Saturday, 27 November 2010

Experimental Endings!

1 lamp,
1 screen,
1 camera,
1 tripod,
3 blocks of wood & a mobile phone,
4 bits of wire,
7 or 8 cereal boxes,
3 nights filming,
1 night compositing
and 138 cut-out shapes later...


Friday, 26 November 2010

The end is in sight...

All the photographs for the experimental are complete, going to stick them all in After Effects tonight, 80% of the production report is typed up and the 11 Second Club makes me want to kill myself.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Roughin' it up.

After effectively losing 3 days to work I'm powering on ahead and I'm determined to get things finished. I took some experimental work home and managed to crack on with a fair bit: I sat in the car outside the hotel cutting cardboard rabbits out while the rest of my family helped set up balloons and other party paraphernalia... and starting to write my production report on the train yesterday (I went to Wales and back, Sunday trains are crazy).
My Dad has provided me with some garden wire so I can make something similar to a wire photo holder to hold my carboard animals in place (animation paper is far too flimsy) and I don't want to have my glass frame moving in everyframe (also it'd probably fall over, I don't have a stand for it, so i'm propping it up with massive Diet Coke bottles).

So, this morning, I have finished my rough version of the 11 Second clip. I'm aiming to have a neater rough done by the end of the week.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Experimental beginnings and (slow) 11 Second progress...

So, after my panicking at the weekend and the 2D session we had yesterday I'm feeling far more positive about the 11 second club project.
Andy liked the flow of action in my (very short) hand-drawn attempt, which led him to talk to us about practicing timing by mapping out the sequence with really really rough drawings. Trying to do as many drawings in sequence as possible, while resisting the urge to play it through until you have done a large number. As you can see below, my first attempt isn't great, I got to about 60 frames, it's very quick so the angel looks like he's buzzing around on speed:

I'd say my second attempt is better, but I still have a long way to go before I'll pick up the animator's "instinct" for timing.

One the other hand, my experimental project is starting to come along nicely. Following my plan I had mapped out using two incarnations of dopesheets...
And a surprising amount of maths involved when it came to working out how many photographs I would need to take...
(and that's only one of the 3 times I did that).

I now have a fully formed plan/schedule to follow, with the exact number of photographs needed for each bit of my animation, all mapped out (hopefully) to the music I've selected from our choices (which I now hear in my head rather alot, so thanks Derek...).

Using my (excellent) plan I have now completed taking all the photographs with live human hands, with help from my very patient friend Liz, who agreed to be my lovely assistant for the evening and my nice housemates for letting me commandeer the kitchen table. Here's a frame from what will be a part of the final animation:

I'm now using my lightbox to animate my transformations and drawing the shapes of what will become my cutouts to create shadows. I'm going to use the spare time I have when I got back home this weekend to cut them all out so I can get shooting quickly after I get back.

So currently I've been drawing lots of rabbits, which I'm finding fun (I'm not quite so looking forward to drawing lots of birds) and surprisingly easy. I think it's because I have four of them at home who I always sit and spend a bit of time with while using them for drawing practise. So I'm looking forward to seeing their lovely fluffy faces this weekend. And they're too cute not to share pictures of, especially since it's on topic anyway ;) (L-R:) Molly, Chilly, Arthur & Mim.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

11 Second Panic

Well, I was panicking a little bit longer than 11 seconds.
I had no idea about which format I wanted to present my 11 second club clip in, I really wanted to try and hand draw it with my own lightbox, which I left at home this term *FAIL*. Luckily I have a very lovely mother who has posted it to me at the grand expense of £11 (though it was considerably cheaper than buying another lightbox), but it is too heavy for first class so should arrive either tomorrow or Tuesday.
Worrying that this weekend would be a complete waste of time if I didn't start animating (there are 15 days left until our deadlines for the 11 Second Club AND the Experimental) I headed to the studio on Saturday to start animating. But pretty much half an hour into animating (and only managing to produce 7 very rough frames) panic got the better of me. I realised that there is no way I can hand-draw it all to the correct time scale, I need so much more practice on timing before I can sit and know exactly how many frames each movement should be (especially when you are adding lots of secondary movement like I am [wings]).
Behold Saturday's failure:

I do not want to have to sacrifice my Experimental project for the sake of hand-drawing it all when I now realise (after some kind words of encouragement from my ever-so-patient boyfriend) that I can do it in Flash to the same standard, but quicker, and can clean it up far more easily (or, as he pointed out, I could always print out my rough Flash work and draw over the top).
I'm not really happy doing it in Flash, having used it for the practice pieces we did before we started making the actual thing, but I'm no where near confident enough to be able to do it in 3D and I know that I simply haven't got time to produce the final image I have in my head by hand. Yes we have 15 days, but I have to go home next weekend to celebrate my Grandad's 90th birthday, which is something my family have been planning for a couple of months and I really cannot afford to miss, so realistically I have 12. AND I still have to do my experimental project, which thankfully, has been alot easier to plan after dopesheeting it all and working out the exact number of photographs I need to take. I still need to make all my card animals for it, but once my lightbox arrives I'll use it to help me with that project.

