Wednesday, 29 August 2012

New blog! WHAT? AGAIN?!

So I've decided to return to my old blog (see link below) for one reason or another... Basically production on my film has halted... Whether it will start up again soon or not I don't know at this point. But what I do know is I've got a lot of exciting, busy, artsy things happening and stuff lined up for the future. I've got comic work, animated shorts, showreel things, film work... ALL SORTS. As my pap would probably say I got a lot of crispy ideas clinking around the old barrel. So Hopefully having so much to cover I'll be blogging like a tank all good and properly for once. I've got a huge blog gap to fill.. um. So bare with me. But I've got FOLDERS of work to throw up and stuff to scan, so expect updates to be REGULAR, maybe even TOMORROW! For my digital supporters and fellow blogmasters, EXPECT YOUR NEWS FEEDS TO BE ANNOYINGLY OVERFLOWING WITH RICH, tasteful, CARTOONY DELIGHT!

check out my NEW old blog.
It has changed.

for the better.

http://louisralph.blogspot.com/

if your clicking hand is weak, or busy, here's a snippet:



Ralph signing out.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Commission for Shelly

A mate of mine asked if I could draw him a title card. I love doing this sort of work on people's films so I gladly accepted. Stephen Shelly's film 'OFF THE RAILS' as far as I know is about a man who is late for a business meeting and is sprinting to get there on time when things go awol. Here's the title card I managed to do for him. He wanted me to draw his character. I had a lot of fun drawing it. The title is meant to suggest a tube train. Cool concept. His idea.




Here's his blog where you can find lots of great stuff. The guy's a stopmo wizard.
http://stephenshellyanimation.blogspot.co.uk/

Friday, 18 May 2012

Riding that freight train

Hand in was today. Didn't get my film finished in the end, but there are a couple of shots that I finished that I'm proud of.. so i'm not too glum.. I'm planning to continue working and complete my film over summer, even though the film has already been handed in, I think it's more important that I finish it now. Grades have never meant as much to me as becoming a better artist, and I feel like completing this film will be somewhat a milestone for me as an artist. It should also give me something prominent that I can sell myself as an artist with. A title to my name.

This post I'm gonna be talking about the shot from my film SC7S2 (or BG 7 I believe) and my process.
SC7S2
The final shot.
Bob points outside the box car.
I sketched tree underlays and scanned them into photoshop, where I coloured them in and layered them together. Importing them into flash (as I often do), I animated them as symbols, moving across the screen like a back projection in an old movie.


These trees look ochre-ish colour here - 


but here they could almost be green.

Pencil sketch layout for BG7 - SC7S2, forming the foundations of the whole shot.



Final background (excluding the tree aspect.

unused colour variation.

pencils for Jeb.


Little bit of a LAV / reference photo. Shout out to Chij and Shelly


The animation layer. Drawn in photoshop, constructed in Flash, exported into After effects.


rough map.
Tidy map.


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Over the hills and far away.

Yeah I should be updating this blog more than I have been...
This shot was sort of fun to do. I enjoyed animating the grass, even though it didn't turn out very good. The cyclical animation was too obvious. I also had the Jeb character walking into shot from the bottom of the screen. For that I just made a symbol out of s static image and rocked it back and forth to give the illusion of shifting weight between strides.. This also looked rather cheap and lazy, oh well. It'd be great to animate something in full just to prove to myself that I can do it. I like the vibrancy of the blue tones. This shot looks quite different from the earlier shots, and I think that works well as a progression, as the story is approaching present day, which isn't monochromatic at all.  Besides the grass blowing in the wind, which was animated in flash, all other elements were drawn up in photoshop and exported into flash as transparent background pngs.

Railroad sign.

moody weather.

Just some OT beginning sequence props.



