Monday, March 10, 2008

BG Design - The New Frontier DVD

A while back I did a load of design work for the recently released "The New Frontier" dvd, based on Darwyn Cooke's DC comic of the same name. It was a great project to work on; in consultation with Darwyn and Dave Bullock, I had the fun of doing treatments of the Batcave, The Daily Planet building, the secret underground base, and lots more, in addition to doing layouts for a good number of the final shots. Here are a few rough designs...


Blogger Michael Cho said...

Hey Paul,

I'd heard from Dave Bullock that you had done the design work on the New Frontier movie and I immediately went "Ahhhhh -- of course!" I mean, who else could do such a fabulous job on that kind of retro styling but you?

Great, detailed, committed work as always.


11:48 AM  
Blogger Paul Rivoche said...

Thanks a lot Mike, it was great to work on those and I'm glad you enjoyed them.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Rich Dannys said...

These are pretty unbelievably great, Paul.. Kudos to you, for your fine contributions!!

I especially enjoyed seeing the Retro-style BatCave.. The environment fits in beautifully, next to that classic Batmobile!

These look different from your usual stuff.. Did you color these, digitally?

2:00 AM  
Blogger Paul Rivoche said...

Thank you Rich.I haven't actually seen the final product yet, so I'm curious to see how it all worked out on screen!

I loved the idea of the Retro Batcave too...I designed according to Darwyn's and Dave Bullock's notes, which were to make the Batcave a true creature of 1950's-era technology, tubes and so on, and to me such elements as rivets and girders and big clunky lamps and metal plates on the floor were a natural fit.

Yes, they were toned/colored in Photoshop. I did blue pencil drawings on paper, cleaned up loosely with a thin marker (although on some I actually drew parts on the Wacom tablet too), then scanned that cleanup, did digital perspective adjustments etc where needed, then did a grayscale rendering in Photoshop, which I then simply colorized (in the case of ones like the Batcave shown here) for more interest.

On some they were a complete mixture of traditional and digital. For example the rendering of Gotham City was thin marker, thick marker for blacks, then black Prismacolor for bashing in main masses of gravelly grey tones, scan that whole mess into Photoshop, then on layers on top of the scan, I added more tones and a few effects and so on, using a rough digital brush to match the feel of the Prismacolor.Then I added a few text notes on some of them, because I like to suggest key mood things to remember down the line.

Overall I tried to work faster and looser than I am often asked to, especially for cleaned-up animation line backgrounds where they insist on a precise line. But here it was great fun to go a little rougher, because they were only first concept drawings. I did do cleaner and tighter line versions back on top of some of these, later, for the final shots, but these roughs were earlier, when we were searching for the right mood and elements and so on.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Dominic Bugatto said...

Great designs as usual.

Sat down with my son yesterday and watched the DVD and really enjoyed it.

I was a fan of the original comic series and this was a pretty faithful adaptation.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Chuck Gammage Animation said...

Bring it on!!!

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tres cool Paul, love yer work as always! Haven't seen the DVD Dave Bullock the same guy who used to great boards for Disney?the name is so familar...hey did you ever see those Titans eps that ya worked on? when is yer next book coming out?

12:40 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Fantastic stuff Paul! I wish I had your patience and attention to details...

10:08 PM  
Blogger Paul Rivoche said...

Thanks Dominic, Chuck, Brad, Daniel, for the comments...

Brad, don't know if Dave B worked for Disney, he probably did, I knew him through Warners and working on their stuff. I never did see the episodes from the Titans board stuff I did, I'll have to catch up with that at some point. Right now I don't have plans for another sketchbook, yet, but am working on more comics stuff, including a 10-page story to be published in "Flight 5" this summer.

5:53 PM  
Blogger nyc_lo said...

Your design handiwork was evident in the finished film. And the backgrounds really helped sell the overall richness of the scenes -- it would have been a lesser work without them.

1:21 PM  
Blogger Roberto Zaghi said...

Impressive work Paul! I found very interesting to read about your process also. Great rendering and lighting!

7:15 PM  
Blogger Willy Ashworth said...


As always...

Your prolific output stuns me some times

Well, a lot of people post a ton of stuff...difference is your stuff is all top drawer!!

And inspiring, but I must find another way of saying that.

Very fine.


8:57 PM  
Blogger Paul Rivoche said...

Nyc, roberto, Willy, thanks for these comments!!

Willy, I just keep cranking, is all...eventually it all adds up!

3:47 PM  
Blogger Chad Kerychuk said...

Just watched the film last night Paul. Great stuff indeed. This is what 'straight to DVD/Blu-Ray, etc' should be like.

The Batcave was indeed pretty cool but pretty much every environment had we smiling!

Thought the Chinese soldier's death was a bit much to show, but the story, colors, and especially design of the characters and environment were outstanding. Sadly, I wanted to see the Metal Men in action, as they were on the cover, but alas, all we see was a still of them at the end.

Bring on the sequel or series!

3:27 PM  
Blogger Paul Rivoche said...

Thanks for the comments Chad!

I STILL haven't grabbed a copy yet, but I'll get there....and yes, I wish they would do more, there is a lot more that could be one free from the constraints of the series format. I guess sales will dictate what happens...

5:52 PM  

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