Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tony Lovett, Storyboards, Film Promotion & Visual Storytelling

Promotion artwork for an animated feature film.

Getting a film made these days involves an enormous amount of marketing and selling of the idea and the story as well as how it will look. Especially if it's an animated feature. This is where storyboard artists can come in very handy. The visualization of the film, key moments and ideas can be expressed in animatics and stills, going a long way to helping a film get the attention it needs without busting the bank.
Recently I was fortunate enough to be involved in such a project, a 3d animated film called The Fourth Magi. A group of about five to six story artists, matte painters, and character designers, working entirely on the promotion of the film. Then once more funding was secured into pre-production.

Sadly, However, due to many unforseen circumstances the production has since been put on hold. Which is extremely sad, because it was a film with heaps of potential. Set in the Middle East at the time of Christ , the subject matter and scenery was brilliant. I'm really hoping the film does get made someday, (when the credit crisis gets a headache...).

You can find more artwork from this project at my blog & matte paintings from Wayne Haag.

A polished animatic I worked on for a the film promo. I did these using a Cintiq and Sketchbook Pro with Photoshop. A couple of hundred panels were done like this with just three of us to do it. Talk about crazy!

Polished Storyboard Art for the film's promo book. More digital pen work.
This time amping up contrast to get a strong comic book feel.

That's the pretty stuff, advertising the film concept...

Then come the production boards...

Storyboarding for animation can be pretty intense. You need to think like a director, cinematographer, actor, editor..... There are usually many panels, and the detail of acting and timing are very important to get right.
This production board sample was for the same project. A lot looser of course. Attention is given to making the film work. How odes the story flow, are the shots and cuts working? There is always something to improve.

This segment was quite interesting and fun to do. The Hero, (Arty) is trying to help his injured camel companion (Kamal), by carrying the beasts' pack. The heat and rugged terrain get the better of him before long and Kamal's rest is short lived.

I like the fact that there's not much dialogue in this scene. It's just the two of them out in the middle of no where getting on each others goat (or in this case, camel).


  1. Tony
    The 'Arrival of the Magi" piece is particularly striking. It reminds of Alex Raymond's beautiful brush and pen work. I'm curious. Do you prefer a Cintiq over the Intous tablet?

  2. Thanks Richard!
    I certainly like the natural, direct drawing feel of the Cintiq. The Intuos tablet is great for a lot of things, and may be quicker, when you are all over the screen picking tools etc in PS and the like. A lot of digital painters seem to prefer it for that reason. Some people are great at drawing with the Intuos tablet, but I always found it awkward. I was hooked as soon as I tried a direct to screen application. I started with a tablet pc (laptop) then went for the large screen Cintiq 21UX. But I still get frustrated with the thing and I think software needs to improve a whole lot for drawing. Can't beat the real thing in the end.

  3. My preference is still the Intuos. The fact my hand doesn't get in the way is a big bonus. And as you mentioned, it does speed things up. As you probably already know, that's a major plus as well when cranking out storyboards.
    Again, my complements to your work.

  4. Hey Richard.
    Hmm yeah, but it looks cool, and the stand is great! and I can still use my $20 (ebay) Intuos when I want to...(kiddin')
    BTW, I checked out your blog and website. Amazing work! I especially loved your boards, great!