Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Voucher Cloud advert

More storyboarding, this time for a Vouchercloud advert, check them out because there are some fantastic offers available.   

The first job was to come up with the theme and the general 'story' for the advert.  I usually get involved at this stage as John, the Creative Director at Hurricane media, and I develop ideas before pitching the story boards to a client.
I firstly needed to work out what the sets would look like and how they might be built, it made sense at that stage to make a model so that we could figure out sizing of materials for the carpenter to build each set and importantly how much room was needed to so an appropriately proportioned warehouse could be located for filming.  I made a 1:12 scale model of one of the sets but unfortunately I forgot to take photos of it!

Here's a few of my sketches working out the sizes and the designs of the sets.
Cafe set and Train carriage
Cinema and Shop (later altered for a simpler design)

The next step was to start story boarding as the sets had been pretty much signed off:

Once the storyboards had been completed I could start to help make the sets. 

I had to add this as I was quite excited to be working in such a cool place!
Hurricane are based in Bristol and their studio is in the old HTV building and now ITV west so I worked in an old film studio.   

My work-place for the next week.
Note the superb original "On Air" lights behind, this apparently used to be a studio where a kids art show was filmed.  There was still rigging for lights and cameras above, in the rooms upstairs musicians practiced most of the day, ranging from classical orchestras to heavy rock bands.

The off-white sets had already been sprayed and I needed to draw all the black line-work I'd designed on the storyboards. I can tell you adding black paint straight to a freshly painted panel in a light colour needed a steady hand!

I needed to make a tool to get those curves around the windows, it was awkward to do it freehand and any mistakes would have been problematic if the paint didn't dry in time to move them to the filming location.

The "background" for the train set - people run along holding them! 
I helped put up some of the sets and take them down at the end of the day, the warehouse - which turned out to be the perfect size for the filming was only two minutes from the ITV building, the advantage of working in a city with plenty of industrial areas!


The final filming took all day and everyone was kept well fed and drank their weight in hot drinks, the kids especially were great and didn't complain about the cold warehouse, they were well supplied with chocolate bars!  Everyone was great to work with and it was superb to see everyone keeping their spirits up after a long day, even the volunteers who did a great job.  It was a really nice experience to work on something right from the early concept stage through to painting sets and filming. 

The final cut

Experimenting with a looser style

Something I produced the other night for my agents "anything to do with bees" subject.  He asked for cute or humorous bees and I fancied doing some concept art instead.  It's not a particularly inspiring background and I'll work on that but I'm quite happy with the impressionistic look I achieved by slapping the colour on without making much of an attempt to tighten up.

BMW advertising work

BMW ultimate track application

Hello again.  I said I'd upload some of my work in advertising so here's the first batch.  This project was for BMW and as one of the Olympic partners they wanted to promote their new 3 series with an iPhone and Android app. with an Olympic "theme" The application was unlike most usual driving games, you're encouraged to set a good time on a track, which you draw with your finger across the screen, while driving smoothly and economically.

The setting for the game was to be an Olympic style stadium, unfortunately the actual stadium would be far to small to drive a real car around at high speed so we had to design something much larger and not a complete replica of the original, rather take influence from it.  My task was to design the stadium and the route which the BMW 3 series would take to get there in the video sequence at the beginning of the game.

My first job, not knowing London very well, was to look at the maps and see what the area looks like so I can get my bearings and look at any geographical elements which could be included.

You can see I've plotted the camera points along the track to achieve the best shots, there is also the river which was a fortunate aspect in the environment as a car could cross a bridge rather than just drive along a straight road.  I thought it would also be nice to have a few curves in the road leading to the stadium to show the car nicely from different perspectives so plotted this using the line vector tool.

The Story board

Please click image to view larger.
My storyboard rough
I drew the storyboard and blocked in the colour paying close attention to the strict guidelines set by BMW's advertising department.  I took influence from pervious televised commercials for lighting.

Please click image to view larger
Animators first draft

The guys I worked for over at Hurricane Media worked their magic and translated my storyboard into a rough version, to get camera positioning and basic environment worked out.

The Stadium and associated props

The next job was to work out what the stadium was going to look like.  We dabbled with a few designs, we had to take influence from but not directly copy the current stadium. So I made a reference folder of lighting, colour pallets and geometric architecture, here's a few examples. 

Some of my work on the setting and structural features of the stadium. 

Rough drawing of the basic structure of the Stadium and the surrounding park.

Working on the texture of the Stadium.
The Art Directors liked the idea of a honeycomb covering to the building and the line art at the top was sent to me to so I could see what I could do to bring it to life.

Version 2
A revised version, this time with a plastic covering and the metal frame work exposed.

I worked on an entrance for the Stadium, along the lines of suspended sails on a metal framework but these were eventually rejected in favor of something more structural.

Also using BMW's colours usually seen on their M sport badges  
Now the exterior of the building had been signed off the process of texturing and animating the introduction video could be started, here is the end result:

Please click image to view larger.

I am really pleased, there are many elements including the camera locations and direction of travel which are consistent with my map and my original storyboard, the lighting is very similar too.  It's an amazing feeling seeing your sketches come to life in a 3D world!

The next task for me was to design some sort of start and finish line.  The agency wanted some consistency to the whole look of the environment and olympic Stadium so I had a play with a few ideas and designed these:

I fine tuned the design, they liked my 'pods on a stalk' design and eventually settled on a simplified version of this one:

Start Lights

Finish lights

A few video captures of the game showing the track drawn by moving your finger around on the touch screen:

You can just make out my start lights and the start video looks great
You can see the advert here: video

On the download / Preview section of iTunes 

Well, many thanks for reading, I'll upload some more advertising work when I get an opportunity.

Monday, 15 April 2013

New Work

Wow has it really been this long since I last posted!  I've been really busy over the last couple of years and it's only now I'm able to upload a bit of what I've been up to.  

I'm continuing to illustrate educational books and produce artwork for kids annuals and activity books.  I've also been involved with concept art, model making and story-boarding for an advertising agency, helping build one of their sets and assisting during the filming process - more of that another time.

So onto the Art Work!

Manga Style Book Commissions

I was comissioned to illustrated a collection of Childrens books "How to draw Manga ..." with subjects ranging from Dinosaurs to Marshal Arts.  The brief required me to break down the artwork into a step by step process which the reader can follow before creating their own full colour character and hopefully learning to develop their ability through drawing poses. I produced the cover art for the series of books and worked along side another illustrator, we shared the responsibility for the book internals although the brief was directed by me to some extent when apportioning work. 
You can buy the books through Amazon or directly through the Publisher (PowerKids Press) heres a link: Amazon 
Here's a few of the illustrations I produced for the project:

The sketch-work involved in the production of the books (there was reams of this stuff, a lot of the work wasn't submitted as the client changed their mind or the brief took a different direction) here's a small selection of the thirty-odd characters I designed below:

Educational book work

The educational illustration work is still coming in and the variety of subjects is vast so I've just uploaded a few.  For anyone approaching this industry I do believe you stand a better chance of doing this through an art Agent as they will be familiar with the clients and will help recommend you or negotiate the budgets on this type of work - which are still very tight but there is often some room for flexibility on the fees.  

Being a car enthusiast I often try to hide my old car in my illustrations, my old yellow Cortina features on this one, and my current Cortina can be found here; Bermuda Blue Cortina 

I'm still doing a reasonable amount of work for Carribean publications, sometimes the subjects are quite good fun and allow a reasonable amount of creative freedom.

 This was for a client who needed cut-away illustrations of vehicles in a cartoony style so I exaggerated the body and simplified the mechanicals too.