Monday, March 12, 2007

Leaf a Question

Today I made a computer sketch of what the Answer Tree from yesterday's post would look like when finished.

I used several [All Mighty] Photoshop techniques, including my first attempt at creating with a displacement map. I am constantly amazed at the depth and power of Photoshop. I learn to do new useful things with it all the time. Adobe coders, you've rocked it hard for twenty years.

And thanks to reader Ben's good suggestion, I've set up a flickr page just for Answer Tree questions on the right in the sidebar. All are invited to leave an important question there and then check back for a photo of an answer, after the tree has grown out its leaves.

Hmm, maybe the dried paper answers should be collected into the leaves of a book?

Update: um, I'm a little (in a good way) freaked out right now... I just figured out who writes the answers!! It's the Writing Mouse, who lives in the chalet in the tree's roots!! What's freakie about this is that I have known the mouse wrote things for 14 years, but I only thought about answers being written on the leaves after making the hollow an ear shape by accident yesterday! And only just now have I connected the dots together to make what I feel is a wonderful folk tale concept. Blogging rules!!! Thanks for being out there everyone!

More:This is like the fifth time I've edited this post in excitement over this new development in Halfland. Listen to this... Now I know why Tarn, the crow woman, is so desperate to reach the cottage. It wasn't the cottage she was after, it was to reach the tree to ask a vitally important question. I also now know that Rana, the goat woman weaver, doesn't ever ask questions of the tree because she IS wisdom itself symbolically. I also realize that the collections of dried paper leaves from the answer tree are the first books ever made anywhere, just as time itself originates in the Time Frog's eye. I have some updating to do in the story outline post.


  1. Whew!!! Awesome!!

    A day of epiphanies in Halfland!

    I love that feeling when ideas start building on each other and suddenly connect in a perfect chain reaction.

  2. Man-o-man, thanks, Mike, you are right there! It was a fun rollercoaster ride in my imagination yesterday! I absolutely LOVE these new additions to the Halfland story. And I love that I already know the short film that is for after Halfland is made because I really wanted to make more stories on this hard-won set, but I couldn't imagine another story would fit until this.

    In Halfland, the little writing mouse puppet (only about 1.5" long) will make a cameo appearence. But for the film after, I'll make a larger Writing Mouse pupp and a one room set of INSIDE his chalet, where we'll see him scribbling on a pile of seeds, roots, or leaves or something.

  3. Let the epithanies come!


    Have you made any more scrools for the mouseys lil Chalet?


  4. Thanks, Ben! Nope, I haven't done any further props yet for any character. I am trying to put all the time I can into building the main set right now, and maybe a little animation practicing.

    But oh, what fun it will be to make his little room with all the ink bottles and scrolls.

  5. I really want to make a film about a listening tree now, you always come up with the best ideas first!


  6. You should do it, Ben!! You've got the real listening tree near you, in the park, right? There are so many creative ways to express the same idea! I saw a great clip recently on Vimeo by a French film artist where he hand drew white boxes around real time footage of people walking outdoors. It was great. There's no end to how you could tell the story you want. Do it do it do it!

  7. Hey shelley, Thanks, I'll have to send you a picture of the tree, you cant see the ear but its roots were very inspiring!


  8. EXCELLENT! creative contagiousness!


  9. How symbols unravel secrets amazes me. If we allow ourselves to create from instict, by letting ourselves create without thinking too much, I find that those pieces (ie goat woman, leaves, tree, crow woman...) all come together in a perfect fit. Much like a puzzle.

    How I wish I could master Photo shop. But learning it in French is just too hard for me.

  10. Thanks, Justin!

    Yes, Corey, isn't creativity a truly marvelous thing?! I sure wouldn't have thought this up directly. It had to blossom at a natural pace.

    Why en Fronch-seah? Por Quah? tee hee. Are you telling me that all your computer software there is in French? yikes. no, no, you would want to try to learn software in another language--much too hard.

    Can you switch the language that's displayed to English by any chance? I know Adobe give nice trial versions of Photoshop so you could assess wheter you take to it. With your imagination, it could be a match made in heaven!

    Ben, I'd love to see that tree!!!


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