Tuesday, 19 May 2009
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.
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
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".
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
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.
Saturday, 2 May 2009
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:
Friday, 1 May 2009
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.
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.
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
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'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
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.
Saturday, 25 April 2009
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.
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.
Thursday, 23 April 2009
Here is another load of work squished into just under a minute.
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
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.
Monday, 20 April 2009
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...
Friday, 17 April 2009
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
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
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.
And yes I am enjoying work experience.
Saturday, 4 April 2009
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
No of questionnaires filled out: 30
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
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
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.
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.
Monday, 23 March 2009
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.