Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Le script

Soundtrack: Ballroom Blitz, by Sweet

Close up of Leonard’s waist. He is wearing a utility belt with hairdressing utensils hanging off it.

Leonard puts his right hand on a pair of scissors, then his left hand on a comb.

Pan up to Leonard’s upper torso.

Leonard puts his arms up by his face, strikes a “ready-to-go” pose.

Cut to Close up of Marie Antoinette.

Antoinette is seated with back to camera, then swings around.
Marie Antoinette: (lip-synch to song lyrics) Alright fellas, let’s go!

Insert title sequence.
Cut to Mid shot of Antoinette and Leonard. Antoinette is seated with eyes closed, while Leonard is to her left.

Leonard is busily fixing Antoinette’s hair, hands delicately applying the final touches to the coif. The style is of typical 18th century French courts. He adds the final accessory, a hat, and straightens up to admire his creation. His face is proud.
Antoinette opens her eyes, holds up a mirror, and looks intently. Her face looks up at Leonard and frowns, signaling her disapproval.

Cut to Mid shot of the tip of Antoinette’s hair, so that it occupies the bottom of the frame. Pan down to Leonard and Antoinette (same shot as previous cut). Her new hair is taller than the last attempt, with more accessories.

Leonard straightens up to signal that he is finished.
Marie Antoinette looks into her mirror, shakes her head.

Repeat this shot 2 more times, with the following hair styles: tall wig with a pair of doves perched on top, and a wig in the shape of a boat. Antoinette will disapprove each time.

Cut to Mid shot of Antoinette. Insert montage sequence of Antoinette seated, with her hairstyle changing to the beat of the song.

Cut to Mid shot of the tip of Antoinette’s hair, so that it occupies the bottom of the frame. Pan down to Leonard and Antoinette (same shot as previous cuts). Her new hair is reminiscent of the first hairstyle, but with a different colored hat.

Leonard straightens up slightly (but not fully, he is still bent over from exhaustion). His face is contorted with exhaustion and he is panting heavily.
Antoinette looks into her mirror. She looks for a couple seconds, then smiles in approval.

Zoom into Close up of Antoinette’s face.

Zoom out to reveal change in setting. EXT: Execution site.

Marie Antoinette is set in her guillotine, face the same as is was in the previous cut. She is up on a scaffold, while around her is a mob. In the mob is Leonard, smiling proudly.

Cut to low angle Close up of blade at the top of the guillotine.

Blade falls to the lyrics “Ballroom Blitz”

Fade to black.

Color Test

I'm torn between 4 and 5. Help!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Boink boink boink boin....

Flash tutorial 1: Bouncing Ball Conundrum (or "Hey, Flash isn't too hard!")

Bouncing Ball 01

Bouncing Ball 02

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Model sheet

Model sheet for Marie Antoinette. She's hairless for the turn-around so the size of her head's clearer. Also, her hair will keep changing so it wouldn't matter anyways.

Leonard's should be coming soon (hopefully).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Color roughs

I had some time to do some quick color roughs for Marie Antoinette's costume; I pretty much came up with the premise of my film out of a wish to do nothing but draw beautiful 18th century dresses, so this was exciting.

Antoinette will only wear one dress, but I just wanted play around with some colors and designs to get me thinking about the overall aesthetic of the film. The final dress won't be this elaborate or colored in this style; I just wanted to play around with some designs. I'm probably going to be using a (super) simplified version of the yellow dress.

Character sketches: Marie Antoinette

One of the 2 characters for my final film is (obviously) Marie Antoinette. I've been trying out a lot of visual styles for this piece, since I'm not sure how well my usual manga-comic style lends itself to Flash animation. And, like I mentioned before, I think this would be a good opportunity for me to expand my horizons and push myself a bit more.

So here are a few sketches I did while trying to pin down my character; I think she's gone quite the long way, don't you?

She's still looking too anime and too "safe" here; I wanted her to have some real character in her facial structure, not just be cute.

I wanted the queen to have a strong jaw, since it's been recorded that she was beautiful despite having the "Hapsburg Jaw", which apparently is the fancy term for an under-bite. Her eyes are still very anime, which just looks wrong with her very dominant jawline. It's really hard to look at your drawings objectively and see whether your designs are appealing and unique and not ugly. I didn't even realize that she looked off until a friend told me she looked ugly.

I changed the eyes and eventually settled to shrink the jaw but still bring attention to it by sliding the mouth up. The designs on the left half of the page are generally what I settled on.

I'm half-way through making a turn-around, so a model sheet should be up by the end of the week. Then I'll get going on the designs for Leonard (the hairstylist), which should be easier now that I have the visual style for the characters figured out.


