I’ve finally finished the storyboards I wanted to finish weeks ago.

It’s been tough to figure out which paintings and pieces of art I was to use for each scene (accompanied by a silent movie slide) but even tougher to decide which would go with which part of the music!  The pace is going to be quite slow, until the end of course, so there is time for reflection on the music so the scenes will last for around 10 seconds each.

I’ve scanned them in now and, once they’ve been touched up, will be posted on here in the coming days.

Opening Scene

I finished rendering and exporting the first scene last night to show the world.  In the end, I’m very pleased with it and I think it works nicely and smoothly with the music.

As I said in the video description, it is loosely inspired by the opening scene from The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas ( where the background to the text is in fact an extreme close up of a flag.

Pathetic Fallacy – Cloudy Sky

I wanted a cloudy sky to show the trouble which the Russians were in as Napoleon began to march towards Russia in order to invade.

Sebastian Sulinski has a great tutorial to make a really simple overcast cloudy sky using just two layers on Photoshop and then After Effects.  Using black/white for your colours, use the filter Render->Difference Clouds to get a nice cloudy looking layer.  By doing it again, the opposite way around colourwise, and sticking them into AE you can make a lovely overcast sky.  Just move the layers around, mess with the opacity and put a screen blend on the top layers and it looks quite effective.

Look out for the flag opening of the 1812 animation to see it in action; it will probably make an appearance again in all probability!

Like a Waving Flag

Great World Cup song over the summer by this name but also what I’ve been creating using After Effects this week.

Starting with a jpeg of the flag made on Photoshop, making a layer for the flag and flag-pole.  This is imported to After Effects for the waving effect (which I learnt from a great tutorial I found online at done with a technique called Displacement.

Now I tried, naiively, on my own to make a wave, using the Wave Warp effect but that was just shocking.  After a bit of research I found a neat effect called Fractal Noise which makes a solid layer move around a lot.  After some stretching, scaling, blurring and messing around with settings in the effect, you have a nice wavey look.  This layer can be placed on top of the flag layer and, using a blending mode (hard light) and an effect called Displacement Map on an adjustment layer above, causes the flag layer to ripple along like a flag in the wind.  Of course there are ways to mess around with the effect to get the desired result but you can see the tutorial above for that.  Anyway, this is what you end up with, which looks quite nice.

Russian Hymns

Through a mixture of sources (including help from a new contact, Edward Yong and his blog) I’ve managed to get the Cyrillic Russian text for the two hymns used in the 1812 Overture: God Save the Tsar! and the Troparion of the Holy Cross.

God Save the Tsar!

Боже, Царя храни!
Сильный, державный,
Царствуй на славу, Hа славу нам!

God, protect the Tsar!
Strong and majestic,
Reign for glory, For our glory!

Царствуй на страх врагам,
Царь православный.
Боже, Царя храни!

Reign to foes’ fear,
Orthodox Tsar.
God, protect the Tsar!

Troparion of the Holy Cross

Спаси, Господи, люди Твоя, и благослови
достояніе Твое, победы Благовѣрному
Императору нашему на сопротивныя
даруя, и Твое сохраняя Крестомъ Твоимъ

O Lord, save thy people,
and bless thine inheritance!
Grant victory to the right believing Emporer
over his adversaries,
and by virtue of thy cross,
preserve thy habitation.

I hope to have all of these lyrics along with the choir in the piece to show just what exactly the Russians prayed for and to link this part of the history of the piece to the music.

Silent Movie Slides

For my animation I’d like to narrate the whole piece using slides, just like in a silent movie.  I’ve designed one which I’m most likely going to use and, with the help of a friend named Victor who is fluent in Russian, hope to use cyrillic text in Russian for them, to keep with the theme of the piece.  There will be English subtitles of course but hopefully it should look something like this:

Russian Prayers

I’ve managed to cut the piece of music in half, down to eight minutes on the dot.  I think it now is a suitable length to tell the story yet not be too long…only time will tell!  I’ve kept the first section and linked it to the last (0:00 – 4:10 and 12:08 – 16:10 if you’re interested from the previous post).

I’ve also done a short tester of a scene including a Russian Orthodox church for showing to the third year digital media group next week which is live on YouTube now.  Have a look and tell me what you think: