Tuesday, 30 November 2010

11 second.. finished at last!!




11 Second evaluation

One of our main projects for our first term was a brief that ran alongside the 11 second club, which is a monthly animation competition that provides a specific sound clip, and people from across the world can submit their own animated interpretation of the script using whatever software and style. At the end of each month, the most popular animation is selected as the winner of the competition, which provides animators across the country an opportunity to get their name and work out there in the business. So we were given the task to have a go at animating the November competition, which is in fact a shortened clip from the popular film 'planes, trains and automobiles' (though it is advised to put aside any previous knowledge or impression you have of the clip, in order to prevent it affecting the final outcome.) I like the clip that we have been given, because it contains some humour, drama and isn't too 'fixed' so that we can be a bit inventive with it.

For the first few weeks after being given the clip we had to animate, I was pretty much clueless about how start the project let alone choose which techniques and software to use. I admit I struggled to think of a good idea that would work well with the content within the clip, but for a while I just drew a blank and focused my attention on the experimental project. I was thinking about it way too much to start with, and my inspiration ran dry as no ideas seemed to be appearing! Eventually I sat myself down and listened to the clip over and over to try and gain some sort of understanding on what could be happening in the clip which consisted of two main characters squabbling about something. The script of the clip was very vague, which is good because it gives you the freedom to do whatever you want, but sometimes that much freedom can be very daunting! I spent a day mapping out all of the sounds on some dope sheets which helped a lot because it broke down all the sounds and allowed you to plan how the animation would fit with what was going on in the clip. After a lot of thought I finally decided on a scenario for my characters: a man walks into his bathroom ready to have a soak, but finds out that his flatmate has in fact stolen a walrus and is keeping it in their bath tub (supposedly an act of kindness) The man becomes extremely frustrated and angry and the flatmate and walrus cower. It’s a very random idea I know, but I wanted to do something that was a bit light-hearted and fun to animate.

Initially I really wanted to do my animation hand drawn on my light box because I think that you can create some really lovely fluid motions with hand drawn 2d animation. But I left it a bit too late seeing as I spent a bit too long trying to sort out what I was going to do; therefore I thought it would be better to use flash instead due to our time limitations. To really get to grips with getting the characters’ movements and expressions looking realistic, I drew out lots of different faces and planning sketches on how I wanted the characters to react, and tried to add a bit of personality to their final designs. I then drew out some thumbnails of the main scenes that I wanted to include in the animation, fitting them into the timing on my dope sheets. To avoid making my animation look too flat, I created two backgrounds in Photoshop of two different angles, to give the final outcome a bit of depth and vibrancy.

I tend to struggle getting to grips with timing, and my key poses always seem to look a bit wooden, so I filmed my house mates acting out the scene for me which ended up being really helpful because I could use the clips as references on how movements and body language is affected by what the person/ character is reacting to. So, by using these reference videos, I was able to plan out all my key poses in flash and get started on the actual animating.

At first I tried to go straight into a very detailed style of animation, but inevitably I just confused myself and the movements that I animated looked very unrealistic and unnatural. But then Andy advised us to just start animating very basic shapes first before adding any detail, so that we would focus on the movement rather than worrying about making it look pretty. I found this quite hard to do at first because I had to break out of my ‘neat’ comfort zone and not worry about the animation looking shabby, but it did actually really help me break down all the movements and get them looking smooth and realistic. I did a few rough versions including an animatic, and then when my animation was looking pretty accurate I began to neaten up all the lines, added colour and concentrated on adding the final detail. Although I do like the colour that I have used in my 11 second project, I do kind of wish I had left it as just basic lines because they looked very expressive on their own, whereas the added colour has seemed to have lost some of the characters’ energy and emotions.

I deliberately left the lip syncing until last, because previously I have found it very difficult to get my head around and I thought I would only confuse myself! Before I started the lip syncing I made sure I had every mouth movement drawn out on each frame of the dope sheet so I wouldn’t get muddled, but despite doing this the lip syncing doesn’t look quite right. It was a pain because the flash software that I used seemed to crash constantly for some reason so I kept losing frames and sections of the animation, and also the ‘scrubber’ on flash didn’t work so I couldn’t test how it was looking unless I kept exporting tests. Eventually I managed to get it all finished, and exported it as a quick time movie. But for some reason quick time makes the animation lag a bit, which makes the lip syncing look even stranger!

