Saturday, 31 October 2009

Lecture Notes

I haven't been very good with blogging up what i thought, learnt and noted from all the previous lectures so I thought i'd do it quickly now before i go off to work on my sketchbook :P

Lecture 1 (15/10/09): From Pencil to Pixels
I have actually read a book with this exact title, it reminded me of this, basically showing animations through the ages, how it started, what used to be entertaining, the development of equipment, opportunity for new styles of drawing, how CGI started to make a name for itself and so on.

This video was similar. It showed us the beginning with silent animation such as Felix the Cat, and slowly when animation started to introduce sound and music, such as Steamboat Willie and some of the newer (back then) Mickey Mouse series. Showing us the progression and development through the animation world, the maker of Disney's Toy Story talked about how to animate anything inanimate- first, let the audience know which part would characterise as the head, such as the moving head of the Pixar lamp, he spoke of how when he first began, 3-D CGI was then not developed enough to be made a market for, until one of his shorts (about a baby and a wind up symbal toy) showed it could be the next big thing.

"Don't make it realistic, make it believable"

"Nothing in Animation comes for free"

"Animators are actors with pencils"

"Animators are children who have never grown up"

Lecture 2 (22/10/09): George Melies
Unfortunately i didn't make many notes, this wasn't because i wasn't paying attention, but the film was very lengthy and i tried to absorb as much as possible. This is what i could remember:
-Melies was an early french magician and film maker working with optical illusions
-Melies burnt his films, to which he later regretted and worked in his wife's sweet shop for the next 3 years until a sudden viewing of his work someone had found was being shown in a theatre.
-He found it difficult to locate the theatre and when he did, he burst through the white screen the film was shown on and improvised a speech.
-A friend introduced a camera to him that he may be able to use for animations but would not give him permission to use as it was for hospitals.
-After some trouble, he managed to track down a maker for such cameras from a man in England, and from there on, started to create his films.
-The camera was very loud when the reel was turned and he jokingly called it "the coffee grinder"
-He would paint all his background for his filming and film it outside where the light was then stronger. However, weather changes and clouds would alter the lighting.
-Melies then built his own studio which was in exact proportions with the theatre he would perform magic in. It had all the pulleys so that actors and props could be given the illusion to be flying or falling.
-A shed was built at the back so the camera would be able to stand and the stage would have more space.
-If he was filming an under-water feature, he would film through a fish tank.
-His butlers and helpers would act as the extras.
-He had a method when he would film a first section, and then reel back and re-film once the actor had moved to give the illusion someone had transformed, disappeared or a part of their body had moved.
-Obviously this was hard to do, to locate the exact point in the film where it would need to be refilmed, so he used his method of "Splicing" when he would cut the film and rejoin them to make the illusion more accurate.
-Everytime there is a white line across the top of the screen, this is when splicing has been done.

Lecture 3 (29-10-09): Sound Design for Wall-e
I found this lecture very interesting. It taught me how both sound and animation both work together to make characters seem even more real. Such a good example is shown in Disney's Wall-e, when practically the first 30-40 mins of the film has no dialogue, and the sounds created (by Ben Burtt, also sound designer for Star Wars) were entirely responsible for creating the mood and explain what was happening.

What was interesting to me was that most of the sounds created were from electronic control devices/instruments or man-made objects as apparently, real-life sounds were not nearly as realistic enough as ones created in the studio. Early Disney did a similar technique, where the instruments would be in the studio, all man made, such as running peas in a barrel against some nails to give the illusion of sound of rain. However, their sounds were more musical.

Physics and science underpin what sounds to use, but if it conflicts with the emotions. Then the emotions win over.

Here are some notes i took:

Friday, 30 October 2009

Spare Time

I had a bit of spare time on my hands yesterday evening and today and i thought i'd make a short, by just editing my actual project. I coloured it in photoshop, in light pastel shades to keep the cupcake looking innocent, so that the humour still stays. I then edited it in Final Cut Pro, added a title, some humorous quotes before modifying some of the frames so the cupcake danced along with the music.

