Thursday, 31 May 2012

Sky Dive Test 2

Added some more animation, particularly to the head and torso as advised. I made some tweaks to the right hand as it wasn't 'flapping' as much as the left and was too slow. I also added another layer of clouds which will go faster than the background and some camera shakes to help with the illusion of free fall.

I think it looks okay actually. Waiting for feedback as I'm sure there is something I can do to improve it but so far it's gone better than expected. The intention of this was to see if I could create the illusion of falling so that me and Rachel would know how to do it in the final animation. It is absolutely vital we get this looking decent because otherwise, if we don't get it at least believable, the whole animation will suffer for it and look 'floaty' and wrong.

Rachel's Blog

To do today.

Been sketching a bit of Malcolm and Aaron in photoshop:

Today I need to:
@ photoshop some clouds for adding layers into the test animation.
@ work on test animation - sort of right hand, torso and head, clouds and camera shakes.
@ work on Synopsis and Treatment.

Rachel's Blog

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Sky Dive Animation Test

I've been looking at other animations that involve falling/sky diving for what they have done to create the illusion. It's mostly movement of clothes and some limbs. The background should be animated too, with things farthest back moving slower than the foremost things. Here's some of the videos I looked at:

I tried to apply what I saw in these animations into a test animation, just to try out creating the illusion.


 Not bad but he needs his backpack (which I don't have at the moment but it's not necessary for the test) and maybe an altimeter to complete the look. I think I'll apply some camera shakes to help enhance the illusion of being in free fall. I noticed some subtle camera shakes in the example animations which I think really helps.

  Rachel's Blog

Animatic - Problem?

I only noticed this morning that the opening scene is missing from the animatic. I've re-rendered it and uploaded up again but it seems that Youtube disagrees with the beginning for some reason and outright cuts it off. I've tried to upload it on Vimeo, it uploaded some of the beginning but not all of it:

I don't know why it's doing this but the original video is fine and I will keep a copy of it on my usb for showing, rather than using Youtube. Especially for the pitch next week.

Rachel's Blog

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Final Animation

Finally completed the animatic! No idea how people just churn out these things, they always take me longer than expected. Maybe I just need to get better. Anyway, animatic with added dare scene in the right place!


Feedback today went well. There was wasn't much issue this time as everyone seemed to like the story. The only thing that did come up was how hard it was going to be to make them look like they're falling and not floating. We agree, it will be hard, but we have thought about it. Things like flappy shoes and hands, squinting, hair if it can be moved, any item they're wearing that can be moved will be animated in such a way to help give the illusion of falling. Unfortunately we cannot animate the clothes just because it is not possible on the rigs we've chosen (they're pretty much one with the rig). Another thing that came up was Malcolm's anatomy was a bit off. Agreed, he is not anatomically correct but that was the way Animschool made him and his geometry isn't customizable. I know modifications can be done to him but I don't know what and it's way out of my knowledge base anyway. We chose downloadable rigs because neither of us can build models and rigs, we knew this would limit us in some way but we'd rather that than a broken rig. So far so good!

Rachel's Blog

Monday, 28 May 2012

WIP new animatic

Not sure if I'm going to be able to get this finished for tomorrow morning but it'll be done for Wednesday definitely! Just uploading a wip now in for tomorrow.

Rachel's Blog

Let's talk about something else for a bit.

It's still about animation, just not about my project work :P

So I saw this recently and I think it's got to be one of my favourite animation.

It's a lovely, magical piece that is only enhanced by the wonderful music. I like how it's not crisp and neat because it gives it a textured look which is actually really nice. The animation itself is amazing, I only wish I could do something like that in my second year (this animation was done by someone in their second year at CalArts). The way this piece works in harmony with the music very much reminds me of Okami the video game. Clover Studios, the company that made Okami, doesn't exist anymore but it produced beautiful games and my favourite was Okami. Another (and the biggest) reason Crayon Dragon reminds me of Okami is the way doodles and art trailer behind the running character. Okami has a similar thing, only with nature and it changes with the character's running speed (plain grass - slowest, small blooms and grass, big blooms - fastest). This trailer has the best example of that run (difficult to find a video sample of it without it being bad quality or someone talking over it!)

