Friday, 29 May 2009

Finished!!!

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Finally finished! Luckily there wasn't too much to do today on the last day. We were hoping to have it finished yesterday however obvious technical difficulties slowed us down somewhat.

Jess and I managed to change the text on the last titles and add in the logo, and Alex put all the background sound together and in time, which I then placed into animation. Now it is a finished piece I think we've pulled it together pretty well.

I like the style that it is in, particularly the background designs and the design of Winnie and I think the two now work well together, as this was an area we were all a little unsure about when first creating the concept art and tests.

I also really enjoyed doing all the lip-sync parts. I perhaps could have given the character a little more movement as all of the talking scenes are from the same direction and position each time. If I had moved her body and arms a little more it may have brought her character into the piece even more rather then focusing on the mouth movements. I also think perhaps when she was talking we could have changed the camera shot and had a closer view of her speaking, however, due to wanting to keep as much of the background in as possible as well as side characters (such as the bird)and background animation I think it's best we kept it from that view point. This also maintains consistency from the first to last scene so the audience can hopefully understand she is in the same place even though her surrounding have become much brighter and dream-like.

As everyone in the group was focusing on different scenes I was a bit concerned that the animation, when put together, would have different styles and change throughout. However I think we did quite well to maintain the consistency of the characters and design style through the piece, only making a few changes. I feel that some scenes are a lot stronger then others and some we also worked longer on and thought about in more detail then others. I do think this shows in places, however as a whole the scenes link well and this proved quite an effective way of working as we all focused on what needed to be done for our own scenes and could get on with it meeting as often as possible to make sure everyone was on track and doing things in a similar way.

If I was to do this project again or had more time to work on it, I think I would really try and build a character for Winnie for the lip-sync parts and get more of her spirit and movement into the body of the character. I would also play around with some of the camera angles. Having just had the storyboard feedback I can see how important these are in creating emotion and making scenes look more interesting and I think maybe we could have thought about this in a bit more detail before beginning to animate. Although I think we did plan quite well as a group, if we had more time planning and developing ideas, without worrying about the amount of time we had to create and edit it all, I think the piece could have had a very different look about it, particularly because of the differences of style opinion there was towards the start of the project. If we had bounced ideas off each other in a more creative way and tried to bring some ideas together over a longer time period we perhaps would have found a completely different method and style to work in.

I think overall our group worked well together, however maybe needing a few more meetings and more time spent working in the studio all together so that everyone knew exactly where we were and what they could be working on.
Having said that I am really pleased with the final look and animation as it is and I'm so relieved we had no more last minute problems and got it all finished the way we wanted :)
Having said all that, our group had a near disaster yesterday when my memory stick with the most up to date work on it completely wiped :( However due to the kindness and genius that is Georg our work was recovered..thank god! So it could have been a lot lot worse and been in a major panic! Now everything is backed up and copied about 6 times in many different places around the studio we are hopeful it wont happen today!!

Yesterday we got all the scenes running together allowing us to work on any linking scenes and making any final changes that we picked up on. For example in the rugby scene the ball flew off the screen in the wrong direction making the sequence hard to follow and by simply flipping this scene suddenly it made a lot more sense visually. As we edited this and had to export it again we thought we may as well edit the background crowd character which Andy noticed was bigger then the house he was standing next to, and made him a more realistic size!

I also picked up on a slight colour disappearance in the first cricket scene that we changed and input the scene again. Having made final changes to the main scenes we then looked at how they all worked together and most of them were as expected and flowed quite well. The end scene from the fish and chips still however looked very fast and you couldn't really tell what was happening clearly, so we made a new scene for this panning out from where the fish and chips lie on the bench to the final scene. This definitely brought the scenes together and flowing in a much simpler and aesthetically pleasing way. We also added in some fading in and out of scenes to gradually move from one to the other in a smoother way then just cutting. I am pleased with the way all the scenes run together now and I think it's really working as one piece of work.

I edited the main voice of Winnie yesterday to make the timing correct for the animation and to make sure the speech was all in sync. As a group however we also recorded some background noises yesterday morning for the running, hitting, catching, splashing noises etc. to put in the background along with crowd noises and background sound. Alex is adding this into the animation this morning and then we will make any final tweeks before rendering out and submitting the piece.

