An actual frame from the first of the two interior shots I've animated so far.

Comment by Simon Tytherleigh on October 28, 2013 at 4:31am

I love the detail, no substitute for that sort of painstaking work, and it's the glimpsd things that make it look so good.

Did Poe really consume that much beer while writing?! (I know I drank a lot while reading his work!)

Comment by Kit on October 28, 2013 at 4:41am
It's actually the same wall, the chimney piece covers the door and the shelf up above is detachable.

Now there's a valuable lesson! I'm not going to forget that one.

Nick, the detail is wonderful. Can you give an indication of the scale?

Thanks.

Kit

Comment by StopmoNick on October 28, 2013 at 4:52am
Thanks Kit - the scale is 1:6. That lets me use a few existing objects that are made for action figures. I don't think there are any of those in this set, but for the editor's office I'll be setting up next for a flashback I got a couple of ready made 1:6 chairs from eBay. The clock on the mantelpiece was a $3 purchase at the sunday flea market, as was an oval frame which will be seen in another angle, not made to any particlar scale but the sort of thing I look out for.
Comment by StopmoNick on October 28, 2013 at 4:58am
The other major readymade item is the rug - actually a Mouse Rug, so it is the size of a mouse mat. I tried several ways of making rugs before I found them. I bought several for an oriental carpet shop set, and this one seemed to work with the colours of the Poe set.
Comment by Dennis on October 28, 2013 at 6:27am

I'm quite curious about the storyline, Nick. You've dropped a hint about Poe struggling to complete the poem and you're including a flashback to his editor's office, and, if I remember correctly, a scene with his deceased wife and Charon, the ferryman. Whew, no wonder you've been at it for three plus years.

Comment by StopmoNick on October 28, 2013 at 12:45pm
More like a single shot rather than a scene. And not much making required, I am putting her directly into Arnold Bocklin's painting. The real reason for the slow progress is that I am struggling with the story too, so I keep taking on other projects and hoping that my subconscious will work it out for me while I'm not looking! But I suspect Subby's just been slacking off. Right now I'm attempting to just dive in and animate a few shots to see where that leads me.
When i was in school I made a really ugly pot in ceramics class, with one round ball shape on top of another, both of equal size. It would have been better if one bulge was bigger, either a bottle shape with the small one on top, or a cup shape with a smaller base and bigger one on top. With two equal parts, it was graceless. This is similar, there are two parts competing for dominance rather than one supporting the other. Either the struggle to write becomes a short intro to the Raven, or the writer's block is the story and when the bird shows up that should be the end of the film because we know the rest. (And your film will cover it!) This shot would be him poring over many a volume if I were going straight into the poem, not writing. The raven turning up finally focusses his mind on what his poem will be, but to then go through the poem would mean having the door knock and the raven arriving again, a repeat of much of what has already happened. I always leave room for some embellishments to come to me as I animate, it keeps it fresh, but usually I do know where I am going.
Comment by Dennis on October 29, 2013 at 4:59am

Had to look Bocklin up.  Unusual paintings, I like them.  Would that be his Isle of the Dead painting?

Personally, and I know you didn't ask, I like your idea of the the writer's block being the story.  Wants, needs, to write something.  Crumpled up paper on the floor, pacing around, mumbling to himself, but not a spark.  Then, his muse lites on the window sill. Tappy tappy, let's him in (is it a him?), bird settles on bust, Poe watching in amusement.  A few drops of laudanum in his Amontillado to get the creative juices flowing, a glance at the oval portrait and eureka!, the poem almost writes itself.  Maybe a voiceover reciting the poem as he writes. 

Sorry, Nick, couldn't stop myself.  You've probably thought, and rejected, all of the above already, anyway.   Wish I'd have done it something like you are to begin with, and on a larger scale.  

Love to see a picture of the bird.

Cheers 

Comment by StopmoNick on October 29, 2013 at 6:35pm

Yep, one of his many versions of Isle of the Dead.  I painted out the boat, so I can add one in.

The bird is perched on the gatepost in the exterior shot of the house.  (You can see how the wings are a bit big and bulky in the folded up position.)  If you click on the album at the top (Poe Project) you can see all the photos and pick the exterior one.   I  have a closer shot from the flying test I did, but as it's a black bird at night, and flying away from the camera, you can't see much:

Comment by StopmoNick on October 29, 2013 at 6:49pm

Oh, and yes, that's kind of how the story goes.  And thanks for your thoughts on it.  It may be my desire to throw in references from half a dozen other stories that is making it more difficult - like the chest, which is only there so he can fall into it, have the lid slam shut, and think he's buried alive in a coffin for a moment.  I still haven't worked out a way to fit the pendulum blade in.  Your idea of putting it in the clock is a much better idea, it can sit in the background  for sharp-eyed viewers to recognise, without disrupting the story.  

Before the window tapping, there is the door knock - never explained in the poem, since the raven comes in through the window.  I have several conflicting ideas about that.

I am, at least, pretty happy with how my interior shots are looking, even if I don't know where they are going.  The exterior one may need re-doing, the bright light in the window looks wrong for the candles and gaslight era and doesn't match at all with how the room looks inside.  And the composition has too many things crowded together.  But that can wait.

Comment by Dennis on October 30, 2013 at 2:59am

From what I can see, the bird looks good. One thing, however,  ravens have grey legs not yellow (unless that is a trick of the light).

Falling into the chest? You really are going for it, and why not.

Can't think of any other way to work a pendulum in other than a clock.  I can send you mine to use as I won't be needing it for a while yet.  It's a little undersized for your scale but they weren't all eight feet tall.  I still have the plans and can send them but making it would add another week or so to your schedule.

I can only surmise that it was the raven tap tapping all along but the dozing narrator misheard the direction it was coming from and assumed it was the door.

Why the bird was out flying around at midnight is another thing.  They're usually roosting in a tree at that hour.  Must have been a fugitive pet, as the narrator suggests.

The exterior shot looks really good.  I only noticed the bright window light because you mentioned it.  Most viewers probably wouldn't make the candlelight connection but take in the scene as a whole.  But, I understand wanting to tweak those little things.  I feel much the same way and have spent a lot of time correcting things or even making new ones. 

Cheers 

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