Tales From The Cave

The second Studio Monday went by, and it was a great day again. – It’s simply amazing to have several hours in a row to work on stuff like my Orpheus film project, and it’s great to have some creative companionship, too.

Today’s visitor was my friend Leo who is a mathematician but who also is a very good photographer. He shot various pictures of my studio, of my so far finished sets, and of me working on the cave setting that is the entry to the Underworld. All the photos of this post are shot by Leo, who has been a great help regarding a lot of technical questions today.

We also tested some lighting setups in front of the camera, and added the background for the cave scene. Here some of his test shots:

Cave, Lighting Test 1.

Cave, Lighting Test 2.

Cave, Lighting Test 3.

Leo helped me to set up the lighting and did some test shots of the atmosphere. – The second one is my absolute favorite!

I thought it would be nice to have some souls of the dead flying through the back of the cave while Orpheus is entering the Underworld. I already had a few ideas on how to do it, but all of them seemed rather complicated. While I thought about how to lit the setting to achieve a nice impression of depth, I had this idea of animating the shadows on the background.

Since I own several useful but often unused items, I removed the dust from my overhead projector. I first painted a background on which I wanted to project the animation:

The plain background: I thought it would be nice to project the animation at a noisy background for that it doesn’t look too clean.

OHP, Lights.
This is a small impression of how we achieved the special atmosphere in the pictures above.

Then I printed the structures of rocks to a sheet of overhead transparency, and projected this image to the painted backdrop. Next, I placed one of my shadow puppets on top of it to see how it looks. – And it looks amazing! Actually I’m really pleased with the setting and the atmosphere right now.

I also added the landing for the boat of Charon the ferryman today, and some more background pieces to achieve a nice transition from the 3D world to the land of the silhouettes.

Jessica, Working on Set Elements.
Two pictures of me working on the landing.

The Landing.
The landing.

Current State of the Cave Set.
The current state of the cave setting. It only lacks a few details: the ferryman’s boat, the water and some background elements.

Now it feels a bit more realistic again that I’ll someday soon will finish this animated short…

15. March 2011 by Jessica
Categories: Stuff | Tags: , , | 6 comments

Comments (6)

  1. It is nice to see the pictures online :)
    But to put it straight, I plainly got bored out waiting over the weekend, while the contract for my new job is still being… *crafted*. So I invited myself over to Jessica & Lukas –thanks again for long talks, coffee and general hospitality– and attended the Second Studio Monday. The blog post is also a bit off, as I am rather biased towards math than photography. Let’s face it: The tedious construction of the cemetery, Orpheus’ home and the Ünderwörld definitely pays off, and it would have been tricky to shoot only bad photos.
    I am deeply impressed.

    Anyway, it was great fun watching, talking and coffee-ing. I shall be happy to return and toy around with more lenses, lights and colour filters! Nils, how’s about we overrun them and talk all the tech stuff through? ;)

  2. Stellar progress, Jessica! The test shots are astoundingly exciting!

  3. Leo, come on! You did some nice shots, and it’s all about creativity and bending boundaries here. With all your techy knowledge you’ve been a great help!

    Shelley, it’s simply amazing. I’ve just been starting to work on the film again, and right now it’s almost finished! No, serious, this is working better that I thought. – It’s all about *taking the time* for what is important, it seems.

  4. I hope the ship is ready by the end of this week. :)

    @Leo: Good idea. Let’s think of a real techy art project! A meta art project of the Orpheus film!

  5. before reading it I thought ‘it would be nice if the lights shift…’ – yes, they do and the mood in the final scene will be very dream-like and otherworldly. Further I want to express how much I like the use of rather cool colours for the underworld: fire and red and black and dramatic might seem a bit too lively for a place where the dead souls remain… the rather cool colours underline the ‘drained’ atmosphere. But then, you did an amazing job in bringing in all these lovely detail and shapes and forms and everything, so that the place suits the mood perfectly without a hint of dullness or boredom.
    (erm… thinking out loud here again, I guess…)

    The chessboard floor – now how often have I seen this element, and how rarely it suited the whole thing: like here: the cave structure and rocks and then as a harsh contrast the squares in black and white. Even if the lights move over it… heavily impressed !

    And before I stumble through more artsy criticism – which I am surely not heading for: great to see so much progress in the last few weeks I was away !
    I am looking forward to reading this all up here, get inspired and me brain a bit more stimulated.

  6. Michael, your opinion here is very much appreciated, so please keep sharing it!