Thursday, 27 February 2014

Mermaid Armatures

The time has come to begin working on puppet builds. But First things first, i need an armature for the puppets. Originally i was planning on constructing the armatures myself but then realised that a lot of people were working with ball and socket puppets which was something I really wanted to try this year.
Above are the designs for how i wanted the armatures to look like inside the puppets. Once these were done, I had the designs sent off to Malvern Armatures who helped to come up with a very nice final look and function for them.

Here are the final designs for the armatures. Since both characters have the same body shape, the armatures are identical which will also help when it comes to the sculpting and casting process.
After my trip to Japan i was greeted firstly with Jet lag which is a pain in the head but also with two finished and functioning armatures which were exactly the way I visioned them.


 I had to make a few modifications however such as designing this tail fin piece which will be casted inside the fin. A very simple build... but fiddly as hell.

Again thank you Malvern armatures. Check out their website at this link :)

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

THIS... IS... My animatic

Welcome to Game grum.... I mean my Blog.

So here is my final animatic with sounds and pictures and everything. Hope you enjoy :D

Just for those who don't know, the story is about a young Mermaid known as Layla who is introduced severely wounded. She is greeted by a mysterious mermaid known as Lorelei who heals her and gains her trust. 
Lorelei suddenly swims away but out of curiosity for the unusual Mermaid, Layla swims after her. Eventually she is lead down into a dark and gloomy ocean floor known as the crypt. Down here, Lorelei resides in a shipwreck but reveals that she is a sea witch who tempts Mermaids down to eat them. 
Layla is consumed by Lorelei but then Lorelei transforms into her previous victim.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

More of Layla and Lorelei

Been doing some more work on my two main characters and thought that i might as well show what I've got.
Expression sheet for layla. I always felt that beforehand, all of Layla's work was rather expressionless and/or emotionless but its nice to finally see some character in her.

 Layla action sheets... not exactly my favourite part of the pre-production task but had to be done I suppose.
 Lorelei is more of a sly character so I thought I'd give her more quirky expressions and also a glimpse of herself turning into sea witch form.
 More action sheets!! Again slightly rushed unfortunately due to time issues but I shall consider redoing them at some point.

As well as doing character work I thought it would also be nice to see just how they would look in both environments that they will be visiting.  This also helps to show you just what kind of lighting and underwater effect I will be trying to achieve in my animation. 
And last but not least my promo image i created for the animation. Not long now before I can finally more onto the construction stage. 

In the meantime I must pack my bags as I am off to japan for a few days so I bid you all farewell for now and shall be back soon with more concept. 


Friday, 14 February 2014

Set concept - The Crypt

The second main set for my animation is known as The Crypt. This is where Lorelei resides and where she eventually leads Layla. As a complete contrast to the Shallows, its dull, dark, dangerous looking and foul.
 The first challenge was trying to come up with a design for the wreck itself. I studied a lot of different ship shapes and sizes but eventually settled for a dark wood design.

Once i had established the shape of the ship I immediately moved onto the basic design for the ship. I started with the front half as shown above but soon realised that just having the front of the ship wasn't going to be big enough for the set. Also it would mean there wouldn't be anywhere for the sea Witch to reside in.

 My main inspiration came from the Queen Ann's Revenge from Pirates of the caribbean 4. The back section is where Lorelei hides away before leaving to find her prey. The idea was to make the wreck look abandoned and somewhat decaying but at the same time make it look hostile and dark.

In the end I settled for a design like this which I feel is suitable for a wreck set size. I will only be building the top and the right hand side as the left and bottom of the ship are not seen in the animation and it makes build work much easier. 
Inside the ship I wanted to show just how feral and hostile Lorelei was so i came up with the idea of filling her lair with the remains of her previous victims.

In the end i have decided to also construct the inside of the ship but as a basic box set with two walls and a floor. I shall be re-using my set for my minor project which I completed late 2013 as this will help save time with construction rather than making a whole new set from scratch.

The walls of the wreck are covered in tally marks which indicate the number of creatures and Mermaids that have fallen victim to Lorelei.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Set concept - The Shallows

 The animation is set in two very different locations. The first is the Shallows, a dreamy and surreal coral reef which sits on a cliff that leads down to the ocean floor. It is here that Layla and Lorelei meet but is also where we see the Hammerhead and starfish for the first time also.

 These are just some of the main corals that grow here. They are shaped like instruments to help relate to the surreal landscape this is set in.

As well as these there a few more familiar looking corals and sea things here. Below is a design for how the rocks will look.

The set wont be one large piece but a selection of different rocks that can be moved about between scenes to recreate different locations in the Shallows.

At the centre of this reef is a large Lighthouse which looks over the cliff side. I wanted the Lighthouse to have a rather ghostly look about it so by adding the white haze like glow and trying various colours i eventually came up with a design I liked. 

Let the Lighthouse lead you back home!

Here is more or less what the reef will look like. A safe haven for Mermaids and various sea creatures... but not all is safe for long.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Surreal sea creatures

Although this animation is all about Layla and Lorelei, there are of course some other little characters as well, after all this is an ocean they're all set in so there is all sorts of strange creatures.

The Anchor Squid was the first sea creature I had come up with, originally the tentacles were to be chains attaching the anchors together but people couldn't really tell whether it was a creature or not. 

I chose to design it with only four tentacles as appose to eight otherwise it would be far too difficult to build and/or animate. 

 The Anchor Squid lurks deep in the ocean, using its large Anchors to attack, better not get too close.... your funeral.


The hammerhead went through a massive amount of concept mainly looking at the body shape. I tried a number of different designs based off of different Shark species.
The Great white Shark design was what I wanted originally but it felt too bulky when in fact the hammerhead as meant to be more of a smaller meandering creature. The Lemon Shark design was a step in the right direction... but not quite there yet.

The Carpet Shark design suited the serpent like body movement I wanted out of the hammerhead but it didn't seem ferocious enough so in the end I chose to base it off of my favourite Shark species, a Thresher Shark.


These Starfish are dotted all around the Shallows reef and come in a wide range of colours. However only one of them will actually be animated. The large green one on the right here will have a building eyeball which will be closely watching Layla as she swims about the reef.

Inspiration for the eyeball came from the 'eye of Smaug' scene at the end of the first 'Hobbit' film.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Mermaid concept - Lorelei

Lorelei is the second Mermaid character and the second character in the whole animation i worked on. She went through a huge development process in order to eventually become the design she is now.
I felt short hair was the way forward for Lorelei as the long hair style i felt was to similar to that of Laylas.
Since Lorelei is based of a Koi, i wanted her to have a blotchy pattern to her but coming up  with a base colour was the tricky part.

Design 1 - ............ LOOKS LIKE A MR KIPPING!

Design 2 - Really works with the dark ocean quality and environment.

Design 3 - Nice colours but i feel is rather monochrome but the fins look nice.

Eventually i settled on this sort of body shape for Lorelei. Similar to Layla's body but not too similar.

I then settles for design 2 but made the purple skin a bit lighter so that she didn't blend into the darkness during the animation when she is in the crypt of the ocean.