Monday, 29 March 2010

Out For Eggs...



See y'all April 19th, yeah?



Monday, 22 March 2010


Finally!! it's finished!!... We papped out all the sound and editing last night, with help from Joe and Ashton for voices, i managed to do my main part in the animation :)

Take a look at my Final Cut Pro screenshot of the editing i did- looks pretty pro huh??

Yeah, anyway, this is the final outcome of all our effort :)
we worked really hard, so... ENJOY!!

Friday, 19 March 2010

Filming Even More And More Cont'd

Part 8- Pulling at Window Bars

Preliminary Research

The arms of the model were bent to show the strength of the pulling, this was an easier method than fixing the hands onto the window bars and pulling and pushing the model itself. The hands were already starting to melt under the lamp as they were facing it through the window. The only problem was the walls again, moving when the model's weight was countering.

Part 9- Chalking Wall Again
It really does look like the chalking scenes are the most effective. I like the irritated look on the model's face. It's a similar effect on the opening scenes, the fact he doesn't look when he chalks up.

Part 10- Going Insane
The uneven speed of the rolling eyeballs and swaying head makes the insanity seem even more convincing. This scene goes on for a bit longer so it gave us a bit more to play with when we edit the whole film.

Part 11- Rocking Back and Forth

Test 1
This was to check the speed of the rocking, the timing and spacing. However, the lighting was flashing so we had to start again. Also, the speed we tested made him look like he was hopping more than rocking.

The reason for the very attractive jump he has is meant to be because he hears a banging which makes him twitch :) when he stands up, this is when the switch-over is made into the kid's room.

Part 12- Kid's Room
The idea is that the previous scene is lead into this one. They're in exactly the same position so when the sound of a light switch is made, the room's change.

Preliminary Research

This is our first run cycle- and a very make-shift one but luckily, i think it still gets the idea across. Funny how the most difficult action we did was at the end. The kid brings his fist in like he's really happy he's not grounded and runs off. His room does look a bit empty though- poor deprived child.

The only scene we had to get rid of was one where we were going to have him sleeping in the corner, but the movement you make when you're asleep is so small that it was difficult to do without making him look like he was shifting around, especially in the small time he was given just to do this, not even 3 seconds. Tests from this are shown below.

Filming Even More Cont'd

Part 3- Working out
The prisoner's working out. I think it worked out pretty good, although the bed starts collapsing heavily towards the end... Personally I think it adds to the effect :p

Part 3.5- Chalking up
We doubled the frame at the start of the chalk line and after to show strength in the drawing of the line. The slump afterwards just shows he's sick and tired.

Part 4- Throwing a Ball

Preliminary Research

The classic playing catch with himself, is a good gesture to emphasise boredom or loneliness. We used a blu-tac ball and attached it to his hand, his foot and then onto the floor, adding squash and stretch into the effect. For the flying back in the air, we attached a strand of Ashton's hair to the ball and dangled it from above and shot a frame :p it worked well! apart from the mattress sliding down slightly.

Part 5- Head Banging

Test 1
This test lacked weight on his head, it almost looks like he's stroking his head against the wall. It could also gain from being a bit faster. We thought it might also look slightly better if it was more of a close up zoom.


Part 6- Chalking up again
I think this scene is quite effective, it just shows the tiredness like all the other chalking scenes. I like how the chalk rolls off and he drops it :)

Part 7- Banging the Walls

Preliminary Research

This scene was split in two, as we noticed that the banging started to go off-screen. So i thought another perspective would be an easy solution as well as focusing on the activity he's doing. The walls move slightly everytime the hands touch the wall, but this couldn't have changed unless the walls were made stronger.

