Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Snack Sneak - Cleaned Boards

Last week, I posted the intro to my animation project, The Snack sneak, including my cocnept work.

This week, I'm sharing my boards, which are also serving as a place where I worked out my backgrounds. I wanted to start out with a noir feel, but felt it would be hard to maintain for a whole short. Thus, i only used a very stark sort of feel in the beginning, to enhance the drama.

the father the short goes on, the flatter and more comedic the staging gets, as the tension eases and it becomes apparent that the boy is really just tiptoeing around his parents and is not actually on some grand adventure.

Well, without further ado, here are the cleaned boards:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Snack Sneak: In the Beginning

This semester here at school, I have enrolled to do an independent project. What's an independent project? It's precisely what it sound like; a student project that's done outside of the regular curriculum. The student chooses a teacher to oversee said project, and defines everything -from the timeline to the grading guidelines and, of course, to what the project even is- themselves.

I feel that an independent study will help push me into starting and completing my own projects, without the deadlines decided on by somebody else. Being able to hold myself responsible to myself is an important skill, and one that is very difficult to uphold. This study gives me a chance to force myself into seeing a rpoject through from beginning to end.

But what is this project?

My independent project is going to be a traditional animation; I've always admired the works done by the pioneers of my field, and have been curious to try it. I also feel that doing things the hard way will give me a different sense for an appreciation of timing; in digital media, timing is handled largely by a little bar along the bottom, where you can drag out the length of your images individually there. Because the result of my work is easily viewed, reviewed, and edited, I'm of the opinion that it changes how I interpret and arrive at the timing for my work.

This project will require a lot of me: research on how timing has always been handled for tradition animation; the basic supplies with which I'll animate, such as paper; and, of course, the sheer time it will take to get the whole thing finished. Since I knew this would take some time, I decided to keep the premise of my short quite simple and based it off something my brother used to do.

When I was a kid, back in the good ol' 1990's, my parents used to have movie nights when we were supposed to be asleep. However, we didn't always want to stay asleep, and would want to see if we could sneak by our parents and get some snacks. It became a sort of game to see who could do it.

The solution my brother had was unique, to say the least. He used to tell me that if you covered yourself in a blanket and ran by our parents real fast, they couldn't see you at all.

My short -called "The Snack Sneak"- is based off this idea, but I took it and distilled it to its essence. I have the concept work to follow.

Since the whole short is based off of my family, I didn't see why I shouldn't have the ideas revolve around them, as well; after all, it's their personalities that color the story, so why shouldn't those same personalities color the designs? Flair and individuality in degisn comes from the core essence of the story and its characters, and I already had a basis for good characters right in front of me, though of course I made some minor changes.

In simplifying the work, I removed all characters but those main three; the parents and the boy. Since they are based off of real people, I decided reference of the people involved wasn't amiss. Actually, to not include reference would be amiss.

First picture of my parents, taken from my mom's facebook, of them standing with my older sister as her college graduation. There aren't many good photos of my dad; this is one of maybe three up there.

This is the photo I have of my little brother, Cameron, and little sister, Hope. But I'm more concerned with Cameron; it actually features him around the age when he pulled the late-night stunt, so I snagged it for reference.

I of course started off with sketches of the main character. Though based on Cameron's appearance, I wanted to modify it to more clearly show the personality of him. After all, the picture of my brother above makes him look sweet and mild, though in reality he was more than a little cheeky.

In my approach to design, I usually start with the face and rehash it until it feels right. I went with rounded shapes for youth, and sort of made the face have a sort of slope -as a triangle does- to help indicate a slight inclination to mischief. Top image includes idea sketches, bottom has finals.

For the mom character, she very, very closely resembles my mom, though of course I went with more exaggeration. For example, the picture does no capture how wide ehr hips actually are, and of course that sweater hides it, too. I took that and pushed it, and put her in her pajamas- she loved her pajamas. Since my mom is a very overall understanding sort of person, I really stuck to the rounded shapes a lot, particularly in the face.  As with the main character, the top is first sketches, the bottom finals.

The father character was the absolute hardest. As simple as I'd decided this style is, it was hard to capture the right age without making him look very harsh or too doughy. I wanted a rectangular design to the face, to give this man some stability- and eventually deviating from my actual father, because the sketches based off him that were simplistic made him look too young. I've got more sketches of him just because it was that much harder to capture him; four pages of sketches, and one final.

Finally, here are the rough beatboards I did to get started in laying out what I wanted to do. I'd been thinking of how I wanted to visually tell the story wordlessly since the idea came to mind, and thus, most fo the angles were fairly pre-determined before I ever picked up a pencil. The beginning is supposed to have a dramatic feeling to emphasize the character's mood, and from there goes to being a little more flat to better show the actual humor int he situation, especially form the parents' view.

I did cut and/or change a few of these angles and added more for the cleaned boards/animatic.

