William Reynish    New Land     Nørlum
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Thoughts on how to realise the reMarkable promo

 
 

With this new direction for the reMarkable project, the goal is to create a universe that feels familiar. We present a series of montage-like individual scenes that gives us examples of how we are being disturbed and addicted to our connected technology. This gives us an impression of a large, world wide epidemic. 


Visuals

We really like this new direction for the project. The more realistic proportions will make the film more relatable, and the unexpected things that happen will be more noticeable with this approach.

We like the above references, as in the drawings themselves, but we suggest to remove the watercolor layer and painterly shading, for the reason that we don't think it will work well in animation. Either those things would be static, or they will be very jumpy and erratic in movement. 

So, we've taken this general approach and created and made some adjustments in order to create something appropriate for animation.

To present these various small scenarios, I think it would work well to keep a static, stationary camera for each scene. This way viewers will be able to identify the various scenes as we cut between them. It will also create a focus on the more minute movements and actions done by the characters, which I think is appropriate for the way we intend to tell our story.

We could also introduce a moving/tracking camera as the film progresses, which reveals more of the universe, just like William Kentridge's coffee plunger example reference at the bottom of this page.

To go with the static camera concept, I think it would be great to also use an isometric/orthographic perspective, so that all the lines are parallel. 

Compositionally, I think we could be bold and actually optimise for the square format. Later we can reframe it to create a 16:9 version too. The square, boxy format also fits the idea of having various small boxes of worlds where things go wrong in various ways.

 
To give a better idea of how we imagine it will look, we've gone ahead and created some style frames. Here's an example of a scene in isometric perspective, with the heavy use of blacks to show the lighting in the scene. You can imagine him here, slowly melting into his seat or getting sucked into the screen.
 

We intend to limit ourselves to what would be able to be drawn on a reMarkable tablet, and so we will limit ourselves to impactful, delicious black and white.

Everything is drawn with fine, black lines, with a focus on expressions and the dulled, distracted gaze that reflects the global epidemic of connectivity.

Both the characters and the background will be drawn in the same visual style, so that they blend in.

 

Here's another style frame. This gives an idea of how characters could look in the animated universe. This style is suited for animation, but is still detailed and crisp. Click to enlarge

 

In some shots we can even remove the non lit lines for dramatic effect, to leave the character alone with his/her device

This visual direction allows for seamless twisting of the characters and the environment

 Example of a version of with less black

Example of a version of with less black

 

 

Animation

To aid in the more grounded, realistic proportions, we intend to make tasteful use of rotoscoping to realise some scenes, although we don’t want it to look like obvious roto work, in order to gel the foreground and background, and to make the special effects, such as characters drowning or opened heads, blend in.

One of the things that will truly make the entire piece work, is an intense focus on timing. The gradual drowning of one person, the sudden ‘devil face’ of the iPad-less child. With the right sense of rhythm and editing, you’ll want to keep watching to see the next scenario.

 

The style we've chosen fits well with the capabilities of the reMarkable tablet.

 

References

'Unsatisfying' is a good example of the kind of storytelling we want to create. It consists of a number of individual scenes that shows things going wrong in various ways. I think the harsh cuts and timing work well for this kind of piece. I imagine we can use this concept, but in a more powerful way.

Here’s an example of some playful transitions, and a visual style that develops over time.

Jabberwocky: Fog is a good example of an animation with more realistic proportions

This is not a reference for the look, but the artist William Kentridge creates scenes where something small but unexpected happens, such as with the coffee plunger here. The same general concept of unexpected things happening out of ordinary situations can be used for inspiration for the reMarkable piece.


Thankyou
William Reynish