Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Christmas Time

It's Christmas time. It is the eve of Christmas eve in fact, bu the work must go on. I have been grafting all day and to finish the opening shot (Which I have finished) and to get the animation for the second shot done. Which is done. I am pleased with both....though how they will fit together is yet to be seen...as I don't want to see them together until the second scene is complete...otherwise I will start nit-picking and going back and changing things when they don't need to be.

I have animated the opening shot from scratch. The last post shows the frame-by-frame nature of the shot. I have done all of the inbetweening, line cleaning and tidying, colouring and special effects on the scene and then today I added shadow to the character to give the final touches. I am very pleased with it. The opening shot was important to me because I wanted it to show that my animation had come to fruition...to a new level that I am proud of. I have worked really hard this semester, investigating new techniques and practising old ones to try and become a better animator. With nobody looking over your shoulder and telling you what you are doing right and wrong you are always second guessing yourself and because if that I think I haven't progressed at the 'typical' rate that most students been taught this fine art would have. Never the less, it has been incredibly rewarding and I believe that my animation is finally getting to a stage that I can be proud of.

Here is a test of the effects I wanted to use on the opening shot:


I did a test animation to make sure the video I was exporting from Flipbook could be embedded into Flash at the same bit rate and resolution as the original output. After some tweaking, I got it looking the way I wanted and decided to do some test special effects over the top of the video - just to make sure that my whole plan wouldn't come crashing down when I went to do the final thing. I had only read about it all working together and not really tried it before - which was a rookie mistake to make, but one that I chanced because of time constraints. Anyway: this led to the making the final opening shot....which can be seen below:


So here is the completed first scene of the animation: the sound scape still needs to be added in, but that will be done in a different program and then added over the top in Quicktime afterwards. The special effects I used in the test animation were pretty good, but I added in some extra things to really bring the scene to life. The shot bright white after several seconds of black (Not included here) and the whole time you can just hear the wind blowing. The bright white light will then blind the audience, before the lens flares. They get a few seconds to take in the serenity of the shot before the butterfly comes in. The grass at the front of the shot is blurred to increase the perspective of the shot and it is constantly moving to increase the beauty of the shot and to make sense of the wind sound effects playing over the background.

Originally the butterfly flapped around a bit, but I thought that this didn't work. I also didn't like my original butterfly...it was too bright and 'scene stealing'. With this new butterfly, I used a blur effect to make it appear that it flies in from the distance, then had it pass through the camera. The swirls on it's wings are an early indication of my theme for the piece which is: The Never Ending.

The boy then comes charging through and stomps on the grass which springs back up. I think this really adds something to the scene. The camera also shakes as his foot hits the ground, helping the audience to 'feel' the piece as well as see and hear it. As the boys foot comes down, that is when the music for the piece kicks in - which is yet to be decided. I might use Air's The Dancer by Penguin Cafe, because I don't think I will have the chance to make my own music with the animation taking so long.

Next we have the basic animation output from the next shot:


This the scene with the boy running up the hill chasing the butterfly. The butterfly isn't there, the boy isn't coloured, there is no camera work to add some realistic wobble and there are no effects or grass close to the camera: all that will be added in on boxing day - but I just wanted to post this early shot of the next scene because I have worked hard on it all day. The boy has already been through line clean-up for what I have got so far, but he needs to be inbetweened.

Merry Christmas. I will be back with some more posts after the celebrations.

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