Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Moving Blogs :)

Hey all, as of today, I'm going to be offically moving this blog over to

http://www.charlottegrantanimation.com/#!blog/cegh 

I started moving posts over there a while back, with the intention of continuing both blogs, using the import feature in wordpress to move things across, but unfortunately, it seems this sometimes misses out things and I've spent a lot of time putting in the embed codes again by hand. So now I think would be a good time to move it over there officially!


Sorry for any inconvenience! It's just nicer to keep everything in one place :) 

See you over there! 
~Char

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Personal Projects

Along with the numerous compulsory projects we've been given over the past few months, I've been working on some more personal things in my free time too :)

Since new year, I've been trying to get into the habit of doing 30 minutes of creating a day, this could be working in Maya on an animation, drawing something, writing something, it can be for university or just something I want to work on and so far, I've kept to it. For the most part, University work takes up this time and usually much more than 30 minutes a day, but when I've found I've not had any work to do for university, I've worked on my own projects or projects for other people, which I guess I'll show and talk a little about below :)

One of the first things I worked on, in January was a walk cycle of the Bull Creature Rig, I worked on this for around 5 days, 30 minutes a day. I really enjoy working with quadrupeds and it was a nice, simple rig to work with :) The walk cycle is below. It's still pretty rough and could do with working on a little more, but I'm quite pleased with it.



As many of you know, I participate quite regularly in the Guild Wars 2 community, it's one of my favourite games, so I often find myself doodling fanart of some of my favourite characters in it. Below are a few digital paintings I've done recently......only now realizing that every non-university digital painting I've done in 2014 (that I'm able to show) has been Guild Wars 2 related and that does make me come of as either a fangirl or a little obsessed...but oh well :P Here they are

The above was drawn for a friend of mine, who sent me some materials in-game to help with a weapon I'm working on crafting, I drew this to thank him :D
 


Just a quick doodle of my character Gwylen, I'd gotten a letter from an NPC talking about how they'd named some of their children after me, in my honor (after I'd helped these NPC's out with some stuff) and thought it'd be fun to draw some of these babies with the GW2 name tags showing my characters name, above their heads.

 

The two paintings above are of Marjory and Kasmeer a couple in the Guild Wars 2 living story, who I'm quite fond of :) I plan to post a little about the Guild Wars 2 living story on my personal blog at some point, as I have a LOT to say about it. I do plan on starting up personal blogging soon, as I have a lot to talk about, I've recently completed several games, including Depression Quest, To the Moon and a few others, so I'd really like to discuss more about them on here :) Of course, this blog goes towards my grades at the end of the year, so blogging for coursework is going to be my main priority here and I've been very busy lately, so have been putting starting it off, more than I probably should be. Bare with me, I will sort out the website and blog soon though, I promise! (I only have 7 weeks left of uni right now anyway, so in the worst case scenario, it's going to be no longer than 8 weeks ^^)

When I get around to it, my plan for my website is to have (Main/Blog/About Me/Resume/Contact me/ for the main page and then for the blog to be split into two, tags wise (Game Development/Course Blog/Personal Blog) and all feed into one place, similarly to how it is now, with my blogspot account, but I'm hoping to phase out usage of that, when I can figure out how to get it displaying more clearly on my website (with tags and things till in tact) as I've noticed many embeds from my main blog didn't make it in the transfer, so I'm going to have to go back and fix all those, before I really get rid of the blogspot one.

Probably not helping me on the "looking like a GW2 fangirl" front, I've also done a lot of edits recently, using footage from the Guild Wars 2 living story. Editing is something I really enjoy a lot, so I've taken to picking a random "Creative commons licenced" song off the Newgrounds audio portal, that I like and then spending the night editing it to Guild Wars 2 footage and sometimes audio, when I'm finding it hard to sleep. There's something quite therapeutic about timing footage to beats :3

Below are all of my recent edits.

 









 Along with these random edits and things, I've been working on a couple of undisclosed projects that, unfortunately, I can't talk too much about.
One of them is a card-game project for the company When Worlds Collide the company responsible for the RPG system with the same name :) 

There's 5 of us working on the project right now, as artists for their upcoming card game, set to be released on Kickstarter sometime soon, I've been working both as an editor for promotional material and as a digital painter for some of the card art. We're very close to having completed all of the work we were commissioned for soon, so it won't be too long before the game is released and I can show some of the art created for it.

One other project I was working on was Project TDHAS, a project I've been a part of for a while now (I think I've talked a little about this before). It was originally a game made by Tristan for a university assignment, that he chose to continue working on. It's made in Unity 3D and went from originally being a top down game, to being a 3rd person game. I was on the team as an art director, producing seamless textures, UI graphics and backdrops for the game and was going to go on to work on animations, once the project got further in. Tristan was the main designer, modelling and coding it and there was also a composer on our team.

 Both Tristan and I are juggling a lot of work right now (and he's started on a new project and the assignment has been handed in) so I'm not sure what the fate of this project will be, but it was fun experience working for him on it.

I'd never done any kind of texture work before, so it was a new experience for me. The game works on PC and is able to connect to an android system, for puzzles such as lock picking or safe breaking. Here's Tristan's blog post on integrating those, showing the android lock picking game and one of the environments (albeit not very textured) areas in the game.

