The china city artwork is now completed. These required a lot less digital re-working than previous backplates. The exception was the city long shot (the backmost layer), which was composed of just a few little houses layered many times over in Photoshop. The final panels did not come together as planned and the design had to be changed on the fly. The artwork consisted of four layers designed to sit atop one another. However, due to the fragmented nature of the rendering, some of the measurements were a bit off and the layers don’t sit as intended. Consequently, I had to kill off the second of two midground layers and hide sections of the first midground layer.
The layers look fine on their own but the screen shape means the best parts don’t always come into view. The still shot is composed successfully but the animation itself may require some rejigging to get it all to work on screen. Understandably this is just the nature of transfering traditional illustrations into a digital format, but it is disappointing when you have to shave off a few hours of artwork. In retrospect, it seems the design is a bit cluttered and while it was good in black and white, it comes out a distracting eyesaw in full colour. I’ve used lighting and colour overlays to add a sense of depth and precedence which I believe has helped. This is the most difficult section of the animation so I am expecting it will take a bit more work to get this presentable. Still, it is good to know that all the pieces are there should I need them and if necessary I can always follow the composition used for the still. I’ve uploaded the layers independently so you can see what is underneath.
The only major change from the original storyboards was to include Nellie flying the kite from the rooftop (previously this was going to be a little Chinese boy). Working through the artwork I’ve realised this is basically an unpopulated world – Nellie is the only character and it should probably stay that way to keep the focus on her exploits. Having a little boy in this shot would probably be a bit random and distracting. It is also a bit metaphorical if I only have Nellie in the entire animation – it suggests she is a leader or ahead of her time. It also helps emphasise the relationship between Nellie and the environment she is traveling through.