Saturday, February 26, 2011

Essay research


Critical analysis of the relationship between the story and structure in the Triplettes de Belleville animation by Sylvain Chomet.

Brief: You should consider camera movement, editing and order of scenes.

  1. The logistics of animation.
    • Frame by frame creation implies more control on the subject matter, as well as on the choice of camera shot.
    • Editing is made in a similar fashion to that of film, yet it can be done earlier and allows easier modification of the story line.
  2. Editing in animation.
    • Shots can be changed if the camera angle does not work in the first place.
  3. Time frame in the movie.
    • Time is linear, the characters actions stay on the same level and follow through. The time though does change, as is exemplified in the marine chase, where the Grand-Mother follows the big ship across the ocean. The time of the day changes, yet her course of action stays the same.
  4. One character structure analysis.
    • The film follows one character which therefore tends to give us a mono-pov. Though it is not as extreme as to forbid the viewer from sometimes joining in on other characters mostly the villains later on in the film.
  5. The circular structure of the story explains the character.
    • The story begins with a back shot of the Grand-Mother and her grand-son watching t.v. The child is young, and this scene is mirrored at the end when he is an old man, his Grand-Mother gone. He still talks to her, which is also the first time he talks in the whole film.
  6. Use of stylised flashback to set and explain characters which only appear later on in the story.
    • The introductory scene of the film shows a stylised sepia shot of a past show. There we are introduced to the main secondary characters, the Triplettes themselves. The use of a different style gives a direct connotation to the story, one of past events.
  7. Camera movements in animation.
    • Camera movements in animation are more exaggerated and can be taken to locations a real camera would not be able to attend.
  8. Importance of shot design to explain and exaggerate the size exaggeration present throughout the film.
    • The Triplettes de Belleville relies strongly on the caricaturisation of characters. In that sense it used camera shots that always emphasize this. Whether it is used to show extreme size difference, or posture differences, the camera always goes with the exaggeration rather than with it.
  9. I will use some “unofficial” rules laid down by some of the animation Masters, as recorded by Richard Williams in his survival kit for animators. Their he explains some of the benefits of animation over live action, and some of the camera rules that differentiate it from live films.
  10. Set in stones animation. How was the animation limited by the fact that it is an animation? How much of it was done then regretted if any? This is where some research will have to be done.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Personal Painting

Something I did to get away from the project for a bit. Now back to work.

Dynamic Character Posing

As my short includes quit a dynamic range of actions, I decided to practice on one of my technically lacking area. I always had problems with proportions and getting poses to look animated. So I set to draw as many of these as I could hoping that through continuous trials I might get some positive results.

I found out that I need to spend more time studying the human's range of possible movements. What I really have found out though is that through exaggeration, you can really reach some interesting levels of movement. The trapeze sequence was one I looked forward too, for its incredible range of possible shapes and moves, yet I still dreaded it as I wasn't sure on how to approach it. These thumbnails, while not perfect by any league, are an improvement on what I used to do, which gives me hope for the future. The range of poses I have developed should suffice as a base for the sequence.

At the same time, while keep to very simply detailed characters, I can practice the use of silhouettes and find out if they work when I increase their detail and add colour.







Ill post another post later with a resume of the poses I feel are the most relevant to my project.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Painter Character Concept

Getting right proportions are so annoying. What is really frustrating is that in life drawing I can see shapes and proportions and the moment I try to paint from the head I lose it. I really need to practice that aspect of me technical skills.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Some more thumbnails and a draft storyboard.

These are some faces I did as practice and to try and find some characters, followed by my first attempt at quickly storyboarding the first half of the animation. At first I was considering putting the whole story in North Africa, to try and play with some different styles of architecture and clothing but I stayed in Europe instead.

The first storyboard part 1 with drawing of Maurice and possible layout for stair scene on the bottom left.

Essay Beginning

I decided to do my essay on the Triplettes de Belleville, as it is one of my all time favourite movies.

I decided on studying the technical and artistic approach. I feel it is essential to the film's success and I will use that as a guide line for the study of the other technical aspects of the film. Its unique, style which places it on a different level than Hollywood animation and Japanese animation was really what caught my eye at first.

Though I don't know if it is relevant, I would still be interested in talking of the strong satirical symbolism present throughout the film, and the way it is portrayed through techniques and drawing styles.

