Thursday, 9 May 2013

Red or Dead Meets VFX

So Most of the first section of our Red or Dead short has been animated.  I'm feeling ok with the speed at which we're going but I would like the other guy to move a little quicker...

Anyway on Tuesday the group banded together and we filmed the live action. We had one prop which was a dignified, scrappy make-at-home space ship...on strings! The intent was to make it look as home made as possible and make it move with all the grace of Thunderbird2. (I remember it had a tendency to wobble a little on takeoff) Once we'd got all the footage I sifted through it on Premier to yoink out the best bits.

Look! It's Awesome!

The good bit is we managed to get all the shots we wanted, exactly as we wanted...the bad bit is our lighting was a little poor (and as evidenced above the screen was kinda on the crinkly side) so, as the compositor I found my self having to rotoscope.

I don't mind so much. It's quite a simple shape so I'm able to key a fair portion without having alter too much and its simplicity also makes it easier to spot any inconsistencies with the outline.
Anyway, I've finished one shot so I'm eager to get at least three more done by the end of the week.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Next project...

So seagulls and stuff out the way I'm now currently working on my next project: Read or Dead.
Read or Dead is an alternative fashion brand which we have been tasked with creating a short for which captures all they're about. Oh and we had to incorporate a space baby (in astronaut kit of course) and also intertwine live action.

Ok so the boring bit. Research showed their shop and sight had a vintage and improvised appeal, which incorporated the use of a lot of retro print (although the company was founded in 1982 their print is very characteristic of earlier decades) so after some debate and discussion the group and I decided our short would be styled as a vintage toon from around the 1950s to 70s. UPA animation would be the ideal match.

This time I decided I would refrain from directing as I wanted to simply see how I would take to orientating the piece as a group. So far we have a finalised animatic, character designs and backgrounds are done and now I'm animating. I've done three shots in two days so I'm pretty pleased with the rate at which that's going but I haven't seen any animation from the other guy.

Animating again...

Next week I'd really like to start merging some live action footage as the sooner I can start the more time I can place on it which should mean I can make it look ok...

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Chip is finished!

I got a project in on time! Yay!

I don't feel like doing much typing because I think I tend to say too much excess stuff plus I've come to the conclusion that a lot of the stuff I type ends up just sounding pretentious. So then, here is  the finished short I directed and animated. This project went smoothly, just as Project cheese started, but this time things continued at a good pace and I made sure I was constantly aware of the group's progress and made sure there were frequent updates. Anyway here it is.

Over all I'm pretty pleased with it. The only part I'd like to change would be the moment their eyes meet and the background goes red. If I ever get round to tweaking it I would make their eyes "slide in" over the previous shot. I think it would simply look smoother.

Anyway thats, that. Boom.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Project Chip

So whats been going on with this project?
Things have been going pretty nicely. I spent the last couple of weeks animating on Toon Boom and quite quickly too. My teem were very receptive and unlike the last project I directed no one integral to the project left the university. Good times.

I decided to animate shots in order labelling them one to six. to make the composting stages quicker and it also meant it was difficult leaving shots out.

Animating in order meant I had to start with a chip...splat...
As I was doing all the animation I was able to get a better feel for the interface of Toon boom. I used it before but this second round meant I was able to add to what I'd already picked up plus I discovered that I'd got better. Huzzah! My first used was difficult since I couldn't even navigate with the tablet on screen, yet alone draw but it seems to no longer be an issue...I hope so anyway.
Run pigeon, run!
Just realised I haven't spoken about the aesthetics. Ok then. I decided that there would be no background, just a line to mark out the ground. This was because a background would to nothing to compliment such a short piece plus I felt it would look distracting and might just look cluttered as there is a lot or quick motion. For the same reason the characters are simple.
Anyway right now we are up to date. I've animated all the shots, Dani has coloured them beautifully and Emily is in the process of sticking it all together.
Happy I am.

Monday, 18 February 2013

So Project Chip beginith

First coarse of action was to bang a story board together.
My group met up the next day to discuss it. It remained more or lest the same as my original idea but Elisabeth came up with the great idea that the third gull should actually be a pigeon.
So here is the revised version.

