Progress Journal 18T3.5

Week 5

Finalized Storyboard With Text Direction

Although I assembled the animatic rig and final storyboard the previous week, I had neglected to add text direction simply due to a lack of time. Finalising my storyboard, I projected a few changes to my original idea, including the orb disappearing and the figure’s eyes glowing against the background. To enhance this effect, I project that I will use the level curves in conjunction with duplicating the light layers (using an additive blending mode to further push the contrast).

storyboard template.png

It should be noted that the audio & SFX cues are simply a projection of what I envision at this moment in time. As I am working with an audio student, they are subject to change at his discretion.

Colour Keys

Described as “the use of analogous or complimentary color tones to create contrasts between elements in the frame and communicate emotional ideas to the audience,” Botkin (2009) notes the importance of colour in communicating emotional information, alongside basic functions such as communicating time and location:

  • Warm: safety
  • Cool: danger
  • Shadows: mystery
  • Brightness: security
  • Night: desaturation, blue

Making use of the “right hue, saturation and/or value for the key moments in your story will help to amplify the emotion that you’re going for and also clarify intent,” (Blazer, 2015).

Blender Guru (2014) Understanding Colour [Video]. Retrieved from

Some directors are noted to subvert these expectations for the benefit of adding atmosphere. Although these might work for established directors, I feel I am more likely to lean towards the basic connotations of colour to preserve the atmosphere. Blazer (2015) notes that “symbolism…may not always best serve the scene,” but, since this is a still shot, it might not necessarily be applicable in my case. It might be worthwhile to look at keeping the shot monochromatic whilst adding a particular colour (such as green or blue) to saturate the scene as an experiment.

Rikard (2015) expands on this through colour-specific connotations. Some examples include:

  • Red represents a spectrum of meanings, from love to hatred, compassion to cruelty, highly dependant on the context and tone; how it is presented.
  • Green, similarly, can represent safety or sickness – objective impressions leaning towards the positive, and subjective towards the grotesque, etc.

(Read more here).
From this article, I personally am drawn to both yellow and green, as well as a combination of blues and purples for potential use in my cinematic trailer. Darker, deeper blues for power, knowledge combined with an atmospheric purple for mystery, and paled olive for sickness, corruption and potentially allusion to the true nature of the object seen in the animatic.

Resources Viewed

Blazer, L. (2015, December 17) Colour Sense: Enhance Your Animated Story with the Right Palette. Retrieved from

Blender Guru (2014) Understanding Colour [Video]. Retrieved from

Botkin, I. (2009, March 5) Color Theory for Cinematographers. Retrieved from

Cade, DL (2017, May 8) 5 Photos in 24 Hours: How the Time of Day Affects a Photo. Retrieved from

Rikard (2015, Feb 28) The Psychology of Colour: A Designer’s Guide to Colour Association & Meaning. Retrieved from

Using the resources provided by the lecturer, in conjunction with some notable elements from the shot I used in my deconstruction, I experimented with lighting, colour, atmosphere and environmental design to explore different moods in relation to my final storyboard.


Despite most feedback drifting towards the bottom left and the middle right as primary choices, I felt myself drawn to the more monotonous palettes of the middle two. As noted upon reflecting in my shot deconstruction, however, it is noted that:

“…the realism may potentially take away from the area that sets apart my grimdark tale from the aforementioned examples: it’s 2D animated. Animation is a staple genre of film & game that is utterly saturated with creative freedom, and why should I out on that?”

…My original intention to blend realism and fantasy may fall a bit short of the projected project outcome, and, as such, I realise, that despite favouring the sixth (going left to right, row to row) colour key, I might need to saturate the values in order to preserve my original intention. These changes will either be iterated upon in further colour keys, or in the 3D blockout & paintover.

3D Blockout

Using a combination of premade and found assets, I constructed a scene for the 3D blockout, mainly using the storyboard completed earlier in the week as the main guide.

I limited the lighting (two lights maximum), as suggested in the criteria, to a backlight to highlight the outlines of foreground objects and to that of the orb itself. I am yet to finish refining my 3D paint-over as of the conclusion of this week, but I plan to add additional lighting & post-processing elements during that process.

Although I had originally intended to make use of a rigged human to pose the figure, I was unable to find an existing character that find the rough dimensions of my character (looking for overweight characters either resulted in a lack of proper rigs or simply oversexualised women which is…not ideal). As such, I resolved to simply use the default CAT animation rig – I am familiar with the rig, it is easy to pose, and the blocky shapes serve as an easy “skeleton” for the actual posing of the character.

The above images are some preliminary renders, looking at varying the angle to reveal different elements of the character and alternate views of the environment. The following, however, was received with the most positive feedback post-revision during class discussion:


Interestingly, this angle and pose was almost entirely based around the storyboard, and is almost mirrored compositionally; which was reaffirmation of the strength of my storyboard. I am confident that I will take the storyboard straight to the production stages.


Using the old text experiments from a few weeks earlier, I edited them to match the “tone” of the animatic (which is to be in black in white to accomodated for colour key experimentation, detailed earlier).

This is currently a temporary title card. I may employ the help of a visual design student in order to help me with a proper logo, though we will see (as the dwindling time frame may be of concern).

Final Animatic:

The following is an attempt at replicating one of the moods of the colour keys (raining; see bottom last two). Although the effect is visually appealing, the lightning still sticks out against the rest of the composition, and is obviously an After Effects plugin versus the stylized look I was originally going for. Unless I have the time to further alter the settings of the lightning to preserve the visual style, I will likely drop it in favour of editing curves or having the lightning strike “behind” a cloud – the only thing visible will be the lighting through the clouds, versus a clear lightning strike.

Character Concepts


I decided to do an updated version of the character present in the animatic, as I feel that the old reference picture is a bit outdated and does not accurately represent the look I want to achieve for the necromancer. Although the base aesthetics are the same, I changed several aspects; mainly the outfit, height and facial structure.

Since it has been quite a while since I created a fully-realised piece, particularly in relation to Larvatus, I took some time aside to take an older, thumbnailed concept, and render it out as a full picture.ddddddddddddddddddd

The image to the left details the sketch & thumbnail I used as a basis for the following picture:


Personal Art
  • Character design from last week.
    • Miscellaneous sketches mainly serve to get more of a “feel” for the character, their mannerisms, habits, etc.
    • Decided to expand with some brief colour tests
    • Still looking at modifying his fashion – the only thing I aim on preserving throughout these design tests is his bandanna, which hides a runic tattoo (central to character theme).


  • Gift art for a friend


  • Miscellaneous character concepts
    • Not currently tied to any project. May look at selling their designs if I don’t feel particularly attached to them.

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