Life—and technology—always find a way.
Mark Warshaw (Cofounder and President of Bureau of Magic) has been dreaming of putting his own spin on the legendary story of the sunken city of Atlantis (with a Jurassic twist) since he was seven years old.
Now with many other credits under his belt (Lost in Oz, East Los High, Smallville, Heroes), Mark is currently collaborating on this project with a small but mighty team on a graphic novel set in the “ancient future” entitled Five Nations: The Age of Atlantis.
“I’ve been dreaming about this project for most of my life,” said Mark. “We’re using Bluescape to collaborate between myself (based in California), our editor (based in Paris), and the illustrator and colorist (both based out of Naples, Italy).”
The Five Nations team set out to create a menagerie of believable, recognizable, and awe-inspiring dinosaurs never before seen by humans while working and collaborating asynchronously.
How did they share creative ideas and make decisions without being able to meet in person?
Setting the Ground Rules
Mark and his team kicked off the project by outlining a creative review process within their Bluescape workspace. The workspace allows the team to quickly get a lay of the land and share ideas, sort of like stepping into a virtual mind map.
Key elements of the graphic novel (such as the environments, characters, dinosaurs, and more dinosaurs) are organized with a concise view of revision history, setting up a framework of building blocks to hone in on the perfect feel and tone for the project.
Herein lies the skeleton of this massive project that will serve as a compass for all story and character design. Once the foundation was set, the team was ready to expand from the starting point and brainstorm through communication and collaboration.
Creating a Visual Language
In order to find the right look and feel for their reptilian cast, the Five Nations team enlisted the help of Bluescape’s newest visual search feature: Popsync.
“I got really excited about Popsync as soon as I heard about it,” said Mark. “It’s so common within creative meetings, especially when working within visual mediums, to want to call up visual references."
"That’s typically been a two-screen experience where you show and share, with not a lot of room for collaboration. You just throw everything up in a chat or share via email. To have the image search in our workspace was such an exciting idea. It felt like a no-brainer.”
Popsync takes advantage of Bluescape's visual collaboration capabilities, allowing content creators to search for the right picture and share a wide variety of content for collaboration. Once the results are presented in Bluescape, individuals and teams can collectively move, annotate, and present the visuals for anything from brainstorming to creative reviews.
“I love the drag-and-drop feature. I can just do a search and drop whatever pictures we like into the workspace. That’s got pretty great user-interface-vibes right there.”
Whether it's an artist creating mood boards or an advertising team searching for the perfect picture for a logo, teams can quickly find and discuss the content they need for the job. Bluescape presents illustrations, photos, and videos all in pixel-perfect detail, making it a favorite for creative teams.
“When I first used Popsync, I immediately knew this was a powerful tool we’d use over and over again,” said Mark. “It’s exactly what you need in your tool belt.”
In addition to using Popsync for visual inspiration, the team used sticky notes and diagramming tools to provide feedback on individual panels of the graphic novel in real-time.
“Since I started using Bluescape for this project, I’ve realized how optimal it is for graphic novel creation,” continued Mark. “It’s step-by-step; it starts with the thumbnails, progresses to the penciling, to the coloring, to the finals. We created approval processes and a system for note sharing within the app. It's been great for meetings. Everyone can speak to a panel as though we were all at the same workstation in person.”
Five Nations: The Age of Atlantis is just ramping up and will be hitting shelves soon. In the meantime, you can catch Mark’s animated series Lost in Oz on Amazon Prime.
Want to check out Popsync for yourself? Try for free here.
About Five Nations: The Age of Atlantis
Five heroes from five nations must set aside deep-rooted differences to stop the dinosaurs threatening humanity’s existence.
A young hero creates a weapon to protect his people from the polar dinosaurs invading his nation. When his invention falls into the wrong hands, it thrusts all Five Nations into a human-dinosaur world war, and ultimately leads to the great flood that sinks Atlantis - burying its stories, secrets and mysteries…until now.
Five Nations: The Age of Atlantis is the story about humanity surviving the last age of climate change and the heroes who helped us do it. It celebrates life’s resilience in the face of its ultimate challenge.