FILM & THEATRE DESIGN
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BBC’s Jackanory: The Magician of Samarkand
In 2006 the BBC revived their long running children’s storytelling programme Jackanory with a pair of films directed by Nick Willing. One was an adaptation of Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell’s book Muddle Earth. The second one, which I contributed art to, was adapted from Alan Temperley’s book The Magician of Samarkand.
For Samarkand a team of five artists, Claire Bushe, Martin McKenna, Paul Catling, Andrew Williamson and myself, produced a mountain of background art which was then combined with actors and animated effects.
The intention was to give a richly illustrated storybook look to the film, rather than to create a photorealistic illusion.
In some scenes I created digital matte paintings using the same technique as on the earlier Kaiser Chiefs project - see below. These were perspective views with multiple planes allowing some limited camera movement to give an extra illusion of depth - a digital equivalent to the technique used in early Disney animated features.
Click the above examples to enlarge.
Other scenes were created as 3D computer models. First I digitally painted plans and elevations of buildings, and then the special effects team built them as CG models.
Above are some test images of 3D models under construction, and below, some framegrabs from the finished film. Click to enlarge.
The shots below were all created with painted multiplane perspectives rather than the 3D models.
While the finished art was all painted digitally, the initial drawings were still pencil on paper. Below are some examples - click to enlarge.
You can find magical music from The Magician of Samarkand on the website of composer Simon Boswell.