Following on from last week’s post, we wanted to show another example of how the storyboard has changed. If you are familiar with the book, you know that Paul just runs off to his Gran’s house – there is no additional action or explanation. We don’t know why or how Beastie didn’t spot Pete; apart from being scared, we don’t know what Pete’s journey is like. Does he get lost? Is he being pursued? You can see from the initial storyboard below that his journey was pretty quick – almost like he lived over the road. He gets to Gran’s house very quick, where we then decided to build the tension a little by having his Gran asleep and taking her time to answer the door.
The storyboard and animatic stages of pre-production are when the story is really decided on – the shots, the camera angles, how to tell the story visually… But it isn’t just the story that is locked at this stage – it is also very important in animation to know what each shot requires in terms of 3D models. There is no point in building, texturing and lighting an entire room if we only use one corner of it. We wanted to show how a storyboard can change – below you will see our very first ideas for laying out the scene, followed by our most recent (and locked) storyboard.
In this post we want to show you how not every idea that is pitched at the storyboard stage makes it into the final film – in this case it is the deleted snowball fight opening shot. Below are some shots and thumbnail sketches from this sequence:
The idea was to have a long sequence where we would introduce the children and show them having fun, before they got scared. Apart from the introductory nature, we also wanted to emphsise the big brother/young brother relationship between Clyde and Pete. By showing Clyde as the stronger, older brother, when Pete saves the day later on it would re-inforce the ‘young-brother-comes-good’ moment.
The wallpapers and colours have been decided on and we can now show our final style frames from the downstairs room of the children’s house. Don’t forget, the action takes place at night, so the night frame at the bottom is much closer to the atmosphere we will be creating.
The process of building the village, piece by piece, is a time consuming one. After Katie has designed each item (from houses and streets to lamp posts and benches), Jon then builds a 3D model in Autodesk Softimage, as you can see below. However, there is quite a lot of ‘back and forth’ between Katie and Jon as assets are refined and re-modeled, as you can see from one of Katie’s notes about the street below.
The Fearsome Beastie’s cave is one of striking images from the book, and a scene that we were relishing getting stuck into in the film! But it wasn’t only the cave that excited us – the trees, woods and screnery that surround the cave (and that Beastie would have to traverse to reach the town) were environments we could really be creative with. These 2 images are concept designs of the trees and atmosphere, very much when we were still seeing things in 2D:
The last time we showed the house, it was much more blocky and square, and was a much simpler, white 3D model. Since then we have done further refining, colour tests and have fully textured everything. This is a bit of a summary post, as we don’t have a lot of visuals from the texturing process, but we hope you can see how the house progressed from half colour tests to final texture:
After the downstairs room had been modeled in 3D and basic colours had been decided on, there was still a lot of thought given to the details and how the colours would balance with patterns. Katie and Jon wanted the children’s house to feel cosy, loved, and lived in, and for this they chose warm reds and pinks, a lot of photos, and a slight worn texture to everything. We wanted to show you a few variations from the many experiments we did with wallpaper, colour and textures.
We have done a lot of talking about the artwork and modeling, but it’s important not to forget that at the heart of a film is story. We already have a fantastic story in The Fearsome Beastie. However, there is a difference between telling a story through a book, and laying that same story down on a timeline.
If you’ve been enjoying seeing the characters and environment come together, then this post may not be the most exciting of them all! As important as the large environments are, such as the houses, cave and interior sets, every small detail and prop must be designed, thought out and fit in with the world. Below are a selection of smaller, background props that make up the village scene.