I am guessing I could also take a look at the animation techniques used during the film.



More research and development:

Re-take on Chase scene


The Characters


The Setting


Influence Map - Joke Shop


Colour Research # II - Visual Emotions


Colour Research # I - Colour Chart


Brainstorm # I - The Fire Extinguisher

Monday, February 14, 2011

Step Outline

Step Outline.

 - 15th of June 1953, 3 o’clock -

School ends with children running out. Bruno and Lola run across the street.

See mural painters on the façade of a joke shop and decide to do a prank.

Enter the shop and buy some itching powder.

They see a forbidden open door and run through it. Lorenzo the joke shop keeper runs after them.

The wall painters, André and Maurice are unaware of the ongoing situation.

Chase scene through a stair case.

Kids reach the top, shop keeper, confused, enters an open apartment.

Kids reach edge of building, looking down at unsuspecting painters.

They throw their projectiles, causing havoc below, as Maurice gets hit and scratches himself. His dropped cigarette sets a paint pot on fire.

Lorenzo sees this through the window and finding a fire extinguisher, he throws it at André, who avoided trouble.

The platform is dangerously unstable, and with the fire spreading it breaks as André sprays Maurice.

This sends him backwards, the back of his legs attaching themselves to the side bars. Maurice catches its opposite.

The motion sends André hurtling through the air. Maurice reacts to the movement as he is pulled as well.

The choreograph ends when the platform breaks and they fall on an awning.

They fly through the street and are about to land in a pile of bags containing itching powder.

Treatement - An Itchy Adventure - Title not definitive.


 Its 1953 and a clear sky accompanied by a beautiful sunlight baths Paris. The precise time is 3 o’clock, on the 15th of June 1953. In the 5th arrondissement, a school bell starts ringing and a horde of children storm out unto an unsuspecting summer. Excitement is ripe and we notice two youngsters take the lead, running past the completely overrun circulation police man. Bruno and Lola are eleven and are possessed of the malicious intelligence that can turn sweet children into ravening jokers.

A mail truck breaks suddenly and stops right at the front of the zebra crossing, as a sudden flood of toddlers sweep the asphalt. The leading ones have now reached the other sidewalk, running past a joke shop, two wall painters, André and Maurice, repairing the façade. The shop is typical of Paris. Unable to withstand the urge to start the summer on a fly, they stop as one pulls the others collar in a spectacular fashion and they both consider the two men.

Being full of mischievous wit, they head inside. We get a look at the two painters, as the camera gives us two close ups of their faces.

Lorenzo is an old Italian who came to Paris years back, and he can recognize mischief when he sees it. Yet one is not a joke shop keeper for the sake of it, and he fully approves of the youths attitude, until it goes to far even for him. Bruno points at a pile of little brown bags, and asks for two. The brave Lorenzo gives them to him pointing at a 2 Francs sign, as the two give each other meaningful looks. They suddenly break out in a run towards a door left ajar. We notice a – Staff Only – sign.

Lorenzo is old, yet he starts to chase them, shouting vulgarities in a way only an Italian living in France could do.

At the same time, our two muralists are taking a break, their painting left on standby. One of them pulls out a cigarette, lighting it in spite of the flammable paint next to him. The other is having a sandwich.

An unbalanced race up the stairs of the old building starts, becoming abstract as they climb up the stairs. Lorenzo is unable to keep up, annoyance etched on his face. A bluish tinge swallows the stair case as the stairs become black geometrical shapes. A sideways view show the children reaching the top, as we sometimes see the old shop keep struggling in colour to reach them. As the shenanigans reach the top, Lorenzo reaches an open door, and thinking them to be inside enters determination and a will to punish those two trouble makers.

The two artists are unconcerned and greatly unaware of the danger heading their way! Bruno and Lola have now reached the edge of the wall, looking down at the two men, and the supporting structure of their platform to their right. 

We then start a sequence of quick alternating camera views of the two conflicting groups. The children are raising their arms, their projectiles proudly held high, ready to be thrown. The men are unaware of the danger. They throw the bags, whose content is still unknown to us. They land in an explosive manner, itching powder spreading everywhere as Maurice starts moving around, drops his cigarette inside the paint pot, setting it and himself on fire.

