Chris Wahl is an illustrator living in Australia who has a wonderful blog. He has some videos on his site that show (in sped-up time) him doing some great drawing right in the computer. He uses the traditional blue pencil (in this case a digital “pencil”) underdrawing and then digitally “inks” in black over it. It’s great to watch him “undo” stuff he’s not happy with, reposition elements, and even flip the entire drawing backwards to get a fresh perspective on it, then flip it back again. It’s like taking a drawing to the mirror that you’ve been working on a while – it’s always a shock to see some glaring errors that you’ve just become used to, but are really apparent when the image is flipped. I’ve actually never thought, before this, to use the “edit>transform>flip horizontal” function in Photoshop to do the same thing.
The video is here to check out, and there are several more on his main page.
Peter Rubin, veteran storyboard and previs artist, has a beautifully written article – Why Storyboards Still Work – that tells it like it is in regard to hand-drawn storyboards “vs.” digital previs. This is an especially key paragraph:
So which should the director/producer choose if there’s only money for one? (A hypothetical question — it will always be cheaper to storyboard, at least until the day that video iPods come down to the price of paper. But let’s pretend.) All else being equal, animatics or storyboards? That depends, and not on technology. It depends on the personal preferences of the director, the schedule, and the gifts of the available artists. 2D or 3D, in motion or static, a previsualized sequence will only be as good as the person executing it. I would argue that if you can afford previs, you can’t afford not to storyboard as well.
Beautiful. The gifts of the available artists. That’s it. A lot of this silliness about 3d vs. 2d ignores the basic fact that the quality of the work is more dependent upon the quality of the artist, not the tools the artist uses.
And he has this one last word of caution:
All of this would be merely academic, and darn funny, if the livelihoods of some outstanding film professionals (and, some would argue, the quality of the final work) were not already being adversely affected by opinions like this. Storyboards are still widely in use — but some productions are now starting to deny it, so that they won’t seem behind the times (this recently happened to one of my ex-ILM colleagues). That should make us, artists and directors of all dimensions, just a little bit alarmed.
It should always be about how to make the film the best it can be, regardless of what tools are used. This is a great article. He touched on some of the points I’ve pointed out, but I think he articulated it better than I did.
I unexpectedly got the day off! Happy Father’s Day to all the dads.
I’m trying some small changes, bit by bit, to this blog. For the first time I’ve turned on the “comments” below the posts.
This was a good one: from September ’05 to yesterday. So between this sketchbook and its predecessor, that accounts for just about every sketch on this blog since the beginning. This one had fairly large square pages – which was interesting compositionally, if I decided to use the whole page; and it had slightly yellowish colored sheets, which show up more or less depending on the mood of my scanner I guess. I got a fresh new sketchbook, this time one of those famous moleskines I’ve been hearing about. I like the size of it, the paper, the feel, so we’ll see how that goes. I think I’d like to try some different media too. In these last two sketchbooks I purposefully limited myself to a very soft, dark 2mm 6b graphite pencil and a #2 refillable Tria marker and/or a smudge stick. Let’s see what happens…
This is the nifty little Ibanez bass guitar I have leaning against the wall at my office. I love the sound and the speed of this thing – even better than my 1979 Rickenbacker, which cost four times as much back then. Playing guitar: another obsession.