Posts Tagged With: Art department

World Building

city concept 3    DSC01001

World building is something that I’ve been fascinated with for years. From game design to creative writing it is quite literally the building blocks of all fantasy and fictional worlds. Between my film and illustration projects I will be exploring the idea of world building as I see it, from research to concept; map design, characters, location and inspiration to name but a few. Although I am essentially an artist and set designer I have an interest in writing and all forms of narrative such as game design. There will be posts that focus on all types of world building as well as visual inspiration.

Oni Demon internet     DSC00299

So whether you’re a concept artist, writer or budding production designer you should find something that suits all narrative research. It’s worth following the blog and also looking back over my MA work as there are many relevant entries about science fiction film and set design.

Advertisement
Categories: General research, World building | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CGI, Post Production and Production Design

It’s clear from reading articles over the last few weeks that there is a shift in not only how films look but how they are being made. Traditionally a film goes into the pre-production stage, is designed, filmed and then any edits or visual effects are done in the later stage of post production. Now what seems to be happening, certainly with larger companies is that filmmakers/directors are approaching the post production/VFX companies directly to make their films. Inception was one of those films that was done entirely in-house. AWN’s (Animation World Network) Bill Desowitz spoke about the new trend of VFX companies handling films in their entirety.

This allows for better cooperation between artists and a broad scale understanding of the film’s intentions rather than parceling off the film into pieces to be assigned to different studios, which creates a disjointed artistic experience.  ” (DESOWITZ, B. (Cited 2011) Boogiestudion.com.2011 [Online])

Some companies such as Framestore have a pre-viz department as well as post production services allowing for films to be designed in-house, so for science fiction and fantasy films it could be something that happens more and more in the future. It would be interesting to see if smaller companies would have the capabilities to do the same, or whether this is purely the arena of companies like Framestore, Method Studios or Double Negative.

I approached Framestore to ask them whether the production designer is part of this pre-viz stage and they confirmed that their designers  are involved with the design process from early on, collaborating with the production designer.  They also directed me to the art department site where many of the concept images are produced. However, that said, it does not always follow that they do the VFX for that film later on.  An example of this is World War Z in which they produced only concepts. From left to right World War Z and 47 Ronin  where they designed many aspects from pre-viz to VFX/post production The images are concept art, environments and creature design and VFX.

wwz6  47Ronin_Wip_Ako_L  47Ronin_Wip_Dragon_L

images available at http://www.framestore.com/work/world-war-z   and   http://www.framestore.com/work/47-ronin [sourced on 11/05/2014]

 

“Framestore astounded me with their combination of technical skill and artistry in creating the world of 47 Ronin. From conception at its art department right through to execution by their incredibly talented VFX team, they created creatures, FX and environments that are truly unique. Thanks Guys!” 47 Ronin director, Carl Rinsch.  http://www.framestore.com/work/47-ronin [online – sourced on 11/05/2014]

Most films are still packaged off to several companies all over the world. But these are large budget films so have the money to employ production designers, art directors etc to oversee the process.

I looked at Inception  and found that the pre-production/art department and VFX both worked on concepts with the production designer and the art department team researching architecture to provide a solid visual foundation. I will look at Inception and Double Negative in the next VFX post in more detail.

43416-vfx-inception

image from http://www.awn.com/print/vfxworld/vfx-inception%5Bsourced on 13/05/14]

 

What is evident is that companies such as Double Negative and Framestore work with production designers at an early pre-viz stage, research, concepts, VFX planning etc whether they are all in-house or packaged off to various VFX studios.

This is a brief breakdown of some of the companies and their services:-

Double Negative :- Concept/pre-viz/VFX designing Inception in-house, bringing in other designers.

Framestore:- Art/Department/Concepts/Pre-vis/VFX/Design etc working on films such as 47 Ronin and Gravity

Method Studios:- Art Department/Concepts/Colour/Design/VFX working on films such as Divergent and Cloud Atlas

Scanline VFX :- High end VFX/ Colour/Titles and mainly post production, on films like Divergent and 300

Sony Imageworks :- VFX/Animation/3D, film such as Spiderman and Godzilla

Boogie Studios:-VFX/Sound/3D/colour/post production

 

References:-

Blog article:-

DESOWITZ, B., (cited 2011) Oscar nominated Inception helps to develop a trend in the VFX industry. Available at:-  http://www.boogiestudio.com/blog/2011/01/26/a-look-at-vfx-oscar-nominated-inceptions-formula-for-success/?lang=en [sourced on 22/04/2014]

Images and website information:-

http://www.framestore.com/work/world-war-z [online- sourced on 11/05/2014]

http://www.framestore.com/work/47-ronin%5Bonline- sourced on 11/05/2014]

47 Ronin director, Carl Rinsch. http://www.framestore.com/work/47-ronin [online- sourced on 11/05/2014]

image from http://www.awn.com/print/vfxworld/vfx-inception%5Bsourced on 13/05/14]

Double Negative website:- http://www.dneg.com

Framestore :- http://www.framestore.com/work

 

Categories: MA project, Post Production | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Role of the Production Designer (Matthew Gant): Case Study 1- part 1

Introduction to Case Study 1

To answer my MA project question I have organised a more hands-on approach to research as I feel it is one of the best ways to really understand the role of the production designer and get some first-hand experience in real-time. A large part of my project focuses on the pre-production stage of design and will go on to compare the processes within the art department and relationship with post-production. The work is split between asking questions about the role in general, questions that are more off the cuff in response to my experiences and own work, and observations over the two-day work shadowing period.

