Monday, September 22, 2014

Guest Author: Sammy - Monday



Hello! Sammy Butler (one third of Polydoodle Pictures) here! I am to kick-start a new year of CAA as first graduate guest author! I'll be sharing videos, artists, books, drawings and advice that lets you in on what inspires me when working on a project.

Firstly, a bit about me and what I'm doing now. My background previous to joining the course was in performing arts, particularly Brechtian and Shakespearian theatre. I worked on '& Son' for my minor and major project as a collaborative piece in my 3rd year. You can see my group blog Here and my personal blog Here. I graduated only this summer with a first in CGAA and I am now training to teach Design Technology: Graphics (and food) at secondary school. Which means I get to answer questions like "why is the dodge tool called that?" and "would you rather bath in scrambled eggs or baked beans?" and other such bantaaaarr. I have plans to continue my collaborative work with fellow Polydoodler, Chrissie and other classmates to write interactive children's books. We will, of-cause, share our process. My special areas and story-telling and project management but I love character design also.

The first things I want to share with you are 'making of' videos for the production of Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' (1991). There are a few reasons for this:

  • It is my favourite film
  • It took 60 years to make it
  • It was one of the first Disney films to have CG in (the fourth animated film if you want to know)
  • The struggles they went through in production are very interesting.
  • It is every kind of awesome!
This first video looks at the hand-drawn elements of the film. Note how they use the team of animators they have and that they refer to the lead animators as actors/performers. This becomes hard to think about when you fight a model in Maya to get it moving the way you want but remember you are just acting through a puppet and giving it a character and a personality of its own.


This video is the most important because it holds with it an important lesson that I struggled with most. Letting go of an idea that just doesn't work or is OK but there isn't a good end. This is the original opening to beauty and the beast that was designed by the London team. Disney spent thousands developing the story that was scrapped completely and redone with a new team. If you watch it you'll think... but there was nothing wrong with this version (ok maybe the script) but it has developed characters, comedy and opens the story with more weight then the final version. They scrapped it because they eventually decided it was too dark and they wanted it to be a musical. So sometimes its just best to... Let it Go :-D


This final video it the original 'making of' made for the release of the film that talks through the whole process from idea to screen. It shows all the character designs in development too which I always find fun to look at :) but the voice over explains the reasons for their choices such as Gaston being 'handsome' because he's beautiful on the outside and ugly within... which is in direct contrast to Beast. It's easy when designing characters to forget that one design has an effect on another.


So that's Monday! I follow a blog called Gurney Journey which is authored by James Gurney, creator of Dinotopia... He shares a lot of Disney production work and insider knowledge for those interested.

Tomorrow... CAA & the Theatre.

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