The animatic took the most time, because I was using this as my opportunity to really rough out my backgrounds, as well, which are also based off my own house. I based it off my house because a lot of the story relies on how the main character interacts with the layout, particularly of the stairs and stair-rail. Reference was easy because I was in my house at the time these drawings were made. Since I have the rough ideas and layout done, now I can focus in stylizing more.

For now, the video is not up due to some technical difficulties. Stay tuned for when I get it working right and am able to upload it in a future post.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Scribble Contest

Wow,  has it been a while!

Well, brief post; I'm participating in a little fun art competition. In it, I pick a scribble, make a doodle based on it, and submit it. The competition comes from the CCAD Weeklies Blog. Look there for further details!

I chose scribble one:

To me, it looked like a poodle moth, at least a little, so I found reference (source):

And then, of course, I made a stylized drawing based off the provided scribble:

Tada! Quick fun to keep me going over winter break.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sound: trying to animate a Drama Queen

Ah, well, it's time I posted what I worked on for class. I intended to post it earlier, but grocery shopping and scheduling dentist appointments.

In animation class, we were challenged to find a sound clip less than ten seconds long and animate some characters to it, using the body language primarily to illustrate the accents in the speech.

As none of the sound clips provided really fit Benjamin, and I couldn't think of any off-hand, I decided to use Asmodeus in a clip from "The Most Popular Girls in School", the very first episode. I thought it would be fun to animate to something that was much more flamboyant, and, boy, was I right!

Anyways, here is the piece, embedded from Vimeo (for higher quality, as all my previous ones uploaded directly here were very meh)

Roughing to Sound- A Long Story Short from Tara Nester on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

How could I pass up making a post for the day or love? Ridiculous as it is, it's just simple fun to engage in some of this stuff!

So have a picture of Satan and his wife dancing yet again, and looking fancy.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Line of Action Practice

So we once again did sketches of Loony Tunes in animation. I really tried to see what made the poses of the shorts dynamic, what gave the character (Bugs) life and energy:

After warm-ups, the teacher began to critique certain works for the weight project. While he did that, I decided to practice more action-like poses; first with some ballerinas and then a baseball player. I felt like it was good practice to try to emulate the dynamics I'd been striving to copy before, but this time to try to make it on my own:

And, finally, my WIP of the weight-lifting exercise. Here, the character is supposed to pick up something light, then something heavy. Since my character, Benjamin, is a college student, I decided to make him deal with the mountains of books he needs. A lot of his backstory is still undergoing development, but so far he's a med student, which means a lot of heavy books and dictionaries.

First, hee picks up a single book, decides he doesn't need it, and tosses it back down. Then he walks over to his backpack and steels himself to pick it up, knowing all the while that it's extremely heavy:

Friday, February 8, 2013

Times are Changing!

Hello, all! So my blog has had a very simple, clean theme for some time now.

I'm getting a little tired of it.

As such, it's time to introduce something new! While I didn't make or upload any sketches of this, I've been wanting to revisit an old sci-fi themed ide of mine for some time now, and there really is no time like the present.

What in the heck does that have to do with my theme? Why everything! My new theme will be all space inspired, as space really presents such fascinating and fun color combinations that one is hard pressed to find elsewhere. On top of that, to make my blog really to feel more like it belongs wholly to me, my medium of choice will be pixel art.

On that note, it's hard to portray something as foreign and far off as the far reaches of space without reference, right? Well, I did some searching, and found two wonderful sites for inspiration; the oh so obvious NASA and the very vivid Space Palettes. NASA lets people use their images if credit is given, and I'm pretty sure Space Palettes is the same. (There is no terms of use given, but why post palettes otherwise?)

Here are some images I took from each site that I find particularly fascinating:



A lot of the contrast and vibrancy of these images really seem to call to me, and will be a challenge to replicate in pixel art.

Now, on to my concepts; I was thinking something that clearly showed or centered around my fictional planet Crezoa, the capital planet of a large and powerful empire. Sounds vague, but I kept it vague so that I could play with several possibilities.

This first one shows Crezoa to be sort of upper left to the center of the image, looking moon-shaped to indicate how sharply I would shade it, like the bright blue planet above. This one would be fun because fo the harsh light of the planet's sun. I know that the distance between star and planet or even size comparison are not the least bit realistic, but realism wasn't the intent.

Second concept, I have a centered, silhouetted view of Crezoa, with the glow of stars and distant nebuli providing lively and colorful contrast. I'd have to be very careful with this one, or the planet could be lost.

This one shows a view of some mountains on the planets surface, which would be but black shapes cutting into the starry sky above it. I'm considering adding northern ight, which is what the aimless-looking scribbles in the sky would be.

I forgot to add it, but for this one I was thinking Crezoa could actually be a moon to a larger planet, one similar to our own Saturn. This would crete many possibilities for an interesting skyline in my concepts.

These are just very basic sketches to lay out some possibilities for a future banner.  haven't even thought about background yet, or started to narrow down my colors to a more sensible palette; after all, I have a lot to choose from!

I can't wait to fully start this project, a project that's well and truly my own and for myself; classes are great and all, but I miss making art for it's own sake.

Well, anyway, I suppose that's it for now!