Today begins the last week of this semester. While I still had several assignments left, I had completed almost all of the courses. Today is also the day where I received a guest talk among classmates, along with completed the presentation and final video for the Animation I assignment, along with looking at the screening of the walking cycles. This is when the comments I received had restored my faith and hope for animation opportunities, when three animation classes in one semester had worn me down previously.
During the guest talk, the guest (who is named John, a veteran animation director) had talked to us about the important parts of pre-production, along with commenting on the animatic / storyboards of the classmates. Aside from the animation principles and concept art, he also talked about the importance of 5W1H, the K.I.S.S principle (Keep It Simple Stupid), and the Scale /Proportion part of character design. He also gave an advice which solved my frustration over timing of storyboards: In order to determine the timing, one must simply draw the animatic without caring for the quality of the picture. Timing is what matters; the pretty pictures can come later, for animatic with audio can “talk” to the animator about the message.
During the talk, I realized that my new storyboards are too slow and cluttered in pacing. When I told the guest about the storyboard and my plans, he told me that I could create an animatic to determine whether the timing is right or not. He also complimented on my drawing skills, which made me feel a little better, since I felt that my art / animating skills are too inadequate for creating animation shorts at all.
Now we had finished 2D Animation project, it’s time to talk about the Animation I group project. From the progress, my organization skills are still a mess, as the professor commented about how the style is all over the place, along that some parts are very shaky and choppy (thanks to the rushed production of cutout animation). However, the professor also commented about my 2D animation part, where he said it looked fine. He also complimented my walking cycle during the screening. These compliments mean to me a lot, for three animation classes in one semester had tired me down, and these compliments had granted me hope and faith about my animation path and final year project. I may not be entirely perfect in animation, but now I know I could go on to this path, even in a short amount of time. There is an SIG meeting tomorrow, and if I could have time after shooting the green screen footage for the DigiComp Final Project, I would attend the meeting.
Anyhow, here is the cleaned up version of my 2D part.
Now the semester is coming to an end, with the deadline of the assignments being arranged at late November / Early December. Currently I am busy in providing the 2D part of the final assignment: a group project where the members complete a 1 minute animation short in five different medium: 2D, rotoscoping, cutout, stop motion and pixelation.
Insofar, the stop motion had been completed, while cutout, pixelation and rotoscoping are almost completed, but still ongoing. As for my part, I had completed around 8 seconds. I had outlined all of the pencil tests and cleaned them up. There is another 3 seconds footage I need to draw tomorrow.
So since tonight is the deadline of the pre-production of 2D Animation Final Project, it is logical for me to finish the storyboards and concept sketches today.
As previous said, the original idea is about the killer robot murdering a tiny robot in cold blood / oil. However, after suggestions from the professor, I changed the story into the “killer” robot saving the tiny robot.
I confess, I do like the idea very much, since I have a soft spot over stories of characters / robots caring for each other, especially when it seem unlikely. Through out the process, I do enjoy a to in sketching the poses and the character design.
However, to my dismay, I still have difficulty in controlling the timing and panel number of the storyboards. It was the same pitfall I had encountered during the animatic assignment for Animation I Course. Drawing frames to convey a clear story is still tricky to me, since I had trouble communicating the simple idea to other people in any way, visually or verbally. In the end, even though I could draw the frames concisely, I always ended up drawing more shots than necessary in a limited amount of time. To be honest, as long as there are no storyboard-savvy friends / mentor I could rely on every second, I would be likely to learn the lessons through a slower, mistake-laden way.
Even so, I decided that all mistakes in some way, are valuable lessons, and I hope to learnt more lessons in the future. I may not guarantee the quality of the animation, but I would try my best within limited time.
Here are the concept sketches and storyboards made for the project.
Drawing the storyboards took me hours, and thanks to a friend’s advice, I arranged the frames to make them looking more logical.
After creating the storyboards, I realized that the ending took too much time. The original ending ended with the bigger robot taking the tiny robot with him. As a solution, I had to create a new, shorter ending to conclude the story. Here is the original version, with the original ending included.
Here is the new ending, where the story ends with the bigger robot hugging the tiny robot for affection.
