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    1st minute – Concept arts + Anecdotes + News

    on November 7th, 2009, by Deevad

    Here are some additionnal artwork done last 2 days around this first minute of the new script with few anecdotes about, as my period ending very soon in 2 weeks, I try to give my maximum and do as much of speed painting I can. As time is missing with the last script revision, I will not do storyboard and try to finish the concept art, spend time with Soenke and Angela too on the process of 2D to 3D conversion.


    • the Shaman with 4 arms:

    shamanI design him this way to break the usual “indian master” shamanic cliché. I very like the spider 4 arms slow movements and gesture. Ideal to get a talking scene visually less boring. I really personally like this design.

    Most part of the team is enthusiast or just ok with , but Colin don’t feel comfortable with the idea that human can have 4 arms in our fantasy world. This concept change his vision about the storytelling of the scene too.  So this Shaman concept will surely evolve in a different way,  on Monday we’ve got a meeting about the fantasy level of our world as we don’t have any general concept information about characters, environment or the civilisation in the script work of Esther Wouda. So, we will invent it to give more background to our fantasy world.

    We will study too the fun idea of Ton to build the design of our Shaman around our lovely smyling server at the Thaï restaurant.

    • the 4 gatekeepers :

    4gatekeepersHalf warrior / half religious,  our gatekeepers are a band of 3 guys plus a strong master.

    Ton wanted to name them with 4 names of French presidents , but I was against. So, we found them some code name : “Jack” for the master cause he looked at first as the comedian Jack Black,  Smith for the second ( Agent Smith of Matrix ) , after we got a classical dark assassin, and our philosopher “LaoTseu”. Of course, they appear not long enough to develop their character too much , but our fun code name help to talk about the fighting organisation and they are far easier to remember than 4 name of French presidents ! Lee is already working on the “crappymattic” of the scene with Colin.

    • Speedpainting 2D previzualisation :


    This not a shot of the movie, but more an inspirationnal shot to give an idea to the team of the amount of snow / fog / and how it interact with color.

    For the moment , I do this exercise with all the key scene of the movie. Behind “Jack” , you can see a fat man ( just a blurry head)  ; he was the “fat guardian” concept art. We removed him from the band , cause too hard to kick fast for our Sintel.

    55 Responses to “1st minute – Concept arts + Anecdotes + News”

    1. s0ndeb0k Says:

      Nice!! I really like your Shaman 🙂 Keep us posted!

    2. dsavi Says:

      I love the previsualization; It really looks cinematic and awesome, and the feel of the colors seems right.

    3. rogper Says:

      I also like the shaman concept with 4 harms and the painting it self, as also the last one in the snow, excellent! Sintel hair color does look pretty cool in the whiteness of the snow 🙂 You can’t miss her.
      Of the 4 gatekeepers my favorite is the Dark guy 😛 but they are all awesome!
      And this is speed paint O_O

    4. Gwilwileth Says:

      I really like the two last concept arts, here it looks like the scene would take place in scandinavian countries and I like that !

      As Colin, I doesn’t like the 4 arm Shaman, perhaps use stereotypes as Indian (Native) Shamans, or Celtic Shamans, it could be great =D

      As always, very very good work, I could comment every post but this comment is my first one and I want to thank you for all the stuff your doing, keep it up !

      (sorry for my english)

    5. Snapai Says:

      Wow, nice pictures!

      Yeah, a 4-armed shaman looks like an alien or otherworldly being, not just a “human who happens to have four arms”. It really depends on how you want your world to be designed, but that tends to lead towards a “world full of aliens” feel. If you have a four-armed shaman, either it’s story-significant, or there are all sorts of modified humans in your world, or audiences are going to be left asking “Well….what’s the point of the four arms then?”

      Also, I’m curious to know, what timeframe do you consider a speedpaint? Something that takes 1 hour vs 8 hours, or something done in 5 minutes? Or what? Because if that was a 5 minute digital sketch, WOW! 😉

    6. PapaSmurf Says:

      I’m pretty sure the whole shaman concept came from Siamese and co-joined twins (connected or partially absorbed), so they do exist in the real world, if that is any comfort to Colin.

