I created cutouts with the idea of making a very simple little animation of Carrivagio's painting (relying more on sound, camera cuts and framing, simple movements to tell the story, rather than full animation). I don't think I'll be animating it anytime in the very near future (although it would be fun to make a little leica reel....) I was more interested in the conceptual end than the full scale production (hence why I would/will be better as a concept artist than an animator). As I was create the cutouts, I also spontaneously wrote out a little script for the scene.
Judith looks so sad, to me.
To make the cutouts for animating in photoshop:
I dividing the bodyparts and background into separate layers, patched up the areas left blank/revealed in moving the pieces, extended the knife, and painted in Holoferne's beheaded neck. I removed all of the blood, which would probably be best animated in, rather than as a cutout layer.
To show the changes, here's the characters adjusted to post head-cutting-off. I wish I had lackeys/slaves to do the animating for me.
The original painting:
Holofernes lies sleeping in the candlelight of his tent. Sound of campfires snapping, conversing drunken soldiers, occasional clatter of metal, from outside.
Holofernes snores. Sound of rustling cloth and muffled footsteps approaching in the darkness.
Young Woman's Voice: (offscreen, whispering) Danya, I'm frightened.
Old Woman's Voice: (offscreen, harsh whisper) Do not lose your nerve, child!
The widow Judith emerges from the shadows, her elderly maid follows, clutching a rough sack. T hey stand over Holofernes.
Danya: Do you love your God?
Danya: Don't you want to protect His People?
Judith begins to weep quietly.
Danya: Do it now! That's not a man! That is our enemy.
Judith (sobs, looks to Dana, then back to Holofernes): Not a man... (she grasps his hair)
Danya: A beast, a fiend, a killer...
Judith raises her knife,
Holofernes (snorts awake): wha...?
Judith hacks into his neck; he lets out a bellowing squeal, but it abates as the blade slices his windpipe.
Danya watches with hate and bloodlust in her eyes.
Judith's eyes flickering, mouth tensed, the painfully wet sounds of the knife slowly sawing through his neck: past the windpipe, jugular, neck vertebrate, flesh...
The head swings free, and Judith holds it in shock, it's weight dragging from her fingers.
Sound of the knife clattering to the ground, and blood gurgling from his neck.
Judith stares into space. Danya grows impatient.
Danya: Quickly, you fool! Give it to me! (Judith mechanically lifts the head; Danya grabs it and stuffs it into her sack.) Good! You're a hero, child, now come on! Back to the city, before we are discovered.
Danya turns and scurries out; Judith is frozen, looking at his body, blood on her fingers and dress. She sniffs and whips at her nose. A streak of blood is left on her face.
The men's laughter continues outside the tent; Judith turns and silently leaves.
I couldn't relate to the couragous hero assassin Judith; I empathize more with those who feel trapped by expectations, and would kill only with heavy misgivings.