Tuesday, November 27, 2012

RISE of the GUARDIANS post 02 (What If ...?)

In late 2007 production designer Alex McDowell asked me to be one the first people to help develop a concept brought to the studio by author William Joyce . The concept : “Santa Clause, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Sand Man, and Jack Frost unite for the first time to fight children’s worst enemy … Pitch, the “Boogey Man”. Okay, Awesome. There was no script, and no director yet. Just the concept and some cool early Joyce drawings.For many weeks the only artists were myself, Shannon Tindle , and Chris Appelhans. Our mission, to explore and develop story possibilities for this concept in a visual manor. Together we would start constructing a series of blue sky “WHAT IF” events . What if this happened, or this ? As we started we asked ourselves: What will the tone be ? Who are these characters? How will these characters meet? Do these characters know each other? Do these characters like each other? Why do they do what they do? HOW do they do what they do? What drives them to do what they do? How do children come into play? How would these characters interact with one another? Why do these characters exist? Where do they live and what would that look like? How would they work together? Would they want to work together? What would this all look like? ….. From the get go Dreamworks wanted a more serious film, with tinges of whimsy throughout. So with that in mind our small team met and brainstormed daily. As we did, each of us were inspired to create visuals that reflected our conversations and ideas. We would pin them up and start constructing a series of events visually. I was very intrigued with what the climax of this film could be, so one of the first things I started doing was creating images dealing with the third act. Below are just a few of my exploratory beat boards from that time (all work copyright Dreamworks):
ABOVE)One early idea was that because Pitch needs to work in the dark, he would harpoon the moon in order to lock it in place and block out the sun (at least on part of the earth). There would also be a literal man in the moon who Pitch would want to destroy. Well those two ideas inspired me to create this image. “What If” Jack could now run up a harpoon chain (in a very fantasy driven way)to go help the man in the moon himself?
ABOVE)An early idea that Santa (who Joyce always invisioned as an old warrior type)would try to keep Pitch at bay (on Pitch’s flying nightmare galleon. yes, Pitch had a flying ship at one point)in order for Jack to focus on making it snow in every child’s room below. Thus, inspiring the children and weakening Pitch.
ABOVE)Bunny and The little tooths (fairies)come to Jack's aid as well.
ABOVE)Here I was trying to portray Pitch as an absolute, supernatural force of nature. Growing in strength and size as the children in the town below grow more and more fearful. Pitch's "Nightmare Men" swirl and multiply to add to his horrific form.(the night"MARES" were a later invention).
ABOVE)How would Jack Frost prove he is worthy of becoming a Guardian? What would he sacrifice for the children and for the team? We were not completely sure yet, but I created this exploratory image to help inspire potential answers to that question. Much more on the development of Rise of the Guardians to come.


Blogger andreas schuster said...

Super interesting! Thanks for taking the time to share!

6:04 PM  
Blogger Teddy said...

Shane you are a badass! That is looking *so freakin good*!

Hey, can you change my link website to www.tedbramble.com? Much appreciated.

Brendan and I are thinking about doing a talk at CalArts-- we should get together.


11:13 PM  
Blogger CharacterDesign Blog said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:23 AM  
Blogger Bobby Pontillas said...

Shane these are incredible man. Whenever I look at any of your work, I always get a sense of fun. Like what we do in creating characters and worlds is amazing and special, and I'm gonna go crazy and have some fun with it.

I thought this film was beautiful and I'll be looking forward to future posts.

1:24 AM  
Blogger SalBa Combé said...

I wish that those jobs were in the artbook ...
Really awsome concept art!
See you

4:05 AM  
Blogger Diogo Carneiro said...

Awesome post, thank you for sharing!

4:36 AM  
Blogger SHANE PRIGMORE said...

Thanks for visiting everyone. And thanks for the comments.

ANDREAS: You are welcome.

TEDDY: Done. and that sounds awesome. Talk soon.

BOBBY: Thank you for the kind words. Happy my work can inspire. Now go kick some butt!

SalBa: Thank you. There were a couple of us that got shafted in that art of book (Shannon Tindle most noteably). The vast majority of the work in the art of Rise of the Guardians book was done after 2009. and things like the cover art were done for promotional poster art well after everything was designed. People forget the contribution of others quickly and many want everyone to seem like films just happen in one swift movement. The animation and film industry is a very complicated, political, and odd world.

DIOGO: Thank you very much.


10:50 AM  
Blogger Petra van Berkum said...

I love the dynamics and all the details of your work! Seems like you've worked very hard on it, that's awesome!

1:31 AM  
Blogger Tyler Stott said...

These are STELLAR Shane.

7:17 PM  
Blogger C.Deboda said...

Great and interesting hearing about the thinking process behind these initial images...especially being so early in the project. Looking forward to more of these kinds of posts! And cool art too btw!

8:33 PM  
Blogger Esther Love said...

Your blog has been a great inspiration for me so far! I have just found you, and I recently watched Rise of the Guardians. I have spread the words to my friends about how good the movie was (story wise and art wise). And I pretty much tried to congratulate the Rise of the Guardians team on my social network places. But you and the other artist who were a part of this project much earlier than the animation stage deserve a great level of congratulations for creating a memorable movie. Thank you! And I look forward to seeing more of your development concepts on future projects. Happy Holiday and Merry Christmas! :)

9:23 AM  
Blogger SHANE PRIGMORE said...

Thanks for the latest comments everyone. And Happy Holidays.


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Blogger Anu Achudhan said...

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10:41 PM  
Blogger Anu A said...

Hi Shane, I am so inspired by your artworks. How did you get in to this movie art thing? and what do you need to learn in high school to become one?

10:44 PM  
Blogger Amelia said...

The picture of Jack Frost being held by Toothiana is so haunting. I love it! I wanted some back info on that piece, and now I've found it. The original concepts of the Rise of the Guardian movie are equally fascinating, I just wish more of it got into the movie.

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Blogger anime fan said...

Wow, you are awesome! By the way, I'm kind of curious as to what happened to Jack in the last "what if" picture? Like how did he show he was a guardian, or at least what was the idea behind that picture at the time? Strange question I know, but I'm just really interested in the original concepts for the story behind ROTG :)

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