Friday, September 4, 2015

Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation || pp. 8-43

Dream Worlds:  Production Design for Animation

SUMMARY of pp. 8-43

This book goes over the design process and behind the scenes of artists in feature length films. In these pages (pp. 8-43), we learned the about the various positions within the art department (Production Designers, Visual Development Artists, Layout Artists, Background Painters, Character Designers...etc.), and other key words (Style Guide, Color Scripting, Reference Images, Movie Comps...etc.). We were shown examples of pre-production art from Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast where the author analyzed the different shots and designs. The author Hans Bacher is a Production Designer and Artist who has worked on several prominent Disney films.


- In movie making... "You are part of a creation process in which a dream world comes alive." (p. 8)

- Production Design: the design of the production, the "look" or visual style of the film; pre-production. (Includes Layout Artists, Visual Development Artists & Background Painters.) This stage is about complete artistic freedom, with the craziest and most fantastic ideas, beautiful designs and paintings. "They translate the script into visuals, including background and character styling, color and design language" (p. 10). The artists at this stage explore all visual possibilities, do research, and compile interesting ideas. Studies environment, architecture, styles and colors.

- Character Designers -- important to watch people and their behavior. Sketching while watching T.V. is useful.

- "As soon as the director has been assigned, the look of the movie is narrowed down" (p. 10).

- Style Guide: a booklet where basic rules and styles are explained for each part of the art department: Layout, Background, Animation, Effects, Clean-Up, Color. "Artists have to learn everything about the new look and get used to it" (p. 11).

- Other things that are often considered in the next stage: Location Design, Prop Design, Special Effects Design.

Cinderella Concept Art

- EXAMPLE: Cinderella - all lines lead toward main action, every frame is clearly readable, large elements frame in the action, theatrical spot lighting used, and a simplicity of design. Mary Blaire's style was the leading style.

- Reference Images - gather reference from movie stills, wildlife research, magazines, personal reference photography. Try creating an archive on your computer.

- Color Script: defines lighting and color palettes; an early attempt to map out the color, lighting, emotion and moods in a film.

- Choices in character placement, lighting and composition are endless. Try making simple black and white compositions, or three value comps to gain understanding. Page 20 has a list of movies the author recommends.

- When doing Movie Composition Studies (Movie Comps), select an engaging and interesting story moment, in making your selection, remember "...we are not looking for pretty pictures...we want to know how to tell a story visually" (p. 22).

- Movie Comps will teach you about film, the camera, lenses used, establishing shots vs. close ups, telephoto lenses, wide angle lenses. Ask yourself how and why specific lenses, angles (eye level, up shot, down shot), cuts were used; also, how did they make characters connect visually following dialogue?

- Thumbnails from Movie Comps will teach you about: composition rules, balance/un-ballance, contrast and value, staging of characters, and integrating characters into the environment.

Beauty and the Beast Concept Art

- EXAMPLE: Beauty and the Beast - first designs were serious, then they found out it would be a musical. They went to france to do studies of castles, the countryside, buildings. "We shot thousands of pictures, video, and did tons of sketches" (p. 37). The author's first sketches showed a European influence, with a medieval village (he admired gothic films and a new release at the time, Amadeus, as well as painters like Fragonard and Watteau).

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