Monday, October 29, 2012

The Lost Files: Progress

Alright. So, first, progress on the project as a whole.
So far, we're doing well, with most of it roughed out and cleanup in the beginning stages. Backgrounds are well on their way, witch sketches done and color in the works.
Well, here's the roughs right now:

There is, however, a little problem; ToonBoom's default resolution is NTSC, which is low-quality. Fortunately, we have found out how to convert the files so that cleanup lines and color can be done in the HD mode.

Every meeting session, I make sure to check up with everyone in the art department individually to see progress and answer questions. I report back to Emma, and between my reports and her collection of roughs, she made a nice little chart of what's done and needs to be done.

So far, so good! Tomorrow we'll plan out who will color what scenes and such in our early Heads' Meeting (8am every Tuesday).

Speaking of this Tuesday... it's costume day! We want to spice up our Documentary photos with some Spooktacular costume/make-up! Anyone that comes in and doesn't have anything can have a small scar/wound provided by moi.

Texture from T-a-g-g-e-r

Now, on to my personal progress! I have tweened the first scene for a smoother flow, exaggerated the walk in the second scene, and finished the third scene. I loved doing the secondary animation for the third; secondary just adds so much life and drama to animation.
Here they are, in numerical order:

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Lost Files: Update!

Update on Lost Files progress!

So, it seems I haven't established my two roles very well. As Art Director, it is my job to oversee what all the artists are doing; as of right now, that consists of checking up on progress of rough animations and progress of the backgrounds. Color schemes are pretty final about now, though I need to look at character colors. 
As Art Director, I'm also supposed to answer any questions and aid in animation when an artist gets stuck.

Now, as an animator, I've been assigned to roughs and cleanup. Scenes have been broken down for me to handle. Speaking of said scenes, I've roughed one and have started roughing another- but, you know, walk cycles kill me. Add on some perspective AND turning and that makes one killer of a scene to animate.
Well, without further ado:

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Lost Files: Storyboard/Animatic

I'm back to reporting progress on the short The Lost Files, directed by Emma

As Art Director, I'm responsible for managing things like style and story. In practice, however, I feel that Emma and I are working very closely, and that she's actually taken far more charge with the characters.
In story, all people involved in the story had a say, but for consistency of style's sake, we decided she and I would draw the scenes for the animatic. What with that done, we're now in the process of breaking down the animatic into scenes, and, from there, we'll assign certain people to certain tasks, such as roughs and keyframes, tweening, clean-up, etc.
How did we know who was good at what? Well, it was Emma's idea to have a 'gesture day'; each animator plays with the concept, creating a very short animation. Based on the style of each person's work, we decide who seems to be best at what. For example, I did an animation of a dancing girl for the Facebook scene:

Emma liked how relatively clean this was and how I tried to match her style. Anthony was similarly clean. As such, the clean-up artists will be Emma, Anthony, and myself. We've similarly broken down everyone else; this is just an example.

Today, we intend to meet up and break things down, assign each person to a specific role. At last, crunch-time begins...
For the storyboard, I did only the beginning and end, due to the fact that she changes style when she enters the digital world. Emma is more stylized, and I have more realistic proportions, so we decided to break it down like that.
Due to the fact that I made 34 images, I'm linking out of here for the storyboard finals I have. (Yes, we did some roughs as well.) So, if you want to look, click Here. (Note: When viewing, look to the left and find a drop-down box that says "view by" and set it to "Oldest". It puts the ending first, but otherwise everything is in order.)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Walking Test

So, we finished doing walk cycles in my class. I wish I could've gotten farther on mine with cleaning it up and testing it and the like, but this'll do for now. 
I wanted to give this character a particularly sassy walk, and thus watched a lot of male models on the runway for inspiration; who could have a sassier walk than those men? I actually downloaded a video of a runway show from a few years back, separated out each model, and then made gifs of each so that I could flip through frame-by-frame to get a feel for a walk with a lot of hip-swaying from the side-view.
While it helped to put a picture in my mind of what I wanted, I still had to go back and understand the basics of the walk cycle. So, I borrowed my roommate's copy of The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams and poured over that book; I swear my nose touched the pages a few times! Eventually, I just erased his toso and started only with his hips and legs, as I noticed that torso and arms are more or less secondary motion in a walk... unless you're walking on your hands, that is, but that's a special case.
When I got that down, I continued on with the torso and arms. Finally, I arrived at a nice, generic walk; it was believable at last! Then came the fun part; editing it! I exaggerated the swinging of shoulders and hips and played with that timing; I'd noticed form my gifs/videos that male models almost sorta hop for a dramatic effect that gives them a lot of attitude. Thus, I figured that the 'up' part of my character's cycle would be quicker and need less frames; he needed less of the up and more of the down, giving him a forceful but not overly masculine walk.
So, here I am, at this point. He's not finished and I do want to come back, but not til I finish the Lost Files. I wanted to add a small child chasing after him, one that just craves his attention all the time (hint: that's why he looks so annoyed and rushed!), but I just didn't have time.
Well, enough of my chatter; view the video yourself!

