Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Film Post--Animatic version 5A

I decided to add some tone to the drawings and to make them less sketchy, more tight. Here's just a few seconds.

Friday, March 26, 2010

More Blogger Options. Whoo Hoo!!

Just two days after I finally got around to updating my blog, Google's Blogger announces new templates and functionalities. Whoo hoo! I went with a whole new template, made some customizations and changed the header. I still need to optimize it for search engines but I'm satisfied with the look.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cosmetic Changes

Making the visual changes I wanted for the blog turned out to be easier than I expected. I had overlooked that "gadgets" can be added, deleted and moved around.

Now, if I can just figure out how to get the photo and the profile text next to each other.. Wow, the answer was surprisingly simple. I really need to learn more about Blogger!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday Film Post--Animatic version 5

Learned how to do a few more things this weekend with Storyboard Pro. Now that I'm understanding the thinking behind the program's workflow, creating shots is easy. This version of the animatic has a change with the camera traveling through the keyhole. I combined a layer transformation (for each side of the keyhole) with a zoom into the guy, Lucius. (Yes, I've decided the dude's name is Lucius and the woman's name is Honey. OK, I admit it, I borrowed those names from "The Incredibles." It's just for reference purposes so why not copy?) This would've been a pain to do in After Effects but took a fraction of the time in SBP. And that was the whole purpose of buying SBP, to make the digital part easier so I could concentrate more on the creative stuff.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Toon Boom Storyboard Pro tutorial

I found this tutorial that gives an excellent overview of the functionalities of SBP. In addition to the narrator's charming French-accented English, he shows how storyboard panels can be drawn directly into the program, dragged-and-dropped from a library and imported. My favorite part was the large background drawing that had a camera move added to it. This type of thing is difficult to do in other programs but is simple and intuitive in SBP.

Take a look, especially if you're new to the program. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Toon Boom's Second Chance--Animatic version 4

I was a little pissy with Toon Boom's support folks. Then they were a little pissy in their response. Then "Ron" was nice enough to post a comment regarding the use of Storyboard Pro (thanks for your help, Ron!). So after ALL OF THAT AGITA—coupled with glancing over answers in the support forums and a few video tutorials—I decided the software deserved a second chance.

And NOW I can say I'm having a good time with Storyboard Pro (SP)! After reading about how others were struggling with the program, I discovered that some of my gripes were valid…and others weren't. As Ron suggested—and as I suspected—I needed to get my head out of the After Effects (AE) workflow and into SP's. After spending just a couple of hours with it today, I've progressed substantially and am honestly enjoy using the program. Right now I'm tired and want to go to sleep but I'm having so much fun with SP that I can't tear myself from the computer!

Below is the latest animatic output from SP (and still needing some tweaks. For example, originally the woman was dancing, not singing, so the music's no longer appropriate to the action). It was amazingly simple for me to show the woman actively brushing her teeth while zooming in on the keyhole. Since my knowledge of AE is limited, doing that action and camera move simultaneously in AE would've been a nightmare!

I'll continue to talk more about my fickle love affair with SP as I get deeper into it. Maybe I'll create a how-to video? Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Updated blog to come

Wow, I feel left behind! So many blogspot blogs have an improved appearance and mine…doesn't. Guess what I'll be doing this weekend? Yep, updating the blog!

Some ideas I had: talk more about all of the great sites available for those wishing to improve their skills or who just want learn about the art forms of animation and cartooning (with lots of links!); a more detailed production diary of the creation of my film "Toys vs. Boy"; more about ToonBoom's software.

Ultimately, if I want to get more people interested in this blog, I need to make it more interesting. It's that simple.

Improvements in the look and content of the blog will happen in the next few weeks so please stay tuned!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunday Film Post--Hi, Mom! And characters

Oh, man, late again! I'll get better, I promise!

First, I'd like to give a shout out to my Mommy! Mom deserves a special thanks for making my day yesterday by telling me that she sees an improvement in my drawing. She must've used her Mom instincts to know that her encouragement was EXACTLY what I needed to hear! I had slacked off for a week from my morning practice drawing routine; the routine consist of my alarm going off at 4:20am (yikes!), me sitting down by 4:40am and doing the following: 10 minutes of a blind contour; 10 minutes of gesture drawing; 10 minutes of copying from classic cartoon model sheets to improve drawing forms; 20 minutes of anatomy; 20 minutes of Loomis's "How to draw the head" book (I'm up to facial planes.) A total of 1 hour and 10 minutes.

I had already noticed a slight improvement in my drawing but hearing it from someone else made me feel even better. Thanks, Mommy!

Second, I decided today to re-evaluate the above routine. In order to get up early, I need to get to bed early. And since I don't get home until 6 or 6:30, that leaves little time during the week to work on my projects.

So I'm starting a new routine. I'll stay up later--to do project work--then get up later. I think that will fit my lifestyle better. We'll see how it goes.

Third, here's some drawings of two of my film's characters. They're roughs, just playing with the shapes of their faces. I've been reading and studying a lot about animation, cartooning and drawing and I'm trying to incorporate this myriad of great information into this next project.

I'll talk more later about which sites and artists I've learned a lot from lately.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Film Post--Animatic version 3

Finally, I'm uploading at a decent hour on a Sunday!

As I said in my previous post, I have abandoned using ToonBoom's Storyboard Pro due to numerous difficulties and have returned to Adobe After Effects to deal with other difficulties. First on the list is how to adjust the speed of camera moves/transitions. As you can see in this animatic, the zooms start out fast then slow down. I don't want that, I want them consistently paced! I know it involves the "graph editor" which is waaaay scary. So figuring that out is going to take some time.

This animatic has some new and/or improved drawings. Now that I have preliminary character designs, I want them reflected in the animatic. I also decided that the gray, scratchy pencil lines make it difficult to "read" the action so I'm improving that, too.

Thanks to Cablevision, I will be unwillingly missing tonight's Barbara Walters special (not only her last but actually interviewing people I want to see!) and the Oscars. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise--do I really need to be up to midnight or later to see which rich and successful person wins best director and best picture? Will staying up late help me in any way? On the other hand, watching episodes of "The Office" definitely helps me deal better with my own…work situation. :)


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Graphic Novel Post--Panel 1 test FINAL!!

I'm all tested out. This version was done with watercolor pencil on Bristol paper with some white ink. I adjusted it slightly using Levels in Photoshop and added the text.
At this point, I think this is solid enough to show to the writer. I want to complete roughs of several more panels for the novel before showing the writer. I'm just glad this splash page is done so and that I figured out a workable method in case the project goes forward.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Toys vs. Boy--Character Designs

These are what I have to date. They will probably be modified in some way during this process but I'm happy with them as a first attempt. Now I can cast them in the animatic!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wednesday Graphic Novel Post--Panel 1 test II

I think I made a breakthrough. I was struggling to find a way to show the lighting on these buildings. My original idea of using Photoshop gradations looked to soulless. Tonight, after playing with pencils, charcoal and watercolor pencils, I decided that watercolor pencils will work best for me. I'll be able to control the tones and adjusting them in Photoshop will maintain an organic look. A rough test is below.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sunday Film Post--Animatic version 2

Oops, forgot again! But this time I was with family celebrating Grandma's 90th birthday. At least I have a good excuse!

Below is the latest for the "Toys vs. Boy" rough animatic, the first few seconds.