project 3 – tonals

Sea World

New week, new project, new group. This time it’s Ben, Emmet, Alicia and I taking on Sea world.

This is the information I gathered from Katie, who had worked on the project for the last couple of weeks:
– humans become extinct;
– ocean creatures start to evolve, therefore jellyfish evolve beyond the ocean;
– high moisture density –> jellyfish can fly;
– magic crystals?
– jellyfish live above water –> they enslave other ocean creatures;
– shark people and sea turtles –> natural enemies of jelly-nazis;
– jelly-nazis shoot lasers;
– lower class jellies work alongside sea creatures against big jellyfish;
– we can make the world more humid;
– emperor can’t float; he’s immortal; evolved a mouth
– 4 levels of hierarchy;
– crab people resistant to jelly laser sting;
– jelly don’t have technology;
– other creatures use weapons against jellies.

They also provided us with a few images they’d worked on.

This gave us a lot of freedom to explore the world visually and create interesting and dynamic thumbnails.

I started my research by going back to something I’d already seen. It is a couple of videos from Youtuber Minnie Small. She uses few colours and quick brushstrokes to recreate film screencaps she had found on Pinterest. She looks for “interesting and challenging colour schemes.” Her goal when it comes to these thumbnails is to be “able to put together a scene with a few strokes, suggesting things well enough to not have to paint them in detail.” She chooses interesting compositions and recreates them with few colours and no detail.

And this is a Pinterest board with multiple interesting screencaps that Minnie Small has created and uses for her reference.  [Accessed 25.10.2017]
I plan on attempting simplicity like Minnie Small does but with more blocked in colours.

I then dived into the world of Google to research what tones were. I came across a book by Jon Lewis titled “Essential Cinema: An Introduction to Film Analysis” [Accessed 25.10.2017] and an article titled Your Film’s Flavor: the Importance of Tone in Filmmaking  [Accessed 25.10.2017]
In his book, Lewis covers an array of aspects of film. From camera, focal length, depth of field to editing, sound, music, he analyses and gives examples using screen caps.
Tone is related to mood and style; how it makes you feel.
Many elements contribute to a film’s tone: camerawork, lighting, editing, the writing, the performances, the music, the color scheme, and so on.
A film’s tone should be decided in advance and should be maintained throughout its entirety.
Each frame is a canvas. You should fill each one with useful information about your story and guide your viewer through it. You direct the viewer’s attention upon a subject and manipulate the viewpoint, rather than the objects within the frame.

“If you’re doing everything right, every frame of your movie should be able to be plucked out at random, stuck in a frame and hung on a gallery wall.” – Kyle Cassidy (16.03.2016 ) “The basic rules of composition” [Accessed 25.10.2017]

Going by these words, I’ll try to make every tonal drawing interesting and dynamic. I will try to capture the viewer’s attention and let them explore the image further.

After framing, I gravitated towards reading about shots and angles. Ian Freer’s 2013 list of  “The 30 Camera Shots Every Film Fan Needs To Know” [Accessed 25.10.2017] was a great summary of everything I’d read through and included one particular shot I liked and thought we could implement into our world – The Dutch tilt.
“A Dutch tilt is a camera shot in which the camera angle is deliberately slanted to one side. This can be used for dramatic effect and helps portray unease, disorientation, frantic or desperate action, intoxication, madness, etc.” – [Accessed 25.10.2017]

When reading about the Dutch tilt, I remembered a show I had watched that had utilised it beautifully.
The television show American Horror Story by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk uses the Dutch angle, along with intense music and muted colours, in a lot of its scenes to convey tension and a sense of uneasiness. See examples below:

We were allowed to use up to 5 tones, which I think would be more than enough to convey the feeling we want to give. There is a war within the world, so there is tension, there is madness, there is panic, there is uneasiness, and there is fear.
Sadly, the first time we could all come together and discuss was on Thursday. The ‘group meeting’ (with the exception of Emmet who had to leave earlier) was supposed to last ‘a fair bit’ so we could discuss the information we had gathered and ideas for thumbnails, but it was only Ben, Alicia and I and it lasted for about 5 minutes…
Based on the research I did and seeing as we’re working on a sea world, I proposed to the group the use of blues and/or purples. We could use them to create a sense of mysticism, coldness, isolation. If we wanted to make something ‘pop’ in a scene, like the evil emperor of the jellyfish, we could use yellows to symbolise his madness, sickness, obsessiveness.
Alicia had an idea to create a more peaceful side to the world. A secret sanctuary, located high up, where the younger beings are guarded by very large but peaceful jellyfish-like creatures.
Резултат с изображение за the last airbender air temples“Avatar: The Last Airbender” Eastern Air Temple

We decided to do several tonals each and choose which ones we liked the best.
They agreed to the things I explained about the colour schemes and palettes, which gave me a green light to start creating tonals, but overall it was not a satisfying ‘meeting’…

I am attaching part of a helpful cheatsheet below of colours and their use in some film scenes (these will be the ones we’ll focus on). I sent the entire chart to the team so they can pick and choose what they like and, if applicable, use it in future projects they’re assigned to.