    7. Andrew Fenn Says:

      From what I’ve seen so far the project is much cooler then the previous two. I hope this can get blown into a feature length movie, that would be awesome.

    8. Artorp Says:

      Wow, looks great! And as Gwilwileth, I also like the Scandinavian feel 😛
      Man, those concepts are fantastic…

    9. Lasphere Says:

      I too like the four-armed man. As you say, it breaks the stereotype, and makes the world a lot more interesting. Im looking forward to see more.

    10. D Says:

      I love. <3 😀

      The mood painting looks so much as I imagined it; I really like the look and colors. The only real difference was that their feet were visible in my imagination, and I originally saw more contrast between the dark and light.

      The gatekeepers look like a cool bunch that shout, “we are from an epic movie!” 😀 I can’t help but be reminded of Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow by the snow and gear.

      The shaman design is pretty cool, and reminds me of the boiler room guy from Spirited Away. I’m siding with Colin, though, that the design doesn’t look like it fits the world at this moment. (But what do I know, right? :P)

      Oh, man. Two weeks… T_T

    11. Steren Says:

      How can these 4 guys without so many clothes stay alive in this cold environment ?

    12. Sebastian (ScaroDj) Says:

      It’s not that I don’t like it, but either way, that shaman concept looks quite similar to Kamaji, from Spirited Away.

      Jack is an interesting character, you may make him like Sintel, as a father/daughter thing, so he might be a little forgiving… (Just throwing an idea)

    13. gaalgergely Says:

      awesome designs!
      i do like the four armed shaman idea, however, reading that some
      people have some negative toughts about it how about this then:
      the physical flesh arms that creep people out i guess, so what if
      the shaman actualy has magical powers, and two arms are sort
      of transparent-light arms (sortof a magic spell to help with his
      preparations). you could see the psysical arms doing very busy
      stuff, being in front of the character like a normal arm, and the
      “spirit” arm sometimes reaching out to grab something from far
      away. you could play with this a little, like the physical arm going
      through the magical arm, leaving behing smkey puffs…
      what do you think? 🙂
      i LOOOVE the character designs, the last snow image is awesome!

    14. Martin Says:

      i am surprised how many characters will appear in this short movie. Sounds like incredible much work for the team!? Did you already make any calculation with respect to the effort and the difficulties that will come up with to your ambitious aims?

    15. Shinobi Says:

      Awesome speed paint, but as for the concept ideas I’ve some doubt..

      1, I agree with “Snapai” comment, the 4 arms shaman seems to me a bit out of your concept world and the solution proposed by “gaalgergely” is a nice one if you really really want to keep 4 arms.

      2, how bad fit a man (even a shaman…) semi-naked in such a snowy environment?? Semi-naked people tell me something hot, and summer and so on, really not matching at all the scandinavian feel.

      3, the 4 gatekeepers are straight out of a fantasy film, I like it a lot 🙂

    16. Deevad Says:

      Hey , thank you all for the fast feedback. They will contribute a lot to our discussion about the world and the fantasy level. I very appreciate each one of them and they are pertinent. That’s a big help

    17. FgH Says:

      Nice work David! I like that there will be a lot of dynamic things used together. Real hair, cloth, atmospheric elements…

      Really fun to see the progress… this is like tantric film watching.

    18. Kevar Says:

      Great job ! And thanks for the regular updates.
      Just an idea about the Shaman, quite the same as gaalgergely’s one. The Shaman’s Dreadlocks could be alive, like tentacles, and be used to grab things for him, so you could keep the human shape of the body.

    19. nemolivier Says:

      As a physiotherapist (oui, David, masseur-kinésithérapeute, en bon français !), i’ll say that maybe the « problem » with the shaman is the place of the arms. The second pair look like they are « stuck » to the elbow. It’s look too alien for an anatomical vision of human.
      In my anatomic idea, four arms spider-guy would have arms below the « normal » pair¹, it’s less « choking ».
      I really like the idea of « psychic » second pair of arms, that came during magical moments of the shaman sequences, with lightning and transparent effects (good luck :D).

      Maybe it’s not the most important but beeing able of creating an animation of a four-arm guy is good for the blender project !