Having watched it through I've also noticed that what is written in the final credits isn't quite right and some of the text needs to be changed which I will work on this morning while the sound is finished. All the of the pre-production work is all scanned in and in a file ready to be submitted, however due to the size of the animatic and large picture files we had to be quite selective. We just need the 3 stills to add to it from the final piece.

so...without jinxing it, today it should all work out nicely and we should be finished well on time with everything completed and happy with.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

...

Finally it feels like we are getting there and getting things together. All the scenes are in the final tweeking stages now, meaning that we can begin to put them all together in Premiere, linking them, adding in the sound to see how they are working with it, and just playing around with all the scenes to see the ordering and what will work best. The gap at the beginning needs to be filled with the opening titles which I made a very simple version of, but may be changed with discussion between the group. The other gap in animation will be Alex's underwater scene as soon as the finishing touches have been applied to it. As we worked pretty hard and as neatly on the scenes I don't think there will be too much editing to do to the frames. I think we will need to tweek the linking scenes and perhaps fades into various scenes etc. to make them work a little better and create a snappier animation. For example Andy suggested yesterday perhaps to make the link between the first talking scene and the rugby scene a little shorter so that it moves faster from the ball being caught to Winnie running with the ball. I think this will make the animation a lot faster and running together a lot more effectively, and it's things like this that I think could really make the animation and all the scenes come together smoothly. Another area I worked on yesterday was towards the end of the rugby scene. Alex suggested focusing in more on Winnie as the main character and perhaps panning the shots so that we still got the impact of her hitting the great big rugby guy out of the way as well as being able to see what she is doing, the situation she is in and kicking the ball out of the scene. I was a little dubious about this at first, however having changed it yesterday and playing around with it a bit I now think it was the right decision and actually think it gives the shove a bit more eumph and impact. I also changed the end scene a bit as it was suggested there should be a close up of the bird character at the end. I added this bit in after Winnie finishes talking but before she kicks back. However I'm not sure it works in this place as it's almost as if the animation is finished and we've just added a bit on the end to fill the time having rushed through the rest of the speech. I think this could work a bit better if it were to be in between her speech, for example after she says 'lovely' and just create a longer gap in the speech for it. I also played around with the sound we are using to see if I could get it fitting with the animated areas a little better. The lip-sync part has to rermain the same and is timed correctly as a dope sheeet had to be used, however some other areas such as the rugby scene and cricket part are a little faster then perhaps they should have been. However in the speech Winnie repeats herself quite a lot, so it was easy to remove some of the repetitions of her saying 'i love my rugby' etc, maintaining what she is implying without taking out any main parts of speech, making it fit with the movement a lot better. As a group we are hoping to get the animation completely finished by tonight. As we have to hand it in tomorrow I think it would be nice to have it completed and ready to go with no changes tomorrow, as well as giving us time to sort all the pre-production in a neater form for hand in and to get the stills together in a file all ready to be handed in. The plan is to do any last parts of sound we want to add in the background, put the final 2 scenes into the premiere file and make final tweeks, and make any last changes to the piece. We have given oursleves a cut-off point as otherwise we will be tweeking and changing it endlessly as there's always something to improve and make better, and after finding out that all the scenes were created in the wrong screen size and having to change them all, it would be really nice to get it finished with no more problems :)

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

getting it all put together....

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Yesterday Craig and I spent a long time in the studio trying to get all the different scenes of the animation together, and its starting to look much more finished. By doing this we did notice little areas that needed touching up or changing slightly which we managed to do as we went along. For example we noticed that some areas of colour had moved, some areas where the character had been coloured where actually white where we thought it would appear clear that, when put against a background were much more obvious and needed to be removed, and other small things that aren't clear until you put it all together.
We did however manage to get the majority of the first scene and second scene linking, put some effects in, change the colouring slightly and get most of the last scene together. I think we are pretty much on track, and if we make any changes and links as we put it all together I don't think there will be too much editing to do when we combine it all in premiere.
The underwater scene is also very nearly finished and should be brought into the rest of the piece today. Alex has done a really good job on this part. The only concern I had with it was that it would look different to the rest of the animation due to style differences at the beginning of the project. I think what he has done actually works really well however, and the fact that it may be slightly textured and look a little different works well as it is all underwater and needs to have a different look to exaggerate that fact.
At the moment all the scenes seem to be linking and working with eachother pretty well, which is a relief. There is still one scene a few of us aren't so sure about and whether it will work as effectively when put into the animation. I think to finalise a decision on this we need to put it in and play it as a whole piece to see how it works and if it really does look wrong or doesn't fit with the piece it can always be removed. However I think we need to leave it in for the time being and make the decision when we can see everything completed and together in one short film.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Getting it all together...

