Wednesday, 1 December 2010
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Friday, 26 November 2010
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Sunday, 21 November 2010
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Saturday, 13 November 2010
I know, it is not good, but my scanner refusing to scan it right didn't make things any better.
Frame 1: The Masked Aubergine (MA from now on) stands awkwardly on a hilltop, holding the moon up with clear difficulty, and trying to stop it rolling back down the hill. In the background, the night sky has a dark void in it, where the moon should be, and within that dark void is an image loading error. Why? Simply because the dark shape looked completely wrong, and the loading error is simply a geek's joke... consider it my little way of trying to be funny.
At this point, MA notices that Brickface is there for the first time and puts on an afraid look.
Sunday, 7 November 2010
On the outskirts of some kind of city, two rather bad villains (Yes, cliche, pants-over-trousers, silly costumed, silly named villains) stand. One is pushing the moon (Yes, out of proportion, comedic moon) up a hill, looking rather pleased with himself. The second stands a
The Masked Aubergine
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
Thursday, 10 June 2010
Tuesday, 8 June 2010
The whatwhatwhat project appealed to me right away, as an option that could really be interpreted in any way by the group, an almost completely blank canvas to work with. The first chance we’d had to really use our imaginations, and do whatever we thought was fitting with a reasonable amount of time to work with.
The actual concept for our group’s animation, I came up with whilst the project was actually being presented to us originally, and though I normally case aside initial ideas for being too simplistic and not well enough thought out, for a thirty second animation, this one seemed as though it could well work. Anything more complex would put serious strains on the allotted 30 second time, and risk rushing the production process, neither of which would be a desirable result at all. So I allowed the idea to stay, pondered it overnight and explained it to the group the next day in class. I was surprised to find the idea extremely well received, and in no time at all the group seemed to have adopted it without question and were pondering all the different variables… characters… settings… level of realism… method of creation.
Right from the start I had imagined it being a black and white hand drawn/flash animation of very simple design, and whilst what we got was black and white as hoped, it was far more complex and pleasing to the eye than my original idea had been.
We went over all the variables numerous times before settling on the idea of two hulking men, or chavs, as we referred to them at the time, since those are the most likely pair of people to meet in a street and not wish to give way to each other. Almost before I knew it, concept art was emerging, and the process got under way fast and smoothly, the storyboarding and animatic being done rapidly and effectively without too many problems at all, the pre-production phase was sadly the only one that seemed to go smoothly however, so the easy time was to be short lived. From the very early stages of production, we were hounded by delays and technical troubles, and the huge workload seemed to have fallen a little unevenly within the group. Fortunately nobody complained, all apparently deciding that if there was any trouble to be made over it, it could be done when time allowed for it and the project was over.
As time wore on still, I became progressively more impressed with the group’s ability to keep working grimly onwards as a team despite the mounting time shortage and workload, somehow coaching each other towards finishing, even when it really did seem hopeless.
Things felt like they reached the peak of hopelessness when we realised the deadline suddenly seemed to have jumped a week closer, though it is totally unknown if it did or not. Then it was all to panic stations as we realised that it was possible that we didn’t physically have time to finish the entire thing on time for the deadline, there being simply such a huge amount left to do. Flash made the situation even worse by crashing every time we attempted to start putting things together in the studio. We had to improvise a way to do the project that was a lot more time consuming, but possible at least.
So having panicked for a little while and had to handle more technical problems, we managed to pull things together, produce one working computer to handle all the strain, and were finally able to get working in a definite progress-like direction after a frustratingly long time of running in circles like headless chickens.
