Sunday, 13 November 2011

Dinosaurs, Directing and D-ayne Darlowe...?

So apparently there's a new dinosaur CG series out there. It comes from Discovery Channel in the US, and I'm sure this one will be different than all of their other action-oriented, over the top CG documentaries on animals...


This makes no sense.

The skull-faced Tyrannosaur says it all,really. This isn't even slightly aimed to educate. It's just for the action. The bizarrely directed, convoluted action.

So, Dinosaur Revolution is essentially Discovery Channel's answer to Planet Dinosaur.
Watching clips of Dinosaur Revolution has put Another Life into some perspective in terms of animation quality and performance, and has almost guaranteed that Another Life will be cut down, to ensure that the footage we make doesn't look like this - their animations are too cartoony and/or weighless and/or bad, and the dinosaurs act more like characters than creatures. This is an issue that will need to be kept in check with Another Life. Also it has taught me a lesson in shooting - Dinosaur Revolution is quite cinematic in its choice of camera angles - and falls flat as a documentary because of it. I have learned. Although, the models and compositing look lovely.
The problem with cutting the film down to a manageable length is difficult - as the current narrative is already compressed enough. I may have to re-write the storyboard, removing the original story arc of "Poor Plateahead, that bright-eye is evil. Oh wait, no it isn't, it's just feeding its baby" and replace it with something more shallow, focusing more on the action. Perhaps beginning with the slow establishing landscape shots, and cutting right to the chase. (No pun intended, but you can laugh if you like).
I have a newer idea for a shorter intro.

Fentil orbiting slowly in front of Olympus, Slow zoom into the mediterranean continent.

Cut - A closer, satellite-esque shot of the continent as the Fentil rolls slowly underneath. Slow zoom.

Cut - A high, helicopter-like shot flying towards the Tile Top plain.

Cut - Closer shot of Tile Top plain showing grazing Plateheads.

Doing these long, slow shots can save animation time while filling screen time. I was told in the production meeting earlier this week that these filler shots can be a life saver. As I said earlier, I may have to re-write the entire storyboard.

Speaking of Plateheads, I have received feedback from CG coach on their design.
This is the newest reference sheet I'm working on for the Platehead.

I always get caught up in making it look pretty.

Apparently model needs more definition of muscles and skeletal system visible through the skin, which is a fair criticism. I'm grateful for the feedback, but I'm worried that I might get too caught up in their suggestions and alter the original designs.

The visual feedback

One of the comments seemed to be that the proportions weren't T-rex enough - which is most likely because they probably aren't as educated on TailFeeder anatomy as I am (how could they be) so I will probably be spending a decent portion of my feedback discussions explaining how they work. It feels silly, but I think I'd rather they know that I chose to make certain parts a certain way, and not that I just don't understand anatomy.
I also don't think that sentence makes too much sense.

Finally, on the topic of aliens, I recently discovered that Wayne Barlowe (very good artist) has a Wordpress website. I'm pretty sure this is new, but people on the internet tell me otherwise. Not only does he have great, strange designs, but the way he renders them with pencil is just beautiful and tangible.

Anyway, so this website has some of his best work, including some of the concept art for AVATAR (Which I had no idea was actually in capitals)

As well as some concepts for Dante's Inferno

And also some useful drawings of some of his Expedition Aliens.

THIS one in particular would have been useful about a year ago when I modeled this Arrowtongue, using a reference sheet I made by studying various other drawings from the book

Shameless plug

Now then, back to writing a narrator script.
Oh yeah, I'm definitely having a narrator now. It'll help convey what's going while also saving time.

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