Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Frame Size

I've finally managed to figure out how to cut the frame size down on final cut pro so that i stop getting that black letter box framing the outside, so i've uploaded a version that doesn't have it.

video

However, upon looking back, I really should have used a generic PAL frame size so that it wouldn't look weird full-screened, nor would it lose too much quality when it was made bigger.

I'm kinda feeling the regret now... For some reason I was just set on the frame size that was default on Flash: 550 x 400.

Damn you Flash. Why ARE you that size?!!

The best way to watch this video is in a tiny window on quicktime- then everything looks sharp. Probably as big as the video window up there ^^... Which is miniscule!!

ARGHHHDHSO;FHSDG;S1!!;\EREWLRG\!!!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Post Production & Feedback

Sorry for the quietness- I've been working on Scene 19, the live action carrot massacre, the overall sounds of the final animation and general edits. I've been having a real problem with timing, apparently that's my only downfall according to my housemates, who have been regularly watching my work and basically witnessing the process from start to finish. Throughout this production line, they've constantly been poking and pointing me in the right direction which i'm incredibly thankful to them for!

So far, with their feedback, this is what i've produced. There are still some tweaks that need err... tweaking:


On top of this first test i've uploaded, I felt i needed some feedback from fresh eyes, so i've posted this first test video onto the BCU Animation Students Facebook Group:



As much as I appreciate those "Likes", i wish they were converted to constructive feedback -_-', suppose I can't complain. So far, the general consensus seems to be to just focus on refining and shortening the carrot massacre scene, which is totally doable, thank god. 

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the god-awful cheesy music. I thought it stuck out like a sore thumb, but without the music it didn't seem to be effective. Therefore, I have a love/hate relationship with the soundtrack. However, no one has mentioned it, so i guess it's not that prominent?... Let's hope i get some more..

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Update:

I've been told that one way i could improve the music if i'm unhappy with it would be to keep to only one track from scene scene 17 to 19, but just make sure it gets louder during the torture scene for more dynamic, then it should stop as soon as the knife stops.

This sounds like a really good idea so i'll have to see what that looks like:

video




Thursday, 10 May 2012

Scene 1: Intro Cont'd

So i believe today i'm continuing this scene and sorting out the acting. I'm quite worried about how this scene will turn out, I want it to be really good as it's the first scene you see of the animation.
However, it'll probably end up being of the same standard as the rest of it.

Animating the eyes and blinks:

video

Animating the arms and brows:

video


Although this was intended to be a test, I quite like the subtle movement in it, so i might keep it how it is. Or am i just being lazy? I'll have to come back to it if I feel that it needs something else, but for now i'm pretty satisfied.

The next thing I've done is tried to merge the title sequence and scene 1 together to make it seem like a convincing transition, typical for television:

video

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I've just realised I forgot to put in the carrot's stats at the beginning- just to add that extra finish to it. So here it is:

video




Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Scene 1: Intro

Today's been a hectic day.
Don't even ask...

I've basically had to do the same 2 tasks (dopesheeting and lip syncing) twice today because uni computers are crap and life hates me.

On the bright side, I've managed to record the missing 2 scenes! Still no word on the "Next time" extra that I want to add on if i have time.

Here's me trying to match up the lip syncing first on this first scene, before I do the acting. The first part doesn't really matter in terms of acting or matching or anything actually, since this will probably be covered with the title sequence as it fades in.

Forget that he has no eyes for now- I'm just focusing on his mouth.

video

It's so hard to lip sync when words slur together naturally... Particularly towards the end, you can tell i've really struggled with this.

It's pretty late so i might work on the acing tomorrow...

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Scene 20: Engagement

This was a last minute thought, I thought my animation ended quite abruptly, and not only that, I was intending to have a still image up for quite some time, which would be not only boring, but viewers might even think that the animation has frozen.

There's been new script that's been added so that it ties everything together. Hopefully the following image will be able to show what happens in the end.


Another after thought is that I might have a "Next Time" scene right at the end. It'd be a clip from next week's episode, of some other vegetables hopefully saying something hilarious- which would be a really nice way to end the animation.



Monday, 7 May 2012

Title Sequence

I'm really aiming for something really cheesy and a little bit ghastly.

This is what I've produced so far...  I chose for autumnal vegetably colours to filter the images. I wanted something simple, corny but got the point across. Obviously it will also be more effective once i've got the sound on it.

video

Having done that, I've tried to put some music tracks over it. But I'm actually finding this a lot more difficult than i originally anticipated... I don't actually have a lot of experience in putting music behind animations, let alone a cheesy title sequence. It's quite hard to think of what kind of mood i'm wanting, as well as finding a free sound (i'm using Garageband), AND being able to cut it to a decent length so that the music doesn't stop really suddenly- as it's only a short time that this sequence is actually up.