Lorenzo sees the flames through the window. He grabs a fire extinguisher on the side, runs and throws it at André. The painter catches it and sprays Maurice, as the burning platform burns and breaks under their weight. Turning on the fire extinguisher propels André backwards as his legs catch the edge of the platform and he is pushed back wards, the bar under his knees, in a similar fashion to a trapeze artist. The motion shouts him upwards, the counter effect being shown as Maurice who has grabbed the opposite bar is swinging behind him. They spin once. We see André fly past the two bewildered jokers. Maurice follows, as the platform as trouble holding their weight.

It breaks! The two unlucky painters fall downward unto the awning. They bounce in a spectacular and comical manner. This makes them fly across the street, under the incredulous eyes of a really outreached police man.

We see the back of a truck with Mail written on it driving by, leaving a pile of bags behind. The two men fly towards it and as we get a look at what is written on the bags, we can read – Itching Powder – all over it. After a last look at the terrified faces of our two sties, the story ends.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Meeting with Chris

So I had a really good talk with Chris about his story. He came to me saying Phil had disagreed with his current story so we sat down to rewrite it. His three elements being a sword swallower, a train and a camera, we set down on paper a few ideas.

I will give my opinion here. I find the sword swallower to be a very specific character. I find it quit gruesome yet quit interesting. Chris's first idea was to have a skeleton sword swallower who has fallen from grace and keeps a spectator less show in an old train. So I though it would be interesting to keep this idea of out of favor. Sword swallowers don't run the streets today, with supposedly only about a hundred acting today.

So the story involves this out of favor artist. He owns a train and uses it to assassinate the critics who disowned him in their column. To keep the theme of sword swallower he has attached his old sword to the front of the train and, having attached the poor fellow on a small platform set on the track, sends the machine full speed into the captive. Yet the position of the prisoner is interesting as he is capable of swallowing the sword. This is still quit vague and I think the train should go quit slowly so that the sword slowly enters his throat with killing him.

The camera is attached at the front of the train, and the madman captures the face of horror as the sword is about to be swallowed. He then develops the photograph and puts it on his wall. At one point we will have a look at the wall with all the newspaper pages where the selected critics have voiced their discontent. We then see the multiple pictures of their terrified faces as the madman enacts his horrible revenge.

This might be quit violent, yet we agreed that the violence should only be implied and not shown. The movement and heavy dynamism of the train should explain the extreme violence involved.

Note to Chris:

- I think the train should not hit him at full speed. He could start at full speed, terrifying the prisoner, who expects to be crushed. The train should then brake violently, and we understand that the sword, which is shown earlier, slowly enters the captive. You could actually have them not die, simply showing the sword entering their throat, before he activates the reverse and takes it out. Like this you avoid death being implied, yet you still get the terrified look on the critic's face.

Concept Art - Environment - Street - I

Started some concept art on the streets, as I am not too sure on the style yet, I am going quit abstract, using some photos and playing around with colours. I like the colours in this one, though I will probably go for a less yellow look. I want the buildings to have this hue though, as I really like the warm beige to yellow colour quit representative of the south of Europe. The more I think about it the more I think I will set the scene in a small village of the South of France, where warm colours are more developed.

The scene was done quickly and is mainly meant to give some ideas and colour range. So perspective and all of more specefic techniques are not as important right now.

Lorenzo - I

A sketch of Lorenzo, but I think he is too old so I will not use this design.

Maurice - I

  Maurice is older and larger than André. I imagine him to sport a moustache, as it just fits my vision of him. My first two trials where not that interesting until I found out about Folco Lulli, who played in the 50's film Le salaire de la Peur. His physique was perfect and he was wearing white shirt which matches exactly my clothing idea for Maurice.
Fig. 2
Fig. 1
Folco Lulli

Ok Blogger is just being the stupidest thing in the world right now, it does not let you any control over the page layout, and this is really annoying so Blogger people if you read this please edit your page layout tools.

Right so back on topic, fig.3 is my final face design for Maurice. Ill write more later I am too annoyed right now.

Fig. 3
Again sorry for the terrible layout I have no control over it. I hope you still understand it.

André- I

I started some preliminary drawings, adding some watercolor to some of them. Those where based on some of my influence sheets, plus some more. I think I will stick to so of the final ones I did, for time's sake.

Fig. 1

I started out with some looks for Maurice and André. The first trials where not satisfying both in style and looks.