I don't know if it's just the fact that i made it and i've watched a million cupcakes pelvic-thrusting or whether it's just plain silly, but i hope it still makes people laugh... even though you'd probably just be wasting 3 minutes of your life that you'll never get back.

Simple Short- (Warning! Shield your children's ears)

Thursday, 29 October 2009

6 week Project: Cont'd again

Test 9- Cherry Fall Complete
Today i managed to redraw the last few frames from yesterday and made the movement of the eyes smoother. I did four frames to stop hsi eyes when looking down and looking up so that the audience can grasp the emotion that he's just realised what's happened. I also started drawing the next section of the cupcake covering the space on his head.

Test 10- Testing the Ending
I think i managed to convey the embarrassed shuffle off the screen quite well... I doubled the frames during the the tilt to the left and when both feet are on the ground normally... this was to emphasise the side step, so that he wouldnt look like he was galloping across the screen.

The Finished Animation
I'm quite happy with what i produced in 4 days... an 18 second animation which is fairly smooth... now with my remaining time, i plan to refine my sketchbook before my assessment, and possibly colour and put music behind my animation :)

...And with colour...
I'm aware that the animation with colour is faster, infact a whole 2 seconds shorter. This was because, when i imported it into photoshop, i had to redo the timing for some reason. I tried desperately to get it as close as possible to the original... This is the most forgiving one i produced out of any of the times. The colours i chose were of a soft palette, just to keep the childish nature of the cupcake

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

6 Week Project: Cont'd

I did like a million tests today just to get this little guy to thrust just right.

Test 5- Perfecting and Starting the 2nd Thrust
i perfected the turn, as on my last test from yesterday, the turn was slightly off- there was a glitch so i added in an inbetween and smoothed that out. I also started the 2nd thrust, it was just the key frames as i was slightly unsure of whether i should add in an inbetween if i wanted the movement quicker... But no, i learnt from this test that pretty much, whatever the speed of the thrust, you do need an inbetween to stop it from jumping.

Test 6- 2nd Thrust Complete
The title pretty much sums this test up. Gareth recommended some music just to go behind this one test, and it was so effective that i laughed until i cried. I might go back to this at the end if there is any time to just make a short. (Riverside- Sidney Sampson)- it was hard to reject this song for the final thing because it worked strangely well, it does have some swearing in it and i remember one of the criteria was for the animation to be non-offensive. Does that count?

Test 7- 3rd Thrust Complete
Since I'd already done the 2nd thrust, i kind of knew what to do from then on so i didn't think i really needed to do a test half-way for the 3rd... And luckily, i was right, it turned out fine (everything in 3rd thrust 12fps) and it makes me laugh EVERYTIME! look at that cupcake go!

Test 8- Having a Stab at the Ending
I started filming from the end to make the most of my time... i already knew the rest worked. Obviously this ending isn't the final one, it was just to get an idea of what i'm going to do tomorrow. Just a template. I think the fall of the cherry is fine... however, when the cupcake looks up, the drawings look a bit sloppy and it's quite choppy in the eye-movement. That's when i realised how exhausted i was and to call it a day. Tomorrow i will be redrawing the last 3 frames in that test and carrying on with the end of it... with a bit of hard work, i could be finished that day too!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

6 Week Project: 20 seconds please

So for this week, we have to have completed a 20 second max. animation on absolutely anything (non-offensive of course).. i found this brief quite difficult because it's so open.
I decided to think of something i would:
  • find quite entertaining (therefore humorous),
  • something quite original,
  • hopefully clever (although it didnt quite turn out to be :p),
  • something simple enough to complete in the short time,
  • yet still be effective,
  • something surreal (i like to use my imagination)
Enter, "Frosty, the Pelvic-Thrusting Cupcake".
At first, the idea seemed pretty stupid. But the more i thought about it, that could be part of the genius behind it. Yes, it doesn't make sense (people would find that funny), and there's no real story (so everyone can enjoy it!), but it's fairly original, dancing food has all been done before but you wouldn't BELIEVE! i tried so hard to research for any animations already created specifically on dancing cupcakes and there were none! So hence, my stupid idea = highly original. GENIUS.

