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Saturday, 27 February 2010

Sizing Comparisons

Some more colour concepts plus a rough sizing chart, probably the first of many! I am inclined to agree with what Kieran mentioned today about Edward's design being a little weak still, I think he's the weakest of the line-up at the moment in any case. Anyway, thoughts on colour, etc? Had a go at a rough imitation of kieran's shading as well, worked out alright, though I may have got carried away.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Duke Colour Tests

Developing on from Kieran's work, here's a couple of test colour runs on the Duke for the working model sheet. Opinions guys?

Colour process test

This is Freya's drawing line and cleanup. I've applied some lighting. The warm light from the left hand side is a drawn shape which will need to be animated on paper and scanned as an extra layer. The harsh back-light from the right hand side is generated automatically from the outside shape.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

More environment painting

Tried to go for a bit more intensity, don't know about the blue. Give us your thoughts.

Monday, 22 February 2010

"The music in a film cannot stand as simply music to fill the void, it has to have a voice of its own. Knowing this, the music can also never be entirely separate from the film. Again, there have been some wonderful pieces that have stemmed from film scores, but I believe that the term, "film score" implies that both the film and the music must walk that path hand in hand. One cannot thrive without the other." John Powell

A nice wee quote on the importance of integrating the sound track from John Powell's Myspace page. It's his music from the Borne films I dumped on the aniamtic- this sort of clasical influence with a twist might be a good one to persue when it comes to it.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Engine research

What's your thoughts on these train designs? they're inspired by the Art Deco movement which is a wee bit outside of our time frame, but they look pretty cool. Possibly too modern looking, but we could always tone that down.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

3D landscape test

A quick 3D test with rough geometry and no texture to demonstrate the kinda look we could get using image processing. Wonder whether the pallet is getting too surreal but I agree with John about the lighter colours.

Background painting

Let me know any thoughts on colour and the mountain goemetry. Setting out to test how something like this could translate to 3D.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

From the Buster Keaton film, The General. No stunt men and no special effects. theres other clips of craziness on steam trains from the film on youtube, but this one is particularly relevant:

More engines

Animatic 1

And Sketches :)

Sketchbook work related to development...

Development Thusfar...

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Google Schedule

Brought to you by magic, find the production schedule and animation dept' calendar at the bottom of the page.

Engine Designs

Rough animatic

embedding isn't happening, so heres a tasty link to the vid, enjoy:

tasty link

Monday, 15 February 2010

Engine Design

Quickie, to give an indication of where the engine design is headed.

Production Schedule

The Flying Duchess - Storyboards

Ladies and Gentlemen, for your pleasure and entertainment, it is our great pleasure to present the final (hopefully) version of a thrilling tale of love and deception; The Flying Duchess!

Part The First;

In which our players are introduced; the morose, trapped, but beautiful (and cunning...) Duchess; the dastardly, vain Duke, The mysterious but wily Bandit; and, of course, the flying Duchess...

Part, the Second;

In which the brave Bandit makes his gambit! enraging the Duke, and leading him on a thrilling chase! The Bandit gets the upper hand, but how will he escape the Duke?

Part the third, and final!

In which, the conclusion to our tale is told; masks are removed (and donned!), a twist (or two!) in the tale, and the fate of the Flying Duchess revealed!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Possible Re-Write

This plot change deserves some consideration.
Including the falcon is not that bizarre an idea. Woman of our heroines stature often took up falconry; it would add a sensitivity to her character that further clashes with the Duke, (Maybe he scowls at it at some point).
The falcon is an indication that she is no bashful introvert.
It gives the whole animation a little more spice, its an unusual, and not at all cliched element.
It gives us further reason for the sweeping camera movement at the start.
My only concern is that we'd have to be careful with how its introduced, it has to be associated with the Duchess at the start but we don't want to draw too much attention it. the diamond and the relationship between Duke and duchess is the important thing at this point.
All that aside, hears an extended synopsis for this version. The name for the animation, as well as the train, might be too obvious, but theres a nice conneciton with raptor; it means bird of prey but its from the latin raptus which means 'to seize' both property and people, ah ha!

The Flying Raptor.

The Duke and Duchess are traveling to the Duke's country on board the world famous Flying Raptor.
the Duke admires his reflection in the Duchesses Diamond necklace, she is disgusted by his vanity and turns her attention to her falcon, perched nobly on her gloved hand.
The camera pulls out of the window as the Duchess stands and releases the bird out of the skylight.
The camera pulls further out as the Duchess as she watches the bird enjoy the freedom she craves; the camera pulls out and around the train, following the falcon.
The train is racing through a mountainous reaching, above the cloud line, the sky is a deep pink as the sun sets.

Revealed, clinging to the last carriage is a bandit. He watches the falcon soaring past, then climbs onto the roof of the rocking carriage; the camera moves around him, he reaches the roof, staring determinedly down the train.

Back in the first carriage, the duchess is looking out the window, presumably watching her falcon, she glances at her watch whilst the Duke pats his hair, looking at his reflection in the back of a silver plate.
There is a crash from above, both the Duke and Duchess look startled as the Bandit drops into the carriage, he snatches the diamond before running off down the train, the Duke is enraged and chases after him.