Sunday, 6 May 2012

C A M P F I R E - S H O T shot



In this scene (SC4S1) the main character, Jeb, still having the dog attached to his arm, comes to terms with it and instead cooks it's carcass over a fire barrel. Simple enough solution to hunger when you don't have much else. In this shot I animated the fire straight into flash. I had a number of low opacity png layers of light that i imported into flash and raised the alpha up and down to give a sense of light flicker. I found it tricky trying to understand where the light would hit in the environment and how intense it would be.

check out that peeved expression.

check out that peeved pencil line work.
Not sure whether the perspective is correct or not in this picture. Don't look at it anymore don't question it there's nothing wrong look over here.

Made another small colour key to help figure out the lighting.




The pretty much finished BG.

Friday, 27 April 2012

More stuff...

SC3S1
garbage bin POV. gotta love a POV
overlay symbol animation. Looks pretty terrible, but it's effective.

SC3S2
"Damn I'm starved... I wonder if i can find something half decent to eat in this bin right here."
"Oh BEEGEEZUZ what the heck just bit me! That's not steak."
"ARGH IT'S A RABID DAWG"


I had a lot of fun animating this shot / performance. The extreme poses were fun, pushing the character's construction as far as I thought I could. Though if i'd had more time I would have put more inbetweens in it to make run smoother.


Saturday, 21 April 2012

Scene two shot one.

I decided to discuss now on my blog my artistic process, to a certain extent. I'm gonna be talking about this shot: SC2S1

How this shot came to be was I firstly freehand drew the background with a blue animation pencil. From there i scanned it into photoshop and added the colours and textures. I began working on the main character's 'busking' animation. I tried to keep everything relatively old looking with a monochromatic colour palette. Once the animation was complete, I started work on designing the pedestrians. I used the blue animation pencil again. I find it a lot easier to come up with designs and such freehand. Digital will always feel somewhat hindering to me.


I then cleaned up the designs in photoshop and animated them in flash as symbols.




Friday, 13 April 2012

At long last! a blog update.

Right so I haven't updated my blog in quite some time, nothing new there (pun unintended). A lot has happened since my last entry so it's sort of difficult to start this off. So if you could bare with me here.

Film production has been going well. I'm a fair bit behind my schedule but what I've been able to produce I'm pretty happy with. I feel like my latest work has been my best work, which is great. I love to know that I'm not getting worse as an artist. I'm learning more day by day, what works and what doesnt. That keeps me sane, knowing that i'm not taking steps backwards. I can't wait to see what I'm like by 2013.

Anyway, recently I've been concentrating almost exclusively towards hammering down the opening shots and the flashback sort of style. The results are pretty cool, design wise.

Here's a screen cap of the opening establishing shot to my film.
Not entirely sure why it's so elongated here. It's not meant to look like that.

I reckon it looks pretty neat. The character, the fence and street, the middle house, the other houses, and the background are all separate png layers that I've been able to place in a 3d environment on after effects. It allows me to move a virtual camera towards them to create a really cool multiplane effect. I'm a big fan of multiplaning. I think it really adds to the believability, immersion of a certain environment. The character layer was drawn in photoshop and exported as pngs, brought into flash and put into sequence. It was then exported as a png sequence which was then brought into after effects and placed into the 3d plane.


you can see here two of five separate components that make the shot.

I envisioned it alot differently in my old preproduction mock ups and sketches. The opening shot was originally gonna pan down from the sky to the street, but instead for one reason or another i decided to  incorporate a more elaborate camera move. I think the main problem was that to fit the originally tall shot into the 1024 x 576 frame the shot would have had to be quite zoomed in, and for an EST i wanted to keep it wide.. I dunno really.. The other noticeable thing is that the setting is changed. I originally wanted to have the sequence based in a more urban environent to enhance that whole dystopian rough, threatening concrete jungle feel (can't find the right word) , but after a weekend in France and discovering some really nice buildings in the more greener side of Cardiff, i became inspired to make it more like the outskirts of a big industrial city.

I think the colours look way nicer in this rough than the final shot. If i get the time i'll see whether i can make an adjustment.

