I’ve just finished tweaking the sequence I posted yesterday, (it didn’t read well enough, so I added anticipation and some short tweens to areas) and added a character to the juggling shot. I’ve drawn out the near naked dancing man too for the following one. Whilst I waiting for the sloooow export of images so I can render out a video, I thought I’d post up something I did whilst working on the ideas for the layout. I printed off what I had and added notes later that evening, which I found pretty good in terms of letting the brain relax a little and musing of the puzzle of staging.
I’m still finding challenges with having the camera locked off quite a way away, without cutting in, but it’s all for the final effect. My acting with the characters is going to have to be accented well so it reads, and eyes/mouth expressions will need to be contrasted nicely with the surrounding colours (as will the poses when using the negative space of the background). It’s kinda cool to have tangible boundaries to your film though, as the less tools gives you some unwritten guidelines on how to make this individual piece work.
So here’s the image I drew over with all my notes and scribbles. It’s not polished in any way, but it’s an insight into how my mind works (and the drastic notes show how quickly the stuff needs to be written down!)
[Click for a biggie]
Aside from the film work, I am doing sketching everyday on the tram and around about town and wherever else I may be. I bought a grey Faber Castell brush pen to add basic shadows and am working in a dinky A6 pad, which again has it’s limitations although it prevents me overworking things at that size (and it fits in my pocket). I bought the bits with a voucher I have, and with nothing else to spend the rest of the voucher on, bought a ton of the other coloured pens today and a few more small pads to draw on. Land of colour, here I come!
This is the first look at the combined character and background I’ve settled on. The kid is just ‘ruff’ right now, but the robot is on style. It’s a full colour cartoon people! Originally I was aiming for a simple, stripped-down look with just black and white and maybe one accent colour per character, but I have to go with what I love and colour is an exciting area to work with, so I’ve gone full on.
Click for a larger size in Flickr.
So, after a few set up shots and some introduction, there will be a fast truck into what becomes a pan.
This will introduce the audience to the setting and allow a character to ‘act’ across the full stage (as the idea of using all the floor and space, like a play or gymnast, is an idea I’m running with for this one). The camera will move left to right and settle there for the rest of the film (aiming for the watcher feel, as though you are in the street there, and so the time is a pretty fixed element that isn’t too confusing). I worked around the line quality which I liked and got some good feedback from, then added in the other elements. I’m still not 100% with the final aesthetic, but it’s good enough to start working with and come back to later. (Note to self: add back in the Autumn tree colours!)
I’ve also been drawing out a ton of poses for the characters throughout the film. I’m animating in Flash, but much prefer to draw on paper. I suppose it’s a mental thing, but it’s going to take some breaking down to get to the same level…for me at least! So the next job is to translate all that information into the animatic, so it’s more of a pose test reel.
The image below is a bit of a titch, so to see a much bigger one in all its pixel glory, click on it and you’ll be taken to my related Flickr page.
More background work in a slightly different direction.
After a few days off from putting pen to paper with the film and some inspiration from the National Gallery of Victoria (!) I’ve worked up a different direction for the background. I am definitely leaning towards a white fill for the characters, maybe with limited use of outline, at at the very least complimentary to the surrounding colours. I think from that I’ll have accent colours for certain parts of the character as mentioned before. This simplistic approach to colouring of the actors will leave me in a position to really push the poses and silhouettes they strike, and use limited colour to my advantage.
I did a few watercolour samples in my sketchbook at the weekend (okay, not a full weekend off, but close) and like the feel of a loose line over a watercolour wash. This stemmed from that, and developed as I played about with the palette. i prefer the use of one tree, and the ‘light on dark’ feel throughout. I’ll work on the poses in the animatic now, scene by scene, to see where I can develop some of the ideas I have about the way this film should move!
Here’s the pic. I love the colours of Autumn, and as it’s starting to turn here in southern Oz, I thought it would be suitable to work with that late summer feel. Plus, the weather is still warm enough for people to be wearing shorts!
And a zoom of the chap reading his paper:
Comments and crit welcome, as always!
Edit: I moved the trash can/bin over to the right, where it was in my animatic. I’ve also enlarged a few things as I think the bench and bin are too small. It’s hard to get the sense of space and yet work with characters close up…and have room for performance in the foreground!!
I’ve started working into my animatic (which is now done). This will mainly involve improving poses and clarity of the things going on. Saying that, I’ve been reading excepts from Walt Stanchfield’s notes and feel like I have to go back to the drawing board! There’s so much to consider, and so many possibilities. It makes me wonder whether I’m pushing myself enough to challenge the norm (although I keep coming back to the reason I started, to make a film I really want to make). I think for now I’m just going to try my hardest to keep balancing the progress with lots of learning and drawing on the side, not forgetting that mistakes will take me the right direction if I learn from them and all that.
Anyway, here’s a mock up for the background plate. Not everything is in there, but it’s close. I spent a while fiddling with the colours (I’m a self confessed weakling when it comes to being decisive with colour!) and I want something simple. I may even still go for the white and black lines, then accent certain parts of the characters with colour, like a t shirt or a hat.
For now, I’m clocking off. It’s 8.30 on a Friday night and I’m still in the office, which wouldn’t be so bad but it’s the birthday weekend for this ageing boy over the next two days, so I fully intend to let the ideas ‘stew’ and see what I end up with when I come back to the drawing board on Monday. Might do some gesture drawing though, that stuff is fun!
Here’s all the chef piece coloured with background/foreground elements added in. I’m moving on to something else now as the shape changes in the animation are mainly down to tweening a looser keyframe animation (it looked cool when it was just keys, now it looks a bit wierd).
Software used: Flash (animation, character colouring, ruffs), Photoshop (background/foreground colouring), After Effects (composite, masking, layering, colour correction)
The chef piece I was working on is pretty much finished aethetic-wise. I’d probably do the animation differently in future, but I started this a while ago, so I did my best with what I had. It did turn into more of a background/layout/painting exercise instead, which had its benefits. Here’s a still:
Work in progress background for a personal animation project I’m working on.
A panning background for a short project. The centre piece has a T Rex on the plinth, but he’s animated so not in this version. I’ll be posting the actual animation shortly. The main aim of this was to practice with colour and compostion. Colour makes things much more fun! I will hold to this resolution…