Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Royal Throne Room - Interior Shot

This time I have a special treat for you guys!

While this blog will feature screen-captures from the DVD sets, I do have couple Filmation Backgrounds as lasercopies of my own. Most of my collection are animation cels, but without backgrounds, so I have been lucky to be in contact with some great fans, who are willing to trade scans of their backgrounds in exchange so a fan can give their cel or two a background to make them shine. :)

Here is a scan generously donated by a fan Alessandro, and with permission, I'm showcasing a medium-sized image for you to enjoy of the Royal Throne Room

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Castle Grayskull - Exterior Wide Shot

My favourite of Filmation backgrounds, is Castle Grayskull. The different angles we see to the Fortress of Mystery, yet never really grasp on all angles that we'd like to.

I will begin by showcasing some location background-arts, going from wide shots, to close-ups and inside eventually.

Here is a more less-used shot of the castle. Used atleast in "Cosmic Comet" and "Song of Celice". Great extreme wide shot in a bit lower angle.

These two shots above, are very similar, yet they clearly have details that are unique to them. A variants of the same shot.

One of the most famous views on the Castle. Though you'll notice in this image, that part of the entrance leading to Grayskull is missing from the left side. 

An interesting, very detailed shot, that was not used all that often.

And one more bird's eye view.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Creating backgrounds from screengrabs

The process of re-creating the Background art is very simple, but time-consuming.
Normal method is by looking at an scene, viewing the animation and trying figure out, how to remove all of the foreground material.

Example here from MU108 episode "Teela's Triumph", where Teela walks into the Castle Grayskull.

And just from those two shots, I can extract her, so we can clearly see the hallway that leads into the castle.

For an shot that requires a tad more work; I've also given an example of creating an exterior shot of the entrance to Castle Grayskull.

The screenshots below are from the MU001 episode "The Cosmic Comet" as Evil-Lyn and Beastman are ready to attack the heroes.
I wanted to get a full shot of the angle, without the characters, and while Evil-Lyn never moves, I needed Beastman to move out of the way, which he luckily did.

Thus with acquiring many shots of the rocky entrace-piece on the right side, I was able to construct it. The sky-backdrop unfortunately can't be authentically recreated here, so I take a small leeway here, and use part of the sky from another shot, to create the final outcome.

Usually I only stick to recreating backgrounds where I simply take the character out, without any extra additions, but in this case, I wanted to see how this exterior part of Castle Grayskull's entrance looked.


Filmation Studios made He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon in 1983-1985. While their budget was limited, meaning that the animation was often rotoscoped and reused multiple times, their stories were fantastic and background-art was very lavish and lush with colour.

Robert Lamb, Writer and Storyboard Artist at Filmation, described the backgrounds --
"Filmation had a black line style to their backgrounds that facilitated production. A black pencil cleanup of the blue pencil layout would be xeroxed onto a cel that would lay over the painted bg. This eliminated the need for the painters to noodle a lot of detail into the paintings. Annie and other bg artists didn't like the ink line but production costs won out." 

And the black line style does provide lot of great details. Especially when looking at the main locations Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain; you see many creaks and cracks that give them character.

I will be showcasing screencaptures of Filmation Backgrounds, from He-Man, using the US release (region1) of DVDs by BCI Entertainment. And also UK release (region2) by Entertainment Rights.
Hopefully you will enjoy the art as much as I do, when focusing on the backdrops, instead of the characters in the foreground.