Monday, November 10, 2014

The 7th Dwarf (2014)

This is an early version of my story board pitch for the opening of the motion picture "the 7th dwarf", directed by Harald Siepermann (RIP)


 We started storyboarding with a detailed story outline and fleshed out the storypoints from there. Working as fast as possible to get an idea of how the outline would play out visually. Then pitching them in this form digitally to the producer and director.  Harald really wanted a dog in this opening. We tried to make it work in many different ways, but nothing seemed to stick. Finally we went with an alternative idea from one of the (many great) story boarders on the team, which represents the final version that you can watch in the film.

The 7th Dwarf

The 7th Dwarf

The 7th Dwarf

The 7th Dwarf

The 7th Dwarf

The 7th Dwarf

The 7th Dwarf

The 7th Dwarf

The 7th Dwarf

The 7th Dwarf

The 7th Dwarf

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Die Biene Maja (2014) ı Maya the Bee (2014)

I would have loved to do some storyboards for this feature film adaption of Maya the Bee directed by Alexander Stadermann and ended up doing a tiny bit of concept work early on in the production. This australian trailer just came online. The finished film looks like fun. Congratulations to all my friends in Australia who have worked on it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Der Kleine Medicus (2014) ı The little Medic (2014)

Sorry, my upcoming sketchbook post has to wait one post longer. Here come two trailers for an animated  film I had the pleasure to work on. "Der kleine Medicus" based on a popular book by Dietrich Groenemeyer and directed by Peter Claridge. The trailer is in german language only, although the film was written and produced in english. The production approached me for storyboards, but I was already committed to another project at the time. Little did I know that I would get the chance to help out in a different way at a later stage. I worked as an animation director on the project for a year and had my hands full working with a fantastic team of artists at Virgin Lands. Produced at a shoestring budget with challenging deadlines and footage requirements it has become one of those little gems that should hold together as a whole. No small part for the wonderful direction from Peter. Looking forward to seeing the final piece with the full crew at  the premiere! Thank you all for the hard work!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

sketchbook ı teaser

In my next post I will let you know how I came about this little sketchbook, why it too so long to get started on it and why I do use sketchbooks at all. Too busy right now working towards some tight deadlines, storyboarding and sketching away. see you then, I hope.   mycurrentsketchbook waltdisneysketchbook

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Analyzing Film

I love watching films. All kind of films. Lucky me that I also work in the film business. So I get to see many films as part of my profession. There is not a single film, that does not inspire some creative part in me. I like to sketch scenes from films. They do give me a glimpse in how the director and DOP has been working. As a story artist we have a tendency of repeating certain ideas. Be it camera angles, shot progression, acting choices. Analyzing of scenes helps me to broaden my horizon of how to visually tell a story. 
On top of it, it makes me realize time and time again of the cinematographic elements, that we are rarely allowed to use when storyboarding, like lighting and color. 

These sketches are from a very short scene of  "Edge of Darkness" with Mel Gibson in the leading role. I felt that it is a crucial scene in the film and is set up quite nicely. It works without dialog and is visually very appealing. Additionally it uses a very simple staging set up and I have used this scenes a couple of times to show simple screen direction to students of film.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Crocodile sighting

running crocodile

After our latest move I was unpacking my office boxes. It always takes me some time to pack and upack my office and to get organized again. As you do as an animator, I have collected countless stacks of flip books, drawings, tutorials (not to mention the boxes of art supplies, animation paper and books, books, books....) over the years. Ususally I have kept the odd drawing here and there from most films I have worked on in the past. Mostly scribbles, thumbnails and so forth. For some reason I have kept my originals paper drawings of this runcycle of a crocodile, designed by my colleague and friend Len Simon. I actually never kept a line test of the animation. We used to create run and walk cycles for new characters as a way to explore the model and design. Also to start defining the character a bit more, usually going from concept drawings. Sometimes we would take a piece of dialog from an actor and animate a short scene to get an idea of how the chacrater would feel (or to use the animation to convince the ctor to sign on to the project)  They rarely represent the final design of the character or animation style, but it is one place to start. Also, with a run cycle you only need a couple of frames of actual animation compared to a full acting scene with dialog .

