Monday, June 27, 2011

Passport To Explore: Coming This Fall !!!

Passport To Explore is a teen travel show coming out this fall. I did all the animation designs, painted backgrounds, storyboards, and trademarked logo designs, using both hand drawn and painted illustrations, as well as coloring in Photoshop . When they were looking for a catchy abbreviation for the show's name, I coined "PTX" for them. Unfortunately, the trailer doesn't show any of the animated segments I worked on with the show's motion graphics editor Adam Bedford, but the circular PTX logo with the plain flying around it is my design. Keep an eye out for it, this fall.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Concept Art: Aliens Vs. The Simpsons

I'm a big fan of Bongo Comics (arguably the best part of The Simpsons franchise in my opinion) and a big fan of Fox's other great big franchise (no not Star Wars) Aliens. I've got a a couple of friends there, so when my good friend Frank Kane suggested it might be fun to see The Simpsons go head to head with the Aliens in the town of Springfield, I had to pursue the idea. Long story short, the idea didn't fly with Matt Groening (concerns over crossovers and copyrights, I think, but don't quote me on that) and it's never going to happen. However, I have these nice concept painting to show for it. As you can see, I had a lot of fun cross pollinating some of the classic Simpsons gags with a few of the great moments in the Aliens movies and H.R. Giger's art style.Link

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Working on the Ray Bradbury Odyssey: Part 2 (Mr. Electrico)

Mr. Electrico Demo from Christopher (Moonlight) Cooksey on Vimeo.

Ray Bradbury's story of how the carnival magician Mr. Electico sat in an electric chair and knighted him with an electric sword, was another very important part of the play. It is indeed the moment where the young stage actor playing Ray as a boy, stands before his projected image on stage, and is told "Live Forever." That's the name of the play, so we needed to get this right. The only problem was that all we had was a piece of green felt, some lights, an old aluminum lamp, and Dave Grave's (whom we got to step in as Mr. Electrico at the last minute) back patio to shoot the whole thing on. Again, I had Jeremy Hanes as my DP and Rich Goddard as my Effects Supervisor, who I worked with, using After Effects, to get the results you see above. The producers where happy.

I also created this mock carnival poster, for the show. Here are some photos from on set...

It's also worth mentioning that Jeremy Hanes was in charge recording the sounds of Malcolm McDowell, who read four poems by Mr. Bradbury, that aided in telling the story of his life.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Working on the Ray Bradbury Odyssey: Part 1

The thing that I'm most proud of, in regards to the play Live Forever: The Ray Bradbury Odyssey, is that my small team and I did so much on such a small budget, and on such a tight schedule. I quite frankly was lucky to have a team at all, but I had the fortune to have access to some of the top talents, at just the right time. It didn't start out that way, though. First, as leader of the group, I had to prove that I had a vision, a plan, and the knowledge to execute both. I had to start with some tests, that I did at home, to show other talents and the producers what I would do with the project, if put in charge. So, my first task was to pitch the project, which I did by creating some story boards, and simple versions of effects, which I had to create on my own.

This video provided many of the starting points for what I would later turn into a malty media video production, taking the audience into the farthest reaches of space, and into the heart and mind of the man, Ray Bradbury, himself. But, I also had to do it in a family friendly way.

Goblin Test from Christopher (Moonlight) Cooksey on Vimeo.

This puppet was an early test I did at home. Based on a poem by Ray called The Groon, I had to seek out a way to make a monster both menacing and family friendly. I ended up going with a design that was not a copy of, but could fit in with monsters from an old comic book cover that Ray gave us.

Michael O'Kelly, the play's writer and producer took the finished puppet over to Ray for approval, and he loved it, so that was a good feeling.

Another challenge was to create a Ferries wheel full of creatures from Ray's childhood movie going days. Originally, the idea was to rotoscope characters from old movies from Rays Childhood, and put them in the cars, but due to time and budget, it just wasn't possible. It was decided that paper cut outs of these figures would have to do, as non of the shots last more than five seconds, projected on a screen, in the play. It's a shame really, as the effect could have worked really well. It's not a hard one, just time consuming.
However, I knew the wheel it's self had to be sensational, so I brought on one of the greatest improvisational monster and set builders I know. Mr. Dave Grave. Based on my descriptions, and supervision, Dave met the challenge with zeal, and came up with a real show stopper, which we shot using stop motion animation.

Live Forever Ferris Wheel Set from Christopher (Moonlight) Cooksey on Vimeo.

After the model was built, I had Jeremy Hanes (as my DP) help light and shot the whole setup with green screen, using the rapid fire fetcher on his camera, as Dave and I ever so slowly turned the Ferries wheel, using monofilament line.

After that, it was up to Rich Goddard and I to composite the whole thing. I spent time, putting together some digital mat backgrounds, like the trees and moon, while Rich did the final green screen keying, color corrections, fog effects, and composting. Go teem. The final result was this...

Opening Sequence - Compositing from Rich Goddard on Vimeo.

Next: Mr. Electrico

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pre-Viz Spaceship

Piece for an animated Si-Fi pre-viz, written and designed by me. The spaceship is a filler piece, shot in stop motion, until a real spaceship design is done.

Space Ship Pre-Viz from Christopher (Moonlight) Cooksey on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ray Bradbury Pitch-Viz

Early pitch-viz for the project Live Forever: The Ray Bradbury Odyssey. This was used to help producers get funding for the play. Special thanks to Rebecca Kim for the 3D work, and Rich Goddard, for the first lightning effect. The Ferris Wheel is a stop motion piece, set against green screen. The goblin is a puppet, designed and animated by me. Storyboards, also by me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011