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February 06, 2006

Mirror Mask

Mirror Mask 2005 Directed by Dave McKean

Producing ¡°MirrorMask¡±
All of the live action for the reality sections of ¡°MirrorMask¡± were shot in and around London and Brighton. For the dream portion of the film, McKean says, ¡°we shot our live actors in a blue-screen studio, which was difficult for them because they have to interact with objects that aren¡¯t there.¡±

Early on in preproduction, McKean looked at going to a small effects studio, but it was too expensive with the overhead and production margins these studios have to have. ¡°We couldn¡¯t even use the Jim Henson Company to do the computer work,¡± he says, ¡°because of our tight budget.¡±

Do It Yourself
¡°So, very quickly, we decided that the only way we were going to do this was to buy our own gear. So we used the effects budget of the film to buy a year¡¯s worth of rent on a small studio space, a whole lot of computers and salaries for 16 animators.¡±

McKean creates all the texture maps in Photoshop. ¡°Then I sit with the animators and set up the virtual camera moves and lights in Maya; I also give them motion references and act out some of the character parts.

¡°But then I¡¯m happy to leave them alone and see how they do with a particular digital sequence; I¡¯ve tried to give them as much freedom as possible to explore these little things in their own way.¡±

Element of Surprise
The impact of computers on McKean¡¯s work affects not only his process, it affects his creative experience. ¡°One of the things I really love the computer for, ¡° he says, ¡°is that you almost get the feeling that you do when you look at someone else¡¯s work for the first time. It¡¯s wonderful. It takes your breath away.

¡°You never really get that rush with your own work, because you¡¯re laboring over it and it develops slowly. You¡¯ve got an abstract collage of paper and cut-and-pasted photographs, done up in a painting in various degrees of finish. You¡¯ve got a bit of photograph coming into an illustration. Then it¡¯s scanned. Different photographs and drawings are scanned.

¡°But then the computer can drag these elements together very quickly. You almost start to be surprised by your own images. It¡¯s a lovely feeling.¡±

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Posted by administrator at February 6, 2006 09:38 PM

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