Making of Ella Ch. 4: Elephant
Dane Aleksander, animator at Animat Habitat
Ella, African Savanna Elephant
Elephants are an umbrella species. They are ecosystem engineers. Biodiversity cascades from their presence. Elephants are a keystone species in Africa. The elephant is an iconic symbol of the continent. When we think of Africa, we most often think of elephants. They are a symbol of power and strength, memory and wisdom, good luck and so on. If we as a people are unable, or unwilling, to save the smartest, largest, greatest land-living mammal in the world – a species that has roamed the earth for millions of years – then it is unclear what hope remains for other animals. This is where our story begins.
Meet Ella, the elephant.
White Elephant character expression sheet. (2015)
This expression sheet is an excersize in character development, as well as a guide in part to facial animation.
White Elephant storyboard p. 8-9. (2015)
A lot of the character animation is able to reference documentary film and stock footage. A little sequence in the story steps outside of the reference material. The more complex and, in this case, less natural sequences of animation start as sketches in a storyboard. Here is Ella's dance in the clouds.
White Elephant storyboard p. 9-12. (2015)
Pencil and paper to start the visual development of a visual story. Here is a pencil drawing of Ella after the storm.
“Ella after the storm.” (pencil, 2015)
Storyboards, color scripts and color keys help to block out and balance the various arcs of a visual story. Visual moments are then resolved into key illustrations that establish a tone and touchstones for the narrative arc. Here is a digital painting of Ella after the storm.
“Ella after the storm.” (digital painting, 2015) Dane Aleksander
One more thing.
Here is a computer-generated render of Ella after the storm. Ella is created with Autodesk Maya and rendered with Mental Ray.
Image coming soon.
“Ella after the storm.” (digital image, 2019)