Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Léon the Professional

A love story. A story in pop-up form about affection for a particular film. Love for a film expressed as a graphic pop-up book by Jeremias Krakowiak.  From what I gather in comments in different languages this appears to be a senior project for a design class. The challenge is to make a design project on a subject that totally gets you, one that you are familiar with. Tell us about something you love graphically as possible.

I'm blown away by the affection for the film, a real love for it comes through, and I'm deeply impressed with the graphic presentation, more so than than the pop-uppery mechanics while the meager mechanics presented are all done very well.

My favorite mechanism is the two twisting platforms on the "farewell" page that presents the face portraits of the two main characters. The two face pictures start out folded in half and open to two cameo-like portraits against a dark background, with the single word "Abschied" dripping in red against black. The mechanism is also black so the two faces they present seem to appear from thin air. This is the same mechanism that holds the upright hexagon for the goose nest in the prototype shown here earlier. This is an excellent use of the mechanism.

The comments on YouTube to this card exceed anything else I've seen for this type of thing. They express tremendous interest. Other people appreciate this book more than I do. Students across the globe enquire about tutorials for how the mechanisms were pulled off. They express a desire to try their hand at such a project. But the uploader has only this one book and another, apparently from school, and all the other uploads are skateboard and BMX bicycling related. 


Duncan Birmingham explains how to make the twisting mechanism. And he shows how authors used the mechanisms different ways in their own books. I used it before to scatter colored eggs all across the card

Birmingham describes a similar mechanism used a lot for flowers, but this one doesn't twist. It simply opens on a stem. The stem is a fattened straw with two arms and post inside that slips up and down. Other mechanisms are placed on top of the platform that imitate the bits of flowers. This is a fairly new mechanism. The two arms can be made to look like two little hands holding open a folding tray. It's clever, something tall blooms when the page is opened. While the previous mechanism twists as it opens and flattens. 

But the thing that kills me besides the interest shown to this video by its comments, are the comments to Duncan Birmingham's books on Amazon. A few commenters appreciated learning how the mechanisms are made but they are more interested in having a book that stimulates their ideas on how to use the mechanisms. That kills me. 

Because they have the whole approach backwards. They're not thinking, "how do I show this idea," rather, "What kind of ideas can I show?" 

It's almost Valentine's Day, you know.

This bleak book shows you how to express your affection. 

The pop-up book lifts key elements from the film that Jeremias Krakowiak wants to emphasize. You can do that too with anything that you love or anybody that you have a relationship, even a relationship with a film that you care about, something you'd like to praise. Imaging this same approach applied to your own relationship. I can guarantee you that your little book will be a lifelong treasure. Reach back to the elements that shaped your story together and visualize its expression. Pull out the bits and see them graphically.  Imagine sketches of your two faces appearing like this with some other text meaningful to you. Trips that you took together. Adventures you had together. Incidents that occurred to you both. Significant events. Your children. Your life together. 

Jeremias Krakowiak relied heavily on words. He uses a flap flipping mechanism quite a lot explaining things about the movie. I especially liked the pages with sketches and not words. It's a great way to include other people and places and events. Duncan Birmingham explains that at YouTube too, more so in his book than by by his videos. He shows only a two page flipping thing. This took me forever to figure out for the Angry Monkey card. (It took so long to figure out the doors that there wasn't any energy for drawing the art of the room behind the door. It's just blank.)  I considered it a door. Duncan considers it a flap. He shows the flap mechanism various ways. One flips toward the tab pull, the other flips away from the tab pull. The pull tab can be attached to the opposite page so the door opens automatically when the card is opened. Both doors can open in opposite directions automatically by being attached to the opposite page. Flaps or doors can be stacked and a gap left in the pull tab arm for a delayed action for second flap to delay and this combination can be used for a snake to first stick out its tongue and then lunge forward to strike. This is tutorial 25 and tutorial 26 and tutorial 27

The kids doing cards explain a similar mechanism much better. Their Valentines are simple and fancied up by various artsy-crafty means.  Just hearts flipping and spelling out "Happy" by then enough pull tab is pulled out for the word "Birthday" to appear on the extended pull tab that flipped all the cards to spell, "Happy."

But you can be much more intimate than that. You can be powerful as Jeremias Krakowiak is with his senior project. You can spell out a series of events that made you fall in love, caused your respect to grow, that reveal and acknowledge the depth of your affection and the precise reasons why you keep hanging on.

The kids on YouTube call this mechanism "waterfall card." There are several tutorials available. And you can see what they did with this mechanism. Nothing so serious as Jeremias Krakowiak is with his book. It can be an element in your own graphic design book to your Valentine, a book that is not just cute with cutout hearts, but actually means something stupendous. Your love is also spelled out in the time and the effort and the thought that you put into this project as Jeremias Krakowiak did with his project that earned him an A+ in his design class (from me.) 


AJ Lynch said...

I think I own a copy of that movie. It was great flick. Great ending. One of the stars was just a kid who is currently married to James Bond actor Daniel Craig.

Methadras said...

There were two versions of Leon the Professional the released-to-theaters version and then later a directors cut. This is one of my favorite movies because even though Jean Reno, Leon the professional, was cut in the same mold as Victor the Cleaner from another great french action film La Femme Nikita, not the bullshit American version. It was also the first time I'd seen Natalie Portman and I thought she was as cute as a button who played the little girl that he befriended or vise versa. A great movie, solid acting, a very touching friendship between a man who knows only death and loneliness and a young girl who sees him as something more, but will use him to exact revenge on her parents killers.

AJ, I think you are thinking of Rachel Weiss who is married to Daniel Craig.

AJ Lynch said...

Thanks Meth - I get Portman and Natalie mixed up sometimes.. they are both women I would not kick out of bed.

Methadras said...

AJ, agreed. Nothing says you scored like bedding the mother of Luke and Leia Skywalker.