Finally, I'll talk about this more soon, but in my free time I've been working on a personal project of mine called Taking Wing. It was an idea I jotted down whilst at Bradford games festival, being inspired by the talk Jaromir Plachy gave on his inspirations behind Botanicula. Falmouth University is starting a games development degree next year (one I wish I wasn't too late to be a part of) and as a result, 3rd year animation students can now submit games as well as films, for final year. We'll be pitching these ideas soon and I'm hoping Taking Wing gets greenlit, so I can put it towards my degree in 3rd year and collaborate with other students on the campus, such as composers.

I'm currently working to build the game in Stencyl, although this is subject to change, depending on whether I find the program too limiting or not (I only have experience in  RPGmaker XP and Game Maker but chose Stencyl because it seems to be more versatile from an animation perspective, something I'd need if I was to submit it as my final animation project)

Here's a screenshot of the production bible I'm working on and a concept for the first level and the current title screen (working, but subject to change...the writing is animated with a flicker)




Fingers crossed pitching it goes well, I guess! :)
 I'll talk more about games and other projects soon (particularly past games projects, as I'm about 98% sure game development and 3D character animation are the areas I'm most passionate about and would most like to go in, now)

But for now, Char out! 

Friday, 21 March 2014

Life Drawing Update :)

A rather belated update here, with some of my life drawings from the past two sessions in Feburary :) We haven't had many life drawing sessions lately (infact, I think we've had all of our sessions for this year already, which is a little bit of a shame) but yes, below is work from two sessions, one with the male model and one with the female :) We've been working with a much bigger variety of techniques during our recent session, like blocking in the figure or using negative space around the figure, instead of the common '2 minute sketch' and 'line contour' tasks we usually do.

Session #1 - 

 2 Minute sketches

 5 Minute Sketches


 Movement sketches (2 minutes each pose)



 10 Minute Sketches

 5 Minute movement sketches (The model moved around and we had 5 mins for each pose, in a different colour)
 20 Minute Pose



Session #2 -


 1 Minute quick sketches 


 10 Minute blocking drawing (we started from the middle of the figure and blocked out with colour)



 
 10 Minute Sketch from memory and 10 Minute Sketch

Negative space drawing (Drawing the space around the figure)

  20 Minute Portraiture



  20 Minute light drawing


All of these sessions were right after a long break from Christmas, so I felt a little rusty and I think that showed quite a bit, but I still really enjoyed both sessions and hope my ability to confidently draw the human form continues to improve ^^

Until next time ~
~Char

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Updatess :D

Hey all,
It's been a rather long time since I updated you all, but I thought I'd just post some of the work I've done since January :)

As mentioned in my last blog post, I've been working on a production and research bible for an animated film in the style of Edward Gorey.

This project, ‘Pick and Mix’ revolved around us picking 4 cards at random out of a hat. One of these cards would act as the art style, one as the genre, one as the main character and one as the location. The cards that I received were: Edward Gorey for the art Style, Opera House for the location, ‘A doctor’ for the main character and Family Feature film as the Genre.

The first thing I began researching for this project was the subject of Genre. The card I picked for my film was ‘Family Feature’ and therefore I had to know what family feature films entailed before I began writing a synopsis or started thinking of story ideas for this project. ‘Family Feature’ as a genre is very broad topic. It can range from live action films such as Mrs Doubtfire, to animated films such as Bambi. The only real rules defining a family feature film is that it has to be a feature film and can be enjoyed by both adults and children alike. The majority of these films are between U and PG in rating, with a very rare few crossing into the 12 rating category. Some very popular examples of ‘Family Feature films’ are, the Harry Potter series, Dr Doolittle, The Lord of the Rings series, along with the majority of Dreamworks, Disney and Pixar’s feature films.

Considering that family feature films appear to be pretty broad in themes and plots, the only restriction I gave myself when coming up with a story, was “is it kid friendly?”. Meaning my film should be free of explicit themes and language, but enjoyable to both adults and children.
My next step was coming up with a compelling story, this was something that was incredibly tough for me, I re-worked it several times. Going from a toy-story esque film, involving a shelf of souvenirs in a doctors room coming to life, to coming up with a much more dramatic plot, involving mental health issues. In the end, I chose to go with the plot involving mental health issues, as it’s something that has been a pressing issue in my life lately, regarding people I care about, so I felt much more compelled towards that subject matter.

I have always really liked films that involve fighting against an evil source with hand on hand combat, similar to how it is done in many video games. Wreck it Ralph is a recent family feature film and the majority of animated feature films I looked at, had fight scenes in them somewhere. I used this to give me some perspective on how scary I could make the film, without pushing it out of the ‘family feature film’ category by making it unsuitable for kids. Brave was one of the films I looked at quite extensively, along with Rise of the Guardians, two recent Family feature films with quite dark themes behind them and some impressive combat scenes. These were the two films I used to gauge how far I could go with my film, This project, ‘Pick and Mix’ revolved around us picking 4 cards at random out of a hat. One of these cards would act as the art style, one as the genre, one as the main character and one as the location. The cards that I received were: Edward Gorey for the art Style, Opera House for the location, ‘A doctor’ for the main character and Family Feature film as the Genre. This research bible will serve as a storage place for my thoughts, concepts and any research done for this project and should prove very helpful when deciding on particular assets for this film and keeping inspirations in one place.

