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.


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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.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Show!

I'm putting together a few parts of my final show - what with it happening in just a few weeks. Now. Alongside finishing T&P and sorting all that PDP stuff (website, business card, CV etc...) out I need to knock together a show reel, make a load posters in full size and put together all my folders for the final show. Woot! Nothing like hard work I say. All this is alongside finishing up my trailer for my studio project and putting together my Hallmark work into a studio project...

:S

Anyway, what Ive done today is draft up the two figures in going to be using as character cut-outs for my final show. One is of Pervert Man and the other of Captain Uber. Both needed to be posing in manners that suggested their character and immediately told the viewer a lot about them, whilst being eye catching enough to drag them over to my booth.

So this is what I've got.

I decided this is the pose I wanted for Uber. It shows stupidity and a belief in brawn over brains. So I relined it in illustrator and it turned out just lovely. It was interesting working for such a large medium and for a different kind of printing. I will be cutting out the image so I gave it it big thick black lines in case of 'accidents'.

I went for a totally new pose for Pervert Man. I had none that were suitable for the show...this one sort of involves the audience...I think that is why it works. I still kept the saggy breasts though...hanging on his arms...ugh. I like this drawing, but I prefer the original...it lost a little personality in transition and I fear this will be more so with a giant print....

There are no advantages to working in A3 but only have an A4 scanner....luckily that is where Illustrator comes in handy.

I've deliberately left the characters quite plain because I don't know what the lighting is going to be like in the room and if I start throwing moody lighting and sinister colours at the characters, only for them to be stood under a spotlit bright blue room, the effect will be lost and Captain Uber will just be a white and red outline.

Anyway. Show ho! And I'm off to the printers.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Monday - Scene 3

I drew up the background for this scene at the weekend and today I drew the characters in (Twice due to a crash) and then animated them. Again, its only computer animation...but there is a certain charm to this limited form of animation - that charm is that its really quick to do, but takes a little working to make it convincing.

video
Another 3 1/2 hours work condensed into one hot minute. I had paused it as I traced the character in from an original sketch and only noticed after I had finished. Anyway, you see me animate the character then go back and lip sync the scene.

I'm developing many, many skills from making these films. Animation is a technique that takes years to learn and a significant length of time to do....so animating entire pieces and doing everything leads to limited animation required by the time frame. I would like to think that given the opportunity and time I would be able to make something I was proud to animate. But I am learning a lot about using different programs, the way they interact, recording and synchronising sounds, background design and layout - so I guess these are a whole bunch of other skills that I didn't think about before now that I might be able to go into a job with.

Anyway, its another scene in the bag. On to the next one.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Backgrounds...again

I keep coming back to backgrounds - but then you would if you make cartoons because they are a requirement of the medium. I have to say though...I think I have found my niche when it comes to background design...at last. All my research and looking seems to have paid off because I like the work I am doing on my backgrounds at the moment.

I keep trying to remind myself I am doing a lot of different peoples jobs....jobs that people specialise in and get paid money to do. It doesn't help though and I still beat myself up all the time.

Anyway, here a few of the backgrounds for the cartoon so far.

This opening shot needed to be pleasant and optimistic to counter the following scene which is red and evil. Careful and non-obvious uses of gradients proved well founded in this background giving a nice sense of depth to the image. Also, by no using a sun and just using a gradient fill with a bright yellow/orange, the audience knows the sun is shining even though they don't necessarily see it. Its one less thing for the eyes to concentrate on or be distracted by, but the its presence is still there. Light after all is the only reason we actually see anything.

I have output these images as .png's to keep the quality, but also because if I was painting these backgrounds I wouldn't draw the stage size and paint to the edges, I would paint the background and cut my favourite bit out to suit my needs. Also, by having a little over the edge, no white lines show on the edges of shots by accident and it allows a bit of room for camera wiggle to add an extra element to any shot. It also looks a bit more professional and well considered.

Finally I knocked this one up this morning ('Tis a Saturday today). In this scene Captain Uber is crawling along the floor so I needed the background to be able to slide along behind him to reveal something further down the street. A longer background was required. This is a city scene so I wanted to bring a bit of suburbia to my image. Everything is quite geometric deliberately and I worked with a lot of light effects to add a few extra dynamics to the scene.