Although, at first it sounds like not alot, i guess i lied, it does have a story. The little cupcake is happy, he enjoys a good thrust. He thrusts all day long. He gets very energetic in his thrusting to the point his poor little cherry falls off, he feels naked and shuffles off in embarrassment.

What limited me to creating anything that was probably more sensible, was the time limit we were given. It's easier to make people laugh in 20 seconds than any other emotion. That's what i think anyway.

Some Prior Research
Excuse any laughing, it's really hard to do this without feeling like a complete fool. If i have fun doing the research- it's a good chance i'll enjoy the project.

Test 1- Key frames
This first test only consists of 2 frames repeated. I just wanted to make sure i had the positioning right. The arms look a bit peculiar... maybe some inbetweens will sort that out?

Test 2- Key frames + Inbetweens
I'm quite happy with the movement, it's definately getting there, but the arms still seem to shuffle around a bit, i might need to go back and alter the frames to exaggerate the movements slightly more. It's also a tad slow, i'm thinking i could afford to lose some inbetweens to make it faster. Kelvin also told me i could have animated the cherry stalk to sway back and forth as secondary animation. Goddamn his good idea, why did i have to ink first?!!! :( will have to remember for next time.

Test 3- Completing the Thrust
I think the speed of the thrust is definately more believable- it's a snappier movement so the timing had to be made quicker. I also made the outward thrusts 3 frames and the inbetweens 1, altered the frames to remove the his left arm (our right) to emphasise the thrust that little bit more. Time to carry on...

Test 4- Thrust and Turn
I'm very happy with how smooth this turned out to be. I definately found this very difficult in the first day, it was the perspective (always the perspective) of a surreal inanimate object and trying to create how it would move if it was alive and what angle would be realistic when it thrusts. The turn overall is pretty good, i'm just going to add in an inbetween between his final thrust on the left and turning to the middle as it jumps a little there.

COMING UP- Working hard in the classroom...

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Anticipation: Special Kid on the Swing

i was a tad naughty and forgot to blog the stuff i did yesterday so im going to have to do it in one huge blog- so hold tight.
I wanted my anticipation project to be slightly different to most people's bog standard jump in several amusing scenerios... so i thought i'd draw a kid swinging back and forth on a swing (who happened to look a bit special) until he's flung into the air, makes a very happy leap into the air before landing.
I knew this project was going to be a challenge to finish as quickly as i usually do, and just a challenge in general but i was up for it. It was the momentum of the swing that threw me at first, to make it look realistic swinging about, how it gets slower at the peaks before needing less frames when it swings low....
Key frames. They have been responsible for saving my mental condition many times. Thank you key frames.

Test 1- Testing the Swing
Okay, so at this point, it hadn't even crossed my mind to be aware of the spacing and timing, despite being adamant that id learnt this concept thoroughly last week!.. whoops. So in this first test, the swing goes back and forth- not realistically, but it does swing. I realised what had to be done, more inbetweens, slow down the swing at the peaks and speed up on the lower swings.

Test 2- The Swing
I'll be brutally honest, this was incredibly difficult to shoot- partly because i was reusing frames, there was no real order i could put the frames in, but i tried my godammned hardest. It's all a bit sketch in this test, figuring when to double the frames and single others... but i think it worked out fairly well (for a test anyway).. i guess if i wanted to know precisely which frames i wanted to use, i'd have given them all a number and written an order of frames down... but im not nearly as patient as that. But despite this, i was quite happy at this point so i moved on...

Test 3- The Jump
I'm not going to lie, i thought this wasn't going to work out as well as it did. But with a few double frames being removed, and actually getting rid of some of my inbetweens to speed up action, it worked out pretty damn well!... go me!

The Final Thing
This is it!.. if i was being very critical about my work, i'd say the starting kick off swing is a little weird but you can still get the jist, but again, it was a hard perspective to grasp so i reckon it could have been alot worse. I like how the kid pauses at his little jump :)... i only wish i could colour it, but since i dont have photoshop at home at the moment, it's proving difficult.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Final Bouncy Ball Animation

i managed to finish my animation, i inked in my mini bowling ball as planned and added an extra ball to the final thing- testing it first of course!

