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The origins of Tribe 17 actually began during the summer of 2010 with project ‘Soundscape 17’. Transcribing a sound piece known only as soundscape 17, the initial concept was of an apocalyptic world consisting of a dehumanised population. Reduced to a tribe like community, they utilise various artefacts and technology from lost civilisations as artefacts and idols. Thus, this concept would become the basis of this project, developing and expanding further to become Tribe 17. You can listen to the sound piece at:
The animation would become a concentrated character performance animated short, with a ritual type dance matching the tone and rhythm of the track. A central figure would be the main focus along with some secondary figures who would in the background. The ritual dance would take place in a junk yard around a central totem made from the scrap, similar to the ideas explored in original Soundscape 17 project. This soon developed to the idea of that the members of Tribe 17 are performing a ritual of sorts to make 'B' or perhaps 'C' happen. As such, the tribe's ritual movements would involve operating a pile driver machine; by pounding the various bits of junk (in time with the drumming of the soundpiece) they create sparks to attract fireflies, which in turn they use to power and store within themselves.
To begin designing the characters of Tribe 17, I began with some silhouette designs to establish an intriguing form. These initial designs made in the early stages of the project, were still following the concept of dehumanised humans with masks. The mask designs below were created using software Alchemy.
The initial character designs eventually developed to become robots, formed from various bits of scrap from the junkyard they inhabit. In pursuit for more intriguing silhouettes designs, the shapes from a range of reference imagery of junk were taken and collaged together to form a completely new and unique silhouette. The best silhouettes were then further developed to capture the character in full.
Developing Character Silhouettes
Final Character Designs
Characters Model s + Ri gs
The characters were then modelled and rigged individually, taking into account the various ways the body parts interacted with each other to give the character movement.
Tribe Character A
Tribe Character B
Tribe Character C
Envi ronm ents
The animation would take place in the single environment of the junkyard, revolving around a central totem which would soon become very much part of the animation itself.
Junkyard Digital Painting Concept - Progress
Junkyard Digital Painting Concept
The textures for the junk piles were slightly stylised in order to not detract from the main focus of the central characters. Where a high contrast version of the texture was also used to help bring out the secular of the junk piles.
Pos t Producti on
Each shot was rendered in a number of layers to provide better control in post production.
Model view of establishing shot
Cl os i ng Com m ents
Its been a challenging project that I’ve certainly learned a lot from. Unfortunately due to time constraints, some scenes did not make it into the final cut. Namely a opening sequence moving slowly amidst the junk piles to better establish the scene of the ritual, as well as resolving the animation in terms of context with a firefly awakening a new tribe robot amidst the junk. Despite this, I’m happy with what I have achieved in the 10 weeks that this project has taken. There may be opportunities to return to this project in the future, but in the mean time, the skills that I have learnt and developed in this project has been invaluable to me as I continue on my creative journey here at the University of the Creative Arts Rochester. Be sure to look out for my future projects!
- Leo Tsang www.ltsang.blogspot.com