Wednesday, March 26, 2008

BGs in Space!

Hopefully you're not getting bored of these yet, cuz here's another!

in this scene we find ourselves in orbit. wait... you go from a trailer park in the desert to 'up the gravity well' in the same cartoon? you'll have to trust me that it makes sense.

OK, in orbit... as you can clearly see below (maybe not so clearly) is a satellite weapon pointed towards the earth. i wanted the space around the earth to be choked with satellites... spy, media, military, etc., so that's what all those little boxes are supposed to be. the name on the satellite in the storyboard is T.H.O.R., but this changes a few times before I finish, because I couldn't decide what clever reference to use. first I wanted to use norse mythology, hammer of the gods kinda stuff (totalitarian governments tend to like that sort of thing). I was even contemplating calling it "Project Rainbow Bridge" (??). BUT the video game "Gears of War" has a satellite weapon called the "hammer of dawn" or some such, and I'm already including a rather lengthy G.O.W. parody in the 'toon, so i decided against all things hammer related.

So then comes the perspective guide...

count it for me... ONE... TWO... AHH, THREE POINT PERSPECTIVE!! My first try at anything beyond 2, so kinda a big deal for me. actually a little confusing at first trying to determine which vanishing point to use. although now that i've mastered it, i think i'll skip straight to 7 point next time.

now the almost finished product...

I say almost because this screen grab still has the satellite sporting the name "HARPY III". Sadly, HARPY wasn't pulling it's weight so the name of the space weapon was changed yet again. but first a little about HARPY... I vaguely remembered hearing about a space gun program called HARP, so it seemed a natural reference to make. something for the conspiracy crowd. unfortunately after a little research i discovered that HARP was a big gun on the earth used to shoot satellites into orbit. wrong kind of space gun. so now the satellite bares the name CROSSBOW, which is of course a reference to the excellent movie, Real Genius.

you're probably wondering why the earth has 'region 1' and 'region 4' on it. well i had originally divided up the globe by European Union, North American Union, Pan Asian Union, etc. (once again for the conspiracy crowd). but i decided it'd be funnier and more in step with the CO.ST if i divided up it by DVD region codes. WE'RE REGION 1! WE'RE REGION 1!

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Story Board to Background Painting...

Here's a scene where our hero, The Agent, happens upon the abode of the cartoon's villain.

First, the story board:

i tend to draw pretty light (lighter than what my scanner can pick up without showing what's on the reverse side of the page, anyway), so it's hard to see that there's a trailer in front of The Agent in the middle of that mess. You might also notice the heap of a car over to the right. no, that won't do at all.

Next comes the 2 point perspective guide:

MAN! Frank Lloyd Wright couldn't have done better himself! (just kiddin' FLW) This is the first time i've taken the effort to add any serious perspective to my cartoons, and i think it's made a difference for the better. and if not, well it was fun! hopefully it won't make animating too much of a pain. I draw 'em on three 8.5x11" sheets of paper taped together lengthwise, so i have room to kick the vanishing points out as far as i need. then i scan it in and come up with...

The finished background:

i know what you're thinking. you're doing a Flash cartoon... this clearly wasn't done in Flash. you're right! it's Painter! My friend John Worsley introduced me to Painter 9 before my Join the GOONS cartoon, and there was no looking back. besides the fact that it sets my cartoons apart from straight Flash projects, I just really like the way it looks.

That wasn't what you were thinking? OK, it must be that in the story board there were 2 palm trees and an awning on the trailer... where'd they go?! well, you might have also noticed the '69 Cadillac Coup de Ville. Those things don't come cheap! in order to afford the Caddie, we have to sacrifice on other things... like one of the palm trees and the fancy awning. these are the decisions that keep us directors up at night.

that's it for now. More to follow soon!