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?!


  1. I saw Triplets of Belleville in the theater and loved it! I even have the soundtrack. I'm so glad you like it. And I really hope you feel better, and that you can strike that balance between ideas and time... :)

  2. Don't feel bad Shelley, that's just the way it goes. Remember Sven's wpords from one of our first Production Marathons.... something to the effect of "Don't try to become 'the artist who works all the time' or you'll only end up disappointing yourself". You definitely need to take breaks now and then. And while you're on break, don't beat yourself up and feel like you should be working.

    Heh, funny as it sounds, after all the praise I've heard for it and even being set in my hometown (though in a different country) I still haven't seen Triplets. Thanks for bringing it back into my focus.

  3. Thanks, Sweet Jessica Marie! That soundtrack kicks all kinds of tush.

    Thanks, Mikeeeeeee! You know, it isn't that I feel down on myself about the lack of progress--NO! It's that it hurts. It hurts to be on an 11 flow/pressure with a #2-sized time-tube!

    It's more like--whoa! how is this going to work? The building, making, animating, editing the whole thing from one person?!

    It takes ARMIES of talented people to make these. It takes ARMIES of talented people working round the clock YEARS to make these!!

    It's more like that...


  4. Oh, and yes, I think you'll dig the Triplets, Mike. Sylvain gives a nice peek into his creative process in the extras and how the awkward lanky (oh so odd) triplets' body attitudes were built on a cross between 7 foot tall black basketball players he saw in NYC and his grandmother!

  5. Oh ok... NOW I can see the woman and child in that image. I had no clue what it was supposed to be... I thought it was some kinfd of giant crab or something. Even when you said woman and child i couldn't see them for a long time.... didn't realize you have to look at it sideways!

    Maybe it's just me, but that one's too hard to see, and I must admit I can't see any body forms in the other pic of mountains either. I'd say be a bit more obvious than that if you want it to show up in Halfland. Just my opinion. ;)

  6. I can't see the landscape in that! All I see is peoples. But then I go around in life seeing faces everywhere, even when they're not there LOL! Ahem, it's a brain pattern recognition issue. The animal brain seeks to rapidly ID faces for safety reasons. In modern times, it's just a mildly annoying artistic bent.

    There's no body relationship in that top image btw. I just grabbed it for demo of style.

    I'm hoping as you say, Halfland's will be working fully on both levels; the landscape will read as such and yet again also be recognizable as my body parts.

  7. Hey herself!

    I went into Triplets with a bit
    of {that looks grody} mentality.

    But when I saw the film i really loved it. The designs, animation and story felt really unique.

    glad you liked it.

    Stay strong!


  8. Hey Justin!! Triplets IS pretty grody! LOL Everything is weird and ugggly. But it somehow works anyway!

    A lot of love in it I guess.

  9. Yeah, I went through the process of trying to find who the artist of the picture was too. I couldn't work out who it was for sure either. Funny that some people can't see the people... who woulda thunk it. I'm with you, I see faces all over the place too :)

    Such a shame that Triplets of Belleville was Oscar nominated the same year as the cash cow that was Finding Nemo. At least Chomet won an Oscar in 98 for his short the Old Lady and the Pigeons. I'm sure you'd find it on YouTube if you like his style.

  10. Lurv that Terragen BTW. Excellent find.

  11. Oh, now that I've seen it, all I can see is the peeps!!!! Can't believe it took me so long though! I was looking at little specks and thinking "is THAT them?"

  12. Hey, Rich, thanks again for sending it! I lurve it.

    The master Terragen-er, Jeff Quick, nicely sent me a "node" that will allow me to use photos as the basis in TG2, which I went straight away to download for me Mac. Tomorrow, I'll give it a whirl! Try it! How's yer head doing?

    Hey Mikeski! Now you've got "it" too! Doh! DaVinci called it Paradolia. It's one of my favorite things to collect photos of, faces and forms in things.

  13. wait--scratch that--I call it... Pareidolia

    from Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apophenia

    Pareidolia is a type of apophenia involving the finding of images or sounds in random stimuli.