However, after my initial panicking yesterday, I'm feeling alot more confident today and have already managed to do about half of the actual clip in rough in just a few hours. Yes, it is rough, but once I get the movement sorted I can go over it to a higher standard. Yesterday was not a total loss, I used the lightbox to draw outlines for one sequence animal shadows and my friend Liz came round (partly to cheer me up) and also to be my hand model for the Experimental which has begun :)

EDIT, I forgot that I drew out all the mouth shapes for practice the other day:

I used last year's lip-sync project and my housemate's compact mirror to help.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

11 Second Club, Animatic

The video actually jerks and skips out a bit when the Angel is throwing the Harp away...

This is the only real part of the animation I needed to carefully study my reference video for, I made some sketches of the rough poses to help me get it right.

Also, totally unrelated, but this awesome advert appeared on YouTube when I went to upload the animatic.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

11 Second Club, Concept/Storyboard/Reference

Voice One: "You stole it! I..."
Voice Two: "I thought you put it there!"
Voice One: "Why would I put it there?!?"
Voice Two: "Kindness?"
Voice One: "Kindness?! You stole it! He stole it!!"

My initial idea was to have two squirrels arguing over a nut, pretty basic, but also pretty obvious so I'm glad I didn't use that idea (also I'd've had to try and animate squirrels, despite watching lots of Disney films throughout my youth, I doubt I'd probably fail epically). This idea arrived almost instantaneously after listening to the voice clip, (a transcript can be found above), which was a minor miracle as this was early Monday morning.

My second idea appeared not long after while we were in the 2D session breaking down the soundclip to begin the start of our dopesheets: An Angel and a Devil (like the two little guys who you always see in films acting as the characters conscience) arguing over a stolen "feeling", the ending, where the Devil would shout "He stole it!" would've panned out to reveal the character who was having a battle with their conscience, and the Angel and Devil had been sat/floating by their shoulders.

After speaking with Derek he raised some problems with my idea (he's good at doing that), in that it wasn't obvious what my characters were arguing over, whereas with the squirrel idea it was too obvious, this wan't obvious at all. He also suggested changing the Devil to the one who says "kindness?" to make it more ironic and add a bit of comedy to it. So, my revised idea is still having an Angel and a Devil arguing, but this time, the Angel is the angry one, because the Devil has stolen his Halo and got it stuck over his horns.

Now having finished the storyboard, I have recorded some reference material (with horrendous acting once again) in order to make a quick animatic this week. I still need to use After Effects to composite the two clips (since I couldn't act for the Angel & Devil at once), but I have the cut that I want to use to emphasise the "kindness" line. Also note my amazing props. Yeeeah.

Aaaand finally (this has been a mammoth update) this is a quick drawing I did in Photoshop to give a (very) rough idea of what the final thing will kind of look like:

(The background picture is from ForsakeWolf at Deviant Art who put this up as a Stock photo so that others can use it for free).

Thursday, 4 November 2010

There are Blind People with no fingers that are better at shadow puppets than me...

Using an appropriate Humdrum quote there.

So instead of going to Life Drawing tonight I've been experimenting for the Experimental project. Doing a mock up and some tests before I launch in to the real thing sometime soon.

A glass frame, covered in Grease-proof paper (do you realise how expensive Tracing Paper is? Seriously, it's like £5 for a book of A4), currently supported by some shoe-boxes to stop it falling over and smashing, my bedside light and the tripod box to rest my camera on (because the tri-pod would be to big for the frame on the floor...)

Of course I realise now that my bedroom floor isn't the best place to sit and try and get your hands in the middle of the frame. One sheet of grease-proof wasn't enough to stop the lighting hot-spot, so I added a second one:

It's also better to actually have an idea of how to do any kind of shadow puppet before you start filming... Luckily the research I did in my sketchbook paid off and I am able to present to you, a tremendously crap dog:

My favourite bit is where I move the wrong fingers and forget about the ears... I'm so going to get someone who is actually somewhat decent at making shadow puppets to film for the real thing...

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Shadow Puppets and the 11 Second Club

Everytime I hear the phrase "shadow puppets" I think of this Aardman animation my brother and I watched a few years ago.
It looks like a Fireman chasing an igloo to me..

