Monday, July 28, 2008
Pretty much finished the first armature. Sure was easy. Though I can't wait for the glitches to become apparent later. That's okay though - that's what this first armature is for. Still need the hands and feets attachments; going to hold off on that for a while until I decide exactly how they're going to be.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
I'm a bit leary about it - not using standard materials - mostly wood. Though this is for the least-used character (the first armature), so its okay if its a bit of a reject.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
The only other notable addition today is a ladder; a real gnarly one. Its based on a spindly warped one I found on the internet while trolling for images a while ago. I added the ropes and whatnot. It was a bit of an afterthought, but i'm glad I made it.
It will sit in two places throughout the film; on the left, and right in the middle while in use. While on the left, it serves to balance out the composition. Note the diagonal rope; this is to continue the curve that starts on the floor. When the ladder is in the middle, it lets me make nicer compositions; I like having some dark lines on one side or the other. Still have a couple more chores to do today on the thing - tommorrow I start on the huge armature.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Its pretty tedious putting the props in place; its an awkward reach (nowhere to rest my weight), and there's a hot light on the thing so I can see what i'm doing. Hours of putting a couple items in, viewing with the camera from different angles, altering thing, and glueing them down.
The thing is almost done though, which is good. The weeks are passing by, and weeks count with this project.
Boy, this sure is taking a long time. Not due to the level of detail in the props, as much as the number of the things.
Started today by making another pile of them; sketches, paint brushes, brush handles, books, piles of paper, pots, etc, all assembly line fashion.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Whenever i'm getting grumpy with the results of this thing, I bust out the HDR pics; these particular ones are a bit older - they predate all the piles of junk, etc. Sure looks a hell of a lot better with this type of photography. It's needed for me to see, as the set, which is being designed for specific camera angles and this type of photography, is looking increasingly goofy and odd to the naked eye.
I'm getting to the point where i'm taking too much time, being too timid with the props. Like i'm poking a corpse with a stick. Just got to cram the shit in there, before I get sick of the thing. Which i'm pretty close to being.
I'm also getting tired of looking at shitty snapshots; they form the basis for how I view the thing, even though I know it looks a lot better with real photography.
I'm happy with this angle, but there sure are some other key angles that look like a bag of ass. My goal in the next few days is to more or less finish this thing, and to summon enough will power to have at those angles that are sucking so thoroughly.
It's hard though, as i'm at the notorious 'the magic is gone, and I know more or less what the finished product will be' stage.
Monday, July 07, 2008
If i'm watching somebody else's project take shape, I find the most interesting thing to be the problems and screw ups; more importantly, how they're discovered and how they're fixed.
That being said, here's a bit of a screw-up; I was about to load up another corner with props (see bottom half of top photo). Then, it occured to me that I should really be framing this shot up with a scale armature stand-in. When I did that (via a crude drawing on a piece of balsa wood), I discovered that I would have been wasting my time. If I was to actually frame the shot up like I had it, it would only include the character's legs. And I felt like such a smarty-pants, designing things with my camera. After having made that discovery, I popped off about 80 shots, all with the character stand-in in them. How the set is actually going to be seen turned out to be quite a bit different than I was anticipating.
I've been carefully designing big pretty-looking wide shots. However, the average shot will have the camera jammed up pretty close to one wall or another; not much wide stuff going on. I then made a crude photo-storyboard for the first few shots of the first scene. Its quite ugly, but the ugly stuff tends to be where the important decisions get made.
This is very useful stuff; now I know what i'm actually going to be seeing, and from what angle. So now I can pretty them up, and avoid spending ages making scene compositions that'll never be seen.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
There's one key prop missing, obviously; the painting itself. I was undecided about how to make the thing, as I figured the detail level would have to be pretty high in order for it not to suck. However, i've rediscovered how much detail can be implied with just a few lines and brushstrokes. So i'm just going to print out a lines-only version, glue it on a backing, and paint in some colour washes. The painting will look in-progress, and will be seen to progress as the film goes on.
This snapshot isn't pretty, but it's doing its job. The coloured lines denote the composition; how I want the eye to move. Now I just have to make some junk that will mirror the lines. I might just paint/scratch some streaks on the floor - don't want to bury the set in actual items.
The curved line at the bottom-center of the set is pretty cheeky. I'm going to put crap there just in that shape.
I've been putting in 12 hour days, trying to get this beast under control. I can't think of a good way to cut corners and speed it up, as the quality/detail level ain't really negotiable - the detail level is actually pretty minimal. It's mostly about composition at this point. So, the only solution I can think of is to work longer days. Which i'm doing. Getting up and going at it at 8 in the morning, rather than starting at 10, and spending two hours scratching my head because i'm asleep and confused.
Alot of this stuff is pretty goddamn tedious, so there's lot's of little mind games one has to play with oneself. So I don't puke from the monotony. Generally, i'll take a snapshot, doodle on it in Photoshop to see how I want the composition. Then, I make a pile of crap. Not designing a particular item for a particular spot - just churning it out in an effecient fashion. This doesn't require any attention span, and the gratification is pretty quick. Then, I get out the camera and needle nose pliers, and put the junk on the set. This is the sore-back/brow-furrowed stage, requiring concentration. Then i'll go make specific props to tidy things up; a small skinny blue book here, a long light-coloured paintbrush here, etc.
I also try to leave myself something specific and non-tedious to do for the next day; decide it in advance. So I can get right into it, even though i'm half awake and confused.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
The design process
I've got a routine down now:
I pop off some snapshots, then crudely draw over them, to indicate the composition of the piles of shit (see top photo). Then I make a pile of crap (see middle photo). I pile the junk roughly where it is intended to go, then pop off some more snapshots. Then I draw on it again if needed (see bottom photo), then glue the suckers down.