RESEARCH INTO FANTASY BASED NARRATIVE
I have been tasked to create a fantasy based narrative adventure, using 2d, 3d or stop motion animation techniques. I have decided to rely heavily on 2d animation techniques whilst implementing some 3d techniques. I decided the first point of call would be to research into the fantasy genre, then to look at a few examples of work that combines the two. Fantasy and Sci-fi are very similar genre’s with numerous overlapping elements as they are both sub-genres of Speculative Fiction. However one massive difference is that Sci-fi will usually give some form of semi-logical explanation to how the events unfurling in the film initially occurred from the type of world we live in. Whereas Fantasy brushes aside the need for logical explaination and relies more heavily on the imagination, creating entire new worlds in which the fantastic seems ordinary. These worlds could be semi- similar representations of our world with differences in names and possibilities, such as Middle Earth, or they could even be extensions to our own world, as in Narnia. Personally I feel the foundation of a good fantasy story relies heavily on the fantastic world that has been created, so a clear understanding of how the world works, what’s possible in it, and even how it is set out are vital, even before writing about it. This applies with all forms of fantasy, including video games, World of Warcraft for example, is literally a game emphasising how different it is to our world.
Another big part of fantasy are the characters, the protagonal characters are usually immensely relatable, to a point in which the reader, viewer, or even player, grows emotionally attached. They should have a pre-made personality, more often than not they will be humanoid, if not human, protagonists will usually be what in D&D terms is called “true neutral” to “chaotic good” and the antagonists will usually be “true neutral” to “chaotic evil.” Unless of course the film is made from a baddies point of view. The use of parties, containing a diverse mixture of characters will provide most audiences with a wide array of traits and skills which they can relate to, basically immersing the viewer into the party and unfolding their own story. This can be noted in the Fellowship of the Ring, Heroes of the Lance, even Shrek travels with Fiona and Donkey and a wide array of cameo characters. Variety is key in the construction of a good fantasy party, there should of course be a main protagonist however, who would almost serve as a narrator, this character should have predominantly recognised as likeable traits.
At the moment, due to the success of films such as Lord of the Rings, fantasy films have stayed primarily set in medieval type fantasy worlds, however, time has no restrains in fantasy, it could be set in the future, past, present or could even travel between them. A simple film about time travel, such as Back to the Future could have been classed as fantasy, as time travel is currently impossible. However, due to the hypothetical explanation of Doctor Brown creating a time travelling Delorean and making it possible, automatically places Back to the Future in the Sci-Fi category. The Epic of Gilgamesh, a tale of a powerful king who wanted to become immortal, is perhaps the oldest written document known to human kind and is very much a fantasy story. This is a tale I am familiar with, due to a recent project on an Art and Design Foundation course, I had looked into the story of Gilgamesh. Now I’d like to incorporate that type of quest into the fantasy concept I create.
The film I feel most closely represents my chosen animation style is that of Dragonlance, while the animated movie style felt strange and the 2d animation was pretty poor, I feel this style would provide the best learning curve for this assignment. I think I’d quite like to make the bad guys easily recognisable as being 3d as opposed to the good guys who are in 2d.
Another example of combining both 2d and 3d seamlessly is the dance scene in Beauty and the Beast. This leaves me thinking that maybe I’d be better creating a few scenes in 3d, maybe even keeping all the characters 2d
I really like the way these movie introductions set the scene and establish a strong plot. I’d really like to incorporate something like this into my sequence. I also really like the way the map of Middle Earth on Lord of the Rings fades in and out over the clips of the story unfolding too. This seems like more of a reasonable method for me to set the scene but I’d like to do it in the way Shrek does with the book and have the map laid out on a desk and have the camera pan over it.
CHARACTER AND STORY-LINE
.I looked into characters that could be considered to have inspired my protagonist. The first of these I looked at was Aladdin. I felt this was similar to my idea due to the love aspect of the scenario. A young pauper falls in love with a princess who is clearly out of his league. However, due to his adventure he manages to woo said princess into being his lover.
Another character I’d like my protagonist to share attributes with is that of Artemis Entreri, a fictional storybook character who again was a pauper and spent his life living in the shadows and utilising his lack of responsibility and morally grey mindset to hone his body to be a vital tool for the city’s thieves guild. With no problem carrying out assassinations as a way to further his reputation.
There were also a few storyline influences in an episode of the BBC show Merlin. The episode name was “The Poisoned Chalice.” My story will generally follow the same pacing with a different back story.
For a good fantasy story to come about, there must be a magical world created, usually the setting for a good fantasy story has a range of terrains across which dwell a number of different races. Forgotton Realms, Lord of the Rings, Dragonlance and even Shrek, all have their own “realms” or “internally consistant settings.” In which thoughts of magic and creatures like dragons, elves and orcs are not considered unusual. I figured it would be a good idea to look at some maps of fantasy worlds as this would be a really good way of setting the scene for my narrative adventure.
Being an ex-wow addict my first point of call for creating a virtual world was the land of Azeroth. Next I looked at the land of Ansalon from the Dragonlance books. A map of the Forgotten Realms, a campaign setting for Dungeons and Dragons, books and games such as Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale and home of the infamous Drizzt Do’Urden. The Forgotten Realms has many races and even a number of created religions. Skyrim – the latest addition to the Morrowind Saga has a number of cities and towns with loads of smaller locations to discover and instances to explore. I thought creating my own world map would be the ideal starting point for a fantasy story as this would be a very easy way for a narrator to explain where the story is set and to give the viewer a brief explanation of the races and creatures that can be found throughout it. I figure I could begin my adventure with an overview of the world and what race dwells where and what conflicts were happening in the region where the adventure occurs. ________________________________________________________________ PERSONAL WORK
I began creating the map of my fantasy world that I can use to establish where the story is set.
