Tag: Storyboarding

Pixar Storyboard Class ANM 499 – My Story

This semester I am taking ANM 372 Drawing for Features Storyboarding with Disney Story Artist Tamara Lusher-Stocker. I am chronicling my experience on the blog for myself and for those interested in learning more about storytelling. I highly recommend trying your hand at the assignments we were given. Happy boarding!

For our final Pixar Storyboard Class, we told a personal real life, true story. This is a crazy tale that comes directly from my experience in Elmhurst, New York circa 2007. It’s also the reason why I have no interest in watching Breaking Bad.
Enjoy!

Pixar Storyboard Class – Toy Story Beat Boards

This semester I am taking ANM 499 Digital Storyboarding for Feature Animation with Pixar Story Artist Kristen Lester. I am chronicling my experience on the blog for myself and for those interested in learning more about storytelling. I highly recommend trying your hand at the assignments we were given, as well as watching the films assigned. Happy boarding!

For our second to last assignment, we were tasked to create our very own Toy Story short. I greatly enjoyed this assignment, as Toy Story is my favorite film of the Pixar Canon (Wall*E and Monsters U are in a close tie for second).

We had to come up with five short ideas and five beat boards for each.

Camp Out
In the story Camp Out, Bonnie and the toys are camping in the backyard. Trixie decides to go on an adventure and ropes Rex to come and join her. They are captured by a band of toys who were left outside too long and have gone feral as a result. After Rex and Trixie defeat the leader in a series of challenges, they become the rulers of the backyard.

 

A Very Potato Head Christmas
Mr. Potato Head hates everything to do with Christmas – the lights, the sounds, the wrapping paper, everything gets on his last nerve. He heads up to the attic for some peace and quiet and to wait out the holiday. While up there, he stumbles upon the Christmas toys, who share with him how fortunate he is to get to spend time with Bonnie, her family and the other toys all year around. Once Potato Head realizes how fortunate he really is, he comes to love Christmas.

 

Summer Showdown
Bonnie and Buttercup are enjoying a day at the beach, but start arguing with Bonnie’s cousin Troy and his Seahorse toy. They both enter a sand castle building contest, but realize that they can only win if they work together. Once they join forces, they build the best castle on the beach, and Bonnie, her cousin and her toys learn a great lesson – two heads are better than one!

 

Super Chop!
Hamm is tired of always being the villain and decides to be the hero for once by becoming Super Chop! Along with his sidekick Rex, the Dino Wonder, they play out their fantasies as super heroes. But when Dolly and Buttercup are accidentally thrown in the washing machine, only Super Chop and the Dino Wonder can save them.

 

Wildflower Round-Up
After listening to a gallant and romantic story about a magical flower, Buzz decides to venture into the backyard to get a flower for Jessie to show her how much he cares. What he doesn’t count on though is the giant rabbit guarding the treasure.

After presenting our ideas, our classmates voted on the two I liked best. The consensus was Wildflower Round-Up. I personally liked the Christmas Story better, but Wildflower proved to have more comedic opportunities. Tune in next time to see the full story!

Drawing for Features ANM 372 Final Weeks: The Weather Assignment

This semester I am taking ANM 372 Drawing for Features Storyboarding with Disney Story Artist Tamara Lusher-Stocker. I am chronicling my experience on the blog for myself and for those interested in learning more about storytelling. I highly recommend trying your hand at the assignments we were given. Happy boarding!

For our final assignment we were challenged to tell a story about the weather. Prior to coming to school, I had an idea about a group of characters who band together to find the missing princess of their realm. One of the characters, Echo, the future leader of the group, meets one of the other characters, a Hamadryad, when she is saved from a group of ruffians.

In order to have my much larger tale work for this class assignment, I changed the seasons so that I could draw the forest during a snowstorm (hence the weather part) and shortened the sequence so that I could finish in three weeks.

The result is Winter’s End, one of my most ambitious boards to date. Enjoy!

Drawing for Features Storyboarding ANM 372 Week 8, 9 and 10: Scene from Quest from the Soul Stone

This semester I am taking ANM 372 Drawing for Features Storyboarding with Disney Story Artist Tamara Lusher-Stocker. I am chronicling my experience on the blog for myself and for those interested in learning more about storytelling. I highly recommend trying your hand at the assignments we were given. Happy boarding!

