Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Short Film - "Eros" - Storyboards (draft 1)

 I'm working on a new short, short film called "Eros". It's based on the Greek myth of Eros and Psyche. 

 I've storyboarded a first draft of the story. It needs a lot of work, but I'm generally happy with how it went. 
There are 212 individual panels, divided into 86 shots. I drew another 155 panels that didn't make the cut. And probably a lot of these might not make it to the second draft. 

I put up some pictures from the storyboarding process here.

Here are the storyboards:

Friday, December 30, 2011

New Short Film Storyboards

AAARRRGGHHH!!! I'm filled with joy!!

I working on a short, short film. I worked on the storyboards today for 9 hours. I created 83 new storyboards today!! Damn! And about 65 poop boards that didn't make the cut. That's a lot of boards.
I'm pretty darn pleased with myself.

Here's a photocollage of what it looks like near my desk with all these boards:

I use several magnetic whiteboards to display my boards in sequence while I'm working on them. I use a bunch of these little magnets that I got from Staples:

I like the colors :)

I use 4x6 inch notepads from CVS to do the actual boards (although I draw a border along the top and bottom to make it more 16:9 ratio. Which also makes a good space for writing dialogue and sound FX notes).

That's all I wanted to say. I'll have a lot more on this project in the future, so please come back! :D

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Seated Lady - Page 12 & Tutorial

Finally! The holidays really messed me up for getting this done. I'm over two weeks late. Apologies! I hope to be more timely with the next one.

At some point while I was inking this, I really wanted a castle in there somewhere ... but I just didn't have the energy. There's a little voice saying "a better artist would go back and fix it." But that's when you just say "Shut up you! Finishing things is important too!"

For the rest of the Seated Lady pages, click here. or here. Updated weekly (generally).

I decided to throw together a little tutorial about how I did this page. It's mostly just a series of work-in-progress shots, but I'll try to explain a bit more of what I'm doing as well. I probably should have made a tutorial with a page that had more than one panel to it, but oh well. Next time.

I do the following steps for all the Seated Lady pages.

1. Thumbnail Sketches

First I thumbnail the page on paper (very small : 2.5 x1.5 inches).

For a more complicated page with more panels, I'd do more sketches. For this page I mostly knew what I wanted, so I just made one sketch.

2. Rough Guide and Masking

After thumbnailing, everything else is done in Photoshop CS5. 

I create a new document, 8.25 x 11 inches, 300 dpi.

The background layer I fill with black. Above that, I make a layer and fill it with this purple. All the pages have this color as the base.

On another layer, I roughly draw in where and how big I want the panel to be.

I use the guides to exactly demarcate the top, bottom, left and right edges of my panel.

Then I use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (with snapping on) to create a selection exactly within the boundaries of the guides.

Next I select my purple layer, and hit the Add Mask button at the bottom of the layer panel. This automatically creates a mask so only the area I had selected is shown. The black of the lower layer shows through.

3. Rough Drawing

Next I do a rough sketch of the whole composition. I try to stay zoomed out as much as possible so I maintain a good sense of the scene as a whole.

I use about a 6 pt brush with pressure determined opacity.

3. Drawing

Next I do the drawing. At this point, I'll start to use separate layers for the different elements, such as the girl or the castle walls. I might also zoom in a little bit. But ultimately, I still try to keep loose and allow for spontaneity so the drawing has energy. If one element is particularly tricky, I might even do another drawing layer before inking.

4. Inking

Next is inking. I use the same brush I used for sketching, but without any opacity change. A solid black line. The brush I use has 85% scattering to give the edge of the line some teeth, like a real pen might. 

Unlike most of my other pages, I used a wide variety of brush sizes for the different layers of the composition. I used a 6pt brush for the girl and the foreground, and then went all the way down to a 2 pts for the distant mountains.

I really like the way Shoomlah inked with Photoshop in her Cinderella tutorial. She uses bold, flowing strokes, but separated on different layers, so she can easily erase the excess bits without hurting other lines. So I've gotten into that habit and I like it a lot! It makes for a lot of layers to manage, but I usually collapse them as much as possible as I move on from one area to another. 

 5. Coloring

Coloring. I roughly throw in colors on the scene using a textured brush. I put all the color layers within a folder beneath the inks layer. I use the same mask on the colors folder as I do on the purple layer (step 1), so that the colors stay within the panel*.

I've already worked out my color scheme for this part of the comic. You can see it on top of the above image. I will try to explain how I come up with my color schemes in another tutorial. I also use the eyedropper to select colors from previous pages.

*an easy way to copy a mask is to right click on the first mask and select Add Mask to Selection. Then select the other layer/folder you want to have a mask and press the Add Mask button at the bottom of the Layers panel.