This first one has more a cheeky, cheerful feel. I find it also has that kind of boring talk show melody, the type that kids would turn off but totally suits the middle aged market for television. I quite like it, but it was hard to cut down the music for this one. And as a result, I think that the stamp of "exposed" on the title is timed a bit weirdly when played with the music:

video

This next one is a bit more jazzy, a bit more modern and rock. It kind of gives it a more exciting and american reality TV feel almost. I think the timing is a lot better than the previous one. It's just a matter of which mood I prefer... Or not at all! I could choose a different track altogether if my feedback pushes me to:

video

Scene 0: Title Sequence

So i've decided to go for a title sequence after all, to give it that cheesy talk-show vibe.
I'm definitely aiming for the cheesier the better- so if my title sequence has made your toes curl, i know i've succeeded.

video

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Scene 14: Tammy

Yesterday and today, I've been finishing off these scene. This scene has been a bloody nightmare for me as it took me ages to figure out actually what to do visually for this... I needed something sweet and innocent to sugar up the mood and to make it obvious to the viewers that this is when the character met the love of his life.

Looking at the miserable weather outside, I came up with the idea of the carrot being saved from the depressing rain by a kind gesture of offering an umbrella from Tammy. It's cute, it's warming and it makes you go aww... unlike the rest of the animation.

For this scene, I've had to take a few liberties, as usually i'd fit the animation around the sound... but the pauses weren't right and the mood was rushed, so i'm going to have to manually edit the sound so that the animation can take as much time as it needs for this slow song.

video

Monday, 30 April 2012

Scene 1 Research

As my animation is like a mix between an interview and a documentary (with less narration) so i realise that the beginning scene of this is crucial to how the tone of the rest of the animation plays out.

Originally, it was just going to be a plain conversing between the "interviewer" and the carrot. I had even scripted it:
Carrot: "Is it on??"
Interviewer: "We'll just jump straight in then if you don't mind. So tell us when your life began for you."
...Or something to that effect. And i've decided that it's boring, uninteresting and far too easy.

The animation is like a film of answers with the questions edited out so it is both an interview and a documentary... i guess.

I'm finding it hard to think of an alternative way to beginning the animation. So i thought it would make sense to research on some documentaries/interviews and have a look at how they start and introduce the programme and get some inspiration from that:

- Programme starts with a direct question to the person in question to introduce the actual topic of the programme.
- Offers statistics of the topic.
- Humour and a small explanation of what the topic means.

- Starts with a humorous yet informative scenario that happened within the documentary- getting straight to the point of the topic.
- States his location, which is a place highly populated with the people in question.
- Further explanation of what the topic actually is.

- Begins with a very cheesy but humorous title sequence for the series (little screens and snapshots of who he's previously interviewed)
- Quite a similar beginning to mine, in the fact that you've got the person in a chair and just having like an off-centre close shot of the character.
- Gives a brief background story on the successes of the person, and why you may know them.
- All the points above so far are very possible assets i could put in my animation. The cheesy title sequence would definitely give it a funny documentary series aesthetic and an introductory story of why the person interviewed is interesting is also effective in explaining what the purpose of the animation is.
- Unlike my audio so far, you can also hear the interviewer, even when the interviewee is talking e.g. laughing at jokes, which definitely adds a different dynamic and gives an obvious natural conversing feel. 
- Has some shots when the camera changes angle every-so-often so that the shot doesn't stay static. Good idea that i should take note of.
- Audio even includes when the people talking stumble or have "umms" or "errs" which makes it even more natural and more like a documentary- like you're not missing anything. I wish I added more of this into mine... Hopefully there's still time.
- Has shots of the interviewer when he asks questions... Maybe i should introduce another character as my interviewer??

- I chose this documentary to watch because it seemed to be guaranteed humour and rudeness which is what mine is pretty much about too.
- Starts with an explanation as to why the topic is occurring.
- Has small, funny clips of examples of the topic.
- Introduces the character, has her speaking to the camera about her experience so far as well as background narration to give more further information.

- Full background narration to get straight to the point of the topic
- Professional quotes and comments to back up the narrative script
- A touching little comment from the main person to gain sympathy from the audience. Not really something that I can apply to my animation. 
- As it's a more serious documentary, the tone of the full background narration would be a bit too intense for the mood of my work.