      [1] : like this :

    20. vykelt Says:

      I was going to say, pretty much, what gaalgergely said. Spirit energy arms could keep the visual interest in the scene, while emphasizing the über power the shaman has.

    21. bydesign Says:

      I agree with Snapai. I love the artwork of the 4-arm shaman and it’s a cool idea, but it’s odd enough visually to require explanation. Other than the mention of a dragon, it’s the first real clue we have that this is a fantasy world. So if you actually have time in the movie to develop different fantasy races, and the 4-arm shaman is only one of them, then I say go for it, he’s a unique enough character to be the introduction to that concept. But if he’s the only weird one, then I say there needs to be a much better reason than “breaking out of a cliché.”

    22. bydesign Says:

      One other comment I forgot to mention was about color. I love the mood of the previz painting. It’s feels so cold and the colors muted, it’s beautiful and fits perfectly with the story. However, I hope that one of the following scenes will contrast that colorwise (maybe the shaman scene or one after that?) with some warm, rich colors. I think it’s important in the first minute of the film to give an enticement of how visually rich the rest of the film will actually be because that will draw people in even more.

      Great work, I love watching the progress!

    23. Consideringthepickle Says:

      The shaman looks cool with 4-arms. It’s better to have it look unique and original then the same stuff you see everywhere else. It wouldn’t be fantasy otherwise!

      I like the color test too -very cinematic looking, but the snow kind of dominates the scene. Maybe one of the gatekeepers could have something on fire, like bombs or flaming daggers or something to get that bright orangey flame contrasted against the blueish white snow. You could get some nice close up shots out of a dagger fight too -with the flames glowing to illuminate Sintel’s face.

      Sintel could dispose of one of the gatekeepers by backing him up against a cliff and then something hits the cliff wall and this huge pile of snow just comes down right on top of him like thwomp! -instantly squashing him.

      It’d be nice to see an avalanche feature in 2.5 lol
      -Then after the credits it could cut to this small town at the base of the mountain and the snow starts coming down and this little sheep goes bahahah and starts wobbling away… then the snow just plows over the whole village.

    24. Gianmichele Says:

      So David, are you leaving the team soon ?

      The concept as usual is fantastic.


    25. wo262 Says:

      what about the snow on fun and hair like this ?

      from 0:58 to 1:25

    26. wo262 Says:

      on fur i mean

    27. Sephiroth the Bimbo Master Says:

      I really like the concepts, specially the 4 keepers, about the shaman I like the general look, but not the four arms, maybe the second ones could be formed by his aura or something similar, I don’t know just an idea.

      Sephiroth the Bimbo Master

    28. RichardKL Says:

      Where all these visuals done exclusively in MyPaint or on paper by hand and then scanned?

      They look remarkably well detailed.

    29. Guybrush Threepwood Says:

      Fantasy vs. Real World. There will be no right and wrong answer. Some people will emphasis the real world parameters, some people will emphasis the uniqueness of creators and story. You will never please us all 😉

      Personally I don’t care. I like it that you try to place the 4-arm shaman into the story. I hope you will find a background story, where all these characters fit in well. The more the background story develops, the easier it will be to develop the single people and how they move and how they behave. Are they loyal, are they silent, are they rude, are they intelligent? What skills do they have as a race? If norwegians, then take a look at norwegian myths and sagas. E.g. Odin or Thor.

      Thanks a lot for sharing your work and let people like us comment it. Must be funny for you to hear all these different comments and ideas 😉

      As mentioned a hundred times. It’s so great to see the development from the very beginning of a movie so detailed and to hear and see you and to be able to interact in some way, which makes everybody be part of it.

      Isn’t it great. We are now so much into the story, that we almost forget that the movie will bring so many new features to Blender! Ha. The technical facts fade into the heavy snow of the mountains of the gatekeepers…

    30. Watakach Says:

      Great job man ! too bad for the 4 president’s name 🙂


      en tout cas excellent travail, j’aime trop !

