An tEarrach Thiar – BG Process

We were very generously asked to contribute to an anthology of Irish language songs, produced in collaboration with Sónta Films, the Cartoon Saloon and Kíla.

Here’s a little taste of Eimhin’s contribution: An tEarrach Thiar
Based on a poem by Máirtín Ó Direáin, with an original arrangement by Kíla and lush vocals provided by Lisa Hannigan, the film takes place in that golden hour, as the sun sets on a spring day on the island of Inis Mór.

You can view a previous post, featuring photos taken on a research trip to Inis Mór here: LINK

Here’s how I went about putting together one of the early shots:

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Initial storyboards, roughly laying out the pertinent elements and actions involved in the scene

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Layout drawing, locking down the details, and adding in the foreground element to help with framing

 

Timelapse of the background being painted

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Final painting. The addition of some cliffs in the BG, helped to delineate the brightly lit ‘steps’ from the sky

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And here it is comped in with the characters (character animation by Katie Sherlock)

Within each scene the BG painting was separated into different layers, with some clone-stamping to cover any overlap. This allows some repositioning, and addition of cloud movement in the sky, or wave movement on the water. In addition to these digital edits, some other BGs required more lighting in comp, but as this one is one of the introductory shots it wasn’t as extreme in terms of photoshop work to reign in or emphasise the painted elements.

Here are some photos of our brilliant animation crew at work:

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Our singer, Lisa Hannigan, with crew members Katie & Ciara

Thanks for reading, I look forward to sharing more of this project with you in the coming months!

- E.

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The sun setting over the Aran Islands, as viewed from Fanore, Co. Clare.

The Rooster, The Crocodile and The Night Sky

Pádraig Fagan’s The Rooster, The Crocodile and The Night Sky is this week’s Irish Film Board​ Friday Short!

Funded by the Irish Film Board’s Frameworks film funding scheme and produced by Barley Films​ in 2007-2008, The Rooster was created using cardboard, crepe paper, tinfoil and dreamy Super 8 footage of a glittery blue velvet Night Sky.

Below are some concept images and photographs from the making of the film:

The Rooster:

The Rooster in action
The Rooster in action

The Crocodile:

Final still of the Crocodile, using a special forced perspective build
A shot of the Crocodile and his Night Sky cutting machine, using a special forced perspective build



Night Sky & Dawn sequence

The Night Sky being hoovered
The Night Sky being hoovered

 

And the final Dawn scene in GIF form
And the final Dawn scene in GIF form

 

 

The Animals:

The Sea in action
The Sea in action

 

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Pádraig With Frank Kelly, the narrator of the piece.

 

Pádraig and Eimhin did a bit of travelling with the film too:

An Gadhar Dubh – Lip Sync

Below are some examples of our method in planning and executing the lipsync for An Gadhar Dubh.
Working in Flash, we build up a rough pass of the mouth shapes required, then start building up the forms of the face, keeping in mind the structures, both hidden and visible, which are creating the mouth shapes, and using a combination of tweens and keys extend it out to a sophisticated enough collection of mouths for the acting of the piece. Once the key mouth shapes are done for one angle, they are then duplicated, altered and generally edited to create a full compliment of jaws for the rotation of the head.

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Peadar, our protagonist, required us to design and build 360-some individual jaws and mouth shapes to take into account head movement in acting.

 

We use a similar method for the other characters in the project too, along with some slightly more straightforward top-lip/bottom-jaw animation for some of the other characters:

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Two background characters, with more limited jaw rotations involved, with numbered mouth shapes for the X-sheet

After the animation plan is done, these vectors are imported into our die-cutter and broken into the required layers (e.g. back jaw, tongue, teeth, top jaw) and are then cut out on Fabriano stock.

We’ll be sharing some more of the practical builds of these mouths once we get around to photographing them!

Be sure to check out the previous posts on the film here: An Gadhar Dubh

 

Foxes #4


Eimhin spotted those two young foxes last week alongside the abandoned train track on North Circular, soon to be restored as a tram line. One would periodically hide in the bushes and pounce out at the other as they waited for them. This went on for several minutes, as they slowly traversed the length of the  track.FOXES4

Tarka

A little tribute by Eimhin for a friend, featuring his springer spaniel Tarka

Below is a GIF versionTarka

Foxes




A little documentation of local Dublin 7 wildlife by Eimhin. Two young foxes at play, spotted at the Arran Quay Ward, Blessington St Basin in Phibsborough.

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Rotations

Here is a little description of the process we’re using for designing and building characters for the film.

AGD-2The characters are designed in the regular fashion, using pencil and paper. Then they’re brought into Flash, where the breakdown positions,  segmentation, and turnarounds for the different cut out parts are made up. This allows us to cut at different scales and replace out worn parts that will match up accurately with the originals.

Screenshot 2015-05-31 13.31.17These are then spread out as a layout document in Illustrator and outputted to our die cutter.

And then begins painting and piecing together!

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Gareth Lyons working on one character