The Bandit knocks on a compartment door and keeps running, the door is flung open by a confused looking passenger just as the Duke draws level with it.
The door closes and the stunned Duke sees the Bandit at the end of the train standing next to an open door, holding the diamond up. The Bandit grins, and nonchalantly tosses the diamond out of the doorway. The Duke rushes to his feet and runs to the open doorway.
The camera begins in close-up and pulls away from the count. The camera passes out of the doorway to show the count reaching the doorway and the Bandit running in the opposite direction down the train. The count looks frantically for the diamond from the open doorway.

Back at the first carriage, the countess is unhooking the coupling to separate the cars, the gap widens, just as the Bandit leaps the gap above her head.
The Bandit lands in the fist carriage next to the Duchess and they embrace. As the train pulls away from the camera the Duchess holds out her gloved hand and her falcon alights, clutching the diamond necklace in its beak.

Thursday, 11 February 2010


Some images from 'Railway Carriage Album', almost 400 images of railway carriages from the 1800s to the present day! Unfortunately my copy of the book was missing the only 2 pages that had coloured images, but who could blame someone for pilfering such exciting photographs showing coloured liveries! Not me!! Im really looking forward to reading the author's other work, British Railway Signalling, next stop, FUN!

Anyway, looks like we'll have total freedom to design the interior to suit our needs. Once the builders of these early carriages stopped designing them to resemble road carriages they went all out on the interiors. We wont be restricted by traditional train interiors.

Villain Design

How about this guy as a template for the villain? 10 points if you know who it is.

Production Roles

Here are the main roles as we discussed today.

Director - john
Production Manager - Kieran

Character Design - Freya
Environment Design - Kieran
Prop Design - John

Layout - John <- These three are un-discussed. Comments?
Colour supervisor - Kieran
Sound supervisor - Freya

Lead 2D Animator - Freya
Lead 3D Animator - John
Effects and compositing - Kieran

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Misty experiments

Finally getting satisfying results from the fog tank! I'm recording primarily for Damian but thinking ahead to steam, mist and clouds in our own film, this will be tricky to resolve and integrate with the clean-ish look that I imagine. Still have much to explore especially with colour treatment. Here's a photograph of my latest rig including water tray, lamps and digital projector for lighting, HD camcorder and kettle! Also posted a raw still, the lengthy editing process lies ahead...

WALL-E camera

In relation to the last post, here's a clip from WALL-E :

imperfect camera

There's an example of how their camera is made to feel like a physical object; this, we should do.

Misty concept painting

Perhaps I have mist on the brain at the moment. I'd really like to advocate the importance of a wide opening shot, perhaps framed a little like this, very early in the film. Perhaps panning from here to a zoom in on our bandit climbing the back of the train would be more effective than having the whole train flash by close up. I'd like to be free with what we do with the camera and really film it like a high budget film. I want to achieve some challenging 3d environments but more importantly I feel that some stomach churning camera angles and an atmospheric setting will add another dimension to the film. Hopefully I can be a bit more usefully specific when it comes to storyboarding...

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Test for train wheel mechanism

You would not believe how long this took...
Doing the same in maya should be much easier though, but you can see from this just how simple a movement it is. We can probably afford to really complicate it...

Here's a direct link for a bigger image: wheel mech

Script, Draft 3



The Count and Countess are on board an impressive, elegant train; they sit across from one another in their private, first class carriage.

The diamond reflects a grotesquely distorted image of large Count, he is admiring his view, and grinning stupidly.

The Countess is staring at the count with a look of disdainful puzzlement.

The Count sees the countess watching him, looks briefly embarrassed but quickly recovers. He lifts a tea pot and offers it questioningly. She turns away from him and stares out the window wistfully.



The Train moves through a mountainous region, as the sun is setting.

The bandit is clinging to the last carriage.



The Countess looks briefly at a pocket watch and glances out the window.

After a moment the bandit drops into the carriage with a flourish.

The Count and Countess are taken by surprise at his arrival.

The bandit snatches the necklace quickly from the countess, who is wide eyed.

The count leaps to his feet in shock.

The bandit bounds away through the carriage; the count gives chase.



The bandit runs along the carriageway, stops and bangs on a

compartment door.

The carriage door opens on the count’s face as the Count comes charging down the corridor.

The passenger glances down the corridor, puzzled, then slams the door shut.

The Count is revealed, stunned from colliding with the door; he recovers, and begins running again, even more angry.



The bandit reaches the end of train turns and holds the necklace up and over the end of the train.

The Count skids to a halt and raises his hands to stop the bandit dropping the diamond.



The bandit drops the necklace, from behind the diamond falls into the bandits other hand which is behind his back, he moves aside as the Count rushes forward for the diamond, leaning out over the tracks in the belief the diamond has been lost.



the Countess unhooks the first carriage from the rest of the train, the bandit leaps the gap as it widens.

The bandit fastens the necklace around the Countess’s neck as she fixes on her own bandit mask. They embrace before turning to wave to the count on the quickly decelerating carriage.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

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