The first thing I began researching for this project was the subject of Genre. The card I picked for my film was ‘Family Feature’ and therefore I had to know what family feature films entailed before I began writing a synopsis or started thinking of story ideas for this project. ‘Family Feature’ as a genre is very broad topic. It can range from live action films such as Mrs Doubtfire, to animated films such as Bambi. The only real rules defining a family feature film is that it has to be a feature film and can be enjoyed by both adults and children alike. The majority of these films are between U and PG in rating, with a very rare few crossing into the 12 rating category. Some very popular examples of ‘Family Feature films’ are, the Harry Potter series, Dr Doolittle, The Lord of the Rings series, along with the majority of Dreamworks, Disney and Pixar’s feature films.

Considering that family feature films appear to be pretty broad in themes and plots, the only restriction I gave myself when coming up with a story, was “is it kid friendly?”. Meaning my film should be free of explicit themes and language, but enjoyable to both adults and children.
My next step was coming up with a compelling story, this was something that was incredibly tough for me, I re-worked it several times. Going from a toy-story esque film, involving a shelf of souvenirs in a doctors room coming to life, to coming up with a much more dramatic plot, involving mental health issues. In the end, I chose to go with the plot involving mental health issues, as it’s something that has been a pressing issue in my life lately, regarding people I care about, so I felt much more compelled towards that subject matter.

I have always really liked films that involve fighting against an evil source with hand on hand combat, similar to how it is done in many video games. Wreck it Ralph is a recent family feature film and the majority of animated feature films I looked at, had fight scenes in them somewhere. I used this to give me some perspective on how scary I could make the film, without pushing it out of the ‘family feature film’ category by making it unsuitable for kids. Brave was one of the films I looked at quite extensively, along with Rise of the Guardians, two recent Family feature films with quite dark themes behind them and some impressive combat scenes. These were the two films I used to gauge how far I could go with my film, they also gave me some tips to other aspects and themes commonly prevalent in family feature films.

I also looked at other family feature films that star a doctor as the main character, Dr Doolittle was one of these, a film with lots of comedic and light hearted aspects along with him trying to save the lives of his patients, bringing more serious undertones.

My final story idea revolves around a performance psychiatrist by the name of Dr Mathews. He is well known in the performance industry for having questionable techniques but amazing results and success when helping his patients. Most establishments will not hire him unless the matter is vital, because he is viewed as controversial by the performance industry.

Eugine, a new opera singer, who is set to open Canada’s newest opera house, in front of royalty in a week, has broken down during one of his rehearsals with an anxiety attack. Dr Mathews is called in to help him combat his ‘monsters’ by using a machine to transport himself artificially into the mind of Eugine, where he can fight them sword and shield. Dr Mathews is in for a surprise though, as Eugine has more monsters than he has ever seen before and he can’t combat them without Eugines co-operation. Eugine is very stuck up and self righteous, someone that can not be easily budged. The film follows serious undertones, whilst being somewhat light hearted when involving the interaction between Eugine and Dr Mathews, an interaction I think can be made quite comedic.



The first hurdle I faced, in regards to style, was that Edward Goreys character art lacks any kind of emotion to it. Characters all seem to have the same expression, regardless of situation, this being one of the things he was praised for, that any situation can go, with his art and it’ll just seem natural. From an animation standpoint however, this is one of the difficult things, especially with Monsters Within being such an emotionally charged film, dealing with fears and anxiety and phobias. I wanted to keep to Edward Goreys style as much as possible, but also be able to portray character emotion the way that was necessary for my storyline and also would keep the film fresh and interesting. This inspired me to begin trying to work in his style, sketching out what I thought some of the characters would look like in his style and then tweaking them a little bit, to portray more emotions.

The biggest thing I noticed about Goreys style, limitation wise, was that his characters features were very small, this probably being a contributing factor to the emotionless feel to his work.
When taking Edward Goreys style to animation, I decided it would be best to use his crosshatching style on either the backgrounds or the characters, but not both, as I felt it would be very distracting and difficult to understand what was going on. I played with two ideas to solve this. The first idea being, to have the backgrounds digitally painted in colour and then Edward Gorey style black and white cross hatched characters over the top. My second idea being to have a cross hatched, Edward Gorey style black and white background, with simplistic outlined Edward Gorey characters, in flat colour over the top.

In the end, I chose to go with the later idea, using a simplistic water colour style that Gorey has used in several of his pieces. I used Paint Tool SAI or all of the artwork, as the program was perfect for getting a nice, clean, pen-like line work for the background. Something I struggled with in Photoshop, Flash and other programs I tried. I made mood boards of some of the locations and mimicked them in Edward Goreys style, and also broke through from the style a little bit, sketching some dramatic digitally painted pieces of concept art, to get me started and really get a feel of the movie I wanted to create. I went through several iterations of character designs, from the original, toys coming to life idea, to a loose Edward Gorey style and then finally onto the accurate Edward Gorey style seen in the final product. I originally created the animatic in a loose Edward Gorey style, with normal cinematography, using varied camera angles and shot types. However, after having a feedback session with my lecturers, decided to stick more closely to Edward Goreys style, reducing the amount of camera shots and making the existing ones very front on and flat, similar to Edward Goreys work.

We were required to animate a few seconds of animation to ‘prove’ that animation could work in this style. I originally planned to do a cut-out animation of Eugine collapsing, but after a little more thought, I decided I’d quite like to animate it frame by frame. This decision was mostly based off the fact that I found Edward Goreys style limiting enough, emotion wise and I felt that animating in cut-out would make this and even bigger issue. It would also require me to learn Celaction in just a couple of weeks and I thought it would be beneficial to my work to stick with something I was confident with, instead of rushing to learn new software in just a couple of weeks.

