Thursday, February 10, 2011

Colin Hay - Overkill (acoustic version) .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Caravan Archives on Twitter

As I get asked daily, multiple times a day, as to the status of Caravan despite all of said golden answers existing entirely on this hand-dandy blog, I've also now created a twitter feed dedicated specifically to Caravan's production, so you can get real-time updates on the film's status. Check out/follow the Twitter Feed at Its updates will appear in the side-bar of this blog from here on out for further easy-access updates.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stratton Podcast Interview

Mr. Doug Stratton, with his recently purchased original and print of "Roadside Rest" from the CCS 2010 SEO.

As many of you may recall, I was recently awarded the first place 2010 scholarship from The Stratton Foundation in support of Caravan. In an act of further support and tremendous generosity, the head of the foundation, Mr. Doug Stratton, was kind enough to also purchase one of my pieces - my favorite, in fact - from the 2010 College for Creative Studies Student Exhibition Opening. I was recently interviewed by Mr. Stratton for the Foundation's podcast program, and as of this week, that interview is online to share. You can listen to it here.

As always, my deepest gratitude to Doug and his associates at the Stratton foundation. Their support and generosity have been both a tremendous inspiration, and a much-needed helping hand.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Shot 001 Clean-Up & Webcam Conquests

Caravan Shot 001 Clean-Up from Mel Miller on Vimeo.

Back on track! Above is the clean-up for shot 1 of Caravan - Mia leaving her home for school in the early AM, hoisting on her backpack as she goes. Please excuse the somewhat poor image quality of the clip - as I'm working from home now, I'm having to upgrade equipment here and there to bring things up to standard. I'll be getting a better quality webcam soon!

Below is the background said shot will be composited onto upon completion - It's actually on 3 layers, so we're going to attempt a bit of a multi-plane effect with it as it pans out and up from the bird's nest. Should be interesting!



ReFueling Inspiration

As always, and especially with personal non-profit projects like Caravan, I think keeping one's self inspired and perpetuating the feeling of continued growth and creativity through a project is key to keeping on track and maintaining a love for the work beyond simple determination and elbow grease. In the spirit of continuing to fuel my inspiration with Caravan, yet another portion of my time in recent weeks has been spent taking another dive into discovering and collecting new nuggets of inspiration. I've been photo-taking, camping, browsing the net, and low and behold, the exercises in sparking little bits of intrigue here and there are paying off, and helping me maintain - and oftentimes refuel - my ambitions.

The current view, shotgun, from the family RV.

Campfire and wind-chimes at the current campsite.

The above photos were both captured at whim fairly recently from my parents' current campsite. Staying with them at any length is a perpetual, peaceful, very wonderful way to re-ignite my love for this project. I'll undoubtedly be hopping on over to visit them frequently throughout the summer - always a wonderful prospect.

Music, as always, and as I think is pretty readily apparent throughout this blog so far, is another huge source of inspiration for me artistically. My buddy Kate recently introduced me to the Black Rebel Motorcycle Gang. Apart from being rather entertaining tunes in general, a number of their songs have now ended up on my Caravan-inspiration playlist on itunes. Here's one of said songs:

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Ain't No Easy Way .mp3

Found at bee mp3 search engine

Just today, actually, I found the footage below on YouTube, and I absolutely love it; European-based Romany travelers, filmed in the early 1960's. Now granted, my little fictional group of travelers in Caravan are both American-based and geared more towards the late 60's, early 70's, but I couldn't help but be struck by the beauty of this little film and its relevancy visually to my own inspiration - people persevering through an undoubtedly difficult lifestyle.

More again soon,

Working From Home

I've begun the slow but steady process of getting past copious degrees of burn-out and picking back up where I last left off, working on Caravan. From here on out I'm taking its production, I've decided, entirely at my own pace. The speed at which I was working on the film this past year was, to be completely honest, to the point of being a little inhumane even by my nutcase-workaholic-and-loving-it standards, and I'm thrilled to be able to work on this thing now at a steady stride that is healthy for myself both physically and emotionally. And I mean, really, this film has been a dear friend for a year and a half now - it deserves calm, healthy attentiveness over frazzled anxiety attacks any day. So, Caravan'll "get there" when it gets there, and I'll be keeping you all updated every step of the way! :D

As I'd mentioned beforehand, I'll be working on the film almost entirely from home how, so a fair chunk of my time recently has been spent getting everything installed, organized, set up and switched about at the house to make for a solid little film-producing environment... I do believe I'm officially "there" in this set-up process, too. I finished seven seconds of clean-up this past week, and the work flow went very smoothly with the new at-home space as it stands: Awesome news indeed. Thought I'd share those work spaces with you here:

Animation work desk

The above is where most of my time will be spend from here on out, doing tie-down and clean-up. To the right of the desk is the film itself on an IKEA shelf kindly donated by my roommate, and upon the desk my light table, copious supplies, a mirror for acting, etc. As with any work space of mine, I try to decorate it to the best of my ability simply to feel comfortable and inspired. Alot of my decorations from Senior Studio are up here as well, combined with many things from home - including concept art from a long-running personal project of mine, which has been sharing equal parts of my passion again since graduation. I've also got my TV nearby for entertainment's sake... Law & Order SVU marathons on Tuesdays are a must after all, not that I'm actually around to watch them! :D And yes, those are kitty food and water bowls beside me, so I get routine visits from the FurKids... when they're not trying to crawl all over me or my animation paper, of course!