I've been looking up different types of shadow puppets(and reserved myself a tripod) this morning in preparation for the Experimental Project, I still need to get a piece of plastic or glass, but I plan to get them after our Character Animation Principles lesson tomorrow. So here's some research to look at:

Our second major project this term is to animate the November voice clip from the "11 Second Club" website. The 11 Second Club, for those who don't know, is a website that puts up a voice clip each month (which is around 11 seconds long, although this month's is actually 12 seconds), that anyone can animate to and submit their work onto the website for others to view and rate. You can use any technique you want to, although their are restrictions on the rigs you can use if you choose 3D, but the winners always seem to be hand-drawn or 3D pieces.

Obviously November's soundclip was only posted up yesterday, but I've already had a few ideas which I've made a few doodles of. Though I'm feeling rather protective of them at the moment, so I'll post them later on when it's developed into a fully fledged idea I'll work on rather than scribblings. Also, I don't want anyone to nab my ideas ;)

In more preparation for it, (it's like I'm a rocket that's been lit and suddenly my creativity and productiveness [if that's even a word] has returned in full force), I created my own dope sheets and broke down all of the soundclip for lip-sync, I'm thinking this will make storyboarding an awful lot easier (and I'm also going to try to break down the music for the Experimental project, although I think music will be harder to break down).

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Experimental Ideas

I've been kind of neglecting blogging about this project, mainly because I had a lack of ideas for aaaages, and then when I had some, they weren't particularly good. But, this post is to show, that YES, I have actually been doing some work towards it. But more importantly, have now got an idea I want to start working with.

Some reject ideas:

My final idea:

Reminds me of this YouTube video I had a look at (though hopefully my cut-out parts will be animated better):

Camera set-ups for the final idea, the one on the left is how I thought I'd need to set things up, but after talking to Derek, the plan on the right was formed.

So now I need to buy a large piece of glass or plastic, tracing paper, potentially get a tripod and lots of black card/paper.
Work out the music on a dope sheet.
Film the hands.
Prepare the card.
And then animate it all.

I think I'm going to initially use animation paper & a lightbox to figure out my creatures metamorphis and movements.

Also, check out the new header/banner thing, made from lots of scanned in magazine-y bits, because I like collage and the old one was annoying me muchly.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Emotion Change

I know it's jerky when the green man walks up to the blue one, but when I added more inbetweens it looked like he was floating - which was far worse.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Drawing Dump

Summer Drawings:

My Rabbits, Chilly & Molly.

They're the only ones who really sit still long enough to draw.

Scott Pilgrim Fangirling, a doodle for my friend Mark before he left for Uni, he lent me the books so I tucked this inside when I gave them back to him.

Life Drawing:

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Emotion change... W.I.P

Work in progress of this week's assignment, changing emotion.

Original storyboarded idea:

First video (mainly used to work out the timing):

Second Video (slightly more detail and an attempt to neaten up the character, which I don't like, I much prefer the little line drawn ones):

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Sad Walking

Using the same armatured flash figure as before, I attempted to creat a sad walk.

I feel it's not too bad for a first attempt and no reference material to work with.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Walking assignment and general experimental fail.

This week our assignment is to draw a character walking across the screen. My first idea was to practice using a model made out of paper, (I'm tempted to use cutout for some of our other projects), but it epically failed. My figure was too small and fiddly to use well and with no ghost image I was making it up (horrendously) as I went along... which resulted in a very wobbly, unrealistic and down right rage-inducing less than a second of pure fail.

After giving up on that idea rather swiftly I tried using the armature option in Flash, the video below is a simple test...

...Which led to this:

Both arms and legs are animated using Flash's armature tool, then converted into frame by frame to delete the terrible inbetweens it added. 12fps. No reference material other than an old walk cycle plan I did last year.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Heavy Weight Lifting... Finished *EDITED*

Final animation, I'm tempted to add a bit of a walk cycle ot the beginning, but I just tried to start and it is mind-bending trying to do a walk cycle backwards and trying to do it so that it matches up is nigh on impossible. Especially when I'm struggling to keep the height of my character the same already. But I don't feel bad, the assignment was to do a character lifting a heavy object, not a walk cycle, so that's what I've created. I used my reference material to help animate the 'fall' and my rough drawings/storyboard for the rest.

After seeing a few other people's videos I had a bit of a panic because my character didn't have a face, so I added one, it's funny how much 4 lines add a bit of personality:

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Experimental Research

For one of our projects this term we have to create an experimental animation (without the aid of a computer) to some music. As Derek hasn't put up or played any of the music options I haven't really had any ideas for animating yet. So I sifted through YouTube and backwards through my blog and came across a few favourites and some new interesting ones that you may be interested in too...

