Saturday, 20 March 2010

Staving off madness

I've been blogging a lot recently haven't I? I must be lonely or something.

Anyway, I must be one of the few people who haven't jumped at the chance of travelling back home mainly because I live locally, which means my holiday will mainly consist of nothing but playing Muramasa:The Demon Blade and catching up on my old Neo issues that have started to fill up my flat (not that they're any good though, is it just me or is modern Anime getting more and more banal?), so not having access to the software limits my aility to do any actual animation. So, I came up with a plan, ahar har.

I'm going to outline the sort of things I'd like to be doing over the holiday, although as with anything I plan to do there is a 25% chance and less that it will actually get done.


I did enjoy doing the lip sync but I think I didn't experiment with the program as much as I could have done, particularly with things such as using bones and motion paths. I've had a few ideas of animations, some based on dreams that I'd like to make animatics for. I can sort of summarise it into 4 things-

1) Rejection Girl was meant to be a gif but I think an swf or mov file would be far easier to make and less labour intensive than on photoshop, and considering I already have the background images coloured this should be made pretty easily. Hell, if I find a decent sound file of very bad crying I could lip sync it for extra practice.

2) Ka-ramel Dansen (I just thought of that and now I think it's great) would probably be ten times easier as a flash made animation. I'm pretty certain the majority of the ones on youtube must be made with something similar, but I still don't want to use the guides you see going around. The proportions are horrible! Doesn't anyone tailor it beyond the costume?

3) Hands was an idea I got from eating toast and looking up at my ceiling. It's one of those ideas that I won't be able to tell if I really like or not until I make an animatic of it to see if it works, but it's quite music-video like and isn't really plot or joke based unlike a lot of my stuff.

4) Fat man was a nightmare that sort of creeped me out, which is unusual for my normal dreams and it didn't make a lot of sense, but I remembered the look of the creatures really well when I woke up.


I do plan to use the maya program more before I eventually head off home, mainly to build more interiors for practice and personal projects. I'm still waiting for my sister to send something across, but I have a few rooms I plan to make myself, I just need to get the designs done before I commit anything on to the program, as I learnt last time. I think this time I'll also make a point of making textures from scratch for the image rather than relying on stock, as most of the rooms I'm planning would have a more cartoony texture than something imitating life.


I haven't given up on these things yet! I still want to make more, and after learning where the grids are in photoshop I might be able to make some pixel style art that is accurate and doesn't require me to resize every. Single. Time.


After Derek and Kathy mentioned doing a storyboard based on a piece of literature, such as a fairy tale or something similar, I thought I might look into that, although I hate most fairy tales for how moronically stupid and unjustified they are. Literature wise, I'd really like to do a short storyboard of the Harlan Ellison short story "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream", mainly because the computer AM has such an intense hatred of humanity and the description of the wasteland is so bleak it would be interesting in trying to convey such a sense of hopelessness through drawings (and compared to the action packed script of Knightrider this would be the complete opposite for me).


I'm still trying to get more drawings done, particularly with a focus on Foxfire seeing as it's update schedule is so appallingly bad. I skipped a lot of life drawing this term, so I might spend a few hours copying people online if the weather stays as gloomy. I'd like to get quite abit done towards lifedrawing because I think anatomy and backgrounds are probably my two largest failing.

This should hopefully be the last blog for a while, because I've been updating so much recently that I'm becoming the blog equivalent of email spam. Whether any of the things I've outlined above end up being made or not, I'll have to wait and see.
This has been quite a picture-light post hasn't it? Sorry. If stuff gets done, it'll be posted in the newer blogs. The shorter, more colourful blogs.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

I-do, not I-don't.

Or Ident.

I was working with Chloe during the project, and we had some trouble getting ideas together on the brief probably because it was so open (bar being red) that it was difficult to peg an idea.

Here are some of the initial ideas that we went through, based around the dancing and music theme of the website.

We ended up choosing a flower because a) it's inoffensive for corporations and b) we thought it might fit into the indie theme of the website.

We both started with some initial research into types of flowers and what sort of materials we wanted to use, and decided that it might look pretty good as a pixellation piece rather than something computer made as that would look maybe too corporate for the brief recommendations that were outlined in the brief.Along with making a pixellated video, we wanted the flower to be made similar to a collage image, being constructed from scrap so it would have a very interesting texture being filmed.

We did originally plan for the flower to be made out of paper materials so it would have text on it, but I was a little concerned about whether any of the text would be made out and whether that would effect the copyright issues with a public material, and also that if we were to make it using a wire skeleton that constantly glued paper and card would end up similar to papier mache in strength and wouldn't bend very easily, so a scout of pound shops netted some tartan umbrella material instead.

We filmed it in an afternoon, but because of the lighting on the background we couldn't green screen it because the shadows were too obvious. We added a posterized filter so the shadows and uneven lighting would turn into solid colours and would look like they were made intentionally.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

A shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a blog that does not exist.

This was probably the closest I've ever run to a hand in time with anything I've done here, I finished the storyboards at literally 5 minutes to the dead line, which was absolutely mental on my part. Turns out my laptop didn't have the software for creating pdf files, so many thanks to Montana for saving my bacon!

I chose the Knightrider script because everyone seemed to be picking the Pirates for it's length and after a read through of Ranger Rick I decided I'd pick the second shortest script.

While I was deciding on what kind of style I'd do for it I was browsing Youtube and started wathcing old 80's Anime like A.D Police and Ninja Scrolls (not the series) and thought the over the top action and sheer manliness of most of these shows was something I could use in the storyboard about a man and his questionable relationship with his car who fight crime. Here's an example of the style from Ninja Scrolls (viewing discretion is advised, although I tried to find the least violent fight possible.)

