Tuesday, December 19, 2006

O Come Let Us Adore Him!

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. " (Luke 2:8-16)

Below is the step by step from the rough stage. I want to come up with a composition not commonly seen. We always see the wise men especially on Christmas cards but what about the shepherds? They were the first ones on the manger. Baby Jesus has to be in the center but above the shepherds so it has to be a downshot. Mary and Joseph will frame the baby. Lastly, I want to imagine the feeling the moment the shepherds open the door having a glimpse of the Savior for the very first time. As soon as I applied "ink", I realised that the arm of the shepherd on the door became too strong and interesting taking away my eye from the main subject. So I deleted it and instantly, the scene felt calmer.

I'll be on vacation for two weeks so I bid you all fellow bloggers Merry Christmas and a joyful new year! May you all have a wonderful holiday season. Be back next year.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Workbook Series #4: Lilo & Stitch "Aloha 'Oe" Sequence Part 1

Schedule has been pretty busy so Im posting a workbook series for now. This is the most tender moment and probably the longest sequence in Lilo & Stitch. I'll save the other half for next time. You may notice that some of the shots has been modified. Nani is bidding farewell to Lilo by singing "Aloha 'Oe". Originally, we have Cobra Bubbles pull up into the driveway. He saw this emotional moment and decided to leave to come back the next day. So here is the original workbook version that I did and it's easy to follow along with the story. Also posted is the rough layout for the establishing shot of the hammock.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


©Armand Serrano/Redeemer Films 2006.
Here are a few board panels from different sequences for the project. I apologize for not posting as often as I did. Im busy with work and with this project. Im rewriting the story into a feature instead of a short. The DSI team are busy doing some tests and having a few prototype costumes made. Also, I'll be teaching a six-week 2-hour per session Visual Development class in Environmental Design at the Santa Clarita School Of Performing Arts in Newhall this coming February. The class is open to everyone. For those interested, details will be posted here in my blog next week.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Temple Moment

©Armand Serrano/Redeemer Films.
Another development art for my project. This is just a portion of a much bigger piece. A compilation of all the artworks for this project is already in the works. The book will be complete with my notes, research and a simplified storyline. Keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Death Of The Champion

©Armand Serrano/Redeemer Films.
The highest moment in the project. Twelve year old David raises the head of the ten-feet tall Philistine champion Goliath as seen by the shield bearer.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

From Jedi to Gladiator

©Armand Serrano.
Back in 2001, I gave a talk at my kids school about animation. My daughter's classmates asked me to draw something Star Wars for them. So I did this quick sketch of Obi Wan and Darth Maul in a duel. I made copies and gave them to everyone in the class. Later, I was asked to join a union exhibit at the Orlando Museum of Art and my son proded me to paint that sketch. A Jedi duel was not exactly what I had in mind but I didn't want my son to feel bad either. So I compromised. I took the pose from the duel and turned them into gladiators in the arena. We both ended up happy with the result. I titled the artwork "Secutor and Retiarius". These are two different types of gladiators. A Secutor is known for it's fighting move which is to chase the opponent. It has a wide round helment with tiny eye holes. He wears either a leather or metal bands on his right arm and carries a short sword called the gladius. He also has a shield and leg guard. A Retiarius on the other hand is literally translated as the "net man" or a fisherman. He uses a trident and a net to catch and fight the opponent. Sometimes they use a neck guard and fights completely naked (don't want to be on that side!). This combination is a favorite in the arena. Anyway, the artwork made it to the exhibit together with two other gladiator paintings. This was done in oil on 22"x26" canvas (photo was enhanced in photoshop).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Achish Briefs Goliath

©Armand Serrano/Redeemer Films.

Again, this is another moment from my indie live action project.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Brother Bear Layouts

A couple of Brother Bear BG Layouts. The first image was for the scene when Kenai wakes up for the first time as a bear. I forgot what the second one was for.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Sony Pictures Animation Lobby

A month prior to the opening day of Open Season, I was given the task together with my friend, Marcelo Vignali to design our new lobby. The lobby of the new Sony animation building, other than a very small logo and a few tiny framed artworks, was practically empty at the time. The task was surprisingly given to both of us and the most important thing is to have a wall showing the process of animation here at Sony. I'd say it was a challenging task. We had to figure out everything from artworks, layout, to what kind of frames and matte color to be used. It was a tedious month for both of us but very rewarding at the end. Our friend Marcos Mateu gave us a much needed helping hand on doing the finishing touches. Well here's a photo of our month-long endeavor.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

El Pacifico - "Cabrera!"