Filming Cont'd

The next part was all the following scenes. The cut scenes in fact, which emphasise the boredom that the character is feeling. The next part we filmed had no tests since it all worked out pretty good!.. thank god for that :)

Part 1- Waking up

Preliminary Research

He's seen to be bored, just woken up, scratches his balls, yawns, slumps down again and chalks off a day. I particularly like this opening scene because the fact he scratches his crotch might be quite crude but some (male-wise) of the audience will be able to emphathise with him, that he's only human and it's obviously a favourite past time for males in the mornings. Also, when he slumps down again after his yawn shows he isn't ready for the day and has nothing in particular to look forward to, and the fact he chalks of a day without even looking, emphasises this- it gives off the impression "i've been here for so goddamn long, i don't even have to look where to chalk off. This is pretty much the highlight of my day. I'm so bored."

The only criticisms i would have on this part is that his clothes keep dancing, but so early on in our learning stages, im not sure this can be helped because we have to touch him to move him so his clothes will obviously shift. Also, have you noticed the wiggly pillow monster?... Me too.

Part 2- Foot tapping
This was the first proper cut scene showing boredom. A simple foot tapping to entertain himself. I have to admit, i was a bit wary of this scene as to me, foot tapping would resemble waiting, and he's not waiting for anything!.. but being a team player, i took one for them.

Okay, so he pretty much is supposed to be seen tapping his foot, he looks out of the window hopefully, sees nothing and continues to tap his foot.

Test 1- (if this video is red, i'm sorry that's Blogspot's fault)

This first test was just to see whether we had got the speed of his foot down... Also, you might notice a HUGE glitch. That is because someone really cleverly nudged the camera, and so we tried to match it up again. But even the magic of onion skinning couldn't help us. Oh, and wiggly pillow monster strikes again.

The bed shifts. But i do like how his foot slows down as he proceeds to look out the window.

Getting down to it.. Intro Time


just a quick animatic so we get a taste of the type of things we want to happen

There are alot of tests, so i'll say what's going on, upload a video and comment on it :)

Frame 1: Bird's eye view of the prison, spinning intro.
To do this, we fixed the camera vertically onto a stop motion stage, looking down into the warped perspective set and covered the surrounding light with a cardboard box, cut to fit over the camera and set. We shone a light (covered with tracing paper to filter out some of the strength) through the window of the set to create atmosphere.

Test 1
This test was before we discovered that we had to block out the surrounding light, and so after this, the cardboard box was cut to fit over the camera and set; which meant that the lighting isn't focusing and there isnt much atmosphere. Also, we found that the base of the set spun unevenly so it started to fly off the edge.

Test 2
After the mishap before, we found a plastic CD case holder that could act a turn-table so that we could tape the set down onto it, spin it, and be able to keep it in the centre of the shot. And yay! it works :)

Test 3
We directed the light through the window, covered it with a couple of sheets of tracing paper so it stopped the light bleaching the shot. We filmed an 180 degree turn and it looked pretty pro. However, when reviewed with the rest of the group, we were concerned with the fact it was quite a short scene, and it was a bit of a shame since it looked so cool :p
We thought we'd try and lengthen it out, not by doing more turning but adding a zoom into the character.

Test 4- Final Intro
This is the final scene for our intro. We think it turned out pretty good and it'll blend in well with the following scenes.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Lighting Tests

We did a ridiculous amount of light tests. Strong lights, dim lights, surround lights, colour filters, tracing paper, double the tracing paper baking paper, next to the light, next to the window, near the window... we tried it all!!..

The things we discovered from these tests:
  • We liked the effect of having the shadow of the metal bars on the floor
  • This can't be achieved without having a bleaching glare through the window
  • Bleaching can be avoided by filtering through tracing paper
  • Blue filters make rooms look cold and give an illusion of night time
  • Green filters make it look a bit sci-fi.
  • Surrounding light doesn't give a very good effect
  • Directed light is preferable if it's not too bright.
I guess from these tests, our favourites were: double tracing paper, next to the light, and tracing paper, blue filter next to the window.

Take a look at some of the test pictures if you're not dead by the end.

blue filter next to the light

blue filter next to the window

double tracing paper next to the light

double tracing paper next to the window

green and blue filter

green filter next to the light

green filter next to the window

normal, lights off

normal, lights on

normal, lights off, random figure

normal, lights off, shorter figure

tracing paper, blue filter next to the light

tracing paper, blue filter next to the window

tracing paper next to the light

tracing paper next to the window

Set Design

Set design wasn't really my assigned area as the group had decided what they wanted to contribute most of their effort into. Mine was costumes, props, sound and editing. However, i still documented the making of the sets.

