DVD Menu Art – Sammy J in The Forest of Dreams


Not too long ago, dear readers, I was given the opportunity to create the art for a DVD of Sammy J and Heath McIvor’s ah-mazing show Sammy J in The Forest of Dreams. I’d previously done the poster art for the show, as well as a bunch of backdrop art that were used in the show itself, meaning a lot of the heavy lifting was already done as the look and feel of it was already there. What was left to do was to consolidate that look and feel into an attractive DVD package, that included animated DVD menus, cover art, credits and disc art. I’d never done anything like it before, but I was up for the challenge.

The menu art proved to be the most work. After a meeting with a honcho over at Control Entertainment (the DVD production house putting together the Forest DVD), the possibility of having an animated menu system on the DVD was thrown on the table. I wouldn’t be doing any of the animating myself (which is good, because I wouldn’t know how), but I would be providing the animators with the finished art, ready to stick in their animating machines. The idea was to have the “silhouette” backdrops from the show as the menu backgrounds, with each layer (sky, stars, background trees, foreground trees) on separate “planes” that would shift in a 3D environment as a virtual camera panned from menu to menu. It sounded too goshdarned awesome to be true, but I got to work putting together the art, pumped by the promise of seeing my art come to life.

We figured it would be easiest for the animators if the menu art was provided in one enormous “scene”, with each element on a separate layer, so that the animators could fly around it as they please, without worrying about any of the seams showing. Once we’d decided on the number of menu screens required, I put together a quick mock-up of the menu system:


Once this was locked off, I got to work on the final art. Whilst a bunch of the elements already existed from the backdrops I did for the show, quite a bit of it was created from scratch, including the “chapter tree” that had little chapter selection screens hanging from the branches – yeah, I thought it was a nice touch too. Here’s the final art (click for full-size):


I sent off the final art, with a bunch of notes on how I’d like to see it animated, which included leaves blowing in the wind, drifting clouds and buzzing fireflies. I knew most of this stuff probably wouldn’t make it in, but I thought we might as well ask for the moon and stars (quite literally – narf!). The animators did an amazing job to get the work done in the very tight time constraints we were working in. To their credit, they sent through video files of the work-in-progress for approval and feedback. It looked great. Unfortunately I’m unable to post any of the final animated menu here, so you’ll just have to buy the DVD to check it out!

Speaking of which – shameless plug – the DVD is now available at stores like JB Hi-Fi and online at the Laughing Stock website (the fine folks who produced Forest).



Link & Image o’ the Week for 24/01/2010


Hey guys!

This week’s Image o’ the Week is from the new Silhouettes gallery on Shiggy.com.au. I really dig doing these silhouette illustrations. If I could ever see my self exhibiting a bunch of pictures in a gallery or something, it would probably be a series of silhouettes.

And the Link o’ the Week goes to SixCrayons, a design and illustration resource site / burgeoning online community with heaps of great tutorials, tips and links posted regularly (which is a lot more than I can say for this blog.) Illustrator/designer over at SixCrayons Harry Ford recently wrote a great little blog post about the slew of “best of” and “top 20″ lists that clogged our RSS readers over the new year, and design blogs that continuously blog “inspiration” posts and not nearly enough original content.

That’s it for now!