©Armand Serrano 2006.
My latest posting on El Pacifico is out. Our pirates are approaching the coast of the island of Cabrera and somehow Dinga-man knows what to expect. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

SURF'S UP Trailer!

Hello all! The very first Surf's Up trailer is debuting in front of Open Season. You can already view the trailer by clicking here. It's spectacular!...penguins don't dance, they surf!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


©Armand Serrano/Redeemer Films.
This artwork is done in Photoshop and if you want to see the step-by-step process for this, check out the Character Design Blog. Also featured there is an inteview and a few more artworks.

On another note...
Ladies and gentlemen! my good friend MARCOS MATEU just uploaded his long awaited blog. Check it out, it's amazing! Click here to see Marcos' blog.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Workbook Series #3: Lilo & Stitch Prologue

Greetings and yes, I'm still alive. Schedules has been hectic due to work, family visits and start of school. Haven't done any artworks other than work related so I decided to continue on my workbook series. Here's the Lilo & Stitch prologue that I did in 2001 and a bg layout for the sequence. I think I'm missing a few panels but you can still follow along with the story.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Lizard Troop 3

Here's a concept art of subterranean jungle lizard camp for the Lizard Troop.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

747 in Honolulu

I would like to supplement my friend Marcelo's posting on his blog regarding the 747 on Lilo & Stitch. The whole sequence was just completely done when 9/11 happened. Then the directors called for a layout meeting. They announced that we have to redo all the city shots and skycrapers and turn them into mountains. We have to abandon the first part of the sequence where Stitch is suppose to climb on-board the 747 cockpit and scares the pilots off the plane. Instead, we added a shot of Jumba reactivating his spacecraft "parked" in the jungle. Brian Jeffcoat, (which in fact, the one who patiently taught us how to do Maya in layout and one of the best I've worked with) redesigned the plane and turned it into Jumba's spacecraft keeping the prominent shapes and size of the 747 in order to reuse the existing animation. The challenge for us in layout is to make the new mountain bgs work with the existing 747 animation. So next time you watch the chase sequence, replace the mountains with skycrapers and the spacecraft with 747. Even the shot of the guy with the ice cream come is the same. But he was supposed to be crossing a busy street in downtown Honolulu with towering scycrapers around him when the plane comes by and hits his ice cream. They promised that this sequence would be in a special boxed DVD which until now we're still waiting to happen.

The artwork I have here (fig. 1) is when the 747 already landed and settled on the beach. It was a key backgound layout for the beach sequence with the aliens. The second one (fig. 2) is a screen grab from that sequence.

El Pacifico - "Hesus To The Rescue"

Check out my latest posting on El Pacifico.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Just A "Proud Dad" Ad

My youngest, Ysabella, recently completed photoshoots for Children's Place and Baby Style catalogues. Here's a Children's Place ad on the August issue of Parenting magazine. She's the one on the left. My two other kids, Hannah and Luke, attend Santa Clarita School of Performing Arts in Newhall, California. If your kids or you know someone who wants to do no non-sense acting lessons and living north of Los Angeles, I would highly recommend this school. You can check out their site here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lizard Troop 2

©Armand Serrano.
The original drawing (fig.4) was done a while back in graphite and marker on animation paper. When I opened the file recently I didn't like the character anymore especially it's weak pose (it reminds me of Dinotopia). So I modified the character in Photoshop as well as the creature (fig. 3) and made them a little more dynamic. Shadows are added for emphasis. Then I tried out different color schemes and this is the one I'm kinda happy with (fig. 2). At this point, I thought I'm almost done until I said to myself, well, why not. So I went ahead and added the whole environment and had so much fun painting it. It's a four and a half hour sitting in Photoshop.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Sony released the very first teaser poster for Surf's Up at the Con. The film is due summer 2007 so hang in there guys, one more year to go. This image I believe was painted by Paul Lasaine, our production designer. Marcelo Vignali designed the ice board, I designed the two wooden boards, and Sylvain DeBoissy did the characters. For Surf's Up website, click here. But for now, don't forget to watch Open Season, Sony Pictures Animation's very first animated feature coming this fall.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Counsel