Animation in games is just as interesting as the animation in feature films and shorts. The two are treated a bit differently but if done well both can look just as awesome. Though there's not so much detail in the animation in this game (e.g. all but the main character's faces don't really move, just squash and stretch when talking, even then that doesn't always happen), the cutscenes are well animated enough to tie in with the high level of style and music. Like the Orange Flower Dance for example! Yes it's very silly (one of many bits of humour in the game) but you can see a lot of animation principles there such as Timing and Slow in and Slow out. The weight isn't quite there but generally you don't see an old man breakdancing! Still, I think it's good for what it is and it suits the game style. Now on to another animation by a group of students fueled by peanut butter sandwiches! Firstly, I love the painted textures and backgrounds. I really like some of the 2D effects they've put in to. I've seen a few animations with 2D effects in, including a one or two of the group work animations this year at uni, and I think it's a really nice and stylish way of adding effects like smoke. Obviously it should suit the style of the 3D animation (which as far as I've seen it has) but it works really well when done right, like in this animation. Next thing is when things get trippy and the roads go all curly. I have no idea how they could have achieved that but it looks fantastic. The animation of the characters is great too, I like the contrast between them (one thing and noodly, the other big and stocky). Really interesting style of animation!

New Storyboards

Right, as promised yesterday, here are the new storyboards. It's missing the dare before the scuffle on the plane because the change wasn't made until after I'd drawn that part. I've added notes on the storyboard and will be adding the dare in the animatic which I'm working on now!

Rachel's Blog

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The drawing board, we went back to it.

We had some feedback from our classmates and tutors and we now feel that the banjo homage isn't going to work. So on friday me and Rachel discussed what to do because we were getting no closer to hammering down a story. After some bouncing of ideas, we came up with this:

So if we start with them in the plane. Aaron pretends to shove Malcolm out of the plane. Malcolm recovers and understandably backslaps Aaron in the chest or something.

Now I'm not sure whether to have the 'after you, no after you' thing start here or just have Aaron jump out and Malcolm take a breath and follow.

Anyway, Malcolm is unstable at first but finds balance and is rather pleased with himself. Until he sees Aaron already showing off (insert mildly impressive pose here). Malcolm rises to this and attempts a simple trick (insert etc etc). Aaron does something a little more complex and Malcolm again attempts something a bit more trixy. (we could do this once more, we could even work in a pose for both of them together if it got them looking at the ground - like that surf one)

Whatever way, they notice the ground/altimeter and Aaron indicates that its time to pull the chutes. Malcolm goes to pull his but Aaron starts doing chicken impressions. Malcolm stops and holds out, he gestures 'after you'. Aaron pretends to go to pull his but makes a show of not doing so, he returns the gesture. Malcolm looks down and back at Aaron, making his decision. He crosses his arms or something, set on not letting his brother win. (We could have Aaron start to look nervous at this point but doesn't want to look the weak one)

Approaching impending tree crash shot. Black out with sounds. Both in tree, Malcolm looking annoyed and Aaron looking rather amused. Aaron gives Malcolm a playful shove (aah that was fun!) but Malcolm back slaps him again. Perhaps they carry on punching for the end.

We wanted to return to the 'fun' we wanted to have in our animation in the beginning so put tricks back in. We met up the next day to talk about what tricks we wanted to put in. We wanted to build up the tricks so we agreed that the first tricks each character does should be a standard and plausible sky dive trick. Aaron is to do a backflip and to retaliate Malcolm is going to do a handstand and look like he's walking on his hands.
We wanted to escalate from here into something unusual. I personally was worried about how to proceed as the banjo's were described as 'too far-fetched' by our tutor. I wasn't sure if this would apply to any prop we thought of. Then Rachel reminded me that this is a cartoon, we didn't want it to be a realistic representation of skydiving. If cartoons can get away with hammer space then so can ours. So as a homage to Wile E Coyote, the next trick will be Aaron will pull out a sign saying 'You Suck!' on it after not being impressed by Malcolm's trick. Malcolm will pull out another bigger sign saying something like 'Yeah well your face SUCKS!' This sparks some anger and the two begin fighting in mid-air. No serious combat moves, just sibling fighting. During the fight they would notice the ground getting closer and then proceed into the daring as before.

