What a delightful process. More or less the part where the story really comes to life and we get a good look on where we are going and what style we would chose. We saw what didn’t work, and what really did work. Shots were thrown away, re-drawn and thrown away again. We wanted it to be awesome, almost perfect, but most of all a good pointer on what style and how things could look and how the camera angles would work out.
From idea to storyboard.

We sat down individually and drew the whole movie or parts of the movie on small paper pieces. The reason we didn’t do this as a group, was that we wanted to see how everyone saw the movie. Easier to show than tell sometimes. And  by seeing every groups members look on things really boost our brains into new ideas. We then got together and drew more together.

The wall was covered in storyboard drafts! Loads of frames where drawn and thrown away again. We had some pretty major discussions about some shots, but we all was happy with the result when we got there. It's great to see the movie take shape up on the wall. The 1st draft was done after around 3 days or so. But it was a lot of things that we needed to fix and change, so we worked on it for another 3 days. This made to movie so much better, and we get new ideas all the time, some better than others.
So random frames that where up on the wall at some time.
From draft to final.

When we was happy with the storyboard up on the wall, we needed them to look great and show what kind of lighting we wanted. Knut and I was the one that drew the frames. Mats started on the animatic and Fredrik on the 3d Previz.

The start of the process of drawing the final storyboard was a bit harsh. I started drawing as good as I could, but when I showed them to Knut, well, let's say he didn’t really like them that much. We wanted a high standard on storyboard, I really couldn’t see why that was so important,  but now I do. More about that later.

Since Knut is such a perfectionist, a good thing in this say, he needed to learn me how he got his drawings so awesome. I sat besides Knut for some hours and just asked loads of questions and learned a lot. I saw how his way of doing things is, and used them when I started at my drawings.

Knut drawing at school.
The most important thing I learned was to pay attention to the light and where it comes from and how it would bounces of things. Things I really knew from the 3D programs, but something I really didn’t thought was that important in the storyboard and drawings in general.

For my drawings I just started with blocking out where the light come from, and the basic shapes of everything that was in the frame. Just worked from the  things far away to the ones closest to the camera, layer for layer.  Always refining. The last things I did with my drawings was  to darken and highlight some of the areas so objects or people stands out. A good contrast in other words. Then the frames were sent to Knut so he could have a look at them.

Above is 4 of the earliest drawings I did. And under is someone that was done later. I feel that I can see a improvement. And that’s a good thing.

I felt that I learned a lot, and think that my drawings improved over the short period of time.

The high quality - why?

Well, when Knut told me that my drawings wasn't good enough, and that I had to do them over again, I asked myself that question many times. Why so high quality? It's just to show people what happens in the story, the camera angles, light sources and pace. It's not an art gallery.

I was so wrong in many ways. First of all, I think our storyboard is an art gallery now. And I really think it is a good thing. People really want to take the time to watch the storyboard and animatic when the drawings looks good. We get more attention and with a lot attention comes many comments and critique. The buzz around it. And all of this feedback makes our movie better. So it's a good thing that we uses a big amount of time on that storyboard.

A another reason is that with a good and detailed storyboard, we are going to have easier way to get the finished 3d scenes with lights. We can use our storyboard drawings to get our models right, and we all know it should look, no mix ups.

So I admit that I was wrong. I can see the advantages now and it's great.

The inspiration - where does it come from?

When it comes to my inspiration sources, I am not sure where to start. I just cruises through the internet and look for good art. Love to see how people play with light and colors. But at this task, the storyboard, Knut was the biggest inspiration and he kind of had to be. We needed somewhat similar style and look on the drawings, so I tried to copy his look. Have a look at Knut's page if you want to see some great art.

Another artist I look to when I feel that I need inspiration, is Time Sale. I got my eyes up for this artist when I watched the Heroes the TV series for my first time. He is the one who drew all of the art to character Isaac Newton. Love the way he uses his ink to get an awesome look. He uses drew in black and white, and some others colors them because he is colorblind! Believe it or not.

