There has been a lot of activity behind the scenes, reworking the storyboard and visual storytelling.
I am working through ‘Directing the Story’ and try to relate the principles shown there to Ara’s Tale. It gives very good hints and invaluable insights.
The main theme is how to draw the audience into the story. This is achieved by a multitude of techniques. One principle which I find quite true is that as soon as you create an emotional bonding you have reached the goal of getting to the audience. For an emotional bond the audience need to understand what its seeing, being guided to ask questions about whats happening next. By delaying the actual answer the audience will try to generate their own answers and thus get drawn into the story.
Upon review of my storyboard so far, I noticed that I presented a detached view. During rework, I tried to show more Ara as a person and the development more from her view. The questions asked there are simpler, easier to understand and thus help the storytelling.
A lot of work has gone into the second half of the story – the part which is not shown here – as it incorporates the climax of the story – the confrontation between Ara and the dragon. Here I tried to display both characters and show the dialogue and personal transformation which happens here.
The book also mentions composition as tool to portray feelings and give visual hints. I tried some variations and I got a glimpse of how powerful careful composition planning can be.
As very simple example consider the following two storyboard drawings. It shows Ara walking through the canyon from above. It should show some suspense and give the impression of the oppressing walls upon Ara.
The left image is the original one, the right shows the same scene but is slightly tilted. This gives a more dramatic and dynamic effect and supports the story. The question currently pending is, where is Ara going, where does this canyon lead.
Some aspects mentioned in the book will be explored during the animatics phase. Especially the pacing/editing is very hard for me now at this stage. With more experience I am sure you can plan this even during storyboarding, but I am not there yet.
Right now with the storyboard converted into a storyreel the estimated length will be 3:40 min (without title, credits etc) and will consist of 48 shots in 2 (maybe 3) sets.
See here for the first 100 sec ( yes its getting more :), but this time without sound ) of the actual storyreel. If all goes well, this will be very close to the ‘final’ version. It has to pass internal QA (aka feedback from my family and some chosen critics).
The story is still the same, but I think the mood has changed quite a bit from the first version. And it has changed for the better ( in my opinion).
The actual time tracking sheet clearly reflects the shift of focus to the storytelling aspect:
---------------------------------------------- 8:45 Animatics 42:02 Concept Art 12:00 Ara Design 18:35 Color Tests 11:27 Dragon Design 78:06 Modeling 35:01 Ara 43:05 Dragon 21:51 Research 1:16 2d-art 1:30 animation 12:00 effects 7:05 modeling 4:00 Rigging 4:00 Dragon 5:30 Script 43:43 Storyboard ---------------------------------------------- 203:57 Total
The next steps will be to rework the rough sets and try to do a simple animatic based on the actual storyboard now with the new models and sets.
Then I have to shift my focus to the rigging and minor reworking of the models.