Friday, 27 May 2011

Rough Cut

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Here is the rough cut of my film which I will present for assessment. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't manage to get more finished before the deadline, but I know for certain I worked as hard as I possibly could and really gave it my all to try to bring Tizz and her story to life without compromising on quality. Hopefully it shows and I'll be able to finish everything to a respectable standard in time for the degree show in two weeks time.

Scene 27

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Simple scene; I used the symbol of the bottle from scene 26 and added some squash and stretch to the cork to make it seem more like it was being squeezed in and was a tight fit. I intend to animate the sleeve a little so it's not so stiff for the final show, but at the moment I don't have time.

Scene 26

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I admit this needs work, but it was the best I could do with time I had remaining. I converted the bottle into a symbol and animated the lightning inside it so the frames would repeat as the camera zoomed in. My first attempt has the lines of the lightning far too thick and consistent so it just looks horrible...

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My second attempt is much better I think. I added more frames and went back the edit the previous ones, erasing parts of the lines to make them thinner, more jagged, and less uniform all round. I think this makes the lightning seem a lot more electric and alive than it was before, though if I get time I hope to improve it further later on.

Scene 24

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Horrible, cheap tweening, I know. This was done purely as a last resort due to running out of time, I fully intend to go back and animate this properly for the degree show. I only did this to serve as a slightly more animated animatic shot to fill the gap in the rough cut of my film for when I present.

Scene 18

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Lightning striking the kite scene. I purposefully made the outline of the kite rough and sketchy after the lightning strikes it to try and create a dramatic, slow motion effect, much like you often seen at moments with an intense power surge or explosion in anime:



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Added the background, full screen flashes, and kite string.

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Added the kite tail, again trying to keep the dramatic sketchy style, making it look slightly stiffer after being electrocuted.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Colour/Texture Tests

When I was visualising the overall style of my film, I thought I'd really like to try experimenting with textures along with painterly backgrounds to take the edge of the sharp, flat colours that are typical of Flash animation. My main inspiration for this was Cartoon Network's Chowder, which colours parts of clothes and scenery by having its characters moving over stationary textures, as you can see in the video clip below.





I think this is really nice effect that should theoretically be very simple to do using masks in Flash, so for now I've done a few quick tests to see how adding textures will look.


This is the texture I'm experimenting with, originally blue ink splats turned greyscale in Photoshop, then colorised with a yellow hue.


I then used the overlay blending option in Photoshop to make the texture appear as part of the colouring.



Here you can se how the effect works with the background in comparison to the flat colours. Personally I like it a lot, though I think it requires a little tweaking to avoid texture over-kill... At the moment the ink splat texture combined with the already painterly texture of the background feels a little overpowering. I'll have to experiment more after the deadline when I have time.

Scene 28

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Started tracing key frames from the animatic.

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Added more in-between movement, acting it out myself as I went along to get the arc of the back right as she straightens up and raises the bottle.

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Finished the body movement and added the face. I spend a long time focusing on the facial expressions to get the absolutely perfect, as this is possibly the most important scene for her to show how truly in awe she is of the lightning and overjoyed by her success.

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Added the coat, making sure to add an extra few frames for the follow-though movement of the sleeve whenever she stops.

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Added the hat, again with a few extra frames for follow-through movement so it flops down rather than looking stiff.

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As usual I tool a lot of care with the hair, especially at the end when it springs up with static. That was difficult to work out how to do, but I eventually discovered that exaggerating the hair so it stands up almost completely straight/on end before pinging back into the zig-zag locks was the most effective.

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Fully coloured scene with background. This will be as final a version as I can accomplish before the deadline due to time constraints, but I'll go back and add the lightning/cork/lighting afterwards for the final show.

Scene 23

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I turned Tizz into a symbol for this scene, allowing me to tween her movement off screen in order to make it smooth and correctly timed. I animated her hair and coat movement on separate layers inside the symbol so they would loop as she flew off screen. This saved a lot of time, trial and error.

Scene 21

This scene was especially tricky because I wanted it to be as smooth and fluid as possible, so I animated on ones rather than twos like I usually do. This meant a lot more work and I sadly didn't get the scene completed in time for the assessment, but I think it was worth is for the quality I achieved over all. The shot should look really effective once it's completed, which I intend to do for the degree show.

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I started by tracing the keyframe from the animatic and tweening the falling towards the screen movement in order to get the correct timing.

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I then worked on the facial expressions. I could have just kept her expression the same as she fell, but I really wanted to put in the extra effort to show her panic and fear as the lightning/ground closes in from above/below, so I took the time to properly animate a slight change in her face as she gasps for air, most likely crying out.

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This time added the flapping coat tails. I animated each side separately to avoid them looking symmetrical and flapping in time with each other.

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Rough cut shot complete with background.

