As many of you may know, Sunday was the deadline for me to pick a solid design (provided by my wonderful layout crew) for the trees in the forest for the film. Pretty much everyone tackled the challenge, but only one could be chosen.
Everyone pulled a good run, but I had to go with the idea that followed the directions I gave the closest and shared my vision for the film. The design is by Kyle O'Neill.
Ignoring the color, this was basically what I was going for. It is simple without being too distracting and is strong and solid enough to be repeated and overlapped.
Through the process of submissions, I couldn't help but feel like the communication between the layout crew and I could have been stronger. So to keep everyone on the same page, I drew this sketchy, unofficial representation on how I would like everyone to deal with the layouts as they play in perspective:
Note that the layouts for the film are going to just be line art. I did this in color so you all will have a rough idea of how your layouts will be treated, complete with a little Aidan (note: it is not correctly to scale). Also note how the bottoms of the trees fade into the ground, but still receed as the trees go back. In case you cannot see it due to the knots, here is an idea of how the layering will work:
Most of you will only have 2-4 layers to your scenes. Do not draw in the fog, but if there is water in your scene you should show how the layers recede into space the same way you would the trees (remember water will be animated, but it is for the benefit of the animators).
A few of you at the meeting were asking me about branches. I was worried about it becoming too busy if each layer had branches, so I discovered this could be avoided (and still have the visual success the branches give) if only the first layer of trees had branches. In the example, they are designed to make Aidan the focus, and I would encourage all my layout artists to think along those lines with composition in mind. Remember: your layout (though extremely important) is not the star. The characters are the stars.
Normally I wouldn't put art-related announcements for the crew on this blog, but I would like to keep all of this in one simple package so we can refer back to it later.