There was to be 2 different sets made, one was the main front view of the room, and one was a bird's-eye-view-warped-tunnel-esque view.

After experimenting and testing how to make a convincing effect for a brick wall, the set people made the walls from cardboard, string outlines for the bricks and a wash of acrylic and poster paints, mixed with sand in various shades of browns and greys. PVA glue was then dripped down to give a damp and wet feel when it dried clear. The floor was sponged on with grey paint.

The walls were screwed onto the set with nails and wood. And the "metal bars" for the window were paper straws painted grey :)


Bed (made from cardboard and canvas)

Gaz and i looking extremely excited about the pillow i made for the bed.

Starting from Scratch

These past 3 weeks have pretty much been a blur, to the point that i honestly (honestly) haven't had time to write up what antics this month's group project have been up to. But thanks to my brilliant preplanning, i remembered to document every step of the way.

Brief: Choose 1 out of 3 scripts, based on:
  • Frankenstein
  • Cowboy western
  • Prison story thing
We stuck with the last script, unfortunately i havent got a copy of it to put up on here, but the basic jist was that there is a very hairy prisoner who hears a banging, he looks outside and see's a noose and thinks he's going to die. He then has a long detailed escape story involving a rusty drain pipe- that's all i can remember. However, we thought we'd put a creative twist on the story but with the same basic flow.

It goes like this..

  1. see a hairy, unkept, bearded man in a classic prison suit bored in prison
  2. he chalks off days (emphasises how long he's been there for)
  3. does various activities to show he's bored
  4. he slowly goes more mental as time passes
  5. he hears a banging
  6. someone enters and clicks the light on
  7. turns out he was a grounded kid pretending to be in prison
it sounds a bit weird writing it out like this, but the idea was to make the activities as cut-scenes so that viewers can relate to the feeling of the character going from bored to mental. The storyboard from my RVJ can be shown below, and will probably do a better job of explaining it than words can :)

Character Design
The next thing to focus on was character design, as without this, we wouldn't know how the characters would turn out (obviously), how big they were going to be, how this would affect the set, what colour palletes to stick with etc...

I first did some research for both the scraggly old man and the little boy:

This was just to get an idea of how other animators had made the children seem innocent and well, what makes them look like kids, as well as the style they were created in. The prisoner research was more for the effect of the beard (the main feature of the character) and whether to use the classic stripey jail outfit or the american orange jumpsuits.

From this, i started to do some possible sketches of character designs. However, i'm not too gifted in this area so they weren't too possible to make. I tried to stick to quite simple designs so that it could be easier to mould an armature for and it means to detail wouldn't suffer too much if we were running low on time.

Everyone participated in designing the characters, we all went away, sketched a few and came back to try and collaborate them into one super-character. During this review session, we came to the decision that since there would be no lip syncing in this animation, it would be simpler and easier for us not to have to animate a mouth. However, the emotion would be compensated with overly expressive eyes and eyebrows.

Experimenting with plastacine:
[left to right: joe's, paul's, gareth's, greg's, greg's again but with a paper beard (changes the total look of the head)]

The final decision was with joe's design, sunken in eyes, a strong brow bone and the mouth would be covered with a woolen beard for the prisoner.

armatures and final heads

unfortunately, i didn't manage to get photos of the clothes i made for the prisoner outfit as they went straight onto the model after his body was padded out with cotton wool. However, there is a lovely photo of the t-shirt i made for the boy that went insanely wrong. The sleeves were far too narrow and long and the body looked very tube like and i sewed the sleeves on the outside. Win??... i think not. Don't worry though, it was just a test, i learnt from it and made another one.

Shown below, is the prisoner's beard, which is essentially wool stuck onto a card base with all purpose glue!

The prisoner model without his hat or beard (or feet):

This picture was taken a fair bit later, but it's a picture of the character with all his parts on him, chilling in his room :)