Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter!

So there's this small little film coming out today, not a whole lot of hype or anything, called Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows.
I almost hate to admit it, but I'm really excited about this film, although I didn't go last night at midnight. Whoops. I remember sitting on my couch and devouring Deathly Hallows from start to finish the day it came out. And it's been really quite interesting to watch how both the films and the cast of the HP films have matured and consistently gotten better and better. It's really quite an achievement for a movie franchise.
Anyway, from the dark, melancholic look of the trailers and the rave reviews I've read thus far, its shaping up to be the best of the franchise, like The Empire Strikes Back of the HP films.
In order to celebrate this cinematic event, I decided to do an illustration about the film featuring a bloodied Harry in a dork forest using his wand to light the way while three Death-Eaters lurk in the background. I went through all of the trailers and clips from the film to get reference for Daniel Radcliffe, as he and the rest of the cast have definitely grown up. In looking up the Death-Eaters, I found a great picture of all of the masks, which are really quite ornate and beautiful.I also used Photobooth for some quick reference. Despite what I've been told and how easy it would be, I still haven't ever been Harry Potter for Halloween. Maybe I can pull off the Pagemaster.
Below is a gif of my process from pencils to the final illustration.

I had a lot of fun throughout the entirety of this piece in trying to convey the darker and grittier tone the HP films have taken on as they draw to a close. I'll definitely be doing a follow-up piece when the second film is released next summer!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Liars & the Fakes

Back! Apologies for the lack of posting recently, but I've been relatively swamped. I'll try to get some more posts coming in the upcoming weeks. For now, I wanted to stop in and do a quick blog about my newest Least of Creatures video for "The Liars & the Fakes"
I did a blog entry about "Arrow" back in June and ended up not doing one about the second video for "Compass" as that animation came together after a couple different versions.
"The Liars & the Fakes" is a song that I wrote and recorded in the summer of 2009 and was never terribly happy with in terms of the quality of the recording, lyrics and pace. So when I came across the song on my iTunes shuffle, I felt as though I could do it better now that I've (hopefully) gotten to be a better musician. Well, that and I always like a good stomp and clap song.
As I was starting to think about the video, I wanted to do something flat and graphic so I decided on a very simple color scheme that would repeat throughout the video.To make this video less like the one for "Arrow" I decided to design less with the text and settle on one bold font that would occupy just one side of the frame, but still appear in-tempo with the music, while an animated image would move on the other side of the frame. I managed this by creating images that are only the text and then images that are only frames of the animation because when it comes time to edit, I simply put one sequence of images on top of the other. This way, both the text and animation sequences have different paces within the same frame.
In the sections of the song without any vocals, I decided to put myself into the video as the "band" playing the song. And since the Least of Creatures is just me, its a silhouetted me playing guitar, bass and stomping and clapping along.
In having prepared the images to fit together in Final Cut, the editing only took about one day, with some occasional tweaks here and there.
I'm extremely happy with how the song and video came out. Its catchy and graphic and straight-to-the-point and feels like a real advancement in how I'm learning to animate. Since I put it up online, its quickly become the most viewed Least of Creatures video!

The Liars and the Fakes from The Least of Creatures on Vimeo.


(P.S. These full size images make for some pretty cool wallpapers!)