This post is a collection of various sketches, concept designs and 3D mock-ups, taken at different times during the pre-production process. The reason is that the layout of the village has changed many times – sometimes for aesthetic reasons, and more recently for plot and story reasons. The concept below was one of our first sketches, taken from an early storyboard – the houses are laid out higgledy-piggledy to give the shot (and the village) a tight, cosy feeling. This was influenced heavily by the village in the book, but we soon realised it wouldn’t work the same in a 3D world.
Next we tried a basic 3D layout using simple house blocks arranged in a similar higgledy-piggledy way. This helped us think about the 3D space, and allowed us to easily see how shots would be framed, but we were still thinking too ‘aesthetically’.
During storyboarding, we began looking at things differently, as we realised the many ways we could use the village to tell the story – and this had a direct effect on how we laid everything. From the moment the film starts to the very end – the village frames a lot of action, so we started to sketch ideas based on this action…
After much discussion, and trying many different options, we settled on the following basic layout. The actual village is set to retain some of it’s ‘higgledy-piggledy’ character, and the roads won’t be as straight at this, etc. but it gives us a solid idea of the geography that we can base our shots and action on.