Thursday, 20 November 2014

Body language and expression inspiration

The acting up brief focuses purely on the animation of the narrative rather than the aesthetic appeal of the composition. The animation needs to be emphasized, dramatic and exaggerated to enhance the atmosphere and the emotion of the scene. To gain inspiration for body language and expressions that Moom could have within my animation, I searched for character sheets from different animations.

This really helped me to create sketches and storyboard my narrative, getting into the emotion and drawing the character. Looking at these different expressions and poses, I noticed that the jaw and cheeks are moved/exaggerated as well to create funny facial expressions, and the neck is slightly stretched to create that shocked or bewildered look. The body language absorbs the use of squash and stretch to create volume and motion with in the stationary image, moving the hips and shoulders at angles to create a smooth movement.

Tangled 'Flynn Rider'
In the Disney film, Tangled, the facial expressions from the character Flynn, take advantage of the angle of the frame, the angle of a sad expression can be emphasised with a low angle, adding more shadow to the face to make it more dramatic; this can then be further emphasised with a dismal atmosphere, such as a rainy or cloudy background. I was quite inspired by how the jaw was as exaggerated as it was with expressions that involved Flynn shouting or looking confused, however elongating the jawline worked quite well with the style of the illustration and the animation. In addition the use of the mouth being lower or higher than it would realistically be on a face worked well with the jawline, as well as the eyebrows being raised or burrowed deeper into his forehead.

Treasure Planet 'Dr Doppler'
In Treasure Planet, another Disney film, the body language of the character 'Dr Doppler' is exaggerated by moving his body more forward or backwards with the pose that he would be making. For example talking to the main character, Jim, he would lean slightly fowards, one arm on his hip and the other pointing at Jim as if almost telling him off; this shows the characters personality how he is stereotypically perceived by the audience through small gestures such as the pose previous. His facial expressions where quite inspiring through how they took advantage with his nose, making them flare when he would be scared or angry, which worked with his alien esk character design. I also liked how the characters lower eyelid is used to make him look more scared or annoyed as usually you would just move the eyebrows to relate to those particular emotions.

Treasure Planet 'Dr Doppler'

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Considering briefs - notes - Digital Cinema Media

D&DA New Blood competition - DCM Show the emotion of film

Creative Challenge - Create a 25 second ident for Digital Cinema Media.

+ Visually show 'how film feels', an impact on the audience before they view the film, 'Something that illustrates and celebrates the emotion we all feel when we take our seats and enter the magical world of the movies', 'Turn your ideas into screen icons'. Able to use a broad range of ideas and media.

+ Practice for working in different measurements, creating an ident which suits all audiences, needs to be suitable for a younger and older audience - a challenge through the shape of the ident, animate through the logo shape or animate around the shape?

+ Initial Ideas - animate different stereotypical emotions through the logo, show someone jump from seat with popcorn flying everywhere, someone holding anothers hand, someone making 'kung-fu' gestures, someone crying with laughter etc. Show character designs and possible narratives through storyboards.
-  A character puts on some 3D glasses in the shape of DCM logo, and see stereotypical scenes of genres through these glasses.
- Represent emotions through the use of the logo being a character with expressions.

Brief analysis - Questions

MacMillans Children's Books - create new illustrations for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland's 150th anniversary year.

5 most important words:
Lewis Carroll/John Tenniel

Reasoning: When I think of Alice in Wonderland, I immediately picture John Tenniel's prints, the detail and simple layout, dip pen/ wood print quality and this to me is iconic. The books narrative is fantasy based with the bizarre world and creatures that Alice encounters, and is aimed at a children target market internationally.

5 most important considerations:
Target Audience
Iconic Image - Needs to be recognizable
Form of animation
150 years promotion

Reasoning: It is vital that the illustrations can be recognized as Alice in Wonderland without even reading the title, meaning the illustrative style needs to take the iconic designs and make them into something new, using different forms of media and hit the target audience that the brief wants with in the consumer market. The form of animation that I could use needs to be considered as it is aimed at a specific audience, for example a sketchy experimental animation would not appeal to the target market that MacMillan want.

5 related products or items:Tea

5 related places:
Book shops
Disney Stores
Whittards Stores
Costume Shops

Who is the audience?
Brief aims at 5-9 year olds and gift givers such as grandparents, parents etc.

Who should the audience be?
In my opinion the audience needs to be one which would attract a young audience yet appeal more to an older audience, mums and dads who would buy the books for their children.

Who could the audience be?
Art students, collectors, older generation, teenagers.

What do they do?
Based in school work, everyday jobs, people who buy for their children or simply for themselves or as gifts.

What do they want to be?
Read to children, collecting books, gift giving.

