Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Group Production: development of ideas and the pitch.

During the pre-production stages of the project I started sketching characters to be used in our final production. The group decided on using animals as characters because it creates a more lighthearted and entertaining feel to the interviews we were lip syncing. Using animals also gives us the opportunity to relate the speech in the interviews and sound of the voice to a type of animal.
Together we discussed possible ideas and ended up deciding on animating a dolphin, aliens, fascist ants, rhino builder, polaroid camera, goldfish and a dung beetle. All the characters appearances relate to what is being said on the tapes. I decided to concentrate my character design and story-boarding on the dolphin scene. I mainly practiced drawing the shape of a dolphin and trying to understand how a dolphin moves. I began generating different ideas for the storyboard. Because the idea was similar to creature comforts i wanted to include more shots than just the typical mid shot I decided that I would include a wrestling match between a shark and a dolphin to make it more interesting and give myself a challenge. I wanted a referee character so decided on a penguin because of the appearance. I practiced drawing the movements of all the characters in preparation for production because it would be my role to animate the lip sync and movements of other characters including a killer whale jump.
After watching the making of PIXARS 'Finding Nemo' i realized how complicated making something look underwater was so began researching into underwater backgrounds and lighting. One of the biggest challenges for me in this project will be working in 2D and trying to achieve a believable animation that will make the audience laugh.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Group project: Pre Production.

The session we had on the structure of an animation studio and pipeline helped me to gain a better understanding of the importance of the roles. I hadn't realized that there were so may areas in animation and found it really interesting researching the role of a sound designer. I hope to be able to practice with sound in animation as it is a whispered truth among animators that 70% of a films impact is down to the sound.
I was excited to receive a project that involved a team of people. This way the group could be split into pre production, post production and production teams. I prefer the creative side and idea generating side of animation, this would include things such as character design, writing and story-boarding therefore i chose to be part of the pre production team.
Our assignment looks at interviews with Falmouth university students. However it is our job as animators to create funny interpretations o what the students say. So far we are in the initial idea stages. The majority of are ideas are influenced by the Aardman production 'Creature Comforts'. Because the interviews are in no way funny the character design, interpretation of the interview, backgrounds and body language of the characters is crucial to creating a humorous final film. I am currently working on character designs for a Gladiator dolphin and a Fascist Dog.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Evaluation: Sack Rig

This exercise was one of my most enjoyable. I love creating and building in maya and 3D animation is definitely an area I would like to work in. Animating the flour sack reminded me of all the weight movements and timing I had learnt doing the 2D character. After experimenting with all the possible movements i began trying to make the flour sack walk and look realistic. There are two ways of creating a walk cycle. The first is to make the character walk on the spot then move them along a platform by inserting keyframes and using the graph to get the timing right however the finished walk cycle can sometimes look more mechanical and make the character appear as though they are sliding along the platform. By animating the flour sacks movements manually and tweaking movements in the graph a more realistic walk can be achieved. i had to take into consideration the character of the flour sack so that the movements could reflect its personality. I also had to make sure all the elements of the character moved correctly during the walk, not just the feet and legs.
The flour sack approaches the end of the platform quite proudly then when anticipating the jump assumes a gymnast, bungie jump style pose before falling. This adds character to the sack.
I originally wanted the sack to fall and do a summersault as it fell but i had problems moving the point of rotation. Instead I inserted a long gymnast bar so that the character could appear to fall, swing round the bar and land on the floor.
Overall i am very pleased with my finished clip and look forward to practicing animating more complicated characters and learning how to create characters and rig them.

Maya: Character animation finished flour sack