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Monday, April 30, 2007

Hi There!
This blog is going to be about my final project for my Post Graduate Diploma in Character Animation. The animation is going to be a minute long and be inspired by a painting from the National Gallery. The finished piece will be shown on their website. The picture I have chosen is "Niccolò Mauruzi da Tolentino at the Battle of San Romano" which was painted by Paolo Uccello around 1438. Uccello was one of the first artists to use perspective in his work, and quite frankly, it sent him a little crazy. The perspective in this picture is actually a little poor, and it was perhaps another 30 or 40 years before artists such as Da Vinci got it right. It is thought that this work was originally created to be placed in a vaulted ceiling and originally would have arched at the top, where mountains would have been depicted. The painting is one of a series of three, the other two reside in the Louvre in Paris and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The painting depicts a battle fought between the Florentines and the Siennese in 1432, but the rendering of the action depicts no blood or mud or any other of the gruesome sights expected in a medieval battlefield. Instead, all the knights are depicted in brand new shining suits of armour topped off with their crests, something which knights would not have worn in a real fight, but only in tournaments. Therefore the painting is an idealised battle scene produced to romanticise the idea of knights as paragons of courage and daring. Each knight has his own individual look which was what first drew me to the painting. But there were practical reasons for choosing knights too, mainly that they would be easy to rig, having jointed armour instead of flowing robes, and of course a helmet which covers the face if necessary, curbing the need for facial animation. Of course, it would be impossible to depict all the knights in the time that I have, and getting a story which needs only few characters in the middle of a battle is hard! However I am pretty sure that I'm almost there. I've decided to tell the story of the captain who couldn't get his horse to charge. The horse is very obstinate and the knight tries several things to make him move. So the cartoon is gag based and will hopefully be funny, although after showing my animatic at the National Gallery last Friday, I still have some rewriting to do! The problem is that I shortened my first animatic for simplicity's sake and there is now no suitable conclusion to the piece. However there were some useful suggestions, which I am thinking how I can incorporate. Here are the animatic pictures as they stand at the moment:

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