Late last year our printer (yet another one) needed to be upgraded and we got an A3 one including a scanner. So I tested the automatic scanning function with this little stack of 15 drawings that make up the run cycle (The animation drawings are on 16 inch paper), importing the scans to Photoshop, adding some "color" and finally created a little comped scene with After Effects.

crocodile run cycle crocodile run cycle

you can see a little scene on my vimeo site here: Crocodile sighting !

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

41st Annie Awards Nominations


The nominations for the 41st Annie Awards were published earlier this week. Congratulations to my very, very  talented colleagues for the nominations in story boarding!!

Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production

Steven MacLeod - The Croods
 - DreamWorks Animation

Eric Favela – Despicable Me 2 - 
Universal Pictures

Dean Kelly - Monsters University
 - Pixar Animation Studios

Jason Hand - Planes
- Disneytoon Studios

John Ripa - Frozen
 - Walt Disney Animation Studios

Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production

Piero Piluso - Monsters vs. Aliens
 - Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Douglas Lovelace - Dragons: Riders of Berk
 - DreamWorks Animation

Adam Ford, Deke Wightman, Kevin Mellon, Justin Wagner, Benji Williams - Archer
 - FX Networks

Alonso Ramos-Ramirez - Disney Mickey Mouse
 - Disney Television Animation

Daniel Chong - Toy Story of TERROR! - Pixar Animation Studios

Alonso Ramos-Ramirez - Gravity Falls - 
Disney Television Animation Guillermo Del Toro, Guy Davis, Ralph Sosa - The Simpsons -- "Treehouse of Horror XXIV" -- Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV

Paul Watling - Justin Time - 
Guru Studio

Even though the Annie Award it is an (US)American award, it is great to see more and more european productions and artists being nominated. Special congratulations also to the artists from "Kellerkind" and "The Wedding Cake" both from the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, nominated for best student films. Also congratulations to Stuttgart's  Studio Soi 's: "Room on the Broom" , nominated for Best Animated Special Production.

Friday, November 15, 2013

workshop in Ludwigsburg

In the first week in November I was holding a compressed 2 day story-board workshop at the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg in Ludwigsburg. It has been my first time at the Akademie. First impressions count, right? I was very impressed. Thank you very much for inviting me and thanks to the attending students. I had a blast.

Tobias Schwarz Animation Professional

Many times the simple description of "story-board" is not really sufficient. Mostly with first time film makers, the actual "story-board"  stops at the concept phase, before jumping right into the fun stuff...the filming... or animating.  A little bit like building a house from scratch without a foundation. So I am very pleased to see that the Filmakademie has decided to include story-board into the curriculum at an early stage. I extended my talks to include the VFX workflow as much as I could and how the story-board process could be incorporated here. As Steve Hulett just recently mentioned in the TAG blog:
"Of the year’s 10 top-grossing films, three fit what the Academy celebrates via its 13-years-young animated feature category: “Despicable Me 2,” “Monsters University” and “The Croods.” But then, what do you call “Iron Man 3,” “Oz the Great and Powerful,” “World War Z” and “Gravity”? Each of those more-digital-than-not blockbusters could be “animated” enough to fit the Acad’s definition, “in which movement and characters’ performances are created using a frame-by-frame technique.” “Gravity” makes an especially intriguing case, since Sandra Bullock and George Clooney’s faces are often the only practical element that appears onscreen. Director Alfonso Cuaron has repeatedly described the innovative process they developed to create the film as being akin to that of making an animated movie. Only after the team had spent 2½ years nailing down the lighting, angles and character animation in a detailed previsualization did it reverse-engineer a way to shoot footage of the actors..." (read the rest of the article here)
I am not sure if Story-board Artist will ever be able to get  a nomination, but the time that  animation is treated as its own category might be over eventually.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Running Crocodile....

...animated on pencil some years ago. As animators we hardly ever get to keep many copies or originals of our work. I found these 15 drawings of a run cycle in a stack of drawings a few weeks ago to show to some cgi colleagues as a reference of a cartoony run . Not sure, but I got the feeling single drawings make little to no sense to most digital animators. And flipping a run cycle is pretty much impossible (So I finally scanned them in today).  I animated the crocodile in preproduction for a never realized project (too many of them). We had long discussions back then if we could use the rough pencil line and go right to colour from there. That is why I kept the rough pencils fairly clean and the lines almost closed.  We never got around to color this one....But since it only has 15 drawings....I might.....