Monday, 25 January 2016

Weeks 12 & 13

I spent most of Week 12 tying up loose ends in preproduction and rescheduling and by Week 13 I had begun to animate properly for Alphabet Patch. I felt a bit rusty animating to start with, and felt frustrated with the lack of progress. However, by sticking to it I am starting to feel more confident animating again.
I animated a couple of shots this week, one of them involved the character Paddy turning from 3/4 front view to 3/4 back view. This was the first time I had tried doing this with any of the characters but I think it was successful. I shot some reference video to help me animate this shot using Jack as the actor and this proved to be so helpful that I intend on shooting reference for the whole episode. It is harder to create reference for the animal characters but I'll look into some solutions for that.

The animated preview!

Above is the reference video filmed to help animate the shot

In general, everything is going ok on the production. We are waiting for the final voices to be recorded which is holding up production a bit, however as producer I am trying to minimize the delay. I am hoping to have all of the voices recorded by the end of this week - finger crossed.

Oh, and I have now started using Twitter so you can follow @LeoIsaacs if you want, and/or check out my Tumblr

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Bonus: Character construction breakdowns

As I am compiling all of my work from last term ready for assessment, I ended up creating visual breakdowns of the Alphabet Patch characters to show how they are constructed and to display all of the different parts. Each character has five of these - one for the front view; 3/4 front angle view; side view; 3/4 back view and back view. I thought it would be quite interesting to show some of these on my blog, although there are still some extra parts that will be added to the characters this term (such as more replacement hands).

Above is Cecil's front view construction. He has 8 different 'slime' shapes that can be cycled through by the animator when Cecil moves. He also has several different eye shapes for different emotions, and a separate pupil that can be moved freely. The other shapes are his shell, his body, arms, mouth shapes and eye stalks.

Here's Dotty's 3/4 front view, she has wings that can be made either visible or invisible within CelAction depending on whether she is using them or not. There are also two sets of shells, one is 'closed' for when her wings are not visible, and the other set is used when the wings in use. Like the other characters, she has various eye and mouth shapes.

Dotty also has a 'standing-up' character construction for when she is standing up on two legs. She does not fly in this position thus there are no wings.

This is Paddy's 3/4 front view. There are a couple of different replacement hand shapes for him, and more that need to be designed. 

And finally, this is Tony's 3/4 front view. The black lines in the bottom right are his tail, each piece is limbered separately in CelAction to allow the animator to achieve lots of flexibility. His body has a limber that allows him to sit down and crouch. His extra nose is for when he looks upwards, and the Zs are able to be made visible/invisible individually so the animator can create a nice snoring effect.

I've learnt a lot from constructing these characters, and made a lot of mistakes! It's been a long and challenging process learning the different softwares (Illustrator, Photoshop, CelAction) and the pipeline between them but very rewarding and ultimately enjoyable. I'd like to design more exciting CelAction characters using what I have learnt.

Week 11: Happy New Year!

Back to university this week! As the dissertation deadline is next Friday, there are not a lot of crew members free to work much on the animation projects, so I have taken this week to sort everything ready for animation to begin straightaway after the deadline. Having said that, I have been able to assign some shots for animation this week so progress is still happening.

Over the Christmas break I developed the background style for Alphabet Patch which proved to be tricky as all the characters are different colours and textures, and it was hard to get them to stand out from the background. However, eventually I found a design that works.

I also re-storyboarded the whole Alphabet Patch animation to reflect our concerns about things that weren't working. I'm pleased with the new storyboard, I think the episode flows a lot more smoothly and is more entertaining. I then put the storyboard into an animatic and made a terrible scratch track recording of the voices. Hopefully my editor will be able to improve the animatic this week and perfect the timings.

I also recreated the lip-syncing mouths for the CelAction character rigs so that they are a lot more simple. I'm going to test these out today, and they may need some further adjusting.

Due to the new animatic, I need to redo lots of the production stuff such as the tracking form, schedule and costing - so I am sorting that all out this week as well as finalizing the new lip sync shapes and organising the final voice recording sessions. Hopefully I will also be able to get some simple shots animated as well.