Thursday, 28 January 2010

character design...

I really enjoyed Dereks talk on character designs and seeing various characters throughout animation and to see what other people thought about them.
Since then I have done some research, looked at some of the names of the character designers mentioned and sketched out a fair few of my favourites or interesting designs from books and model sheets that I think work well or that appeal. By doing this I hope to get some practise of drawing characters, but also to get more of a feel for the shapes and ideas used to create a sucessful character.

To create something more original I thought about finding a really detailed character desacription and working from that to make a character of my own. I may take a character from a book I know well so that I have an understanding of the story and personality, or take a shorter description and develop it into something I can understand and create a character from.

I think I may make this a challenge for myself and maybe have a go at a few until I find a style or something that really works.

life drawing...

pre-production research...

Having already started getting a few bits and bobs together for the pre-production research pages, I realised in Kathy's lesson that I need to delve a little deeper into each area and really focus in on the architecture of the particular places and costumes etc. As there is such a range in the scripts, countries and time periods it's hard to focus in as each area is so wide. I think it is probably best to approach it by looking at one at a time.

Today I took the advice and website Kathy mentioned and had a good look through as well as finding some more images on other pages. Using these I managed to find some really lovely costumes or dresses for the Titanic script, and some much clearer images or representations of London Streets. Using these photos I then re-drew them or made quick sketches, making the odd adjustment here and there.
I like working and researching in this way as it enables me to take the examples I find, but make them exactly what I need or my own.

Using these I can then think about the angles I have them at and what I need or what would be best for each scene. So, now that I have some more resources to work from, after drawing them out and getting them to my liking, I will think more about how they may appear or would be filmed and re-create them to match the storyboard.

I then need to do the same for the other scripts and areas I am focusing on...

Pre-production pages so far..all still being worked on...

Monday, 25 January 2010

storyboarding and character design...

I really love both storyboarding and character design and really want to get a lot better at both. I want to do a lot more research into how artists have come up with and created such amazing ideas for film and in particular character designs that just seem to work so perfectly for what they are designed for.

Derek's lesson on storyboarding was really interesting and it was great to use our script as it meant we could see how it could have been done and greatly improved. It was good to see how everyone else would have done some of the shots we used and I definitely learnt hat there should have been much more thought about the set up of each frame.

I understand now that it is important to focus on the meaning behind each shot and the reasoning behind every object or position. There is a reason for everything that is placed in a film. It would be interesting to watch a film with this in mind and think a lot more about why certain angles it is filmed at or objects in the background.

For the next lecture we are looking at character design. This is an area I'm really interested in and have had very little practise at. I want to learn as much as I can and do a lot of research into it and get lots of my own ideas down and develop some characters of my own in my spare time to try and improve.

I think in the past there have been loads of very well designed characters. Many of them extremely simple, particularly for 2D animation so that could be drawn by many, however recently the character designs have become so detailed and realistic it can be quite shocking. I recently saw Avatar and the character designs I found to be stunning.

They wouldn't look right to be human, and the skin and colouring used just works so well to create a new and completely different creature that everyone can feel emotional towards and have an understanding for.

Another character that I love is Wall-E. His design is to technical he could be a real-life working structure. The fact he is very square and mechanical and one of many that is made for a specific purpose almost makes it hard for him to become humanised, but there is such a character to him. I think the texture of his design works perfectly and is so wonderfully detailed.

Another character I think is well designed is stitch. Although the design is a lot simpler and also changing through the film a fair amount, he doesn't really clarify as a dog or alien or an anything, and at the beginning of the film he is characterised as a menace and not that appealing, however again this is a character that you love by the end of the film for such a simple idea.

Having said that, Pixar's luxo Jr. is a character that is very hard to beat. Although the design is very simple and could be a real desk lamp being filmed, the character and animation of it is so brilliant that it becomes an object that the audience can relate with and feel emotions for.