So, I started with some drawings for André. I wasn't sure on his looks, his origins, etc. I tried a few and the process brought me to the sheet of faces on the bottom of this post. The trials here where not satisfying, either because they where too complex to show in many different positions or because it wasn't expressive enough. I liked Fig. 1, but on don't think I would be able to reproduce it satisfyingly enough.  After some more drawings I concluded that I needed to increase the emotions of my characters. I had to increase their facial features which led me to the face study below. Increased eye size was the main change, and as this is a style I have never used, I am curious of the results on the long term.

This was the result of a bit of research. It isn't definitive but I think Ill stick to him. The hat will probably go, and he'll get a nice set of overall. I will keep the big eyes as they allow emotions to be exaggerated. He is the younger of the two, and the thinner, and this is represented by a more emaciated visage. He has a constant smile etched on his face, though he does lose it when he starts the trapeze sequence. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Re-take on Chase scene


-         Maurice (Painter)
-         André (Painter)
-         Bruno (Little Boy)
-         Lola (Little Girl)
-         Lorenzo (Shop Keeper)

Action Sequence: 

Inside joke shop,

            Bruno and Lola enter the shop, a mischievous smile taped to their face. We see a door in the background, it is ajar and on it is written – Staff Only -. They reach the counter, and point at a pile of small paper bags behind the counter. Bruno shows the number two on his fingers. Lorenzo turns around with a gentle fatherly smile. He gives them the bags, showing a sign saying 2 Francs for 2 bags. While he is pointing at the sign the two child share a knowing look.

            Suddenly, instead of paying, they start to spring towards the door. They sprint through the door as the Lorenzo starts to chase after them. As he is quit aged he cannot keep up.

We see a quick shot of the kids running up the stairs as Lorenzo goes through the door himself.

Outside joke shop,

            We get a close up of the faces of our two painters, who are completely unconcerned and unknowing of what is about to happen. Their faces imply their discussions, which will include laughs, weird faces, etc.

Inside joke shop,

            We go back to Bruno and Lola, who are sprinting up the stairs. Lorenzo is struggling behind them. He loses sight of them.

Outside joke shop,

            We go back to a close up of our two partners, as one pulls out a cigarette.

Inside joke shop,

            We alternate quickly back to the kids, as Lorenzo reaches the second floor, and sees that the door of his own apartment is also ajar. We know it is his apartment as we see him go through the door and the door bell appears with his name on it.

Outside joke shop,
We keep looking at them as Maurice pulls out a match box.

Inside joke shop,

The two kids run up the last set of stairs, reaching outside. Lorenzo sees through his window the two painters. We notice a fire extinguisher next to the window. He walks towards the window, determination present on his face.

Outside joke shop,

            We get a look at the kids barging through the door, and running towards the edge of the wall where the platform is attached. As they reach the edge we have one last look at Maurice who cracks a match. We look back at the two kids who through their projectiles at the two seated men. André is observing a paint bucket he is about to use.

            We alternate between the falling bags and the match reaching the cigarette. This alternates twice when suddenly we zoom out to get a full shot of the two characters and the exploding bags next to them.

            We get a close of their face, complete surprise and incredulity etched on their faces, when they suddenly start to scratch themselves. The match falls and sets fire to Maurice. André drops his paint bucket, breaking the platform. The two men start falling, Maurice still on fire, when they grab the edge of their platform, in a manner similar to trapeze artists. We see Lorenzo from outside coming in through the window, and grabbing the fire extinguisher and spraying the poor Maurice.

            This sets in motion the platform structure which sends Maurice and André spinning around.


            The physics of the platform is essential to the credibility of the whole spinning scene. When the Bruno and Lola run towards the edge of the wall, we get a look at its construction. It sticks out from the edge, and the parts holding the platform show that it can move in a lot of different ways. This explains the type of movement the two painters will go through, until they smash into each other.

            Lorenzo is convinced that the two naughty kids have entered his own home. He goes towards the window determined to ask the two men if they know anything. This will be shown by the determination on his face.

Psycho is a film that defined a genre, and stupefied generations. Its ground breaking innovations in the field of horror at the time today look as if they where made in the modern day. The absolute success of its recipe lies in its essential simplicity. An eternal script leads to an eternal film. This film is successful through the role of its actors. For me this is a film that relies solely on the performance of the actors to achieve perfection. Though epitomized by Anthony Perkins stellar performance, the other characters play the roles that allow Perkin to come out.

