March 03, 2016

Ember Process 4

So yes, this here is the tree that went by the name "TwistyTree" throughout the filmmaking process.  Until that one fateful moment where my friend Jean-Samuel Roux decided it needed another name.  He really kept pushing for it, so I've just given in.  So there you have it: The "Jean-Samuel-Roux" tree.

The Jean-Samuel Roux tree was the one tree that I had the most fun with and spent the most time on.  It is based of the "Knotwilg".  A tree that you see a lot in The Netherlands.  Originally, there were supposed to be two separate trees, but then when I was researching, I stumbled upon this image which inspired me to do something very different  Drawing the whole thing out was great fun, since I loved putting all those little swirls, patterns and wooden textures on it.  Making it all appear balanced was tricky though.  I kept on having to get rid of details in places where I went overboard.  The Jean-Samuel Roux tree was also one of the last trees I painted, so I used the experience I gained from the other trees and applied it there.  A large problem I had with all the tree layers was that they would all enter the water in a straight, horizontal line, making them all appear flat (which they technically were).  The only solution I could really come up with was to have the trees exist out of many different layers that got smaller as they came forward in Z-space, which, of course, also helped with the multi-plane effect I wanted.  I went back-and-forth between Photoshop and After Effects for this one a whole lot.  So yeah, that's the Jean-Samuel Roux Tree.

Also, check out Jean-Samuel Roux's blog here!

One of the last trees to show up is an oak tree.  I mainly added that one because we had a giant one in our yard when I still lived in The Netherlands and I remembered it for having cool-looking leaves.  I never had to paint the top, but I had fun with the part of the trunk that did show up.  And of course... all those blades of grass :D

Then here is the last tree of the film.  I honestly don't really know what type of tree this is.  I just went with the same visual style of the other trees.  I was mainly interested in that circular shape, so my main focus was on getting that to work with the oak tree in the background.

The lilies, or so called "Gele Plomp lelies", are the things the salamander uses to move over the water.  Here they are as seen from above.  I wanted to make many more not-as-detailed lilies to add in the background, but time ran out.  These took quite a bit longer than I anticipated, but oh well.

Here are some of the non-tree objects in the film.  Well, technically those are tree roots.  The flowers that the dragonfly stands on are "Gele Plomp" flowers that have not yet fully bloomed.  The lantern-sticks are... made up.

Lanterns from scene nine.  The lanterns in the film are actually based of a flower called... "The Lantern Flower".  Yup, they're real.  I painted these particular ones in a super high resolution, since they each would appear on-screen really large for a split-second while the camera trucked-out.  Of course, that only ended up being for about a single frame with ginormous blurs on them, so in the end it didn't even matter.  Lesson learned, but at least I get to upload them here in high resolution, so there's that (Still not even half as big as they really are :P).

A close-up of the Jean-Samuel Roux tree, painted for scene seven.  I applied a small blur to them for the final film though, so here's a slightly more detailed view.

Right, so for the following scene I actually spent a long time painting all these little thingamajigs for in the water.  It was so much fun, and I was so excited to apply these slight wavy filters in After Effects that I had planned for weeks and to make them all move in a direction to make the water really 3-dimensional and cool-looking!  So...
It was way too distracting.  Really, it was quite ridiculous how attention-grabbing those things were.  And since they were in no way the point and focus of the scene, I had to tone down the movement and the opacity of those underwater-particles a lot while also blurring them so they wouldn't attract to much attention.  Another lesson learned.

And finally, here are a whole bunch of remaining trees.  Some are only visible for a split second, while some are partially covered by other things.  That seems to be a thing that comes with multi-planing.  But still, I had a lot of fun creating all these trees, because, well... I just really like drawing trees!

Previous Ember posts can be found here:

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