Now that the majority of the main animated areas are finished as a group we started to put it all together on saturday. Having realsied we have a lot of organising and arraging to do, we also found there were a lot of small bits we wanted to do just to make things look a bit better or more finished now that we aren't so worried about the major parts of the animation being finished. For example small parts of background animation and minor character animation I think will really help to make this short animation. For example in the first/last talking scenes there is character animation from Winnie and the lipsync parts, however this takes place on quite a large background where we could also have smaller things happening alongside. We have a small bird character next to winnie and rain in the first scene to use and birds in the background of the last scene. It would be nice to give some movement to the backgrounds as long as we don't over animate them and take the main focus away from Winnie as the main character. I have done some birds for the last background as shown in the videos below as well as tried some rough title animation to see how the style may work.

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I'm not sure about the titles as I think they look a bit too roug, but hopefully we can discuss this as a group today and perhaps works on them a bit more together and find something we all like. As well as the opening titles we also need to consider what will need to go at the end and any other information we must have in the animation titles from the brief.

Before this however we must get every scene from the animation together in one movie and working together so that we can see how all the scenes link and if any linking scenes/editing between them is necessary and to make sure they all work together colour-wise and use filters etc to make them more consistant throughout the short film.

So, still a lot to be done and a long way to go, but I can see us getting there and after seeing everyone today and getting it together a little more I think it will be much clearer what we need to do to get it finished well for friday.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

tracing and colouring...

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Having started on the colouring and shading for each scene I'm more confident we will get the animation finished and working quite well as one piece. Over the past few days I have developed, traced, coloured and shaded a few of the scenes as shown in the videos uploaded. After James traced out my lip sync to get the correct style of line we wanted I then coloured this, along with tracing and colouring Jess' cricket scenes and starting to colour the rugby one. I also did a final scene of Winnie relaxing in the sun as Craig suggested which we can use to finish the animation off..maybe panning out from this pose as a final image. Now that we have had more recent group meetings we are much clearer on where everyone is at and what is left to be done. Hopefully we should have all of the colouring, shading and compositing done by saturday afternoon. After this the post-production work can really start. I think having the production working as one piece will be a relief and will also help us to properly determine what needs to be done in post. It will be nice to get the animation and backgrounds working and looking right when put together, as at the moment there is a slight different look between the two in some scenes. However I think that in post we will be able to match up the colouring using different filters and tones to make the two work well together. I think having everyone in the group working on different scenes to start with worked well, however I definately think a little more communication over the past week would have benefitted and confirmed where everyone was and what had been done. As it has now got to a more developed stage it is important that each scene has consistancy with the Winnie character and colouring which I think we have managed quite well and any differences canbe sorted in post. Having almost completed all of the animated parts I can't wait to see a final scene and how it will work, now it is more finished then the tests and has developed from the animatic.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

winnie with some colour...

Today I managed to get most of the first scene character part coloured. I havn't put on any shading yet but will hopefully finish it off tomorrow and then be able to start compositing it over the next few days and help working on the other scenes to get them finished and ready to all be put together, add some effects and sounds and do editing. Here she is so far...

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Monday, 18 May 2009

Winnies fish and chips...yum


continuing no holiday project...

After speaking as a group today I think it's very clear what we need to do and the stage of working we are at. Having some of the line work complete it is important that we work down the line to get the animation finished by the end of this week, so that we can start on the post production work next week.
I think at the moment the work is going quite steadily. All of the first and last scene is being traced and I shall complete the colouring of it tomorrow ready to composit with the background. The other scenes are almost at the tracing stage or will be in the next few days, but hopefully it will work so as the parts of the animation are completed they are passed on straight away to other members of the group who can trace and colour them. As long as the animation is completed by weds or thurs at the lastest I think we can manage to have the colour and compositing finished by the weekend.
I think certain parts will get finished a lot faster then others, but I think as long as we work as a group and have much more regular meetings with the whole group coming into the studio this week we will be able to put it all together and get it done the way we want it and with the right look to it.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Winnies lip sync first scene

