Friday, June 18, 2010

Movies movies...

Three shots from The Prince of Egypt.
The first one I did back in 1995 shortly after we got started coming up with visual ideas for the movie. As we were getting ready to start layout at some point the studio needed to see on paper how the movie could look like and how the drama of the story could be reflected on panels. This was one of the compositions I came up with trying to visualize the claustrophobic life in the construction site.
The second shot is a design I did once in production, one of many for the cloud formations above the Red Sea right before Moses parts the waters.
Finally a dramatic scene by the shore as they are caught between the ocean and the troops chasing them, with an indicated camera move for what we used to call 'workbook', a part of the process between storyboard and actual layout in which we would refine the compositions, lighting and camera moves, both as individual shots as well as in continuity.


lincoln said...

I love the sculptural use of light and dark to create the compositions! How large are these sketches and do you start out with rougher versions in this process?

Vikram said...

Great drawings....Prince of Egypt is one of my favourites. Thanks for the valuable information about the pre-production process.

carlos muñoz said...

buuuuuuuuuuufff...!! espectacualrs els tres, quin dibuix,..felicitats marcos ma inpresionat

Jelter said...

man, those shapes are insanely good! ...especially in the second one.

Kendra Melton said...

Noticed you said they "used" to be called workbooks, are they not referred to like that anymore? Or is it just called something else or faded out completely?

These are wonderful. You've been talented for quite some time I see ;]
Prince of Egypt is such a fantastic film, everyone involved did such a amazing job. Lovely work as always!

Anonymous said...

El primero es una composicion brutal, realmente refleja muy bien lo que te proponías. El segundo es un flipe!!

abhishek singh said...

love the way you effortlessly depict light:)

Jesús Duce said...

Fantásticas ilustraciones. Y la de la cabecera del título: espectacular.


Marcos Mateu said...

-Thanks Lincoln. Lighting is indeed an essential feature when it comes to create any sort of mood and drama, and establish a sense of composition. These sketches were done either on 11x17 copy paper, or on traditional animation paper, I believe it was 16F (that would have been 13.5x17).
The drawings were started on the final paper directly, with the compositional idea in mind that I would develop with pencil as it went. Obviously, if designs for the locations and characters had been previously created (once in production), we had those references available all the time, making sure the shapes fitted the compositions and helped create the right dynamics.

-Thanks to you for the visit and comment Vikram

-Moltes gracies Carlos!

-Thanks a lot Jelter

-Hi Kendra, for what I know (I have been involved in the visual development part of the process since 3D animation came in as opposed to layout) this specific step called workbook doesn't really exist anymore in feature animation. 'Pre-vis' has taken its place, actually 'pre visualizing' the camera moves and the frame composition directly on the computer, with a flow of movement that represents the final moves on screen more accurately.
Good to have your comments in the conversation.

-Muchas gracias Jose Ramon!

-Thanks Abhishek! it's all about thinking and knowing what you need to do ahead :)

-Muchas gracias Jesus!, un abrazo de vuelta


Jparked said...

Hi macros

Thx for your kind words. I've been a huge fan for quite sometime. I believe we've met once at dreamworks, did you by any chance visit Patrick hanenbergers student show at dreamworks?

Anyways hope all is well

j.etienne said...

very strong and convincing.
I love the movie for its visual aspects (but not for the theology that seems rather poor to me)

Luispa Salmon said...


Marcos Mateu said...

-Thanks John for your visit and comment, I believe we met then indeed

-Thanks Etienne, definitely the point of these designs and compositions was to get the drama of the moment across to the audience.
As far as POE is concerned, I have to say that (besides the fact that I worked on it) is one of my favorite animation film ever. I agree with you on the visual aspect of it, very grand and epic. As far as the technology is concerned, I really think the effects and use of some (back then) new 3D tools integrated in the traditional 2D world, were always at the service of the story and achieved outstanding levels, like for example in the parting of the Red Sea.
Obviously new technologies have very strongly come into play in the last decade, dramatically transforming the whole industry. Sometimes getting used to the new ways gives us a different view when it comes to the past, but I do consider this film to hold high cinematic value in many many aspects.
Thanks for your very interesting comment.

-Muchas gracias Luispa! un saludo.

Nathan Fowkes said...


Unknown said...

These are stunning!!

Gracia said...

Increible el trabajo a lapiz y la iluminacion!! por no hablar de la composicion! brillantes

Scott C. Gwynn said...

Your work is very inspiring! Composition is a tricky beast and you handle it wonderfully. By the way, thanks so much for commenting on my blog.

Fernando García-Sotoca said...

impresionant iluminació i composició!

Sa segona m'encanta.

Ara quan he visto això me enrocordat que un any, supos que seria en es 2000 o 2001, vares venir en es convent d'artà a explicar més o manco com anava això de fer comics i una pel·licula, i mos vares dibuixar en Ramses amb rotulador a una pissarra, i tots quedarem flipats jaja

Arthur Fong said...

MARCOS IS A BEAST!!! I digged through a lot of your stuff on the AX. Beautiful and Powerful lines. Simply amazing!


Carolina said...

No me dejan de sorprender las joyas que de vez en cuando salen a la luz de "El Príncipe de Egipto" !!

Espero que puedas mostrar más viñetas de el workbook, son una maravilla! especialmente la tercera, es completa! tiro y movimiento de cámara, composición, profundidad, tonal y sobre todo, expresividad!
Hay que reconocer que ciertos programas nos han ayudado en extremo en nuestro campo pero echo de menos el trabajo "manual" que conllevaba hacer los workbooks!

Gracias por compartirlo :) y muchas gracias por tu comentario.

un saludo!!

Anna See said...

beautiful details and compositions!

Marcos Mateu said...

-Thanks Nathan :)

-Thanks Alina!

-Muchas gracias por tu comentario Gracia

-Hi Scott, thanks for your visit and comment!

-Gracies Fernando. I si, tens rao, ara recordo aquella xerrada... de modo que tu eres alla?

-Thanks a lot Arthur!

-Hola Carol, POE es una gran pelicula y espero conseguir alguna copia mas de lo que hice durante aquel proyecto, a ver si hay suerte. Estoy de acuerdo que las tecnicas han cambiado y que las cosas son... diferentes, ni mejores ni peores necesariamente. Todo depende del uso que se haga de lo que tenemos a nuestra disposicion en cada momento.
Un saludo!

-Thanks Anna

Jason Scheier said...

you never cease to excite and amaze me Marcos! It's such an honor to work with you and know such a talent! Thanks for posting good buddy!

A. Riabovitchev said...

Great as usual!I especially like the bottom one Marcos!:o)Very emotional.

Simon Scales said...

Beautiful drawings Marcos

Armand Serrano said...


Marcos Mateu said...

Thanks Jason!

-Thanks Andrei. The third one does definitely belong to one of the most intense story points in the movie

-Thanks Simon!

-Thanks Armand!

433 Films said...

Love the Prince of Egypt. Been watching it since my parents got it for me for my fourth birthday. Tell me, did you get to travel to Egypt or any such places before you started on the sketches.

Marcos Mateu said...

Thanks for the comment, did not travel to Egypt actually, so all reference was photographic or documentary film