Monday, 30 May 2011

Rap Revised

I reanimated my part of the rolo rap for the collaboration project. I think it syncs up better- it doesn't have the background yet either but hopefully once all the animators have put together their pieces, it'll flow nicely.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Some Doodlins

I had some spare time so i thought i'd do a bit of leisurely drawing... Maybe i'll colour them at some point...
(I used references from DeviantArt for the body positions and then recreated them in my own style)

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Target Audience Research

When i asked James what his target audience was he replied:

"well im not so sure if this suits the animation but the target audience is 11-20"

Err... right i don't know how many 20 year olds still watch cartoons besides my lovely self and my entire course. But still, i decided to look at what successful cartoons there are out there at the moment to suit this market. I reckon it's quite hard to ask 11 year olds what cartoons they like as they're usually at that stage when cartoons are "for losers"... Oh, woe is me. Well, i'm going to share what i think is amazing out there for this generation, and what i remember as being "TOTALLY FRIGGIN AWESOME" when i was 11. As you can probably tell, i was no average 11 year old girl.

I absolutely LOVED (and still do) Spongebob when i was a kid. It's absolutely hilarious and not just when i was younger, but i still find it amazing. Literally just based on the skill of the animators to portray emotion makes it heart achingly funny. I love how in this episode, kids are secretly taught about global warming when watching their favourite cartoon. The bright colours and funny characters attract the younger audience, whilst the jokes still tickle the humour of slightly older viewers.

I always thought Ed, Edd n Eddy was a pretty clever cartoon. It has a unique line boiling style which is a bit trippy and makes the characters look like their always moving. This is particularly attractive to hyper kids that can't stay still. What i always loved was that some of the colouring is completely off, like some kids tongue is blue and another guy's teeth are green and everyones got weird coloured skin; and i loved the fact the storyline is sooo crazy and all the stuff is off-scale. It really reminds you that when you were a child, everything that was weird was just accepted. Of course the roofs of the houses all cave in like soggy dilapidated books! Why wouldnt they be?!!

Another one i remember loving was Ren and Stimpy. So incredibly stupid and creepy but for some reason i loved it. Even though the colours are pretty muted and every episode went into gruesome detail, i couldn't help loving it and i know a fair few people my age that still love this animation.

Last one- Looney Toons. I'm wondering if I just love this because of nostalgia rather than it being amazing in 2011. You can't lose with Looney Toons- it's funny and makes you want to do half the things they do in the animation in real life. Either way, it's vintage, the colours are almost realistic to the references and it's timeless.

Sound Research III Wall-E Special Features Animation Sound Design

I decided to re-watch the video above to refresh my memory on how much work goes into putting sounds into an animation, choosing appropriate sounds and how much it can effect an animation not only visually but emotionally.

The palette of sound effects also alters the genre, mood and style of the animation. It's also a vital component in targeting the intended audience, so for a comedy for young children, the range of sounds would be light, happy, exaggerated and comical.. e.g: Tom and Jerry

Whereas an animation for adults would have a slightly different range of sound effects or hardly any e.g: Futurama

Sound Research II

Okay, so i've looked at similar animated cartoons, i thought it was time to look at old kung-fu/martial arts movies and see what sounds were used. I'd expect that the sounds used in live action combat would be less exaggerated and more realistic....

After watching this well known martial arts clip, i noticed there was just a simple background music to set the mood, and a lot of swooshes, whips and typical action sounds when punches and kicks were being thrown; along with grunts from the characters, the surrounding props being broken made more sound than they probably would in real life. This surprised me as i guess even in live action films, sounds will still be exaggerated so that the scene looks more interesting and dramatic.

In Bruce Lee's clip there's a slightly different approach to the sounds used. Granted yes it is in the 70's, so there are some comical sound effects (i.e. the bounce noise at 4:32-4:24) but it's still successful in capturing my attention. Again, all the sounds are exaggerated. However, there is minimal music in the combat scenes, just an opening sequence to set the tone and then only the sound effects are heard so that the audience's focus is solely on the fight.

This clip uses the same cheesey oriental music with typical chinese instruments. More exaggerated combat sound effects aswell.

A slightly modern take on a martial arts film, it has more of a cinematic feel with a mix of western and oriental instruments for the backing music, it also changes depending on what's going on in the scene, i.e. flutes start to play or drums beat when a character turns their head suddenly or if a fighter strikes. Otherwise, everything still stays pretty typical of a kung fu film.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Sound Research I

My first lot of sound research i did was looking at similar animations to my 3rd year's project, keeping in mind the genre, story content and target audience.
The bold, graphic style of the animation he did immediately brought Cartoon Network to mind as a lot of their shows have a strong Flash vector style. I then started to reminisce about the cartoons i used to watch as a child and remember which cartoons were similar to the one i'm currently working on.
In particular, Dragon Ball-Z, Samurai Jack and Avatar the Last Airbender sprang to mind. I've decided to watch some clips of these animations and pay special attention to the sound effects and music they've used and what made them so effective.