- Again, a more serious documentary to watch so probably not that relevant- until I noticed how they introduced the people they were making the film about. When introducing the people, they paused the film when it showed them, and text appeared at the bottom saying their name, weight and height (because it's about small people). I think this is interesting to do as usually this kind of introductory text is saved for maybe older films or sitcoms in the title sequence... but i quite liked it. If i added this to my animation when introducing the main character, it could add a humorous streak, and the weight and the height would give the audience a real life statistic to imagine the character to- so it would be more like a documentary.
- In one particular part, all the camera crew shake hands and introduce themselves to the person. This adds an element of fame to the character.
- Introduces their parents! That could be interesting... obviously I would have to make a whole new scene but I never thought of having his parents... Considering my character's a vegetable..
- Also has random shots of things in the city that the crew is in to give atmosphere and gives the narrator time to talk and the viewers can concentrate on what they're saying. This may be a good thing to add if i end up having a narrator too, a random blender or a fork on the counter.

After doing this amount of research, I have found that not only have I got some kind of idea of how the animation could start, I also have ideas of things that I could add to enhance the realism of the "documentary" aspect of my animation, including:

- Adding random atmospheric shots.
- Having a narrator or an interviewer.
- Having a cheesy title sequence as if like a talk show.
- Introducing the character with a freeze frame and some info text about them.
- A brief background story on why the character's interesting to follow.
- Alternating camera angles during the interviewing scenes.
- Having audio of actual conversing between character and interviewer.
- A scene introducing his parents?!

All i have to do now is pick and choose... Ugh...

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Scene 2: Everyone wanted me

It's getting late but I really wanted to get this filler done so that I could say I'd got about 2 scenes done today.

Well, 1 scene and 2 fillers.

This was pretty much the same as the previous post of lip syncing and animating little subtle gestures like arms, eyebrows, eyes and blinks..

video



Scene 3: Raw Magnetic Attraction

In this scene, i just needed a filler- i noticed this as i've been compiling the full animation as i've been going along. In scene 3, there's some still images being shown, but the script is too long for the images, so i thought i could do a small animated filler.

This filler will be the carrot talking in his armchair, as he will be for another filler in scene 2 (another gap that ive noticed i need to fill) and scene 1.

This first test is to make sure the lip syncing is right:

video

Seems okay, now onto animating the eyes and blinks...

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video

It all seems A-Okay so far... But i think to add a bit more flair, it would be great if i could get him to have some arms, as in the original concept, he's actually holding a martini glass:


It might take some time but if he waved around a glass while we was talking- that would be brill. I'll need to do the same for scene 2's filler and scene 1.

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So the arms are done- they're quite rough, but they're as smooth as i can get them at the moment... it's a shame his arms are orange too- you can't really see the arm that lies across him very much... but besides that, i've managed to animate both arms so i'm pretty happy with the progress today...

It also means i can use all these assets for the other 2 scenes i need them for :)

video

Scene 15: She was a fruit

This live action piece has been quite hard to animate with since it requires a bit of subtle movement, and also, it goes on for longer than i'd like.

Blogger currently isn't letting me upload my first test.

But i can tell you that the same thing happens for 11 seconds, which is quite tedious, so i've decided to cut it up in the middle with a still of a cut tomato, and then animate the second half with pips flying at his face- for comedy value...

Hopefully blogger will be kinder at uploading my next test when i have it...

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The contrast of the picture is a lot higher than i thought.. Although i filmed the live action in day light, hoping for a sharper picture, i didn't realise that the kitchen lights were on too, which made the whole picture a bit too yellow and bright.

Oh well.

Here's the second test, and i think the final one for this scene, as i kinda like it like this :) (obviously if it was less bright, i'd probs love it a lot more.)

video




Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Scene 7: The Jackets

So i've had some time to think about this scene as this one was one of the scenes that was lying around undecided.

So i've decided to have one establishing shot of The Jackets and then having a crude cut out movement of them all going into the club/pub called "The Masher". This will marry up the joke of them getting "mashed" every night and also the fact that in the scene after, how the butternut squash crudely moves.

Either way, i feel it's a better option to go for than the original- one of the jackets handing a beer to the carrot. Not only is this unexciting, but it's actually quite difficult to do, since the character design i've done for the jackets it quite complicated.

This way, with the stupid cut out movement, it can purposely look ridiculous and funny, and also save me some hard labour.

Here's the first establishing shot of The Jackets. Looking proper hardcore.


Now that i'm looking at it, I think they all look a bit weird all being in the same lighting, especially since they're standing in a staggered position. I'll alter the brightness on the two behind so that they look like they're in the environment a bit more.



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A few hours later...

I've just finished the background for the second part of the scene. It was actually really hard to do, since i dont usually remember what the OUTSIDE of clubs look like, and i also seem to remember that they're pretty boring on the outside. a bit like an old building.