Our assignment for three weeks in November was to create an action adventure story.  One of the great things about taking a directed study class is that you can use your thesis project for some of your homework assignments, as long as it fits the requirements. I chose one of my three thesis ideas which is chock full of action – Quest for the Soul Stone, an original live action adventure film I wrote prior to coming to the Academy.  It tells the story of a young priestess Elomere who, along with her dragon/human friend Arek, set off to find the cure for a supernatural plague that besieges their empire.

In this sequence the intrepid Elomere and Arek are flying through the Crags of Navor when they are attacked by a pair of bloodthirsty Gryphons. I will be working on this story and drawings throughout this semester, as well as creating an animatic for it.

Here is the latest version of the story. Enjoy!

Pixar Storyboard Class Weeks 8 and 9 – Red Samurai

This semester I am taking ANM 499 Digital Storyboarding for Feature Animation with Pixar Story Artist Kristen Lester. I am chronicling my experience on the blog for myself and for those interested in learning more about storytelling. I highly recommend trying your hand at the assignments we were given, as well as watching the films assigned. Happy boarding!

For this assignment, we were given the story of Little Red Riding Hood, and tasked with creating our own version in a different genre. As I saw thinking about what version I wanted, two ideas came to mind: spy films and samurai. Originally I intended to create a Little Red Riding Hood spy caper, but the more I thought about it, the more I envisioned a great film a la Akira Kurosawa.

To prepare, I watched the following amazing films:

Machiko_Kyo_in_Rashomon

Rashomon

ran

Ran

sanjuro

Sanjuro

 

throneofblood2

Throne of Blood

If you want to watch films with great cinematography, story and emotional depth, these are your films. They are also quite dark — darker than I anticipated. Basically, they chronicle the folly of man. Definitely not feel good movies of the year. But great films don’t have to be!

Using that as my template, I created my version of Red Riding Hood I call — Red Samurai. Sherrie Sinclair, the director of the 2D grad program and my mentor Rosie gave me some great advice after I showed them the finished product, and I look forward to revisiting this story in the future.

Until then, enjoy!

Film images courtesy of:
www.filmsondisc.com
www.filmschoolrejects.com
www.cvltnation.com
www.dvdactive.com

Pixar Storyboard Class Weeks 6 and 7: Indiana Jones Returns!

This semester I am taking ANM 499 Digital Storyboarding for Feature Animation with Pixar Story Artist Kristen Lester. I am chronicling my experience on the blog for myself and for those interested in learning more about storytelling. I highly recommend trying your hand at the assignments we were given, as well as watching the films assigned. Happy boarding!

Gravity

This week’s assignment was to watch the film Gravity. I LOVE THIS MOVIE. Hands down this film and Frozen were the two best films I saw in 2013. Sandra Bullock gives the performance of her career as Dr. Ryan Stone, who along with Matt Kowalski (played by the always marvelous George Clooney) are installing a device of Bullock’s creation when everything goes horrifically wrong. The story, visuals and especially the sound are particularly compelling. In fact, the soundtrack is perhaps the best part of the show. The music entertains and frightens at the same time.

I saw the film both in 3D and 2D. I highly recommend that you see it before it comes out on DVD. It’s not going to the same experience on a television set as it is on a gigantic screen.

BullockThe reason why this film works so marvelously well in my opinion is because of the excellence of the drama — it leads the audience and draws you in and forces you into the excitement. You are also compelled by Sandra Bullock’s story — you realize that she doesn’t even WANT to be in space, and she in a few short moments becomes the lone survivor who must put aside her personal demons to save herself. External and internal conflicts abound. ASTOUNDING.

Story + Where It’s Set + How It’s Shot = Great Movie, and Gravity fulfills all of those requirements.

And now for the main event, the lesson for the day. And this day we learned about
The Tools of Composition

  • Subject Size
  • Point of Focus
  • Contrast
  • Location within frame
  • Clear Silhouette
  • Horizontals
  • Verticals
  • Diagonals

I bold the last one because it is something that I remind myself of constantly. If you want some terrific examples of how to create a clear silhouette, watch any film by Akira Kurosawa.

All of these are important because they are used to lead the eye to where you want your audience to look. Compositional tools also help the audience know what is happening and help you as an artist make sure that the background is not competing with your characters.

Getting into more detail, Horizontal lines typically mean that everything in the scene is in statis and calm.

Diagonals imply that there is a dynamism to the shot, because it mimics motion.

