I had to do it.
I went to hiking at the Great Falls park in VA yesterday. The nature was beautiful and the river especially was very intreaguing to look at. I took my time studying the rock formation as a result of the river’s flow as well as layers that had stacked over the years of history and I realized how much information rocks can convey through its textures. I might end up making another study for the rocks in the future posts. In today’s post, I did a quick study of the grass area of the park. I was sitting on a bench and saw a car drive by and its wind was causing the leaves to fall right behind the car like it was being chased by the nature.
This week I was over at Los Angeles Convention Center running around doing Student Volunteer duty, checking out cool emerging technologies in the Exhibition hall, lining up in a HUGE line for Pixar’s teapot, talking to recruiters at the job fair, and meeting lots of wonderful people who shared common interest in the computer graphics world. The experience was unforgettable, and the amount of information and inspirations that came through this week was simply overwhelming. Amongst the captivating creatives that were spotlights at SIGGRAPH 2012,including ParaNorman, Avengers, Wreck-it Ralph, Brave, and much more, Disney’s short animation Paperman stood out to me as one of the most emotionally charged, visually appealing, and a well crafted piece of motion picture. Without touching on the spoilers of the film, I would like to point out some of its appeals and what I learned from as an artist.
Aesthetically Paperman is simplistic, focusing mostly on large flat shapes and using lighting and blurs to bring focus into the composition. With limited details and color, the film strictly focuses on using the visuals to frame the story. In Disney’s Paperman talk, the creators made a comparison between the 3D films we see today and the traditional 2D approach they used for Paperman. While the 3D movies today have advantage of creating depth and complex settings, it can become so appealing that sometimes the visuals overshadow the story it is trying to tell. I think that is where Paperman really excel. The ratio of visual information and storytelling was just right so that it created a harmony that is best suited for telling Paperman’s story. For me, watching Paperman allowed me to see my role as an artist in a bigger picture. I have always thought that a best design should be so captivating it can stand on its own. While that may be true in many cases, I think it’s important to also consider how one design stands amongst a whole bunch of other designs within a film as a whole, and hit that golden ratio where visuals can most effectively deliver a story.
Another thought I had after seeing Paperman was that portrayal of humanity can be a very strong device to capture the audience’s attentions. Paperman tells a story about how a small decisions can lead to a life changing experience. It’s a theme that is universal and can easily be related with. Even when the character does not exist in the reality, as long as we can see them responding the way we do, showing ranges like curiosity, confusions, determination, and love, they can feel real even on a flat screen. I think that is portion of the reason why many Miyazaki films are also successful. Take Princess Mononoke which illustrates the struggle between polar justices. We can see that both sides of the opposing forces are fighting for what they believe is justice, and neither sides are wrong in their motives. I think simulating a real-life behavior into animated characters adds a layer of depth and helps guide the audience feel engaged in the narrative. It’s definitely something I can explore more as I further myself in character design and storytelling.
Disney’s Paperman will be presented right before Wreck-it Ralph in November and I highly recommend everyone to go see it. It will be an experience to remember!
Background design for my short animation Aerodynamos. You get to watch two super rollerblade kids racing each other in a massive city! The project is still in progress but you can check out the teaser animation on the link above :)
A teaser for my short animation Aerodynamos. The project is still in progress but the final product will come with a minute long non stop super actions!
Pit City Project (2011) Production art for an imaginary industrial city that is located below the ground level. The people in this world live alongside the massive wall of the pit and created a rich culture and massive transporting network under a limited space.
Demon’s Mouth (2011): Originally drawn for an environment design for a Japanese tale “Yamata no Orochi”. In the story Orochi, an eight-headed serpent takes sacrifice from villagers as a payment for their lives until a thunder god Susanoo comes to slay the beast. This drawing is an original imaginary location in the story where Orochi nests itself. The place was once a thrived city but after Orochi came, it bacame poisoned and lifeless.
Ryu Gu Jo (2010): This piece was illustrated for Japanese folk tale “Urashima Tarou”. In the story, a young boy Tarou saves an endangered sea turtle and as reward, the turtle takes the boy to visit underwater dragon palace called Ryu Gu Jo. There, Tarou meets a beautiful princess and receives a mysterious box which he was told not to open. This piece was featured in Spectrum as well as Society of Illustrators Annuals.
I did this piece recently to aiming to practice drawing nature, lighting, and color. It all started after watching Princess Monoke and I had a huge urge to draw a forest scene. Although I have seen the movie many times I keep coming back to find new things to get inspired by. I was very moved by the complexity of the storyline, the beauty of visual language, and depth of the research and appropriate connection to the old Japanese culture. From type of spoken language to the way clothes were worn in order to reflect maturity, the whole movie was so carefully thought out that I’m in awe with the amount of information that Miyazaki is capable of handling. That man is a true beast. From doing this piece, I got to explore more approaches in drawing the variations in nature. It also took me a little longer than usual because I spent so much time making decisions for subtle color differences in many areas. It really made me realize that the amount of decisions made within a piece is exponentially related to how rendered the piece is