Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Bulbio part 4

After I decided that the animation was a bit of a no go for me... it was decided that I could still keep the character but apply him to a more commercial application.. in this case.. an editorial. It's not exactly a current topic of conversation but the whole country is going "Green" mad, as we all now recycle, buy recycled products, try to buy more organic and locally sourced produce etc... so as the last stocks of incandescent bulbs hit the shelves, people are rushing to stock up on them before having to replace them with their more energy efficient counter parts or replace their light fittings altogether.

I started coming up with some way of showing this challenge between my incandescent bulb character and a energy efficient one through the use of metaphors.. either in a race or another face off of some sort. I'd already created some characters out of various bulbs but some of the ideas didnt jump off of the page at me... im used to creating some sort of character but trying to create a scene to populate with my characters throws me as I over complicate things. Anyway, I liked the idea of having my heart filled and optimistic character showing that he'd never give up... thus... this came about..

I can't remember what extra information I was going to add to this post, but basically I feel somewhat hard done by on this particular brief... I received quite a low mark on it yet I was rather impressed with what I produced. I know this had originally started as a project for D&AD.. i was meant to create a small animation. but i'm not an animator so rather than waste time learning how to bring my character to life... it was decided that rather than pursue this track I could take the character and add him into an editorial context... i think what my tutors didnt like was the fact that I only produced 1 editorial image... (and 1 mediocre attempt at a retro inspired poster).. but did all the development of the character and storyboarding for the animation not count for that much?

Bulbio part 3

As part of the D&AD competition with Disney, i was required to enter a 30-60 second animation showing how my character would move, interact and generally come to life.. however.. i am not an animator.. i instead created a rough story board and mocked up my animation using that..

the story goes: My bulb character, wakes up in the bin...after having various pages of rejected ideas thrown towards it...*could be cut to save time*....he realises where he is and promptly escapes.. as he lands on the floor of the room he loses his balance and falls over. regaining his balance he walks out further into the room.. there we gain a sense of scale of the bulb and his surroundings.. but also he spots that one of the lightbulbs is out and the artist (human character) is busy working away.. so the bulb has the idea of replacing the broken bulb thus helping the artist. he makes his way over to the bookcase which he has seen is his only way of gettin to the height of the light fitting. once at the bookcase he again marvels at the scale of what he has to overcome but begins his ascent of the books and obstacles on the shelves....

*this next bit might get cut*... climbing over some books he arrives at a particularly large one and has to launch himself onto it.. which topples it like a domino and throws the character into a box. as he checks himself and regains his composure.. he realises in this box there are 2 spare bulbs, he checks to see if they are alive but it looks as if he is the only bulb alive (with personality)... he continues with his journey climbing to the next shelf where he finds a rubber band and some paper clips (in the background we see the artist stressing as he hangs his head and throws more paper away).. the bulb looks up to gauge the last stretch of his climb..

as he hauls himself up to the top of the bookcase and rolls onto it.. he catches his breathe.. gets up.. and heads over to the odd gathering of bits on the top shelf.. there he fashions a grappling hook. returning to the end of the top shelf which is closest to the light fitting... he places his rope on the floor and launches the paperclip end towards the light fitting. it lodges into a hole in the back of one of the lights and the bulb no weighs up what he's about to do.. looking over the edge and psyching himself up.. he lets fly and swings to underneath the light fitting. as he starts to climb, the paperclip gives a little and he slips down to the bottom of the rope.. as he hangs there.. the artist suddenly gets his bright idea and it scares the bulb into lighting up.. (but we view it as if the bulb is hanging above the artists head)...

he has now become the bulb of inspiration rather than a basic bulb.. he was an idea that refused to go away, crawled his way out of the bin and back to life! :) I like the idea that the bulb has no mouth.. he doenst need to talk after all.. but i kept trying to think of how i could animate him.. and what style i could draw it in..

everyone thought i was being a little adventurous with choosing an animation brief (which is partially true).. but I always thought of drawing out my elements.. say a body for the bulb and various faces or arms that could be moved with each frame.. this would keep some of the animation rather jumpy and somewhat flat/2D but i've seen it done rather well with Bob Shea's work...

the only problem is the sheer amount of time it takes to actually animate :s i've tried it before..