Fig. 1 - The meeting between Norman and Marion
The story starts with the introduction of the first main character. Janet Leigh plays Marion Crane and for most of the first part of the film, we are convinced that she is the main character and I must admit being quit surprised by her death. As Roger Erbert confirms, “no moviegoer could have anticipated the surprises Hitchcock had in store--the murder of Marion (Janet Leigh), the apparent heroine, only a third of the way into the film, and the secret of Norman's mother.” (Erbert:1998) Today, one really gets used to the whole story of the main character being alive all along. She steals 40, 000 Dollars, a consequent sum in those days. Her lack of loyalty is quit appalling, her loathsome attitude not representative of her position. She leaves the town in a hurry, being stopped by a macho cliché of an American cop. He finds her suspicious, yet I found his role quit useless on the long term. While he could have played an interesting role, he is only useful in the beginning adding a touch of suspense. Yet he is a bit vague in his whereabouts as if he had simply been put there to give Marion an antagonist.

She arrives at the motel, and we get to meet the ace character of the film. Anthony Perkins turns an interesting first act into a legendary second act. He is a bit edgy, yet nothing implies his character at first. He acts a bit weird, has an argument with his mother, and comes down to have dinner. Here is first implied the use of mommies, where we get to see some stuffed birds, also a prelude to Birds. His attitude is misleading. Marion takes a shower, and in a seen of anthology is murdered by Norman. The victim’s sister then decides to hire a private detective, who finds his way to the Bates Motel. There he is also murdered after investigating the house behind the motel, a now classic and foreboding building, perched high on top of a hill, a chromatic inverse of what could have been a Hopper painting.

Fig. 2 - Norman Bates
The story then takes an interesting take as Marion’s boyfriend and sister, Sam Loomis and Lila Crane, head towards the motel to investigate. Here we get a closer look at Norman, who really starts to come out as an odd only half understood character. Something is wrong with him, yet, at first it is quit hard to understand what is. One scene almost ruins it for the film. When he brings his mom to the fruit cellar, as he carries her she is completely limp, while she had been shouting loudly to not touch her. The visual effect was not to successful, but nothing major that impeded the success of the film. As we reach the end, we find out in an amazing scene, where Lila goes into the cellar, and finds the mummified corpse of the real “mother”. Here Norman tries to kill her, dressed up as a woman, but Sam stops him. We are then taken to the prison, where we get a last shot of Norman, as he has completely shifted to his mother persona, giving probably the best and most unsettling looks ever seen on film.

The film is shot through an interesting use of angles, with extreme close-ups of the character turning quit banal scenes into rather unsettling moments. As the BBC film reviewer David Wood precises, “the proceedings are of course shot through with Hitchcock¹s sly, mordant and slightly sadistic humour which revels in the consequences of the oedipally induced madness and the sardonic irony of much of the dialogue” (Wood:2000) The strange relationship between mother and son is accentuated by those shots, the mother always show in the dark or as an outline at the window. The last shot in the cell is both perfect in composition and in setting, and the slight superposition of his face with his mother’s corpse face is simply stunning, a slight moment of supernatural to finish a masterpiece.

Fig. 3 - The Eyes
Psycho is probably one of the most influential films of the last century, as it defined a genre and shocked generations before the coming as such failures as Saw or Final Destination. As David Jenkings from Time Out London, Psycho “offers perfect case studies of suspense, paranoia and montage for lazy film-studies tutors." (Jenkings:2010) I end this knowing that I will never forget the depth of Anthony Perkins eyes when he stairs back at the camera saying he wouldn’t hurt a fly.



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Week Two Time Table.

Right so I have decided to do small time table for each week to keep focused and give a check list to stick to.


1. Film Birds by Hitchcock. Done
2. Finish the review for Psycho. Done
3. Continue research on La Jetée. Done
4. Review story board based on received comments.
5. Maya.


1. Start drawing character sheets for André and Maurice.
2. Write film review for Birds.
3. Start clear influence maps on the setting.
4. Start drawing basic aerial plans for each shot.
5. Maya.


1. Start some research for theory presentation
2. Write stories for the rest of the characters.
3. Start there drawn character sheets.
4. Start fleshing out the architecture of the set.
5. Maya.


1. Maya and Premier Pro Tutorials.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sribd Screenplay

I did this quit quickly, Ill spend more time on the layout when the story will be at a higher level of completion.