Verticals imply stiffness, or formality. For example, a la Gilbert Huph from The Incredibles:

GilbertHuph

 

 

 

 

image from doblu.com

The Golden Ration — the epitome of showing people where you want to look. According to LiveScience.com:

“The Golden ratio is a special number found by dividing a line into two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller part is also equal to the whole length divided by the longer part. It is often symbolized using phi, after the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet. In an equation form, it looks like this: a/b = (a+b)/a = 1.6180339887498948420 …”

– See more at: http://www.livescience.com/37704-phi-golden-ratio.html#sthash.ebdNnsOm.dpuf

Visually, the Golden Ratio looks like this:

goldenratioImage from underpaintings.blogspot.com

And to see real examples from nature of the Golden Ratio, check out io9’s site: http://io9.com/5985588/15-uncanny-examples-of-the-golden-ratio-in-nature

Basically, the Golden Ratio and the Rule of Thirds are quite similar, so think of them when you are creating your boards to create interesting and easy to read shots. As long as you ask yourself “Where do I want viewers to look?” you will have a better time creating the types of shots that you want.

In short, the tools of composition will show you WHAT is important and WHAT the scene is about.

Finally, the best thing I learned from weeks 6 and 7 was a concept called the Area of Action.

That and the Indiana Jones boards coming to you soon…

 

Gravity poster from horrornews.net
Sandra Bullock picture from johnnoshark-reviews.com

Drawing for Features Storyboarding ANM 372 Week 6 and 7: Emmeline Wilshire’s House

This semester I am taking ANM 372 Drawing for Features Storyboarding with Disney Story Artist Tamara Lusher-Stocker. I am chronicling my experience on the blog for myself and for those interested in learning more about storytelling. I highly recommend trying your hand at the assignments we were given. Happy boarding!

This week our assignment was to create a horror story from a singular point of view. I’m not the biggest fan of horror story because they scare the crud out of me. But I do like suspense stories and ghostly/non-grisly stories. And it’s for a grade, so I’m not forfeiting my chance to do something new. So for my story, I decided to tell the tale about a camera crew investigating an abandoned mansion for a television documentary and being scared out of their wits.

Enjoy!

Pixar Storyboard Class Week 5: Little Tykes Genre Film

This semester I am taking ANM 499 Digital Storyboarding for Feature Animation with Pixar Story Artist Kristen Lester. I am chronicling my experience on the blog for myself and for those interested in learning more about storytelling. I highly recommend trying your hand at the assignments we were given, as well as watching the films assigned. Happy boarding!

*In order to fully discuss Kristen’s notes, I detail events that occurred in the films we watch. Watch the film, then read on to see how we analyzed the film. And you may not enjoy this film, but you should watch it anyway: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

I present to you my Little Tykes Film: The Tyke With No Name

Drawing for Features Storyboarding ANM 372 Week 5: A Cake Story Revisited

This semester I am taking ANM 372 Drawing for Features Storyboarding with Disney Story Artist Tamara Lusher-Stocker. I am chronicling my experience on the blog for myself and for those interested in learning more about storytelling. I highly recommend trying your hand at the assignments we were given. Happy boarding!

This week we redid a story of our choosing and I chose to redo A Cake Story. Here are the boards and revisions.

A Cake Story Version II

Next week we are doing a story about the spidership from Buck Rogers, set to the music of Composer Gustav Holst’s The Planets.
Fans of epic classical music will love this.


Gustav Photo courtesy of: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/01/Gustav_Holst.jpg

Pixar Storyboard Class Week 4: The One Word Challenge

This semester I am taking ANM 499 Digital Storyboarding for Feature Animation with Pixar Story Artist Kristen Lester. I am chronicling my experience on the blog for myself and for those interested in learning more about storytelling. I highly recommend trying your hand at the assignments we were given, as well as watching the films assigned. Happy boarding!

*In order to fully discuss Kristen’s notes, I detail events that occurred in the films we watch. Watch the film, then read on to see how we analyzed the film. And you should watch the film, because this week we watched Raiders of the Lost Ark. Classic.

Hello dear readers!

This past week we watched on of the greatest, one of my favorite, one of the best films of all time, Raiders of the Lost Ark. I LOVE this movie. I’ve seen in at least 20 times. And we went through a thorough analysis of how and why this film works. So grab your fedora and whip and here we go:

RaidersLostArkPoster

The Three Act Structure!
You know it. You love it. And Raiders follows it well.