I decided I wanted to animate the monsters, for my short snippet as I thought it would be fun to figure out how these creatures would move. I also needed to keep my work in the Edward Gorey, watercolour and cross hatching style. The program flash is a pretty limiting one, when it comes to colouring techniques, but I felt the timeline was absolutely necessary for me to get the movement of these creatures correct. I decided to work across several programs when animating, and really liked the idea of working with the flicker produced with cross hatching and watercolour in a frame by frame style animation (Similar to how The Snowman looks, produced with coloured pencil).

I ended up having a pipeline for creating a frame, I’d sketch it out in flash and use the timeline to ensure the movement was how I wanted it, I’d then export it as an AVI file and import it frame by frame in Photoshop, which I’d save as individual layers. I’d then save it as a .PSD and import it into Paint tool Sai, where I changed the opacity, drew other the top in smooth lines, added cross hatching and coloured in the watercolour style. This would then be saved as a .PNG and brought into Sony Vegas, where I chose the time it was to be displayed and pieced all my animation together.
I am very pleased with the final outcome of the animation, but I’m not sure how viable it’d be in a commercial space. The flicker works the way I intended it to and I think the animation works well for a dream-like sequence, especially with the watercolour and cross hatching making it look quite eerie. However, when considering export times and switching between programs, it was taking me upwards of an hour per frame and at 25 frames per second, I don’t think that would be so viable in a studio, unless a strict pipeline was adhered too.

Overall I really enjoyed this project! It pushed me out of my comfort zone a lot, when designing characters and working to someone elses style, something I feel was a good thing overall. I’m very happy with the final animation, however, for the amount of time it took to animate such a small shot, I think finding a better technique to animate in, would be best for time management and efficiency. If I was to do it again, I think I’d probably look for a compromise between Goreys style and simplicity for animation, hopefully by doing this it would allow me to animate more efficiently, whilst still keeping a relatively high standard of work.

I think this project has taught me a lot, in regards to character design and wat it means to work in another person’s style. I enjoyed thinking up stories for the project, ad a lot of fun sound editing for the animatic and really enjoyed seeing the Monster coming to life, after spending so long staring at each frame.

I think Edward Goreys style could be used for animation, but as much as I like it, I think it is a little too complex for your average feature film. The style would fit in quite well at art shows or film festivals however and may have some success in advertising.

Below is my final research bible, compiling my inspirations for the project

Link: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BwCeP4T97JdFNldqaUFIdS1SUE0

and then my final production bible, detailing the film/character designs ect is below :D

Link: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BwCeP4T97JdFeGJfSHlET2NEM1E/edit

Here's an animatic for one of the scenes



and here is a short animation, experimenting with the style :3





I'll blog again soon, to talk about my new projects :D I've got a couple of game projects along with a few other things that I'm working with ^^

Until next time
~Char out

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 a year in review :3

So, here it is, my last post of 2013 :D

It's been an interesting year, I've learned a lot, had a chance to further my animation skills at least a little. Passed my 1st year and already made it through half of second year, created some animations I am proud of and some, not so much. I also decided where I want to specialize, which is a massive leap for me :D

I came onto this course being completely in love with all animation styles and techniques and didn't really know whether I wanted to go into post production, pre production, production or other things.

It was only at the end of 1st year that I decided that the thing I'd most like to specialize with, is 3D Character animation. I really enjoy working in Maya and trying to bring characters to life, using this method sounds perfect for me :) Subtle eye and body language are things I always seem to pick up on in films, so it'd be nice to learn and get good at bringing characters to life myself.

We recently got set an 11 Second animation project, to the November audio clip from the 11 second club, you can see this below.



I spent a few whole days working on this animation, paying attention to as many little details as I could, even though the rigs I was using (Nico and Fox 1.0 from Creative Crash) didn't have as complex facial controls as a human rig would've. I enjoyed playing with the ears and tails especially, working on follow through and overlap motions.

I received some incredible critique from my 'mentor' that I posted about a while back, so I'll be improving this animation and working to his feedback very soon. He's given me a lot of tips and advice on how to improve the way the characters interact, along . Infact, I'll post it below, as it's really helpful advice may help others too, plus it'll make it clear what I'll be changing at some point.

"First off nice job so far! You've really improved since I saw your first animation! Also, an 11 second 2 character dialogue shot is NO small task! Don't sell yourself short with "only 11 second short one." Thats a lot of animation!!! Even professionals at Disney and Dreamworks average 4-5 seconds per week. It's pretty ambitious!
First things first, that camera angle! Flat on the side is the most boring camera angle you could choose! Switch it up, put a 45 degree angle on the center of the shot. Play with camera changes, over the shoulder type things to really keep the shot interesting!
It will also free you up from being stuck to forward/backward awkward movement. In terms of the acting, some of the choices work, some don't so much. At first for example she's coming on strong in her voice, but she backs off when she's saying it. It doesn't sound like shes intimidated by him or anything, so maybe try reversing that move and having her come forwards towards him when she says it.

Same thing when she curls up and sits down. She's taking a lower position than him on screen and psycologically, which makes her look weaker. Again, she's coming on pretty strong. Get her up and strong! She probably can't get above him height wise, but you could perhaps lower the male wolf a bit in order to make that happen!