I actually enjoyed this project because it gave us the opportunity to focus on the styles that we were interested in, and although I got extremely angry and stressed at times I did actually learn a hell of a lot over the duration of this month. If I were to do this project again, I would try and plan my time more carefully and not spend so long dithering on what idea to go with. I would also try and be more ambitious and move away from flash next time, and force myself to try and get to grips with other software so that I can really achieve the styles that I want to explore.

Here is my finished 11 second project, the timing is a bit out for some reason but it seems to work ok :) Oo and also here are some of the dopesheets that I used for the animating, I forgot to put them up earlier!


Monday, 29 November 2010

Experimental Project Evaluation

For one of our first second year projects, we were given a chance to have a go at experimenting with types of animation that we previously had not tried before, and concentrate on physically creating an animation that moves to a specific piece of music, using the computer only to compile and put together the final outcome. This project was the perfect opportunity to push ourselves toward techniques that previously seemed daunting, and tackle using dope sheets to help us understand timing to the extent that our animation would move with the chords in the music.

To save worrying about what piece of music to animate to, we were given a choice of about 5 songs that fitted well to our experimental brief. I decided to go with one called ‘Rendition’ because it had a good rhythm and was upbeat. For a while I couldn’t decide on what technique to use, because the brief is so open and has pretty much no limits. I wanted to do something that was cheerful and full of colour, preferably consisting of lots of pretty patterns! Initially I was tempted to give cut-out animation a go because I really love the unique outcome that you can achieve with that style. But I was unsure of how I would go about doing it and I had to consider how I would plan my time carefully seeing as we had the 11 second project alongside this one and I work a lot during the week in a little bead shop. It was in fact there that I decided what to do for my experimental animation. All the beads in the shop consist of really vibrant colours and bold patterns, so I thought they would be perfect to make a stop-motion bead animation!

To start planning everything for my bead animation, I first spent a long time mapping out the sound clip to some dope sheets so that I could get the timing right when I actually came round to starting the animation. This admittedly took me a long time because unfortunately the song that I chose consists of so many beats and rhythm changes (something I didn’t realise when I first chose it!) After all the sounds and beats were planned out, I then started to sketch out what I wanted to appear within the animation. At first I wanted to try and create actual characters that moved, for example I really wanted to animate a woman dancing, but after a few tests I realised that beads are a pain because you have very little control over which way they roll! So I decided to just have patterns and shapes appear and ‘dance’ to the rhythm of the music.

After I had drawn out all the designs and patterns I wanted to appear in the animation, I matched them up to the sounds on my dope sheets and then chose which beads would match the patterns the best- my boss very kindly lent me the beads, which saved me a hell of a lot of money! After everything was planned down to the very last frame, I was ready to animate my beads. It took me about two full days to animate in the studio, and I came across many problems through the duration. I used a line tester in the studio which seemed to like making things difficult by changing saturation from blue to green every so often, despite taking care to use dark curtains to block out any change in the lighting, which made the final clip look a little bit messy and unfinished. By the time the animating was complete, I wanted to throw the beads out of the window! It was quite fun at first seeing all my patterns come to life, but it did get pretty tedious after a while. My dope sheets were a god send because there were a couple of times when I messed up the frames and lost where I had got up to, and also for some reason all my images got jumbled up on my memory stick so I had to go through it all and number them in the right order.

After I had all my images, I then decided to try and use premiere to put together my animation because the export quality is pretty good compared to flash, but then realised the programme is rather hard to get to grips with! I admit I had many fits of rage as it didn't seem to like my images very much (it kept making each frame last about 6 seconds for some reason.) After many failed attempts and a lot of help, my bead animation finally all came together. I had quite a few problems with exporting the tiff files and for some reason part of the animation wouldn't render for a while, but eventually it did seem to work.