    The Principia Discordia refers to the act of seeing order which does not really exist as the Aneristic Illusion, and avoiding this illusion is a major tenet of the Discordian religion. The Principia illustrates this with a drawing of five pebbles, and gives several possibilities for the shape (a pentagon, or a star, or disorder). It goes on to state that "an Illuminated Mind can see all of these, yet he does not insist that any one is really true, or that none at all is true".


  14. Oh yeah.... I've always seen faces and turtles and dinosaurs in clouds, trees etc. Also peeling paint on walls, stucco etc. I used to be angry because when I was trying to learn how to paint my pallette always ended up looking better than my paintings!!! (wait a minute.... that's got nothing to do with it! ... oh yeah, but I'd see faces and stuff on my pallette... and they looked better than the faces i was painting!!!!) I used to use a butcher's tray for a watercoor pallette, and I remember I stopped using it for a long time once because it had this great elongated frog-dude on it! I almost wanted to frame it and hang it.

  15. Same here! You can draw/render/paint, Mike, but I. can. not.

    My accidental Pareidolia art is far more interesting than anything I could attempt to make directly. I look for those accidents, feature them, and then act like I meant to do that all along!

  16. Going by the sound, "Mae e Filho" could mean "mother and son" (I'm too lazy to look up a dictionary at the moment :P)
    The pics are great. At first I couldn't see the people but now that's all I can see!
    There are a number of Flickr pools about pareidolia and found faces, I knew of one but looking for it I found many more! http://www.flickr.com/groups/foundfaces/pool/ , http://www.flickr.com/groups/facesobjects/pool/ are just 2
    I know what you mean about the #2-sized time-tube. It hurts. (Btw. I'm slowly working on the jellyfish, and I keep having more ideas for underwater critters.... *sigh*)

  17. That makes perfect sense, Enui! Mother and son or boy could very well be the title of this piece or at least how people refer to it. I suspect it was made in the pre computer era. It reminds me of artworks I use to stare at for hours as a child. I'll Google based on that.

    Jellyfish, eh?! COOL! You cats'outta the bag now, Amico! Jellyfish, that will be beautiful! Thank you!

    Yeah, tube size pain, ouch! My husband says that if I worked on my project for 2 hours everyday without fail first thing in the day I'd have time for everything. As he said it I realized that the cure for my pains would be worse than my suffering. Sounds horrible to me for some reason.

    Thanks for the Pareidolia Flickr pool links!

  18. I love the idea of using body parts for landscaping, cant wait to see what you come up with.....

    The director of 'Triplets' has a short film in 'Paris, Je T'aime' that I loved, one of the best shorts in the film, about a child telling the story of how his parents met....thing is.....both parents are mimes :) If I remember correctly it is mostly done with pixilation, worth seeing!

  19. Hi Ubaduba! Hey--I bet you do like the body landscape idea! You did this in your current film Unearthed! Using a cast of famous model as the base of one of the sets, and more?! Maybe it's the way look at life :-*

    Thanks for the tip on the movie. Should I Flix the whole thing or Tube the short do you think? (a modern sentence?)

  20. You could probably just tube it, heres a link in fact...

    Tour Eiffel

    Out of 20-some-odd shorts in the film, I'd recommend only about 5 of them (Alfonso Cuarons, Gus Van Sants, & Wes Cravens come to mind)....

  21. What an incredibly sweet film! Thank you so much for finding the link, Uba!

    So charming. The end is magical. Someone had to address the Mime question in a French compilation I guess, n'est-il pas ainsi?

  22. Too cool, I love the triplettes des belleville (I think I spelled that wrong!)Ha, The first scene is the best with the fat women and their husbands that they were sitting on!

    Its ok to be behind too!


  23. Thanks, Ben. Yeah I'm behind all right, like the little men smooshed under the big women's bumms.

  24. Ahh, the head's alright. Occasionally the tumour presses against nerves, like the eye nerves for the teeth, which gets a little uncomfortable. Nothing a few tablets can't fix though... although, they make one a little doughy. So I tend to spend a fair bit of time crashed in front of the telly... boring! I'd prefer to be making films. But hey, only a couple of weeks til the operation now.


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