10 6 / 2012
In the early stage I had a voiceover plan in my mind, I was going to have narrative scripts for the horse using voice over. Due to the difficulty and potential risk with this, I decided to use classical music instead, because it is timeless and suitable for the war theme.
Audio choice for this animation was made by the storyline which is from a peaceful countryside then transferring to the horrors of war, ending with the terrible sacrifice. Therefore I chose 3 pieces of music to fit each theme.
The first music is from English composer George Butterworth’s most famous orchestral idyll The Banks of Green Willow. Not only the musical illustration to the countryside theme is perfect, but also the story of Butterworth was related. He joined the British Army during first world war, sadly he was killed in the battle of the Somme in France, 1916. I didn’t know this when I heard his music and when I discovered the story I was shocked by the coincidence.
The second music is for the wartime theme which involves travel and battles. I had a hard decision to make between Beethoven’s or Shostakovich’s Symphony No.7. They both contain powerful and dramatic movements for the animation effects. The reason I chose Beethoven eventually is because the tune is more emotional and sad. The Shostakovich tune sounds more positive, rising to a sort of victory march.
For the final piece of music, I used The Death of Ase, composed by Edvard Grieg. This is a heartbreaking piece with very slow themes, it suits the ending scene which has a deep sorrowful and memorable sadness.
10 6 / 2012
Shadow Puppet Animation of War Horse
Using shadow puppet methods to create an animation based on the story War Horse by Michael Morpurgo. The story refers to the important part played by ordinary working English horses which were conscripted into the battlefield.
The footage can be used for war or horse exhibition, educational presentation and TV programme.
Age 8-14 years young audience
Emotional, unique, glory, realistic, serious, worn and scared
My first idea was to do an emotional ‘goodbye’ piece of work. As my previous works were mostly quirky style, I really wanted to do something completely different this time and it is more challenging to create a very moving story. I thought I needed to find some very sad stories and narrative, it took me a long time to think how can I do it?
Then I remembered the War Horse show I saw in London which was very moving. I decided to make my life easier by producing a title sequence for War Horse, so I can use the existing story to do my own style animation.
But idea was changed again after talking with tutors. Why do I repeat do the title sequence again? Also, there is an existing War horse advertising video, why do I need to do another version for their website? Then I really struggled to find an idea for my self-direct project, basically I just want to do a very emotional work but I had no idea what should I do.
Fortunately, I had a talk with Alex, when she looked at my storyboard, something reminded her of a unique animation by Jasper Morello. I fell in love with the steampunk style immediately and said yes, I can make a shadow puppets animation for war horse, that would be distinctive. Then I started to do the research on steampunk and shadow puppets, eventually I made this animation.
Picture from Imperial War Museum
There are two parts in my primary research. The first one is the War Horse story and the first world war history, they allowed me to be constructive in my storytelling. I went to Once Upon a Wartime exhibition in Imperial War Museum, I got inspirations by the War Horse author’s personal object including paintings, props and documentary stories. The second is the shadow puppet methods including how to set-up equipment for shooting images, then I would be able to find the material and equipment for my own production.
My secondary research still followed these two directions. For the war horse part, I watch many war period footages to get inspiration, they helped me to develop my storyboard and illustration style. For shadow puppets, I explored similar style animation and illustrations to find out how to use the light and materials for some special effect, such as flame, wave and fire and so on.
07 6 / 2012
1) Is Steampunk a British thing?
2) Reclaiming the Machine:
An Introductory Look at Steampunk in Everyday Practice
3) The New Design Style of Steampunk (by Simone Cortez Gray (c)2008)
4) How to Create a Steampunk Style Illustration in Photoshop
5) Fanciful Steampunk Styled Website Designs
6) Adam Miller interview: Why steampunk themes were used in the game?
7) Steampunk Movies
8) Steampunk: An Overview
9) The User’s guide to Steampunk
10) Aesthetic 101
11) Why Steampunk’s time has come?
12) Why Steampunk still matters?