I helped Carlos Stevens a tad with this great little film. Enjoy!
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Sunday, March 29, 2015
Tuesday, February 03, 2015
Another new spot by HouseSpecial.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Laika's selling some cool stuff soon! Like the drawing above by yours truly.
Get some stuff!
Monday, January 26, 2015
Color was easier to pin down on this.. I think everyone had a like-minded notion of the materials those little boxtrolls used to create this thing, it was more a matter of calling out which specific materials went where. This painting eventually called out (more or less) each specific piece that they used to assemble it (I'm sure Leigh and the other painters would argue I missed quite a few). It's pretty amazing that the final thing had fully functional wonky gears, pulleys, lights, switches, buttons, and levers. Quite a bit of math and engineering had to go into actually making that work.
A few things I can call out... snatcher hits a button up top that turns on a big fan box on its left side.. its what creates the suction in its left arm for grabbing Boxtrolls. We also did work out what all the controls do in the cockpit, but I'm pretty sure no one person would be capable of piloting it (more likely something like a tank crew would be more appropriate). I did actually create a way for water to go from the left arm into the furnace (the redhats load coal in from a back door that funnels into it). Lastly, I kept the inside of the cage black to not make it too hard to read, but also to hide what happens when Eggs mysteriously wakes up in Snatcher's factory with different clothing on. Maybe this is why Herbert says jelly all the time?
Also there's been some great news! First off, we got an Oscar Nomination! Also, you can now buy it on Blu Ray!
Posted by Alan Cook at 9:23 PM
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
So hopefully you've seen The Boxtrolls by now. If not I guess this is a little bit of a spoiler. Michel and Tom worked on this guy for quite some time before the story dictated what the final design needed to be. Eventually I got to mess around with it too and came up with this turnaround - it's these drawings they used to build from. Definitely not the best turnaround from a technical standpoint but this was a pretty difficult task.
At one point the drill was even a mechanized version of a rat - Snatcher had a pet rat that would pilot it. In the end it's more like a demented, horrific boxtroll with fire coming from its mouth.
Working with the team on this was insanely rewarding. So many different departments had to come together to make this thing happen. It might be a fool's errand to call out the people who helped build this but I'd like to try:
Curt Enderle, Raul Martinez, Ollie Jones, Jerry Svoboda, Brian Hanh, Matt Burlingame, Paul Mack, Tim Arp, Molly Light, Tony Chen, Mike Possert, Enrico Altmann, Leigh Jacob, George Willis, Max Barsana, Enrico Altmann, and Bruce Bowman... hats off to you guys! Everyone should be proud of their work.
The real thing is as huge! Definitely comparable to a person when its legs are extended... and definitely too heavy for a single person to lift. But if that still interests you, it'd make a really good conversation starter in your living room.
Thursday, January 08, 2015
New spot I helped design at HouseSpecial.
Posted by Alan Cook at 9:36 AM
Tuesday, January 06, 2015
Friday, December 26, 2014
Posted by Alan Cook at 10:37 PM
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Just trying to spread the love. Will dig a little deeper next time.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Trying to apply the same design philosophy to a building that you do to a character takes some doing. I was tasked with finalizing the concepts that Michel Breton and Tom McClure worked out for the centerpiece of Cheesebridge, the Cheese Guild. This is what I came up with. Michel had an interesting way of tipping horizontal lines and creating a rhythm in the buildings that I wanted to keep as much as possible (as well as the overall feeling of looseness). It's complete with every sort of milk-producing animal. The building in real life is pretty staggeringly huge (I believe it's a fair bit taller than a person?)
A few of us came up with a few pretty great puns to put on the guild itself, though I believe in the end it just says Cheesum Gildam. I'll update this post if I can remember what the alternates were.
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
Monday, November 24, 2014
Herbert isn't in The Boxtrolls for a long amount of time, but sometimes that means you can have more fun with that character. He's definitely one of the more extreme cases of a character in a Laika film. At one point we were debating whether or not he'd have animatable hair. We finally figured that all the oil in his hair would just make it hold it shape after all the years he spent upside down.
We were also careful to use the same color scheme for Eggs and Herbert. Color harmony between characters is pretty important stuff.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Mr. Gristle was a pretty important character. He was the first character to get approved through all the steps (design, sculpt, puppet, maquette, etc). We learned a lot about how to capture the looseness of the style in a human forum. In the end though, he was cut from the film as his personality became redundant with Crabs, the old name of what is now Mr. Gristle in the film. To add to the confusion, we more or less used his face for Sir Broderick the White Hat in the film. A lot can happen to the life of a character in a short amount of time.
The process for creating these images was a lot of fun. Head of Costume Deb Cook (no relation) asked me to help her with designing the costumes on the film. We constructed them as paper collages and touched them up with color digitally. Ripping and cutting paper really gave us interesting edges and made the costumes loose and expressive. Debs taught me a lot about the actual construction of a costume - not only does it need to look like it was constructed like a costume would in real life, it needs things like animator access and to be able to hold its shape. She could tell me if something I designed was too difficult to make or animate and we could go from there.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Main characters are always tough to pin down. They need to be the 'straight man' (or woman), but still be distinct and interesting. They also get the most scrutiny, both from a design and technical standpoint. Eggs went through a lot of iterations, with a bunch of designers throwing in their version (many can be seen in the great Art Of Boxtrolls if you haven't already taken a look). Mike Smith, Kent Melton and I helped contribute a lot to the final character you see on screen. I did these sketches while working with Kent on the maquette sculpture. After a certain point in the process though, the sketches only can take the character so far. A stop-motion puppet need to exist in a real space, and Kent is a master at designing characters in 3 dimensional space.
The one question I have is, is his name "Huevos" in the spanish version?
Monday, November 03, 2014
So I had the great opportunity to help design on Laika's latest film, "The Boxtrolls" directed by Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable. Initially I helped out with nailing down the look of the characters. Designer Michel Breton did a great job establishing the look and feel of the world and I did my best to emulate the way he drew.
Since Eggs had been living as a Boxtroll for most of his life we wanted to make it seem as though Eggs was trying everything he could to look like a boxtroll. The idea of his goggles were something that were around for a long time (Notably designer Tom McClure had done a bunch of great designs, many of which you can see in the "Art of Boxtrolls" book). We also needed to make sure it looked as though it was hobbled together with disparate elements (his right eye is made of a mason jar with the bottom of a glass bottle inserted inside, the left was a hose clamp).
I tried to make it so his silhouette was similar to that of a boxtroll, but on second glance, you could could tell something was up.