The window for instance is been attacked by light from more directions that I could ever possibly consider, but if I take into account just a few I can add a sense of realism to this cartoon side walk shot. Chewing gum, grass in the pavement cracks and a water grate all add extra detail. There is a reference to the comic book I made, barely legible on the poster behind the lamp post and suggestive brick patterns adorn the walls. I deliberately strayed away from cliches like cartoon pavement cracks and dog turds though, I am tired of seeings that in cartoons. All this adds up to a nice bit of background design that I am quite pleased with overall.

Backgrounds have always been used to add more depth to cartoons because adding such detail to the characters themselves isn't an easy or cheap task. With a static background though, you can be as detailed as you like - Gepetto's workshop in Pinocchio is proof of that. With more time and more exclusivity I would like to add a lot more detail, but working on the go means I have to use a few tricks and move on quickly. Overall though, I'm happy with this part of the cartoon (More than the animation at any rate).

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Thursday - Meh...

I'm really not happy with all the corners I have had to cut so far. I think its making its way towards a product that isn't particularly appeal ling or entertaining. I have decided that yes, animation does take a long time and there is no way to change that if you want good results. As such, I will be going back and changing much of what I have done over the last few days. Deadline is only a few short weeks away though so this could prove a fatal error down the line.

video
Here is another load of work squished into just under a minute.

This video is interesting for a few reasons. Firstly, you see me experimenting all afternoon with a nice cheap way to get Pervert Man to step out of the baby stroller. Suffice it to say I don't find one. I try a blur effect which is crap and doesn't work and I try all sorts of tweening tricks. But they don't work. In the end I decide to just animate the entire thing and as I do Flash crashes and kills all my work. So I was a bit miffed off and walked away - a stupid mistake that lost me a few hours work...on top of losing a few hours work when Flash crashed. Frustrating.

Sometimes in animation you have to make tough choices and they are generally to do with cutting things or limiting things, but being at university I have the 'luxury' of saying...sod it ill do what I want...even if it does mean killing myself to get it done.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Tuesday - Meh...

I'm not happy with my work today. Because of my tight deadline I am having to cut so many corners. There are going to be some scenes where I get to do some real animating....but they are few and far between. I really wanted this piece to be proof of the level I think I can animate. But time constraints say that isn't possible. I'll just have to try harder.

video

This is an afternoons work smushed up into twenty seconds. The two scenes I have animated today look 'OK'. But they could have been so much better. I think the layout is an issue...I'm no good at planning scenes even though I have spent so, so much time trying to learn how.

The good thing is that nothing is set in stone. I am draughting up a working version and then going back and improving anything that I can...that might even mean redrawing entire scenes if necessary.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Trailer Activate!

Started the trailer today. Deadline is looming on this one, so I have decided to put to the test some new limited animation techniques that I have learned. I will take you through a few of them as I go. I forgot to screen record the entire making of this first opening shot, so instead I will post the results of a few hours of animation work.

video

This is very early on, so the sound is just a scratch track (And slightly out of sync) and there are several adjustments to be made to the animation itself.

In the background an eerie version of rock-a-bye-baby is playing, but there is no indication as to why. This is the good unsuspecting character. I really like the opening shot. Because the audience will read the title first before seeing the clip, they will already have their own ideas as to what is going to happen. Through my research I know what effect the word 'Pervert' has on the brain, so to open up on a shot of a man leaning over a baby carriage will be very effective and un-nerve people. Of course, at the end of it all there is gag that catches out the audience and makes them consider what they have come to expect of not only what they see all around them quite openly these days, but what there own minds can think. I think this is going to be a really effective opening.

I am animating all day tomorrow and will be condensing the whole days work into however many minutes of film before uploading it and talking you through the video.

I'll leave you with this image of Captain Uber I was messing around with in Illustrator earlier...

This was my expression earlier when somebody told me there was only four weeks until the show has to be put up :O

Friday, 17 April 2009

Pervert Man - Illustratred

I did this aaaages ago and forgot to make a post on it. As I am on work experience and don't have time to do anything new I thought I might as well play catchup and make this post that I forgot. I have been looking at some extreme cartoons recently where the characters get really warped and pushed past their original designs. They are broken, stretched and bent into never seen before shapes. With my nemesis been very evil, I wanted to see just exactly how far I could push the character and sick I could make him look, whilst still keeping his cartoony look and feel. This led me to start draughting up some ideas.

It started with a rough drawing. I could see a lot of action in this image and really liked it. This wasn't my first attempt though, several other ideas were (literally) thrown out.

I then brought the image into illustrator and began working my line magic. I was still quite young with the program and have since learned several techniques that will really help me to speed up the process in the future.

