Batman Chapter One - Help Me!
In 2007 I finished my short film "Help Me!" based on Batman´s character. It took me around 3 years to complete the entire short film. It has been one of the best experiences for me as an artist/animator thus far in my career, from the pre-production to the very end creating the soundtrack. At the beginning, the idea was just to improve my animation skills. I wanted to test some physical movements, such as a character jumping, climbing, etc. I thought Batman would be the best character to create something cool and fun. The next thing was to find something challenging as an animator and this is when I came up with the idea of Batman climbing on a coat stand. After that, I realized and decided that I could create my own version of my favorite hero and the world around him with a short story-line while having fun animating. This is how it begin, and this is how it ends...
Batman Chapter One - Help Me! ( The Making Of )
In this section you will find some pre-production material that I created for my short film "Help Me!" based on Batman´s character between 2004 and 2007. Of course, documentation from other artists inspired and influenced the development of each piece of the short film. My main references came from Tim Burton´s "Batman" & "Batman Returns,"Bruce Timm´s "Batman - The Animated Series," Sandy Corolla´s "Batman Dead End," and the most recent version from Chris Nolan´s "Batman Begins." Other forms came from art (i.e. paint, sculpture, music, photography) and artists. The list is endless.
- Batman sketches
Since the very beginning I wanted a fresh design, something new, so I started achieving this by using basic & simple shapes for Batman´s design. For me, a cube was the most basic shape, but at the same time, strong enough to define Batman.
- Gotham City sketches
Developing the city of Gotham was a real challenge, I had to find a way to create a huge, dark, and dirty city using a very simple design that would work from any camera angle. Also, I always liked the idea of designing a city through the cutout technique with all the buildings in different layers, the very first ones in front of camera with more detail, versus the last buildings in the back looking like silhouettes. Again, documentation was completely necessary in bringing the ideas and shapes of Gotham´s design to life.
- Prop sketches
Everything was design matching the general "cubic" style for the short film, doors, chairs, computer, mouse, keyboard, every little detail.
- Concept Art
I want to share some of what was for me "key" for the design and final result of the short film, the concept art. It was the most important process to develope from the general cubic design to the color or black & white. I could explore even with perspectives and work in some of the "key moments" of the short film, like the explosion at the end. Also, I could explore more about the Batman character and even his world when he´s not Batman. I used Photoshop, pastel colors & pencil colors.
- Title design
The main reference to design the titles for the short film came from the amazing titles of "Batman - The Animated Series" by Bruce Timm. I remember myself watching TV so excited because just the titles, pure art. I created this three different versions for the short film.
- Modeling and texturig
Once I have the final design & color of the character, background or props I started the 3D work. Here are some examples of modeling and texturing.
- Lighting and rendering
After modeling and texturing it was time to start with the ligthing, rendering and even some post-production. As you can see, I even tried to find a color style, but the B & W style was the one the most I like and match with the idea that I had in mind for the short film.
- Planification before Animation
Before start with the animation in 3D I like to have some kind of visual reference for the shots, it could be a video reference, thumbnails, film reference, whatever. I personally like to use sketches or/with video reference for my own animations. Here some thumbnails that I did as a reference for the animation in some shots of the short film.
- The Villains
A lot of people asked me about Batman´s villains, so here is what I developed about them while I was working in the "Chapter One". Thinking on to introduce them later in the "Chapter Two", I have even the script, but I didn´t find the right moment to continue yet. Maybe someday not so far...
The Penguin was the villain that I developed most, even having time in 2005 to do some animation test using an amazing audio of Danny DeVito´s voice in the role of The Penguin in "Batman Returns" by Tim Burton. Check it out!