Friday, 11 January 2013

Week 1 - Production - Background Design (Secret Circus)

I have been working on the background design for the secret circus. I was really excited to work on this project as the style was so graphic and I felt like I could really push myself in a side of animation production that I don’t normally like to do.

I started off by looking at some of the rough backgrounds that Laura had been producing for the early pitch. They were really nice but they were a bit too washy and after getting some feedback from the tutors we felt like they needed to pop more and be a bit more colourful, particularly within the Circus.


My design process for all the backgrounds starts within my sketchbook. I started by roughing out the layout of the background in pencil. It is easier for me to work this way and then once I am happy with the rough version I take it into the computer where I start to apply colour to it.

At first I started falling into the wrong style. I’m not sure why I began to make it like this but after having some feedback from Laura I realized that I was heading in the wrong direction. So I went back to her background work and started again in the computer.

I used Photoshop to make the angular shapes of colour that make the final version. I am really pleased with how this background has turned out. After finalizing the layout I began to rough out some shadow work as well. It isn’t perfect but I want to see what feedback I would get from Laura. After showing her she really liked the shadows so I will polish them up later.


Here is one of the backgrounds from inside of the circus. I tried to make it look more circus like by added drapes and boosting the colours. I thought it would be a great idea as it was the lion’s office that the background should be reds and oranges.

Once I had done this I suddenly realized that this didn’t work at all as the character was just blending into the background. Which is not what I wanted to do. So I started to look at colours that would make Lionel pop more.

Here is the progress I made with it. Unfortunately due to story changes we have dropped this background but I am pleased with the development that I made with learning about colour theory a bit more.


Here is where I went through a similar process to the office exterior where after going over it in the computer I had a crisis of colour and seems to chuck all the colours I could think of at it. Safe to say it didn’t look very much like a bathroom.

StoryBoard by Laura

Rough Sketch Layout

Blocking In Photoshop

The "colours". I was not pleased with this.

I decided to take a step back and look at some bathroom designs and colour schemes that could work. I spent some time looking at some dressing room mirrors like the one in theatres that have the lights surrounding them. All of this helped me refine the background and produce what you now see below.

I am really pleased with the progress and once I begin to get some finalized backgrounds I am going to apply some light paper textures to them to help marry the style of the background to the characters. 

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