That being said I like his body language when he says "I don't cry." It makes him seem proud the way he puts his head up, which he sounds like! But then you drop it down instantly! If he's really proud, he's not going to go into sad mode again! He might look away or look at his foot or kick the dirt or something, but lowering his head again makes his proud statement not so strong.

Those are just some general ideas to think about as far as the acting goes. The body says 1000% more than the voice does!
In terms of mechanics, I would take a lot of time focusing on those! Study how a dog should sit and really work on making it seem like she's sitting when she sits down in the middle! Make sure the feet aren't sliding around. You've got a fairly large pop around 2 seconds in when she sits down too.

I realllly like the mechanics you have going with the dog on the right. He's not moving too much (a common issue is wayyyyy too much movement, or what might be called "over animating") He's kinda backing away at the end which feels nice enough mechanics wise (Acting wise I might place that more towards the beginning because he's put his pride on the line after his statement) You wen't really simple with him, WHICH IS GREAT! It's such a smart decision and it really helps him feel nice!

The girl is what I would say is overanimated. She's walking back and forth for no real reason, she sits down and stands up for no real reason. You can do something like this easily with two poses. Maybe start with her sitting and then come up on him when she says "you know what'd be really nice?" (Not saying change your whole shot, just things to think about in the future!)
But again, super nice progress as far as where you came from! It's honestly not horrible, but it's got a long way to go at the same time! You're doing great! Keep it up!"
I'm definitely going to work on removing some animation from her, as well as posing. I really love the idea of her starting out from sitting, as I struggled to get her sitting animation to look authentic. I'm not sure whether I'll get all of this done for the deadline, as I still have an essay and 3 production reports, among other things due this month as well. But I'll be sure to try my best with it, and even if I don't complete it for the deadline, I'll rework it for my show reel anyway, so expect that on my blog soon! :)


Another thing I wanted to talk about was Kieth Lango's tutorials. Kieth Lango's blog was suggested to us in first year, because of his amazing article on Pose to Pose animation. What I didn't know, was that he used to do a series of VTS animation clinic tutorial videos every week, that could be subscribed to like a magazine. One of my friends at University recently noticed that he was selling 60 hours worth of these VTS tutorials in a bundle for £18. This was only for a couple of days, so I was really lucky to get in on it, but from what I've seen of them so far, they're incredibly, helpful and detailed tutorials, ranging from timing and poses to character animation itself. I can't wait until after deadlines, so I can really get stuck into them! For anyone interested, he's still selling these 60 hours of tutorials for £60 on his website here, I'd definitely recommend them! It's an incredible price for so much knowledge.

Just before I end this post, I thought I'd put up some Digital Paintings I've done recently, the first 3, practicing Lighting and the Final 3 practicing colour :) The first 3 were some pre-vis concepts for my Production Bible, which have since been scrapped, for a different style. The second 3, being random warm-up doodles whilst I was home for Christmas c:








and finally, the end of year showreel!



I'm slowly trying to phase out most of my 2D animation, replacing it with newer 3D work. Mostly because the majority of my 2D work is very old or sloppy to the point that I am unhappy with it. But also because I want to have a more specialized and detailed 3D show reel that I can continue adding to :3
I still really enjoy 2D animation and will probably continue working on 2D animations at one point or another (I've already applied to be a tweener/clean up animator on a couple of the 3rd year 2D films as well as a character animator on the 3D project Lone Wolf, so I'm looking forward to 2014!)

I hope you've all had a wonderful year,
See you all in 2014!


Sunday, 15 December 2013

General bulk update, Character Animation, Production bibles and Disneys Frozen

Heya everyone :)
It's been a while since I've done a proper update explaining what I've been doing lately, so here it is c:

Production Bibles - 

Currently I'm working on a project for our Pre-Production module which involved I picking four concepts out of a hat. A character, Location, Genre and Art influence. My cards were: A doctor, an opera house, Family Feature film and Edward Gorey.

I'll talk about this project a lot more when it comes to a conclusion and I've handed it in, so I can post the final pieces, however, it involves us producing an animatic, short animated film, a production bible and a research bible for our 'film'.

The synopsis I created for this film is below.

"Dr Mathews is a well known performance psychiatrist, working freelance at Canada’s biggest new opera house. With questionable methods which involve entering the patients mind by use of a machine and fighting off the monsters he finds there with hand to hand combat, it’s a shock when he is called in for an emergency case. Eugine, an up and coming singer, set to perform in front of Royalty in 4 days, has broken down due to an anxiety attack during his latest performance. If anything can help Eugine, it’s Dr Mathews. But Eugine has more monsters than he has ever seen before, fighting them off is difficult and for once, he cannot do it alone. Can Dr Mathews convince Eugine to join him in facing his fears? Or is Eugine’s date with Royalty destined for disaster?"

I'll post the full plot, when I come to put the actual production bible on this blog, as it's much to long for a blog post :)

For the production bible, I must create concept art for the characters, locations among other things in the film. A PDF including everything a production company would need in order to get a feel for my film, if I were to pitch it to them.
It's something I'm really enjoying putting together and I'm finding Edward Goreys style quite fun to work with, especially when giving my film a dark, edgy, Tim Burton style feel to it.

I thought I'd show the work I've done on the Animatic so far. Obviously the voices will all be re-hashed before the hand-in of this and it's just a very rough draft of the animatic, but hopefully it at least gives a little bit of a feel of the kind of film I am pitching.