I would love to be able to create or design a character that people can feel some kind of emotion for, whether its love or hate, and that works well for the role it's created for.

pre-production project

For this term I have decided to do the pre-production project and really try and focus on it as this is part of the course I think I'm really going to enjoy and an area I would love to work in in the future.

When I first heard the project was based on Dr Who I will admit I was a little put off...I'm definitely not a fan, however now we've had a few lessons on it and talked more about the brief I'm really excited to focus on the time travelling aspect of the project. The idea of going back in time and researching different time periods and places in history could be really interesting, and designing them in such a way that the audience will automatically know or have an idea as to where they may be is a great thing to learn. It's obviously really important that the audience can pick up on such things and can feel and understand the environment, characters and situation by the backgrounds, sets and costumes.

It was good to look at examples of how this is used in animation and seeing programmes like Mr.Benn and how the different places he goes to are shown and made clear to children watching. Similarly 'Father Christmas' and how each holiday destination he goes to is obvious, and would be to the audience even if they couldn't understand the dialogue.

For the beginning research part of the project we are in groups and between us we have each got an area of each script to research and think about. So far I have found it really interesting looking into various aspects of each situation, interiors, exteriors, props and costumes.

I started by looking for books which may have photos or artwork of the eras and places I was looking for. I managed to find quite a few for London and Pompeii which is really good and I found some really nice artwork. However I would like to develop this further and get a bit more into the designs and concept art for the specific area of the scripts I've been given over the next week.

These images along with some of my own art work and ideas I will make into sketchbook research pages as a start of the project and to develop further when I choose the script I want to use for my final designs a little later in the project.

(images to come - my Internet is too rubbish to load photos...)

Thursday, 14 January 2010

final animatic and evalation...

Evaluation: Writing Collaboration Project

When first given this project with the theme of dramatic narrative, as a group we thought through fairytales and decided to use ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ as our main story. We twisted it to make it more dramatic and completely different to the original. Working as a group with the writers we came up with a basic script and storyline. The idea behind our story was to put a point forward that revenge doesn’t work and create a dramatic sequel to the first well-known story. In hindsight however, I think we really needed to look further at the brief and take in all aspects of it before finalising our story. I feel in some way that our script should have focused more on pitching to NUFSED and creating a good image for fairytale creatures rather than picking up on the dramatic narrative part and only using that to write the story.

My role in the project was the storyboard artist. I really enjoy this side of the pre-production process and it’s definitely one of my favourite areas. Using the script and talking to the writers and animators I created a storyboard for the project. Having previously studied the role of the storyboard artist I knew and understood what my task was.

The Storyboard:

When creating the storyboard I found that, as we only had 3 days to create the animatic, I was drawing the storyboard in a more simplified way then I would have for a longer project. For example, before making the storyboard we discussed background and layout designs, and thinking about the time limit, we considered how many different backgrounds we would need to complete to have the animatic finished on time. Due to this, I think I thought less about the different angles I could use to make the piece and storyboard more dramatic and instead tried to use similar angles to prevent needing more backgrounds. I can see now that I definitely should have considered the storyboard as if the piece were going to be made as a final animation and considered what would have looked best rather than thinking about the time limit. However, as we kept the storyboard simple, everyone could understand easily what we were trying to achieve, meaning everyone could work on a range of different scenes to get the final animatic completed in time.

As a team I think we worked well together. Everyone played their roles, as well as helping in any other area necessary. We seemed quite well organised, although I think we could have done more work on the second day, leaving less colouring to do on the last day and more time to put the animatic together.

