Animation Context final essay

For the final essay I wanted to make it like my poster because I really liked the way that looked and I was really interested in Colorscripting.

After going back through my research I decided that the first thing to do was to Harvard reference it all, that way if I didn’t need anything it’s easier to delete than to write out later.

Once this was done, I’d use these to establish the main points of my essay and then go through to see which references would back me up as evidence. I also wanted to show off plenty of examples of Colorscripting so it was great that Pixar changed their site to include some of them (even if they did take down a video that had a bunch of information in it)

With all my information sorted, I then went into InDesign to map out a design I felt like would match the tone set by my previous poster. I wanted to do it over a black background because I felt like this would bring out the colours better and also because I liked how the white text looked, especially in my chosen font.

Here’s what my essay looked like in the end, all in one:

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In the end I guess I could’ve spent more time on the actual essay, and also the design to make sure it was absolutely perfect but I actually really liked how it turned out in the end. I feel like the design was quite professional looking and it was a good experience just to put the entire thing in one place.

Animation 102, Stop Motion 5 – Story

Final stop motion at least! This time we were given three prompts and some stories to go with and told to make a small stop motion based on that. For this I chose The Irritating Insect.

Here I filmed a quick bit of reference for the story and then I could create the bar sheet and stop motion.

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(Sadly I only had one bar sheet at the time so was more conservative about space. I used my reference for the second half of the story rather than the bar sheet)

For this animation, I was pretty much happy with the result right of the back. What I didn’t like was the timings so the three videos above are the various videos times I went back and added in another seconds worth of frames until I had a stop motion I was happy with.

It would’ve been good to go back and redo this animation with a proper bar sheet but this came pretty late in the semester and I was satisfied with the result so decided to instead go back and redo some of the stop motions I failed the first time round, like Push and Pull.

Animation 102, Maya 3 – Run and Jump

Final Maya animation time now, the dynamic run and jump

For this I immediately started off with some reference footage which I then used to map out the main run’s keyframes:

However after looking at the video again, I realized this would be a very hard run to achieve, especially as I didn’t want to rely on external hurdles like I did with the chair, this prompted me to go back and re-record my reference material.

This first attempt as you can see didn’t go so well as I chose a bad place to do my reference, instantly crashing into the seats nearby.

The first attempt went pretty well with the new reference footage, although I do have doubts if the jump really counts as a jump. However I thought I’d share mostly because I loved how the arms looked, it makes Buckid look like he’s about to charge into the Calvary or trenches or WW1.

I liked the arm movements I added in, however when playing it back I felt like it ran a little too fast. This is also when I realized that the 100 frame limit did not include the 25 frame holds so I decided to extend the frames and make it run slower so that you can see all the movements easier.

For this one I added in a block, just because I felt like the run wasn’t pronounced enough and the block shows that he’s clearly jumping over something at least.

Animation 102, Maya 2 – Sneak

The second Maya task was a fairly straightforward sneak, following on from the task from last time.

These first attempts I did pretty straight forwardly by using a reference image that was suggested to use. I found this extremely helpful in making my movements work however my only issue with the animation was how the head seemed to bob along like a chicken. The arms also didn’t help this comparison and the feet seemed to land on the toes far too often but these are things I could clearly fix when doing my next attempt, with reference:

My first point of call was to get the movements of the legs and body right so that I could then do the arms later. Unlike the last attempt I feel like I did a much better job of the foot movements here and it ended up looking like an incredibly well done sneak.

The arms I had a big issue with and in the end I went like this because it did seem like a very nice exaggerated sneak for the animation. I probably should have added in some more detail like hand/finger movements but at this point I was pretty much satisfied with how it looked so I then could focus on improving it at a later point.

Animation 102, Stop Motion 4 – Push/Pull

Fourth stop motion challenge was the push and pull.

Firstly I decided to film reference for both the push and pulls so that I could make both barsheets straight away:

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The push first attempt was pretty rubbish overall. I tried to put the force into the push but it was very hard keeping the invisible object consistent. As you can see there were a few frames where it fell forward a bit too far and I got really annoyed at that. If I have time I’m definitely going to redo this as a priority.

