Friday, 22 November 2013

"The Dark Road" Storyboarding.

So, I've been asked about how I've been putting these storyboards together so rather than posting excerpts and arbitrary boards as I have been doing recently, I thought I'd do a more comprehensive blog post about how I go about it.

I've been working on preproduction for a Noir feature film: gangsters and hit men, car chases and robberies – all that good stuff. So from start to finish:

Script/shotlist. This is what I receive from my client. Sometimes it's a brief description, for example “Shot 30: MCU on Jared, front on, waiting coolly in the driver’s seat. (Camera is peering in through front windscreen)” Sometimes it's a lot more precise, sometimes I'll get a reference photo or a thumbnail included with a quick doodle from the production team when they're wanting something specific.

Next, backgrounds. In most cases I make the backgrounds in 3D. I can get more detailed backgrounds in there and surprisingly it also works out quicker, if there are multiple shots in the same location I can just move the camera around a little bit and tweak the lighting. It's also useful to get the exact shot I'm looking for and gives me a lot more control over the scene. It's essentially a mini set for me to play around with. Also over the course of jobs that I've finished, I've built up an archive of models; items and locations that I can place in the scene. Of course some items still need to be made... such as this moose head from a bar scene in “The Dark Road.” I don't know if I'll ever need to make a moose head again. If I do, well, I've got one now.

Then I simply draw the characters directly into the computer, a few tweaks to the tones and mood lighting for the final polish and it's done.

Why do I use 3D for the backgrounds? Well, I'm working towards combining my animation work and the storyboarding work into animatics next year. I saw this superb work and realised that I'm doing something very similar with my work. If you saw the "Noir" animation I released earlier this year, it's pretty much the same idea; hand-drawn characters over 3D backgrounds.

Finally, here's a quick demo of another shot:

68. TWO SHOT, Jared and Sam in Ryan’s mansion. They have turned the place upside down (piles of smashed junk everywhere), books pulled out of a bookcase (RHS frame). At the back of the shot a large, tall window, with one pane has been smashed (their entry route). To the left Jared (facing away from camera) is searching through items (chucking stuff behind him). Sam is in MCU, LHS frame. He is holding a book, looking at it. The book’s title is ‘The Suicide Club."

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