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Lost Files: Concept Sketches

In one of my previous posts, I showed a timeline of the short film I am working on and stated that I would add more later.

Well, here it is at last, some of my sketches showing some experimentation with character shape and clothing.

I started with the faces, as I felt the face and facial expressions would be used more than the body as a whole. Here, I tried to experiment with the shape of the face; round, 'square', heart-shaped. I tried to add features that fit in with the overall shape of the face, and tried to keep it simple while giving them all character to aid in ease of animation.

I almost did a male version, but wasn't sure whether or not the director would want that.

For this next one, I wanted to experiment with body types; I feel like playing with the body shape is something underrated because there's a whole variety of shapes to play with! I did skinny, busty, curvy, large, etc. to see how each body would feel. I ignored faces and heads for now; I just wanted bodies.

Well, basic bodies aside, it was time for clothing! This character is suposed to be relatable, a student working late hours on a project. As such, overly dressy outfits were out of the question; it's time for comfort! Baggy sweatshirts, tee-shirts and scarves, jeans, sweat pants, cotton dresses, and the like I played with some shoes, but I don't feel like we need anything complicated for this; comfort for character and ease of animation are most important, there.

Now come the sketches of more fully-fleshed designs. Yes, still not clothes; I didn't want to just pick one yet, not til I've seen what everyone else has come up with for this. I wanted to add character through posture as well as expression, and I really wanted to convey volume through my lines, here.

Well, I'll get to see input from the others in what's really just a few hours, so I'll wrap this up. I had fun doing these sketches, though I encountered a few blocks. I would have done a storyboard, but being so busy this weekend, I couldn't find the time whatsoever.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Metamorphosis with Wendy D. Watson

In my Animation 1 class, we finished our metamporhosis a while back but I haven't been able to post my finished product as such. Well, here it is!

I used my character Wendy, who's a young witch in training known for her outgoing and whacky personality. In fact, that's why they call her "Whacky Wendy". He has a tendency to change her hair and eyes every other day to vibrant and unnatural shades just because she can.

Enough on the character, though; let's get to the animation:

I chose to do the speed-lines because I felt it added to the insubstantiality of the character between forms. Oh, and it's just god practice to learn to use it. Since I finished her relatively early, I decided to make it a whole scene and added a background and an instructor to give the animation more personality, or something.

We are currently working on walk cycles. I hope to soon have that posted. It won't be as finished as this piece, but that's because (a) walk cycles are harder and (b) I'm going home this weekend for family stuff and won't have as much time.

The Lost Files: The Beginning

Hello, all! I'm back, and I'm most honored to be nominated as Head of Art Direction for the animated short, The Lost Files. The blog for the short can be found here.

To start off, the Director and I felt like we ought to keep it simple and let our minions -er, crew- play around with the basic concept. A lot of great ideas can come from this sort of open atmosphere. The Lost Files Blog has a great video example with Tarzan. Another great example of this creative freedom can actually be found in the Lion King; the scene were Rafiki whacks Simba on the skull with his staff started out as a joke.

The wonderful people working on the movie wondered just how Rafiki was to teach the angsty young Simba his lesson, and somebody joked "he should just knock some sense into him" (or something to that effect). Now, it's one of the most famous parts of the movie -who doesn't remember "Not the Stick!"?- and it wouldn't quite be the same without it because it takes a serious moment and makes it light-hearted.

As such, Emma (director) and I decided to encourage this artistic freedom. And, boy, has it payed off! Before we even left that cintiq lab we were seeing and hearing wonderful concepts from multiple sources, and that was inspiration that hit just within an hour or so of the project's inception!

To say I'm excited is, of course, an understatement. However, we can't let this fun part go on forever; it ends soon, and the real work begins. We have a limited amount of time to do this in.

Speaking of time, I made an updated timeline for our blog/crew. Technically, Emma already made a sort of timeline, but it was in text and it explained exactly what she wanted done by certain times. This was made so that our crew could have a more visual interface; artists are very visual, after all!

Yes, it's the same template as before; Emma liked it, and why change what works? Anyways, here it is at last:

I will come back and post my own concept work and the like, of course. But, for now, this is it!