Here's another product of my downtime. Originally, I designed this subject to be painted with oil on canvas (26"x30") for an exhibit in Maitland, Florida back in 2003. I sketched it out in graphite then added the color scheme in Photoshop (fig. 2). But due to schedule problems, I didn't finish the painting (fig. 3) and used The Passover instead. It stayed in my garage all those years. But finally, thanks to this downtime...it's finished! It's a two three-hour sessions in Photoshop. Roman empire is one subject I'm always fascinated with. The subject is set during a first century campaign. A tribune gives a legionary commander (seated) counsel on their next move as the centurion (behind the commander with the crest), his optio (behind the centurion) and an aquilifer (with the banner) look on. Unconsciously, I draw the main character bigger and yet it works. Well, he's the "boss".

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Lizard Troop

A few years ago at Disney, I was developing a story concept simply titled Lizard Troop. Due to some exciting announcements like shutting down the studio made me just abandon the project. But I did a few artworks for it that I saved. I pulled this one out (fig. 2). Since I'm on my down time this week, I decided to have fun and paint it (fig. 1). By the way, I just finished 'Surf's Up' (slated for 2007) last week and on to the next project. Work load will not kick in probably until the next few weeks. Anyway here's the finished product. It's a four hour sitting in Photoshop.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Mulan and Shang

These are a couple of character layout poses for Mulan during the avalanche sequence. I just noticed on the second panel that Mulan's size relationship with Shang and Khan is off. I drew her a bit bigger. But what the heck, it worked.

Friday, June 30, 2006

New Adventures Of Jonny Quest

While working for Hanna Barbera at Fil-Cartoons Studios in Manila 16 years ago (oh my!), I had the privilege of being part of a lot of Saturday morning cartoons that I grew up with. The New Adventures Of Jonny Quest is one of my favorite. As you may know, they go to different exotic places on every episode of Jonny Quest. That show as well as a lot of TV cartoons have been a fantastic training ground for me as a layout artist. The turnover of each episode was so quick (every month or two the most). So we have to crank up the speed in thinking, research and drawing without losing the quality as much as possible. This bg layout was one of the very few ones that I kept from that show. I believe the original layout was done in 1992. Then I fixed the rendering on it around 1995-1996 to be added on my portfolio while applying for feature animation studios. There's nothing really much going on in this layout. But I like how I played with the light and how it turned out. An epic scale was created on a very simple shot. Again, if my memory serves me well, this is supposed to be some kind of a landing pad for a secret underground facility for that episode. This was done with black prismacolor on soft medium weight vellum.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Beach From Tarzan

The first artwork is an underlay level I did for a scene from Tarzan. The foliage was purposely detailed since it's a pan set-up and needs to see details in the background as camera pans. I don't remember what exactly this scene is for but I'm sure it's towards the end of the movie. Too bad, I can't find the bg for this so I imported the file to Photoshop and made it into a quick beach painting.


This rough bg layout I did I believe is for the scene where Tarzan is finally recognized by the apes as their leader. There's a slight drizzle of rain that's why a couple of puddles of water were added. It was a 16 fld set-up using graphite on smooth animation paper. Layout was done in 1998.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

El Pacifico - "Newfound Friend?"

Check out my latest on El Pacifico. These three panels are highlighted because of the amount of details I put in them. Dinga-man and his crew will have a surprise "guest" that will be an interesting addition to the crew. Again, the page is completely done in Photoshop. Enjoy...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


I continued sorting out my "archive" (actually boxes) this morning and finally found my Tarzan and Brother Bear artworks. Here is a couple of workbook panels from Brother Bear. This is the scene where Denali comes out of hiding and and about to attack the bear he's been hunting (which of course he didn't know that's his own brother Kenai). Designing birch trees in this movie was so much fun like this one having three trunks stemming out of one. For those of you studying composition, the idea is as soon as Denali steps out, camera follows him and makes a slight pull back. The tip of the spear and his foot start to come out of the shadow. I wanted Denali almost on the center of the screen (for a purpose) then framed him with two birch trees. Then I offset that frame towards the left of the main composition in order to create a more natural "feel" overall. I'll definitely include this sequence for my workbook series in a few weeks.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Red Rock Canyon

Here are some photographs I took on a visit to Red Rock Canyon in Nevada last Wednesday with my family. Amazing rock formations and the pallette against sunset. Check out the family at the lower right corner on the the third photo for scale.