on the left, and, the centrepiece, a large woman sitting on chair. We get the notion of weight from the lighting- the boy's back is darkened by the light source, whilst the woman shines well a top, but gets darker as we go below the shoulders. Wray's comments reflect his preference to painting people with extreme proportions. This is good to note this when I will develop my own characters for future works by using a contrast of proportions on my characters to make them stand out.

I like the mood this picture brings. I also like the contrast between the lighting on all three sides on the piece. The one on the left is the darkest, bringing out the details on the stairway. The other wall is not too dark, but just has enough lighting to make it convincing, especially when you get down to the ladders and the drainpipe. The street scene, in the background, is very bright, using light colours to depict buildings; again, like on the walls, gets darker when you reach the road. It is always good to note what mood the backgrounds brings, especially when it comes to 2D animation, especially when layouts are concerned.

Clouds, as well as other objects, can be used to create mood when it comes to lighting a piece. This picture uses clouds to darken this street painting; but we are given a supposed location of the light source by the bright blue sky in the top left corner of the painting.

I quite like how light the colours are on this plane picture. This limited palette gives the plane a convincing perspective, and weight, within this scene. I should seriously consider using a much lighter palette to make my objects, or characters, stand out.

To finish off this post, I will finish on this simplistic painting of a train. The perspective is convincing because of the darkened areas of colour along the side of the train, and on the ground.

Another favourite of mine from Blackwing Skecthbook.

I just wanted to share this picture from a blog that I have already dealt with further in an earlier post.
I just find such a dynamic picture, mainly because of the loosely drawn dog, which looked like it looks like part of the car.
I admire anyone that can animals, and cars-In my comic, I have made several attempts to draw them, but I am not 100% confident with drawing them yet- So seeing someone draw vehicle so confidently, in this sketchy stage, shows that I should not try and give up trying to draw them just yet (I probably should draw some real-life vehicles if I get the opportunity to do that.)
As for animals, I have not really considered animals into my comic, but they maybe an ideological choice rather than an ignorance to draw them- I have an allergy to pet hair!
Overall, I find this another inspiring drawing from this excellent blog for several motivational reasons: I need to keep drawing, especially when I am not confident with certain objects, like cars, and try to draw loosely so that I can work out what works and does not work, instead of rushing in to make it finalised.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Dave Pimental

Dave Pimental is one of those artists I admire, as I am constantly looking at his blog for inspiration, especially in his figure drawing and black and white line art.

The above picture illustrates why I like his work. His line art is simple, but not too simple, because, when you look at his work, there are many marks to be found to make this. He also uses an approach to make things stand out, by keeping the main subject stand out. In this case, the woman, sitting on the fence, stands out, because of the solid design, from the main scribbling marks of the grass.

He also seems to be good at drawing the female pose with such conviction, whilst still maintaining his style to them. I personally find problems with drawing the female anatomy without the anatomy looking a bit too cartoon-like. So seeing this shows that I may need more practice with drawing real life woman, before I can tackle them (I hope to do this in the second chapter of my comic, where a woman becomes a witness of the murder.) Another aspect that I do not focus on much is the use of folds in clothes, which is done convincingly with Pimental's scribble-like mark making. I should try to deal with this, the next time I have to draw clothes convincingly.

Although his work is often just simplistic line art, he does deal with shading as well in some of his drawings, just like the drawing above.

Another aspect I will need to deal with, based on the presentation I had with my tutors, is panelling off my line art, which was done last minute for the first section. The above picture does this really well, and does justice to the page by panelling this lovely drawing. This, and the final picture below, which sums up all the qualities I like about his work, comes from the same post in his Blog.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Max Payne Games

As I have discussed in much detail about some the illustration influences, but now I want to discuss what has been a direct influence in terms of the narrative of the comic, as well as style influences as well. So this post is not dedicated to an illustrator, but to a video game series... the Max Payne series.

But why has a game series been an influence to me, when I am not making a video game but a comic? Well, for starters the incidentals in between the levels are done as an interactive comic. These incidentals provide tons of back-story in a creative way without being too boring with general animatics between each time you play a game. When playing these, the text boxes serves as a tool into what Max (the man in tie and suit, or in a leather jacket) is thinking, or recollecting about what is happening. My comic uses text boxes for this very purpose, which brings out so much to my character by letting them being able to think that just stand in the page looking generic. The style of these is not the same style as my comic, but just look at those poses; they just bring out their dialogue to life with such simple aspects as how their head is tilted, or their hand gestures. This, for me, makes the characters fully believable, and, as for these games, an essential ingredient to making the player engages in the narrative. You can just tell, by looking at the bottom 'strip' that the two are in love, but they cannot express their love (the woman is Mona Sax, who becomes a key character in Max Payne 2, with the player even playing her for one key level of the game.)
The levels in their own right help you engage in the characters too, with viewing them in this third person perspective for most of the levels. Noticing the backgrounds, and attention to subtle detail as tables, chairs, show the levels are made to look like rooms, alleyways with their props, and not just boxes in which they walk in- this was even made more convincing by applying some physics into its game engine to make be able to ruffle boxes, papers, bodies, and so on, which some believability in them (the bodies look like rag dolls, but you don't care about that when the fly in the air after your grenade has gone off!) To relate this to my comic, I do have a subtle attention to detail which I have been inspired from the levels; the painkillers, which in the games are used to replenish your health (my main character uses some painkillers to remove his headache when he is struggling to sleep.)

My comic is not a direct rip-off in terms of storyline, but my narrative has been influenced by the game to establish some elements of noir (like film noir, but in a game) into my comic. These include the emphasis into letting my readers get into the head of my main character through text boxes, the grim outlook of the story (the fact that my detective is being engaged into a series of strange murders.)

On a note of writing these comments, I have no idea on who was involved in the conceptual side to this game, or say the illustrations of the comic segment. If you can help me find those that were responsible for making 2 of these excellent third-person shooter games, I may do further analysis on the more artistic side of their work, such as they what they also done.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Timothy Horn

I have just stumbled on some excellent vehicle paintings from Timothy Horn ( posted in a post William Wray's Blog.

I find this kind of work inspiring especially as I have to draw a vehicle in my comic for my portfolio, in which my main character drives in the comic. So seeing how vehicles get placed into urban setting, like this image above, really helps me understand how to integrate my vehicle, when it comes to lighting and shading.

I also find this picture fascinating because of Horn's ability to capture light on the metallic surface of this car.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Felix Lorioux

Felix Lorioux was a popular French illustrator during the early 20th Century. His work has been uploaded on the ASIFA- Hollywood Animation Archive but some of my favourite pieces of work from him can be found on this post

What I foud about his work that I like about it is the simplicity of the shapes used for the composition. The above image mainly used curves and circles for its composition, but is also to add in a lot of detail as well around the basic shapes, for example the wishing line that hangs between the chimney and a pole is subtle enough detail to make the pumpkin house real homely.

The simple composition skills also applies to the design of the characters. That is why I found this illustration of a fox and a stork such an appealing picture to look at.

Overall, I find his work a real inspiration for my own illustrations, as they maybe simply composed on the page, but the use of subtle detail in them makes them appealing.