I'm a fair way into the "pre-production" stage of my final assignment, with character models ad shots being sorted out. I want to get as much planning done by the time we finish our Flash tutorials so I can get going as soon as I can. I get the feeling that with my computer ineptness I'm going to be making a few mistakes here and there, and I want to have enough time to make this (hopefully) a good reel piece.

So I suppose now's as good a time as any to put up my premise, and whatever else I have planned so far. I think I've got most of my script planned out as well, so that'll be up shortly.

Marie Antoinette is about to make her final public appearance: her execution. She and her beloved hairstylist prepare by creating the most fashionable hairstyle, but Antoinette is not easily satisfied. Numerous sky-scraping coifs later, the Queen finally approves of her hair and is happily taken away by the revolutionaries. In the final shot, the Queen is fixed in the guillotine, with her flamboyantly proud friend watching from the crowd.

Total duration: 1 ~ 1.5 minutes, depending on the length of the soundtrack.

Soundtrack: Ballroom Blitz by Sweet (up to the end of the first chorus, with the last scene ending on the lyrics “ballroom blitz”)

Cuts/ Scene Sequence: The song will begin with the lyrics “Are you ready Steve?”, while which the shot will show a montage of close-ups of the 2 characters preparing (hairstylist will take out his scissors and comb, Marie Antoinette will sit in the stylist chair, etc). Then, as the song moves onto the first riff, there will be a sequence of scenes where the Queen will be in her seat, first with her back to the screen while the hairdresser works. When the hairdresser is done, she will spin around to face the audience and respond to her coif. This action will be repeated around 4-5 times, with the hairstyle getting progressively crazier and Antoinette showing different reactions each time. Finally, the song will hit the chorus, and the two will settle on a hairstyle. The camera will zoom into her happy face, and then zoom back out to reveal a change in scene. The disgraced queen is set in the guillotine, and a crowd (including the hairdresser) surrounds the podium. When the lyrics hit the words “ballroom blitz”, the blade falls and before it hits the screen fades to black.

If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions, let me know! I need all the feedback I can get!

Character Design

A few character designs I find inspiring:

Designs from a French artist I found on Deviant Art. Her characters are deceptively simple, distinct, and stylish.

Gorillaz band members drawn by Jamie Hewlett. His characters are stylized and flat, but still animate-able and very, very distinct.

And of course, Chris Sanders. His characters are dynamic and eccentric, and his girls are all sexy.

I've always loved the aesthetic of Shag; his characters are flat but dynamic, expressive, and extremely stylish. I feel like his style (including his color palette) would be great reference for Flash animations.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Self portrait

I took this opportunity to make a new self portrait because a.) I don't have one that's less than a year old, and b.) I wanted to explore some unfamiliar, more caricature-based styles.

It's hard to distinguish what's appealing when you're working in a new style. I don't really look like Elmer Fudd. Much.


I posted this in my personal sketch blog but I think it would be a good idea to have this here as a follow-up to my last post. I tend to take a lot of inspiration from what I see in real life, live-action movies, and sometimes music. I have a few artists and art styles I look to, but I feel I don't do this as much as I should. I'm working to fix that.

One of my biggest interests at the moment, and most likely the biggest influence on the final for this class, is the Rococo style. There is something so enjoyable about the superfluous, decorative style of 18th century French courts. It's beautiful, girly, and art simply for art's sake, not necessarily trying to be anything more.

So, having said all that, you saw some videos, so now have some images:

Fragonard <3

This shot is the essence of what I try to capture in my girly drawings: sexy, cute, and very classy.

Adorable 18th century French fashion: cute, feminine, but meant to seduce.

Glamorous princess fashion, Versailles luxury, and CAKES!! <3 <3 <3


To get things started, here are some examples of animations I find inspiring:

I can't talk about animations I look to for inspiration without mentioning anime. I grew up with it, and it's influenced me more than I can say. Anime can be limited in animation, but it focuses on aesthetic and design elements, which I find very important.

Dramatic storytelling isn't something I see often in mainstream American animation. To be marketable, films tend to be family friendly, simple in plot, and humorous. While the film itself wasn't a total success in this area, I still remember the chills I got watching this scene; it was dramatic, dark, mature, and different.

And for artsy film's sake, here is a part of this year's Oscar winner:

Again, this is film has a mature, heartfelt story with a strong visual style. It was successful without necessarily conforming to the Disney formula.


My name is Sara Talmadge, current animation student at the Savannah College of Art and Design and enthusiast for all things cupcakes. I was born and raised in Yokohama, Japan, until I decided I didn't like living in the same place for 18 years and moved to Savannah to study. My passions and pastimes revolve mainly around drawing, but on occasion I can be found watching movies or dreaming I was living in the Versailles palace.

This blog will be following my progress in my Digital Cel Animation I class, by the end of which I hope to have a decent short flash-animated film. I have yet to even open Flash (or Toon Boom), so this should be all sorts of riveting.