Once I'm generally satisfied with the color scheme, I zoom in and clean up my coloring work.  

At this point, I do not try to think about highlights and shadows. I try to keep the colors as uniform as possibly. I will work on adding values in the next step.

6. Texture and Values

 Next I do the texture and values. I create another folder above both the color folder and the inks folder. Again, I mask out anything that's not my panel so it stays nice and tidy.

In this new folder, I import a black and white texture file. Like a paper texture. I set the layer to an opacity of 33% and set the Blending Mode to Multiply.

I also create a mask for this layer. Using the mask, I remove some parts where I don't want the texture to show, such as on the girl, or the sky.

After that, I add a bunch of layers to define the values. I use alternating layers with Blending Modes set to Multiply and Overlay to define the shadows and highlights, respectively.

For this part of the story, I use a desaturated, bright orange (warm) for the shadows and a somewhat mid-value, desaturated cyan for the highlights. For really strong highlights, I will lighten the blue.

For this page I used eight layers total, 5 Multiply, 3 Overlay. I kept adding them back and forth as needed. I didn't make screenshots showing the buildup of value layers, but I'll try to do that for the next tutorial.

7. Color Linework

Next I color the linework. To color linework, you select the layer you want to color, then click the Lock Transparent Pixels button in the Layers panel. With that selected, you can draw anywhere you like and it will only effect where there are already pixels. That way you can take broad strokes and color in the lines very quickly. I found that out not too long ago. Pretty neat eh?

How do you choose what color to do the lines? I like to color the linework after putting in the values because I want to choose colors that will make the lines better blend into the scene. My general principle is for the ink color to be darker and more saturated than the main color. For example, for the horse, I would sample the darkest value on the horse's body, then slightly darken the color and greatly increase its saturation.

8. Add Border

Finally, I add the border. I draw with the guides (from step 1) visible, so the drawing snaps to the guides and the lines are straight. 

I also added a few final touches, like the motion lines around the girl, and the mist in the background. Then I call it finished! 

I hope this has been helpful! If you have any questions, let me know!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Seated Lady - Page 11

Seated Lady - Page 11. 
Photoshop, 8 hours. 

This page was a lot of fun!

The Seated Lady on SmackJeeves.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Running Critter

I'm hoping to work on an animated short film in the next few months. I'm trying to experiment with different animation styles. I'm really feeling inspired by Nelson Boles' work on Vimeo [link].

What animal is it? A fox? A cat? A bear? I'm not sure .... :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Seated Lady - Page 10

Oh boy, this one was a big one. I started it before Thanksgiving, but I didn't get to finish it until now, almost two weeks later. So I'm late a week with this one. Oh well. That's going to happen.

I hope you like it! This page took 12.25 hours. I was really struggling to get this page to work, and in the end I felt like it came together. I hope it makes sense!

comic homepage:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"The Profitable Artist"

A few weeks ago I read this book called "The Profitable Artist" which was just put out by the New York Foundation for the Arts.

I'm trying to do more client work, as well as thinking about more art world stuff like grants and residencies and film festivals ... so it felt very relevant. I really liked the book. The writing is really respectful of the drive that artists have and understanding of the struggles we face. It's stressful trying to make your way in the world as an artist and the book really seemed to empathize with that. It was very nice just for that fact alone.

And it's got a lot of cool ideas about promotion, networking, grant writing, contracts, receipts, pricing, etc. It doesn't have all these prescribed answers, and emphasizes that there aren't any. That you make it up as you go along ... and that managing a business can be as exciting a creative challenge as other art you practice.

I just wanted to share that with you guys since I found it helpful. Anyone else reading this trying to do this? ... work outside a company, freelancing or trying to create their own brand/vision? How's it going?

For my part, this is how I see things. There are a few different focus areas ... at any given time I'm doing more of one or the other (a few months ago it was the first two, right now I'm focused on the last two):

1. Building a storyboard portfolio to get hired by an animation studio, preferably feature film.
2. Work on my own art - creating a short film for film festivals. Applying for art grants, residencies to get funding to do more of that
3. Local business as an animator - doing animation for clients
4. Local business as a comic artist - creating original comics to sell at festivals/online, other products too (t-shirts, prints, books). Also doing fun silly animations for the web.

Do you feel like you're on one of these tracks? How's it going? I'm just want to know i'm not alone!

Oh, and I'm also interested in doing more education stuff. I teach Flash at a school locally, and I'm thinking of teaching more classes (like on dynamic drawing, storyboarding, digital painting, animation principles, etc) ... and those lesson plans I hope to put online too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011