Monday, October 20, 2014

Minor Project - B and S initial Sketches and Influences

In terms of branding this is how I visualised it, B(Big) and S(Small) are the characters of short animations and Acorn is the title of one of their many adventures together.

As I've been working with both squirrels (B and S) I found I needed define them more in terms of their traits so their designs could be less broad and more character specific, so here's a little about both characters.

S is a leader, he isn't strong but he's smart he uses his wit to get him out of most situation, he fast on his feet, and he has a bit of an anger issue, he looses his temper very quickly and is very selfish, if he had to choose between one acorn or two, he'll pick two and slap you for asking a dumb question

B is a follower, he is very strong but simple minded  he observers things as though they were new to him and he's slow but he more than makes up for it with his strength, B is kind but when he wants something he'll do anything to get, normally he wouldn't hurt a fly but he'll trample on a family of flies to get hold of a shiny balloon he likes, if he had to choose between one acorn and two acorns, he'll pick two because he wouldn't want the other acorn to be lonely.

A few character traits that affect their design

S's temper:
He's got a part of his left ear bitten off (lost it in a fight?), and is tails more jagged it reacts depending on how angry he is

B's naivety:
He's a lot more rounder and his lack of experience causes him to do things in very differnt way, so doesn't use his hand very often so his tail curls up like a fist for grabbing things, and his hands and significantly smaller than S's

These are my current two Influence Maps for both characters.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Minor Project - Storyboard Draft 1

At frame 39 is where I want to end the animation, here the characters are about to attack each other then it freezes and ends, I continued on till 45 for a possible different ending

 I didn't finalize the designs for the characters yet so before I went straight into the drafting a storyboarding I did a few drawings to figure out the characters and frames I'll be using, these are a just few sketches from my sketchbook at that point.

Moving Forward

I'm working on the animatic it'll go up with updated storyboard when it's all finished

Monday, October 6, 2014

Minor Project - The Story's Outline

I've settled on an Outline I'm happy with, I felt it delivered the message from concept.

Better Together/Teamwork is Key
Two Squirrels fight for an Acorn at a Park

  • Both Squirrels fight for acorn.
  • Acorn Falls from Tree into the hands of a guy sleeping on a park bench
  • Little squirrel attempts to collect acorn for himself and fails
  • Big Squirrel attempt the same thing and fails
  • They decide to work together
  • Working together, they manage to separate man and acorn.
  • [END] With Acorn Free, Squirrels look to commence fighting again.
  • [CONT'D][...ALT END] It gets windy, and acorn falls in drain
  • [...ALT END] Squirrels retract weapons, and look to work together
I put in an "alternate ending" because I am still undecided with ending, they could end where they both started, or continue and end with the teamwork.

Moving Forward
I'm moving forward to draft out a Storyboard and Animatic.

In terms of style, I've been thinking of having minimal environment elements, or just suggesting the park with sounds or objects like leaves blowing or a ball bouncing, In my head I imagine one tree and a Park bench.

Batman-Superman. This panel shows what I have in mind in terms of staging the animation

The characters on my animation don't say anything so I started using words in certain parts of my storyboard, this would be another element I would be experimenting with in the animation to bring out the characters at certain moments.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Minor Project - Understanding the Story's Structure

After some feedback I understand my storyboard was going from event to event with no consequence, instead of having an action be a reaction to the previous action, so I stopped storyboarding to figure elements from my story,so I could come up with a content rich outline for the short. I looked at different shorts and tried to see what made them work.

Analysing Shorts

Why does it work as short
It has one singular objective - The objective for each character is simple and straightforward

The two contrasting characters - the two characters are polar opposites of each other so naturally they'll clash so it's not hard to establish a conflict and a solution in 1 minute.

For every action a reaction - Unlike what I've been doing when storyboarding, this animation plays on the characters, and no action is done that isn't a reaction to the other character.

...The story continues - As the character drives off, you are aware he's getting into another similar situation, so the story continues in the viewers head

Moving forward
I've been jumping straight into storyboarding to try and figure out my story as I go along, what ended up happening was my plots became this "and then, and then" story. In order not to get stuck again with a subjective story I've tried to figure motifs for actions in my story than worrying about the slap stick elements, I have settled on a concept and a premise so the comedy elements can come in later once the Story is outlined.
Better together/Teamwork is Key
Two Squirrels try to get a massive acorn from a guy sleeping on a park bench, but they cant do it alone.

My idea has evolved over time since proposing it, these are just a few sketches on the project during that time

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Experimenting withTechniques

This was a little break from the minor project, just trying out a different technique in Photoshop. Drawing from Witcher 3 screenshots, and Wreck it Ralph concept art

I worked on these using techniques from Eytan Zana's Gumroad tutorial

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Minor Project: Proposal

The goal of my minor project is to create an animation which pays homage to the great comedy duos from sitcoms, cartoons and movies, by creating a duo which embodies this type of comedy.