Think about the consequences of having the same ideas as others - pros and cons:
Two sides - Panic - Your ideas could be the same as someone else's that could already be on the market, meaning more competition and possible copyright issues, will your ideas be seen from the rest of the crowd?
Relief - Your ideas are on the right track, you know your ideas are valid to the brief and can work on them more to get your ideas seen from the rest.

Considering briefs - notes - Syfy

YCN - Syfy Competition

Proposal - Open brief - Advertise the Syfy brand, not just the program content, attracting a wider audience.

+ As much as I love the sound of this brief, the brief even states its increase in competition, it wants to stand out from the other high market channels, this in itself isn't a problem, however the addition of the open brief suggests that they don't know what they specifically want. I can interpret this in my own way - create idents, character designs, storyboards for possible narratives - however one final thing would not help them promote their brand that well, they need market design - posters, billboards, magazine advert, bus banners etc.

+ Previous idents - minimalistic - use of one tonal colour and white, I found these quite plain and not that relevant to the programming content or what the brand are - Film and 3D - film idents are quite busy - alot happening in each frame with the use of VFX.

+ What they want - reading the brief they are out of date, not many viewers are regulars - needs promotion -animation - ident can be used across channels - needs to be something that promotes the brand, not just the content - content changes all the time, need to be generic imagery associated with typical sci-fi themes and the Syfy brand. - If an ident, being 5-10 seconds, would have to create more than one? Create a narrative through these - have a character(s) resemble the audience watching the Syfy channel? Walking through each stereotypical scene with sci-fi themes, supernatural, horror, extraterrestrial, superheros etc. Show four characters watching the show in their own homes, have them stereotypically show sides of sci fi from their appearance and look of the room, each character could then turn on tv, tablet, mobile, computer to watch the channel - show off the logo in the screen.

Considering briefs - Notes - Alice in Wonderland

YCN competition briefs - Alice and Wonderland book illustrations

Proposal - create new illustrations Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for the 150 year anniversary for MacMillan Children's Books.  Create a book cover and up to two illustrations of your choice from the book. - Target Market - Family audience - aimed at children but also at collectors.

+ Looking at the majority of illustrations associated with Alice and Wonderland, they are quite detailed - dip pen quality, crosshatch and use of pastel/desaturated coloured illustrations. John Tenniel prints.

+ Making it different - simplistic shapes? merged with detail to refer to the old prints? could also create cut out illustrations, much like the PS3 game 'Madness Returns'. Consideration of typography - serif or script?  Use of one colour - tonal or gradient, limited colour scheme? The use of less colours could refer to the old original prints.

+ Animation, make a book advertisement or Qr codes? Qr codes - use app on phone to view animation from the illustration on the book cover - How popular are Qr codes? possibly a dying trend, narrowing the audience, cost, how easy can these be made? - Could have a password hidden in the illustration which the audience can type into the MacMillan website and enter the code to view the animation - an embedded vimeo link? - the password idea is more realistic compared to the Qr code as then the audience wont be narrowed down.

Alice in Wonderland - Madness Returns
+ Quickly sketched directly in ink, the character 'Alice', using simple shapes and slight detail - felt too boring and simple - not aesthetically pleasing - doesnt catch the viewers eyes. Consider more detail - use of silhouettes and possibly a detailed/ornate vignette frame? Consider background in which the character is situated in - The iconic scene of Alice talking to the Cheshire Cat in the forest, have the QR or password hidden among the branches?

Quick sketches - making Alice a child figure

Quick initial sketches

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Development work - Expressions of moom

Using inspiration from character expressions and body languages from animated films and character sheets, I started to draw moom and mother moom to gain an understanding of how I can exaggerate the facial expressions to give the model a personality and characteristics. I thought about dramatically lowering his jaw when laughing or shocked, moving his eye brows higher than they normally would be; using influence from old fashioned cartoons much like Tom and Jerry, and Road Runner. I also considered the expressions that mother moom would have to show her characteristics in the acting up animation. I felt that the lipstick on the sketches that I made would work well in the final product, helping to define that the model is different to moom. I wanted mother moom to look like she had no interest in what moom wanted at the shop, by which I could show through her facial expressions and body language; hips tilted to one side and looking moody, exaggerating the eyebrows and hands to hips.

I thought about the poses that moom would have in the maya animation, what one of the key frames for the spins, rubbing his eyes and turning to the camera dramatically, would look like. Sketching these poses out helped me to consider how I would begin to reference using myself as a model for the reference material that I would use whilst animating the final product.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Study Task 2 - Animating Skills

For this task, I had to create five animations, using scenes that were already created for our group, that showed my understanding of the tasks, these were:

+ Turntable - use camera animation in Maya.
+ Pendulum - needs to have an ease in and out.
+ Overlapping action - showing a continuation of animation when the object has stopped - secondary animation - use the swinging pendulum.
+ Bouncy Balls - example of squash and stretch -  use of portraying different materials, how would these react if dropped from a height?
+ Anticipation - showing the momentum before the main action - use the ball scene to create this theme.