Samurai Jack holds a continuous oriental music theme throughout, and when changing the mood of the story, the pacing of the music changes, faster for action, quiet and eerie for suspense and slower for a more comfortable and relaxed feeling. All the sound effects are more exaggerated to make it more exciting for the young target audience. What i found interesting, was that the music did most of the story telling in this particularly from 05:36 onwards.

I really wanted to put up an example of Avatar the Last Airbender up, but it looks like Youtube is alot more vigilant with getting rid of illegal copies of it. So, you'll have to justsettle for a megaupload link:
Avatar has more of an epic feel to it's soundtrack, with the odd slapstick humour sound effects to lighten the mood. Again, all the sound effects are slightly exaggerated but not as much as Samurai Jack's.

This clip of Dragon Ball-Z shows a bit of combat, this programme used sounds typical for any anime, really over the top (to match the exaggerated expressions) and usually not very natural sounding noises either. This was to get a taste of any sounds i might need for any combat scenes in James' animation.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


"250 word typed evaluation reflecting on your experiences of working in a group. This should include any problem solving and/or innovative solutions. This can be written on your blogs."

New to working in a collaborative environment, I definitely found it arduous and tedious at times when communication was lacking. However, when morales were high the work would flow easily and the input of different ideas, especially when from other sectors of art, would inspire our group to achieve a high standard work ethic.

Hard times arose when a couple of the team flaked away, leaving the rest of group to buckle slightly under their abandoned workload. We encouraged each other and eventually were able to organise ourselves around this bout of bad luck. No doubt had the group fully stuck together, we may have been able to produce an even better animated advert.

Good communication is an important attribute to have in any good working team. Luckily, our group was able to establish this fact early and we exchanged contact details, set up a shared Dropbox and created a private Facebook group, where we could discuss, upload work in progress, make comments and critique. Being able to easily reach to each other benefited the bond in the group and we found it comfortable to work together.

If I was to do the same or similar brief again, I would have made sure the entire audio sequence was transferred to dopesheets before allocating each animator a certain amount of work. Not using this method meant that some people was confused or misunderstood, and some parts were done twice by the same person and other parts were left unfinished. Therefore, when it was time to collaborate all the work, the final animation suffered, meaning the team probably did more work than was necessary. So, our organisational skills could be much improved, but having had this experience, I will be able to apply this knowledge in the future.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Check it.

So for this module, we have to help out a 3rd year with their work.
I paired up with a nice lad, James. For my first task, he sent me a video of his trailer for his animation and asked me to put sound on it:

"...Mainly I need footsteps + prob background sound of dark atmosphere. sound that implies tension + disruption of the worlds balance lol if u can pul that off that wud be great."- I took this as my brief.

I found most of my sounds off free sound websites (not as easy as it sounds and there's a lot of catches), and downloading sounds usually comes in .wav or .mp3 format, and for use in Final Cut Pro, i had to convert these tracks in iTunes into an AIFF format before i could import. Using these tracks, i could manipulate them to my liking, so i cut many of these sounds so i could just have snippets or repeat certain sections i liked.

Thank god i'm well rehearsed in basic sound editing on Final Cut Pro- this meant i found it relatively easy and i had the motivation to impress. And as before when i do this kinda thing, i got into the zone, head down, stuck in and actually i really enjoyed myself! I forgot how much i enjoyed sound editing :)... maybe i'll wanna look more into this area further down the line...

So! Here it is, i hope you enjoy (NB: might have to turn the sound up on your computer because some bits are quite subtle):

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Little bit more...

I took in the notes on what i needed to do to improve the animation and tried again today, i made the intro shorter, and took out the blanks and finally got round to taking pictures of the plastic bag i kept putting back.

I even taught myself how to mask! this was useful when i had to animate the packet of rolos rolling out of the bag, so that i could scroll the text over the tube (so it looked like it was rolling) and using a mask, erasing the part of the text that would usually be seen coming off the edge of the tube.

I have no idea if that made any sense or was any easier to understand. But oh well. Here goes, test 2 without the sound:

It still needs a background..

But at least the most part is done...

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Attempt to Sync... Preparing to Sink

Right, so after some much arduous lassoing on photoshop, and using the colour replacement tool for the tracksuit etc.. I've started to animate and compile the images together to make a sort of cut-out pixilation type of animation. It's still VERY rough and there are blank parts still which i need to fill with err stuff.

Here's a bit on what i've done so far:

1. it doesn't quite sync up with the sound as much as i'd like- maybe i need to go over this and sort this out (even though i have got a dopesheet, maybe it just needs some manual adjusting)

2. he drops his bag too suddenly

3. i think the intro bit should move up closer to the rest of the animation, so that the full view of the character isn't so strange.. the rather large portion at the beginning where there is no sound can probably be cut out.

4. it still needs a background

5. i hate how even on a low quality export, Flash still decides to muck around with it so you get these stupid shadows and ghosts.

6. i had to improvise the last part of the animation as i had some body photos missing so i had to reuse what i already had.

So far, so lame.