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  • Color Script!

    Tuesday, Apr 13, 2010 10:54PM / Standard Entry

    Color scripts.  I’ve used and seen them in various film and video game projects I’ve worked on. I’ve also been a huge proponent of them in the  various talks I’ve given and lecture circuits I’ve participated on.  But this is the first time I’ve actually authored one myself.

    So what the heck is a color script and why did it take me so long to do my own?  I actually have never encountered a formal definition of one. Even after I did a quick wiki and google for it I didn’t find one.  I’m sure if I dug deep enough I’d find one.  So in addition to my first color script, here’s my first attempt at a definition:

    Color Script: A visual document or guide showing how hue, saturation and value unfold in a film, TV show, or video game.

    Hmmm… not bad for a first shot.  I’m sure I’ll refine it further in future lectures, but that’ll do for now.  So utilizing Photoshop and snapshots from animatics and storyboards, I put together the color script attached to this blog entry.  So what?  Is it useful?

    I’d say it is.  It helps me as a director keep track of how this short piece evolves visually.  Color affects mood, atmosphere and feelings among other things.  I have to say that I didn’t truly appreciate the power of color until I worked at ILM where I used light and textures to complete my shots in several commercials and films.  Now I really appreciate and use color to help express any story, idea, or concept in every piece that I direct or produce.

    Anyway, I believe this script will prove handy in managing and directing the team of artists that are currently hard at work on an elaborate public service announcement I’m directing in Shanghai.  If all goes well, it will air during the the Shanghai 2010 World Expo which opens in less than a month.

    More next time…

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  • Disney!

    Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 11:56AM / Standard Entry


    I'm not a very frequent blogger.   I would say I'm a sporadic blogger at best.  But it's a new year, so I figure it's a good as time as any to try starting another burst of blogs.

    So what have I been busy with lately?  Many, many projects.  But the one taking most of my time is a Disney project that I'm serving as a consulting producer and supervising director on.  It's the third season of a Disney animated series in China called 晓龙大功夫 or "Kung Fu Dragon" in English.  The above photo was taken last month at Disney's China HQ from a writer's meeting with KQ, the director.  In the foreground is Kung Fu actor/stuntman extraordinaire, Ian Powers who I've brought aboard as our Kung Fu and action consultant.

    Given the title of the series has Kung Fu in it, I figured it was a good enough reason to bring in an expert.  In fact, today I'm writing this from the animation studio where we're running part two of a Kung Fu for Animators workshop. It amazes me that there aren't more workshops like this in China where Kung Fu is such an important part of the culture and cinema. 

    Anyway, we're at an important phase of transitioning from preproduction to production.  I'm taking a page out of my experiences at ILM and Pixar where workshops are run to improve the team's work.  So we've been running workshops on layouts, design, storyboards and now kung fu action for animators.  If all goes well, this should really improve everyone's work on this season.  It's a very practical approach to training, development and production.

    It seems counter-intuitive to many managers in China to take time out for training.  But a little time spent now will really help the quality, speed and efficiency of the production further down the line.  That's been my experience in Hollywood and US productions and I'm willing to bet that's going to be the case here.  I was brought in to improve upon seasons 1 and 2 and these workshops are exactly what we need to do it.

    Watchaaa!  Onward and upward!

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  • A Cool Beijing Day

    Friday, Oct 17, 2008 12:51AM / Standard Entry

    It was actually quite a warm day in Beijing. This is my first October living in Beijing, but even I know today was unseasonably warm. But I thought I had a pretty cool day. So why not chronicle it? Why not indeed. Here's a quickie bullet-point run down:

    • I woke up to a sunny, warm morning in Beijing with blue skies
    • While preparing for the day, I listened live to the 3rd U.S. presidential debate
    • Dealt with my university duties in a conference call with a software team in Silicon Valley
    • Had a call with LA to review dailies for an independent film
    • Headed off to a pre-production meeting for the latest film starring one of the biggest Chinese stars in the world
    • While witnessing test shots for the Chinese film, I remotely supervised FX shots for the US independent film and a shot for a major Hollywood studio film
    • Headed to a design conference where I played journalist for a Beijing design magazine by helping them interview two US companies about sustainable design
    • Headed off to my friend's art gallery and bar to meet about our development of several intellectual properties
    • Had a call to Japan to follow up on a commercial where I'm directing the animation
    • Headed home to work on my screenplay, deal with taxes and write this blog
    It wasn't all roses and happiness. There were several problems and a few fires to fight. But overall, it was a full, but productive day.