Finally, I added colour. I have learned a few more things since then about adding colour in illustrator. That isn't to say this looks bad. I want to have time to line the entirety of the trailer, but I don't so it will have to be done in Flash. I think good solid lining and drawing are what makes modern limited animation what it is. You can get away with murder when it comes to animation as long as your drawings have weight, balance and depth. I think this applied to traditional animation to certain extent also.

I am really pleased with this image and I think the lining is great. There is weight around the edges to define the characters and his face and features are individually highlighted, with a good sense of hierarchy. He also looks really, really mental which I love. I used the hair to form devil horns, I think this adds an extra sense of nastiness to the piece. Realistically though, this is just one drawing and I would need hundreds more of these to make a good limited animation. Sadly, I don't have the skill in Illustrator yet to speed up the process...thought I spent a lot of time with a girl from work experience learning Illustrator today, so that will probably change soon. In the future I think I will draw all my character in illustrator and bring them into Flash.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Still experiencing work

Work experience is still ongoing and I'm learning lots of new stuff each day. All the After Effects talk around the department I'm working in got my interested in really exploring what the program can do. I learned a little bit at college last year, but never really applied it to anything. It's not for traditional animation, so I wasn't interested. But after doing a bit of commercial work and seeing how speedy animation needs to be, the chances of me doing any frame-by-frame work aren't high. Because of this I figure that picking it up and trying a few things out can't hurt. Anyway, here is a quick something I knocked up in a spare moment whilst on work experience.

video

There a few foibles, but I literally knocked this together.

After this fun bit of experimentation, I think I am going to do the final shot for the trailer in After Effects. I will also be treating all of my output in After Effects to colour correct everything and add some nifty effects that will really help the final piece to shine!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Work Experience

I am currently on work experience at Hallmark in Burley, just outside Bradford and as such my work flow has slowed to all but a halt. However it is bank holiday Monday and I am sat here working on my college project. "It will definitely rain, its a bank holiday," I said. How wrong I was!

My dissertation is out of the way and I have finished the front cover design (Which looks pretty good and I'm quite chuffed with it. I knocked up five drafts all together and think the last one is probably the strongest one, so it was worth it. But with that under my belt, I have 7 weeks left in which to finish 3 Studio projects, put together the rest of my T&P project (About 15 more animation tests and things to do on that one) and put together an entire PDP folder. O...and a show reel - which cannot be finished until I have done some work that I actually want to put into a show reel.

Let it be known that whilst I am doing this work experience that is clogging up my social life and stopping me from working properly, I am still working. Here is a screen shot of the first scene of the animation. I will be making progress videos as I work in future...but as I only had an hour to sit down and work, I thought I would run with this.

The shot deliberately opens to quite a sunny scene. A toy lays beside a pram and a kind man has stopped to give the toy back to the crying child within the confines of the buggy. But all isn't as it seems. This shot is delicately optimistic and I think I will use this background for the whole shot, rather than making it darker when things turn a bit weird. I think the bright colours contrast what the viewer is seeing creating a sense of irony. I kept asking myself why this shot doesn't look right (Besides for the character been a silhouette) but its because they aren't casting any shadows.

And yes I am enjoying work experience.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Printing 101: for Dummies!

Good things come to those who wait....for the ink company to post the ink to them.

Everything comes with a learning curve right? Well, my printing learning curve couldn't afford to be too steep. Limited ink and paper due to a lack of funds meant I had very little option of getting it wrong. A bunch of test prints later and a load of faffing around a few problems and I had 10 gorgeous looking copies of my very first comic book sat in front of me. To the shops to purchase an extendable stapler and they were officially ready...to...to...erm... well I'm handing them out to friends and then keeping a few for a few other places.

Anyway. I thought I would take a through a few snags I ran into along the way. Firstly, printing with a bleed directly from illustrator is completely impossible. So after messing around with it and wasting 4 out of 10 of my spare pieces of paper I exported it as a .pdf file and printed straight from there. Simple.

Problem 2 came when printing onto the back of the photo paper...no matter what setting I chose the ink would not stick to this kind of paper (Stoopid inkjets!) so I had to quickly develop my idea. I printed a black and white version of my front cover and adapted it a little to make the proper glossy front cover act as a 'sleeve' almost. This isn't what I wanted, but by no means does it look 'bad'. Just not what I wanted.

