Tuesday, September 20, 2005

a new artform

after over 3 years of work the studio finally shelved
CLUB WILDLIFE in 2000. it was one of the most
creative and disastrous time in my life. for some time
I am struggling where to start to write about this
chaotic experience. so - be patient please.

what we were preparing was the first cg-movie
in disney history. and I did not want it to look
like what I had seen so far - like plastic. we came
up with a very unusual look, for characters as well
as environment.

anyway, the dream of a new artform-piece was over
and I started to explore new ideas and looks together
with umesh shukla, who had been head of CG on
wildlife. umesh is from india and has a background
in graphic design as well. what was very helpful,
because he knew everything about art a n d
everything about the new technology. in the very
beginning I remember he told me - never think
about how we might solve that look problem in
the end, design whatever you want. I will make it

that was incredible, no limitations! we worked for
a while on a complete new look for the florida
project MY PEOPLES, now shelved as well. I tried
to mix all different american painter styles together.
especially - thomas hart benton and grant wood.
their very unique landscape composition as well
as an interesting use of lots of textures looked
very appealing and new to me. and we looked into
bill peets childrenbooks and his way of using nib-
hatching to create textures.

paralell to my design work umesh started with
some experimental 3-D tests, to somehow
recreate the above described look. the results
were very interesting looking, like nothing I had
seen in CG before. very artistic. that might
have been the reason that nobody from the
decisionmaking guys understood, what the hell
we were doing.

it became even worse when umesh and I started
to develop a short for the at that time planned
fantasia 3000 or 4000. my idea was to show abstract
art of the last 70 years, combined in a simple story
about a bird that doesn't fit into a bird society.
kind of a non-conformist dreamer. we did CG-tests
with 3-dimensional paintings in the style of klee,
picasso and matisse.
they shelved it. - nice.

what we had tried to do was a marriage between
traditional and CG animation. and to create a look
using the new technology, that had been impossible
even to dream about some years ago. we wanted
to come up with a new artform, not another
piece of plastic. but probably it was too much art.

after that umesh and I worked briefly on a new
promising project FRAIDY CAT. but it became
less and less interesting for the same old reasons -
comittee-decisions can screw up the nicest story.
we both left the company. umesh has now his
own development team and is working on soft-
ware that might make it possible to create better
looking CG movies in the future.

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