Unwilling Artists

The Characters

        The main actors, as aforementioned, will number five. The children still need some fleshing out to do, but they will come later. Here is a picture that represents my view of the children stroming out of school. 
Children running on the Champ de Mars, Robert Doisneau

          I will start work on the painters first. One of them will be based on Bourvil, a genial actor who played from the 40’s to the 70’s in a comedy cinema. His acting is most of the time represented by a somewhat naïve and nice character. I want to use him as I want my story to be similar to the film he played in, funny and genuine gags. He actually plays a wall painter in La Grande Vadrouille, which makes him perfect for my role. His face is characteristic of someone who can do a lot of face contortions. My goal though is not to copy the character of Bourvil, but to create my own. So while there are physical similarities, their characters will be different.  The second, and I am not a 100% sure of the influence, will be inspired by Coluche, probably the greates french humorist. His slightly chubby look fits my vision for the second painter. As well as looking slighlty older, his face is also fit to a large amount of poses. Again I would like to precise that my drawings will not be exact copies, as I am not even sure if my skills are good enough to represent the emotions I am imagining. This is a great occasion to practice character design, something I do not do often. I might change the influences later on, but for now this will suffice. The next step with these will be the design of their worker character.

Character Sheet - I

-         André Dupont

-         Age: 29
-         Height: 1m72
-         Weight: 70 Kilos
-         Hair Colour: Light Brown

André Dupont was born on the 7th of May 1919, to Jean Dupont and Julie Magret in Aquitaine. Jean Dupont took part in WWI, where he lost an eye. This sent to a field hospital where he met Julie Magret, then a nurse. They married right at the end of the war, the smoke not even cleared from the battlefields. André was soon born after, and was surely conceived during the poor man’s recovery. They all moved to Paris when he was 10, coming to live next to Bastille, in the 11th Arrondissement. In his youth he enjoyed painting, covering the walls of his room in what would become a vocation. Painting walls when from random childish designs to efficient coverings of paint. He left school at 16, becoming an aide to Mathieu Delembert, who owned a small wall painting company called Peinture Bastille. In this first test of life, André would follow his boss, repainting walls and cleaning up old buildings. He worked with Mathieu for 10 years, rising through the ranks. After WWII, where he avoided conscription, he left the enterprise intent on starting his own. He met Maurice Pichot, another employee would had been in the company for a year, and convinced him to associate.

Character Sheet - II

-         Maurice Pichot

-         Age: 38
-         Height: 1m64
-         Weight: 76 Kilos
-         Hair Colour: Dark Brown

Maurice Pichot was born on the 12th of December 1908, to Pierre Pichot and Emilie von Steinbeck in Auvergne. His mom was originally from Germany, and stayed in Paris after she had followed her then husband, Albrecht von Steinbeck, into France in the 1870 war between Prussia and France. Pierre Pichot was a simple farmer who add been conscripted into the French army and sent to Paris. There he escaped and fled to Strasbourg, where Emilie was staying. They met and ran off together, coming back to Paris, where there first son, Jules, was born. Maurice soon followed. Maurice was young when he left school, heading to work back in Auvergne on his father’s farm now held by his brother-in-law, George. There, Maurice helped fix the farm repainting the whole complex on his own, which consisted of two large barns and multiple small ones, plus the main Master house. After a few years working around the village painting and repairing old houses, he moved back to Paris in 1944, after the liberation of Paris, joining a small wall painting company called Peinture Bastille, owned and directed by Mathieu Delembert. He stayed there only one year, and after meeting a young co-worker called Andrée Dupont, decided to associate with young man in creating there own company.

 In Beetween Story

             This is where the story of our two partners starts. Their first meeting was pleasant, as both had fathers in the military and therefore had topics on which to discuss. The meeting took place at a bistrot called Chez Gaston, a place famous for its copious salads. Soon enough the pleasant nature of both men facilitated their association. Their company which they named Dupont-Pichot Peinture found it easy to find clients, the devastated country in severe need of repairs. For the next years, they where highly busy working for all types of clients in Paris and sometimes in the province.

