Thursday, 6 September 2012

Final focused workshop

This lesson I finished editing the files into the correct order and length, and with that concluded the editing process. Here is the final product.

Animation focused workshop 3

Today we went straight to the art room, where we began our final day of animation. Ruby and Jess decided they had finished their frames, so they began scripting and recording the voice-over, while I made the final three scenes of the animation. While I exported the scenes as .swf files and gifs, they edited the soundscape together on audacity.

Once we had finished, we returned to our regular room and we began to transfer files between our computers, so that we all had copies of the vital files. When I had the soundscape and their drawings saved I opened adobe premiere elements and started editing them together, with sountrack and voiceover, into the final product.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Animation focused workshop 2

Today for the first few lessons Ruby was at an exam, and Jess was absent, so I got along with my animating jobs. I finished a piece in which the protagonist of the sequence's iris/pupil expands in shock, and the word 'JUMP' flashes across her eyes, as this is a vital portrayal of the panic Kow-one experiences at the thought of jump, a thing she has never learned before, flashing across her mind.
I am very pleased with the way that it turned out, actually, as eyes are not a strong point of drawing for me, and animating the inner iris was a challenge for sure.

After this I looked back on my plans for the sequence, and decided that either I would not include or I would do next week the close-up run-cycle I have planned, and so I began work on a cycle of Kow-one breathing deeply after stopping running (this will come after she reaches the wall, and just before the 'jump' eye scene.). This provided to be more difficult than expected, and I redid the colouring several times due to me not favoring the colour scheme, and had difficulty with the jaw line (I ended up looking up female jawlines for guidance), but the final scene which will only last a little while is satisfactory I suppose.

Finally, I decided on a way of putting all the aspects of our film together. Ruby and Jess have finished their scenes and Ruby photographed them, so I am exporting my flash work scenes as .swf files and importing them to Adobe Premiere Elements, so that I can loop / add effects with more ease and availability, plus it means I can add the music (I decided on the track today, one of my favorite songs from an album inspired by a webcomic, a haunting refrain that has the melancholy / dramatic effect I want to portray through the video, the part of the track I am going to use is from 00:47 onwards) and the voiceover (Ruby and Jess will record next week, the lines are almost directly from the story itsself.)
The weaknesses in the animation currently mainly lie in some minor glitches in the sequences (e.g the neck blotch seen on one frame in the gif above), and in the large gaps in the film left by the missing scenes I am yet to create, plus I need to work on the music syncing.

Music (it's pretty rad you should listen to it):

My plan for next week is to finish the last three or four scenes that I need to complete, and edit the voiceover, animation, hand-drawn pictures and music together into a final piece of work. It will be a challenge and it will be a lot of work, but I think we as a group can handle it.

Overall I am happy with how this project is progressing, as me and my group have taken something from a good piece of short literature and shaped it into something that is somewhat our own, and throughout the character designing, animating and editing, I have found that my ideas have been becoming more vivid in my mind, and I can see this becoming a decent piece of work. I am also pretty excited to have our work displayed in the Arnolfini, as it is a place I go to quite frequently and to have our work shown is an honour. As well as having my ideas become more prominent, I think that I have improved my flash skills greatly, as at the beginning of this project they were rusty as old heck and I was struggling with things as trivial as motion tweens, whereas now I feel a lot more confident with the software and am considering investing in saving up to buy it myself.

Animating focused workshop 1

This lesson after some brief brainstorming we were taken to the art room, where we were given everything on our animation tools shopping-list, and given independence to get on with our projects. Ruby and Jess set about sketching their hand-drawn flashback scenes, using a lightbox to trace over their last picture, then began to photograph them and put them into loops on flash (making a jittery, dreamlike / movement effect)
In the meantime I took my lineart through to a final coloured, shaded and fixed-up cycle, then started work on the background. I created a layer just below that of the colouring on the lines, and named it 'floor', this remains constant through the cycle and is plain grey to make things simpler. I then added, below 'floor' and another blank layer, a plain lighter grey for 'background'. After this I created a movie clip, in which there are several buildings, and added frames for smoke to rise and fall, and flames to flicker. I added this into the middle blank layer, named it 'buildings', and created a duplicate of the movie clip so that I could make a motion tween between the two, meaning it gives the appearance of them moving backwards (as Kow one runs). After finishing this I began some brief sketches for further frames, but as of yet have nothing to show for that.
Here is the final cycle:
((excuse the large size and poorly formatted gif, it's the best flash could do))

