All images © Dale Newton 2011 unless specified otherwise.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. Three Brothers animation. Death's design.

The Three Brothers animation was directed by Ben Hibon and executed with the Framestore London commercials team. I worked with Ben and supervised the project for Framestore. Ben Hibon, concept artist Alexis Liddel, and myself brought designs to the table. Here's the Framestore PR.

Here's a progression of designs for the Death character. The three explorations below are quite different in their fundamental parameters. Bony and gaunt hands found even at this early stage.

The following drawings found the overall idea - how his robe would work, a little about his transparency / ethereality and facial structure and detail ideas.

and there was something about this one that we liked that spoke loads about his character. He became even creepier than this in the end. We took him far away from human characterization, he was a much more primal creature than this image suggests.

Here I tried to nail down more of the specifics, the hood etc. and started to touch on the all important look.

These were the final concepts which laid out in more detail the lighting and look, textures etc. Also how exactly shadows were to suggested and create forms.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. Three Brothers animation. Colour Keys.

I guess 'tone keys' rather than 'colour keys' would be a better way to describe these. I made for them as a spring board for the compositors on the show, Adam Rowland and Russell Dodgeson, to build on. They did a beautiful job compositing on the film and their work oozes the sort of subtle tonal work we were after.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. Three Brothers animation. Three Brother's design.

This was the first drawing that spoke of a good direction. Heavy tones of the charcoal implying deep shadows.

Antioch Peverell. The first brother - a violent and brutish guy. He challenges Death for the most powerful wand ever created.

Cadmus Peverell, the second brother. A vain and arrogant man who asks Death for the power to raise his dead bride from the grave.

Ignotus Peverel. The third brother. He takes the upper hand on Death by asking for the power to remain hidden from Death as long as chooses.

Character size chart:

Friday, 12 November 2010

Storybook Sequence. The Tale of Despereaux. 2008.

Something I enjoyed pitching and working on. In Framestore's commercials department we were pitching on a short piece of 'Storybook' animation in Universal's "Tale of Despereaux" film, which I eventually supervised for Framestore.

Here's a little mucking about I did before the job was won. Something about paper animation, not quite origami, flat but not completely flat. Textural and three dimensional. Looking like something that could have been made with a little clever folding. Trying to get something simple and naive. Fluid moving but made of rigid bits.  Fire was just a last minute element keyed off library footage. Client producers very happy and we got the job.


We had three months in which to turn the job around, so as much as I would have loved to do design, time did not allow. Below are some concepts I did exploring ideas before Evgeni Tomov, the films' production designer started to hand over his designs from his team. I was awed to work with Evgeni on this - he was production designer on Sylvain Chomets' "Belleville Rendez-Vous".

We built some flat / thin, character rigs much in the vein of paper cutout puppets. These allowed for the simple two dimensional / proscenium style staging and forced perspective layouts that was required by the storybook brief. Above and beyond that, they could be controled in the manner of a 3D rig. The characters could be posed / staged as in a flat cutout puppet, and then with a few restrictions in 3D too - allowing headturns and such.  Here is an early prototype rig which I built: it showed flatness but with slight dimensionality - and resultant shading, an illustrative quality given by the painterly texturing and baked / painted in lighting. Some elements are really rough in this early prototype.

Here are a few final frames from the Storybook sequence in The Tale of Despereaux. All images below are copyright Universal Pictures.

 Daniel Marum's beautiful fire: