Week 07/08 – Artistic, Planning and Research
My tasks/goals for this week were to finish 3 production design paintings based on the animatic and to design the masked creature and Reymond, the sexy tree, further. The team deadline for reviewing the project concept art is November 20th so I’m definitely feeling behind on these tasks! This is what I’ve got so far.
A core rule in our world is that spirits possess inanimate objects with faces. This is an idea for a possible opening shot that plays with this rule. Ideally we would have a short opening before this which would convey the rule of spirits so then this opening shot could give a moment of “wait, but that means that any of these trees and statues in the environment could be alive/undead?!”. Some narrative could be then be suggested in the undergrowth if statues had been defaced or had magical amulets to prevent possession. I haven’t added these last details to the forest statues yet.
Sorcha had mentioned that our short could be set in autumn so I tried this palette. We’re also considering that the time of day could move from dusk to night.
I tried to draw Nami in but it’s tricky from this low perspective so she’s not quite right. In the animatic she’s flying into the frame but I wanted her face to be visible for this still.
These next few sketches are considering the staging of when Nami is talking to the creature who she has mistaken to be Púca because of it’s bright orange eyes. Púca could be concealed in the shadows behind Nami, perched on top of a totem-pole type arrangement of statues. Púca’s eyes could be the first things that become visible so that the audience might suspect a statue head is being possessed by a malevolent spirit?
I’ve gotten as far as applying value masks in this one but the value arrangement would probably be different, with the background in shadow and Nami the most illuminated.
Reymond still needs to be explored in sketches. Both sides of the crossroads could be designed with opposing palettes and lighting. Sorcha suggested that this scene be bright and sunny colored to suit Reymond. Alec suggested the possibility of lantern lighting too which is a good compromise for having an inviting palette which is still at night. The second frame is inspired by a similar crossroads, aerial composition in Samurai Jack, just to see what it might look like.
Masks and carved heads are often used as threshold guardians. This could be suggested in the detail above the doorway. The door should also suggest the dilapidated and abandoned qualities of the house inside. We have different options for how we can lay the stone. They could be large slabs or rows of thinner faces laid like dry stone wall.
The inside of the house could look abandoned and run down. The house has probably been used as a vessel for eating people before, so the center of the floor would be clear while dust and debris would have gathered around the edges. There could be a fire place towards the back with remnants of pots and tools lying around.
When the house is possessed it takes on the qualities of living tissue on the inside but should also feel like the insides of an otherworldly/spirit monster.
This is a possible idea for the design of the vessel/creature which lures Tato away. This concept plays with the idea that the one of the forest statues had not been defaced/sealed so that it was a suitable vessel for the forest spirit. Spirits monsters could be a combination of the materials that they possess along with the material of the ectoplasm bodies. The ectoplasm material could form solid limbs or remain as a ghostly, fluid material which allows the vessel to float in the air. The eyes could be orange flames of ectoplasm/soul. I purposely avoided limbs so that there would be less walking/running animation but the others say they don’t mind.
Sorcha and Kerry also suggested another idea for the creature which supports the narrative in the previous designs that Matthew created – the spirit could be using a skull mask as a vessel. I like this idea too as it makes sense for its forest habitat. Andrew pointed out too that Nami must believably mistake this creature for Púca so we’ll have to work with the staging more, maybe keeping it more concealed with shadow and foliage.
These are our various team Pinterest boards which give an indication of our design references. I’ve also posted some of the images below which I used specifically from the boards.
Monsters Character Design
Spooky Gothic Horror
Misty forest moodboard with various tree types. The series ‘Gravity Falls’ recently did a great job of depicting spooky Canadian evergreen forests so I’ve been trying to find more influence from deciduous European forests instead.
Looking at statues from a spread of various religions. I want to avoid referring too specifically to one religion if I’m going to be painting over and defacing them as part of our fantasy narrative.
Reference for bark texture.
Artwork of Scott Wills for texture, shape and pattern inspiration.
References for possible stone laying techniques, old house contents and debris.