Thursday, August 26, 2010

Art direction for Jimmy

Currently, the first one is pretty much the decided style for Jimmy's adventure.

The short will retain a paper n' pastel feel with the use of textures and drawing styles of the background.

Most of the environments include locations set in South East Asia, but there will be places set in Eurasia, the middle east, etc.

If I feel like it, I will add the cut out 1 minute of the full song by Utada Hikaru, adding places from Europe. (I have images in my head of a chocolate castle in Switzerland, the canals of Venice, and a French mansion covered with roses and mirrors)

I came up with the descriptions for the characters
Jimmy (the tiger cubscout) is referred to the 'little Asian tiger that explores the world'. He's supposed to be Singaporean Chinese. Jimmy is raised by a Bear Master Scout, who's Canadian. Jimmy likes to think he's a bear at times. His real parents are a mystery, but I added pictures of them in the animatic. He is a big fan of his foster dad (the bear master scout), Steve Irwin, and Indiana Jones. His dream is to become a master adventurer.

Miki (the siamese/birmese cat) is descent of Cambodian, Thai, and Burmese blood (though she was born in Burma). The flower on her head is sometimes made fun of because she's a girl, and stereotypically she wears a flower clip by her ear. It's supposed to represent a symbol of her royal heritage in Cambodia, but decides her dream is to climb the highest mountains on foot.

And so I drew a sketch of them when they reach their dreams

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Filipino Animation

I have been asked an uncountable number of times for my opinion based on Filipino animation.

Now before we jump into this topic, I have to say my pride for The Philippines has died down slightly quite recently. Oh, and its not about Filipino animation at all.

By the final days of August in 2010, there was a hostile hostage situation which was lead by a former police officer named Rolando Mendoza, who seized a bus with chinese tourists. I don't know too much on what happened, but what I hear is that the shootout lasted for many long hours, some hostages were killed, and Rolando Mendoza himself was shot down by a sniper rifle.

From the internet sources I've been looking at, everything seems a bit too one-sided. The media pinned Mendoza as the only villain in these articles - causing a lot of hateful and stir reactions by the public, both nationally and internationally. The stories I've seen depict Mendoza as a dude who took over a bus, killed some hostages wanting to get his retirement benefits since he was expelled from the police force for extortion and stuff. Don't get me wrong, I think there's still no excuse for Mendoza to involve innocent lives just to get heard, it's totally unacceptable. The Philippine police didn't do a good job either. They were indirectly taunting him by sledge hammering the windows of the buses (so fail by the way..) causing Mendoza to go in a psychological epidemic. From what I have seen, its as if they showing him he has no chance of survival at all, and therefore he could have fought out of survival's sake, but snapped.

Funny thing is, they sniped him after he shot a cop... after a bunch of hostages died.

Now back into topic.

I can't say much about Filipino animation, but I'll put in my comments about it as well as some footage of it.

Ibong Adarna is The Philippine's first animated film made around the 90s, and from what I know, its based off the legend of the Adarna Bird, who's crap can turn people into stone. Aside from that, this video is totally Filipino. When I think of Filipino, I think of cheesy elements that Philippine movies will have, such as music that sound like Christian songs. But hey, we are a Catholic deprived country. To me, its nothing at all spectacular to be the country's first major film project. Don't misunderstand me, I think this is an accomplishment in the country and that it only recently started growing from here.

So from the footage, the visuals are really weird, but some shots I really like because they feel like paper cutouts, giving a story book impression. I think if you look at the 2d animation alone, it looks okay - but because its blending with weird 3D background animation that doesn't match to well with the character animation, it gives a very uncomfortable sight of unsteadiness. The whole thing feels like a CCD thing. You know what, I'm pretty happy they came out with his because their later films seems to have vastly improved...

This is Urduja, another film based off a Filipino legend about a warrior princess of some village. Almost 10 years after the release of the Adarna bird, this is a huge step of improvement in the animation industries of the Philippines. The film itself, as well as the trailer here, its still very Filipino with the story structure and the humor given. Filipino humor mostly involves the exaggeration of the acting and the dialect, mixed with some Pinoy expressions but that isn't a bad thing at all. The visuals look pleasing, albeit looking like Mulan and a lot of Disney flicks, its got a pleasant color palette and some really beautiful background illustrations. So all I can say is that its far better than what they had 10 years ago.

A back story to this project, it didn't do well in the box office. I'm not sure what kind of reviews this film has gotten, but judging from the trailers, I can kind of see why. The trailer here doesn't show any new invention or take in the film, or doesn't exaggerate a certain interest. The trailer (and another one I didn't post online) mostly focused on the love life, the two goof balls, it made the movie seem bland. A bland, a replica of another concept that has been done several times. I'm pretty sure this film was decent. A lot of filipino films are decent. It's just the way they market things in the philippines, that needs to change big time.

Now this one is called Dayo, released a year after Urduja. Out of the three films the Philippines has released, this one takes the winning cake in my opinion. It's about a kid who meets a friend who's literally in half, and enters a magical world called Elementalia. Obviously, the trailer makes it for kids. The reason about my opinion is because the film overall, has a charm that the two other films didn't have. What I liked about the concept of Dayo is that it isn't being pretentious, but rather vibrant about their designs. It definitely does not look as technically advanced as Urduja, but there's a lot more fun in it. From this, I feel the makers really loved what they were making, their behind the scenes footage proves it too. (looks really fun to be there too). The concept, the work and the idea has a lot of entertaining value, and some interesting character designs they pull off in the Elementalia world. This would actually work well as its own tv show alone.

So my overall opinion about Filipino animated films, I can't really say much since there's only three they have ever made. However from the ten year gap, I can see some pretty good signs on where the industry is turning - and I wonder what there next film will be on.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My finished animatic

Jimmy the tiger cubscout animatic

Watch it here!!