Various insects I’ve seen around.
Various insects I’ve seen around.
Here’s my sketches from the study visit to the castle. Initially I drew a couple of waders because the birds are my favourite part of the taxidermy in there.
Then I looked at the one case of beetles that wasn’t in total darkness. I definitely think I’d like to do something based on insects, perhaps go Nausicaa style?
Once I had made it into the cellar, another door presented it’s self. Far to the back of the room, it was almost totally inaccessible, barricaded by a slew of boxes and broken furniture. I clambered over to it, careful not to fall into the dusty depths.
It appeared to be a murky brown but brushing my hand across the grime and cobwebs on it’s surface revealed a black undercoat, then bits of that flaked off to reveal the corroded cast iron core. In the middle of the door was a small window but peering through it’s murky glass revealed only darkness. Clasping the handle with both hands I attempted to barge it open with my shoulder. Three shoves in, it began to budge, then slowly swung open with the hinges wailing.
The first breed of mythological beast I shall research for this project is the hell hound. I’ve chosen these because we have a local one that is lurking in our midst to this very day:
The Black Dog of Bungay
Because this particular beast is a local legend, I decided to research it first on my way back home from uni earlier this week. I’d known of the legend since I was quite young but not in any great detail so I headed to the site of his first appearance: St Mary’s Church in Bungay.
The church had become an art gallery ( for The Black Dog Art Foundation) for that particular weekend and so two older ladies were sat down by the font to watch over. I asked them what they knew of the dog.
“A straunge and terryble wunder indeed, traveler!”
Legend has it, on the 4th August 1577, while the towns folk assembled for worship, a thunderstorm arrived. “A great terryble & ferfull tempest… such darknes, Rayne, hayle, Thunder & lightyng as was never seen the lyke” as the churchwarden’s account book describes.
In the dark of the storm, the dog appeared before the congregation. He ran down the pews with “swiftnesse and incredible haste” to slay two worshipers praying for mercy. It then leaped on another man and tore open his back, the wound like a “peece of lether scorched in a hot fire”. A clap of thunder was supposed to have killed the church clerk who was mending the clock at the time.
After that regaling account, I was pointed to a small booklet by the church door that had everything I needed to know in it. They charged 50p for it. On the cabinet I found it on was an old carving of the portly beast.
To my surprise, the story continued in the booklet. The dog didn’t stop there but carried on the slaughter in the church at Blythburgh, 12 miles away. So I too carried on my travels to that very village on the marsh.
Here I met the vicar, finishing off the Sunday mass. I approached him to ask of the spectral hound and what happened on that fateful morning but it seems the legend is not so vividly and enthusiastically remembered here as it is in Bungay. Too soon?
I was about to leave but something caught my eye on the far side of the church, illuminated by the late winter’s sun through the hallowed glass of the nave windows. Upon that very door was the mark of the devil himself. It could be nothing less than a scorch left by the claws of that wretched Black Dog of Bungay.
After that I widened my research to hell hounds in general. They’re quite common in folklore around England; Barghest in the north, Cŵn Annwn in Wales, Moddey Dhoo on the Isle of Mann and Gytrash in the Midlands. All are said to have shaggy black hair and enormous red eyes. Some are even associated with the Wild Hunt, another spectral phenomenon that appears as great cavalcade of ghostly huntsmen in terrible pursuit.
However, the most interesting story I found was about the Church Grim. Early Christians in Scandinavia and England used to sacrifice black dogs when a new church was built by burying them alive in the grounds to the north of the new building. This was said to create a guardian, the Church Grim, to protect the church from the devil. They can appear around churches and sometimes ring the bells loudly.
On my quest for the second scene to compare ‘The Wind Rises’ to in my essay, someone recommended I use a scene from ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’. This now seems blindingly obvious considering it is primarily set in the mind of the protagonist.
The film overall does a fantastic job of creating the world of a memory or a dream as locations fracture into each other, my favorite one being when Joel tries to hide Clementine in a totally irrelevant memory and ends up traveling to his childhood.
Elements of his childhood memory start appearing in the current scene; The rain, the bike and the corrugated plastic roof he shelters under manifests itself as a table. A match cut is also used to create a connection with the two memories as Joel reaches out from under the roof in both. The entire film is rife with match cuts.
The scene that has potential for my particular essay is towards the beginning where Joel is telling the story about Clementine blanking him in the library. A spectacular transition takes us out of the memory and back to where the story is being told.