I had a stab anyway, with some help of google images, I based it on this club:


And then produced this:


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Animating crudely is always easy, and to me, it looks hilarious.

video

... Probably because it reminds me of South Park. Okay so i might be borrowing a small amount of empathy from loyal viewers of the show..

I feel it needs some mood lighting inside- like disco lights to making it look "pumpin'" :P

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Here we go:

video




Scene 4: Crap Neighbourhood

The only part that needs most animation consideration in this scene is the fly i've spontaneously introduced.

This scene is just mentioning about where the carrot's childhood friend grew up. And to add a bit ore atmosphere, i introduced a scabby fly.

Usually for something like this, I'd use a motion tween to animate the fly and then curve the motion path. However, since i'm exporting everything as a png image sequence, i can't use motion tweens, so i've had to animate it frame by frame like everything else.

video

I animated this as a test, but i kinda like it... the fly still flies in a weirdly straight line, but i can't seem to rectify it... either way, i did try and give him a bit of a lazy bee bob. I'm also planning to put a little "squidge" noise when he lands on his head.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Scene 18: Tell Them It's Not True

This scene is pretty similar to the last one. Just requires frame by frame lip syncing, which is easy but extremely time-consuming and tedious.

The first test is again, just to check the match-up

video

Okay, so it's a little bit out, about 3 frames out, so now i'll have to go back and change it.. i'm also wondering whether he should move his face upwards little bit when he says "true"... i'll just get the lip syncing down first..

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video

Better...

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I was just animating the face move, but even as i was doing it, it looked very odd... I've now decided against it! 

Right, now to put the rolling pin back on the mushroom...

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This is pretty ship shape now i reckon, with a license for handmade quaint quality :P
Now finished with threatening rolling pin! oh, and i also got rid of the annoying white strip that turned up at the beginning.





Friday, 20 April 2012

Scene 17: No Vegetable Has a Juice!

Today has been pretty simple lip syncing for the broccoli.. the only annoying thing being that all the assets have to move with the broccoli as it bobs around which is actually pretty difficult- without making it look like his face his swimming around his head.

So this is the first test, just to see if the lips match up to the sound.

video

Next i'll be adding the faces on the other vegetables, and the mushroom and pepper need some weaponry. Oh and shadows to come too..

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video

It's all a bit wobbly but i kinda like it like that.
Handmade quality.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Scene 16: Suspicion (Carrot Kidnap)

So you may have been wondering where i've been... slacking off maybe??

Nope.

Ellen (a volunteer from L5) and I have been busy cutting out the images from the live action footage from the previous post, frame by frame. It was tedious. It was tiring. But we managed to do it.

I never want to see another quick selection or lasso tool ever again, unfortunately i still have scene 16 to film. Ughh... Luckily, it's not too long.

So having cut out the first lot of frames for scene 15, I slapped on his face and added some shadows.

video

I cut out the shadow of the string within the image, as i thought this would be useful to keep it accurate. Unfortunately, although i made this part opaque, it wasn't dark enough to look like a shadow against the counter top texture. So i tried to cover it with an extra layer, but yeah, it didn't cover up exactly and so ends up looking a bit 3-D :l oh well.

The rest is pretty nice though, the lines boil slightly which give it an illustrated yet 3-D feel. And the imperfect cut out lines gives it a little bit of a hand-crafted and loved feel.. I think so anyway :P

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I went ahead and did the shifty eyes that the other vegetables give when they're suspicious. This happens before the kidnapping- seems i've done everything backwards!

This was pretty easy, i was a bit lazy with the character design, but i think the simpler the better (maybe?!)... well if i change my mind and have time, i can go back and change it.

I also got rid of the sigh at the beginning of the track i previously had... It was lengthening the time of the scene considerably so the visuals weren't making enough of an impact.

It seems to drag at the end (s'cuse the pun)...
But i think with some shuffley background noise it'll be fine... so once i've recorded all the background noise at the end when i bring everything together, hopefully everything will be A OKAY!!

... I'm tired. I've been working 10 hours straight.

video





Monday, 16 April 2012

Live Action Filming



Today, i filmed some scenes that i'll be rotascoping the background in. It's mostly towards the end of the animation when the styles are more played around with.

I had some help from my housemate, holding vegetables, wiggling them around and essentially trying to act through them. While i tried to get camera angles right.

We played the recorded script while we filmed so that we could get the wiggling and timing right, and also used a white background so that I could edit out the background later on the computer.

Here's some of the material we produced:

Part of Scene 16: Carrot Kidnap
So in this part, I wrapped one of my carrots in parcel string and dragged him across the frame to make him look like he was being kidnapped.

video

The first is quite long, and a bit too smooth.
The second is more jerky, like he's actually being tugged along. It's also alot faster, so i think i'll be using this one.

