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Elestan

Visualization of channelling

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One topic that's been on my mind lately, where I think the TV show could be either amazing or awful, is in its visualization of channeling.

 

The showrunners have a tricky task here, as there were many, many scenes in the WoT that hinged on actions that were entirely invisible to a non-channeling observer. 

 

When they show the POV of a channeler (which will be more often than not, if the show gets past the first few seasons), it seems like they will need to add CGI effects that convey the origin (Saidin/Saidar/True Power) and element (Earth/Air/Fire/Water/Spirit) of each thread in a distinctive way so that the viewer can tell the difference.

 

In my mind, the weaves form a sort of overlay atop whatever visible manifestation the power has, but the texture and color of the threads differ.  Saidin has a "sharp" look, as though made of needles of glass or ice, with high contrast, angles, clearly defined edges.   Saidar looks softer and more fuzzy, like actual thread or yarn, with smooth curves.  Elements give the weaves color (Earth/Air/Fire/Water/Spirit -> Brownish/Sky Blue/Sea Green/Crimson/Silver), and perhaps a bit of an aura (wisps of Dust/Cloud/Flame/Spray).  The TP overlays them all with sooty blackness.

 

It also seems like they should have consistent visualizations for a channeler's link to the Source, for Shielding/Severing, and for the Taint (perhaps a foreshadowing of the TP special effect).  They'll also need a way to convey the "goosebumps" sensation when Rand senses Saidar in use - perhaps similar to the way the Highlander TV show conveyed the "Buzz" when they sensed each other.

 

How do you visualize the weaves in your mind?  Do you think the show can afford to do it justice, without blowing its CGI budget?

 

I think I'll be happy if, after watching a season or two, I can distinguish the weaves depicted in the show on sight.

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I've been visualizing this in my mind during my current re-read (re-listen) and I imagine it something like this: 

 

Saidar: a warm sunlike glow that flows from upward direction behind the neck of the channeler. For filming purposes you could have a flow resembling blowing cigarette smoke or something like that for shielding and severing. I imagine it having calm waves that ripple slowly around the channeling woman. 

 

Saidin: a pure white and black glow that keeps flowing in a torrents around the channeler. 

 

Weaving I imagine as thin lines coming in an arc all around channeling persons head and either touching the target as such or forming a loose rope kind of weaving or forming other things like a fire ball in a chosen place. 

 

Anyways, I agree that this needs to look good in the show or it will be a lot of awkward. 

 

(apologies for any miss spelling, some things are hard to describe in English for a non-english speaker.)

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I think, to depict channeling, they should just duplicate the origional Super Mario Brothers star effect.

 

Just have tbe character star flashing crazy colors and play the star tune.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/14/2019 at 7:25 PM, Cillian said:

I think Dr Strange laid down a good foundation for how it should look. In terms of weaving glowing magic threads into geometric shapes at least.

 

Sure, except that instead of just sparky orange energy flavored threads, we need about 15 different types.  And the budget for Dr. Strange was $165M for 2 hours; the budget for WoT, even if it's a megahit like Game of Thrones, would probably be $165M for 2 seasons.

 

I feel like if I were doing the SFX, knowing that there were going to be a *lot* of "weave" SFX shots, I'd want to really try to invent a "Weave generator" program, where I plug in some parameters, and it makes the weave CGI for me.  If they need to do every channeling SFX shot bespoke, they'll break the bank.

 

They might have some time to develop such a system; I think the only channeller POV in TEotW was LTT in the Prologue.  OTOH, if they make Moiraine a POV character earlier than she was in the books, it's going to become important a lot sooner.

Edited by Elestan
Fix typo

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I think they should have literal threads of light, with different colors to represent each element, with are directed by hand movements.  It won't be he same as in the books where the channelors use their minds to control the threads, and literally look like they stand still to non-channelers, but it would make for a great visual element.  I'm picturing it as something similar to Tai Chi, and the threads being woven from the movements.

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1 hour ago, Dagon Thyne said:

I think they should have literal threads of light, with different colors to represent each element, with are directed by hand movements.  It won't be he same as in the books where the channelors use their minds to control the threads, and literally look like they stand still to non-channelers, but it would make for a great visual element.  I'm picturing it as something similar to Tai Chi, and the threads being woven from the movements.

That sounds like Avatar's <element>-bending, which was very cool, and made for wonderful visuals.  However, it would cause a few plot problems in WoT, such as how Rand gets out of the box when he can't move.  There's even some discussion in the books about how the AS's hand gestures are probably only necessary because that's how they've been trained, whereas other channelers don't need them.

