Thursday, January 31, 2008

Something of Notes

Mostly collected from Ulla's links, I find images that are made in the exact blurry obfuscated style I hope to affect in Halfland. High key, desaturated, old lenses, dirt. Nothing straight and clear, all my hard won details semi-lost. This is what I want.
These are my most recent collected hill/landscape references.
These are the latest forest references. Both for the area around the cottage and the backgrounds.
Some further cottage details, Again from Enui's links, I found this killer great thatched cottage "face". Friend, Corey Amaro posted some incredible details of the doors and windows around her French province. Snagged and noted for the cottage details. Love the way the flowers are hung on the window shutter, upper right.
MAJOR SCORE FOR HALFLAND! Downstairs Clare seemed to be feeling a little better when I saw him Monday night at his birthday party (seen above lower left with Jean-that-goes-with-Clare that night) So today I took a big chance and brought down a scale template, plank of wood, and inspiration image down to Clare to ask him if he would consider making The Door for Rana's cottage. He said yes (!), and I saw his wheels turn right away as to how he would do it! Hooray! This is a major score for the film! Clare is an amazing artisan. I'm so pleased.
Art Bonus: Animal Pareidolia
I saved this meadow grasshopper shot for something in the future because it looked like a human wearing a grasshopper costume. Then reader, Enui, sent a couple terrific pareidolia Flickr links in the last post's comments and I found this old painted and rusted metal face that looked so similar. My first animal/found-face pairing. Love it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Land Ho!

Type of digital way-background art to be made for Halfland's sets

The small daily act on making the physical set fell off about day 9 or so. I got tired and told myself I'd make it up the next day with a double portion. Then the next, and so on. I kept on full throttle, as I have been all these years, in terms of mental energy going towards the film, which is also important and fine, except it doesn't match the carnal labor of building in real life for getting things done.

What I've been doing is being in pain a lot, had to cancel everything last week in order to loll about and take pain meds, occasionally experiencing agonizing cramps and frozen shoulder joint pain. Grabbed Shari's kids King holiday for our annual Art Day here. Appointments, errands, housework before that. Graphic work looms in between everything with meetings, design hours, and presentations.

Concerning Halfland, I often feel like I've got creative spigot on 11 and the physical time tube it's supposed to fit through is only a size 2.

A few cool Halfland progress things to report in spite of the above, I found a book in a used book store called, "Landscapes without Memory" by Joan Fontcuberta (Aperture, 2005). In it he used grayscale images of his body, ear, lines of hand, etc. (ok, even penis), as the terrain input for the marvelous free photo-realistic scenery generator, Terragen™, created by Matt Fairclough. It's for Windows and the Mac OS, free for personal non-commercial use.

I'm currently asking around the web for information on how I might do this for the way-background creation for Halfland. I'll report back my progress on this. The landscapes in the book are interesting in that you wouldn't see them as body parts without knowing the origin, which interests me for Halfland. Not to be used straight and clear, obfuscated, blended with physical sets and digital atmospheres.

This, along with the Terragen concept has got my motors revving.
UPDATE: Even before I came across the book above by happenstance, Rich Van Der Male of g3t Films sent me this incredible image by Mae e Filho (?) (which when I Google and translate means something in Portuguese? Not sure of the artist's name). In any case it's a WOW of an image. I love how you see the landscape FIRST and then the brain/sight shifts to see the Asian woman and child half (HA!) submerged! A very talented and kind Terragen expert has already written me to say he's got instruction for this technique ready to send to me tomorrow! W00t!

There's a POND for the Time Frog!! I didn't know that before! Yes, the stream will pool as it curves around the cottage, down a spell from the kitchen. There's where the frog will have his lilly leaves and attempt to snag a Musca Tempora (Time Flies) !

Going to make the table in the living area a half table (need the room anyway) and there'll be vine-shaped wire candlelier lights, the lanterns might be moth-wing shaped. And I'll be having a lot of fun making the crab cakes for the hermit crab as fancy decorated lemon layer cakes!

Triplets of Belleville and a story of Today's Self-Selection CultureFrom the opening scene rendered in a great 1930 cartoon style
A few months ago a friend sent Paul and I the YouTube link to this clip from the Triplets of Belleville. We hadn't seen the 2003 movie as we don't generally dig 2D animations and let it slide by. We loved this clip and Netflixed the dvd, couldn't get over how wonderful the film was, a devoted labor of obvious love on the inspired maker, Sylvain Chomet's part. His is a distinctive animation style, grotesque and dark, yet somehow he managed to get a lot of pathos, wit, and epic quirkiness into this piece. The integration between 2D, 3D, hand drawn and digital were all used seamlessly in service to the art. We loved it so much we bought our own copy. YouTube>Netflix>Amazon. Interesting.

Fun UPDATE: I was watching these clips and reading further and came across a treasure trove of 1930's cartoons on YouTube, what a world! This one, Opening Night (1933)Nice squash and stretch like Justins! appears to be one of the influences for the opening scene in Bellevile, mas non?!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Making a Splash

(My apologies to the brilliant photographer who took these amazing undersea shots and to the blogger who linked them where I found them for not attributing them properly.) They give a preview of the look of the Halfland undersea scene in terms of texture, landscape form and lighting that I'm going for.

