Sunday, July 12, 2009

obey the groove video - making-of part 2: alchemy

there are an infinite number of ways to start any creative project. i’ve tried almost all of them. some of my favorite methods involve starting from a random prompt, and then trying to bend the chaos into order. i love starting music that way. i haven’t started much art that way. and i certainly haven’t started any animation that way.

i’m still in, what would be considered, pre-production for the ‘obey the groove’ video. it’s going to involve a lot of animation. a lot of things need to be designed. there are aliens, robots, a pete-headed planet, a petey cosmonaut, guns, explosions… all kinds of fun stuff. so i sit down to sketch. some ideas come out. but they are starting to look the same. i’m having trouble finding new, interesting designs.

then i stumble on this amazing little piece of software: alchemy. it’s an experimental new digital drawing and painting program. the concept is that it randomizes the drawing process just enough to spark new ideas. for example, there are modes which alter the brush width based on an audio signal. other modes pull random shapes from a folder and let you paint with them.

it took me a little while to catch on to the freedom this sort of approach allows for. but once i did, i started making aliens, robots and cosmonaut poses pretty quickly. i think there’s still a lot more exploration to be done. and as i said before, there are countless other interesting ways to spark the creative process.

what kinds of fun ways have you found to start projects? have you had any success starting with some sort of random seed? tell me some stories about your experiments.


Thursday, July 02, 2009

obey the groove video - making-of: part 1

our first video for this album is for ‘obey the groove’. the basic idea is: a planet, made out of my head, gets overrun with alien robots, and pete and neil cosmonauts come to save the day. there are puppets, and robots, and lasers. big fun.
after figuring out the rough timeline and plot points, i decided to do some concept paintings.

next i had to figure out what the robots might look like. i took a trip to the 99 cent store and bought anything i thought i could turn into a robot. then i went to a hobby shop and bought couple battleship models. i took all the parts and hot glued them onto the 99 cent store bodies i had built. after a quick coat of spraypaint, i went in and detailed the robots a little, until i ended up with this:

for the cosmonauts, i found a fantastic puppet builder and hired him. his name is russ walko, and this is what he built:

after seeing the little cosmonaut petey, i got quite giddy. i started talking to the puppet, tucking it in at night. i tried to feed him, but he wouldn’t eat. i told him he needed food and rest after his journey from space. he was silent.

next, i’m going to do a test shoot of the petey head planet. then i’ve got to design and build some more robots. finally, after the alien puppet is built, it’s time to shoot!