Towards the end of last year I worked on an ipad/iphone development project that resulted in 5 apps being published in December. These apps are called ‘The Traditional Storyteller’ and can be found here in the app store.
My main creative job was the produce 40 original illustrations to highlight certain points in each specific story. I also worked on the initial wireframes and layouts, eventually managing the whole project and providing a point of contact for the clients and developers. The feedback so far has been extremely positive and the client is very happy with the final outcome. It was a big learning curve to work with Apple’s guidelines…but it’s not as bad as some sources may have you believe! I thought I’d post a picture of some of the images I produced as they’re currently not in my portfolio.
In other news, I’ve finished off the turkey just in time to receive a grant commission from a certain football club. I’ll be producing a short film about their fans and the clubs passion for the ‘beautiful game’ which will mix live action and animation. It’s going to be a fun one to experiment with.
I hope everyone had a great holiday and has big things lined up for the new year! If you’re thinking of making resolutions, I wouldn’t bother…you’ll only end up cancelling that gym membership in a few months. I say let’s make a change in February…little to start, then make the resolution nearer April. That way, you’re already well on the way to achieving the new habit you wanted to form, plus the weather is getting better and you can literally smell the sun cream…so it’s easier to stay motivated! Good tip eh?
Here’s a video from Youtube that shows the progress so far (you can watch it in HD too if you so like):
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!
From another shot in the film, here’s a juggler and his apparent lack of dental care. I’m animating loosely in flash then blocking the main shapes in with the paintbrush, as the outlines are an afterthought and only to accent certain areas. I find it easier to animate this was in Flash as it makes you less focused on the perfect line and is a bit more of a natural feeling (just as it feels natural to draw in line on paper).
I also added some nifty widget to allow easy social networking access (for all you books of faces and twits out there).
It’s just below each post…
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.
In order to help solve my problems with composition, I’ve just gone through and highlighted my active and inactive parts of the screen (with regards to the character performance). That is to say, where the action happens and where the eye may rest. In a way, I need to bring the characters closer, but then I loose the full body acting space…and the strength of space, which I currently like. I think I need to work on a test piece of rough animation, just blocked keys with maybe a few breakdowns, seeing if it reads and others can read it. I’d still like to be able to challenge myself with some subtle acting to balance the bolder full-body work, so hopefully I will have chance with this. I did think of cutting in, but the idea was to keep it as one shot, like a stage or play.
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!!
A coloured sketch for one of the interacting characters. At this stage, the animation line is going to be quite loose, as part of an experiment with colouring digitally and blending the aesthetic (BG and FG).