Problem 3 is an nonadjustable one and something I knew I had mucked up since the start. I didn't plan out any borders for printing...and limitations to the pages...or work out how much page would be lost due to the staples holding the paper together. I knew this from the start, but I was hurrying to get the piece finished and knew that it would be OK - if just a little of centre. Its not a particularly bad thing...they don't totally suck, its just a little unprofessional to the trained eye. To the reader they won't even notice as they glide through it.

My only other niggle is that I think a little bit more detail wouldn't have hurt. I like the individual style, but I think I could have gotten away with a bit more detail in the majority of the panels. This however is definitely something you could only ever learn from experience and as such I am writing this one off to the learning curve.

Overall though I am very pleased with the final result and do take a certain amount of pride from what I have produced. Now its just a matter of seeing how the public take it :S

Monday, 30 March 2009

Results!

A while ago, I told you I had handed out some questionnaires to try and get a better idea of what people want out of modern cartoons and also to find out what people are watching and what people consider to actually be cartoons. Well, I have collated the data and put into some spiffy graphs and the like and here we go:

No of questionnaires filled out: 30


Age Range: 16 - 61


Gender:


Male

Female

18

12




Not a perfect divide, but the best I could do.


An interesting set of results here. The Simpsons obviously came out on top…which was kind of to be expected, but the results in general are divided significantly towards the male gender. The top three programs here are all what you would expect people from the age range to watch. This study was mainly filled in by 20 – 26 year olds and both the male and females in this age range ticked the top three programs. It would seem that the majority of people in that age group have a firm distinction between what they will and won’t watch, especially amongst the male group. Spongebob & Snow White are obviously not that popular with the majority of people who did this questionaire (The youngest age was 16 and she ticked that she didn’t watch it).


100% thought ‘Animation’ sounded more grown-up than ‘Cartoon’. There was quite a lot of deliberation when making choices and people would put slashes and put both or just not answer if they didn’t know (Or hadn’t seen the show). It would seem that Spongebob Squarepants is definitely seen as a ‘cartoon’ and thus not as ‘grown-up’ as the other shows and the contrast to this is the overwhelming number of people who put ‘animation’ next to Wallace & Gromit, considering it to be ‘grown-up’. I suspect the three people who put no answer next to Wallace & Gromit would have called it Claymation and thus chose nothing because this wasn’t listed as a choice.


The vast majority of No Answers went to South Park, which a lot of people crossed out original answers next to on the sheets. I personally think it would be an animation because of its beginnings as a stop-motion piece…but it would seem the true difference in the modern day between an animation and a cartoon is not what they look like, but what the content of the show is about…well maybe not according to these results.


I was quite surprise by the fact that 100% thought that ‘Animation’ sounded more grown-up, but the most popular shows were then labelled as cartoons. Perhaps this shows that many people see things like Family Guy and The Simpsons as a form of escapism. They know it’s for adults, but they see it as a cartoon. This helps them remove themselves from reality and maybe helps them to get that ‘no worries’ feeling that you associate with child hood. Nothing is truly clear from statistics, not on any scale – at least not when they are applied to the individual.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Lettering

I decided to really concentrate on a lot of the smaller details for this piece of work, ones that I usual just fob off because I like drawings cartoons that move around. This time I want absolutley everything within the piece to look top notch. The animation is going to be much smoother and better with more weight and life about it and I want to generally just acheive a new level of proffessionalism within my work.

I deliberately wrote a narrator into this trailer so that I could elongate the trailer, explain the concept of the film and give the trailer a 'trailer' feel. But, I didn't just want the usual 'swelling text' effect whilst the voice over told us what was happening so I thought, how could I use this in a way that is both funny, informative and suggestive. The text itself is a parody of what the narrator is saying because it only highlights the stupid the narrator says for comic effect. This adds to the 'silly' factor of the trailer.

video

I really wanted to do something special with the text that I hadn't tried before. So I learned how to use After Effects properly and came up with this effect. Obviously, this is just a test...that is why it says test...so there are a few things to iron out.

The effect may be basic to some, but I think it adds an 'epic' sense of feeling to the trailer and it also looks pretty good, which helps. Hopefully the rest of the trailer will be just as good :)

Monday, 23 March 2009

Film Trailers - Analysis

What constitutes as a 'good' film trailer? I don't have the luxury of having a whole film from which to select the best clips, I have to make them for the trailer. This means I have to study the 'trailer' style in reverse. For me a trailer should clearly represent the films genre. If it is a mid-18th century classic film, you wouldn't expect to see the Biker Mice from Mars speeding through in a hail of gun-fire and explosions, would you? More chance of people going to see it, that's for sure.

