Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Backgrounds Longshots Lineart

Over the last week and a bit I have concentrated on the layout of my backgrounds as there is no point in animating if I don't know where my character is going.  Therefore just to get rolling I first drew up all my long shot environments, that way there is less of a chance of continuity errors with the close ups.  They are all done with pencil and paper and will be scanned and then digitally coloured in Photoshop.  One technique James suggested was that I colour in black and white to get the tones and depth right and add the colour on top.  He showed me this video as an example.

These are my background thus far:













Me and Deb are giving this technique a go, and will see if it will work better than just colouring it straight off.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Animatic with extra scene

Added extra scene and gonna get feedback from Matt and friends soon to see if it marries well with the film and if it's work the extra few seconds of work to make the film's story and the creature leaving more powerful.

The extra scene does make the overall film 14 seconds longer but I think it's worth the extra effort if it gives the ending a greater impact.

Feedback with extra scene:
  • I had more crit about the music not fitting but my composer has not had time to come up with anything new yet but it is currently being produced.
  • In the animatic the timing is a bit off in some parts but I'm not worried about that too much and it will be fixed while I animate.
  • The angle with the hand might need to be tweeked as it's just not a very appealing angle.
  • Pablo brought up that the audience might think that's she's only leaving because her home is wrecked but I will make surer she is hesitant and fighting with the decision to to either stay or leave.
  • The character is now better understood.
  • Caroline liked the new scenes and the wind metaphor.

Background Assistance with Deb

I knew I would need help with not just the animation but the backgrounds, so I found Debourah, a second year animation student and she was excited to assist me in the colour concept. 

Deb will have to be heavily creditted as she is helping a lot more that I origanally thought but from looking at my timetable and the amount of work it is needed and much apprieciated.
So far I have drawn up some rough layouts for each long shot of the film and given them to Deb for colouring for her to experiment with different colours and shades.  One colour scheme I was sure about was that at night everything to be blue, and for the tree trunnks not to be brown or black.  I have to make sure that I have a variety of interesting colours such as greens, blues, purples, yellow and orange.

These are her colour tests so far with the night scene:

This is the first night test, work of Deb
This is the lighter version, work of Deb
This is the darker version, work of Deb

Colour Journey:
night/storm - dark blue, bit of purple
wake up - dark green bit of blue, poss purple
sees the light - light green bit of yellow
leaves pond - light green yellow and a bit of orange

Feedback Of Animatic

When presenting my animatic on Monday I got a variety of feedback. 

  • Caroline and James suggested that it needed a metaphor alongside the creature's journey to show her growth, such as tadpols turning into frogs etc.  I wasn't sure where I would be able to fit this in and since it's added in last minute it might seemed like it's added in at the end... which it is and wouldn't flow with the film.
  • The music got a lot of bad critisim, I was expecting it thought as with my composer Jason Savory, I had not had a chance to meet him in person so he just produced something rough using my copyrighted piece as influence.  I have met with him since and given him a much better idea on what the music will sound like.
  • The dragonfly got quite possitive feedback.  The first and fourth wing tests were the most popular and the first and second movement tests also got the most votes.
  • Also with the dragonfly people suggested that it must glow and almost sparkle to make it more special for the audience, as although the creature has never seen a dragonfly before, the audience must believe that this dragonfly is unique and must see it as the creature sees it.
  • When seeing Matthew Gravelle he said that the end didn't have as much impact as there's no point in the film where it shows the creature is attatched to her pond and therefore her leaving it doesn't seem as much of an impact. 
  • When discussing this with friends they suggested that the storm would effectivly damage her pond and that it would be a good scene just to briefly show her cleaning up, this would show that she cares for the pond and hopefully the end would be more powerful.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Animation Tests

Over the holiday I also had to experiment with how the film will overall look in it's final stages of production.  This included movement, colour, layout and editting.  I tried to do the shot's that I knew would definatly not be cut from my film. 

My second test was just a rough little test of the rough colouring and layout of the creature moving within the environment. I think the blue tone works best, so for the night scene I will be using blue tones.  Some of the others either look visually unpleasing or just too floresent.

My second test was the enviroment test, which is the first shot of the film to establish the location and just to jump in to the dramatic atmosphere of the storm.  I also tested out the after effects rain simulartion and I think it works well and it doesn'y stand out too much, just marries which well with the environment.  I drew on paper the overall forest from the sky to the bottom of the forest, the imported it into after effects, cropped it into different layouts to add perspective when it moved and moved the image around to give the illusion of the camera moving.  I did not use the 3D camera so I am not sure if it will look any different or even better so I will have to experiment, also I will have to consider which is the faster way to edit.

My key test animation was just too see how the creature moves around the screen, I added a rough green background just to have a bit more of a feel to the shot.  I think with this scene I need to zoom in more to add a more intense connection between the creature and dragonfly.

My forth test is somthing I'm still not sure about, what the dragonfly is doing in the first time it is shown on screen.  I've looked at video reference and while they are sat on leaves etc they do not move much, somtimes a quick flick of the head,  a tail twitch or it's wings might flicker.  There was also footage of a dragonfly communicating through it's tail almost breathing in and out, it created a beautiful shine as the sun reflexs it's shiny skin. 
For thr first test I applied a 3D plain on ther dragonflies wings and rotated them to make it look liek the wings were slowly flapping.  My mum said this looks too mechanical and a friend said the 3D might not go with the reast of the film.
My second test I'm not fussed on, I think it makes the dragonfly look more dead than the last one.  Plus I don't like the angle I've drawn it at.
Overall I think if I keep the 3D wings but make it more sutble.  I also think I need to add a glow of some sort to to the dragonfly to make it more special.

Finally I then experimented with the different wings I could use.  I studied the way a dragonfly's wings operate during flight.  There are two sets of wings, when the front row go up the back row do the opposite etc.  So for eat test I created four separate wings, parented them to the body and moved them up and down to create a fast flapping movement. 
My favourite is the top left and bottom right,  I think the 3D wings don't work with flighing, it looks too much like a butterfly.  The other I think is too busy.

With the movement tests I experimented with the flow and speed of the dragonfly.  My favourite is the first one and second, I feel the rest either move to fast like a fly or too slow like a butterfly.  I think the quick zippy movements work well and creat a dragonfly character about it.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Reference Footage and Planning

Over the holidays after completing my final animatic I prepared to record my reference footage for all the scenes with the creature present.  I first drew up a shot break down on a word document by listing up each scenes and the shots within them along with what happens in each shot.  Overall my film has five scenes forty eight shots.

I filmed the animatic and my brother kindly assisted me by being my model/actor.  Which filming I noticed more continuity errors that I will fix while animating, such as when the creature reaches her hand out to the light and cuts to a close up of the hand, it's the wrong hand.


This week I will test some dragonfly animating,  I originally planed to hand animate it but since moving it digitally on premier pro I think animating it on after effects as well as playing with the motion blur will be more effective.  Before I start to animate my scenes I will do some background layout planning first, otherwise I am at the risk of proportion and angle errors and therefore wasting valuable time.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Shaded Animatic

For my final animatic hand it, I decided to shade it so that I knew if people would have a much better understanding of the theme of the light against the dark.  It also helps me define what areas need work and that the character will stand out from the background.

The soundtrack is a rough cut by Jason Savory, who at this moment seems the most likely candidate for being the composer for my film.  I found him over the holidays through the university music society and therefore will have to arrange a meeting with him when I return to Newport to discuss exactly what I want and to go through the key moments of the film.