Today I had stressed myself too much that I could rarely draw anything, but thanks to that “How to Stop Worrying and Live” book, I felt much better and just try my best to complete some concept sketches.
Drawing storyboards can be a little tricky, particularly when without any references of poses. Which is why, I decided to draw some pose sketches as reference. Also, according to the main requirement, the pose sketches count as concept sketches too.
Anyway, here is the result of hours drawing poses.
Here is the version where the poses are separated.
*EDIT* As I had told my problem to the professor of Animation I class, including the circumstance (The light board broke because the harness of the bag snapped off), he went to convince the crew that the damage is accidental. Thanks to this, I could borrow a light board for a week.
The only thing is, during the screening of the rough animation, the professor pointed out some flaws of our animatic, and made some advices about the story. We organized a new synopsis, and I shall try my best to complete the new storyboard soon. *
Now being in week 10, the semester will end soon, and I will have many things I needed to finish. Things had been a little stuffed in schedule, and I need to keep myself from falling into burnout stage. The tight schedule and do feel tired and a little apathetic to my work. nonetheless I need to summon my willpower to make sure things are completed.
Now I have final projects to tend to from three animation classes, along with two video projects from one DigiComp class. Here are the progress insofar:
The final project required a group effort to complete a one minute short in five different medium (2D, Stop Motion, Pixelation, Rotoscoping, and CutOut). We had contributed in pre-production and some rough animation. My teammates had tried their best to finish the stop motion part, and from what I seen, it looks great. Unfortunately, I had broke the light board used for 2D frames, and until further notice, my equipment account is recently blocked, and I cannot continue on drawing the frames unless I could get another functional light board.
The final project production period had begun yesterday, and today, I had show the classmates and the professor about the concept art and storyboards I made insofar. Last week, we had a brainstorming session based on our dreams. I chose the dream where I fell from a high building. During the brainstorming, I scraped out an idea where a killer robot murders a tiny robot by dropping it from a high building.
However, after some comments from the professor (mostly about the killer robot looking like Iron Man despite I had not looked for the character during the character design, and the design being too stereotypical), I proposed an idea about the killer robot rescuing the tiny robot and reveal himself to be a good guy. The professor approved. I need to draw new concept artworks and a storyboard to accommodate the idea before the Friday.
The final project requires a student or a group to showcase their 3D animation abilities, such as modeling, rigging, animation, lighting, and cinematography. While I had not began the project yet, I had decided to perform animation of a dance. I had asked the professor about the idea, and he said I could use a pre-existing model, under condition I need to change the colour. I had collected the dancing videos, and I would try to complete it soon.
There is also a lighting assignment due this Wednesday, which I am completing now.
There are two assignments left: one for the Twin Video with help of green screen technology, one being the group project. Last week, I had shot the video footage with my team mates. Now with the video footage, I have 8 days to complete the video, alongside with other of my assignments.
(Recently my second DigiComp Assignment has been graded. On one hand, it is the lowest compared to other students according to the statistics; on the other hand, I had graded around 13.2 over 15, which optimistically could be seen as A- / B+)
The second assignment required me to edit a surreal video based on self-made video footages and photography, with After Effects. There are several requirements to showcase the technical aspects, such as an animated mask, or the slow-in / slow-out. This was which I, shamefully, neglected to follow all of them methodically.
I had previously said about using AE for animating cutout animation. While the principle is the same (using interpolation to animate an object), the process was much more complex, as many components were needed compared to the Cutout animation.
After a few discussion and brainstorming, I came up with an idea where a tree grows out fruits, which eventually burst out into golden coins. I chose to use the plant as the “tree”, with Mum as the actor who water the plant.
During the animating process, one of the most painstaking process was animating the leaves. For I had to animate around twenty leaves at once, in different positions, rotation and distribution, throughout different time.
Many improvisations were made during the process. One was when I realized that all the footage HAD to be self made (so my found gold footage cannot be used). Problem was solved by changing the golden coins into red pockets (Red paper bags with money inside, also one of the iconic symbols of the Chinese New Year)
At the end, I finished the video and added sound effects. It was a chore to do, but I learnt much experience about using After Effect for animation.