If its an action movie it should be exciting, with a fast pace, explosions and not even a hint at a storyline. If it is a comic book movie, I want to see the characters I love and know in glorious movie visual type things. If it is a horror film, you want to see people running and screaming with bizarre camera angles, generally in a wood and with some crap plot and obvious killer. Overall, I think the plot isn't something that necessarily has to be the focus of the trailer. In fact, famous actors, fast cars and 'smokin' bitches' are generally what people go to the cinema for, sadly.

Anyway, to aid me in creating a trailer that is as exciting as it is stupid, I have decided to look at some trailers for up and coming films and analyse them. So join me as we take to pieces a few trailers from up and coming films:

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

I for one, really enjoyed the Transformers film. It was a good romp and even though I am a fan boy and certain things weren't right, it was still a good attempt as far as Hollywood goes.

The first thing that really strikes me about this trailer is how stoppy-starty it is. Black screens everywhere. They are great to use for a split second just before the action starts, then bring in the sound and action. But it never really happens. Instead it ends up being a mysterious series of clips with no real connection other than to people who saw the first film to ask: why are they back? The special effects are top-notch, can't knock them - but they don't make a great film. The music in the trailer isn't action packed and loud, it is subtle and hails back to the first half of the original film where they kept you waiting to see any sign of a transformer.

In fairness the trailer does kick off with a big explosion, but it never really amounts to anything other making you question what it was that hit the building. Was it a missle or a piece of asteroid or what? I suppose the graet thing about this trailer is the fact that it gets you intrigued and excited. If you enjoyed the first film, you will be looking forward to the second and if it gets people hypothesising over the plotline, then it means its gunna get viewers at the cinema.

Maybe it is too easy to forget that a trailer is supposed to advertise a new film, not shows bits of it. It is a piece of marketing, not a piece of entertainment in itself, which is where the trailer for my cartoon differs. My trailer is a piece of entertainment, spoofing modern Hollywood trailers and their audiences - perhaps it would be wise to just take away the visuals and feelings of a good trailer, rather than an indepth analysis that makes me focus on the wrong thing.


I think it takes a lot of stones to try and take on something within a fanbase as stuck up and snotty as Star Trek's. I should know, I am one of those stuck up snotty critics willing to point whatever I think is wrong, historically and cinematically with anything to do with what I consider to be one of the greatest franchises the world has ever seen.

I can really see what this new film is about. Bring Star Trek to a new generation of kids who think Star Trek is for geeks and dads and I am OK with that. If they get the characters right, I don't mind a bit of action and cheese. When I heard Scotty was been played by Simon Pegg, I did laugh out loud at the idea, but I am willing to give it a chance before I tear it to pieces - which I think puts me a few steps ahead of a few other fans who have already condemned it. The fact is that Star Trek is on its arse and it needs a pick-up. Abrahms has kept me interested with Lost and Cloverfield and I think he signs Bad Robot up to a lot of good stuff, so I remain optomistic at this point.

So the new trailer. Its got everything. Action, aliens, explosions, sex, a string soundtrack that doesn't go anywhere and just makes stabs to keep you interested and raise the tension and zero hint at any kind of concievable plot. I suppose if the plot is completely stupid at least it won't be too far away from TOS (The Original Series) because some of the plot lines, especially in season 2 are just epically ridiculous. What really catches your attention about this trailer is that it doesn't look like a Star Trek trailer, it looks more like an action flick at first. Then when you hear the kid say his name is James Tiberius Kirk you think: say what?

The pace of the trailer is fast and you find yourself trying to keep up, which keeps you interested and builds up excitment. Its full of action, people and ships zooming around and a shit-ton of explosions, which is interesting. If its as exciting as the Dominion War scenes in DS9 then im pretty sure im gunna enjoy it. There is also a kind of narration in this trailer, but it isn't direct. It is pieced together from dialogue in the film - this is an interesting idea and one that is commonly used. I have applied this to my trailer in a round about fashion, but not directly.

I think there are gunna be a lot of salutes to the series in the new film, but they're gunna have keep to the universe that Roddenberry wrote. There better be no Marquis zippin' around or other things that hadn't yet been discovered. I wouldn't mind seeing a few cameo roles though :) I shouldn't have chosen this one to analyse, I have too many opinions on it.