It was just so cheesy and over-blown I though it might be fun to combine the two, so everyone in my Knightrider is super-scowly and muscled. Excluding Amber, although I'm sure there are Anime's out there with that kind of style.
Anyway, here are the pages.

First scene- probably my favourite, because it was before my art skills completely burnt out. Of the different shots, Karl turning the mirror to see KITT behind him is my favourite just because it's probably the smartest transition I thought of. I drew most of these in the blue animation pencil and found that it still scanned in as well as the dark colours, which meant I had to spend a long time cleaning each panel (hence the late hand in time).
Second scene in the garage-

End of scene 2, in the garage. I like drawing Amber because I could give her more expressions than the big gruff men, and my favourite drawing here is her chucking the oil rag, which I might colour as an actual image at some point. I realised while making her original design that this is meant to be (rather like the original Knightrider) kind of for kids, so I had to tone down the cleavage in her design a bit and make her look less like a random dancer had shown up in a garage.

The final scene in the desert again, and it's obvious that a lot less effort was put into the drawings. Look at those cars! Terrible.

On the type of cuts though, I still tried to keep it very action orientated but I would have liked to draw more shots which mirrored the original introduction of KITT to highlight the mildly ridiculous nature of the Mini Cooper (although I did base the design of it off of my memories of Herbie, which is a Volkswagen. I'm not good with cars, I can only name a Dolorean). Keeping the continuity got to be very difficult, I think I managed it with the characters for the majority of the time but the cars vary massively. I'm just glad I didn't have to scale anything against another vehicle.

So the storyboard project started out well but lost quality towards the end, but I enjoyed doing it because it felt like comic work to me. Hopefully drawing lots of moody men was good practice too, and my Manga style might improve! (Still stuck with consistancy and escaping drawing six faces I'm afraid).

Monday, 8 March 2010


(This is currently being written while waiting for some extra jobs to do.)
I made the weather map background for the weather report and Corrine made the animated swf files for the animated graphics. The broadcast students don't seem to be that bothered about the level of animation invo9lved and seem more interested in graphics, but I made the texts fade in and out and had the clouds move across because it would be pretty boring otherwise.

The original background was a simple gradient but it was suggested it would be better as a moving image of something like water, so Stacey picked the video to loop.


After the day, I can say I didn't enjoy the experience very much. I haven't been in employment before, so I don't know if I would normally feel kind of riled in doing a sort of thankless task. I thought the group was pretty underused as a whole.

Monday, 1 March 2010

SIAN used FLASH! It's super effective!

...well, here's hoping the title is right anyway. I finished my Flash project and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.

I ended up making about 11 different mouth shapes for the squirrel, while the bird in comparison had maybe 8 and the owl about 3. I found I could make better mouth movements by stretching the shape of the symbol and key framing rather than using a particularly complex mouth, although I only really started trying this out with the bird for the singing section.

The owl was supposed to have a larger part and move more, but seeing as he was relegated to chuckling I didn't see the point of making the body and head two seperate symbols. This turned out to be a bad move once I tried animating the laugh, and got completely the wrong mouth movements and found that it ended up looking like chewing, which coupled with no blinks made the owl more threatening than anything.

So I studied this jolly video, because nobody laughs like the Joker does-

-and found that the mouth movement seems to be largely irrelevant, and that the laugh is all in the shoulder and head movements, so I had to make my owl wobbly and less dead-eyed.

I tried to choose a lot of little movements in the way that the characters talk to make them have a little more personality than just lip syncing on its own. I would've put a background joke in somewhere like most of the creaure comfort shorts, but with three characters in he scene already I didn't want to completely overload it.

Along with a lot of updates in the blogs. I'm not going to post the initial sketches as the scanner didn't take kindly to the coloured pencil I used, but heres the image of the final room.

I made quite a few objects considering how much I loathed starting this project at the beginning of it (I say quite a few, it's more than my initial plan) but I didn't account for them in the final view, so the toothbrush, soap, drawings and the inside render of a plughole are not visible. Which is a shame, I really like that toothbrush but it wasn't a particularly dramatic angle to do the room from.
The thing I liked the most is probably the mirror, although it wasn't a massive stretch of effort to make a cube and flatten it I really enjoyed making the textures to use on this piece (although make isn't quite the right word, more used ones on sites but edited them multiple times in photoshop with other textures too) but the mirror is my favourite texture on there. I'll keep a copy of it in case I get the opportunity to use it something else.

I learnt an awful lot about Maya with this topic, and now that I've finished this project I'd quite like to make other environments just to start slowly finding out more about the program, so maybe a project during the holiday for me.

I don't often post stuff I find that I like mainly because I don't tend to think about it when I'm viewing stuff, but I will this week.

This is the new Gorrilaz song out, "Stylo". I can't put the embeded code down I'm afraid, but heres the link.

I can't tell if this video has something of the uncanny about it, seeing as the characters really don't look human, but Murdoc looks really weird. Also, Bruce Willis and an android Noodle with a shotgun.

Something else I like having on as background noise is the Silent Hill music video Usagi because I find it quite catchy compared to the more questionable Fukuro and Kinoko, which just disturbs me with it's growing legs...

But it's good to watch too, using the in-game models of Robbie the Rabbit (who thankfully never got off the benches in the amusement park). What I like about the video and also the game in general is the strange aesthetic of it, sort of like a dank industrial building. I was very tempted to make my Maya room in this style but its not healthy to keep making the same style things time and again so I just went for a dirty room. I would like to try something like this though.