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Having finished all of the drawings for this section of the speech, I wasn't too sure how it would look. Apart from testing the very first part of what she says and drawing out a few different ideas of mouth shapes, I didn't really know if it would work or not. I am pleased with the outcome however and I think it's quite believable that it could be the Winnie character talking. I am also quite pleased with my timing. I used a dope sheet throughout to make sure that I had the timing right, but from a previous test I found that I had written out one part of the dope sheet wrong and left way too much of a gap in the movement making it all out of sync. This section however was much better and I obviously hadn't made the same mistake with this part of the dope sheet.
Having seen this part working quite well, I will use the same method to do the lip-sync for the last scene. As I have already done all of the body movement for the first and last scene sperately and quickly tested them, hopefully putting the two together will really bring the character alive.
I think as a group we are doing quite well time-wise and have been pretty organised. After the 2D lecture we realised it was important that we really roganise all of our work, drawings and everything from each sceen so that everyone has access to all the information they need. Now that we have done that and each scene has a seperate folder it will be even easier to see where we are, what we need to do next and how much we have left to do in each scene in relation to the time we have left to get it done. Having completed the initial tests and animation I think it is important that everything is now scanned in and traced, ready to be coloured.
The background scenes are pretty much being finished and finalised so that they can be used in the scenes and the movement and backgrounds can soon be put together to really get a feel of how it will work as one piece and to see what changes need to be made.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Below are two example of tests I have done for the Hayle project.I think they have worked out quite well and go with the sound, particulalry the body movement. I think if we had more time it would be nice to try and get some more body movement into the character to link the movements together a little more. This, however may have to wait to see how much time we have to get everything done. I need to finish the rest of the lip sync parts and head movements, when scanned in with the body movements, should give the character more personality and bring her to life a little more. In order to do this I will heavily rely on the dope sheet I made last week, which will hopefully fit the mouth movements to the speech. However much more testing is needed to make sure this works properly and actually makes it look as though she is speaking.

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Saturday, 9 May 2009

Storyboard project...

After talking to Kathy about my final storyboard, I'm quite positive about it and the style I did it in. I really enjoyed this project as I think at the moment it is the pre-production and drawing/designing side of animation that I like the most. I have added in a few extra frames from the pictures I posted before and will post the final storyboard as soon as I can. I'm glad I did do the extra frames as I think it helps to pull the story together and you can now see better what is happening step by step, as well as adding some more interesting angles.
I decided not to do the storyboard in colour as I personally think that, at this stage they tend look better in black and white and I also feel a lot more comfortable initially working in this medium. Perhaps when they are more developed and the concept art for the piece has been thought about a Little more I would add colour and re-produce a few of the frames to test colours and conceptual design.
If I were to change any part of the storyboard, I think I could have worked a little more on the end few scenes just to get more detail into them and have them draw a little better. I would also quite like to develop this story further..maybe make an animatic from the storyboard and eventually I would really like to create this as a short animation. Perhaps a project for me over the summer!


Now that I have completed the storyboard project, I think it is important that I focus on the Hayle project. Having met with my group before the weekend we managed to do some filming which should help us to recreate the movements we want for Winnie and also for me to focus on her facial expression and lip sync a little more. This weekend I have been working on the lip sync and body movement of the old winnie character in the opening scene of the animation. I think, as with this part she is simply sitting and talking directly at the camera (or maybe person behind the camera)it is important that we get as much character and personality into her as possible through lip-sync and body language. So far I have done one very short test of the first sentence she says. This worked quite well but I don't think the mouth timing was quite right. To continue this testing I have created standard mouth shapes for syllables and letters that can be put together hopefully to create what she is saying. I have then focused on the body separately and created some movements and hand gestures she may make when talking. After finishing these tests today I am hoping to scan them tomorrow to put them with sound so that they can be discussed with the rest of my group and I can focus a little better on what needs to be changed and fitted with the sound and speech. It will also help to put the facial and head movements together with the body movement to really bring the character together. By tomorrow we should also have the backgrounds and concept art completed so that we can put that and some movement test together to see how it look and what can be changed and improved.

