Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Evaluation

This project has been one of the best things I have ever worked on. I have learned so many new skills I barely know where to begin.

Sitting and watching the brilliant trailer that this project has culminated in, I can't help but feel a swell of pride. This started out as a ridiculous idea with a horrendously disgusting plot that had no real point or direction. It has ended up as something that not only proves a point, but is very entertaining and shows a lot of potential in my work.

My brief was to create a product for Adult Swim that could be shown to a target audience of 18 - 26 year old. This was an audience to which I wasn't accustomed because I like to try and aim at both adults and kids. At first I thought this a disadvantage but I was wrong and the focus on this audience really helped me pull together my character designs and humour because I already knew what was required of me. Furthermore, my research and creation of questionnaires that assessed a wide age range of people allowed me to really narrow my band until I knew precisely what my audience would respond to.

My brief also asked me to create a product which would allow potential spin-off products. In this case I chose to make an example of such a product by creating a comic book. I was completely new to comic books and really didn't know too much about them, but I sit here now not only with knowledge of their past, who made them and how they were made but also as a fan. I now love comic books and have been reading them and enjoying them continuously since this project began.

I have acquired so many new skills and learned to use so many new programs by stepping outside not only what I considered to be the boundaries of my abilities, but also completely new ground. I have learned to use Illustrator well and can now create cartoons with professional lining that gives them depth and balance. I have learned to use After Effects to a new standard and now understand so much more about how special effects are used within films at a base level to give them extra depth.

My drawing skills and character design were forced to improve so that I could create better looking characters that were anatomically correct, something that's very important in the comic book genre. My layout, shot choice, direction abilities have all gone up considerably and my understand of color choice is now at an all time high. I am really beginning to see things clearly now and know how to keep myself from rushing into things. I have learned for my mistakes and have applied them to this project and the results are better than anything I have achieved to date.

If there would be one thing I could change, it would be the deadline. With more time I could have done the animation to a better standard quite easily and quite happily. My T&P research and practise has really helped me gain a new understanding of how things and people move and I didn't really get to apply them to the animation because it needed to be done in time. With a further deadline I think I could achieved a better standard in certain scenes.

Overall, I am very, very pleased with my output for this project. Though it has been a long project that has lasted over two months I think I have created some great work. The trailer is fantastic, the comic book is both funny and well constructed and I have learned so many new skills that I have a new confidence in my ability to create exciting work that I am looking forward to applying to future pieces.

I genuinely think this project has been the most invaluable experience I have had all year.

Complete!

Well, I drew up the Sound track for this last week and finished editing it together last week. But things have been so hectic with putting together my final show and finishing up my T&P project (See) that I haven't really had chance to post here.

The final piece looks great, really great. It's easy the best piece of work I've ever drafted...but does that mean I am satisfied. Of course not. I know in my heart that without ridiculous deadlines and by working with a group of people instead of on my own I can really bring one of my dreams to life. I think I am beginning to see the direction I want to take with my life.

I love making cartoons...my cartoons.

I love directing them, choosing angles, designing and realising characters, designing backgrounds...but I can't make entire films by myself because I get too spread out between each job and end up with a final piece that only shows a very small percentage of my capabilities within each field. This isn't fair to my knack for each aspect of the job, to the final piece or to the viewer and so after my course ends next week, I will be pulling together a few different artists to take some of the work load so that I can concentrate on the animation and direction of the cartoon.

This is a big step forward for me and I am very, very excited about the results that we are going to get in the end. I think this is an opportunity for me to really excel in this field and create some great stuff that might potentially lead to a very good job. On top of that I have just started to learn 3D animation, which I am very excited about and very interested in. This is something I am going to concentrate on after I finish and hopefully take somewhere.

I already have one job lined up for after I finish which an animated intro to a film called 'Butterflies'. I finish on Thursday 28th and then I start working on it Friday 29th.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Still shots....

I love detailed still shots in cartoons. Spongebob is great for it and Ren & Stimpy really pushed the technique too. I like them to be painted...in detail, gruesome detail. Sadly, I cannot paint in gruesome detail because I simply don't have the time or patience. But I do have Photoshop and an interest in children's colouring apparatus. Pastels, Crayons and PVA glue really get me off I tell you. I love just mucking about and drawing children's paintings. I

t makes me feel free and it makes me feel good about myself. I love all the imperfections and the pure joy of making something without having to worry about what anybody thinks, what the final product looks like. I intend to stick loads of them up on my fridge when I have a kid so that when people come around I can have them say..."Awwww did he/she do this at school" and I can say..."No, actually I did that one...all the ones that he/she brings home from school are shit and this fridge is reserved for people with talent...."

On that note...here is the still frame you will see in the trailer filed under the heading, "Stupidity".


I planned it out in my new red pencil that I adopted...I love drawing in pencil crayon, the softer lead allows for mistakes and a lighter tone...then you just press harder and get the definition. Then tilt the pencil and shade away all the unwanted lines and mess. With lead you get stuff all over your hands and its a real pain in the arse when you come to trace the image later on.