Be sure to check out the fantastic critters starting to come into to my fishy net now! (see them at right at the top of the side bar) I can't get over what a total THRILL it is to have talented artists, readers, and friends pitching in for the sequence and crafting some witty and wonderful little puppets! Keep 'em coming, everyone! (Details on how to join in are in the sidebar under the slideshow.)

To get you IN THE MOOooooD.... Please dear God in heaven go, go at once to this link for David Gallo's 5:21 minute presentation of footage of spectacular undersea life at the TED Talks (found via Swiss Miss!! Much of it is a revelation of nature's miraculous invention. BUT--the end, the very last few seconds, is such a shock that even after seeing it 6 times, in slow mo, in reverse, my mind cannot grasp the transformation it shows. Go and be amazed. really got my creativity sparked with the little bird caught in mid-flap on the right above. Believe you me this and the other spread wing images are my inspiration for the Birds in hats scene.

Attention guest artist, Rachel DiRenna! I think I've figured out what type of flowers the Flowering Thoughts should be modeled after... On the left is a photo of a botanical print I bought in Florance that I love very much. I believe they are dandelions (?) and --wait-- DandyLIONS? Should the flowering thoughts become little lion faces? Little feathery manes could be fun. On the right, is a kind of weedy daisy that my favorite all time floral-photoist Kim Carney took. Love this for the Thoughts. So that's it, little daisy-like, dandelion, weeds-to-most-folks beauties it is. How about I send the armature wire and print outs and we give one a try?

Bullets Over Halfland
Cracked studio window with hole from bullet, possibly the same bullet-made hole in a paper partition on the same trajectory Paul figured out all the way across the width of the place. What's that IN BETWEEN THE TWO BULLET HOLES?! Hmm? THAT'S RIGHT IT'S THE HALFLAND Wonder TREE! Not a scratch on her to be found!

Yeah, so a couple weeks ago I look up next to my desk to discover a pretty violent bullet hole in the window right there. I looked back in recent photos taken of the set and sure enough found the hole showing in them as early as the 7th of the month. It's possible it happened over night on New Years as many people around here tend to fire their guns in the air to celebrate things like that. Or it could be a stray off of a gangland shooting that seem pretty frequent based on the bam bam bams and then sometimes the police helio-choppers that hover for a time.

We've concluded that regardless of when it happened that it was not meant as a personal attack and so we plan to stay living here and hope that it was a one-of fluke, not to be repeated, so that no one ever is harmed in any way.

We have installed a new policy to let guests know in advance that the neighborhood is raw and that while we've not had any other brush with danger that we know of, well, other than the AK47 automatic weapons fire at the corner building a couple years ago, and the red dot of a laser site on the window when we first moved in (both of those times we sure as heck hit the ground fast!)
but other than that everything's been pure bliss.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Day 7: Ground Work

A basic pre-viz sketch of the grounds-arounds Rana's Cottage. Creating this helped tremendously with seeing what I'm going for out of cardboard. Now I know how to build the land between the front porch level and the bottom of the creek bed. (see photo below)

I've been making sure to take an actual physical step on building the set each day. Many of the steps were too dull, such as taping paper down on the floor, to document in a post so I just noted them in the Twitter window on the scroll, at right.

Here's the thing, I found out last year that the only progress I made on actually building the set came from doing something each and everyday. I think, and formulate, and create the project in my head constantly, but building it? Funny, that seems to take actually doing it. Most nights over the last week I was too tired to comfortably do anything but I pushed, at least enough to do SOME thing. It wasn't "fun" per se, NOT AS FUN AS THINKING ABOUT STUFF IS, but making progress gets me C-l-o-ser to working on the hyper-fun parts of it. And friends, the fun stuff is like Crack.

So, so far I've roughed in the stream bed out of cardboard propped up on empty boxes. Next will come cardboard flats held up by tubes support legs. Once the landscape is completely roughed in this way, the next step will be to begin the build up of land topography with clumps of newspaper and masking tape which will then be hardened with layers of paper and plaster mache.

It doesn't look like a week's worth of work but the building materials are organized and the stream is taking shape. And one thing's for certain... this stage would not be done today if I hadn't inched my way towards it each day.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Resolved and Ready

I am resolved to make a small act on Halfland each day of 2008. Today's act was to finish cleaning out and reorganizing the workshop. Seen here is the ready-for-fun paper shop set up in the middle of the space. On left, I took over an old newspaper rack from the bodega on the corner to display rolls from our paper collection. A new Christmas gift (not from Gretsven) of a scarlet star lantern (certain people reading will hopefully feel right at home when they visit next tho, maybe I should gift it) is rigged with rubber stamped letters to designate the papercraft zone. On the right, under the bunny mascot couple (Nelson, if you're reading this, no, they are NOT chipmunks!) is a cabinet holding our extensive Sabuda/Reinhart pop-up book collection and all the pop-up instruction books we could possibly get. We read them but still haven't had the big Eureka! breakthrough allowing us to understand them yet. See my new post on Paper Forest, it's about Paul's newest exciting success in his attempt to understand the art.

Above is some of what I pulled out of the workshop during the renovation. It's a nearly ocd hoarding of cardboard tubes, newspapers, cardboard boxes, hardware cloth, chicken wire, and mini lumber that will begin to take shape this week as the infrastructure for the landscape around the Halfland cottage as well as it's roof.

Tomorrow I plan to start sculpting the cardboard into the land around the cottage and shaping the fresh water stream that runs along nearby.
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