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..

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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:

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

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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 :)

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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.)

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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.

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... 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:

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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.

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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

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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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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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".

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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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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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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...

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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.

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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.



Thursday, 12 April 2012

Scene 12: Grill Tanning

I'm still chugging along here- but these dope sheets are making my brain and face hurt so i might have to give it up soon...

I thought i'd just whip out the first part of scene 12 before i finish up for the day. I'm getting pretty used to creating the facial expressions for lip syncing on photoshop now- and for the speed i'm going at, i'm very thankful.

This first part is literally just straight forward lip syncing- so this first test is just to test the link-up..

The second part of the speech involves the carrot sitting up and taking off his tanning goggles, which i don't think i have the energy for- so i'll have to sort that out tomorrow- luckily, i think it'll be pretty straight forward..

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Okay, so looking at this video, the sound doesn't link up (as always) so i'm going to have to go back in and polish this up..

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Now this one looks slightly better- his lips flap around a bit because i made them a little too big- but that's fine :P

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So this section of this scene is done for tonight... i'll do the second half tomorrow.

Night world x

Scene 10 & 11: Beer Goggles

So this is the scene i'm doing today- i started late due to a random wild goose chase looking for a patisserie this morning... Anyway, never mind that.

This is the part when carrot (yup, he still has no name), reminisces about a bad account of beer goggles. It starts off with him talking over the memory. He's in bed and wakes up to something unexpected. The gag being that it wasn't a brussels sprout at all- but a huge giant friggin cabbage. I'm not sure it's all that clear if i didn't tell you that he was talking about a sprout he thought he met.

Anyway, this is what i've done so far.

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I think the pause needs to be longer before the still comes in... And if i can, i think it might be good if there was some animated smoke coming off the cigarette, even though it's just a still image- i think it might add a bit of edge to it so it wouldn't be so static.

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So i had a go at adding a little bit more atmosphere with the smokey ceiling and the smoke coming out of her cigarette. This was actually pretty hard to do. It actually got to the point where I:

1) created a smoke stream on photoshop
2) cut it up into 16 layers
3) saved it as a .psd file
4) imported it into flash
5) created a symbol for the smoke
6) made a symbol within the smoke itself
7) keyframe animated layers of the smoke so i could animate it trailing upwards

I even had to make sure the front and the back of the animation linked up so that it could repeat itself and wouldn't jump. It may be simple to most but it was puzzling at the time for me. Here's the evidence:

Above- a nice smoke stream with parts edited out- mid animation

Keyframing animated smoke O_O' 

16 layers?!! just for a bloody smoke stream?!! dear god. Even i think that's too much work for a tiny bit of smoke that you probably won't be able to see in the updated animated scene:

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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Scene 9: Peapod

So i think i'll need a number of tests for this scene as there are a few tricky parts.
Including unzipping a peapod seductively, more lip syncing, a crying child and a dummy spat into the carrot's face.

This first test is of the unzipping, which seems to have worked pretty well. I just did it frame by frame as png images on photoshop and then put them in flash. I thought if i moved every single part it would get far too complicated.

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The next test is just to make sure i'm getting the lip syncing right... I guess it looks okay but it doesn't actually match up... i then go to fiddle with it and it seems to make it work.. Hmm.. Well, it's only a short scene so hopefully no one will be too fussy :P

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So before I give up for today, this what i've produced today... I think the timing of the dummy being spat out needs some work and it needs to turn a bit as it's spat out- i'll finish it off tomorrow. Oh, and i also need to get some sucking sounds and the child crying. Hopefully i can find that off a free sound site before i go stealing candy from children.

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Actually, looking at it- i think it's all fine... don't know if that's just because i'm feeling lazy or because i actually think it's fine. Feedback showed that it was fine too so maybe i should just move on..



Revised Work Schedule

So now that my work is picking up, I thought i should probably have a plan of how to pace myself.
I already created a work schedule 2 months ago, but that was when I thought i was doing a different project- so when i looked back on it, i found that it didn't really match up with what i was doing and i needed a more detailed list of what to do.


Everything in my work schedule looks pretty understandable until about April 18th onwards, since i've actually planned to re-do and rethink parts of my animation. Yes, it might be a bit late to be doing that, but i've been needing the time to think of a suitable idea, and luckily, i have a bit of time to make these amends.

I'm the type of person who likes to work as they go along. I attempt to avoid the problems from the beginning, but will happily face them when I come to them. Hence, around April 23rd onwards, I'm recording or designing, minutes before i'm animating them.

I can't seem to think of more than one thing at a time! So i prefer to just get things sorted when they come along. Especially as this is the longest piece i'm going to produce, I'd like to keep my head screwed on as much as possible!

This work schedule will apply if I work EVERYDAY. Obviously, that won't happen.
But as there is 3 weeks where I'm just doing final touches to everything in weeks 15-17, I think this gives me some allowance to have a day off here and there so i don't go absolutely insane.

If i work at the same pace as i've been doing, I should be able to get this thing comfortably done on time :)
Brill.

So err... Looking at the schedule, I should probably be starting to get Scene 9 underway. Ughhhhhh!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Prep for Scene 9: Peapod

A late character design for the next victim of awful chat-up lines


Scene 8: Pervy eyes for the Butt Ernut Squash

So today i've started on scene 8 so far. This is when carrot chats up a butternut squash. I wanted the butternut squash to make a jerky entrance, similar to cut outs- just for humour value, which was pretty easy to do. However, swinging the carrots eyes down so he can check her out is proving trickier than i thought. I have two different versions, a more exaggerated and more subtle...

Although i've stuck tweens between the eye movements, it still seems a little jerky... not sure why. But before i fix anything, i think i need to decide on which movement i'll be going for:

The more exaggerated:
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The more subtle:
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After asking 2 of my housemates for their opinions on these, they both opted for the more subtle. And suggested a flirty/pervy eyebrow raise as he clocks her bum which i agreed would make a nice addition. So i've had a go at putting these in and i think it makes it a lot clearer before he started to talk to her.

I also went ahead and did the lip syncing. It was pretty spot on apart from needing to lengthen the pause after he says "Hey Babe"...

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i'm now going to animate the background (just animating some bubbles in the bar pole) and maybe adding a shoulder bop at the beginning so it looks like he's bopping along to the music. I'll also need to decide whether to give the butternut squash a face. AND THEN pop some bursts of bright colour on it to give the illusion of disco lights.

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I found that when timing his head bops- i needed to have chosen the sound track that will be in the club. So i found a track from a free fx website- royalty free of course! I needed a song that wasn't going to have a climax in it and seemed pretty predictable so that it wouldnt take anything away from the animation. The lights were quite startling and caused a few epileptic fits until it came to decision that it would be best to subtly fade them in and out.

A few finer details were brought when i was given further feedback from my housemates. They suggested that I should make the butternut squash more noticeable as a woman- either with stereotypical accessories or a face (both of which are pretty hard to do when the character is meant to be facing away, and more importantly, only 2-D).

A brilliant suggestion was just to give her a bigger bum. So a bigger bum she has. A more defined bum makes for a better pervert.

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