Caravan's new home!

The film itself, rather meticulously organized on shelves - what an upgrade, let me tell you! This is SUCH an improvement from my work space at school for the fact that I can have everything out and at my disposal and organized now - there was only so much organization I could manage on campus, as I had to keep everything packed safely into my locker - a bit of a pain in the butt. Now, with proper shelving, it's smooth sailing in terms of finding what I need when I need it, thank goodness! At current, the top shelf is fully animated shots waiting for clean-up, second shelf down are shots still in need of some level of in-betweening, third down are shots immediately in-line for clean up in the order that I plan on working on them, fourth down is blank cut and hole-punched paper, and the bottom shelf, spanning nearly to the floor (though you can hardly see it here) is completed film: shots I'll never have to address again, thank goodness, and a stack of which is, blessedly, already quite huge.

Compie! ♥

My home computer will now, of course, be the main hub for my portions of the remaining digital aspects of the film's production. Not to mention the copious iTunes playlists I have to keep my mind sharp while I work - one of which is specifically geared towards Caravan inspirational tunes.

The downshooter!

Last but not least (Though I'm pretty sure I've shared this one before) is our home-made downshooter set-up for pencil tests.

And there you have it - Caravan's new production home for the immediate future. Onward and upward, with more updates to come! Cheers.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Scene 2 Storyboards and Update

Caravan: Scene 2 Forest EXT

To think Caravan, at one point, was just a fleeting idea in my head, let alone a couple of pages worth of storyboards in my sketchbook. Now, it's a fully rough-animated film, halfway on its way towards life in technicolor. I was thoroughly entertained to find this scan of one of my pages of boards filed away in a very random location on my computer, and thought I'd share. Mia meets Kelsey, from scene 2 of the film.

At the moment, I'm one week into the two week break I have has scheduled for rest and re-compiling of thoughts/sanity/personal health, fresh after Graduation from CCS. At the end of those two weeks, I'll pick right back where I left off with the film, smack in the middle of clean-up and coloring process. I look forward to that. Until then, I'll stick with my gardening, camping, freelance and personal art projects, a couple of which you can follow over at my art blog, if you'd like.

Also, because I love it so, here's one of the latest tunes fueling my Caravan inspiration: "White Summer/Black Mountain Side" by Led Zeppelin. I can just imagine the entire convoy trekking up a country back-road to this somewhere, pitching camp one late summer evening... little miss Mia in tow, of course. Love it.

Led Zeppelin - White Summer/Black Mountain Side .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

See you in a week, Caravan!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Roadside Rest - Final

After the Tale: Roadside Rest

I'm absolutely thrilled with how this image came out! It was a blast to work on, and I'm looking forward to creating more Caravan-themed artwork along this vein soon. A lovely print of "Roadside Rest" along with the original line artwork from my sketchbook have been framed and matted in a lovely composition, and will be available for sale at the 2010 Student Exhibition at the College for Creative Studies on May 14th.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Roadside Rest (Flat Colors)

I've gotten a little attached to the lineless vector-like flat colors for this image (Which I've given the impromptu title of 'Roadside Rest') So I thought I'd share. I'm really enjoying the pallet to the image so far - it continues the fall colors at the end of the Caravan short, as it's within probably two weeks of that point in the story, but the tones will be slightly cooler and slightly calmer than the intense tones seen in those mid-day scenes - this scene will take place at dusk.

On to textures! :D


"Mel-Style" Caravan

Kelsey, Mia and the fuzzies (Hoobler the mutt and Icklefitz the cat) resting beneath the shade of a young oak in one of the first campsites the Travelers inhabit after the events taking place in the film.

One of the more interesting aspects of working on Caravan has been the fact that I, from the start, chose to design the characters in a far more graphical, simplified, "cartoony" manner then I typically draw when designing characters of a more illustrative basis. Keeping the characters more graphical in appearance certainly has aided in allowing me to animate faster, in the end (especially where clean up is concerned!) so the decision ended up being a smart move. However, it has also very frequently left me craving drawing the cast more in my regular day-to-day style of drawing - after all, my usual style is how I actually see the characters in my head, not the simplified style you see in the final film. Strange, perhaps, I know, but that's just the long and short of it.

For fun, here and there when I find the time and am able, I thought I'd start drawing the whole film's cast in my usual more comic-style of drawing. There are hints of the film's graphic 'toon style throughout the character designs, but at the same time, I think the differences are evident, and both fun and interesting to see (Check my original character line-up sheets for easy comparison.)

I'll be coloring the image above throughout the night, and if I get the chance, will throw up some process work from it here and there. :)