"Overflowing with hyperactive charm and a spectacular sea of colors, it showcases some of the most breathtaking animation we’ve seen this decade. A-" -Entertainment Weekly
Hey guys. You might have heard about a little movie called Book of Life that hit theaters today. Myself and hundreds of extremely talented people in Dallas Texas gathered to create something truly unique and beautiful, long ago. So let’s celebrate today, get yourselves some churros, have a margarita and go see it this weekend. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
And keep an eye out for Candlemaker! I was the character specialist for that character! He was SO MUCH FUN!
Click to see an animated work in progress version of Page 4 (flash only):
A lot went into these panels, including the first look at 13 year old Melony, designing a plausible modern era cell phone, introducing a color palette duality (oranges=life vs blues=technology), and even the very first talk bubbles! I’ve removed the dialogue in case you don’t want it completely spoiled.
For the cell phone, I wanted it’s design to look familiar, in terms of the phones we all use today but unique to the world. It’s shape is reminiscent of a grave stone to symbolize the coming conflict and threat of death. I figure it has two touchscreens, one is more of an menu/auxiliary readout kind of thing that shows the time, functionality, menus, and battery life. It was important to show a low battery on panel 2 as the theme of “low battery/time running out” is a common one throughout the story. The crack in the screen symbolizes the fragility of technology, among other things.
I’m thinking about adding some very mild flickering lighting on her face/eyes/chest from the phone in these two panels. But this is where I start asking questions like, should there be less animation? How much is too much? Is it distracting, is it purposeful, does it add anything…etc…
To introduce young Melony, I decided to get pretty thorough with the animation. I had always said I wanted the animation in this comic to avoid describing main action — instead be minor looping things — but I thought through the small screen on a phone, plus adding some transmission-errory effects, it wouldn’t be too much. And I think it was pretty successful. To do this, I started with just one drawing and colored it, to get her final look down. Never really nailed down her design, if you scroll through the old blog entries. https://38.media.tumblr.com/38040115a4455565f903160c2337a5ce/tumblr_nawji5RBsJ1rw001so1_500.jpg
Then I went on to do some straight ahead keyframe animation — she’s not saying anything, I was just having fun and exploring. Definitely my favorite part.
Then I added breakdowns and colored everything. I want to maintain a sense of lighting with the character work in MM, so there was a bit of experimentation there. At first I thought I’d show her with dyed orange hair with dark roots, but then decided she should be a natural strawberry blonde. Why is adult Melony’s hair a deeper orange…? That’s for later.
Then I looked for great ways to do glitch effects. These glitch effects are only going to get more prominent as the story goes on, so they had to be legit. I knew I wasn’t going to draw digital effects with any kind of accuracy, so I found this amazing browser based glitcher — just drag and drop your own photos:
Here’s a closeup of Little M all glitched out. It’s gorgeous, I can’t wait to show it closer up in future pages:
Well that’s all for now — cheers!
from my animated graphic novel project!!!