I'm pretty happy with the results, because I like the patterns and colour combinations, and I think it fits the music quite well. But some bits of the animation look really jerky and unnatural, whereas I wanted it all to look flowing and almost 'fluid.' Some bits look too sudden and rushed, so if I were to do it again, I would space out the movements a bit more to make it look a bit less manic.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

11 Second Progression

Here's what I have managed to animate so far, I've started to add the final colour and detail to the characters which is taking a lot longer than I thought.. I'm dreading starting the lip syncing! I'm pretty happy with how it's coming along, some of the timing and movements are a little bit dodgy so I'll have to go back into them at the end if I have time :)

Monday, 22 November 2010

Experimental final!!

At last the bead hell is now over, and my experimental project is pretty much finished now (I hope!) The actual bead-animating was quite fun at first because I got to experiment with different patterns and shapes, although by the end of it I wanted to throw the beads out of the window and run away from the line tester! My dopesheet was a god send because there were a few times where I got confused and moved the beads in the wrong was, and also for some reason all my images got jumbled up on my memory stick so I had to go through it all and number them in the right order. I managed to complete the animating in about 2 days, and started concentrating on my 11 second project instead because I wasn't sure what programme to use to put all the images together. I decided to give premiere a go, because the export quality is pretty good compared to flash, but then realised the programme is bloomin' hard to understand! I admit I had many fits of rage as it didn't seem to like my images vey much (it kept making each frame last about 6 seconds for some reason!) I really do need to knuckle down and get to grips with premiere and after effects because I am pretty much clueless with it all :s After lots of tantrums and stress, and a lot of help from Andy and my house mate sasha, my bead animation has finally come together! We had quite a few problems with exporting the tiff files and for some reason part of the animation wouldn't render for a while, but fingers crossed it has worked now! I'm pretty happy with the results, because I like the patterns and colour combinations, and I think it fits the music quite well. But some bits of the animation look really jerky and unnatural, whereas I wanted it all to look flowing and almost 'fluid.' Some bits look too sudden and rushed, so if I were to do it agan, I would spce out the movements a bit more to make it look a bit less manic, especially at the end when all the shapes go crazy! But geneally I am pleased with the outcome.. hurrah! :)


Friday, 19 November 2010

11 second.. second test!

Here is the same rough animation, but neatened up a bit with solid outlines and a bit more detail.. the next step is doing the finished thing, eeep! :s

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Animating is not my strong point... :s

Eeeeeek I have just realised how rusty my animating skills have become! Over the past few days I have been trying to map out how and where I want my key poses and movements to fit in with the clip, and I must admit I am finding it pretty difficult to get into the flow of it. Our tutor Andy recommended that we do a really quick test consisting of very simple shaped characters before we included any detail, to help us get the movement accurate before making the animation look 'pretty.' So I have given it a go, and although it does look pretty terrible, it has made me think about the movements more precisely and it's nice not to worry about having to make the characters look appealing right from the start. Here is my (extremely rough!) first go at animating the 11 second clip :)

Another background!


I completely forgot that I wanted to include a different camera shot in my 11 second animation, whooops :s So here is the piccy I made for the other angle of the room I want to use as my background for the 11 second club :)

Monday, 15 November 2010

11 second backgrounds and character profiles





Here are a few profiles I drew of my 11 second main characters, I tried to draw the faces from lots of different angles, so it would be easier to animate later on. Also, here is the orginal sketch and final image for my 11 second background :)

Saturday, 13 November 2010

11 second animatic

Here is my animatic for my 11 second project, I know it's terrible and reminiscent of a 3 year old's drawing style, but it has helped me with timing! :)

Bead hell







Well, I have finally completed all the frames for my experimental animation, and I admit I am a tad bit tired of all this bead business (which is tricky seeing as I work in a shop full of 'em!) Unfortunately stop-motion-pro has been a pain in the bum and jumbled up all my images, so I need to go through each frame, number them and put them in order.. which may take a while! Here are a few frames from my bead animation, and the dopesheets that I used for the animating :)

11 second video reference

Here are a few scenes that I filmed of my housemates acting out the 11 second script, to help me get the timing right for my own animation. It's not very accurate or serious- we keep giggling throughout each one... and kieran picks his nose at one point :s But it does set out the scenes and poses that I want to capture in specific frames, and helps me understand the timing of the characters' acting. Here are their oscar-winning performances! :p


Friday, 12 November 2010

11 second concepts and ideas







Here are some quick sketches and conceptt designs on how I want my 11 second animation to look, and also a few thumbnails planning out the scenes I want to include :)

Thursday, 11 November 2010

11 second ago-go!

