Thursday, 15 March 2012

Tweaking Sarah's Poster

To help market the Cat and Rat film, Sarah Strickland designed this poster using a graphics tablet.
This is a wonderful piece of artwork for the film as it establishes the style of the film and the two main characters.  It is a digital image, but it does very much look hand painted and there is a real sense of movement and formal elements of art.  The poster also reminds me very much of the lost art of hand painted film posters, such as the Star Wars poster that was painted by Drew Stuzan, who did numerous other film posters in the 70s and 80s.

The Cat and Rat poster will be hosted on our website and will also be printed and displayed at the degree show.  The only thing that this poster is lacking, which is a fairly practical matter are any details about where the audience find out more information and also some credits to indicate everyone's roles in the film,  This is where my input for this movie poster comes in.

In order for this to look like a professional movie poster, I decided to include the standard movie poster style credits that have long, thin capital letters as pictured below.
When I started writing up the credits, I initially wrote quite extensive ones like this.
I have credited a broad range of areas, some more specific than others (we have not yet assigned the roles of compositing, editing or sound design), but when I looked at numerous other film posters, I found that they were all done in a very specific order and only certain roles were credited, meaning that we needed to cut this down.

In order to inform the look of our poster, I looked at some film posters from other short animated films.

These are posters from short movies made by the open source community; I chose to go for these as reference because like our film, they are short subject films that are animated and they have been largely distributed freely and at events, which we intend to do with Cat and Rat.  Both of these films have very small teams, meaning that the members would be taking on multiple roles.  In order to avoid repeating names again and again, they have confined the credits to general roles such as Art Direction and Animation.

We initially had a few too many credits on our poster which credited specialist areas that most people would not understand, such as "UV Mapping".  Now we have confined it to more general areas such as Story, Direction, Editing, Modelling, Animation and Art.  All credits for specialist roles will still feature in the final film, itself.  Another noteworthy point in these posters is that the website is display in block capitals in a larger font than the rest of the credits.  This means that our attention is very much focused on the web address as well as the imagery, so anyone that is captivated by this piece of artwork and the film concept behind it can visit the website.

In order to figure out the order of the credits and how they should roughly look, I used the following image as a template.
This consists of two ways of organising the credits, one to the left and the other center aligned.  I quite like the center aligned one and I think it will fit well in the sky area of our poster, in between the rocky mountains and just above the rat's nose.  I am going to be a bit loose and experimental when it comes to fonts, but I will not deviate too far from the thin block capitals.

After cutting down the number of poster credits, I started playing around with generic movie poster-style fonts such as Univers, which I found did not stand out clearly enough against the blue sky.  I decided on a font called PT Sans Narrow, which is fairly narrow and is still readable against the backdrop.  I was also able to style the font face so that the roles appeared regularly and the names appeared in bold.  This could make the text easier on the eyes as there is more variation in the font.  I also split the credits into several lines, starting with the narration, sound and editing; followed by all the pre-production jobs, then the CG based jobs and finally important roles like direction and story.

Here is how the poster looks with the credits put on top.  They are readable, concise and understandable enough for anyone to get an idea of how we were all involved in this film project.  This piece of art now functions as an advertisement for the film that can be displayed both online and also at our degree show so anyone that is interested in our film can learn more.  Click on the image to see a larger version.

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