Monday, 25 January 2016

Fahima Munene & Steven Payne - Initial Pre-Vis/Animatic

Since my last post, I’ve been working on the animatic for my animated adaptation. The animation is planned to utilise aspects that are both 2D and 3D, and so I have demonstrated this in my pre-vis with a combination of playblasts from Maya and simple animation in After Effects.

Shot Breakdown
  • The animation opens with a shot of a piece of cardboard on a distressed, yet otherwise clean, table. The titles fade into the cardboard as the camera moves in. Scraps of newspaper begin to coat the cardboard, blotting out the text and filling the screen with newsprint.
    • The opening (and much of the animation in general) was inspired by the methods employed by Fahima to construct her painting. Newspaper as her canvas. To reinforce the physical existence of the painting, I am considering filming this portion in live action.
  • Panning across, the sky is painted in. Stars twinkle into existence as the shot comes to a stop on the spire of the mosque.
    • The animation will be directly using Fahima’s painting at this point (providing the image I have is at a high enough resolution to properly support this).
  • The camera pans down, as the painting transitions into 3D. The camera pauses at the entrance of the mosque, now fully 3D. Figures are seen entering the mosque. A figure enters from outside of the frame, as the camera follows them into the entrance.
    • The figures will be sort of ‘stock’ characters inspired by those found in Fahima’s painting. They will fit stylistically, without any definitive role or purpose other than inhabiting the world and performing non-specific tasks.
  • As the camera moves through the entrance of the mosque, the scene transitions to a 3D realisation of an alleyway. With the figure still moving through the street, the camera moves up to the rooftops. A man can be seen sleeping on his roof, cats are jumping from rooftop to rooftop and children are running in and out of the doorways. 
    • The activities performed by these different figures are directly inspired by observations provided by Fahima. Unlike the mosque, the alleyway isn’t a pre-existing part of the painting, it is a new space stylistically inspired by Fahima’s painting. I imagine it as the spaces behind the houses. 
  • The camera tracks back to the figure passing through, moving down behind them and following them around a corner. Once again, the scene transitions, this time to the seafront. The camera slows down, as the figure continues to move forward and take a seat on the baraza. Figures cross the camera in the foreground, as dhows bob in the sea. Another dhow drifts into frame and the camera slowly moves in as it is silhouetted against the orange sky.
  • The camera tilts upwards towards the sky as more stars come out. Shooting stars begin to fall in the distance, and another falls close to the camera. The shooting star is followed downwards. The camera comes to a stop as once again, the spire of the mosque comes into view. This time, the camera begins to zoom out, revealing the completed painting in all it’s glory. The camera continues to zoom out, as the painting is seen once again on the table, this time surrounded by scraps of paper, paint and other evidence of creativity.
    • As with the opening, I am considering filming this live action also. 

So far, I am pretty happy with the direction the animation is heading in, however I will likely make revisions to the animatic in response to feedback. In the meantime, my next task will be determining what needs modelling and what doesn’t by finalising the framing of each of my shots, as well as establishing how I am going to render the 3D elements in a way that accurately emulates Fahima’s style.


  1. Hi Steve, just loving all the updates on here at the moment! The only thing I'd say is that I'm keen that the animations begin and end with the original image - because, in terms of the way in which the paintings and the animations will be curated, the idea is that viewers get the experience of the painting sort of developing into it's new form - so you might pass by the screen at one point and think you were just looking at the painting itself, but then, transformations begin - does this throw a spanner in the works?

  2. Ahh okay, that shouldn't be too much of an issue. I can remove the 'crafted' element if need be.