Wednesday, 1 December 2010

11 second final animation

11 Second Club Project Report

At the beginning of the second year, we had two projects set for the group to work on from the start until near the end of term. One of these was projects was to animate characters to a sound clip provided by the 11 second club website, taken from a film or television program. We would then have a month to complete an animation, providing we intended to use the current month’s sound clip.
I chose to animate the sound clip for November, taken from the film “Trains, Planes and Automobiles”. The dialogue in the clip was-

Speaker 1: You stole it!
Speaker2 : I thought (Speaker 1: I-) you put it there!
Speaker 1: ...Why would I put it there?!
Speaker 1: Kindness?
Speaker 2: ...Kindness?! You stole it! He stole it!

The dialogue between the two was a heated argument, with most of the anger directed by speaker 1 to speaker 2. They’re also arguing over something that was apparently taken by speaker 2, so the scenario is a confrontation. For the animation to make sense the stolen object would have to be alluded to visually as the clip is probably referring to something set up previously.

I ran through a few scenarios involving something being stolen, such as two archaeologists arguing over the theft of an artefact or two roosters arguing over an egg. The second scenario made more sense to me as the problem I had with creating scenarios was the line “why would I put it there?” meaning it had to be something that the first character didn’t want to either give away or keep themselves meaning the archaeology didn’t work. I didn’t like the second scenario because i felt using roosters (or lizards and foxes as were the other designs) was sort of bland.
Talking to a friend, he mentioned that part of the background sounds like the crackling of a flame or like a vehicle moving and I thought of the Greek myth where Prometheus took fire from the Gods to give to humanity, and decided that that would be a great scenario to use.

I started looking at old classical statues of Zeus and Prometheus to get a rough idea of how they’d look. My main problem is designing Zeus is I didn’t want to end up with a version like in Disney’s Hercules, but because of the fact that almost all the statues of Zeus share a similar look it was hard to know how to develop that without losing what makes the character recognisable. I ended up varying the guy’s hair and beard but kept the general muscular appearance to suit the angry sound to speaker 1’s voice, making Zeus appear more as a bully (not that he isn’t in myth). Prometheus was easier because he’s less well known, so I went with a skinny, shorter design to Zeus to suit the whinier voice of Speaker 2.

One thing I noticed with the sound clips while creating the dope sheets is that presumably the sound clip is taken from a comedy because of the large pauses for speaker 1’s reactions. I planned for the scene changes to occur during these points, and decided that I’d keep the character animation still at that point to act like a beat panel.

Because of the flame sound in the background I needed to set the scene before the voice clip started up, so I had humans bowing around a large bonfire. Although I’m quite pleased with the finished effect of the flame without having to rotoscope it, making it take up about 2 extra seconds crippled the amount of time I had left to complete the character animation so it feels like unnecessary filler taking up the time I should have spent on the character animation.

With the animation, one of my biggest bug bears was trying to get things to move in arcs to look more natural. Zeus raising his arm to put his hand over his face originally had a much more exaggerated movement that went completely out of frame for a bit but because of the amount of frames allowed for that movement I had to scale it back to keep it to the right timing.

One of the things I’ve been criticised of before is animating too much at the same time, so I made a point of keeping both characters moving only when they’re speaking, so the focus is on them. I did have P moving in the last shot trying to get up from the floor, but I realised that if Z was moving in the centre of the shot and the eagle was moving off to the side, having movement in the opposite corner would make it too busy.

I think the most obvious and damning thing about the final animation is that it simply isn’t finished. I would put illness down to this in part but more likely it is terrible, terrible time management on my part. I started this project far too late in to the term with characters that were more complicated to animate than something simpler.
The flame animation took far too much time and should have really been completed more towards the end of the project. Focussing on secondary animation with the characters before all of the rough movements were mapped out means that only parts of it ended up being inked as I didn’t have the time to plan and test the movements beforehand. I would try to complete the secondary animation on some of the shots before the primary animation of others had been done.
For me, the movement of the characters seems very rapid and like there should be more holds but as I can’t change the length of the sound file I think the transition between shots meant that the movements looked rapid. Keeping the characters to the correct proportions and trying to indicate weight without a full body was very difficult for me.


So that's the projects done. I'm certainly not happy about my 11 second but the experimental made those two weeks of dope sheeting all worth it.