We were both happy about this so I started storyboarding today and Rachel started character profiles and document templates for our hand-in.

While storyboarding, it occurred to me that we could actually finish the air stuff right when they noticed their tree impending doom and then have them crash into it. We could either take out the dare completely or put a shortened bit of it into the plane scene. I let Rachel know my thoughts and she agreed that this would allow us to spend more time with them in the plane and on the tricks. It would also ensure the animation wouldn't get too long. Apparently the idea is flexible enough for us to re-arrange things when necessary! Yay! Since this way had a nice pace to it, we agreed to change it to this:

Plane scene as normal, bit of a dare and then a playful shove and scuffle. Aaron falls out plane first and Malcolm follows. Tricks then fighting in which Aaron gets Malcolm in a headlock. Malcolm notices altimeter is in red and both look at the tree speeding towards them. Black out with sounds of crashing. Return to see characters in tree, Aaron thinks it's funny and slaps Malcolm on back, Malcolm takes offence and hits him back. Pair start scuffling again.

Will upload a storyboard soon. I've already done half of it so the dare won't be in the plane section but I'll add that to the animatic. The storyboard will just be cut at the fight scene and I'll add notes about the dare.

Rachel's Blog

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Doodling Malcolm and Aaron

Been doodling Malcolm and Aaron in preparation for drawing another storyboard, which I have now started on.

Also had a think about the background in the animation (clouds particularly); whether it should be drawn, simulated with particles or have it is a projected image. I have used particle simulation before but in Softimage. The hardest part was getting the render right and while I'm aware it is possible to do in Maya I suspect we might have the same problem or a whole other one. It's probably best not to consider it as an option.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Burn your children and make a new one.

So our idea pretty much fell apart last Tuesday. Basically, it wasn't working. As an instructor there would be absolutely no reason why she would crash or let Malcolm crash. And if we were looking at it that realistically, a parachute wouldn't fail either and if it did, there's a back up parachute... So the instructor-pupil relationship wasn't really working. In fact, it caused more problems than it solved. It took away the possibility of crashing.

Another problem with the story was where we wanted Malcolm to try and impress Kat. If he signed up for instructions/to be taught, he wouldn't be able to do those tricks. And Kat should have been giving more signals to him and generally not let him out of her sight.

We also suspected that because the characters were a male and a female, people assumed there must be some sort of relationship there in a more than friends way. Originally, we just wanted them to be friends. Competitive friends. No hint of any romance. However, the stereotypical idea that guys and girls can't just be friends has an element of truth to it. Not because a boy and a girl really can't be just friends but because people on the outside can't see them as just friends. For some reason it is generally assumed that one of them at the very least must be attracted to the other. I'm sure many people have had this assumption on them and their friends at some point. I know I have, my childhood best friend was a boy and there was nothing else.

SO! One of the main changes we've made is the characters are now both male. They are also brothers and as such are competitive because sibling rivalry is just natural. We wanted a simple relationship between the characters (just friends!) but it was becoming a chore and not fun so this should hopefully be simple but satisfactory.
The new idea takes bits and pieces from the other ideas plus a new one (my other half showed me the movie Point Break and now that we got this relationship mess sorted, I was influenced by the particular dare scene shown below).