My Green Crocodile (I came across it in Foundation and I simply love it, I'm sure I've shared it on my blog before, but it's realy worth a watch).

Loof & Let Dime (from Bradford Animation Festival last year, I think it'd be harder to try and replicate something like this without the aid of a computer, but ink and cutout may produce similar results).

Photograph of Jesus (another Bradford find, but could be fun using photographs from real-life in real-life!).

My Paper Mind (a video that Hugh Herbert liked on YouTube that led me to spend time surfing through random animations).

YouTube user nosnoma's "paper horse animation test".

YouTube user mattpee's "Alice in Wonderland".


I collected my copy of the diary I did the cover for over the summer.

It actually looks pretty good...

...Except for where they put my name...

...bit of a design fail there.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Heavy Weight Lifting...

Nope, I'm not going to be a weightlifter, the title refers to our first assignment.

We have to create an animation of a character lifting up a heavy object. I'm going to use Flash and have created a rough version already:

And thanks to the child who kicked their football into our garden over the ridiculously high fence, I was able to record some horrendous reference material (with my terrible, terrible acting):

(Of course, my character isn't quite as lanky and doesn't have hair to tuck behind its ears).

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Second Year Madness...

So I start back this week, as a scary second year *gasp*, we had our introduction session yesterday and have ADVANCED MAYA SKILLS tonight.

That probably would have terrified me a year ago, but this year, I'm actually quite looking forward to it. It's optional, but I plan to go to as many as I can before my mind becomes over-saturated with polygonal crazies.

I'm also going to attempt to model this:

It's my Dad's 1970 Karmann Ghia (called Audrey). I must be a masochist. Hopefully I'll have modelled it by his birthday (July 10th... giving me a pretty lengthy ammount of time, and most likely sanity, to try and achieve it).

I'm putting my "Summer" animation on the back burner for now, I really would like to finish it, but my Uni work is going to come first (plus I've temporarily run out of ideas... hopefully christmas will bring some more inspiration for it).

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Summer finished previews...

As I don't own a copy of After Effects myself, I was cheeky and nabbed my boyfriend's computer for a bit when I went to visit him to convert some of the finished frames into some clips finished animation. So, this is what the finished article will look like, the pet one is still a work in progress...

They're only 720p because I had to use Windows Movie Maker to mash the clips together and add some black bits (so Youtube doesn't hack off the endings/beginnings like it normally does...).

It was horrible.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

With Flash comes the Crash...

So the multiple crashes start again.

Serves me right though, it was getting to be a pretty big file and I only had one copy (rookie error for an animation student I know, especially when working with the reliably unreliable Flash).

Tis fixed now, my scenes are now saved as separate files and I think I worked out that a symbol in one of the scenes was causing all the problems. Plus that scene had lots of tweens in, so Flash wasn't a particularly happy bunny, (ironically it's the scene in which my pet rabbits are, aharhar).

But it seems to be back on track! (Famous last words...) But at least since my RAM upgrade & shiny new external hardrive, my computer is being super quick at loading it up again, unlike the days of Formation, where it would take about 10 minutes to start up.

Hopefully I won't get a tally going again...

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Scott Pilgrim... freaking awesome!

I've become obsessed with the books, and since watching this video:

I now have a burning desire to try and animate all the books. Maybe one day.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Summer Work Preview...

A sneaky peek... which you can watch in 1080p glory...

I'm being quite ambitious with the ammount of things I'm trying to put in it, so wether it'll be finished by the end of summer is another question. But I'm still plodding on with it, doing bits every now and then, so just putting this up to prove I am still working on it and doing something!

Monday, 16 August 2010


Has finally hit and I'm actually doing something decent with my days :)

working in Flash, and here's some sneaky screenshots of what I'm up to. I'm creating a kind of animated autobiography.
I'm not sure if I'm going to upload work in progress videos, I think i'd like it to be a nice suprise...

If I have time after this I'm tempted to download Monkey Jam and do some stop motion like Emily has done.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Doing something else useful...

I've spent the past couple of days trying to readjust to the English climate after a week in wonderfully sunny Spain, trying to download Maya (and failing due to the Uni email being down so I can't get my activation email...), trying to get inspired and helping one of my friends with a request.

My friend Rob asked me if I could design a logo for his Ultimate team "Hawk Ultimate" (for those who don't know what Ultimate is, it's essentially competitive frisbee and has become pretty popular the last few years after finding it's way over here from America). He wanted one normal/more cartoony logo & one tribal one.

It's not really anything to do with animation, but it shows that i've done some drawing and actually used my graphics tablet at least once this summer. I used Flash to draw the outlines and coloured them in Photoshop.

intitial concepts:


rough tribal one:

Final versions (there's two versions of each, with alternating team colours):