Adding the basketball
i know the stairs disappear after a bit, but this was only a rough test to see whether id mapped out the movement of the basketball properly before inking in the background. And again, because of the paper shortage, ive been pencilling in the movement, just to make sure- instead of launching myself into the pen straight away as i so often love to do -_-'

Final Animation
i'm quite happy with how my animation turned out, i added shadows to add an extra depth to the whole video, i was also thinking that with my remaining time, i could add in more balls, but then i thought there would be too much going on, and it would start to get too confusing to watch. I could also have made the animation longer, but with the lack of paper to go around- the things i could do with my leftover time seems pretty limited.


Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Timing and Spacing: Bouncy Balls

i was quite excited about this project, but i found it difficult to think of how to make mine unique in the sense it wouldn't just be a typical bouncy ball falling from the sky and coming to a stop. I did have an interesting idea of drawing a ball bouncing up the stairs as you would see from behind, and the stairs would pan out forward so the animation could continue on a loop- but as soon as i started to figure out how the stairs would increase in scale and angle, i soon scrapped the idea...

i had to quickly think of another idea, something more simple but would show off what ive learnt this week. So i decided to do a series of different balls, falling down some stairs, coming down, and whatever else i could think of!.. and due to the paper shortage, i thought a shorter animation with more balls showing understanding of timing and spacing would be more appropriate.

First Test- Bouncy ball going down the stairs (and turning into a hole)
This was the first ever animation i did to show spacing and timing and actually making something look vaguely realistic, and i was extremely happy with the turn out. It also helped me fully understand the concept of more frames = slower, less frames = faster movement.

Second Test- Adding in the bowling ball
I did a second test, when i added in a bowling ball in pencil to see what it would look like and if the movement was correct... (it was, incase you were wondering) but for some reason, when i exported it onto my USB it came out blank so the video isn't here anymore... :( but i swear i did do it!... and since i want to work more on my animation tonight, i WILL be inking over the bowling ball- so if you were really looking forward to this video, i'm very sorry. Just watch my final one and imagine the bowling ball in pencil.. kay?

So far, i think it's looking pretty good (well, i think so anyway :p) i'm really enjoying the fact i can just go back to the original frames and add little bits- saving paper AND making it more interesting! SCORE!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Finally finished!!

I'm quite happy i managed to finish my decent(ish) animation 4 days before the deadline... I had to get it done, as  i wouldnt be around the end of this week to finish it off :( so i worked at it quickly, hopefully achieving close results to what i would have completed if i had more time to give.

Here's my final animation- it's quite quick as i did it 12 fps, rather than 6, as ive found im the type of person who makes the changes more subtely (is that a word??!).. I managed to kind of fix her right eye, im still not perfectly satisfied with it, but i think that's the best result i'll get and it does look a whole lot better than the exploding eye situation yesterday.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Illusion of Life: Exaggeration

i sketched out different emotions from people posing for me and gathered material off the internet, looking at typical emotions and slightly exaggerating each one by pulling at the shape of the face and adding in mood lines... from there, after planning and choosing my final ones, i attempted the final animation and did a series of tests along the way, not all good unfortunately...

First Test- Shocked to Nervous (1 sec)
i realised after this test that her expression wasnt exaggerated enough so i'l add in a few more frames to pull her face a bit more later...

Second Test- Nervous to beginning of Freak Look (2 sec)
Unfortunately her left eye (our right) seems to drift off her face and almost explodes :/.. So i got rid of those few frames and plan to redo them so that her eye stays slightly more normal!

First Week Project: Flickbook
I created this blog after i did this project and forgot to post it up. It was a group project, and our's was passing a bomb around as a loop. Although i don't have the entire group animation, I do have mine. It has been drawn on 100 sticky post-its! If i was to do this again, i would change to animation paper if i could, this would mean that the digitised version would be more accurate but as a flickbook, i might have to stay with the sticky notes. I'd also take more care that the stupid mirror doesn't change shape and the bomb doesn't change size -_-'...

At the moment i'm trying to locate the file... I think it might still be on the computer at uni.
So for now this link will have to satisfy your bomb flickybook thirst.