Friday, 8 August 2014

Iconicles: Create Media Ventures, Phuuz Entertainment Inc. Animation/Live action series: Live action Direction by Richard Bradley, Animation series Direction: Dino Athanassiou. Production Designer: Ruth Arnold:. Live action presenter (Nat) Gavin Stenhouse, Series Producer: Alan Dewhurst. Exec-Producers: Vanessa Chapman, Lucy Murphy and Christopher Keenan: Animation studio: Dinamo Productions: Below some of the live action plates of Nat, with my good mate Gavin Stenhouse, Once the off-lines were ready I would sketch over the plates to guide the effects artist and animators for action and performance.

Below a link to a clip of Iconicles from the Dinamo Production 2011 reel:

This was the opening introduction song which showed Nat introducing us to the world of the Iconicles: First panel shows Nat lifting up the metallic globe, which triggers the Icon screen to appear, suggested glint effect.
I thought it would look cool if the key device Nat uses to start the mechanism would glow with a weird funky energy (All those years of watching Star Trek) :-)
It was also fun to work with the sound designers on the show, we all had fun coming up with weird and wonderful sound ideas for many of the action and inventions throughout the series.
                                               Nat spins the globe and starts the beam.

                                               Nat prepares for the Icon screen to appear.
I've always loved designing and animating effects over the years so this was a chance to add some crazy light effects for when the Icon screen magically appears.
Gavin was wonderful to work with and always willing to go the extra mile and give us the very best performance which helped the animation greatly. Above and below is an example of Gavin reacting to an unseen magic effect, once I explained how fast I was planning the effect to whiz by him he got it in the first take.
                                                          Pretty cool Icon shades!
The idea we were going for was a kind of plasma energy field that Nat triggers with the Key and globe, this in turn creates the lightening effect followed by the Icon screen.

I also suggested ways that the build up to the screen appearing as far as the lighting effect within Nats room would dramatically change the contrast causing cast shadows.The end result was not quite as funky and abstract as Richard and I would have liked but it still looked pretty cool.

We really tried pushing the angles as much as we could to get an almost comic feel to the staging and help dramatise the build up even more.

A pretty crappy sketch on my part but it was a quick guide to show the staging as well as the Plasma forming into the shape of the screen.

The next part of animation was to introduce the characters popping out from the screen.
                                             Introducing Rumple, a CG animated rhino.
Working closely with the live action Director, The guys at Dinamo and I went to great pains to make sure that Gavins performance and eye line would match well with the CG animation.

Rumple lands on a skateboard and whizzes around the set.

We wanted to show the chaos of Rumple darted from A to B across the room, a complete contrast to the slow and calculated way that Rumple would normally be..

                          Rumple crashes into one of the steps and fly's up towards the counter.

                                                     Slap bang into a chocolate cake.

                                                         Rumple is covered in cake.

                                                          Rumple: "Sorry Nat!"

Again, designing the shot so that the interaction with Nat and the animation would be seamless, here Nat breifly touches the CG of Rumples horn, having the rough animation poses over the live plates served us well as far as planning these subtleties and giving us a perfect guide for the animators to go by.

                                         Rumple explains to Nat how his horn got damaged.

                               Nat examines Rumples damaged horn with his magnifying glass.
       This was a perfect opportunity to get some comedy with Rumple coming up close to the glass.
                                               Rumples moves even closer to the glass.
The effects team did a great job in the end with many of the shots coming up way better than any of us had imagined.

Ruth Arnold the production designer did a wonderful job in creating the look as well as praticality for the sets allowing our characters to move freely from one end of the set to the other.

Similarly Richard Bradley was fantastic with his sharp eye and professionalism in coming up with new and exciting staging that gave each shot the right energy we needed to the maximum performance with Nat and the CG animation.
Richard was forever pushing the perspective and exaggerating the live action to help the CG for each shot.
Below: Nat checks the screen in front of him while Rumple gets into position above the sofa, we had gone back and fourth with the design as far as working out the ideal location for Nat to sit and interact with the CG characters.

                   Below: An example of the standard set up shot of Nat and the CG animation.
                            The animators at Dinamo did a wonderful job on the character animation.

Nat anticipates then whizzes out of shot, at times we would even look to speed the live action in order to get more of a cartoony quality to the action. Again an example of Richards willingness to break away from conformity and try new and cool ways to sell an idea.
                                 In this shot Rumple sheepishly appears from behind a plant.

At times it was just as good to add notes on the live plates as shown below with rough thumbnails to give the animators a guide for the action I wanted.

Again another example of added effects as a reference guide to show the level of flower and how the whole effect should almost fill the screen.

 This of course causes Rumple to violently sneeze which sends him careening out of shot.
                                                           Rumple: Aaaaaaaagh....
                                                                        Nat: "Whoops!"
                                                               Nat: "Sorry Rumple!"

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