We were lucky to be given a semi-extension for the project, because even after spending the entire weekend sitting working on nothing but the animation, with not enough sleep and too much panic, we barely got it finished… three hours before the final hand-in deadline. This was where my troubles began. Being post production, I was now handed a 1.36 GB file, to compress, edit, put sound to, and do an entire post production process on, in three hours, when the compression alone was set to take at least seven hours. Nobody was to blame for this, having witnessed the events leading up to it I can be sure of that. It was simply the way things happened. So I just had to work to get it done as quickly as possible, making reasonably good time with it, and finally getting to do the sound, which was the part I had been looking forward to all along. I would have liked to spend a lot more time tweaking it and finding more atmospherically matching sounds, at least several days would have been nice, but given the time I had, I don’t think the sound came out too badly. As a first official sound attempt that I’ve had the chance to work with on this course, I am pleased with it.
The credits and such were easily done and attached with the help of after effects, and then after rendering out all of the infernal TIFFS and mov files, it was off to the studio for a DVD burning… which once again the studio computers attempted to sabotage, almost succeeding too… technical errors following us to the end.
Overall though, having finished and handed it in, I feel that the project was a success, a lesson in both teamwork and the whole animating process. I cannot speak for the others of course, but I feel we worked very well as a group and I look forward to continuing to animate with these people over the rest of the course.
Wednesday, 2 June 2010
Tuesday, 18 May 2010
Things still seem to be progressing well with the what project, if a little slower than we planned, but there's no need to worry yet, I am hoping to have a week set aside to do the full post production process, but we'll have to see, a few days might suffice, I could do it in less but it would be rushed and not too great a quality because of rendering times. We'll have to see how things go ^_^
Sketchbook project seems to keep getting odder as time goes by, the pictures becoming slowly more random, but that's okay with me, I kinda like the progression of insanity that this project seems to be following.
Animal firm continues to make good progress, the concept becoming slowly more solid... and if you thought I was joking about an octopus in a wheelbarrow... I wasn't. His name is Steve... he wears a Toupee, Monocle and fake moustache. If you think I’m still joking, you're wrong, he is an actual character.
He's a lawyer.
Sunday, 9 May 2010
Good progress seems to be happening on the what project this week, things are moving mostly as planned, perhaps not perfectly, but the problems we have are 99% technology related... so that's kind of expected XD never ever rely on the computers to work when you need it most... because they will find a way to mess up on you... no matter how reliable they are normally. Am slowly putting a few sounds aside for a sound library, and am practicing with Soundbooth to make sure I know how it all works.
Sketchbook project is still going well, I got bored of only drawing things I had around the place and decided to go a bit loopier with it, I hope nobody minds, but one can only do so much of drawing the mundane over and over.
Animal firm goes well, I have one picture I'm quite pleased with at the moment, that's the one on the right here. This is Krawk, possibly the most misunderstood creature in the series. Everyone thinks she's there to help... she's only there to eat the slugs in their gardens... I'm starting to think the town I have created is populated by idiots XD
Tuesday, 4 May 2010
This week we actually got started organising the whatwhatwhat project properly, assigning tasks/roles and coming up with a basic plan of when things needed to be done by. At this point it seems as though we shouldn't have a problem at all as long as we stick to the plan and make sure everyone does their bit. My bit is mostly post production, so for the first few weeks there is little I can do other than build a sound library that will apply to the protect, doodle some concept arty stuff for personal reference, and watch to see how everyone else's work takes shape. I think the roles that have been handed out work very well... the only problem I see is that nobody can decide on the falling object... the last list was in excess of thirty items long, and included batman, the tardis, Charlie the unicorn and a dead cow... this one could take a while to narrow down.
The sketchbook project is going well, bt i'm getting real bored of drawing nothing but objects XD they held my interest at first but i'm hoping to get a bit more surreal soon... that may not be the case but there's no harm in hoping ;)
Animal firm project is starting to take shape, but mostly in my mind at this point... the project seems as thought it may well come out extremely... unusual, since I am avoiding cliche as best as I can. Also... I am going to be using an octopus in a wheelbarrow.
Saturday, 24 April 2010
Saturday, 20 March 2010
With this project, I have to admit I was somewhat guilty of neglecting it until the last minute, but I had prioritised the other projects too much, and with my health problems playing up from the strain of the other project work, and the death of a family pet looming over me, I was short on patience, energy, and the will to live by that point. If I had had the foresight to know how much work the projects would all take, I would have handled things significantly differently. But since none of us have that gift, my actions were perhaps not the best. I should have assigned more time to do this project, as it was, this reflected more than clearly in the work that I ended up handing in.