Bulbio part 2

Some visual reference for my bulbs... all of the images below have in some way informed my final outcomes whether that is my mocked advert, my initial animation ideas or my bulb boxer (see Bulbio part 4)

Firstly, seeing as I was creating a 40's and 50's inspired advert, what better reference than the adverts themselves...

In most cases, the product is made the centre of attention - often held/demonstrated by a hand - with the text, slogan, name placed around it. What I tried to do was keep a similar feel for this in my own image as well as limiting the colours used so it would keep production costs down.. I may have had the elements needed to produce an image like these, but I dont think I actually achieved this... yet..

I love these business cards for Shyama Golden, as the white space around the image and text is well balanced.. (its easier criticising my work now as I look back on it)... but the effectiveness is not having too much going on... theres text, and a single image.. no background, its not in full colour but the printing method adds to the cards charm.

another mock 40's/50's advert using silhouettes rather than over complicating the design with details but its the angle of and the type used that sets the age of this piece.. then you just need to distress the piece.. and hey presto.. (or so i thought)

an example of how I could create the outline and highlights of my bulb...

I've beaten myself up numerous times over whether to hand draw everything or use digital techniques.. this piece looks completely hand drawn and digitally added to a paper background later. anyway, it shows a lightbulb character with a set of legs which I originally thought looked odd on my designs, but either way it is a character made out of a lightbulb.. with a face added to the glass.. without over thinking how the glass would react etc.

I dont think the legs look wrong on these characters, but I do think that by removing the legs it gives my bulb something a little different. Ive had to come up with a different way of him moving, plus my characters arms come out of the glass and not the metal fitting. Another happy go lucky bulb character.. found via DeviantArt.

Another DeviantArt find, i chose this piece due to the cute and innocent appearance of the face... Bulbs are quite fragile, and this face adds to that fragility.

A stumbled upon art show over in america, but what caught my attention was the mocked up cereal boxes.. I could mock up an oversized package for the bulb character... but also the quirky/sarcastic comments featured as slogans on the boxes design...

Similarly, I like the packaging on these cigarettes.. the cat mascot and the name 'Lucky' works well since we all now know the dangers of smoking and the whole 'cats have 9 lives' thing... but in terms of an advert.. the one single colour used to draw attention to packaging and name, works even better than the gag...

This series of fake japanese vintage adverts was created by Juan Molinet. Each mocked up brand has their own mascot made from the products the companies produce. The ageing of the pieces is a lot more subtle in some of these pieces than in others ive seen... the backgrounds have a slight amount of distressing, the prints have been offset a little but its not in your face.. it all adds to the piece.. where as some of the techniques i have used have distracted away from the idea and character...
I have since then found various characters either adding life to an inanimate object etc or that incorporate design aspects I want to mimic... (these range from contemporary pieces to older adverts and paraphernalia)

i particularly love the Esso Oil Drop.. it really makes me wonder what artists/illustrators/designers did before the invention of photoshop etc.. but also.. why do we depend so much on it now? the little pin badge version of the oil drop looks as if his lines were hand painted ... where as nowadays the closest we get is vectored lines.

Because i was also searching for reference for my bulb boxer.. i came across this Star Wars themed fight poster.. the distressing to the design adds to its believability...and the fold in the centre takes it from being a flat digital piece into a mocked up real poster... showing the design in context.

I managed to find a few lightbulb characters via google.. but most of them are the same clipart looking set of eyes and mouth added to ANY shape... here are some of my favourites that add character to the bulbs and also a few bulbs used for reference to shape etc.

i found this image a while back and always liked it for the use of the hand drawn line...ive always had it in my head that a finished piece shouldnt look sketchy or hand drawn but crisp and smooth.. (hence why i thought vectors were the be all and end all of design).. but showing the texture and inaccuracies of the pencil line gives the work character and something unique, something that you know no one can steal when you have drawn a character or piece yourself... i later found the artists website... MIKE LOWERY

I've also looked at CandyKiller (aka Brian Taylor) before but I keep coming back to his classically styled characters and how they are often isolated on a background in a similar way to how I like to produce my own.. this particular reference may not seem apparent when looking at my mocked up advert.. but when you see my Boxer (part 4) then hopefully it will be more apparent.

a few still images of the milk carton from Blur's 'Coffee and TV' music video...as well as a papercraft model showing the character and his girlfriend... you can literally add a face and limbs to anything and it becomes alive.. or we project "life" onto it by seeing these signs and then imagining how it could move when it comes alive.