One of our main projects for this term is a brief that co-incides with the 11 second club, which is a monthly animation compitition that provides a specific sound clip and people from across the world can submit their own animated interpretation of the script. At the end of each month, the most popular animation is selected as the winner, which provides animators across the country an oppurtunity to get their name and work out there in the business.
So we were given the task to have a go at animating the november competition, which is in fact a shortened clip from the popular film 'planes, trains and automobiles' (though it is advised to put aside any previous knowledge or impression you have of the clip, in order to prevent it affecting the final outcome.) I like the clip that we have been given, because it contains some humour, drama and isn't too 'fixed' so that we can be a bit inventive with it.
So over the past few weeks I have been trying to think of a good idea that would work well with the clip, but I must admit it was harder than it looked. I was thinking about it too much to start with, and my inspiration ran dry for a while so I just put the project to one side and focused on my experimental. But I now have a firm idea what idea I'm going to do, which involves an animal being stolen from a zoo with kind intentions. I really wanted to do my animation hand drawn on my lightbox, but I have left it a bit too late now, so I think I am going to make cut-out puppets and painted backgrounds, scan them into the computor and complete the animating in flash. I have finished all the dope sheets and have done a few character designs, hopefully I'll get cracking on making the cut-out pieces soon!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Sketchbook project: 'Conversations'





Running alongside our experimental project and the 11 second brief, we also have a sketchbook project that focuses on the theme of conversations. We have to analise the conversations that we witness and encouter every day which usually go unnoticed, and take into consideration body language, facial expression, mood, etc. I'm glad that we have a sketchbook project this term because it provides a bit of a break from all the animating we have to do over the next few weeks and also gets me back into the flow of drawing again. Here are the few drawings that I have managed to do so far :)

experimenting has begun!!!



Oops its been a while since my last post again, I really need to stop neglecting my poor blog!
Well I finally made the decision to go ahead with the bead idea for my experimental, because I thought the animation itself could look really dramatic and visually eye catching if I managed to get the timing and colours right. I work in a little bead shop, and my boss was kind enough to lend me loads of beautiful glass beads which are perfect (and extremely heavy to carry home!) I spent all of last weekend getting all the dopesheets needed for my experimental project completed, which took a hell of a lot longer than what I anticipated! But I've managed to finish it, and fingers crossed the animation will be in time with the music! :s
I have actually started animating the beads now using the line testers in the studio, so far it's looking ok, I've got about half way through and I'm already seeing beads in my sleep!! If all goes well, I'm hoping to complete the animating this week.. if I don't throw the beads out of the window in frustration, that is! Here is a still from the animation, just as an idea of what the patterns will look like in the finished thing :)

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Emotion change exercise

For this weeks character assignment we had to animate someone who goes through an emotional change (eg from happy to sad etc) but we were adviced to stay away from using facial expressions to help get the message across and to just use body language. At last I have finally kicked myself up the bum and finished it!I must admit I didn't really have a clue how to start, and spent quite a while trying to decide what emotion to depict. In the end, I decided to animate a woman who is upset for some reason, until someone hands her a bunch of flowers and she is flattered and happy again. Although the animation is pretty corny, I'm pretty happy with the movement of the character (although the flowers look terrible when coming onto screen!) Here is the finished animation, enjoy! :)

Monday, 25 October 2010

Wall painting




Since moving into our new house in good ole fally falmouth, I was getting bored with just having photos and posters on my bedroom walls.. so I decided to be creative and actually paint ON the wall, wahaaay! I'm not really sure what it is, I just kind of invented as I painted, but I quite like the illustrative style and I may use this as an idea for the 11 second project if I can fit it around the sound clip :D Hopefully our land lord wont get too angry.. :s

And here's a tomato sauce bottle I drew at the gylly beach cafe whilst guzzling tea and yummy cakes with Sasha and Insa :)

drawings from the summer





Here are a couple of paintings I did over the summer, I used acrylics and fineliner and a wee bit of watercolour! One is a painting from a photo I took whilst on holiday with my friends in Zante, another is a little watercolour piccy of my boyfriend playing computor games, and the other is my own adaptation of the alice character from the AMAZING game 'American McGees Alice,' which, even after about 6 years of playing this game, I still cannot defeat the mighty jabbawocky boss!!.. One day, one day....