As he walks out of the memory, the lights start to turn off behind him and the audio becomes muffled. There’s also a blurry glow around him that builds through the shot. Depth of field and false blurs are part of the list of staple techniques used in this film.
Could this be the film I’ve been looking for?
I thought the symbolic similarities of ‘The Aviator’ and ‘The Wind Rises’ may lead me to find the scene I’ve been looking for to compare to the scene I’ve chosen for ‘The Wind Rises’.
Each film is a biography of an aviation legend, Howard Hughes and Jiro Horikoshi, with vibrant colour pallets but that is where the similarities end. The Aviator is actually an Epic film spanning almost 3 hours as apposed to ‘The Wind Rises’ being a 2 hour animated melodrama. It also sports an all-star cast featuring Leonardo DiCapiro, Kate Blanchet, Alec Baldwin and oddly Gwen Sefani.
One interesting fact I found about the cinematography is that the first 52 minutes of the film are graded to emulate the ‘Multicolour’ film process of the era that Howard Hughes actually owned.
There was only one scene I thought relevant to compare. At the very end of the film, Hughes has a terrible bout of OCD and has to be hidden in the toilets at an event. When he looks in the mirror, he sees himself back in the first scene as a nine year old.
Here’s the complete video. I ended up putting it through After Effects and sprucing it up a little. I exported PNG sequences of each layer and recreated the TVPaint project in After Effects.
Once in, I altered the lighting, added some glow to the spotlight and the characters in it. Hopefully these adjustments haven’t diminished the lighting effect I had created in the vanilla design. However, I do like that I’ve now drawn attention to the main characters in Shot 1 and Shot 2 by making a sort of vignette around them.
The render isn’t perfect as it looks a little faded but I’m actually quite pleased with it. It reflects my initial vision of having an old timey, smokey theater vibe.
Today saw me just about complete Beat 6 of ‘The Girl and the Beast’. This was a little more stressful as I realised that I had misinterpreted how we had divided the work and I had missed half of the beat I was supposed to be animating. That said, I think it’s probably the more imaginative of the two and I’m very pleased with it.
This is my first attempt to make it. I animated the blood splat in TVPaint and made the assets in Photoshop with the Polygon Lasso tool. I quite liked the background being stark white. This being the turning point in the story, it seemed appropriate that it was so harsh and contrasting to the rest of the film. But Elizabeth convinced me that red was what we had planned and that it was more appropriate.
Elizabeth also suggested I remove the glow for the final clip. So here it is stitched together with the transition to the next clip and with text.
This week saw me finish off all the tie downs and colouring as well as having drawn the backgrounds for shots 2 and 3. I’m starting to think that I wont actually need to do any compositing in After Effects, but I’ll throw it about in there anyway to see if I can make any embellishments.
I’m very confident with my progress this week. Emily and I worked very well together to match up the 3D castle in after effects. The set for my shot is complete I just need to remake the assets for the inside of the castle for the final shot. I’m also very pleased that I’ve followed the style frames made by Elizabeth. I’m hoping I can help steer the editing process in the coming week.
This week I continued my search for a partnering clip. I ended up watching La La Land in hope that it might have the moment I was looking for. It came close with the scene in the observatory where Stone and Gosling very suddenly transition from a fairly naturalistic moment to taking flight.. But it’s not the one.
For Emily’s and my beat (Beats 1 & 6) we will be using the same assets because it’s more or less the same shot. Here’s the assets I’ve created for the valley in front of the castle.
I’ve made them according to Elizabeth’s style frames, drawn with the polygon lasso. This isn’t exactly how it was storyboarded because I changed it at the animatic stage to make the shot more interesting and make better use of the camera movement. The rest of the group approved of my changes.
Here’s a screenshot of the set for beats 1 and 6.
I’ve set all the assets up in a comp, spread in the Z axis. The castle does not appear in this screenshot because it doesn’t appear in 3D space, it only appears to. The hill the castle stands on had to animate through the Z axis in order to appear within the scene and attached to the castle.
Between each of the assets, I’ve placed a solid layer with a transparent grey gradient to create the impression of fog. This helps make the all black assets stand out from one another and creates the illusion of a great distance. Their opacity is animated to be totally transparent as the camera tracks through them and fade in as it tracks away so the image does not flicker as the camera passes through.