Scene 20

Due to the previous shot being slow motion, I really wanted this scene to be fast and fluid in comparison to make up for it, as well as to hopefully exhilarate audience and raise tension due to the speed at which she's falling. I animated this scene on ones (24 fps) in order to achieve this, rather than twos (12fps) as I have done for all the other scenes.

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I started with the coat/hat first (since you never actually seen the 'body' here), then animated the hair. Thanks to not having to worry about the body, the coat movement came surprisingly easily. I made sure to add a slight jerk at the end as she swings back with the string.

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Next I animated the top half of the string to follow her down and she keeps tight hold.

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Last was the key and the bottom half of the string, which was a lot more tricky. Getting the correct amount of flick from the key and the end of the string was difficult, especially considering the perspective and the necessity for the string to follow an arc motion. But I think in the end I got it looking right.

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Finished animating the key and changed all the outline colours to match the rest of the scenes so there's be no confusion when it came to colouring.

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Fully coloured scene with the background. I think the bright colours of her coat stand out especially well against the dark grass of this scene, and it's here that I think my decision to make the inside of her coat a paler yellow really paid off. It really helps differentiate the inside from the outside of her coat as she falls, making the rapid flowing movement easier for the eyes to read.

Scene 19

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Slow motion falling/silhouette scene (with lightning flashing in the background, once the background for this section is finished). I started animating Tizz on the spot in mid-air for this in order to get the arc of her body right as she changes falling position.

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I then animated the hair and clothes separately. None of the flapping is looped, I drew the hair, coat, and sleeves individually for every frame in an attempt to make the scene look interesting to watch despite not much happening.

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Coloured silhouette with the string and key added. I fear the string might be a little too thick, but I feel it's necessary in order to make it readable...

Scene 17

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Short but simple scene. Started animating just the face alone, making sure to as as much expressive detail as possible since it's such a close up shot. I took extra care with her eyes, making them widen and her pupil contract slightly as she looks up in order to show her shock/surprise. I could have exaggerated this more but I wanted to keep it subtle, after all the lightning hasn't struck the kite yet at this point, so it wouldn't make sense for her to have an over the top expression. This is more a 'breath catching in your throat in fearful anticipation' kind of glance. She knows the lightning is coming, and she looks up just in time to catch it.

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Added the hat and the hair. Since the shot is so zoomed into her face, I purposefully over exaggerated the wind blowing her fringe in order to get more of it flicking into the frame in such a short period of time. I think this also serves to make the shot more dramatic and will hopefully help it make an impact despite being over so quickly.

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Colour test for the scene.

Scene 16

Rather than just having a static hand reaching out before grabbing the string, I wanted to have the hand tremble and twitch slightly to really show how hard Tizz is reaching and struggling to grab it. While this will take a lot more time, I feel the scene will be too dull to watch without some secondary movement like this since it lasts several seconds. It's all part of the dramatic build up to the climax, so I need this scene to give a sense of desperation and determination like the others.

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Started by key framing/animating the two extremes.

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Added the yanking down/back movement as she finally managed to grab hold.

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Exaggerated the hand grabbing and yanking down a little more.

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Fully animated the string and added more twitches to the hand.

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Finally animated the flapping of the sleeve int he wind.

Scene 14

I found this scene extremely difficult to figure out due to the odd perpective of the camera angle (chosen to make the shot more interesting and give the viewer some variety between scenes), so much so that I had to leave it and move onto other scenes before I finished simply because it was taking me so long. It took a lot of trail and error to get to it's current state, but I think it was worth it because now I have a good idea of how to go about finishing it convincingly when I get time rather than starting from scratch again (working from a blank canvas is always the most difficult).

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Started just animating the head to get a sense of timing and distance for the fall.

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Added the outstretched arm/hand, adding secondary animation to make the arm waver and tremble slightly to show the strain and effort she's putting into reaching.

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Added the coat, though with no wind blowing it around yet. I'll add the secondary wind animation in last once I have all the other movements working right, as they're the most important. Billowing clothes should never be used to hide bad body acting.

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I tried to add more pressure to the hand sliding down with her here, I wanted to make it look like she really grabbing onto the edge of the pylon for dear life to stop herself falling any further. Something' off about the way she looks up.back afterwards, though... I don't like it. I was trying to go for fear and worry for her personal safety, but she seems almost too afraid... I don't want it to seem like she's regretting her actions despite her situation.

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I realised it didn't make much sense for her to glance back over her shoulder after she slips... What exactly is she looking at? The horizon? If anything it would be a lot more believable for her to to look back up at where she fell from, her eyes filled with frustrated determination as she tries to claw her way back up again. She may be afraid of falling, but she's Tizz, and Tizz isn't going to let a little setback like that stop her when she's so close to achieving her goal. It's vital I always keep her personality in mind as I animate, especially these scenes whether she's going through physical and emotional stress, otherwise I could fall into the trap of bad character acting which is the last thing I want to do.