Due to these two projects I haven't been thinking much about the 2D character and lip-sync project. Although this could be very helpful towards the Hayle project, particularly for the part of the animation I am working on, I obviously need to put the Hayle project first as it is the final group project. I really would like to continue with my own 2D character and learn a lot more about working in 2D however along side the other projects.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

No holiday...

Having presented all of the pre-production work today I can see how far we have to go and how much we have got to get done over the next few weeks! I think our pre-production stuff works well and some areas, for example the character are well developed. However I think we still need to work on and discuss the background and general style a little more before we actually start the production as there are still a few mixed opinions about the overall look.

For the pre-production I mainly focused on the storyboard. The first few days the whole group developed their own ideas for the Winnie character, however after the workload was spread out a little more evenly we all focused on one main area with input from the group throughout.

Initial Winnie ideas...



Very few parts of these were put towards the final character design as we combined a mixture of everyones ideas, however with another member of the group finalising the character I focused more on developiong the storyboard...






The final storyboard....







I also had a go at a few quick ideas for the background...



A few of the frames from the storyboard were changed to make the animatic, for example the ending is slightly different and a few of the angles were changed to have more impact and work a little better when changing from scene to scene. I do however think that the animatic can be improved and edited further to make the animation really snappy and also work well with the sound, maybe increasing some of the pauses in speech to allow for more movement between scenes.

When this has been finalised however I think it is important that some tests are completed so that we can have a complete idea of the movements required and what will work visually. I think it is particularly important to see how the backgrounds and concept art works with the character and different scenes.

As I am focusing on the first and last scenes with Winnie talking on the bench it is really important that I can get a lot of character into the animation and that the lip-sync is very good. I think in order to do this as best I can I will make a dope sheet for the speech which will help with the lip-sync and movement. It will also help the way in which we have split up the work as it will be clearer where one scene needs to end and the next begins when co-inciding with the sound.

Today we managed to work out a clear timetable within which everyone has a role and something to be working on the whole time in order to get everything completed in the next few weeks. It also gives us a week at the end for anything that runs over time. If nothing goes wrong and we stay organised, I'm sure we'll be able to get it done in time and hopefully to a good standard that the whole group is happy with.

Monday, 4 May 2009

ongoing projects...

Hayle...
I think the group Hayle project is going well so far. We've managed to get everything pretty well sorted for the presentation and are meeting to put it all together today. I completed the storyboard for the project a few days ago after having spoken to the rest of the group about the ideas and making a few changes. As the group and work develops more changes keep being made which is a positive thing as I think we work from each other quite well as a group shown by how our ideas are changing and building. I think it will be interesting to see the reaction from other people when we present our idea and also to see how the other groups are doing with theirs and to see their approach to the project. After the presentation and some feedback I think it will be important to start production as soon as possible so that we can fit in everything and get the piece completed leaving enough time for post production and editing. If we stick to the timetable we made as a group in the first weeks of receiving the project and are organised within the group I think all should go well.

Storyboard...
Having spoken to Kathy and a small group about ideas for this project earlier in the week I'm much more confident about what I'm doing. I'm really enjoying this project, but the part I wasn't so sure about was coming up with the story in the first place. My story is pretty simple, however from the group talk and the talk by the scriptwriter, I think I have a good basic structure of a storyline and visually it could work really well as I want to use some unusual angles and viewpoints. Having discussed my idea with a group I found that there were a few ways I could develop it, for example thinking a little more about the ending and how I could make it as clear as possible to the reader what is happening in the story. I have also added in a few frames and decided on a style that I want to do it in, mainly inspired by a graphic novel with quite strong shaded images. So far I have drawn out all of my frames for the final storyboard and can now start working on them properly.

2D character project...
Having made my 2D squirrel character last week we discussed dope sheets and doing lip-synch with the characters. I missed the sound workshop as I didn't read my emails in time :S, however I did have a go as lip-synching my character very roughly with the 'Polish' sound we were using for the dope sheet. Unfortunately I didn't have the right kind of paper or program so it was very make-shift and jumps around a lot...but you can kind of see the attempt at speaking :S..I can't wait to do a real version however with my own voice and really get into animating my own character. I also had a go at using the 3D heads to do some lip-sych using the same bit of speech, but I couldn't move the head itself so unfortunately it doesn't have as much movement or expression as it needs, but it helped to focus on the mouth movement. I definately need a lot more practise at this though, but I'm eager to learn more about it as I find it really brings a character to life.
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