Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Character Design Project 6

After a little more thought, I realise my original synopsis is rubbish; instead, here is a new story.

Heroine is the daughter of a famous pirate hunter and a naiad, whose father was captured by the most notorious Pirate in the Not-Mediterranian, "Admiral" Villain.  Taking command of her father's ship, Heroine sets out to find the lair of "Admiral" Villain and free her father.

This time, the sidekick is still evil, but is "Admiral" Villain's second in command, the cowardly Captain Sidekick.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Character Design Project 5

Proposed synopsis for "Mythic Pirates" (apologies for the placeholder names, but I just cannot come up with good names)

Captain Heroine has stolen the key to the hiding place of the "heart of the ocean" from Not-Poseidon, and sets out with her crew to claim it as their own.  Consequently, they sail the high seas of Not-Mediterranian in search of the hiding place, whilst evading or defeating the attempts of Not-Poseidon's minions to retrieve the key.

I think the sidekick will belong to the Not-Poseidon.

Lipsynching 1

Monday, 26 September 2011

Character Design Project 4

Just a quick take on a ship for the hero.  Didn't go with the trireme style oar banks, since that would require a crew of slaves (and is therefore much better suited to the evil character's ship).  Probably a bit small, but that means you need less crew (which would make life easier if this was an actual animation).

Unfortunately, it doesn't really shout either "Greek" or "Pirates" to me, so it's probably a non-starter.

Character Design Project 3

A bunch of images for inspiration/reference


Games Workshop,

Connolly, Peter (1977) The Greek Armies London: MacDonald Educational Limited

Character Design Project 2

Thoughts on "Mythic Pirates"

  • Which Mythology/Mythologies?
  • What Kind of Pirates?
  • Where are they?
  • Why is the Villain in Conflict with the Hero?
My first thoughts were Greek/Roman mythology, as it has quite a few different sea-dwelling creatures, such as Kraken, Leviathans, Scylla etc, as well as more "Mythic" beings like Neptune/Poseidon and Niaids.  This will give plenty of possibilities for antogonists, both episode specific and story arc.

Since they're described as "Mythic Pirates", there's the possibility of having non-human characters, either pure mythic creatures, such as Medusae, Cyclops etc, or perhaps human/mythic hybrids.

The next problem is location - the best answer is probably a fictionalised Mediterranian, with plenty of small islands and citystates, as this will offer plenty of scope for stories (and, from the point of view of making the fictional world work, lots of city-states means lots of trading, which means lots of merchants; the island nature of the city-states means these will be merchant ships; lots of merchant ships means lots of opportunities for pirates; and the abscence of large countries means an absence of large, organised, anti-pirate forces)

As for time period, sticking to the Ancient Greek/Roman period would instantly add novelty, since there would be no gunpowder, hence no cannons.  Fortunately, there would still be opportunities for the classic ship-to-ship fighting, since the Ballista was invented by the Ancient Greeks.  It might also be an idea to chuck in magic, perhaps for the villain, as this would offer the possibility of flashy effects.  The main challenge would be combining traditional "Pirates" (eye patches, tricorn hats etc) with an Ancient Greek aesthetic, although this may turn out not to be necessary, since a Greek aesthetic could provide a fantasy environment.

The best reason for the conflict between hero and villain is probably a MacGuffin; either something they both want, or something the Hero has stolen from the Villain (since the Hero is a pirate, this MacGuffin is probably a treasure of some sort, although it might concievably be the Hero's boat).

The last question is the nature of the Villain - either an active equal (an evil pirate, for example) who they are in direct conflict with, or a passive superior (evil sorceror/sea god) who sends minions to confront the Hero.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Vehicle Modelling Tutorial Step 1

Progress so far

Character Design Project 1

My mash-up is "Mythic Pirates", so this should be pretty fun.

First though, the class doodles, featuring "Aquatic Musketeer" and "Holy Surfer"

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Ed Wood (1994)

Fig. 1 "Ed Wood" Special Edition DVD Cover

From the very beginning, this film (directed by Tim Burton) takes a delight in mimicking the peculiar eccentricities of the films of Edward D Wood Jr, the man voted "Worst Director of All Time". This is obvious from the opening credits, where a sinister figure lying in a coffin informs the audience that the horror before them is all true, and based upon the memories of those who were there - this monologue is almost a direct quote from the opening of  one of Wood's best known films, "Plan 9 from Outer Space".

Plan 9 From Outer Space Part 1 (2009)

 Ed Wood (1994) Part 1/13 (2010)
However, while the film copies the language of Ed Wood films, it does so in a much more high-budget way; this is particularly noticeable in the opening credits, where the camera actually tracks through a graveyard filled with headstones inscribed with the credits, while in "Plan 9", the headstones are simply 2D paintings, on which the credits are superimposed.  Likewise, while the film is filmed in black and white (like Wood's own works), it uses modern high-quality film stock, without the graininess of genuine Wood films.  This is highlighted in a scene where Wood (Johnny Depp) watches the genuine last footage shot of Bella Lugosi.

Much of the film is taken up documenting the chaotic filming of Wood's films "Bride of the Monster" and "Plan 9 from Outer Space", with great attention being paid to accurately portraying the conditions of the shoots, from the theft of a rubber octopus prop to the infamously wobbly cardboard tombstones in one graveyard scene.  The effect is heightened by the almost uncanny resemblence of some of the cast to their real-life counterparts - Martin Landau is particularly good as the aged Bella Lugosi, whilst Vincent D'Onofrio is totally convincing as Orson Welles in the film's most blatant piece of fictionalisation [GA, 2011].

Overall, the film is a surprisingly respectful tribute to the work of a man who worked outside the establishment, and managed to make his own particular type of film despite all the obstacles in his path.  Whilst it is (probably rightly) accused of sugar-coating reality and airbrushing out the darker aspects of Wood's life, the film is held together by the relationship between Wood and Lugosi, as well as the warm portrayal of Wood's band of cinematic misfits.

List of Illustrations

Fig. 1  "Ed Wood" Special Edition DVD Cover At: (Accessed on 22.09.2011)

Plan 9 From Outer Space Part 1 (2009) (Accessed on 21.09.2011)

Ed Wood (1994) Part 1/13 (2010) (Accessed on 21.09.2011)


Maslin, J (1994) Ed Wood (1994): Ode to a Director who Daredto be Dreadful In: The New York Times [Online] At: (Accessed on 21.09.2011)

GA (2011) Ed Wood (1994) In: TimeOut [Online] At:  (Accessed on 21.09.2011)

McCarthy, T (1994) Ed Wood  In: Variety [Online] At: (Accessed on 21.09.2011)

Ebert, R (1994) Ed Wood In: [Online] At: (Accessed on 21.09.2011)

Friday, 16 September 2011

Moving Church Modelling Part 3 - Bogies

Used mining equipment for reference.

[I'm working on the track units first because they are the most complex part (with the possible exception of the triple-expansion steam engines)]

Moving Church Modelling part 2 - Tracks

It took a bit of trial and error to wrap the tracks round in a continuous loop.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Moving Church Modelling part 1

Blocked out the basic shapes to ensure the proportions work.   Next step, adding detail