I'm having a lot of fun with the character of Dr Mathews and how him and Eugine interact with each other. I think when I come to actually animating this scene, it'll be a very fun challenge for me :D

Character Animation -

I'm still trying to get a decent amount of character animation in on the sidelines to the other projects we're being set. We've recently been given the task of animating to the 11 second club, November audio clip, to focus on character animation, so hopefully I'll have that to show in January. We're in the planning stages of that now and I'm looking forward to being able to concentrate on just the animation, a lot :)

Below is another animation I've done recently that I wanted to show. It's still a little bit unfinished, I need to work on the overlap of the tail and ears and work out some skips when it loops around, among other things, but I'm still pretty pleased with it overall. I sent this to Yasmin, director of the 3rd year project, Lone Wolf and she accepted me onto her production team as a character animator, so I'll have that to work on in Feburary, which is exciting!



Disneys Frozen-

I don't usually talk about Animated movies I've been to see (although, maybe I should do that more? or is that too off topic? Maybe just once in a while as part of bulk updates :D As I do like to keep up with the animated feature film scene)

On Tuesday, I went to see Frozen with the remainder of my flatmates that haven't gone home for Christmas yet, Connor and Katie.

I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting much from it, the adverts I had seen of it just seemed to show Olaf a lot (wheras he was more for comedy relief and this gave me the impression that the film was aimed more at kids and was going to be quite childish...my first impressions were a little harsh, I'll admit)

A short film, in the style of classic Mickey Mouse Disney, was shown before the film, worked on by Eric Goldberg, named "Get a Horse" which combined traditional animation with 3D animation, having the characters seemingly burst through a screen to become 3D. It was fun to watch and really nicely done too! Really nice to see another traditionally animated Disney short :3

In regards to Frozen my opinion had changed after the first couple of minutes of the film, it had such a beautiful and energetic opening and was so beautifully done. The film was so much more than I expected it to be and surprised me in so many ways. The character animation is stunning and the visual effects are masterfully done. If you have the time, search some of their behind the scenes videos on youtube in regards to snow simulation, it's really cool, some of the techniques they've created for this movie.

They managed to put so much emotion and feeling into the characters, I genuinely felt for them and ended up teary eyed at least twice throughout the film. 

I'll just leave this sequence from it, here :3 Beautifully demonstrating this.



I'll admit, this film has become a big inspiration to me these past few days, I've had a lot more drive to work on my character animation among other things, since seeing the film. I'd really recommend it for any of you animation types pondering whether to go or not :D Even if you're not into the Disney princess scene, it's worth it for the animation alone!

Usually when I've got a day of drawing ahead (for my production bible) I'll do an unrelated warm-up sketch to start off the day and get the creative juices flowing. This was from a couple of days ago c:
I'm still kind of sloppy when it comes to human anatomy, but I've been more pleased with this sketch than many of my previous, so maybe I'm improving a little bit :)


That's all for now c:

Until next time
~Char

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Life Drawing Catch up (Two sessions)

  I've had a few problems with my camera and didn't end up posting last sessions life drawing, so I thought I'd do another small batch post of my last life drawings of 2013 :) The first set (with a female model) from the 20th November and the second set (with the male model) being from today, the 4th December. 

Session #1 - 20/11/13

1 Minute warm-up poses
10 Minute poses
  20 Minute "Block in" pose (we were told to begin at the center of the body and colour outwards, not start with an outline)

 20 Minute 'Negative space' pose, we were asked to draw in, only the 'negative space, leaving the figure and any items in the room with her blank (we were then given 2 minutes at the end, to slightly fill in the figure)
 30 Minute Pose


Session #2 04/12/13

We tried a lot of interesting new techniques during this session, set by our life drawing tutor to help improve out confidence with figure drawing.

 5 Minute poses
 2 Minute Poses from memory
 2 Minute "line contour" poses, not removing the charcoal from the paper and not looking at the paper
 5 minute pose, not looking at the model and having the pose described to me by a life drawing partner
 10 Minute 'caricature' 
 10 Minute pose drawn as though you were sculpting it with polygons
 25 Minute pose

I've been enjoying life drawing a lot more lately, in first year it was something I really dreaded having to go to, but now it's actually something I look forward to every 2 weeks :D
This could be due to quite a few factors though, as many things have changed from last year, I now live with my course mates so I don't have to travel to the other campus alone, we're in a different life drawing room and I think I'm a lot more confident with my drawing ability overall, than I was in first year. But we'll see c: I hope it's something I continue to get better at, through the rest of my time on this course. I'll be attending optional sessions for sure now :D

Until next time 
~Char

Friday, 15 November 2013

Funny in 15

As promised, this post is about the 'Funny in 15' group project we were set at the beginning of the term c: What follows this is my written production report for the project, detailing the processes myself and my two team members went through whilst creating this animation.

This year started with us being handed our second ever group project, our task was to create a 15 second animation that makes people laugh. This task was set in order for us to work on timing and plots in animation. Unlike our previous group project, this project was to be done in pre-determined groups, not ones that we picked ourselves, like last time. I got placed in a group with my flatmate Bradley Spice and another member of my course, Rhys Harvey.

