Sunday, 13 May 2012

Finishing Line

Deadline Day!

Overall I feel considering time and my abilities I have produced the best I can.  There are some scenes I wish I could redo but simply do not have the time.  I feel I have developed my animation skills further and although have had not had as much time as needed to go back and change some mistakes or improve some animations, either it be technical or acting wise, I am pleased with the progress I have made.  As even though this is my final film, I am still young to the industry and still have much to learn.  I have a much better understanding of colour theory and environment tones and depth use.  If I get a chance to work on another personal project I will take into consideration all the aspects needed, not just the character design and performance.  I recognise in a way my film’s ending is very cliché but also learnt is extremely hard to stay away from the film clichés and get your point across.  I also realised that I probably bit off a little bit more than I could chew for the sheer amount of work this film took.  But I wanted a challenge and although I would like to go back and change some animated shots or improve the movement in some parts I just wanted to make a good film I would be proud of, which considering this is my first film I am.


Compositing unknown error

Day before deadline, and technology is not my friend today. I have composited all the individual shots of my film have been exported at ha very high aspect. It toke almost three days and when I put together all the scenes and music the current computer I was on did not have a present setting for quicktime. So I exported it of a preset of H264 and made sure it was 25 fps, 1920x1080 and was square pixels. However when it exported it did play very nicely on a Windows player but on quicktime it was jumpy even though the frame rate was right. So as soon as I saw that the video was jumpy I went straight to another computer, linked up all the files again and tried to export but it just said unknown error. I tried to put the output in numerous locations but it made no difference. Then the uni closed, to I toke my wrong codec export file home and hopefully will get up very early and try again tomorrow morning.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Meeting the end...

Two days til deadline time,  compositing is going well and Alex has not only coloured some more frames for me but has also composited two shots to a standard I am most pleased with.

As my film will not be coloured in it, I am simply going to add all the completed frames and the cleaned up frames on top of the backgrounds.  Since all the backgrounds are complete I want to make sure they are all in the hand in film.  However since a majority of the backgrounds are dark I have had to have a purple outline around the lineart.  This means although the characters are still see through they are much more visible which is extremely important for the films incomplete readability. 

Still of purple in progress shot:

Name of film:

I am also having some last minute thoughts on the title of my film.  I am not ecstatic about 'pond', I think it's a bit boring.  However it is easy for file naming exchanges with helpers. 

However months ago my mum found an article on the study of dragonflies

The article titled 'Research into the visual communication of dragonflies, looked upon new research on how dragonflies communicate with each other through colour.  The research paper was named:  Odonata colour.  It was the word Odonata that appealed to me, the article went on to say that dragonflies communicate with each other through colour and light which the human eye can not see.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Compostiting Week

The final week and it's compostiting time with what footage I have so far of my film.  Most of my film is not coloured yet but I have some first years at the ready after their deadline is done which unfortunately does not give them time to complete any shots for my deadline but will be most helpful to ensure te film is complete for the grad show.  I have had various helpers with colouring and cleaning up my frames, but Alex is my only long term helper as everyone else have had to work on their own projects, and only been able to work on one or two shots.  Thus I have had to ask for help from different people each week. 

So far I have had three 3rd years, two 2nd years and two 1st years helping me, along with my brother completing two shots for me over the summer.  I only finished animating a week ago, so my schedule is later than expected but working at the studio from 9 til 9 I am working me best to get as much complete as possible with still maintaining a high standard of work.

I am currently working on a cintque computer which is perfect as I can composite and cut on layers on photoshop when needed.  It's perfect.  However one after effects film, the opening scene this week has been a problem, it has been terribly slow, and the helper to made the sequence failed to make the shot to a strandard I wanted, with the too many layers of clouds and slowing down the whole computer as a load of useless large files were clogging up the bin and therefore making editing impossible. It wasn't until I deleted this useless files that the composition began to respond.  But another hour wasted.

Dragonfly Animation

Originally I was going to do all my dragonfly animation on after effects but when looking at the dynamics and the different angles the dragonflies's body needed it seemed more problematic to do the movement on after effects than just doing it by hand.  All my tests of the dragonfly for my feasibility study were of it just going in a straight direction.  But there were some scenes where that wasn't the case, the dragonfly was changing direction and therefore different body angles were needed.  At the end I hand drew 10 scenes with the dragonfly only 3 require after effects.

I haven't done the wings like my test animation either, I simply hand drew them and smugged the pencil to give it a motion blur. In my line tests it worked very well.  The wings are also animated on a separate layer from the body as I am adding a colour overall effect to them so that they have the same colour as the light, to show they are from the same world, and it is much more visually interesting than just black wings. The only time the wings need detail is when the dragonfly is close up and not in flight.

Along with Alex animating the dragonfly in Scene5 shot1, which I was very pleased with, he is also cleaning up and colouring most of the dragonfly scenes.  He and Deb have been my most loyal and hard working helpers on the project and have come back with the best results.

Music and Film still

Me and my composer met today and had a chance to also meet with James and to show him the first complete track.  Most feedback was positive, and he liked the flow of the piano piece but the dragonfly part needed to to ease into the excitement than just spring out of nowhere. James also said the the dragonfly flute part wounded a little bit to "irish".  Overall my composer was pleased with the majority of positive feedback and agreed the dragonfly piece needed some work.

Film Still.
We also had to give in a film still for the poster to advertise the years grad show.  I thought this still would be the most appealing, and captures the curiosity of my creature.  I don't think I will advertise my film as a dark melancholy film, as at the end of the day that isn't the majority of my film and I do not want to mislead an audience before they even watch it.


Backgrounds complete

So far all my film's animation is complete, 95% is cleaned and alpha channeled, but only about 25% is coloured.  I have been put off from asking anyone else to composite for me since the last MA student who helped me took up more of my time than saving it.

Deb has now successfully complete all backgrounds.  She will get a high credit for the film as she not only experimented with colour, tone and depth for my film but literally coloured and shaded every single background.  Once all the backgrounds were complete some still need tweaked with lighting and continuity but Deb is currently working on other projects so will not be able to do any work for me until after the deadline.

With experimenting with some of the much earlier concepts of backgrounds Deb also helped with deciding what the final scene would look like.  I knew it had to stand out from the other backgrounds, but I didnt know how?  She produced these three images and I then showed them to the tutors and the third one got all the votes.  It still looked like it was in the same world, unlike the brown background which Leonie stated look like 'baby diarrhea', once again brown is not my friend.  I also knew that the burst of light was a very important factor as I didnt want the audience or the creature to know where she was going to add a sense of mystery to the end of the film.

Here are the three experiments Deb made: (drawn by me, toned and coloured by Deb)

Second: Photobucket
Third: Photobucket
None the less as part of the composting process I am adding the lighting to all the backgrounds needed.  It is essential for there to be light beams in the deadline edit, otherwise my film's structure will not make visual sense.  It does make a huge difference to the overall frame.  To make the lighting I used the pen tool to draw the outline and then fill it in with a gradient and added multiple layers of different sized light stripes.  I then added another layer for the little light speckles.  Ideally I would like the light and the specks to gently move but again with time restraints it will not me done by the final deadline but hopefully will have time before the grad show.

Here is a little before and after of the final scene before I apply the lighting effect.

After: Photobucket Before: Photobucket After: Photobucket