    31. Arvi Says:

      Translation from google:

      The European mythology is not the whole
      If something I’ve noticed is that Sintel mixes, in some way, other environments of mythological history (human history).
      I think the Master as a Master from India, come from afar, a mystery since its birth. That makes a mystical figure: the mere fact of being strange and different.
      In India, people born with deformities, especially if they seem as gods, are worshiped as such.
      It is very mysterious character with a side that resembles Shiva or many other gods of Hindu mythology that are great.
      It is normal not to understand how a four-armed character fits into the story, probably because we are not accustomed to interact European mythologies.(I know it’s bold to say)
      It would be great if the character appears normal and two arms suddenly appear from behind as if they were to grasp, but no … is their other pair of limbs.
      I love that character!
      (sorry for the BAD english)

    32. Trav-0 Says:

      I definatly love the 4 armed shaman. It would be hundreds of times better than a regular dumb 2 armed human trying to be “mysterious”.

      I think that he should be a human that was born with a deformity of having 4 arms, not some alien creature.

    33. Robbie Losee Says:

      Ditto what Guybrush Threepwood said:

      (1) “You will never please us all.”

      (2) “Thanks a lot for sharing your work and let people like us comment it.”

      (3) “Must be funny for you to hear all these different comments and ideas.”

    34. danni Says:

      I like the idea of the shaman being a pair of simese twins… Well it could be an interesting place to explore anyways

    35. BlendNMix Says:

      Why you didn’t just break the cliché about the heroine??? :p

    36. Toto Says:

      Dont know, did Durian crew saw this:
      For the mood board

    37. Deevad Says:


      Thanks for all those advices, for anatomy / mythologie / videos link and all discutions around the world. Amazing feedback here, and if I can’t answer to all of them separatly, be sure that I read each one of them with a deep attention.

      We started a discution more early with Colin, yesterday at around 2:00 of night ; and now we are on the same page about the level of the fantasy world.
      I will try to spend time on a new blog post about it on next week.

      Just a preview : you will probably be sad about the future disparition of the 4 armed shaman. I’m not sad ; cause I know we will do better.

      I’m happy this first concept just reveal so much of interesting question about the deep structure of our world. ( Ok, as a role player game , I provoked it a bit , too – hi hi )

    38. WimdB Says:

      Some thoughts to feed the teams discussion on the level of fantasy.
      I can understand why you want to avoid (visual) stereotypes, but don’t underestimate the power of archetypes especially in epic stories.
      Some questions:
      Do you really need a shaman, which is strongly linked to tribes and less to an more urban environment. Or is what you need more generally spoken, a man with deep knowledge of and access to the metafysical world, so you can choose some kind of priest, wizard or other wise man.
      Is the type of man the team envisions in normal contact with the world around him or does he live in his own spiritual realm and probably looks and behaves more weird then?

      In both cases I like the proposed idea of using an aura to differentiate this character from the crowd.

      Last but not least, I am impressed by your artwork and I am curious if this shaman turns out to be the proper man in the proper place.

    39. acro Says:

      I look forward to hearing Colin’s opinions on Sintel’s “level” of fantasy, because I believe this shaman concept and subsequent discussion raise very interesting points. I liked the idea for its unsettling weirdness, something that would have lent an air of mystery and unthought-of, unknown depths to the world. Some ideas constrain what a world concept allows, others leave people’s imaginations to run riot – and this is definitely one of those! I don’t know how practicable it would have been to include it, but as a ‘mundane’ scene detail with no emphasis or explanation drawn to it, it would have implied that Sintel had seen weird and wonderful things and never batted an eyelid in their presence.
      Anyway, I hope Colin doesn’t dislike it merely for personal taste reasons or finding it unsettling/too different (those would be positive, unique things to stick in a viewer’s imagination, I think).

      I also think many studios make films with known conventions because familiar settings are risk-free and more likely to make a commercially viable franchise/film – whereas you guys have enormous artistic freedom to do weird and wonderful things.
      Big thanks to David for sharing the excellent artwork and discussion!
      I suppose Ton has succeeded in getting the openness
      more open, as he said on the BBB discussions! I think it’s working brilliantly!

    40. MABB Says:

      No one see in the shaman an inspiration in Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away”? Look this:

      Each picture makes durian proyect more exciting.

