Plastered around my desk and home is a quote by Nelson Mandela, ‘It always seems impossible, until it’s done.’ this is a quote that keeps me sane when I feel like I will never complete a project or figure a problem out.
This animation was a hard slog to start with, I kept saying all I needed was that one good idea, and guess what, I was right. It came just as I was committing to creating my animated documentary in 2d, using Adobe After Effects.
After a conversation with my lecturer Miriam I decided to dedicate a few days to try it out in a 3D space. It didn’t take long to realise that is what this story was missing. Which led me down a path of modelling an entire school set, complete with 3d corrugated cardboard. (which took a lot longer than I anticipated.
After a short fight with the Autorig in Maya I rigged my characters with Rapid Rig, which although took time to learn how to use, it was time well spent. It is a LOT easier to animate with a good rig! I have to admit to wishing I had spent a bit more time with the skin weight painting, but I have to keep reminding myself, it’s cardboard, you can get away with a few broken polygons. Sadly the perfectionist in me is screaming FIX IT!
I am also grateful to my tutor Hossein who taught us how to use Substance Painter. Although I am still quite the novice I already see how useful it is to have a photoshop type product that allows you to paint on a 3d surface.
I am looking forward to employing my new found skills in a new project over summer, I’ve got my thinking cap on. I will also be looking for some work experience before next year, not just to work towards the 60 hours we have to do as part of year three, but also for my own personal and professional development.
So without further ado, here it is! My very first animated documentary. The wheels in my head are already turning about what my next one can be about.
Yes, it’s crucial that I stay on top of the time line process to make sure that I complete this animation on time for hand in. The due date for this is Wednesday 25th October, so I have 44 Days — or — 6 Weeks and 2 Days. (Thanks, Day counter!)
Week One: Complete production schedule, at least half of the assets I will need to complete animation. Polish off the audio, make sure girls audio levels match, and add sound effects. Add the extra scene of the kids running past an open door and teacher looking out of the door to animatic. Down load the DUIK After Effects Plug in. Check out the Lynda tutorial on this. (DUik Rigging & Animating. Reflect on the strength of my own work.
Here are some links on how to use the Duik plug in – How to rig – Duik ik animation in After Effect–Getting started – Lynda tutorial. – Facial Rigging.
Week Two: Complete the rest of the assets and start blocking out animation. Make sure that I have the comic book speech bubbles to work with my animation.
Week Three: Continue with animating. Book time for the green screen for next week (Tues or Wens).
Week Four: Continue with animating, compositing, colour grading etc. Kids go on holiday this week so I will organise a time to bring them int of film on the green screen.
Week Five: Rendering and final compositing of visual and audio.
Week Five: Contingency plan, this week is the buffer to make sure that every thing is complete.
This is all subject to change, of course, there is a high chance I have missed heaps out!!!
I’m happy with the over all aesthetic of this, but I’m just not sold on the ending. But in the interest of not getting too far behind with Motion Capture,
I am going to put this on the back burner for a bit and hope that I can smooth it out a bit when I come back to it.
Reflection on my work so far:
1. Is the meaning/message of the sequence clear? Why/why not?
I do think that the meaning of this is quite clear, but the end part seems to be a bit weak (to me anyhow) I plan on strengthening this by adding another scene before the girls turn into super hero, adding the kids running past an open door and then a teacher poking their head out of the door to investigate what is going on.
2. Are there areas that seem too fast/too slow? Why? How could these be corrected? As mentioned above the end of the sequence seems a bit flat after the drama of the chase and wrestle. I have considered adding a scene, but I also think I might go back to the audio and see if there is something else that can be added.
3. Are we hearing or seeing too much, or too little? Are there areas that could be pared down, or pauses that could be inserted for a breathing space? Are there gaps in information that need to be filled in? I need to add in a few more cuts, such as over the shoulder shot after the boy cuts the wire, she shouts stop and the boy looks down at an angry Violette.
4. Is the sequence sufficiently interesting? Do we get involved? What kind of adjustments can be made to increase the degree of interest? For instance, could we consider making changes to: the proposed visual style, the characters/elements depicted, the emotional tone – poetic/humorous/action-paced/light and breezy/contemplative etc.? Why? Would the changes communicate meaning in the way that you want, or would they introduce new dilemmas? I believe these changes would strengthen the narrative by adding more context to the interchange between the girls and the boys trying to steal the speaker.