A chip lands with a sticky thud. Camera zooms out away and there are two seagulls stood equidistant, silent, either side. Camera snaps to their eyes ablaze with the same malevolent intent. Gong chimes. Suddenly they each let out a marshal arts style cry. They fly at each other. Each is convinced the chip shall be theirs! They clash. Then flail like cowardly school girls, both with heads back and eyes closed too afraid to get hurt. Suddenly. "Croooh" The gulls freeze. A pigeon pops up between them with the chip in his beek.. They all stare at one another. A wide angle shot. "Cooh!" The pigeon shoots off in a flail of loose feathers and chip grease. The gulls are still frozen. End.

We had also all made an attempt at character designs too. As the short is only 15 seconds long and the comedy is slap stick I went with a simple thematic and in the end my designs were chosen. They were originally just ideas I doodled in a note book but they stuck.


With character designs and storyboard out the way Elisabeth went off to make the animatic and returned with two on Friday for me to look at! I love this group!
Anyway we have chosen an animatic, chosen character designs and now I'm just doing some animation tests.

Directing again?

Mid week we were set our next assignment. We had to create a 15 second short from scratch. By time the lecture was over I had an idea. It involved three seagulls and a chip, probably influenced by the fact that I live right by the sea.
It went like this.

A chip lands with a sticky thud. Camera zooms out away and there are two seagulls stood equidistant, silent, either side. Camera snaps to their eyes ablaze with the same malevolent intent. Suddenly they each let out a marshal arts style cry. They fly at each other. Each is convinced the chip shall be theirs! They clash. Then flail like cowardly school girls, both with heads back and eyes closed too afraid to get hurt. Over the top (preferably the music from psycho) can be heard playing over the top. A third seagull ducks in, yoinking the chip from beneath their feet. The gulls all freeze and look at one another. A wide angle shot. The third peeps and shoots off in a flail of loose feathers and chip grease. End.

I grabbed  Elisabeth and Dani, both hard working and enthusiastic, and proposed my idea which involved me acting it out a bit and they loved it. After some general discussion it was decided that Elisabeth, who has a great understanding for film language, would be head of story boarding, she, Dani and I would work on character design and I would do the animation with Dani providing the colour. appears I'm directing again....
...I still really like it...

Friday, 15 February 2013

Proof...sort of...

Ok so I said I was catching up on work.... I'll need to blog about it ...

Well I suppose to start I'll talk about the stuff I didn't loose in the first place and then the things I'm in the proses of completing.
The post production work has forced me to use Nuke and actually I'm rather glad for it. I discovered I really like it. It's intuitive, logical, adaptive...basically it's damn nice. In the past I wouldn't have said the program was badly designed or that I didn't like it. I simply didn't put my self in a scenario where I would have to interact with it. I was an idiot for doing so.

Anyway the two pieces I didn't loose were a colour correction job and a rotoscope piece. The colour correction I found simple as it is just a case of placing all the relevant nodes in the right order to get a desired outcome. Logic and problem solving.

Errr..these noes aren't in the right order...or even quite right...bad example...but you now know that Nuke looks pretty...
Then there was the roto job. I was given a live action shot of a penguin and I had to rotoscope over his tummy. Again I had to set it up using the nodes, placing them in the right order and so forth, but the important bit is what I learnt from my interaction with it.
Awesome little dude.
I am a perfectionist, when I want to do well, and rotoscoping demands this. You have to be acutely observant so you are able to rotoscope an item perfectly from edge to edge and your final outcome must be highly convincing. (People should not be able to see that you have rotoscoped at all.) At this point, determined to stay atop of work and generally eager to do well I was a perfectionist. I started by key framing  main points of deformation and then tweaked it by adding tweens and over time gradually applied more to streamline it.
The roto node on this program allows you to soften the edges. I decided, owing to the fact his stumpy legs and butt are darkened due to shadow, I would extend the edging that covered his lower regions more than I had the top and side edges with the intention to make the bottom fade into the natural shadow. I'm happy with it over all. It moves fluently and I think relatively convincingly but I think I will need to refine my technique regarding his lower half.
I'm pleased I've finally got to grips with this program. I want to be an animator, both traditionally and digitally, and I'm particularly interested in merging animation with live action. This a form of VFX. If I want to be employed and want to be good at this the more I know about post production within VFX and the more skills I have to apply the better.