Copyright 2019 Howard Gardner
A self-generated short film project which I made in my spare time between August 2014 and April 2015 in collaboration with Marius Smuts. I wrote and directed the film and later also added the VFX using Maya, Matchmover, Mudbox, Photoshop, Nuke and After Effects.
The film was originally intended as an entry for the 2014 Croydon International Film Festival but due to other work commitments we weren't able to finish it before the submission deadline. The story centres around an unnamed everyman (played by Mr O'Donoghue) who for intentionally vague reasons has come to be plagued by a human-sized, malevolent, talking lemon. Incidental/ambient music was provided courtesy of Non-Bio.
Concept art showing the development of my Lemon character. The first watercolour painting I produced (left) seemed rather too friendly and human-like.
My next attempt (right) was made using manipulated photocollage in Photoshop and my own face. Having chunkier teeth and a wider mouth seemed to work well although the drooping, ape-like arms were later changed back to being more humanoid.
The final version of The Lemon was modelled in Maya, starting life as a spherical primitive which was manipulated to the right approximate shape. It was then imported into Mudbox for more detailed modelling and a texture was applied which I'd extrapolated from real lemon photographs.
Back in Maya once more, the character was rigged and animated for the required scenes. Image-based lighting was used where possible to simulate naturalistic light conditions.
Storyboarding for the opening scene - in the kitchen where we eventually filmed this, the layout meant that most of the shots had to be flipped the opposite way to how I'd illustrated them.
Lemons was selected for the 2016 Portobello Film Festival and was duly screened at The Muse Gallery on Portobello Road, London on 2nd September that year.
The film received a positive reception.