This project was very open ended. We were allowed to do anything we wanted, as long as #1. It was funny and #2. It was 15 seconds in length. This gave us a lot of scope to work with, so my team mates and I began by meeting up to discuss themes for this project. Our decision was to each go away that night and find short animations/films on the internet that we found funny. We created a facebook group for correspondence, that we posted these videos to. Some of the ones we looked at were ASDF Movie, Eddsworld, Purple and Brown, Bumming Crew and a bunch of 7 second videos known as ‘Vines’.

We determined by looking at these, that we wanted to play on the ‘unexpected’ side of comedy, similar to how things like ASDF movie handle things. We met up again to draft out some ideas that we thought could work, coming up with 3 or 4 ideas each. We narrowed all of these down to 3 main ideas that we thought would work decently.

These three ideas are as follows:

Idea number 1 involved two guys walking towards each other down a corridor. They end up stopping and stumbling over each other deciding which way to pass. They take a couple of steps and break into the dirty dancing dance move, the music cuts out half way through and the one of the guys stops, drops the other on the floor and walks on.

This idea played very much on the surprise aspect, along with being relatable to every day experiences. There aren’t many people who can say that they haven’t ended up in that situation in a corridor when both you and the other person are trying to go the same way, ending in that awkward, ‘which way are they going?’ dance. The dirty dancing move is also one that many people know, so it plays kind of on common interests too.

Idea number 2 begins with a pretty, tarty looking girl standing in an elevator. A scruffy guy walks in beside her, causing an awkward pause, it is completely silent during this time and the two exchange weird looks with each other. We played with the idea of the guy doing something awkward like scratching his butt. Suddenly the lights flicker and go off for a few seconds. When they come back on the two have switched clothes and the guy, after admiring himself up and down, walks out with a gay prance, leaving the girl to just stare, to wonder what just went on.

Once again, this idea focuses on the unexpected and also on familiar situations. Travelling in lifts with strangers often leads to long awkward silences and being in close proximity to somebody who maybe doesn’t bathe as often as they should, so we felt this idea could be relatable to many people.

Idea number 3 was more taboo than the others, which played more on awkward situations. This idea was based around toilet humour and focussed on two people in toilet cubicles. Loud farting noises can be heard from these two cubicles and they seem to be in competition with each other. The cubical doors and lavatory floor shaking more and more each time. A guy walks in, planning to use the urinal and gets knocked out by the stench. The noises stop and one of the cubical users emerges, turning out to be a well-dressed woman.

This idea, along with being based on the shock factor (as the previous two were) was based a bit more on taboo and already identified bases for comedy. ‘Toilet Humor’ is something that has been around for centauries and is universally thought to be funny, if not a little immature. The other thing we played on was challenging preconceptions made by society. Society as a whole tends to have the view that women don’t fart/women are always pristine, pretty, well kept ect. This idea challenges that and I think it’s something a lot of people would find funny, with the extra gag of the urinal guy fainting from the smell, just in case.

The three of us each took one of these ideas to animatic stage, I chose to do the elevator scene, which was incredibly challenging to figure out, due to the complex timing needed to make a situation awkward, whilst still fitting in the rest of the gag and keeping it at 15 seconds in length. We couldn’t decide between these ideas, so we took them to our lecturer Derek, who suggested we carry through with idea number one, but push it further, making it more taboo. Derek didn’t think we needed the character to be thrown on the floor, saying it didn’t add much to the gag. He talked about us playing more on taboo, maybe adding a gay kiss scene to the mix, something we thought would work and decided to go with.

Our idea was now a business man running into an angry sumo in a corridor. The sumo charges at him, looking angry and viewers will expect him to try and attack the business man. Instead the business man picks him up, holding him in the air in a dirty dancing style, hebefore t two share a romantic kiss. The gag ends with a cut/disk scrape sound and the sumo falls on top of the business man, crushing and killing him.

This gag once again plays on the unexpected as well as playing on the taboo (which although more accepted nowadays, being gay is still classed as)

We were all very happy with this idea and Brad began by re-making the animatic and adding the kiss scene into it. We showed this at one of the bi-weekly production meetings to get feedback from Andy, who told us to work a little more on the timing, holding the kiss scene longer and shortening the part when the sumo runs up to the business man.

We did this and once both we and Andy were happy with it, began sketching out character designs. Rhys designed the business man and I designed the sumo. We decided for a very flash cartoon-like line art style, with simple cartoon faces. The background was to be in a more painterly style, so it didn’t clash with the animation. Rhys began drawing out the backgrounds for this project whilst Brad finalised the animation in the animatic, so we could work over the top of it when coming to do the final animation. This short relied a lot on the perspective of some of the shots, so this was really helpful when coming to produce the final thing.

Rhys and I decided to take a character each, in order to keep style similarities when animating. I chose to animate the sumo and he chose to animate the business man. Our team worked well together, exchanging flash files regularly and updating each other on progress. Brad compositing the final thing together and adding sound/music to the animation, exporting and uploading to the group regularly so we know what worked and what didn’t.

For the most part, we stuck closely to the rough animation Brad did for the animatic, this was in order to keep the perspective right but also because we felt it worked well. Rhys and I worked over the top of this, adding extra animation where necessary and giving life to the characters in terms of style and expressions. As a group we were able to complete the animation on time and I’m very happy with the result. I feel we’ve worked superbly well together, very good communication between all of us, no fallings out and all deadlines were met on time.