    41. Colin Levy Says:

      @acro Yeah, I definitely understand your viewpoint. As a stand-alone design, I love the 4-armed Shaman concept. And I’m definitely for having bold and original designs for this film. However, because I’m thinking about the film as a whole, I need to try to be sensitive to what’s most important, and what implications that design would have on the Shaman scenes and rest of the film.

      I think it could definitely work, but it also presents some problems for me– it suggests some things about the world we’re inhabiting, affects the tone and taste of the scenes with the Shaman, and also may ultimately soften the effect of our other designs. It’s all a balance! But yes, it results in some good discussions. It’s really interesting how every decision we make can have such an impact on the overall feel of the film. I feel that David and I take that responsibility seriously and we just want to do what’s right!


    42. CS1982 Says:

      Very good concept arts. 😀
      Video to inspire the team of Durian. 😀

    43. Max Says:

      Hm, I think that the Shaman looks great, I don’t like the gatekeepers at all though.
      Do those concept paintings also come on one of the DVD?

    44. MeshWeaver Says:

      “Jack’s” face does have something that resembles Jack Black… lol

      the speed-painting looks really good. 😀
      the shaman reminds me of a guy in Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away… i can’t remember the movie much though. lol


    45. tyrant monkey Says:

      Nice concept paintings, the shaman is quiet something though with those freaky arms I don’t know if I would stick around for any sagely advise he might offer. But this Durian movie is quiet a beast it seems absurdly complex for something that runs for under ten minutes. So many characters, location etc visually this will be quiet a stunning movie.

    46. acro Says:

      @Colin, ahh, interesting – so like that, he could prove too dramatic / too much of a scene-stealer for the role you have intended for him? I can understand that, within the length of film available.

      The more I look, the more I like these guardians. But man, they look well pissed off they don’t have longer sleeves. Maybe that’s their motivation to be badass 😀

    47. higginsdj Says:

      I like gaalergelys idea but perhaps something along the lines of the 4 arms appearing due to the motion/movement of the sharman, ie something along the concept of the Lord Marshall negromunger in the Chronicles of Riddick.

    48. leeqid Says:

      Aren’t the colours on the shaman concept a bit too cold? I suggest some warmer tones, since he’s supposed to heal, isn’t he.

    49. smigol Says:

      Shaman with 4 hands is ok xD

    50. madman Says:

      Well if the movie shows a Dragon, is enough to put a shaman with 4 arms.

    51. Riboshom Says:

      I don’t know if it’s the wanted effect, but It would be quite unconveinant to have 4 arms placed like that.

      As far as the image goes, it looks like there is a front and a rear set of arms, both of them being opposed (that must be useful to scrach your back!). Howevern since both are using the same articulation, that would make the shaman weaker phisically, and more suceptible to dislocations.

      The fact that those two sets also share the same tussues at some points would also reduce the range of each of the arms (think to the relation between the middle and the ring finger).

      A more practical way to see this would be to have two sets of pectorals (greater and lesser)…

    52. Roy Says:

      After all there are even dragons in this world. Why not 4-armed shamans? I like it a lot.

    53. Frederick D Says:

      Nice designs. The shaman is ok on itself, but it may indeed put to much fantasy on the rest of the world. A shaman doesn’t have to be too different in an apparent way, he can be an introvert but wise man – ok, that can be cliche.

      What worries me though, is that in two weeks David is already away? I mean, if you look at the 2D previz speedpainting, it seems he is very important durin g the whole development period, since he can so quickly develop a consistent mood and style, definitely needed to deliver such an epic movie project.

    54. Guyhrush Threepwood Says:

      I would love to see a black crow on the shoulder of the SHEWI (Shaman/HEaler/WIzard) that (almost) can talk and gives the person more mystery feeling.

    55. TeTine Says:

      I really like the concept of the shaman. But if he can’t have more than two arms, why not making a bunch of “puppets arms” that would be hanging from the dark ceiling. He would control them by using strings attached to his fingers or something. It would have a fantasy look to it and using this cool idea while maintaining a certain coherence with the rest of Sintel world.

      Just an idea, keep up the good work =)