Thursday, 8 November 2007

Further rotoscoping (and a love letter to Berol)

Persevering with the ever time-consuming rotoscoped sequence, I've decided to make things a little easier on myself by decorating the Hunter's trophy room at the CGI stage, rather than have to awkwardly guess where all the animals and guns and crap like that need to be for each frame.

If you compare the above shot to the first CGI version you'll notice a number of basic amendments on the walls and shelf that act as a far better guide for the drawing (well, tracing) stage. I've spent many an hour in my secluded cafe corner, shunning society and sunlight in favour of drawing the same thing over and over again. The difference between each frame is so minimal that it really does seem like that, so it's very satisfying that when it all comes together it looks like this:

At 12.5 frames a second, this 4-second animation requires 50 drawings. The previous 8-second segment required 100, totaling at 150 separate backgrounds for this extravaganza. It is a testament to the strength of my greatest ally in the making of this film: The Berol Colour Fine.

This beautiful thin-felt black marker pen has been a companion to me since before there was grass on the field. Through it came nearly every strip of my (extremely) cult webcomic 'Mitchells In England', and every hand-drawn illustration or design of worth that I've created has been crafted with this as my tool. I have a love for this pen that men just shouldn't feel for inanimate objects.
The lifespan of one of these beauties produces three perfect line thicknesses - I always have several on the go so that I can use whichever one fits my purpose. A newly-opened pen will create thin (yet bold) 0.5mm lines for when intricate detail is required; A pen which has been broken into will have had the tip worn down a little to create slightly thicker lines that are ideal for character drawings; A pen which is on the way out will inevitably have a further-worn tip whose line-thickness (a little over 1mm by the end) is suited for backgrounds.

The Berol Colour Fine in action! Look at it go!

It's not an artistic pen, nor one specifically designed for the type of work I do. It is, however, the most comfortable pen I've worked with, and I believe that level of comfort and familiarity breeds creativity. At the very least it allows production to be uninhibited by the awkward distraction of getting to grips with something that seems unfamiliar, even something as seemingly trivial as a pen.
In summation, I love my black Berol Colour Fines, so much that I recently put in a bulk order that cost a cheerfully small amount given what I got for it:

Fingers crossed these will be enough to get me through the film, because I have a genuine concern that, given their relative obscurity (they're notoriously hard to track down in shops) they might one day no longer be manufactured. In all honesty, I'm probably just the kind of alarmingly-detached shut-in that would mourn their passing.
On that disconcerting note, stay tuned for the next entry which will hopefully cover the final stage of this rotoscopic adventure. Until then I'll be spending some unsavoury private time with my Berols.

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