For my final project at uni I wanted to illustrate a short story that was very simple and wouldn't require written commentary. I searched around for a story, but couldn't seem to find anything. So I decided to go for a walk around Manchester with my camera and see if I could find anything that would spark an idea for a story.
Luckily for me I found a train tunnel that had a really strange atmosphere. It was very dark, harshly light with white lights and had semi-transparent walls that allowed street lighting to pass through. It seemed a perfect location to tell a dark suspense story. So I took a number of photographs of the tunnel and a few other locations around Manchester and cultivated a story from them.
I had a rough idea about what was going to happen in the story, but only began to see how it would translate into a series of illustrations when I started storyboarding. The storyboards started very rough and were refined a number of times to perfect camera angles.
Once I had completed a final sequence I produced a couple of costume designs for the characters and began thinking about how I would gather the reference material for each image.
My two friends Anna Corbould and Joe Norton agreed to help me out. So, one cold Manchester evening we headed to the locations and I got the shots that I needed. This was cool because I was working directly from the storyboards I had created with real people in a real environment.
With all of the reference captured and processed I then spent two weeks sketching out the final compositions and painting the final illustrations in Photoshop
Really happy with how the illustrations turned out, and with two weeks remaining before my degree show I decided it would be interesting to see how well I could animate the story in 3D. I had never done a 3D animation before, so was quite excited.
I worked on the animation every hour that I could stay awake for 2 weeks. I built the two human characters which had to be modelled, rigged with bones, skin weights and controls, and textured. I created the full tunnel environment for the characters to interact in which again had to be modelled, textured and light to create realistic shadows and highlights. It took nearly 2 weeks just to build the models, which left me with very little time to create the animation.
The final animation is more of a pilot than a finished piece. Hopefully it conveys the feel of the story and what would be possible with more time.