Scene 17: No vegetable has a juice
This is when other vegetables start to gang up on the carrot. I was too lazy and couldn't be bothered to go to the shop to buy a courgette as the speaker was meant to be. So i subbed him for a broccoli and brought in a yellow pepper too.. :P

video

The first video had a problem, there's a little loose swingy bit of broccoli that swings around an insane amount, and i was having troubles thinking about editing around that..

The second is much better, less swingy, and the wiggles match up to the sound.

The third was just a play on a different angle, it was actually a lot more difficult than i originally thought to fit 3 vegetables into a shot. Especially with that yellow pepper being so bright and big, it kept biffing the broccoli over. As a result, this one looked a bit messy and the focus is off.

Scene 18: Tell them it's not true
As an improvisation, i thought i might be quite funny to have the carrot tied up and swinging around as if they were all gonna beat him up while he's hung up. It makes it slightly more interesting than just having him tied up on the floor or in a chair.

You'll also get to see more of the live action movement in it which will give it a much nicer effect :)

I only wish that we had played the sound to this aswell, but we didn't so the wiggling doesn't quite fit with the voice.

video

The first video, the carrot was swinging with the top of his head to the camera....
Second, was better, a side on view and some tugging whilst talking..
Third, waaaay too swingy but then it could be funny if his face was zooming, swinging into the camera and out again... May have a look if this shot has potential.

Button walks towards Carrot
This part is just when Button responds to what Carrot said by stepping towards him with a baseball bat.
It was hard to get the camera to focus on the mushroom so close, but i think it might work out better than way...
I had to use a red background for this one, as the mushroom is so pale against the white, it would be hard time for me to cut him out of it.

video


The first is kind of a little boppy walk, which i'm not quite a fan of.
The second is more to my liking but it's quite fast, so i'm planning to pause it for a bit at the beginning, so this can be when he's playing with the baseball bat, before he comes forward.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Scene 12: Grill Tanning Cont'd

So i'm working on the second part of scene 12 today... So far, i've animated the carrot getting up to lean on his elbow whilst tanning, and made a different range of lip sync mouths to look less happy, and then lip synced the rest of the script.

Just a quick test to see whether it links up again, and how the movement looks overall..

After this, i still need to animate a bit more as i'd quite like him to take off his tanning goggles when he says "got leeked".

video

As you can see, the second part of the lip syncing's a little tragic so... ONCE AGAIN, im going to sort that out. But otherwise i think the movement of getting up is okay.. or is it too fast? i'll see after my second test...

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video

So i've tidied up the lip syncing.. there's a little bit on the end of when  he says "got" that i'd like to add a consonant mouth at the end, so it doesn't look too slurred.

I'm also thinking of lengthening the pause between the two speeches- as it kind of sounds like he rushes into it- which is a bit strange.

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video

Now that i have this ironed out, im going to try animate him taking his goggles off.

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I've animated this part quite simply with shortcuts- i'm hoping it doesn't show too much!!
I also didn't know whether to give him eyes with his tan... Especially the fact that his eyes are meant to be quite long and definitely wouldn't fit behind those tiny tanning goggles... and you wouldn't be able to see the funny tan line as much if i put the eyes in...

or do i give him random small beady eyes- that he doesn't have in any other scene?!!

Decisions, decisions...

video

Now i've got that dreaded stupid atmosphere animation to do now... WHY IS THERE SOME MUCH EFFING SMOKE OR STEAM IN THIS ANIMATION?!!!!!!

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So I animated the steam in a slightly different way this time.. I don't think i've yet used the same technique for the same effect :l haha..

This time i used the brush tool to create the steam on flash, and then used the motion editor to animate it, changing the alpha, scale, positioning and using a blur filter. I think it created an interesting result.

UNTIL, i realised i created the steam on a movie clip. Which means when i try to export it (how i need to anyway- exporting it as a png image sequence), it won't actually translate onto those frames. Which sucks. It will only work if i export it straight into a quicktime movie from flash- which i can't do. Because my flash hates me and i get glitches that way. 

Back to the drawing board.

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Okay, so that problem was quickly solved... i just copied what i did above, but just not in a movie clip!! haha... whoops. I forgot you could create a motion tween in a graphic.

video


So i think it turned out well for the environment... I realised that when you grill stuff, they don't really steam or smoke all that much. So i opted for the occasional sizzle lines. Hopefully you can see them on that stupidly tiny frame sized video above.

I think that's all i can do on this scene before i explode. I better move on.