*click on images*
Infographic created by StudioBinder. Read the accompanying post on Color in Film:

Mary Risk (2016) “How to use colour in film: 50+ Examples of Movie Color Palettes” [Accessed 26.10.2017]
Some colour palettes that I thought would fit into our world.
source: [Accessed 26.10.2017]

Prior to starting university, I had only done one digital painting, everything else was just photo edits and a short sketch-like animation. The finished digital painting looks like this:

I used a textured brush while creating it and it really eased me into using Photoshop for painting. However, looking back on it now there are a couple of things I dislike about it, mainly the choice of colour in some areas and the lack of depth.

*hover over images for captions and click for full versions*

The tonal project really inspired me to try to create something similar but better. I wanted to create a little underwater scene (Level 4 in the world, where the unevolved and lowest class jellyfish roam), with a jellyfish swimming in a cave-like cavity. I attempted to use the Dutch angle, a similar textured brush, and 5 tones. The textured brush, of course, ended up creating more tones in certain places, but overall it was a pleasant experience and I’m content with the result.

I looked at flat landscapes to give me some sort of guidance when it comes to blocking in colours but ultimately, I want to create something similar to the image below:

This image represents the pop of colour I would use, be it red or a complementary colour, like yellow or a light orange.

I looked at a variety of artworks and compositions and selected a few that I liked and wanted to use as my guide.

I studied how the subjects were placed in the frame, what the tonal relationships were between them, and how all of that creates dynamic and movement. I tried to create similar images to learn and to get in the same mindset.

As a warm-up, I redid the digital illustration, followed by a scene where a tortoise is shooting at one of the evil jellyfish.

In the character design sketches we received from the previous group, the jellyfish emperor sort of reminded me of an octopus and that prompted me to experiment and make him a jellyfish-octopus hybrid. The end result is this odd-looking being.

I wanted to work on Alicia’s idea of the jellyfish sanctuary and decided to use Japanese spider crabs as my inspiration for the guards. Originally, the guards were supposed to be jellyfish-like creatures, but I opted for crabs since in the world they are resistant to the jellyfish laser sting and figured they would be better equipped as protectors.

I looked at some of Darek Gogol‘s thumbnail sketches for ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and this set of images really captured me.

darek gogol
Darek Gogol’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’

I then went on to create a couple of sketches of my own using some of his compositions.

After that, I looked into Chiaroscuro a bit more and its use in paintings and film.
“Chiaroscuro is a term used to discuss works of art that have extreme light and dark. ‘Chiaro’ means light and ‘oscuro’ means dark. An extreme light source illuminates the rest of the composition and this light source becomes the emphasis in the composition.” – Tone – an element of Art & Design [Initially accessed on 25.10.2017]

*hover over images for captions*

I ended up not creating what I was going for, which was a blue/purple tonal with an accent of yellow/light orange because I simply did not come up with an interesting and strong enough composition/story for it.

After the class on Monday, I wanted to write a few things down (holding myself accountable by posting it on the Internet forever, yay).
I realise the things I’m doing alright for the moment. They are research, attending and prompting group meetings, having an interest in different fields, finishing assignments and coming through, finding relevant information, exploring different materials and thus, taking risks and not settling for my current technical abilities.
I also realise key things I need to change or work on. They are: being able to come up with original ideas (this is a big one I’m struggling with, as I tend to stick to information and mix it in a relatively predictable way); voicing a problem when there is one, or one is forming within the group, and not trying to shrug it off as nothing or fix it on my own (or with just one other person), as it could be something that would help the group, or individuals in the group now and in the long run; sending my team useful information I had gathered, instead of belittling it and thinking it’s small or trivial, when in actuality it might end up helping us all or helping some of us in the moment or in the future; and the last one is getting better at (or just start working on in general) digital art.
When it comes to visually creating something, I want to limit the amount of line work I do as an interesting challenge for myself. I want to start creating something looser (see Walt Peregoy as an example), more broken up. Like an oil painting that is an impressive image that makes sense,.. but when you zoom in it’s all just a bunch of brush strokes, splotches of colour and texture. The reason I gave oil painting as an example is that the last year-year and a half, I picked it up and started teaching myself. I eventually put myself inside the lines and stuck to details and perfecting everything, rather than creating an overall implication of something.
I need to stray away from the lines for a little while…


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