I started my research with looking at cartoons, and how directors and cartoonist characterised their characters, most of these where all slapstick comedy, but looking further and broadening my research I found that there wasn't a massive difference in sitcom comedy and animation. Looking back at my idea of the duos I want visually contrasting characters like Ralph and Norton from the Honeymooners.

This is an example of situations that could create the dynamic I want.

I looked through previous comedy sitcoms and it is evident that they're all social commentaries about that particular era, as the BBC show in these slideshows

Through research and discussions in my tutorial, it became obvious that pining my idea to an event was crucial for the animation so it could have a backbone and even inspire set pieces and characters, the idea is to personify something as the characters maybe using stereotypes or recent events.

I decided to look at the recent Scottish referendum as a basis for the animation, I am now currently looking at the whole event and how modern comedians are dissecting it, like Frankie Boyle and John Oliver.

The idea is to have one character personify Scotland and the other England, and a simple premise like cooking a barbecue or building an Ikea bed.

At the moment these are my visual influences in terms of characters and the aesthetics of the whole thing from the opening of the animation to the quality of the models

Saturday, September 20, 2014

@Phil @Alan Minor Project Ideas

The way I've been thinking about my ideas were as year long projects, where the pre-production, production and post-production are broken down into the minor and major, I'm planning on doing character focused projects, I also listed a few other ideas which I've had over time

Most of my inspiration came from the Looney tunes and Tom and Jerry type cartoons, where two contrasting characters come together and collide, getting in the way of each others goals, I want to do a short that is solely focused on two characters, these are my two main ideas

1. Monkey vs. Samurai - Looking at the dynamic between characters like Tom and Jerry, I want to do a short which has a samurai meditating, or practising in his dojo, when a monkey comes along to disturb his piece, I imagine something very comical and light hearted, the story will be told through how the characters are modelled and how they move, what I want to achieve with this project is clean original character designs and models with a rig that give the animator more options.
This is a rough idea of what I have in mind

2. Chicken vs. Squirrel - Reminiscent of duos like Ren and Stimpy, Pinky and the Brain, Cow and Chicken, the list goes on... these characters would be a team, one being the smaller, smart, cynical type and the other being the bigger, stronger, naive type. The idea is to set them a simple goal like opening a tin of beans and see how they interact with each other and objects around them to complete the task, The Minor Project will be the storyboarding, animatic, modelling and rigging of the character and their props, and the Major will be the animating and the post production work.
This is a rough idea of what I have in mind

Other ideas which are less developed, more passing thoughts

- Futuristic Bounty Hunters - Set in a future where intergalactic crime has run rampant, Bounty Hunters are hired out to do must of the crime fighting and cleaning of the streets, and the best team around ware the Mighty four, they are a team of four dogs, each being a master of their craft they travelled space capturing criminals and most importantly collecting their bounty money. This project will be about modelling all four characters, all anthropomorphic like the ninja turtles but each inspired by a different breed of dog.  
main inspiration 

- The Samurai and his sword - Samurai's saw their swords as an extension of their soul, I thought it'd be interesting to model Yoshitsune (brother to the leader of the Minamoto clan) and his sword moments before he took his own life, I found the story of Minamoto noYoshitsune and Yoritomo really gripping, this project will be about modelling, rigging and lighting a scene, moment before Yoshitsune take his own life, this also has potential to be taken further into a major project, where the story can be explained more and the death of the main character can be animated
Yoshitsune's death (19:45 - 22:20)

- A Man stuck on an island -  A man has been stuck on an island so long that he's gone insane, like the movie Castaway, the main character snaps but he doesn't begin to talk to inanimate, but he unleashes a primal part of his brain and begins to hunt, survive and live like animal born in the wild, The minor project will be the modelling of the character before he got stuck on the island and after he snapped into his primal state.

- Ready Player 1 adaptation - Ready player one is a book which shows the possible future of gaming and this project would be my interpretation of what the complete VR gaming set-up will looks like on a typical gamer, from the visor to sensor feedback suits that fully immerses the player in the game 

- Story of Cane and Abel -  This would be an adaptation of the Kane and Abel story, it will be a still or a turnaround of the brothers moments before Cain kills Abel

- Story of Yoritomo and Yoshitsune - Like Cane and Abel this is a story about brothers, the project will be modelling focused, having two different types of scenes, one where the brothers are younger  and happy, and another of when they're older and the other wants his brother dead.

- The Morning Routine - The morning routine can be a long drawn out process, and I thought I'd be interesting to create a character and a set, and have a short about him/her waking up

- Procrastinating Tom - This would be another project with the potential to continue on to a major project, and it's literally one character who has been set a simple task to do and he does everything but what he needs to do, until it's to late for him to start working