    Just another cool day in Beijing.

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  • Computer Art

    Saturday, Sep 6, 2008 1:10PM / Standard Entry

    My old college buddy and former NYC room mate recently sent me an email that got all my computer science, philosophy juices boiling.  I figure this blog is a good place to document such thoughts.  Here's what he wrote:

    ----- Original Message ----
    From: Patrick Coston
    To: Cedrick Chan
    Sent: Saturday, September 6, 2008 6:17:55 AM
    Subject: is it art?

    I'm having an argument with my co-workers that maybe you can help shed
    some light on.

    If I write a program that generates some pretty pictures, can I call it art?

    They so no, because a human didn't create it.  The program did.

    Can computers make art?  Can we say that it is computer art?

    If a computer composes music, is it art?

    If a robot pains a beautiful abstract painting, is it art?

    ----- End Original Message ----

    Here's what I wrote in response:

    Interesting debate.  Here's my take:

    I think this eventually brings upon the classic Computer Science and philosophical debate of sentience.  First of all, we need to define terms to make sure we're on the same page as to what we're debating.  IMHO, the most important terms in this discussion are art and sentience.  We could debate and define these terms forever, but here's my personal definition:

      Art:  An attempt at expressing a thought, idea or emotion through metaphor, imagery, sound or other non-literal means.  Often the intent of this thought or emotion is to define or understand an aspect of the world, universe or truth while trying to evoke new emotions or thoughts in an individual or others.

      Sentience:  A being or creature who is self-aware.

    I remember computer science classes in which we debated sentience.  I don't recall there being any way to truly prove a program is sentient, because under certain circumstances you can program a computer to act and fool human beings into thinking it is sentient.

    So given the above parameters, I think that art is generated by sentient beings with the intent to express the almost literally inexpressible in an attempt to understand truth. It is not entirely impossible for a computer program to generate art, but it must have the intent of doing so in order to express an original thought or idea.

    Therefore, I don't think your program is directly generating art in it's current form.  Indirectly, you are generating the artwork because it is you who has the intention and your program is a tool for that expression.  If however, one day your program becomes sentient and is independently generating these images in an attempt to express an abstract idea or concept like 'freedom' or 'spiritual enlightenment' then I would say your program is generating art.

    The above is of course merely my opinion and I'm sure you and your office mates will continue to debate this without reaching a conclusion.

    Here's another tangential, somewhat related question that could blow my above thoughts away:  Are music visualizers (like iTunes' visualizer) generating art?





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  • Second Entry

    Friday, Sep 5, 2008 5:27PM / Standard Entry

    I just attended an event that featured Alive Not Dead folk.  So I felt compelled to make another entry.  I recently was asked for my director's bio for a reel.  Since I spent time writing it, I figure I might as well post it somewhere.  That somewhere might as well be here:

    Cedrick Chan Director's Bio 2008

    Cedrick Chan (陳世傑) is a director with a visual style honed through years in the international film, video game and comic book industries.  He was a visual effects artist at George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic where he worked on the Star Wars prequels and Mummy sequel.  His commercial directing credits includes Bratz Kidz, Coo Bears and Tai Po Football (大埔足球會).  He has also directed the animation sequence in the feature film Trivial Matters (破事兒) and recently directed Cindy Lee's (李思雅) debut music video Space Lover (我愛太空人).  Cedrick currently resides in Hong Kong and Beijing.

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