My pull on the other hand I enjoyed a hell of a lot more. I feel like this came out exactly like my source video, however the timings are a bit off so I went back and redid the animation in a longer form:

Final attempt, push and pull together :

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For this final attempt I feel like it came out really well, I decided to make the push and pull one video because I was unsure on the brief if it was one or two but I feel like it came out really well. One thing I liked about this one over the previous attempt was how I managed to keep the hands in place well enough so that the object they’re trying to move has a good amount of weight to it. I feel like on reflection I could have included a few more pauses and made the action a bit slower but  after doubling up some frames I think I fixed that issue a lot. I also could’ve made the armature twitch a little when in the push and pull rather than just holding in place but I feel like that was a bit more advanced than my skill level so I’m happy with the outcome.

Animation 102, Maya 1 – Buckid Walk

First proper Maya animation, making Buckid (our 3D character rig) walk.

For my first maya animation, as it was so similar to the stop motion three stop walk I decided to just reused that for reference as well as the walk files up on Blackboard which advised us on how to do them well (such as adding blocks inbetween their feet as they walk).

Initial walks – Work in progress walk:

Final Playblast

In the end, I’m quite happy with how my walk turned out. I really like the movements and how the arms swing, etc. The on thing I would say is how, looking back, there is a bit of exaggeration going on here with the head movements and the tilting back and forth but for an animated character I can over look these faults as the character does as he was meant to, walk through space. I would have also wanted to include the 25 frame hold at the start and finish of the piece however forgot to do so before playblasting, though this is only a minor flaw with the production as a whole.

Fun little render:

I also tried my hand at rendering the image which I think looks really good. This was an interesting learning experience for me as I had to teach myself how to render the video but in the end I think it turned out really well. Although I wont be doing this for my final submissions, Playblasting is a much more economical way of using my time after all.

Animation 102. Stop Motion 3 – Three Step Walk

The third stop motion we were doing walks, specifically the three step walk

Unlike always, this week I didn’t start off with a reference video:

I made my first attempt the week before when I was getting stressed redoing emotion to emotion so decided to move on to the three step walk freestyle and see how good I could get it using my own feet as reference. Overall this didn’t turn out so bad all things considered. I feel like for a quick test run this works as a first draft so that I could come back the next week and I’d know sort of how to make the armature walk. I’d just have to smooth out the animation and fix the timings.

After deciding on how the walk should be, I filmed multiple takes of the walk so that I’d have a good resource when creating my walk, trying to make the whole character look as neutral as possible.

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In the end, I’m pretty happy with the results of what I managed to create. While I am a bit off about how the character seems to lean back on his right foot towards the end, the overall walk I’m happy with how smooth it turned out. While there are a few foot slides when you look right at it and the arms don’t move out as much as they probably should it’s overall a good walk in my opinion.

Animation 102, Stop Motion 2 – Emotion to Emotion

Our second stop motion task for Animation 102 was emotion to emotion, where we had to pick two emotions, show those emotions physically and animate a short-ish story between them.

First things first as ever I filmed a bar sheet, however after the close call I had last week, I made sure to give myself enough space in the frame for my whole body as I needed to stretch out for my final emotion.

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My first attempt again came out alright, still I needed to work around the timings but this time I was prepared to do that. One thing I didn’t like however was the lack of energy in the piece. It’s supposed to go from boredom to shock and then finally excitement however, the final one didn’t really have the energy required to properly show that excitement.

Taking in my advice from last time, I shortened the emotions and took out the final weak attempt at excitement. I feel like the two emotions I picked, while a bit bland, are shown to the best of their abilities here and overall I am quite happy with the work even if I still haven’t got the timings exactly right just yet.

Even though I was happy with my last attempt, I tried again with different emotions and well it didn’t turn out so well. My armature was playing up and my camera was running out of time for my booking so I decided that the best thing to do was just to cancel it and move on with the piece I liked, even if it’s not got the best emotions in.

Reference for emotion attempt 2:

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Animation 102, Stop Motion 1 – Sit Stand

For the first animation 102 we had to animate our armature sitting and standing as if they’re at an airshow/football match watching the action unfold.

First things first, I went ahead and filmed reference footage so that I could put together a barsheet for the stop motion. 

I realized this would be harder than I thought when I shot my reference footage too close and it cut off my hands and feet but I still felt like I could see enough to make some effective barsheets like this:

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After doing half my first barsheet I redid it so that I could improve the timings as I’d done them way too short for what I needed.