By the time I STARTED this assignment, my drawing arm was already crippled from my old friend RSI, brought on from the other projects all being done at once, so what I managed to do with it was nothing short of a miracle... I should have asked for an extension on it, but being as stubborn as I am regarding that sort of thing, I insisted I could do it.
On reflection, I would have only needed another 24 hours to pull the drawing up to a far better standard, and put adequate detail into the actual storyboard itself... make it properly extended and detailed, instead of the short and rapidly deteriorating in quality mess I handed in. But one can live and learn, and next time I have that many projects dropped on me, I shall plan my time A LOT more carefully, to pull up the standard of ALL of them to a reasonable point.
Friday, 19 March 2010
Thursday, 18 March 2010
As such i have deemed that the best way to 'blog up' the term, is to do it in five Project sections for the six projects. Live at 5, Flash lip-sync, 3D room model, Backgrounds, Storyboarding and finally the Ident. I am begginning all this with the flash project section, so i shall get right into it and stop beating about the bush.
This was a difficult project to do for me, being extremely inexperienced with flash and lacking the ability to draw well with the art tools it provides... i decided to sidestep this problem to start with by 1) designing a character model first on paper,
2) Putting it into photoshop, and colouring/line-arting it...
3) Rigging it's layers to work right there.
4) Then transferring it to Flash.
Well... let's start at the start.
This is the character's original design, pencil drawn very carefully, given the working name of Fabian... yes after my rat.
Step 2 & 3:
Yup, going good... Fabian is all lined, coloured and rigged, his arms, forearms, neck, eyebrows, eyes and mouth all designed carefully on separate layers, with carefully made joints so as not to make the gaps show when they were rotated or moved. Simple shaded with easy on the eyes colours and tones.
Oh now here is where we hit a problem... it seems i was misled when i was told that photoshop CS4 and Flash CS4 were compatible... it seems that what my source meant to say was... they are about as compatible as a square block and a round hole.
What happened to Fabian's carefully rigged face, his soft lined form and pleasant appearance... Flash happened to it.
No matter how much i consulted help over the matter, he was damaged beyond all repair, no matter how many ways i imported him or snuck him into flash... this was always the result.
So biting the bullet i set about trying to fix him, in flash... it did not go well, his eyes were unsaveable... the eye sockets had been fused to the eyes and therefore if the eyes were moved, the eye sockets retained an out of place, jagged line where they had once been... making them unmovable.
The rest was not too far gone, save for the fact i had spent so much time trying to fix him... that i was running very short on time for the actual animation. So i dropped the work on the model and began to lip sync like never before!
I used Nine total mouth models, which actually looked good when made with him in photoshop... but required some serious work to be even usable in flash. But i made do and moved on, completing the animation on time and having time to give him some interesting eyebrow animation in the vain hope of making up for the absent eye animation, making him look wooden and unreal.
Overall... i could have done a reasonable/good flash animation if Flash and Photoshop had played nice with each other, but it was a learning experience, and i took away from it an improved flash animation ability as well as respect for the art of lip syncing... and a no-tolerance resolve towards the myth of adobe's program compatibility... just another of the hard learned lessons on the long and animated road.
Saturday, 6 February 2010
My expectation for the live at 5 assignment was vastly different from what it ended up being. I was expecting an extremely hard time of it, given that we had only had two weeks of prior training with After Effects, and that is what we had been led to believe would be the most important tool in the assignment.
I was not confident about it at all, having barely learned how to make a news title strip correctly, and not knowing what other troubles we might have to face. More barely known software? Bad tempered broadcasting producers breathing down our necks?... suffice to say I was more than a little concerned about what would be thrown at us over the course of the day.