I think our main strength was teamwork in our group as everyone helped with everything, for example I drew half of the goldilocks pictures, coloured some of the character and background frames after doing the storyboard, as did most people in the group. We could have improved the outcome of our project in a few ways. As a group I think our main aim of the project was to get an animatic completed for the third day deadline. As we were pretty focused on this I don’t think we spent long enough working on the script with the writers and should have focused more on the ‘NUFSED’ angle of the project rather than creating a dramatic narrative. Again as we wanted to get the piece done in time, I didn’t put enough thought into how the storyboard looked, different angles I could have used to make it more interesting, as I was concentrating on ease of making the various layouts and backgrounds in time to get them finished. Similarly when colouring and creating the backgrounds, they weren’t stylised and had little shading. To make sure that the designs and backgrounds are of a higher quality, they should have been designed as a representation of the way we wanted the final animation to look, and then simplified them in order to create the animatic.

We had a few problems in the project for example losing the music and having to add in a different piece on the last day and also losing a few frames due to everyone working on various memory sticks and computers, however these could have been avoided with better organisation and more time planned for problems at the end.

I enjoyed working with the writers and found their input into story ideas helpful. It was useful to work in this way as it felt more like a studio environment, being given a script to create a storyboard from. However as we all had input into the story, I think we could have done with a little more guidance from the writers about the structure of the story at the beginning of the project before we started to create the storyboard and animatic.

From the project I learnt about organisation and a lot more about working as a group and how much, when everyone works together, you can produce in a short amount of space. I also learnt to focus on the overall aim of the project rather than simplifying ideas in order to get a project finished. It would be good to work with the writers again, perhaps on something they have written and scripted previously, to interpret it and create a visual piece from it as you may do in a real working environment.

If I were to continue this project and create a final animation I would change a lot of the layout of the scenes and colour designs to make it much more dramatic and interesting to watch as well as perhaps developing the story a little further. However, I think we worked well as a group and I was pleased to get a final animatic completed.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Back to it!

I'm really looking forward to the term ahead after having briefings on what we will be doing and different areas we can go into. However, this week is very different.
Being given a project and litterally thrown into it with only 3 days to get to the animatic stage certainly puts the pressure on. I like the fact that the groups were put together and everyone given rough roles of what they should be doing. So far this has worked well for my group and we havn't had many problems.

To start with gathering the idea of what we were going to do and the story line turned out to be quite hard work. However we made a decision on this and the writers went to work on typing out the script as we all got on with the drawing side of things.
As I was placed as the storyboard artist, I worked with the script and after discussions with the group about angles and how we visualised it, I got to work at drawing out the storyboard, as others did character and background designs. We worked together to make sure that the backgrounds fitted with what was necessary from the storyboard, and also so that there weren't too many due to the short time limit.

(won't uplaod right now!)

Having completed the storyboard and used it to create a very rough animatic to test the timing, appearance, what needs to be further developed or added, I realise that many of the shots are not as dramatic as they could have been and in particular the angles of the shots could have been exaggerated really put focus on a particular character or situation, as Derek suggested a long shot down the table to Goldilocks from another viewpoint around the table to show how the bears are all crowding over her. I think I limited myself in some ways by thinking about the time limit and other things that needed to be done, for example the backgrounds for all of the different views I was drawing in the storyboard and if we would have time to complete so many changing backgrounds. I think I should have focused more on the look and shots in the storyboard rather then the timing of the project.

However, from this morning we had the storyboard completed ready for developing into a final animatic, character designs completed, background designs done and we all helped to colour them. For the backgrounds we did decide to use very simple block colours, outlined. Although this is a very basic look and idea that is generally avoided, for the time limit and the fact that everyone was helping to work on everything, we wanted to have everything coloured for the final animatic and thought this would be the most successful way to do this.

Jenny's beackground design I helped to colour...

(can't upload this at the moment...)

This afternoon we got going on the final animatic, having our backgrounds in place and the writers working on the sound effects and speech needed for the animatic. I drew out the stills for Goldilocks character for the first half of the animatic using Leah's character designs as reference throughout. These will then be coloured and layered with the backgrounds and small areas animated when necessary.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

having a quick go at 3D

Just thought I'd better get a little bit of practice in before starting the new term...again havn't done as much as I hoped over the holidays...however this is an idea for the beginning to the january 11 second club audio...