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7 hours ago, Dagon Thyne said:

I think they should have literal threads of light, with different colors to represent each element, with are directed by hand movements.  It won't be he same as in the books where the channelors use their minds to control the threads, and literally look like they stand still to non-channelers, but it would make for a great visual element.  I'm picturing it as something similar to Tai Chi, and the threads being woven from the movements.

There was a very specific/significant plot element, that Aes Sedai in the white tower actually use their hands, where as the Aiel use only their minds.

It comes down to how it's taught, who did the teaching, and that being the predominant method taught for generations.

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This is definitely something I've always seen as one of the bigger challenges, because it could be incredibly cheesy.

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On 8/17/2019 at 8:22 AM, Elestan said:

That sounds like Avatar's <element>-bending, which was very cool, and made for wonderful visuals.  However, it would cause a few plot problems in WoT, such as how Rand gets out of the box when he can't move.  There's even some discussion in the books about how the AS's hand gestures are probably only necessary because that's how they've been trained, whereas other channelers don't need them.

Rand doesn't actully "weave" anything to get out of the box.  He feels for when the shield is at it's weakness, and then just unleashes a wave of raw power to overwhelm it.  

 

I would say that that could be explained by that weaving is only a way to direct and focus the power to certain ends, but the power can be used in a more raw form, but it's much harder to control.  This would explain why Rand "accidently" stilled all the women who held his shield.  It could also explain why the WT needs to train people.  Even someone like Nynaeve, who has a base control naturally could be dangerous if she loses control.  So she has to learn to focus the power, but someone ike Egwene who has no real control could accidently unleash a wave of power that could kill bystanders.

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4 hours ago, Dagon Thyne said:

Rand doesn't actully "weave" anything to get out of the box.  He feels for when the shield is at it's weakness, and then just unleashes a wave of raw power to overwhelm it. 

 

I would say that that could be explained by that weaving is only a way to direct and focus the power to certain ends, but the power can be used in a more raw form, but it's much harder to control.  This would explain why Rand "accidently" stilled all the women who held his shield.

 

Breaking the shield was him exercising LTT's knot-bursting skill, plus flexing his own raw strength in the Power.  Bursting the box on the other hand, required channeling a flow of Air, and stilling the sisters was "crushing them ruthlessly with fists of Spirit".  I think I would technically call the latter two, at least, weaves, albeit weaves of a single flow of a single element.

 

I don't think the stilling was accidental; I think LTT put the weave for it in his head.

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You could have the gestures be him standing up. Sure it breaks the sequence of events a little, but depending on how the scene is played, that could be hand-waved.

Alternately, you could have him making little finger movements in the box. 

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Posted (edited)

I don't know why I keep thinking about it or why I think it relates, but in Deathly Hallows I when Hermione is telling the story of the Hallows, they made a cartoon out of it and it worked great.

 

When I think of scenes like the box, I think they can actually visualize the power. Not as weaves coming from Rand but kind of how I pictured it in my mind when reading it. The knots aren't seen but they could show them somehow, in a Sci-Fi way. Or maybe even show the Aes Sedai in some cloudy/hazy bad ass looking way as he defeats them. Then show him in the box straining, then the chest explodes.

Edited by Deadsy

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That was one of my other ideas. 

When showing the PoV of channelers while in a battle, I often visualized it as being on another plane entirely.

All of the imagery describing Rand "Feeling at knots" and "battering at the wall" always made me think of him doing that sort of thing physically inside a mental space.

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I usually think of it as an "augmented reality" sort of experience, where the channelers could "see" the Source/weaves/flows overlaid on top of their normal senses.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Elestan said:

 

Breaking the shield was him exercising LTT's knot-bursting skill, plus flexing his own raw strength in the Power.  Bursting the box on the other hand, required channeling a flow of Air, and stilling the sisters was "crushing them ruthlessly with fists of Spirit".  I think I would technically call the latter two, at least, weaves, albeit weaves of a single flow of a single element.

 

I don't think the stilling was accidental; I think LTT put the weave for it in his head.

 

 

I wouldn't say that any of them were "weaves"  He was simply lashing out with raw power the whole time.  It took no real focus, except when he was feeling for weaknesses in the shield.  Otherwise he simply flailed out blinding using the power with no real focus.  Even when he stilled them, he was really just throwing spirit out randomly.  I don't think he even used the actual weave for severing.  But the stilling and gentling require heavy amounts of spirit, and so I think he used so much of spirit that it ended up having the same effect.   

Edited by Dagon Thyne

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