After visiting Kew and looking at a lot of inspirations of art styles for this short, I knew I wanted the backgrounds to be textured with patterns and have a tactile, papery feel to them. Just trying to get the essence out of the the different plants and trees in the different seasons through different patterns, rather than going for very detailed backgrounds. The initial plan was to do the backgrounds myself, but as it turned out later, I had a lot else on my plate to take care of, so all I could do was give a clear brief to whoever would be doing the backgrounds as to how I think would best suit the foreground renders.I started with trying out a few background tests with gradients and overlapping layers of textures on Photoshop to get different effects on the trees and bushes. The color scheme I was trying to follow was the same as from the layouts I developed during the animatic. Got some really nice paper and cloth textures from www.cgtextures.com that I could use to blend layers with. I was a little concerned with photoshop resolutions because even 300 dpi was resulting in a lot of pixelation at just 50 per cent zoom and we would have to show our movie on bigger screens. But then I realised that the resolutions on those screens would probably be the same as the screens we were working on, even if they were bigger screens. So it wouldn't be that much of a problem.
I downloaded some photoshop brushes of leaves and experimented with sizes on the bushes to try and use them as randomised patterns on textured blocks of color. I sort of liked the effect it was bringing out.
I was really liking the sort of feel that the hand made paper was adding to the whole thing and I would have used hand made backgrounds if I could. But it wasn't such a good idea to combine 3d renders with hand drawn imagery unless it was really really well done. I tried to stretch out of the colors of the layouts into more interesting combinations and patterns. Really like this version of Lily's garden that I did. I wasn't sure how much use it would actually be with abstract combinations of colors as it was important that we use specific color schemes that would distinguish clearly between the different seasons.
Tried converting it into more defined shapes on Photoshop and it looked really trippy, like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. I thought it was quite interesting, maybe needed some texture on the tree itself. I liked the pink on the clouds and the same shapes for the bushes like for the leaves.
I think it was clear by this point that all the seasons needed specific themes, and it would be really interesting to have different shapes, textures and blocks of color rather than really detailed realistic backgrounds.
So keeping that in mind, I passed on my ideas of the garden, the color keys and the layouts to Temi, who would be working on the backgrounds from there.