And then it is Craig Mullins. He uses his brushes in a very rough way and get a totally unique style. I get a really good drive when I look at his work. You just want to draw something myself.
Art by Craig Mullins
Not much more to say about that. Here is the whole storyboard. Note: some changes in the story are made and will be made.

Just feel that I have to say some more about the story. Like what we chose and why we did choose it. That’s kind of why do this blog. So this can be a spoiler for the story of the movie. You are officially warned!

Our first idea, was to make a story where the girl was playing in here room, and without the viewer knowing it, we would swap into her imagination. We played with the idea of making a scary movie where people would be afraid of what would be happening to the little girl. Then at the end, we would reveal that she was only playing in her room with some pillows or something.

Overall a great idea, but we had a bit problems finding elements that could drive this movie forward. After a long discussion and a lot of thinking, we thought of the idea where she was lying in her bed, almost dead. Death is a serious theme, and need to be handled with care, but we wanted to give it a go.

When she is a place between life and death, she is being chased by a "smoke monster". The first part of the story will be driven forward by that she is being chased, but then she sees a warm light. Now she got a point where she needs to reach before the smoke catches her.

We still wanted a little girl as our main character. Everyone can imagine what a little cute girl is thinking when a big smoke cloud is trying to catch her. And a little cute girl is the opposite of a big scary monster thingy. By this we will get a perfect balance between good and evil, and life and death.

The story was still lacking something. We needed something in the start of the movie that would make people see the different between life and death. So we brought in the grandma. She is a key element in the movie, even though she just make a couple of small appearances. You will understand when the storyboard and the animatic is being uploaded here. Next week sometime.

All that we missed now, was a companion to the little girl. We felt that she couldn’t manage without a good mate on her journey. She needed something that she could be holding onto and giving her strength. We ended up with a teddy bear, the kids best friend.

So that’s it for now. Will come back with a couple of posts next  week I hope.

I haven’t been able to update the blog as frequently as I should be, but I am writing down stuff at the train and when I wait for other things. So I am taking notes on what to post later on.

First of all, we needed a name for our group. We thought of Fail Factory, so I did a couple of drafts.

But hey! We chose the name Polygon Ink. We really don’t want to fail, so Fail Factory wasn’t an option and Polygon Ink is a name that can be connected to 3d. So we went for that one.

We all were supposed to make some drafts and stuff. I just found a good font and played around with it and came up with this.

Design and stuff like that is just fun so I had a blast. After a while I came up with a good concept on how it could be looking like in animation. So I used After effects and 3ds Max, masked out the motion of the pen, made the text look like ink and ... let's face it, this blog shouldn’t be about the logo, so if anyone want know how I did it, just comment and let me know. Then I can make you a tutorial or something!

A almost finished logo were showed to the class under a presentation of the idea. They thought it was good, but my group members wanted some small changes. Motion blur. So I changed it and here it is. Got another epic idea for the logo too, but will concentrate on the production of the movie at this time, but will try that out later if I got some spare time. Oh well.

Looks like youtube didn't like it, so it crashed a bit in the start, but just close ur eyes the first second and ur good.
The story

I want to talk a bit about the story. The story started with the basics from an idea that Knut had posted on his blog. Mainly this idea was about how a girl imagined the world outside her own secure home. Our starting point was to play with the imagination to a the girl. We did a lot of thinking about that idea, but after a day or two we mixed it together with a more serious theme. Death.

With our story going a totally new way, it developed into a strong a good story. And the best part, it is still developing each time we talk about it. We take it up a notch each time. Our group shows a great passion to get this story to a new level and something that can strike the viewer.

We started out with little girl as our main character. As the story got more complex, we felt that she needed a good companion. A teddy bear.

Our pitch is: “A fatal illness strikes a young girl. In a place between life and death, she finds herself running from her fears. But all is not always as it seems...”

Knut drew some awesome concept along the way to get us in the right mood.

Just one thing at the end: I think that we have an advantage on many of the other groups, just because we all have contributed to the story as much as we have. Many of the other groups have been formed around an idea, but our idea is formed by our group. This means that everybody in our group have the feeling of that they own the idea.

The next post will be about how our group works together, and the storyboard. Stay tuned.