            We are today in 1953, and Dupont-Pichot Peinture have just received a commission to repair and repaint the façade of joke shop, located at the Rue des Ecoles, in the 5th arrondissement, a normal job, similar to so many before. The day is the 15th of June 1953. It is the last day of school for the children of the public primary school located in front of the shop. They headed there in the morning, around 9 o’clock, starting from the bottom up. By lunch the bottom floor was done, and they had raised their platform to the second level, which they finished by 2:30, pausing for a break. They raised the platform at 2:53 and had their break with a man who lived on the third floor. They shared some wine, and Maurice would have his usual cigarette.

           The animation starts here, with the bell ring of the school across the road, which spells the start of 2 month of vacation for the young children studying there.

The Setting

The Setting.

      I want my scene to be set in a 1950’s to 60’s Paris, with a retro look to the whole thing. It is summer so that I am able to add warm colours, and justify a strong light. While not going into a complete cliché of French life, I still really enjoy the looks, as found in films from those periods, such as Passe-Muraille and La Grande Vadrouille with Bourvil, or some of the Films made by Louis de Funes, like Le Petit Baigneur. I will look into these films for inspiration in their style, as some do not represent the era they where filmed in. The setting could be defined by pictures by photographers like Henri Cartier Bresson and Jacques-Henri Lartigue. Their pictures from the 50’s and 60’s define a style I am looking for. Bresson for the scenes, Lartigue for the movement. Robert Doisneau has also produced some highly interesting pictures of children which I will use as reference.

His pictures of children represent EXACTLY what I my two kids are like. I am not going to show all the pictures I am using, as I will do an influence map for that later, yet I will show the few of resume my idea the best.







I want the design of all the buildings to be similar to this, with the design of the joke shop similar to that of the Shakespeare library which I showed on my first influence map. I like the almost barren, stony look of these pictures, with the people really giving life to the whole.

First Story Construction.

            My story as reached another level of completion in my head, so I will expose here the main and still rough structure of the story.

            The Rough Story.

- The main cast will consist of five different characters, organized in two groups of two and a single other. The first group to be seen is made up of two children just coming out of school. The time is around 3 o’clock, on the 15th of June 1953. This will represented by a nice and still strong light, as this takes place at the end of the school year, therefore close to summer. The children are all running out of the school yet these two are faster as they have a plan to fulfil. The design for the two kids will be researched soon, as I am now working on the other set of characters, the 2:1. The next two consist of a pair of wall painters, seated on a suspended platform. This platform is very important to the story, and I will expand on it later on. The last character is the joke shop owner.

The sequence will start out with a map view of Paris. The camera will zoom in until it reaches the front of the school. As its zooms in, it shows the street that separates the school from the shop. We see a van coming in. As we reach the main gate we see children running around, with two at the forefront, our two protagonists. We pan outwards as we follow their run with an arc from the camera. During that time a police man is blowing his whistle towards them as the truck seen earlier brakes suddenly. We see the word mail on the side. We see the back of the children as the joke shop appears into view. It is a typical Parisian shop, and we see for the first time in a setting shot, the two painters in the back ground. The kids run past it towards the end of the street, when one of them catches the collar of the other, stopping him and bringing him close to whisper in his ear while pointing at the two painters. We see the two kids running into the joke shop as the camera rises to look give a close up of the faces of the two painters. A secondary character is present at a window and is talking with them. One wall paper pulls out a cigarette. We go back to the shop, where the two kids are at the counter, pointing at a pile of bags, pointing and raising the other hand showing the number two with their fingers. We then look at the shop keeper who reaches to give it to them. We quickly zoom back to the kids on of them tapping the shoulder of the other and pointing at a slightly open door at the back that says, “No entry – Staff Only”. We zoom back to the shop keeper who looks suspiciously as he gives them the bags. Suddenly, as they grab the bags, whose content stays unknown, sprint towards the door.

This sequence is essential to the story. It is a quick change of shots between the two groups. We see the kids running up stairs with intense and swift music, and then we go back to the two painters and their windowed friend, as the music suddenly changes to a slower tune, and one of them starts lighting his cigarette. We alternate quickly between the two, implying a parallel time frame. They run up and the guy is about to light his match. They reach the top and slam through the door, which bursts open. They run towards the edge and we get a first look at the weird structure that holds the painters. They reach the edge as the match cracks a match. They through their bags and we follow their trajectory as they smash onto the platform. We suddenly see the two painters scratching themselves as the match falls on his cloth setting him on fire. In the movement the platform cracks and both men grab the bars holding the platform.  The man on the window in all the confusion gets a fire extinguisher. He sprays the man on fire which results him being pushed back dramatically backwards, in the manner of a trapeze artist. We follow him as the platform shifts its position, the momentum throwing the other on into a spin. This goes on for a few seconds when both let go and fall on the shade cover of the shop, which sends them hurtling through the air. We give a last shot to the two kids who have a great smile on their face.

