Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Dance sketches

As part of our Motion Studies module we are creating an animated dance. In preparation I sat in on a dance class at the university in order to do some sketches. I've found throughout this course that I am having to get used to a different type of life drawing to what am used to from my previous art education. The poses are more about movement and so I have had to alter my technique. I do miss doing long 2 hour drawings and I want to do some like this in my own time, however it is interesting to learn how to create drawings based on movement. The dance sketches were definitely very quick and it was challenging to sketch anything meaningful.
After the class I took the initial sketches I made during the class and translated them from scribbles focused just on the line of movement into more defined sketches.
I've started using Photoshop more now and am actually really starting to like using it and see the advantage over tradition drawing and painting. Now that I have started experimenting with brushes in Photoshop I feel more comfortable using it and I'm keen to continue learning.

Below are the Photoshop drawings I did. For the final animation I would like to make it look very loose and stylistic, focusing on shapes such as in the final drawing I did:


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Mazed horse

This is one of the character designs I did for the Mazed project. It is the prince's horse. As the animation will be done in cut out style I decided to draw extra legs for the horse to make it easier for the animators to work, also it will speed up their job. I created 6 pairs of legs for the side view of the horse, which means the animators can switch between pairs to create a walking motion.
It's a very basic technique but as we are animating the whole thing in a cut-out style I think it will fit well as we don't need the movement to be realistic to life. 

Below is a quick representation of how the legs move, however I will leave it up to the animators to swap the legs at their own timing. 
The head, neck, body and tails are all separate pieces in this design so the horse can bob his head up and down. You can see that there are two tails, this is so the animators can switch between tails when the horse is moving or stationary.


For the past few weeks I have been working on a group project called 'Elowen and the Bramble Bush'. As director I have produced a storyboard. Another of the main things I have done is finalizing the character designs, and currently I am working on the layouts.

The project has been extremely challenging, especially due to the short time in which we have to produce the animation. We have been given a long and complex script which we have had to shorten into 90 seconds, whilst still trying to keep the story clear.
The animation will be for iPhones, and so we have had to keep the these small dimensions in mind when designing. We have until early May to finish the animation, so we have 3 weeks to complete A LOT of work.

For our project we decided to do a tapestry-themed animation, whereby the story scrolls along the screen. It also means we can have simple characters and we plan to animate in a cutout style which will hopefully speed up the actual animation process.
Below are the finalized character designs I produced, using the character designs submitted by the rest of my group (see 2nd image). This was necessary to do as we all produced the character designs almost in isolation and when put together they were not of the same style. I tried to stay as true to the original designs as possible whilst altering them to fit the style and also cutting them up in a uniformed way. The horses are my original designs. They are created in Flash and in a cut-out style, meaning that each piece of them (arms, head etc) is a separate symbol 

Final character designs
The character designs submitted by my group

 Above are the designs made by my group, I've listed their blogs and roles in the project below:

Producer: Joseph Stout (blog) - Gertha and Elowen original character designs
Art Director: Ben Langham (blog) - Bran Dhu and Pellar original character designs
Animator: Grayling Breckon (no blog available) - Prince and Chough original character designs
Sound and editing: Josh Keen (no blog available) - Witch original character design


I am pleased with how this skip cycle turned out. As we had extra time for this assignment due to the Easter break we were tasked to also create a character with dynamic clothes. I enjoyed working on this a more than the 'non-character' work we did previously as I really worked on using details of the character design to describe her personality. Technically, I think the hat's movement could be altered slightly but in general I am happy with it.

Her bag swings slightly further and fast than her arms to indicate it's extra weight, and I also added a blink cycle using symbols. The bag itself is a symbol that I stretched and squashed, whilst the bag straps are drawn frame by frame.

Character design is possibly an area I would like to go into, and as part of that I think it's important to become better at describing characters through their movements as well as looks.

I developed this character some time ago (see here) so I'm really happy to have finally done some animation with them! After the Mazed deadline I am thinking of redoing my walk cycles using this character, perhaps also the juggling exercise too as I would like to apply what I have learnt since then.

Walk cycles

These are two exercises I did for Motion Studies. The first is a side-on walkcycle, I made this using symbols in Flash. It was difficult and I feel it could have more motion such as in the head and neck. Since making this I've become more confident at animating in general (as you can see in my skipping animation) and now when I look at this I see so many mistakes. I aim to redo this after the Mazed deadline.

The next one is a 3/4 walk cycle. I tried a different technique for this one to try and get a less 'stiff' style so instead of using symbols it is mostly frame by frame drawings on Flash. I think a combination of this technique and symbols is the best way forward. I found walkcycles difficult so again I am thrilled with the outcome but I am getting more confident the more I practice them. In this particular animation I am pleased with the legs and how the feet really 'slap' down on the ground.