Terminator Salvation

Yes, its time for another Terminator film. Should I be excited? Probably not. Do I like Christian Bale the guy who seems to constantly stick is foot in it by nutting his sister or swearing at extras? Yeah, he's alright. Will this film be worth the ticket price at the cinema? Im guessing not. Personal problems aside, this trailer really does stick to the generic. Are they the same strings from the Star Trek trailer? I think so... Plenty of explosions and action and subtle hint at the plot, with plenty of reference to previous iterations of the movie (They actually say Judgement Day....is it to remind people that they did actually enjoy the Terminator series at one point?).

Here the lead character is the voice over for the trailer, like the trailer isn't a trailer but a documentary of something that actually happened. I like that idea, because you get a glimpse of the character before you see the film. It does remove an element of mystery and a lot of people who go to see action films just want the stunts and action, rather than to have to think about the plotlines. Perhaps this film is targetting the audience that I am infact trying to send-up. People who don't care what they watch as long as there is some tits and explosions in it.

The direction of this trailer does convey a lot of action, which is what you would expect from a Terminator flick, so credit to it there - but maybe its just me, but I already feel like I have seen this film before and that puts me off. At least the Transformers trailer adds a sense of mystery and intrigue and makes me want to see it. In this film I feel like I have been there and done that. Finally, my last gripe is the line 'This isn't the future my mother warned me about?' Sorry, did I spend hours of my friggin' life watching these films just so the next prick that gets a hold of the directors chair can go, "Actually, the future that the characters have worked to try and avoid does actually happen so all that stuff they did meant for shit". Stupid much!

Maybe the thing to take away from this trailer is not to make things too generic, otherwise you lose your audience immediately. This trailer really is cheese factor five thousand. It just seems completely over the top with absolutley not substance. If they want me to come and see a film with no substance, they need to work harder to hide the fact that is completely stupid. This is is exactly what my trailer is about, don't go and see this retarded crap....because you will find me in the corner eating popcorn and enjoying it and that will make me a hypocrit.

Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Generally when I see the number 3 in movie titles two things cross my mind. Either its a cash cow for the company or its an old series brought back from the dead because the studio can't find anything that works. In the case of Ice Age however, neither is true. It is an original and fun idea with some great character writing and animation. Yes, the second film was nowhere near as good as the first, but it wasn't a bad movie at all. It had its moments.

This trailer continues the same theme as the others. It leads with Scrat looking for a nut. I think the thing people love about Ice Age trailers so much is that they are essentiall freebies. They are short films that generally don't relate to the plot at all. I also think they remind people of when they were kids and used to watch Tom & Jerry cartoons. They generally revolved around slapstick with heavy use of sound effects and no music. A great way to attract attention is to not play to what the audience expects. By removing the generic music from the 'action trailer' you create something different that has meaning and conviction. It also forces people to pay attention because they aren't used to what they are seeing and it isn't immediately recognisable.

This is something I need to take away from this trailer. By making your trailer individual and not doing what the audience expects you will get their attention. This doesn't apply so much to my trailer because it is a spoof, so the idea is that I delibrately do what the audience expects, but to such a degree that it becomes satirical. It is the most basic form of satire, one that everybody can appreciate.

This has been valuable time spent investigating these trailers. I have learned a lot in terms of layout, music use and sound effects. I have learned a few valuable lessons too. Cinemotography is an important part of a successful trailer, but more important is the fact that you remember, it is a marketing piece. It sells the final product. This feeling cannot be lost on my trailer, because it will make the spoof all that more convincing. If people actually believe it is a genuine trailer, then I have done my job right. It is about time people sat up and started paying attention to what they watch...because a lot of it is really, really crap. I should know, I watch all of it.

A lot.

Trailer...

Today I am starting the trailer...which means I finally feel like I am making progress. The next month is gunna be hella busy. T&P and PDP are the main things I will be working on for a few weeks along side finishing this project. Dissertation is due this Friday and whilst I have had it written and finished for over a month, I wanted another draft of it done. I will be picking it up tomorrow for any last minute adjustments and then i'll be getting it printed properly.

Anyway, along side some great stuff happening in my personal life - the band's 2nd album gets launched next Friday and we've got a few A&R shows to play before setting up the tour to promote the album - I will be piecing together this trailer....trouble is, I don't know if I'm gunna have time to do another project. Two weeks work experience in April mean that I will really struggle to get another project in there as well. I might have to do a last minute one, or turn my work experience into a last project.

Who knows?