This first attempt was also my first time moving the armature and as you can see it didn’t go so well. I really didn’t do so well with the timings here and all the action seemed to go by so much quickly. Even trying to follow the barsheet seemed hard here as I eventually lost track of all the timings.

As I liked the motions I decided that rather than trying again, I’d go back into the stop motion file and double up a few more frames so that I could put more holds into my animation. I feel like while this was better than the last one, it was still very lacking in timing and again moved by way too quickly.

As a finally attempt on this Sit/Stand, I took the footage and decided to double up all my frames so that it looks more like it’s shot on 2’s than single frames. This made the motion much more jerky than I’d have like but I’m really liking how this one looks compared to the first two attempts. It has a nice feel to it and the timing especially seems to line up to my original reference footage quite well.

Making of – Project 3 (With Josh and Tz)

Final making of project, this time we’re working in a group of three creating a project of our own choosing.

Initial idea:

In our intial meetings we came up with a variety of ideas that we all wanted to try out for this project however one thing that we could all agree on was that we wanted to move away from Animation and go into live action. I wanted to do something fun, like a classic B-movie, Josh wanted to do some silent/b&w movie after being inspired by Charlie Chaplin and Tz showed us a video which interested him using shadows:

In the end we all agreed on doing a silent movie using black and white movie techniques and went away to think of the story. It was here that Tz brought his story about a detective, who’s solving a crime where the murderer leaves behind a red die at the scene of the crime. This will be the only source of colour in the piece but also it’ll serve as a countdown to the final kill.

During research, I found this great video about Logan (2017, Director. James Mangold) which uses it as an example of how to use lighting and contrasts to really bring out the best in black and white filmmaking:

Pre-production:

As Tz was in Bulgaria for Easter it was really down to me and Josh to begin working on the project. As director, I was also responsible for writing the script and starting on the thumbnail storyboard for when we get to filming. Me and Josh began writing the Detective story and this is when cracks started to appear.

The main problem we found was in trying to tell a story which made sense without dialogue and that could be told as a short story. I decided to meet up with Josh towards the end of Easter to discuss possibly changing the story idea after coming up with a new, hopefully easier project after seeing the new film Free Fire.

Josh liked this idea, and after briefing Tz about it and our reasons as to why we were so keen on changing it at such a late time he was on board too so it was now down to me to write out a second script based on this idea.

For this film, we were planning on having dialogue however rather than write out the dialogue first and have to find actors to fit the parts we decided to leave it blank till we had our actors then fill it in when we knew what their range was like. After this I made a brief set of thumbnail storyboards…

Which Tz then expanded upon by redrawing when we had a chance to meet up about the project…

Principle Photography:

With pre-production done, we went straight into filming on the easiest day for us. Late on Thursday to try and get the base room while it was empty from other animation students. This worked well for us, however because of deadlines and other factors we had no actors and had to make do with only 4 people who were thankfully willing to help out. As our script required 6 actors though, this meant we had some rapid script changes on the day and the shoot massively overran our initial estimates of only spending a couple of hours filming.

Post Production:

At first, we’d really given up on this project. After the horrible shooting day, me and Josh were prepared to do a very quick jumble together of shots and call it a day. (We personally thought our actual making of video was great, which is also the only bit that matters so we focused more on that then the video we shot for it).

However when Josh nipped out to get a coffee, I decided to play around with the video, adding in some titles and changing around a few of the shots to make it more like the old silent films that had initially inspired him to do a video like that. To my surprise, Josh loved the video, and we realized that we somehow managed to salvage the entire project into something we could be proud of, which can be seen here…

As a bit of fun as well I had a go at making a small trailer that we could share with our classmates to hopefully build up some anticipation for the project. I also wanted to do this because I made a joke about how the black and white video reminded me of the new movie Logan, and so wanted to make a trailer in the style of that as I personally loved the editing in it.

All said and done, while the project didn’t turn out exactly how we wanted it to I like to think we managed to pull some great work out of the back, especially in our actual making of video and the setbacks only made that stronger. Looking back I feel like I did quite a lot more than I probably should have on this project and even then it felt a lot like a paired project with Josh rather than Tz. We’ve had a great group dynamic however, aside from the minor hiccup when we changed the entire project, there hasn’t really been much friction and our ideas have really flowed off each other. Overall, it’s been a really fun project to work on.