The two painters are hurled through the air. We go the other side of the street back to the school, where we see the back of the truck pulling away, a pile of bags pilled up on the side of the street. We get a last look at the face of the two flying painters who are now holding each other. They are in complete shock. The last shot takes a look at the bags, where itching powder is written all over the bags. –

            The ending sequence still needs some polishing. I am not completely satisfied with the last view of the kids. Yet I want them to be seen, so that the viewer can understand this is meant.

My main scene will be the trapeze scene, with the two unwilling artists propelled through the air as they reluctantly are forced through complex figures. This is going to be a challenge to draw, but I am looking forward to doing it. The platform design is essential here, as it will need to pivot at some point to explain the different spins the painters are going to take. I will to a complete design of it later today or tonight.

Jono just gave me and interesting input, in that the kids should first have a look at the two painters before going into the shop. So I think that instead of making them run towards the shop, they’ll run towards the shop and then turn to go down the street when one pulls the other and points to the two painters, whispering into his ear. Then they run into the shop and we rise to see the two painters. Will add that into the story.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Influence Map - Joke Shop

Most the images I have found of joke shops are cheesy and really bad looking shops. My intention is too have a classy looking one. A nice street with nice architecture and a taste for sunlight. I am picturing quit a normal 1930's/50's shop front. Yet the sign and objects displayed on the front would be related to a joke shop. My first influence map for this plays around Parisian streets, as they are the ones I am most familiar with. I will play around shops of that style.

The Shakespear librariy on the top picture is a place I go to sometimes so it is familiar ni both style and atmosphere. 

Skyline Practice

I am now using some photo reference to paint my skies, I feel it gives that extra edge of realism that was lacking in my other pieces. It's not a carbon copy of a photo but it uses its details and general shape. This should enable me to produce purely imaginative pieces that are more believable than before.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Colour Research # II - Visual Emotions

Colour will again play an important role in the outward emotions of the characters. As my great love will always be “Bande Dessinée (BD)”, which I would assume would translate to something like a graphic novel, I am genuinely happy to find storyboarding quit similar to it. The intense use of visual language to represent movement and emotions is something present in BD which I would like to mirror in my storyboard. The strong emphasise on these visual cues will be portrayed through intense colour language.

Here I will try through some examples portray my view of some emotions and how they can be represented through visual symbolism.

First though I will have a look at some famous BD artists and try and find some recurring patterns which should invoke a certain school of thoughts. This can allow me to either try something different or accept conventions and work with them. There are many absolutely stunning authors/artists out there and the amount of work available is staggering. I will start looking through a few of them. These don’t portray emotions as vividly as I intend to do, focusing rather on facial expressions and minimal signs to represent to mind set of their characters. The first image come from a book called Souvenirs d’un Elficologue, drawn by Jean-Paul Bordier. It uses subtle lines to represent shock and quick movement. We might have though in the second image that the character was simply being angry. Yet with the addition of the lines we reach another level of intensity that is quit interesting. It would be interesting to identify which type of emotional signs can be used, while mixing them with strong symbolic colours, which should result in quit a potent extreme of exteriorly portrayed emotions.

The second set of images where drawn by one of my favourite artists. Juanjo Guarnido. The series is called Blacksad and represents a fictional 50’s America using anthropomorphism to symbolically represent the characters. Blacksad, the main character is depicted by a black cat with a white nose. All other characters are represented by animals that fit their main trait. The artists strong use of emotions through facial contortion is interesting as well as the movement implied through dynamic lines. These images explain my initial goal, which is to represent emotions through lines. I then will emphasize these lines through colour and some added depth to the shapes.

 My next step was to draw a few faces of my own and experiment with emotional sighs as I shall call them. They do not have any specific motif for now. I want to do this quit organically and let emotions come through the mark making. This is a beginning and I am running out of time. Ill spend more time on it tomorow.

I tried using soft colours but they don't work and just look like cheap 90's style signs. I will do more drawings using traditional methods as I belive it will look much better that way. And I will take my time.