I roughly drew the shape of the land I wanted to create.
I then added a few details to the initial shape and added some small islands around it,
I then created a series of foliage images i could replicate across the map to show the differences in terrain.
I then created a series of lines that branch off like rivers as a means of separating the various places of my map with streams.
I combined all of these elements and stuck them on a simple parchment background created on Photoshop, frayed the edges and burnt them to make the map look ancient.
I then burnt all of the attributes onto the parchment using the colour burn blending mode and added a quick compass design I made to the corner as would be found on most fantasy maps.
At this point my fantasy map looks like this.
Next I need to add some more foliage and continue to name the various regions.
I thought about how I could animate characters that walk across the book as the pages turn. I liked the look of sketched characters with a colour burn onto the pages.. However, this will be much more effort and far more time consuming. than simply animating the characters in Flash.
I decided to begin working on how I would introduce my story.
As I stated during my research, I’d like to use a storybook with animated page turning to tell my story. I’d also like to make the page turning interactive, to immerse the viewer into the story as they actually have to turn the page and essentially “read” the book. The page will turn when the viewer clicks the corner of the page.
My initial test of a book looks like this, though I intend on recreating the book, now I know how to code it and animate it with much more parchment looking paper like the pages I used for my map.
In the land of (yet to be named) our story follows the story of a young pauper, orphaned as a child and raised by the streets. Having honed his skills with daggers, his stealth and agility as a low level thief and assassin as he sets off in search of a mysterious flower needed to rescue a fair maiden, with whom his secret friendship had blossomed into one sided love.
The maiden, born to the richest family in the city is constantly being pressured by her political minded father to marry into another wealthy family. One such candidate for this role, a powerful sultan from across the land, insulted by the refusal of his proposal to her, enlists the aid of a powerful dark wizard to poison the girl.
When all hope seems lost, the protagonist sets off in search of the “wise man”, known to dwell on an island in the middle of the lake, upon finding the wise man, he is told the elves may know of a plant that could cure this most deadly and agonising of poisons, though they are very defensive of their territory.
Keeping his wits about him, he travels to the southern forest of Solenassar and manages to gain access to their city by unrolling the world map he has and reading from it a fake scripture from the king. Once in front of the Elven prince, he explains his situation and guided by their love of life, the elves agree to help.
They inform him that the only known place where the particular flower grows to heal the maiden was sealed off by the dwarves many years ago. So our weary rogue heads towards the mountains, to find the dwarves.
On his way he comes across a bridge and out steps a troll, naturally the troll is feasting on the corpses of three billy goats. The troll spots him and casts a spell, entrapping him in a translucent purple box. Once trapped the troll proceeds to announce he must answer a riddle if he wishes to cross the bridge. (Though this is more of a sphinx trait, I thought it was a case of two birds, one stone.)
He manages to cross the bridge safely, though the answer to the riddle is never actually heard as the narrator doesn’t quite know himself what the reply was. When he eventually reaches the dwarves, they explain that the way is shut and give him a pendant of earth shaping and explain to him where it is safest to open the cave.
Once inside the cave he has to climb up a perilous ledge in order to retrieve the flower. Whilst he is doing this however the dark wizard enters the cave behind him and begins chanting, luckily for the pauper, the wise old man he met on his way has been following him, though this is only made clear to the viewer. The wise old man is also a wizard and battles with the dark wizard, resulting in the latter to be cast into the deep pit below.
Upon leaving the cave an elf runs towards them, explaining that the prince was so touched at his dedication to rescuing a single life that he sent his fastest ship to ferry him home safely. Once home, the wise old man uses the flower to awaken the maiden, who then realises the love he has always shown her is mutual and announces who she wishes to marry.
Unfortunately for her, he states he has found a new love on his travels, the love for adventure. Leaving it open for another story, one in which his character will develop.
As stated in my synopsis, I intend on having a scene with an implemented 3d character, that of a troll.
The troll will take influence from two mythical stories.
The first is the tale of the Three Billy Goats Gruff, in which there is a troll dwelling beneath a bridge, that loves eating Billy Goats. The Billy goats then outsmart the troll and cross the bridge having promised the Troll he’d be better waiting for the next goat to cross the bridge as it is much bigger. The troll holds out on eating the goats until he has waited too long and the goat is big enough to knock him off the bridge.
Next is from Monty Python and the Holy Grail in which there is the “Guardian of the Bridge.” A strange humanoid creature, again much like a troll who uses his magic to prevent travelers from crossing the bridge. In order to cross safely, a person must answer three questions correctly or be cast into the lava below.
This also implements the myth surrounding the Sphinx a mysterious catlike creature that upon being encountered will grant it’s prey to answer a riddle correctly to live, while this is considered a mythical creature, there are huge sculptures and buildings in countries such as Egypt that suggest they may have once existed.
I began designing the troll that I’d like to inhabit the bridge.
Firstly I sketched the basic concept sheet for the character, using Photoshop to colour him.
I experimented with whether I’d want to make my mountain scenery in Flash or whether I should branch out and use another program to make it.
I tried creating a mountain scene on a program called Teragen, though I hadn’t used it before, it has a trial version and I feel it may be worth creating my background scenery on this.