The Stakes

The external stakes in this film are ridiculously high – the power of God must be saved from Hitler and the Nazis, or they will use it as a weapon to destroy the world.
The internal stakes are also quite high – will Indy change from being a greedy/selfish lout to a loving and understanding guy?
The philosophical stakes are high as well – violence and non-belief versus belief.

First Act Break
Goal starts off small – Indy, in order to find the ark, must first find the eye of Ra, which is needed to place on the staff which reveals the location of the map which reveals the location of the ark.

The Inciting Incident
As we’ve seen from the three act structure, the inciting indicident in this film is a doozy – the discovery that the ark of the covenant is real! This, Jews and Christians believe, held the presence of God. One could not touch it, or behold it without falling dead. In the film, this is also the McGuffin. We think the whole plot is about the ark, but actually, it is two fold – Indy must save the ark from the Nazis, but in the process, Indy becomes a more selfless person who cares about others, not just fame and glory. He’s also a non-believer, but he becomes a believer in the supernatural by the end of the film.

Excellent Characters
Marion Ravenwood is a badass. Of all the women in the Indiana Jones franchise, she is the best. She serves as the perfect foil to Indy – she’s tough, she lives on the edge, she can outdrink a guy under the table, and all she cares about is herself and money. Before they can learn to love each other they must first overcome their failings as human beings.

MarionRavenwood

Belloq is Indy’s clone. He’s basically what Indy would become if Indy did not change into a better person by the end of the film, he is Indy at his worst. His unscrupulous behavior and inability to change is the reason why Indy becomes the hero and why Marion rejects him. He makes the wrong philosophical choices.
As Indy’s clone, he states the negative value of the world, “I am a shadowy reflection of you.” He’s like Slade to Robin. Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker.

Belloq

Midpoint
This midpoint works because everything you need to know is explained in exposition. At the midpoint in this film, Marion is killed (at least we are led to believe so), Belloq gives his negative speech, and Indy finds the correct location of the ark.

Second Act Break
Unfortunately, the Nazis take the ark and the stakes are raised even higher:
External – Everyone will die
Internal – Indy will never find love
Philosophical – God is not real and greed wins in the end

Third Act

The Climax and best part of the whole dang show – Nazi meltdown! RaidersArkSceneThe power of God is real and the Nazis are utterly wasted. Right before they are electrified Indy puts faith in the ark and tells Marion to shut her eyes and not look, no matter what happens. The internal stakes have been resolved- Indy is a believer. The philosophical stakes are resolved- God is real and he hates evil Nazis. And the external stakes are real – the Nazis will not gain control over the ark and use it to conquer the world.

Resolution
Indy is now worthy of Marion’s love and the ark is rescued from the Nazis and placed with “top men” in a warehouse never to be seen again. Weirdly enough, the ark does not melt off the “top secret” label on the box, unlike when in the boat it melted through the Nazi symbol, foreshadowing of something amazing yet to come. Perhaps the ark knows it is best if it is not found again.

ArkWarehouse

Next time, we will watch Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and after analyzing the three act structure, we will better understand why that movie sucks so bad AND how we could make it better.

Storyboard Assignment

This week we were assigned to create storyboards based on a word and to have our classmates guess the word. I used bizarre 90s perfume ads, Edvard Munch paintings, The Animatrix, and abstract art as inspiration for by story, entitled Unreachable. Depressing stuff. I enjoyed working on it. Amazingly enough, one of my classmates guessed the word. Good job, Christopher. My teacher remarked that the story worked because of the progression of events from small to high stakes (wanting a mobile to wanting to reach Heaven). I learned that this is good in all stories to build dramatic tension.

One Word Challenge: Unreachable

Next week – we are doing an assignment created by the late, great Joe Ranft of Pixar fame, a genre film starring Little Tykes. Until next time.

Raiders of the Lost Ark photos from: http://adammcdaniel.com/AmselArt/Amsel_RAIDERS_rereleaseA.jpg http://img844.imageshack.us/img844/1797/indy23zbd.png http://cinemafanatic.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/raiders_of_the_lost_ark_end.jpg http://www.yourprops.com/movieprops/default/4daebecc03526/Indiana-Jones-And-The-Raiders-Of-The-Lost-Ark-Marion-Ravenwood-s-Shot-Glass-from-the-Raven-Saloon-2.jpg http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Raiders141.jpg