The biggest challenge this project gave me was working with a human character, although Flash is a program that I’m experienced with, human animation is still, is unfortunately, pretty alien to me. This is something I hope to improve and practice on in the future. When animating the sumo, I stuck more heavily to Brads animation guidelines than I’d have liked, because of this. Animating the run cycles and getting the movement of his body fat was another huge challenge for me, and something I don’t think I pulled off as well as I was hoping. Although I think the animation is enough to convey our gag, I think I could’ve worked into it a lot more, adding more squash and stretch and overlap to it, to make it feel more lifelike as I feel the animation I did for the sumo feels kind of lifeless and static. Something I wasn’t so happy with, in the end. If I had more time, I’d go back, add more key frames and work on better applying the basic principles of animation into the sumo animation.

Overall, I really enjoyed this project, I feel that it’s helped me better improve my communication skills, work to a deadline and I enjoyed the challenge of getting the comedy aspect to work. I think this project has helped me better understand the production process as well as helping me a lot when working with others and improving my time management skills. I enjoyed the freedom this group project gave us, as unlike the Sea group project, which had predetermined audio, this one was done completely from scratch, which was both fun and a challenge in itself. If I was to do this again, I think I’d try to better implement the 12 basic principles of animation, to prevent my work from looking too dry and lifeless. I think my team and I worked outstandingly well together and I’d happily work with either one of my team mates again! I’m quite happy with the final outcome of the film, I think it portrays the gags we wanted it to portray well and I’m glad we were able to meet all the set deadlines for production and complete it on time, even if it is not necessarily my favourite piece of animation I have done so far.

Our completed Funny in 15 animation is below :)


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Under the Weather

Heyo everyone :D

I thought I'd post here again, with an update from a more, settled in Char :)

As I may or may not have mentioned previously, our course required us to choose a pathway for the start of this year. We had to choose between either Post Production or Pre Production. Post being visual effects and Pre being things such as storyboarding and animatics.

This was probably one of the hardest decisions of my life, unfortunately xD as I desperately wanted to do both. Finally I decided, after talking to a friend of mine (a character animator in industry) about which would be more helpful for me, from a 3D character animation perspective, I decided to go for preproduction. My reasoning behind this being that creating storyboards and animatics for animation would help improve my layout skills, which would be helpful for character animation due to them being required when setting up shots from scratch.

Our first task during Pre Production was to get into a group of no more than 4 and take two different pieces of paper out of a hat. One depicting 'genre' and one having a popular word or phrase written on it. We were told to go away for an hour and brainstorm ideas for our *insert genre here.

I teamed up with Beverly, James and Lokii for this project, which was great, considering we all live together now! (Along with Josh, Connor, Brad, a lovely first year film student named Gracey and a Chris and Grace who are ex members of this course, but still super passionate about animation :) It's nice to be living with like-minded people c: Everyone just bounces ideas back and forth, our flat is top for motivation and inspiration!) ...anyway, getting back to the point xD

 'Talent Show' was our genre and our phrase to work around was 'Under the Weather', something we had a lot of fun with :D We bounced many ideas back and forth throughout this project, before deciding to base our story in Purgatory and have it as a 'game show for the gods'. The basic premise for this was that, when a person enters purgatory good deeds have nothing to do with whether you get placed in heaven or hell. It is instead done through a game talent show where contestants are judged by 5 gods (Buddah, Ganesh, Zeus, Anubis and God) who are there to make their audition a challenge, by raining all kinds of extreme weather at the contestant. Our story followed a guy named Wade, through his audition and eventually to his ascension.

Our group worked incredibly well as a team, working together on the story idea and then each having our own part to fulfil, in the production pipeline.
James took the role of the character designer, who designed the main concepts for the characters in the film, he then passed these on to Beverly who drew out the storyboard, based on the story/script we'd made as a team. Katie then used these to make a rough animatic, before passing it to me, who did the sound design/clean up editing for it.

Below is our final animatic :3



When choosing music and sound for this project, I wanted to portray things as very eerie. This would've been a scary thing for Wade and I wanted that to come through, along with the change in mood that comes with him being allowed to ascend. I worked a lot with echoes and reverbs, in sound programs, as well as distortion for things like the laughing audience. I think the film does well to portray the eerie, fearfulness I was going for, as well as the elevation and happiness at the end.

I think everyone on the team was incredibly happy with the projects outcome and we got good feedback from our lecturers about it too, which was awesome!
We all worked well as a team and got the work done on time, all in all, a successful animatic project!

I'll post about my other project, Funny in Fifteen in my next blog post

Until next time,
~Char

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Life Drawing - Year 2 - Session 1

I'm slowly getting back into the routine of university, even though things have been pretty unorganized on our course as of late, with lecturers leaving and such, Luckily Life Drawing was not one of the lecturers affected, so we traveled to woodlane campus for that as usual.
Below are some of the life drawings I did during the session.

This week, we were told to work with many techniques we'd not used before, along with many that we were familiar with, I'll be labeling the below pieces with the time-frame and the techniques used, if we were told to use a technique.

30 second short poses
1 minute short poses
2 minute poses using only shapes to convey figure

5 minute pose of what you think the figure looks like from the angle 90 degrees around from where you're currently sitting/ a basic 5 minute pose.

5 mins, without looking at the paper or removing your pencil 
10 minute pose
20 minute pose


Being my first life drawing session in quite a while, I'll admit to feeling slightly rusty at first, but after a while I got used to it all again :) We've moved rooms for life drawing, so where we are now feels a lot more arty, which is awesome :D So I'm looking forward to more sessions and improving my drawing more.