This was the first sketch I did for the shot. I was looking for a more French look then.  It's also worth mentioning I was inspired by a painting done by William Wray
Here is some more old preproduction work, one of the turnarounds of the main character. He only has front and side views because I decided early on that I would only show those angles. I noticed it was quite typical of older cartoons (like the 30s and such) to have really flat on staging, so i tried to emulate that.

An action sheet showing a few different scenes.

more to come soon...


Thursday, 22 March 2012

BG14: The Multiplane POV zoom thing.

Video to be uploaded at a later date...

Scene 8 Shot 3 is meant to help strengthen the tranquil nature of the woodland setting, in contrast to the bustling city at the beginning of the film. It's where Jeb realises he can ultimately be happy. This shot is Jeb's POV as he approaches a clearing and the river which leads him to the bridge. He's just travelled through a dark forest and this shot and the one after (SC8 S4) are almost a momentary sigh of relief for Jeb. Hopefully the dusky, warmer, muted colour palette will present that when paralleled to previous shots.

First plane. Deep background.

plane 2 / overlay. First trees.

Plane 3. Another layer of trees for added depth / immersion.


mega foreground overlay, to give the feel of looking through trees and add further illusion of real depth.

... Colour noodling and a couple of texture layers later and I had this. 


Saving the individual layers as PNG's and importing them into after effects, setting up a camera etc, I managed to emulate space in a more effective way than if I was to have a one layer background zoom in. It works really nicely. It's a technique that is definitely relied on with a couple of other shots.

I didn't reference anything for colour, only my own colour keys.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Business studies 'Ultimate Image'.. It's been a while

It has been quite a long time since I've posted anything on here. Here's something. Hopefully I'll kick myself in the ass a bit and start posting more stuff.

Basically we were assigned a project to create our idea of the perfect image.. Well, an image to sell ourselves as artists and hopefully get work and stuff. This was mine. I took Ultimate Image quite literally and decided to picture me wielding swords and riding a bear / bike hybrid all epic and funny like. It's meant to be a joke. Frank Frazetta was a big influence, at least with the epic subject matter.. Mignola was too, but he always is.

I love Frazetta's work. It is genius. And I can't help but find it kind of embarrassing even talking about my work along side his.


From Conan I think. The muscle structure and definition. enough said. even the colour palette though. genius.


 I love this guys pose. What he's doing with his sword and shield, along with the horse, makes a really nice shape or silhouette or whatever. I've never seen anybody hold a shield like that before but it looks so sharp and dangerous looking. awesome.


He even painted a few bears in his time. 


This powerful pose to me sums up quite nicely what I think of Frazetta. I love him THIS much. Terrible joke aside, I took great influence from this painting in particular. Again the muscle structure is so well defined and just the pose in general and the expression of the warrior, like pure fury and bloodlust. awesome. Some day I'll be able to paint this good. One can keep dreaming.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Production for the Production blog

Production has started I assure you...
Things are slow on my film, but lately I've made some good progress. Things are coming together nicely and if I keep the pace I should hopefully have it at a near finished state by the 23rd of April, a week in advance of our first submittal. That's the goal. Here are some roughs, tidies, layouts, key poses, stills and such from some scenes from the film:


Scene 1 shot 1:
This is the background of the first EST shot. The main character Jeb sits on the steps of that house all good and central. He's been kicked out. The house is condemned to be pulled down. He just found out he has nothing. A mood is created with the use of lighting and rain as a emotional symbolic, signifier of sorts. Should set a high bar for the film. Should be good.




SC7 S1:
The first shot in reality, after the intro / flashback / dream sequence. Jeb is rudely awoken by noises and such. He remembers he's on the freight train, and he aint alone. He will have a neck.





SC7 S4:

Here, a drawing from a close up shot where Bob offering Jeb a drink.
Colour card / gradient background needs some work.





SC7 S6:
Jeb's POV looking at the label to the drink he's been offered.
You can almost see, between the rough and finished, my thought process into making the emblem look more ridiculous by giving the horse crooked eyes. I like that. The label is a sort of homage to John K's work, perhaps. His horse design was a particular influence. The lighting still needs to be adjusted, if I have time.

More to come.