Saturday, February 24, 2007

Well, I did yet another one. I really have to quit for today; after a certain point you lose your sense of critital judgement, and your ability to talk to people.

But i'm almost done making the shots; there's a few little filler ones yet to be done, and a couple more for this last scene.

Here's the composite itself. Things are getting dark now. (Cause it's like, nighttime).
I reworked the opening shot a bit (the 3 screenshots on the left) - the elements weren't quite in the right place. I knocked off a new one too - the the dude walking amongst the ruins, sideview.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

That shots' all done - just needs the dude added.

Now i'm working on the opening shots of the final scene; the non-specific abandoned-ruinsy type place.

Here's where you can see most of the shots tacked together. No sound, looks grainy, etc.

Monday, February 19, 2007

I've been knocking off the 'Sideview Trail' shots today - did a whole bunch. This is the most 'climax' of the film, with the camera moving quite quickly, and everything quite dark.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

These are all the finished shots so far (though a couple need fine tuning). Look, look, look at all my neato shots.

I've put in only 5 hours so far today, and I gots an assload of shots done; these are all new, or revised enough to be called new. All involving the dude. You sure can do alot of emoting with just some eyeballs and eyebrows. Look how mad the dude looks in the bottom right panel.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

And here's the dude.
I did the 'sideview dude' animation composite, and then slapped it into the intended shots. Here they are with the dude added.

These are the good 'ol storyboards for the final scene from 'The Hell Painting', our old, now dead, project. Look how much work I did - panels that took about 20 minutes each. This represents about 20 hours of work right here.

But i'm getting the hang of this computer stuff; maybe 'The Hell Painting' will rise again, in digital form.

Cornelisz's Hilltop Studio, Exterior Set: 2006-2007 R.I.P.

Its the end of an era - I finally had to smash my big, beautiful set today. It cost me a lot of money, and took hundreds of hours to build. Its final value was about zero. When I was tearing the thing apart, that jerk Eric Friesen was playing some mournful Russian music on CBC radio two - felt like a funeral. Seeing the thing again in a photograph with a sky photoshopped in makes me sad too.

It serves me right for persisting in the medium of Stop Motion animation for so long - its an expensive, thankless, and soul-sucking hobby. I could have made something of a much more feasible 'table top with clay' stlye, but that's not how I roll.

I think i've got some pretty good reasons why stop motion is such an elevated form of animation, elevated as compared to crap done on computers. First and foremost, you're working with actual materials that suggest things to you, and provide an unknown element - responsive, living, interactive materials. On a computer, things turn out pretty much exactly how you picture them in your head initially. This is unhealthy creatively, as all ideas must come from within your own head - no outside source to suggest things, and hence come out mentally incestuous-looking.

On the other hand, i've been able to make a short, quite detailed animated film working on my own, for almost zero dollars. I.e., its possible.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

These are some of the original scans i'm working from.

And another; the close-up view of the evil brat.
Another one; a top-down view of the dude walking. This one actuallt looks a bit too real; might have to do a little more work on it.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

That's another shot done - the 'Intro Panorama' shot. It dissolves from a washed-out sepia image to the actual shot, then tracks in.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I finally get to work on the old intro panorama shot; the bottom panel is what I originally thought a finished shot would look like - the aesthetic has come a ways since then. I'm hanging on to the tree though; I still dig it.
Finished another one - the 'Sideview Field' composite. I've got it all set up in After Effects; just needs the character added to it.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I'm working in the 'Sideview Field' composite now - should be pretty quick and easy. I also reworked the dudes face a little to highten the detail level.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I realized today that only started working on this project (minus the storyboarding, preproduction, etc.) little over two months ago. Course, I just put in another 12 hour day, which helps.

It is fantastic to be able to make real progress so quickly, after years of fighting with slow, expensive, group-participation-requiring stop motion animation. And, i'm learning some skills which might actually make me quite employable.
Well, i've figured out how i'm going to animate the dude. Seems glaringly obvious in retrospect - animate still layers 'Southpark style, i.e. just move a flat image around. I figured out a simple technique of matching the movement up to live reference footage - it took about 10 minutes to make 10 seconds worth of walking movement, which is real real fast for animation. I also figured out some very handy After Effects functions (quite basic stuff, but i'm a novice), such as tying my eyebrows, eyeballs etc, which are separate layers to the face - they then stay in their assigned spots in relation to the man, and can be animated separately. In this, very first shot, the dude looks down and furrows his brows.

That's a relief - no drawing individual frames.
Sometimes i'll put all my backgrounds together to check continuity, whether they relate to one another properly, etc.
I've also been working on the 'POV Shot Field 1st Part' composite today. I'm digging how its working out so far. I did the sky the same way I use to do them with watercolour paints, only with 1's and 0's this time. The grass is all done with a Photoshop brush. Must be the first purely digital element i've used so far.

I'm trying to turn my pencil drawing/tracing into an image that meshes with my backgrounds. Its hasn't been too easy - a bit of a struggle. I really, really, really look like a criminal here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Did another short one - the camera quickly pans up and left (hence the motion blur) and spots a crow, which flies away (crow is circled, 'cause its hard to find when its in a still).
I'm working pretty quickly these days - i've got my routine down. I made the 'POV shot, field, part 2' composite today. In this one, we move towards the woods, and the camera looks around a bit. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, and i've finally found a decent way to animate the ground coming at you with flat layers and have it be believable.

This here is the 'Sideview Woods' composite, version 2, the old one having been scrapped. Looks much more moody and quite a bit less shitty than the old one.

I done joined two composites together, and used them for one big After Effects 'point of view shot'.

I made a fun little animation of a crow flying away - just photoshopped live action footage.

I think i've struck a pretty good balance here. A tracing of a photograph with pencil shading, colours photoshopped in, and the whole works run through a photoshop filter to remove the overly-hand drawn quality. It souldn't take more that half an hour to produce a frame when I get the routine down. So, that's a full day to do a 12-15 frame walk cycle. Not too bad.
Don't let the serious look on my face persuade you that I don't think I look goofy here.

I'm finally getting down to the business of developing techniques for rotoscoping my dude (rotoscoping means tracing over photographs in some form). Its been a struggle, to find a balance between looking too much like an altered photograph, and having enough detail that it doesn't look like what it is, a shitty drawing.
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