Initial doodling!





I forgot to post these initial sketches and ideas for my walk cycle and lifting exercise, whoops :s Bad planning, emily! Anyways, here they are, as you can see it took quite a few doodles to get the walk and lifts to look right (and to get my poor confused head around the poses!)

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

more inspiration

This experimental animation is pretty cool, its made entirely out of still photos

Experimental brain-storming!!

Over the past week, I have been pretty much panicking about trying to decide on what to do for our experimental project this term, and so far my mind has gone fuzzy and inspiration has dissolved. I can't even decide on what style I want to use! But I had a little brainwave today whilst I was in work.. I work in a little jewellery shop where we sell hundreds of pretty glass beads, and after watching videos on youtube I am quite tempted to give 'bead animation' a go.. could be a disastor though, I'll have to try out a few tests. Here is an example of bead animation (although there's no way I'll be able to make it look this good!)

walkie time!

This weeks task was to animate someone walking, but with some sort of message/emotion. I chose to animate someone who was angry, therefore I wanted my walk to look determined and agressive. I have recently bought a lightbox so I thought I would give it a whirl... then I realised how rusty I had got at drawing! It took me aaaages to plan out each step of the walk, and even the finished thing doesn't really depict an 'angry' kind of walk... only the miserable face of the character gives it away!
But on the other hand I think I have learnt a lot with this walk, because I really struggled last year with gettinbg to grips with the walk cycle we did back then (I did mine 5 times and it still looked terrible!) This walk now was my first attempt at it, so I guess I could say I have improved a tad bit from last time :) Here it is!...

Monday, 18 October 2010

Inspiration

I likey this animation! tis quite simple but I think it fits the music well and I love the cut-out style :)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Inspiration

I absolutely love these animations by Gobblynne, I first watched them a couple of years ago and absolutely loved the mixed-media style. I really really really want to do something like this for the projects we are set this year! :D


Lifting box exercise

Blimey, time has flown and once again I find myself behind in my blogging, many apologies! I am now back in the beautiful falmouth and have officially started my second year... gulp! I admit that my memory has (unsuprisingly) let me down again seeing as I have forgotten a hell of a lot over the summer, and I'm now kicking myself for not doing more animating during our time off! But never mind, new year, fresh start and hopefully fresh inspiration! It sounds like we have some pretty exciting and admittedly daunting projects just round the corner, so I am going to try and throw myself into starting a sketchbook of doodles to get back into the flow of drawing this week. Here is our first assignment... we had to animate someone picking up a heavy box, which proved to be more complicated than I thought! I wish I had tried a bit harder on getting a realistic-looking character, but I tried instead to focus on the movement rather than detail. I have just bought a snazzy lightbox, so hopefully I will be able to brush up on my 2D skills over the next few weeks. I will upload some of my scribbles and doodles over the next few days, so until then, adios!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

wormie!!

Now please don't judge this terrible piece of stop-motion too harshly, I know I have a hell of a lot to learn! But I'm giving it a go, definetly need to practise more! This is just a quick clip of a 'worm' wriggling across our kitchen table.. I only had black plasticine so it looks a bit weird and the movement is pretty jerky :s Going to invest in some new materials soon :D It was fun though, and Monkey Jam is a god send! :D

Monkey Jam Test!!

Well well.. once again it's been bloomin' aaages since my last post, and I am ashamed to say I have abandoned my poor blog once again! It's been a pretty busy summer so far catching up with people which has been lovely, but I have also been working quite a bit to try and pay off a fraction of my hidious debts (I try not to think about it!) So I admit I haven't really done much animating or anything remotely 'animatey'.. which kind of scares me because my memory is terrible, and knowing me I will probably forget everything I have learnt this year! :s So I have decided to kick myself up the bum and finally do something! For the past week I have been doing some doodling and sketching, trying to focus on a quick style rather than my usual painstakingly- detailed illustrations, which I'm finding quite hard to get to grips with, but I will upload some on here soon. I have also discovered an amazing programme called Monkey Jam which, suprisingly, I can actually work! :D It's designed to help make stop-motion animations, and I have been attempting to make some models using wire armatures for the skeleton and plastacine for the main bulk of the body.. they look pretty crude and clumsy but they will do for some practising! I've only ever tried stop-motion once a couple of years ago and it immediately caught my interest, but for some reason I haven't tried it out since. So I'm gonna give it a go over the next few weeks, it could be a disastor but wahaay.. trial and error :) Here is a silly test I did on monkey jam to see how the programme works :)