As the case study focuses on a designer rather than a particular film or programme I am looking at the role in both film and TV. The 2 day work shadowing focuses on a T.V. drama so will show the contrasts between T.V. and film as well as budget and variety of jobs that the production designer takes on. My questions will incorporate both T.V. and film and will attempt to bridge the gaps in design processes. They will also be about the production design role as a whole and how it is evolving in light of technological advancements.

My aim is to answer the following question and to inform my own project and personal development.

Given the post production techniques available today, what is required from the Production Designer at the pre-production stage in terms of scenic design?

This case study comprises of several research approaches:-

 

An overview of Matthew Gant’s work

Q+A session prior to meeting

My work shadowing and observation of his role (2 days)

Reflective write-up and how it relates to and informs my work

Conclusions

 

I will start my study by a brief overview of Matthew Gant’s work to date.

Matthew Gant currently works as a production designer. After working his way through the art department from graphics  to art director for the first series of Life On Mars he got his big break into production design when he was employed to design the second series. The show was nominated for a BAFTA for best production design. Since then he has worked on a variety of T.V. shows and features, most recently Endeavour and Chasing Shadows, both of which are crime dramas. The features he has designed includes Hush, The Liability and the recent top 10 entry The Quiet Ones with the Hammer Horror production company.

I have complied a series of images to show the variety of productions he has designed including some concept art below.

 

matt gant 1

Reference:- http://www.fracture.ltd.uk (gallery) All images are property of Matthew Gant’s website.

 

Before organising a meeting I sent Matt a selection of questions so he could see what elements of his work would be the most beneficial to observe. Below are some of the answers he gave:-

Questions for Case Studies (Production Design)

• How long is the pre-production stage and what does it usually involve?

The designer’s pre-production stage for a television series can be anything from 4 to 16 weeks, depending on the complexity of the project and the budget. A low budget film could be similar and the more money there is on a film, the longer the prep period normally.

Prep consists of research and concepting after liaising with director, Dop, producer and other HODs.
We will then go on to choose locations and design and build sets with art directors, at the same time working with set decorator/production buyer to begins choosing dressing props and finishes for sets. Simultaneously there will also be graphic designers, props makers, vehicle coordinators, SFX and VFX technicians and many other contributors to liaise with and brief.
At some point during the the prep period we will have a schedule drawn up by the 1st AD which will then allow us to prioritise the sets and locations in the order in which they will be shot.

• Does design for T.V. differ from film in any way?

One-off TV drama is similar to film, serial drama is different in that you will often have more than one director shooting different episodes, and the prep continues for the next director whilst the previous director is filming, so it’s a bit like spinning plates sometimes.
• Are you involved in the production/post production stages of design? If so how?

Sometimes we will have an input with VFX where there are set extensions and CGI work to complete the picture. But often on smaller budgets, we will finish in the final day of principal photography.
• How much are you involved in the decisions about location or budget?

The rate department budget is my responsibility and takes up probably about a third of my time, unfortunately all design decisions are made in the context of how much they will cost. Location choice is a big part of design and so it is one of my responsibilities.
• Would you say that the role of the production designer is changing in regards to todays technology such as CGI?

Yes. Will explain more when we speak.
• In regards to genres such as historical, thrillers etc are there different challenges in terms of design?

Yes. Again – we should discuss this in person.

 

• How did you get into production design?

Started as a graphic designer on work experience then worked my way up through the art department. My first design credit was Life on Mars 2 (after having been the art director on the first series).
• Do you use any particular software packages for design or more traditional skills such as drawing?

Still draw by hand but use Sketch Up a lot for 3D concepting and photoshop for image manipulation and rendering.

 

It made a lot more sense to discuss some of the questions in more detail on location. Also some of the observations will allow me to flesh out some of the information.

Categories: Case Studies, The production designer and art department | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The role of the production designer: The creative trinity

I have been researching the role of the Production Designer for both the Carcass project and my on going final project. Both use the skills of the designer in producing the sets, concepts, use of location and props design plus theoretically take on board the relationship between the Director, Director of Photography and Production Design known as the Trinity (LoBrutto,V., 2002,). I’ve broken it down into a simple form, showing the script/story at the centre of the creative process.

One of the main roles of the Production Designer is to assist the Director in their vision of the story and to provide various possibilities for filming i.e. camera angles, revealing the meaning of story, a visual representation of symbolism or metaphors that work on a subconscious level. For Carcass, we have to produce a series of designs without physical interaction with a Director who would probably have a definite idea of how they want to represent the story.  The designer would then discuss, re-design, accommodate the wishes of the Director within the constraints of budget, much like theatre.

On Carcass we have to make a lot of decisions based purely on the script and discussions within our design group. My personal project will probably be similar.

trinity 3

Notes taken from The Filmmakers Guide to Production Design (LoBrutto,V., 2002)

Categories: General research, projects, The production designer and art department | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.