I found animating the swinging pendulum the most difficult to achieve due to creating a smooth follow of the overlapping action. At first I planned out the key frames much like if I was animating a pendulum, and then worked on the animation of the individual segments of the pendulum.  I found that getting the curve of the individual segments the most difficult, and showing the following animation of each part, each needed to follow at a different time. I found that using the Graph editor and moving the graph for each segment slightly behind one another worked, however when I changed some of the rotation of the segments to make it more contoured, the animation went fast and rotated the whole pendulum. I realised that I had chosen the wrong control on the graph and to solve the problem I had encountered, I had to move the tangents slightly and move the particular segment I had altered back to its original place on the graph. 

Animating the pendulum was easy compared to the swinging pendulum as it only involved animating the whole object. As the pendulum swings to a stop, I wanted to show the ease out of the momentum which I achieved by adding less key frames to make the movement slower. I could have also edited the movement by adding ease in and out tangents with the graph editor. 

For the squash and stretch, I wanted to show a normal bounce and one made from a completely different material that is dropped and is squashed from the collision with the ground. I achieved the squash and stretch by using the non linear deformer 'squash'. This created a handle in which I was able to squash and stretch the polygon, allowing me to animate with key frames.

The turntable was by far the easiest theme to animate as all I had to animate is the camera rather than the model itself. I found that the easiest way to animate the camera for the turntable, is to use Maya's preset and focus the turntable on something that the model is standing on, rather than the model itself. Focusing the turntable on the model doesn't make the camera rotate as smoothly around the frame, it doesn't contain all of the model as well as focusing on the stand that the model is on. For the turntable I used a model that I would be using more of in my acting up animation. 

To make the anticipation, I needed to show momentum before the main action that I would be animating. I used the main model shape from the squash and stretch theme, using a squash and stretch use of animation to show the ball bounce off the frame. I made the anticipation before the bounce slower than normal as to emphasize the kinetic energy behind the movement. I achieved the motion blur through the render settings, which I believed helped to show the momentum from the anticipation.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Interim Crit

The Interim Crit helped me with sorting out my performance and my animatic. I recorded more performance footage as the previous recording was extremely pixellated and incredibly small, so recording the key frames again really helped with my storyboards and animatic. I wasn't sure whether or not my performance was not exaggerated enough as the whole module is focused on the animation, and through feedback the movements were exaggerated but still have room to emphasise the poses with squash and stretch. I feel like the facial expressions are key for this animation as well as, and through study task 3 I was able to create fun and dramatic faces which really helped me when thinking about movement and how Moom, and Mother Moom would react.

The feedback from the interim crit helped me to visualise what the background could be like for the animation, in my animatic I left the space plain with a light blue hue with ideas of using image planes for the backgrounds, which could consist of a bright and colourful scenery however I wasn't sure if the 2D image would work well with Moom with him being 3D. I considered possible making parts of the image 3D, for instance have a few shelfs and tables emit from the scenery to tie it in, I need to experiment with this. Another idea from feedback for backgrounds could possibly be using simple Maya shapes to create a wall with a window or something similar with a colour scheme that could fit a toy shop like atmosphere. I also need to consider the lighting, how dramatic if any or how soft the atmosphere needs to be.

Through feedback, I found that a potential problem could possibly be copying the movement of the film from which I chose the lyrics from, Nightmare Before Christmas, as the characters in the stop motion film have extremely exaggerated movements to match the bizarre personalities and appearances of each character. I feel that I can avoid this by ensuring that I use my own reference when animating Moom, and sticking to the scenario I have created in the storyboards.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Animatic and Audio

To make the animatic, I used after effects to put the imagery together and change the duration of how long each of the images would be shown as I recorded the audio. I found that recording the audio as I watched the timing of the images in after effects, helped me to visualise how the sound would work with Mooms movements with in the possible motion of the animatic. I changed the duration of each image to last longer for time for the movement to play out with the audio that had been recorded. With this length of time, it gave me a good idea of how long the final animation would be, with room for extra movement or added background sounds.

