Sunday, 10 February 2013

Gondola concepts

Small update for today, some concept work for Charon's gondola - we're working on things back here, I swear! :)

Friday, 18 January 2013

Character Models - Ghosts

The ghost models are finally done, or close enough to present to you guys, anyway! Here's the girl:

I think the trick with a simple character like this is to try as hard as possible not to overcomplicate things. That sounds obvious, but the moment something begins to be translated into 3D, it's very tempting to waver off model, which immediately loses the charm of the initial design. It was important to keep the flour-sack shape, as well as the smoothness and roundness, which makes for a nice strong contrast with Charon.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Colour Script

Even though CDIH takes place in one environment, with the lighting changes it's pretty important to nail down a solid colour script for the short, to make sure all the shots/segments match the right emotional pitch, as well as making sure the colour transition isn't too jarring. These basically represent the colour palette for different points in the story - I'm only posting a segment of it right now, since I don't want to give everything away!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas Day in Hell

Merry Christmas, everyone! 

This is the best time of year to be working on a winter project like Cold Day in Hell - and also the best time of year for hot chocolate and mead and sparkly things, which we all love as well. We've got some really exciting work done in this last month and really can't wait to show you guys everything, but that'll be in the New Year - so go on, go have an amazing festive season! Thanks for keeping up with the blog and for all the comments and feedback we've had from you guys - it really means a lot, and we're really happy that we can share, learn from and inspire you guys into another year. Here's to 2013!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Monday, 3 December 2012

Cold Day in Concept Art

It has to be said, the River Styx never really seems to be a happy place.

In most media I've seen it in, the visual concensus seems to be washed-out colours and a kind of sparse, rocky landscape in the distance of a wide river, usually filled with writhing souls. In my early concepts, this is pretty much what I went for. Minus the writhing.

Styx represents despair; it is the point where it is simply too late to change whatever kind of life you have led, and all you can do is give in to the inevitable voyage towards your fate.

Of course, the difference between most stories that contain the Styx and Cold Day in Hell is the emotional shift. Once it starts to snow... Well, suddenly there's hope, there's something that makes you want to live again. I wanted to represent that emotional shift in the environment as well as the characters, so once the Styx has frozen over, the colours gradually take on a sort of dawn glow.

I was happy with these lighting ideas, but not with the environment itself. The mountains don't really say anything and they allow us to easily get visually lost in the world, with no real points to anchor the camera on, other than Charon's boat. So instead I started mixing up the ideas a bit and instead decided on the concept of the edges of the Styx being made up of ruined buildings.

I really liked this idea - coupled with the mist, it has a sort of graveyard look to it. Further to this, the Styx flows underground, but in a space large enough to have its own sky. The 'roof' above is cracked, which adds to the feeling of everything being broken and desolate here on the way to Hell. Moreover, the ruined buildings very much match Charon, but contrast with the ghosts, making them seem even more out of place.

I find I often add a lot of religious symbolism into my design ethos - so here, I chose to base the ruined buildings places of worship, such as churches, mosques and temples, to push the idea that this is a place shunned by God and gods alike, like the souls of the damned themselves. But with the coming of the snow, even Hell finds itself transformed into a powdered world of beauty and magic, like any dreary English city after a cold, cold winter's night.

This much lighting change is going to be quite a challenge - I'll be doing some tests on how to go about it this week, but I reckon it's possible by switching out lighting setups and textures gradually between shots. Greens will change out to blues and gradually to purples. This needs to create a kind of mid-point, where the river is frozen but the landscape is not yet totally covered in snow. I mashed up the two concepts I already had to make a third of what kind of look we'll be going for at this point in the story.

At the moment, it looks like the environment itself will be made mostly with a combination of some models and some matte paintings. The final look for Cold Day is also going to be quite painterly overall, so it should all fit together pretty well.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Character Model - Charon

It's been a while since our last update here, but we've been working pretty hard in the mean time. So I'm proud to present the model for Charon - which I've got far too much experience working on animation projects to actually call 'finished' yet, but certainly looking very much how he ought to. I did the rough model for him myself, but he was painstakingly cleaned up and polished by Kat.

Though his design is quite simplistic, it's pretty hard to get a model version of him looking just right - mostly, it was a pretty evolutionary process of modelling and drawing over the model pretty regularly to make sure the 3D version wasn't too far from the original vision. He's also got a set of skinny little bird legs under that robe, and even though you only see them in a couple of shots, it should really help with animating his walks and so forth believably.

The ghosts are almost there too, so hopefully we'll be able to showcase them here really soon! :)