Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Finished! :)

Finished the Ident at last! horray!
I'm very glad to have got the final animation completed and think that I've managed to do it in quite good time having about a day left just incase anything had gone horribly wrong.

Thinking back to the start of the ident project I think I chose the right idea to work on and develop. I think my animation is quite different to some of the others in terms of both style and content, however I think maybe I was trying to get too much into the 5 second ident and could have simplified it from the start.

Seeing everyones work around the studio, all of the idents look great and some of the 3D ones have been amazingly modelled and put together. I'm glad I chose to do mine in 2D however. Given the time limit and the fact that I feel a lot more confident about 2D then 3D I think this was probably the best idea. I also feel that I have learnt so much about Flash and 2D then I knew before and feel pretty comfortable using it for anything now. There were some areas that took some getting used to and trial and errors for example making everything into symbols, which at first I never remebered to do, making everything very confusing and complicated. I think I got there eventually though and got used to how the program worked.

With Andys' help with the editing and cutting the intial storyboard down I think that the final ident is around the right length, quite fast flowing and punchy. I think perhaps at the beginning I was trying to get too much of a story into the piece rather then focusing on the ident and its purpose.

If I could change any parts of the ident as it is now, I think I would either work a little more on the drawings and make them sketchier so that they looked purposefully roughly drawn, or neaten them all up a little bit, just to make it look better produced and finished in a more professional way. I may also change some of the character movements and expressions to give them more personality and so that there is a bit more individual movement in them. However again I think this would only work if the ident was longer and I had a long time to put more of a story into the work.

If I could further the piece of work I would also look more into the effects that could be used in post production. For example think about the lighting a little more. When the asteroid is getting closer to them I could have made the background darker and more shadowy with the light from the flames lighting the characters making them glow slightly giving the piece a bit more atmosphere.

The sound I think I could have worked on more. At the beginning of the project I was thinking of using some kind of music as a background, but not really having any particular piece in mind when it came to adding the music, I didnt really know what I was looking for. In the end I used sound effects which I think worked quite well as it builds up the atmosphere of the ident quite well. This is an area I should have thought about a little more throughout the project or perhaps even used as a starting point. For the next project I'd like to take the sound into consideration a lot more as I now realise how important it is and how it can change the animation completely.

Overall I am pleased with how the piece came out and its general look. I think the sky worked well having quite a 3D look about it as I made it as a sky dome in maya and took a still from it as a background.

I'm glad I used Flash and am happy with the results and feel confident in using it now, however I still think I need to do the same thing with 3D and use Maya for another project in order to really get to know it and understand it via trail and error and learning in order to actually make something for a project.

A still from the final ident:

Sunday, 15 March 2009

getting there....

For the past week I have been working hard to get my animation developed and finished for the deadline. When watching everyone else in the studio working on modelling their 3D objects I'm quite glad that I chose to do 2D for this particular project. I have learnt so much about Flash in the past few days by trial and error and a lot from Andys help, but it has been so useful and a great way to learn by throwing yourself in the deep end and working your way through. For the next project I think I may need to do the same for 3D as it seems everyone has found it such a good way of learning the programs.

So far my animation has come together quite well. I've now finished all the main animated parts, which is a relief, and I now have to focus on editing and effects that will hopefully make the piece as a whole look more effective.

Things to work on and change:
- the beginning scene I may put something in the foreground e.g. a tree or branches. This was a suggestion from Andy that I think would work really well to show the distance and layering of the piece. I think it would bring the scene together really well. Also in the first scene I need to sort out the shadows and colouring of the scene. For example the light should come in from the moon lighting up the sky around it, the land directly in front and it would also give the trees and house shadows which I could put in.
- In the second scene I think I should change the motion path of the asteroid so that it moves a little further across the sky, as at the moment it almost looks like the scene is cut off as it doesn't finish its journey across the screen. I also need to work on lighting again showing how the asteroid is affecting the sky so that the two layers look more together as one image.
- In the thrid scene where you see the characters reactions I need to add in shadows behind the characters and also have the effects of the asteroid coming closer showing on the characters e.g. subtle flame flickers lighting up their faces so that it is clear what they are watching.
- Again in the last scene I need to work on the lighting, shadows and the effect of the asteroid and the colours and shadows it would give off around the scene. After I have worked on these aspects I think that the animation will come together a lot more. I also need to think about effects such as easing in and out of shots.

After making these changes and alterations I will look at the piece again and see what other improvements I can make. I also really need to work on the sound for the ident. I was thinking of having some acoustic guitar music, or maybe I should just use some sound effects and have quite a silent night, peaceful scene that gets interrupted by an asteroid. I think I'll have a play around with editing some sound, putting it into the animation and seeing what works and what doesn't.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Ident Continued...

Having made a couple of rough animatics to see how the animation would work and come together I realised I really need to work on the design a lot more for the ident to work. From the second flash animatic I made I found that my storyboard was still too long. I did make changes to the ending which I thought would cut it down. However, the finished animation will hopefully be a little shorter as the animatics were in parts so it was hard to see it all at once and time it properly. Making the animatic did give me more of a chance to work in flash though and get used to it a little more. I did keep making mistakes such as not making objects into seperate symbols, which I must remember to do when making the actual thing otherwise I'll just be complicating things. I think I could really get to like using this program and I think with practise and learning more you could make some really interesting work with it.