Malcolm and Aaron are set in the doorway of the plane getting ready to jump. Aaron is the leader of sorts out of the brothers, he's always teasing Malcolm and instigating the scuffs and quarrels between them but is not malicious. He playfully shoves Malcolm, pretending to push him out of the plane. This scares Malcolm a bit and when he recovers, he 'backslaps' Aaron on the arm. Aaron laughs and punches Malcolm in the arm. Before Malcolm can retaliate Aaron drops out of the plane. Frustrated, Malcolm follows.
Malcolm is doing a standard skydive pose (on his stomach), pretty content with himself until he notices Aaron has a guitar out. He plays a bit and looks at Malcolm, waiting. Malcolm brings out a banjo and plays a bit back. They start duelling and end up play together. Very much like the duelling banjos and guitars in the films Deliverance and August Rush (Clips below). Aaron plays with one hand and Malcolm retaliates by playing with no hands, which results in him losing the banjos. Aaron looks victorious and checks his altimeter. He idly tosses his guitar aside and indicates to Malcolm, pointing at the altimeter to sign that it's time to pull the parachutes.
Malcolm goes to pull his when he sees Aaron making chicken gestures at him. He stops, almost disbelieving that his brother being serious. He considers and then gestures to Aaron to say 'after you'. Aaron pretends to go to pull his but makes a show of 'bailing' out. Malcolm shows some annoyance and looks down, the ground is getting closer. He looks back at Aaron who is now gesturing to Malcolm to pull his. Malcolm looks suitably uncomfortable but decides he isn't going to back down, despite impending doom. Aaron looks down and then back at Malcolm but appears calm. Malcolm is starting to look nervous, he tries to maintain his determination. The ground is getting closer. Malcolm shuts his eyes and the screen cuts to black. The sounds of parachutes being released can be heard. Then an impact with a tree sound.
Both are hanging by their backpacks and strings. Malcolm looks pretty rough and is recovering from the terror. Aaron looks up and shakes his head, not as rough as Malcolm. He notices his brother's state and laughs, punching him in the arm again. Malcolm flips and hits him back. They start hitting out at each other and the animation ends there.

We're hoping that the tutors like this idea because we're not really willing to change it (tweaks are fine) as we have two weeks until the deadline and we have our work cut out for us now because of this re-write. Rachel is working on Aaron now while I start making some final sketches and concepts for the final document and pitch document. Once she's done that we're going to start looking at storyboards and animatics.

Here are all the clips we've been looking at as research and inspiration:


August Rush:


Point Break - Sky Dive scene:

 Rachel imagines that Malcolm and Aaron's brotherly relationship would be similar to the brothers Dean and Sam from Supernatural, after watching this I agree!

Rachel's Blog

Monday, 21 May 2012

Animatic WIP and why Kat might crash

Update on animatic posted just earlier. Going to start to next bit soon. Been thinking about why Kat won't be able to pull her parachute in time, being an instruct and therefore a professional this kind of mistake wouldn't happen so there needs to be a reason why she can't - something needs to happen. I thought if Malcolm were to lose control, he'll probably go into hysterics and grab Kat and not let go. This would hinder Kat greatly and if he has her arms as well, this would mean she cannot pull her strings. I sketched out the idea to show Rachel
Rachel's Blog

Animatic WIP

Working on the next part of the animatic. This is what I have so far, still have to do Kat's backflip and Malcolm's reaction and attempt at a backflip. I'll start a new file to do the ending.

Need to think about why Kat can't open her parachute, perhaps Malcolm is freaking out too much to pull his own and clamps onto Kat when she's trying to help him in such a way that restricts her arm movement - cannot reach her strings.

Rachel's Blog

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Planning looks like kiwis.

Jotting down the plan me and Rachel have discussed. Generally what we need to have done for the hand in. I'm still working on what is turning into the animatic and Rachel will work on character views, props, test renders / animation. She will also look into logo design for the company Kat is working for which will also be used on our documentation. 

For the development pack:

@ research material
@ mood boards
@ test render / animation

@ character views
@ prop views - googles, flower, boards, backpack, plane

Pitch Document:

@ animatic
@ treatment

@ Logo work for skydiving company Kat works for.

Need to ask Chris and Ellie about video diary.

Rachel's Blog

Friday, 18 May 2012

Animatic Work

Our tutors, Chris and Ellie, think we're at a point now where we can start getting some movement planning. Particularly with the camera shots as we could be quite creative with it in this animation. I've worked on the first scene today and am about to start having a play around for the middle section; the free fall.

