Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Post-Mortem - Dick's Story

Welcome, friends, to the second installment of the Living In A River City post-mortems. I went over the background info on the project last time, so let's get right into the messy details!

The Project: This was actually the first spot I did for Riverlife. It's the longest of the four and involved two versions of the main character, so I figured I'd tackle it first. You may have heard of Braddock or seen its very awesome mayor on the tv or in magazines, but I can bet you haven't seen the charming cartoon junkyard they had there 50 years ago.

In hindsight, I think the kids should have been wearing shoes, but somehow that just made them seem like they were running around in colorful briefs.

Fun fact: After completing this piece, I discovered that Josh's does indeed still exist in stately Braddock. Since Dick's recollection was a bit hazy, let's do some free advertising:

Josh's Steel : Buyers of All Scrap Metals, Roll-Off Containers Placed, Copper, Brass, Aluminum, We Pay Top Prices, Stainless Steel, Aluminum Cans, We Pay to Prices, Stainless, Scrap Iron, Roll-Off Container Placed, Cans, Industrial Pick-Up Service Available.


How about that floating can? Not one 3d layer or plugin used there. Make one of your own! It's fun!

This splash. I have nightmares still.

I have approximately zero interest in making things that look real. As such, every time I do something like water, I try to do it differently. This splash had me scratching my head for hours, and I spent an entire evening messing around with it. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out in the end. I say "pretty happy", because I spent so long tweaking it that I will probably hate it forever. Also, it seems like I have given all of the guys stereotypical Leave It To Beaver hairstyles. They never go out of style.

But of course, the big money shot in this piece is the final scroll down the river. Here we have several miles of Monongahela River condensed to something like a football field. The neighborhood across the river would actually be where I lived in this fantasy world. Somewhere on the right end of where we end up. As stated last week, it's a bit of a fairytale rendition of the area. The real South Side has approximately 1000 bars. But we'll talk more on that in a few weeks...

Thanks to Stephen at Riverlife for not canning the project when he saw my ugly boards.

Good lord, do I love the colors in this shot. It almost makes up for the splash. Can I use these colors for everything I make from here on out?

This shot was accomplished pretty much like the bridge shot from Emily's Story, a combo of 3d layers and forced perspective. No lights, no plugins.

Here's what it looks like from a different angle. The bridge is just plain old shape layers arranged semi-cleverly. It pretty much is what it looks like. No fancy tricks there. I learned a bit in these projects about the value of doing things the hard way. As I write this, I'm surprised at how nice even the skewed angle I just posted looks. Go me.

Final Verdict -
You know what my favorite part of this piece is? The standoff between Dick and the swimming poster. I also like how upsettingly small men's swimsuits were during that time in America. Seriously.

We're at the halfway point. Stay tuned for next Wednesday!

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