I created the final animatic using premiere. I chose to use premiere as it allows you to easily edit both the audio and the image sequence that I had created for the animatic. I could also easily switch to soundbooth from Premiere to edit the audio by reducing noise or adjusting the pitch. I recorded the audio using audacity as it allowed me to export the audio as either an mp3 or wav file which I needed to import to both premiere and maya.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Responsive - picking apart a brief

After we had made lists with the whole group in which we understood what we aim to achieve from this module, we moved to looking at previous briefs that had been entered into a student competition, we were given three different briefs to look at, in my case the Morrison brief. We were asked to find the problems with this brief.

The Morrison brief asked for a new shopping experience that would introduce new technology to draw in the new generation, aimed at teens and students, but also keeping in mind not to alienate the target audience that they already have. Already the problem with this brief was the introduction of new technology to bring in a whole new target audience, the problem with this new technology is that it will alienate the target consumers that they already have.

From the three different briefs the whole group were given we made general points that affected each of the briefs:

Proposal - what does the brief want you to do?
+ Produce a Product
+ Visual Concept
+ Persuade through a campaign

Achieve - what the outcome need to be able to do
+ Publicise their Brand
+ Expand their audience
+ Return Customers
+ Attract Kids
+Edge over competition
+ More customers

Problem - What is wrong with the brief?
+ People don't know about us!
+ Multiple Audiences (we don't know who they are)
+ Fun not serious
+ We don't know what we want!
+ Pretty but Pragmatic
+ We are dull and out of date
+ Adding value

When analyzing briefs, these points will help me to understand what the brief specifically wants, be aware of any problems in the brief and create an outcome that would work well for the client and their audiences.  For example in the Morrison brief, they wanted to attract a new generation of consumers, in hopes of this generation they want new technology to attract them, however the constant audience for Morrisons will not want a complicated shopping trip that involves the state of the art technology to help their shopping experience. This will most likely result in losing this target market. The brief also states that it wants to be fun and not serious, however when you do go shopping you just want to buy the food you need, you don't go there for fun.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Audio inspiration

I found it hard trying to come up with different accents and pitches of tone for the audio track for the acting up animation, I wasn't sure how to start with accents. I found a clip on youtube with the comedian, Jimmy Carr, showing how he puts on an accent by repeating a few words, in this case 'Geordie' accent. It was really amusing and interesting to see how he uses these words to start the accent and be able to continue with it. I wanted to be able to use this technique, however the accent I want needs to be child like to fit the narrative of my storyboard.

The Amazing World of Gumball inspired me through both the main protagonists voices, as both were childlike and boyish for their characters. I mainly focused on trying to imitate the voice for Darwin, as I felt his voice would be easier to learn and adapt than Gumballs, due to the pitch of his voice. Using the technique that Jimmy Carr uses, I used the words 'I know' and after awhile, I was able to use my own version of Darwins voice, which I ended up using for my animation. Through feedback, both peers and interim crit say that my voice for the animation fits the childish voice that I was going for and sounds slightly american with a few of the words that I pronounce in the dialogue.

Gravity Falls and The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy also inspired me for the child like voice I wanted for Moom in my narrative. I was inspired by one of the main characters Mabel, from Gravity Falls, through her tone of voice, however I managed to slightly copy her accent but when I related it to the animatic that I had made, I felt that Moom would be better as a boy, through the appearance and the objects that he interacts with. The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy inspired me through one of the main characters Billy, however his voice was very difficult to try and copy for full dialogue. I liked how the voice actor, Richard Steven Horvitz, would purposely hold onto the end of a word, such as "Helloooooooooooooooooooo" and I quite liked how that could be used with emphasis on the animation with in my acting up module.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Animating in Maya - using deformers

Using deformers to change the appearance of a polygon, help to make exaggerated poses and movements of the shape when animated. For example, when animating a ball, you emphasise the squash and stretch of the bounce to show the weight and volume of the ball, is it made of concrete or clay?, these deformers help to get the right amount of squash and stretch without having to mold the shape multiple times. I found that after adding a deformer to your polygon, you can change the position of the handle, changing the pivot point in which the deformer will deform from. Using this I was able to create smooth curves and shapes when modelling and animating for study task 2. I found that when manipulating the value of these deformers, using the middle button helps to keep the change in proportion.



Example of the handle

Key framing the deformers on the polygons was a struggle at first through how I could only seem to manipulate one deformer at a time and then keep key framing the changes of each deformer. If I moved the object using the translate tool, I found that it would effect the deformer rather than moving the shape. I found two solutions to this problem, one of which being to animate the main movement of the object without using the deformers and then add them, or freeze modifications of the polygon if I was happy with the deformer properties, and then translate the object.

I also found that not using the auto key tool helped with smoother inbetweens between the different changes on the square. I attempted to change the speed on the graph editor as the animation was speeding through the playblast, however every time I curved or made part of the graph linear it would affect the rotation of the deformer on a different key frame.