Monday, 14 June 2010

Finished Animal Firm PDF

Wahay! Here's the finished Animal Firm pdf that I handed in for marking! For some reason it wouldn't upload at first, so I loaded the file into Scribd and copied the code for my bible into here, and it seems to have worked! After grumbling excessively about this project, looking back I have actually enjoyed working on it! I struggled at first to get a strong idea and spent too long worrying about the plot. Bu then I realised it wasn't all about the plot... a simple idea can often flourish into something special! I still do not really like the concept to my Animal Firm because I think it is very cliche and has been used many times before. But I am really pleased with all my character designs and the final look of the bible that I've created, I just wish I had a bit more time to work on the backgrounds more since I feel they look a bit rushed and basic. But this project has definetely helped me to understand more about the pre-production side of animation, which is great because it is the area of animation that I would love to get involved with. So here is my final pdf, enjoy!
Final Animal Firm

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

animal firm finished!





finally the animal firm is finished!!! over the past week i knuckled down and got my act together with this project, seeings as i was pretty unenthusiastic about it to start with! but after quite a few struggles with understanding the brief, i am pleased with the results, and fingers crossed il get an alright mark! here are some piccies of the final images :)

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Final 'What?!' Animation!

'What?!'... the finale





Hurrah! Our deadline for the 'what?' project is now over and we managed to get everything done in time, so we can all breath a sigh of relief! We are all really pleased with the animation because it works well and captures the cut-out look and style that we wanted to encorporate into the animation, and I adore the accordian in the background (good choice Insa!) Sasha deserves a HUGE pat on the back for being so patient with animating, and with the dreaded programme After Effects! But in the end it worked really well, especially the lighting effects that were added after animating. Once everything was completed, including our individual evaluations, Sasha put all our work onto a disc which was then handed in at the studio, and we uploaded our evaluations onto moodle. I've really enjoyed working on this project with Sasha and Insa, because its the style and technique of animating that I have always wanted to try out, and we have all worked really well together as a team. Cut-out animation is definetely a style that I would like to explore further, so I will try and do some experimental animating over the holidays :) Here is the original animatic for our animation, the storyboard, some stills from the story and also the final animation. Enjoy :) video

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Oops the last image didnt work so well! You can have a look at thr whole thing, just click on it :)

What!!!! its nearly over!








My goodness these last few weeks have flown by! My group (sasha, insa and myself) have been busy bees getting everything ready for the final 'What' animation, the deadline for everything to be completed by is tommorrow.. eep! but I think we have all done well in keeping to our weekly scedule, all we need to do is render the final animation and voila! We will be done :) This past week Insa has been busy gathering all the sounds we needed for the final animation (I had to be the voice for the 'whats'... my voice sounds really strange on the recorder!) Insa is also friends with a guy called Mike who plays the accordion, and she managed to get him to play a wicked little tune for the background of the animation, and it works really well with the cut out style. Sasha has been a saint and put the whole animation together on flash, where she completed all of the main animating and sound syncing. She has now loaded the animation into after effects to add some special lighting effects, and will render the finished animation in this programme seeing as some of the quality is often lost when rendering in flash. So far the animation works really well, and I think w are all pleased with how it has turned out :) This week I completed the titles and credits for the beginning and end of the animation, and I also had to make some more in-between cut out pieces to make the motion of the characters look more fluid (for example when the main girl character shuts the book in suprise.) Tonight I am going to gather up all of the concept art and cut-out pieces and scan them all into photoshop to touch them up for the deadline tomorrow. Here are the extra bits and bobs I made this week, and also a still shot from the animation. Take a gander and have a look :)