To develop the design for the ident I looked at each part seperately. Even though I have changed it slightly so that the characters aren't seen up close, I still did some character designs so that if they are shown, they have details and a character. I therefore did turn around drawings for the two characters on paper and then on flash making note of all colours used as reference for making the actual thing...

I then thought a little more about the background design. I painted a couple to see how, when scanned in, they would look when put alongside the flash characters. I think this worked quite well, however I then thought about using a 3D background and using my painted image projected onto it to see how this would work. I therefore research and found out how to make a sky dome. I think this worked well and I like the overall look of it. I need to work out how to put the 3D dome and the rest of the animation together and how this would work, but I think if it is possible, it could work out quite well and not contrast too much between the styles. Below is the image I painted, and then it shown in 3D in the sky dome...

Having decided on a background to use, I thought about the other objects in the ident. For example the asteroid (logo), the hills and background surrounding the scene and the house. So I thought about what they could look like and did some design work on them, again making final drawings with colours to use as a refernce throughout the animation. I also thought about the lighting of the piece as this will be quite important for the concept of the design. For example at the beginning the main light source will come from the moon making the shadows of the characters and objects directly behind them, however when the asteroid appears, a lot of the light will come from that showing how strong and bright it is. The shadows made by the characters, house, trees etc will then move according to the placement of the asteroid logo in the sky, and I will have to make sure I remember to do this and make a point of it throughout the animation so that it appears to be moving and effecting the rest of the scene.

I feel a little more confident about my idea and how it will come together now that I have thought through it one part at a time. I am roughly on target with my timetable and as long as I get a few bits finished on monday afternoon, I should be ready to start the actual thing on tuesday afternoon. argh!!!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Developing ident

My aims for today were to complete my hand drawn animatic, and try and finish my more developed flash one. I definately managed to finish the first rougher animatic, but by doing this I then realised what I needed to work on developing my ident idea. I went back to my storyboard and made some changes. My animatic turned out to be around 20 seconds long which is way too long for the supposedly 5 second ident. So I made some changes to the script and ending. These changes I have drawn out as a new storyboard and I will put to the test in the flash animatic so I can see, hopefully, some improvements. I also looked at some different artists and styles of animation to see the kind of thing I would like to produce. For example I found a short animation from Tandem Films which I really like the look of, mainly because of the mix of styles - the sketchy foreground against the more realistic background... So for my ident I think I would like to combine a 3D background with a sketchy Flash foreground. I therefore tried to create a Maya sky dome, just to see what I could do. I think this could work quite well, however I only did it quickly and will try and make a good version when I have more time. My rough animatic and the beginning of my flash one are below. Hopefully I will have the flash one finished with the new ending tomorrow as well as develop the character designs and the background sorted.

..the end of my animatic...

Monday, 2 March 2009

pitching and Live at 5...

This week we did our pitches for the ChewTV idents. It was great seeing everyones different ideas and unbelievable how many variations can come from the group, particularly when everyone has been given the same brief.
I think my pitch was ok, perhaps a big less detailed then some as my powerpoint consisted of hand drawn storyboard images and wasn't as finalised, however this leaves me more room for development and to make changes. I know what kind of style I would like to do it in, however forgot to mention it due to nerves of presenting my idea in front of quite a big group.
Although my idea does include the spacey-type theme that the Chew Tv flyer is in, its quite a different style to the futurist, new, modern look of the website. I still think it could work however, as I would quite like to combine both 3D (probably background) with a more traditional style, maybe quite sketchy looking, for the characters and movement. This would almost be like the new flashy logo flying or crashing down on the older style of animation. I have to be careful that there is consistancy though and make sure that it doesn't look like two seperate animations.
Although I missed the seminar today due to being on Live at Five duty, I have read the notes and realised it's going to be really important to be really organised over the next few weeks to get all the work done to develop and create the animation. First job is to make a timetable and stick to it as much as possible, and get on with it!

Live at Five...

It was really interesting today to be part of the graphics team for live at five. The daytime wasn't as hectic as I thought it would be in the studio. Most of the graphics worked pretty well so it was mainly a matter of inputting the right information and making sure the timing was right and what the broadcast students wanted.
I worked on the weather maps, changing the symbols (cloudy and rainy) temperatures and wind speed and direction, as well as creating the surf report and high tide times. Luckily we didnt come across too many problems, and working with others we managed to make the rain animated in time for the broadcast which was the first time this was used. As a group everyone worked well together and got everything done efficiently and on time under the direction of Orla who did really well as the Producer.
After making a few last minute changes to some names and spelling everything was ready to go and we were able to watch both the tests and actual filming of the Live at Five news report. It was really good to see the broadcast students in action and the studio seemed buzzing and pretty manic compared to our chilled out approach in the animation studio with the graphics side of things. It was rewarding watching the graphics we had produced coming up on the screen alongside the reporters, and quite relieving that they all worked.
Today definately gave me a taster of what it could be like working with or even for others to quite a tight deadline, getting information given to you with which you do the best you can hoping it wont be sent back as it's not quite what they wanted.
It was a good experience where I learnt a lot about working within a team and with a new group of people, and below are some of the stills from the part of the graphics that I worked on...