Scott Ramsey kindly brought the opening of the first Power Rangers movie to our attention as it contains the characters skydiving, one is even sky boarding.

This is the first scene that I've worked on, the timing might need adjusting but the idea is down.

Rachel's Blog!

Feedback from Tuesday.

Our tutors wanted to us to consider camera angles that may be used for our animation. As I had work that night, Rachel volunteered to experiment with the rigs and camera for the next day because she's lovely.

Check out what she came up with! (The host of her blog - seems to be down at the moment, I will fix this as soon as it's up again.)

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Storyboard for Alt idea.

We waited for the some feedback from the group but only one person gave us his, which was for the idea with the female character (now called Kat) kissing Malcolm on the cheek at the end. So we went with that.

I've drawn out a rough storyboard for this idea while Rachel has done some character profiles and sketches.

Rachel's Blog

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Feedback from Tuesday

Just a note first, I'll be adding a link to the other Rachel's blog at the bottom of every post so that both sides can be seen/read.

Me and Rachel presented our sketches and storyboarding on Tuesday and explained where we were up to with our development.

The main question that was asked was 'Why does she win?' What does the female character do right or what does the male character do wrong to lose?

It was suggested that the female character should be scared and male character should push the female out of the plane, giving a good reason why he should lose. Our only concern was that if the female was scared she wouldn't be doing any poses. Then a classmate said that contrast is funny. Can't argue with that!

So I've sketched out this idea (will add scanned sketches tomorrow when I get to a scanner!). Rachel brought up the idea of a gender switch, so the characters could switch places in this scenario. Perhaps with some variations.

Rachel came up with a lovely idea of the male character trying to impress the female character by doing goofy things. She would be a professional skydiver and unimpressed by his antics. And being the professional she is, she'll be keeping an eye on her altimeter watch and pull her parachute when it is time. However, the male isn't paying that much attention and ends up pulling his too late and end up crashing into a tree. He'll be hanging there when she approaches him, wishing the ground would just swallow him already. And she'll give him a kiss on the cheek. Aww :)

This was going to be a sketch for this idea but he's too fearful of the fall to logically want to try and do tricks to impress the famle character. However, the drawings still work for the gender switch idea.

At the moment, we're unsure what to go with as we were a bit fond of the original idea and feel everything's been tipped upside down a bit. We're determined though so we're going to put these ideas to the rest of the class and get their opinions.

Rachel Rubenstein's Blog!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

The Rachels

Added Rachel Rubenstein's blog to the top corner of this here blog.

Pre Production Sketches

Been sketching over the past couple of days for the Pre-Production. Slowly working towards starting a storyboard...

I imagine I will have to draw a plane or two for this module so I googled some planes (specifically the sort they use for skydiving) and shamelessly copied them because I'm not much of a vehicle doodler.

I will be using the Malcolm rig for the final animation as it's the rig I am most familiar with. As fun as it is to play with new rigs, I'm not going to risk any sneaky problems that might crop up later just because it's a new rig. So anyway I did some facial sketches and a few poses that might be used for when the characters get silly with their skydiving antics.

I found myself drawing a few poses for the female character that Rachel R will be using too!

Now here is the planning for the beginning of the animation. Not quite storyboard form yet but it contains what I'm seeing in my head at the moment plus a lot of notes about concerns, ideas and general thinkings. I also noted down how long people roughyly get when skydiving in accelerated freefall (AFF. There are two ways you can skydive - 'AFF' or 'Tandem' where you are attached to someone, generally used for introductions and training). Will be asking Rachel R to look at this and tell me what she thinks.

Also had some thoughts about where they might be landing.

I'm going to add a link to Rachel's blog on the side of mine here. Just so it's easier for people to see who I'm working with and her work too :)

Friday, 4 May 2012

Collecting pictures of sky diving antics.

Collecting for inspiration, research and potentially a moodboard later. Mostly looked at stunts and things people do while skydiving.