Tuesday, 30 October 2012

From Illustration To Animation: Making 'Monsters' Move

Many of the sequences in the music video 'Monsters Ashore' involved the work of more than one person.  A key set of sequences in the video involve the good ship Arethusa on her journey into the dark unknown.  We had decided to use an 'olde mappe' look for these and therefore got to work creating artwork in this style.

The process was thus:  Katie used references from old sea maps and other materials to create some lovely concept illustrations of terrible sea monsters, waves, charts, a compass and the Arethusa.  These were beautifully hand rendered and some can be seen here.  This concept artwork was then scanned and passed onto Ellie, who traced and coloured Katie's original illustrations to create 2D digital artwork from the pencil drawings.  Although we had to make some alterations for technical reasons, we tried to remain as faithful to Katie's original concepts as we could so her vision was maintained.  These resultant digital files were far easier to manipulate and could be quickly scaled up and down without loss of resolution, for example.

Having reproduced all of the illustrations, Ellie then animated each element in Adobe After Effects.  We wanted a 'Victorian paper theatre' feel to the movement, so the use of keyframe 'tweened' animation suited well.  Et voilà, the good ship Arethusa was launched onto the high seas.

Ellie also produced a marvellous and truly monstrous angler fish in a similar style for use in the underwater sequences, which both provided a stylistic link between these and the map sequences and added more visual interest to the scenes (no offense Loins!)  These fabulous specimens were again animated in After Effects, although this time via 3D layers and masks, which was the prevailing technique used to composite this watery underworld.

Here fishy, fishy, fishy..!

About Ellie Dickens
Ellie Dickens is a digital artist and 2D animator. She is currently studying for a master's degree in animation and has an animated film competing in this year's Cornwall Film Festival and UK Film Festival. She enjoys creating weird and wonderful creatures but also has a penchant for parody and mischief. Some of her mockery can be seen at www.arseandelbow.com.


The Singing Loins
The Loins have a new album '...Here On Earth' coming out on Damaged Goods on 5th November. It's on CD and digital is available for pre-sale now. They're holding the album launch gig up in London at the legendary 100 Club on Oxford Street on the 6th. Tickets are £7.50 (in advance) and available here.

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