Looking again now...(I did this first thing this morning and haven't seen it since) I actually really like the results. He looks like an idiot which is what I want and the pastel texture on the lines is great. I'm getting OK at this Photoshop nonsense if I do say so myself. Still doesn't beat drawing on your mums walls behind the sofa though.

Back to it then....

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Getting there....

It's all starting to come together...the animation is getting somewhere near. Not to near a standard that I have impressed myself with or actually like...but certainly to a standard of acceptability with the deadline looming. I am hopefully going to be cutting together the final thing and doing all the sound effects this week. This is going to involved making some kind of EPIC soundtrack...dunno what I'm gunna do about that yet.


video
This is me colouring in another scene. In this scene we see U.A.C use her super power to stop a criminal from stealing a T.V. Its an unusual super power, granted. But if it gets the job done then so what.

I think this will probably be the last 'making of' video I put up because I really need to get on now and can't afford any time to be fiddling around with the screen recorder every time I need to access any files....it also puts a bit of lag on Flash which I normally don't mind putting up with. But under the circumstances I just need to crack on. So the next time I post it will hopefully be about cutting the final piece together, making the soundtrack or some other little job I have to do.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Saturday

It's a Saturday and I was up from 9:30 animating. The irony is that 9:30 is the earliest I've woken up all week...but it does mean I get to knock off a few hours earlier than usual because I've filled my quota for the day. The other irony is, even though its the weekend I have achieved more today that any other day of the week. I have animated a full scene for the trailer! Woot, go me. Well chuffed. The other news is that the animation is OK and I managed to get it all on the screen recorder, so you can watch it all been made in just over a minute, instead of the 6 and a half hours that it actually took.

So here we go: 6 and a half hours, condensed into just over a minute for a final result of just under 10 seconds of animation...if you do that math I was actually averaging over a second an hour....WOW!!!....or something:

video

This is a particularly good screengrab because you really do see everything getting built up. There isn't a single tween in this except for the water effect at the end...but me been the silly bugger I am, I didn't convert certain groups to objects before I animated them, so I had to colour them all in separately...which took ages. You can really see it come to life though. Right at the start I draw the main poses in...then I cut up the character and do a bit of puppetry, then I colour him in. Constantly rendering and checking everything looks peachy along the way of course.

Jolly good then. A few more days like this and I should have all the animation done by the end of the week so then I can spend next week doing the editing, effects and sound.... O JOY!

Friday, 1 May 2009

The Beach


Just a quick post about this background. I've never drawn a beach scene before...so I looked over some different holiday magazines and say a lot of similar things. Bright, nice, sea, umbrellas and added a few of my own props in for measure including a traditional 1930's changing tent and a beach ball. It's simple and looks like a design for a Butlins Flash Website, but I liked it enough to use it. I was particularly fond of the sun on the sea effect and the horizon line with the little bright flash. Its refreshing and what you expect...so it doesn't draw your eye from the other figures in the scene....a black guy and a blonde with big norks.

Boobies and a Black Guy

For the last few days I have been animating boobies and a black guy...or rather Black Guy, my character. I had a bit of a mental break down on Wednesday...deadlines worries got to me and the results I was getting from my animation weren't particularly high. Adequate but not great. So after beating myself up all day, I sat down on Thursday morning to continue with new hopes and a bit of a buzz. Then I watched all of my work so far and started beating myself up again. After trying to work through the day and to not so politely put it, 'cocking things up' all morning I got my act together come the afternoon and remembered what animation is all about....ACTUALLY ANIMATING.

I was falling back on the computer far too much because of the short amount of time I have to work with. But I slowed down and accepted that the deadline is going to kill me and there is nothing I can do if I want some good results at the end of. I will however be knocking stuff together last minute, so I need this out of the a.s.a.p.

Anyway, here is Wednesdays and a bit of Thursdays work all condensed up. I turned the screen recorder off for the most of Thursday because I was stressing...which means I didn't get my best work on video because that is always the way it goes.

video

In Wednesdays video you see me animating a needlessly half naked girl...who points out to the audience that there is no reason for her to be half naked and that she wouldn't actually be in the scene if she didn't have 'big boobies'. The humour grates after a while so I don't know if its funny anymore. This is mostly computer animation and lip-syncing. I used a new lip-syncing technique I read up on ages ago but never tried. You use a graphic symbol and draw all the mouths into the symbol. You then set the symbol to only show a single frame and change the frame to the required mouth on each keyframe. It certainly speeds up the lip-syncing progress and with a bit more time I could have used some effects and tweening to get really, really great results.

video

In Thursdays Video you see. Me finishing up some lip-syncing on the Black Guy character before going back to an old scene and completely re-drawing and lip-syncing a previous scene. The results are better...but still not great. All of the future scenes will have a lot more REAL animation in and the difference will be noticeable, but hopefully forgivable.