Saturday, October 31, 2009

:30 Short Film—Part 3: Revised Animatic III

Wow, FIVE WEEKS!! It's taken me FIVE WEEKS to figure out how to frame the punchline of this film. I hope it was worth it!

At first I was beating myself up over it, being overly critical, telling myself that I should've figured it out a lot sooner. Then a truth hit me: this is only my second time telling a story with a punchline and my first on a 14 week deadline! There's all kinds of framing, continuity and readability issues involved that I haven't had to deal with in the past. So all things considered, taking five weeks to determine the best solution to the problem maybe isn't so awful.

The good news is that I HAVE figured it out and now I'm ready to start animatin'! The goal for the next class is to have a completed, final animatic that includes between 3-5 seconds of pencil test animation. I'm confident that the goal can be met.

Below is the first 20 seconds of the final animatic. I forgot to warn you before: this is NSFW (not safe for work) due to the sound effects.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

:30 Short Film—Part 3: Revised Animatic II

Well, I completed a revision of the first 14 seconds of the animatic. It was approved today with just minor changes so I'm excited about getting the remaining 16 seconds of the animatic done. Then on to animatin'!

I just keep hearing Julie Andrews singing about her confidence and, surprisingly, it keeps me going. Thanks, Julie!

Another important accomplishment is that I managed to decrease my stress. Three weeks ago, I was stressing myself so much that my chronic conjunctivitis (I am sooo not going to look up if I spelled that correctly!) was flaring up in my right eye. Which translates to a red eye. Which means people are uncomfortable talking to me because they're afraid I'm going to give them pink eye! (Don't worry, I have the non-contagious variety.) But once I determined the ending of the film and storyboarded it, I began to feel better. And I can say that these last few days I've had no red in my eye.

I just keep telling myself that I don't have to be the BEST draftswoman or the BEST animator or even the BEST storyteller. I just have to get this project DONE in a reasonable time and to the best of my ability. Ultimately, it's a learning experience and everything I go through during the creation of this film will make things easier for the next and the next.

It's a lovely process and I intend to ENJOY it!

Revised first 14 seconds of animatic below.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I'm Mental

Yes, my brain is playing tricks on me again. I've been trying to revise my animatic for TWO WEEKS!!! I've made some progress, mainly that I've come up with an ending that I think will do justice to the setup. I've designed the two main characters and have done preliminary designs for the other two main characters. But my drawing skills are once again messin' with me. I've struggled just to do a few drawings. I've become so frustrated that I took an entire 24 hour break from working on it. And this evening I've done everything except work on the film.

I have to keep on remembering what Chuck Jones said—the sooner I get out those bad drawings, I'll get to the good ones. I have to keep telling my brain that instead of telling it how much I suck!

OK, I'm off to draw.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

:30 Short Film—Part 3: Animatic

My storyboard was approved—with a few minor suggestions—and the next step is to make the animatic. That's basically the storyboard drawings timed to the actual length of the film and includes sound and music.

I had a good time finding the audio, listening to previews of all kinds of stuff. I found the elk sounds from the U.S. government's National Digital Library. Thankfully, I can use the sounds without restriction but some sort of credit is requested. That's reasonable. I returned to a reliable source called for the remaining music and sounds. Their preview clips are sufficient for the animatic and the prices seem reasonable for usage. We'll see what their terms are when I actually purchase the clips.

I thought creating the animatic would be straightforward—just take the storyboard drawings, pop them into AfterEffects, adjust the timing, add the sound and music and VOILA!! turned out to be a lot more than that! Over the course of a 3-day weekend, I spent 24.5 hours making the animatic. There was more drawing to do and a lot of tweaking but I got it done in time for class. But I discovered one thing...the ending wasn't working! YIKES!

There's nothing worse than setting up a joke only to have the punchline fall flat. That's EXACTLY what I discovered once I got to work on the animatic.

Below is the first 12 seconds of the original animatic. In future posts I'll show you the revised version so you can see how it's hopefully improved.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Petey & Wayne Evolve

Below are the latest versions of the two hunters in my film, Petey and Wayne. I have a feeling that their look will continue to evolve as the production of the film progresses.

I'm glad I discovered John K.'s blog. It made me realize that I need to improve my drawing fundamentals in order to animate proficiently. So I'm focusing on keeping my characters ROUNDED so it will be easier to turn and distort them. Simplicity is going to be key for this project. Why do you think Fred Flintstone didn't have a neck? So he'd be easier to animate!

Next post—:30 Short Film—Part 3: Animatic

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Diggin' the Digital

I'm still astounded by how much easier it is today to make an independent animated film than 10 years ago. No more spending hours shooting tests on film myself, poorly. Then traveling from Westchester to Manhattan to have the film processed, waiting 24 or 48 hours, then returning to Manhattan. Then I'd watch the tests on the projector (!) only to discover that it SUCKED!!! Then there was the whole process again...AGONY!!!

Now, with my PowerPC Dual Processor Mac (about to be obsolete), an Epson scanner (that I've had for 10 years), an HP color printer, a Canon Powershot digital camera, a bunch of software (After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign,  Flash, iMovie and iDVD) and the internet, I'm able to make and market a film ALL BY MYSELF!!!

For example, as I draw my storyboard, I need photo reference. In the 1990's, I would have to travel to a specific branch of the library and pour through hundreds of photos in hundreds of folders. If I wanted to bring the image home, I'd have to check them out or make poor xeroxes. But today, with the internet, a digital camera and a printer, I can quickly find photo reference or take photos of myself posing then print them for reference. It doesn't get any better than that!

Friday, October 2, 2009

:30 Short Film—Part 2: Storyboard

I just had my rough storyboard approved by Bill. And as you can see below with page one of the storyboards, I'm not kidding when I say ROUGH!

I experienced some strange feelings when I sat down to draw the storyboard—all of the sudden, despite all of the positive feedback, I began to question my story. Oh, no, was it funny enough?! Was it good enough?! That's all I could think about. So I ended up doing some mediocre drawings for the storyboard as I struggled with envisioning the story from beginning to end. Going into this week's class, I wasn't feeling completely confident or happy with the results.

Bill made two suggestions about improving the story. I appreciated the suggestions but didn't feel strongly that they fit properly. Then today—EUREKA! Bill's suggestions helped me (forced me!) to think of ways to appropriately incorporate them into my story. And I did! Solutions suddenly came to me and now I can't wait to incorporate them into the next step, the animatic.

Stay tuned for more art and the first animated tests from the film.

And I still need a title!!!