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Work for the Bristol Short Story Prize

The same day that we did a brief study of pixilation, we moved on to beginning our Bristol Short Story Prize  animations. We has a short discussion, then set about our roles. Jess and Ruby began work on the flashback stills, drawing them out on paper, and designing backgrounds, and I started the excruciating work of creating the run cycle (did I mention I am atrocious at these? I think I did.), which took me the best part of the rest of the day to take from initial sketch to almost final lineart. I am actually quite happy with the result (gif above), although it rendered a little odd and came out blue, that glitch will not apply in the animation, and if you ignore the slight jumpiness of the head, I am genuinely pleased with my end result here. Fixing of glitches, addition of facial features(?), colouring and background are additions to make next lesson.

Pixilation practice.

This lesson we had a brief lesson in pixilation. Pixilation is the technique of stop motion animation, in which the subject is live action people, moving very slowly, and being photographed in a frame-by-frame way, creating an abstract, eerie effect. We didn't have an awful lot of time to edit out imperfections or make a full length scrutinised video out of it, but this is a satisfactory test. I had issues climbing on to the wall for me and Ruby's wall-shot, but despite it's proof of my ridiculously poor upper body strength I liked that shot a lot, because the height difference and sudden switch of us creates an interesting effect.

Thursday, 10 May 2012


This lesson we had a brief presentation on how to use Stop Motion Pro V6.5, then were presented with plasticine and allowed to be 5 years old, creating our own strange plasticine creatures for our animations. We watched an episode of Trapdoor for inspiration, an old program that uses the media of claymation to make a series of shorts. I think their animation was done very well, and they used sound very much to their advantage. They did this by using voice acting and music / sfx to minimise the amount of movement necessary. Sadly we were just doing a brief skim-through of claymation, so I didn't have time to incorporate sound. Either way, we were working with our groups that we are in for the short story animation, so I was working with Ruby and Jess. Ruby made a little circular creature with long arms and a basketball hoop and ball, whereas Jess made a large blue monster with a wide body. I myself made a chihuahua-esque dog with a wire-jointed head and large eyes, along with a smaller blue counterpart dog that fits nicely on it's head. Making models without a clue how they are going to be used or how they will work together is always a risky move, but I find that in this nonsense type animation it was probably for the best, and it was in working out how they could work together that the plotline emerged. Perhaps being thrown in at the deep end of this type of thing is the best way to spark ideas and engage imagination. Ruby and Jess liked the idea of a ball game between their monsters, but I didn't think that this could incorporate my model very well, and I liked the idea of taking advantage of our workspace and using the computer (i've always been fond of the idea of the characters / monsters etc. coming out from the screen?), then I had the idea. I thought we could include both if it were to be the monsters playing the game, then a cut to the dog watching the screen, with the last frame of the ball-game animation full screen. (giving the effect that it is watching a tv show or film.) This is followed by the screen blacking out, sending the dog into a state of confusion, at which point the monsters appear from behind the computer ('coming out of the screen'), continuing their chase. At being left alone the dog's ears and tail droop (giving the sad effect with minimal movement), until baby-dog appears and climbs onto it's head, which makes the dog happy and it follows after the monsters. A simple idea, but an innovative insight into using claymation as a media for animation. I think we used it quite well, and if we weren't planning to do flash i'm sure we could have made a fun claymation. Sadly I think that, with the complex character design and vibrant colours / lines needed for our animation, flash is the only option. Despite this, this lesson was a valuable learning experience and I had fun.