I was of course looking forward to trying it but my apprehension about it far outweighed the excitement. I had spent many hours preparing for it, watching tutorials, messing with After Effects, trying to get the knowledge I might need up to standard for the assignment itself.
I was to be very pleasantly surprised.
The day started out at a relaxed pace, getting given the assignments plenty early by the broadcasting teams so we could get right to work on them. Initially I was a little concerned with my job of the weather map, because even though I was working alongside Charlie on it, I had never tried something like this before and wasn’t sure what was expected, not to mention not having quite as long as I would have liked to get it done.
I was therefore more than happy to be informed that I would be needing mostly Photoshop for the assignment, a piece of software I am not only confident with, but actively enjoy using. So after splitting the task, I began working on the map, not having time to draw up a background map of Cornwall itself, Pete Felstead suggested to us using a premade map as a basis, and after failing to get what was needed from Google earth, I got a perfect satellite image map from Flash Earth instead, with the place-names removed so it didn’t look crowded. Then I took another image of exactly the same map with the place names on it, and overlaid that on a separate layer at half transparency so I could pinpoint the places that were required to be labelled.
This provided to be a problem several times when certain place names turned out to be just a little too close to the edge of the map, or invisible on that scale of the map… it took at least four tries to get them all working right, and then they were carefully pinpointed and labelled with their names.
This in itself had taken a large amount of time, and with the added resizing of the names we had gone over the estimated time. Fortunately the broadcasting producer understood and offered us more time, allowing me to clean up the background and put a pleasant, darkened background image behind the map on the ‘blank’ side, so it wouldn’t just look black and dull for the presenter to stand in front of when the weather report was actually presented.Finally Charlie brought over the icons to put onto the map and working together we got it all set up, despite several attempts by Photoshop to sabotage us by crashing, ready to go in two JPEG files, for the ‘tonight’ forecast and the ‘tomorrow’ forecast.
This was the finished article, by no means professional standard, but I don’t think it’s bad, and the opinions we got from the broadcasting team seemed to be that other than the lack of animation, which we simply did not have time for, it was good.
Given more training and another hour of time, we could have animated it, but I certainly think it was adequate for the job.
After helping the others wrap up and finish their assignments, there was a lapse in work to do for an hour or so before we got the requested graphics for The World Tonight, and because this had no time limit, the whole group seemed to enjoy this session a lot more, getting to grips with their personal task under a lot more peaceful conditions.
Personally I was reconstructing graphs in a way that allowed them to have transparent backgrounds and a small degree of animation. To my delight once again getting to use Photoshop, and my drawing tablet as well this time, before finally getting my hands on after effects to learn how to do a simple but wonderfully effective animation that made it look like the line on the graph was drawing itself onto the display. Achievable using only a separate layer for the data line and a square mask over it, just animating over it from left to right, to create the illusion of the line drawing itself.
This is one of the two graphs that I did for the task, obviously a static version of it, each layer carefully built up based exactly on the original image I was given.
Having finally animated something in the day, I was a lot more pleased with the outcome of that assignment, though I didn’t get to see it used.
The end of the day, going to the broadcasting rooms and watching the news be put together in front of us was the most rewarding part, and seeing the group all grinning with undeniable glee was also good.
I think the fact that I have barely mentioned the group means mostly a good thing, because there were no disagreements, no troubles, no problems, we each had a task that we were happy to do, and we helped each other out well where one knew something the others did not. As a group I think we got along brilliantly, but not so brilliantly that we just sat and talked… it was a perfect balance of working well and getting along and I can honestly say that it was one of the best group experiences I have had in a very long time… everyone pulled their weight and learned something about what they were doing… and from what I saw it was a really enjoyable day for all.
To conclude, it was a learning experience for me certainly, as I had no previous idea how things worked in news graphics departments. Now I know a tiny amount of what is faced by that section of the industry, and what a hard job they must have sometimes. Being aware of this has certainly given me a greater respect for what animators face in the real world, and I will certainly be taking this into account with the amount of work I will be doing in future in order to gain the skills I need to someday work effectively as a part of a studio.