Monday, 27 October 2014

Alphabet Patch - First Concept!

One of the main projects for this semester is called the 'Cards Project'. We were assigned 4 random cards at the beginning of this project - the cards give you an artist, a theme, characters and a location.
I received:

Artist - Agata Dudek
Theme - children's pre-school
Characters - letters of the alphabet
Location - allotment

To begin with I was not pleased with my cards as I had never considered doing pre-school animation before but I have since become very excited about this project as I'm getting to try something different. Eventually we are to make a design bible for our concept but so far I have just begun by exploring my initial concept for the animated series and have done some experimental character designs.

I have  come up with an idea called 'Alphabet Patch', it's an animated series of episodes 15 minutes in length aimed at pre-schoolers. It's an educational program designed to teach children the alphabet and about the natural world. 

Above is the title for my series that I designed as inspired by the work of Agata Dudek.

Here are the first character designs I did, working closely with the style of my artist. I wanted the garden gnome not to be typical so I spent a lot of time experimenting. I want the character to be recognizable as a garden gnome but not just the same as always.
There is also a fat cat which I really like as I was getting to grips more with the art style.

Here are 3 of the main characters I designed - first the snail who is the 'bad guy' although he doesn't mean to be, he adds interest to the program. Next is Dotty the ladybug, she is curious and together with the gnome explores the garden learning new things. Finally is Mrs Beanie, she is a chicken and also curious, however she is not very smart or quick witted and acts as a comedic element in the program.

I have not developed the idea very far yet but I am really excited to keep working on this project, I have ideas to make this a stop motion animation but I will have to experiment with the art style some more. I find the art style fun to work in (much more exciting than usual and quicker to express myself with). I've started doing a lot of research into children's TV shows too, especially the 'classics' such as Pingu, The Clangers, Sooty and Sweep, Bill and Ben the FlowerPot Men etc as I would like my animation to have the same charm as these.

Funny in 15

This week I finished working on my Funny in 15 group project.
I worked as producer, background artist, character designer, art director, clean up artist and compositor on the project. I worked with Katie Wyman who worked as director, animator, sound effects person, voice actor, assistant clean up artist, animatic and storyboarding. Abhishekh Shivayogi was 3D modeller and 3D animator.

I think this was successful project in many ways and I learnt a great deal from it, not least of all learning how to use new animation software TV Paint. 
I really like working in this software, although I have only learnt the basics so far. It is ideal for creating more artistic and fluid animation than Flash, and the tools are much more animation based and focused. Also, we had to work out how to put 2D and 3D together, and although I encountered lots of problems in the compositing stage I can avoid them in future projects.

Above - final Funny in 15 animation
Things I would like to improve include the water in shot 2 coming from the bow of the boat, I think this should be cleaner and more fluid. Also, I ended up putting the water in frame by frame and was running out of time so in some parts it is quite rough (hopefully it is not too noticeable). In general though I am very happy with how this animation turned out, especially as it involved learning a bunch of new skills and really challenging myself.

One of the backgrounds I made using Photoshop. I like how we managed to blend a number of different styles together in this animation.

And below are the layouts I made for the project using concept art and designs I drew in Photoshop. These were very handy when it came to animating as we had 2 main animators - one working in 2D and one in 3D so everyone had to be clear on exactly were key poses needed to be.

 I did a previous blog post whilst I was working on the character and prop designs, which you can see here.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Skills pitch / showreel

On Wednesday I pitched my skills to the 3rd Years on my course in order to be enlisted as crew on some of their projects. Here's the showreel I made as part of my pitch.
Reflecting on this showreel now I feel as though I really need to start pushing myself more this year to develop in one area particularly and become less of an all-rounder. I'm not sure how keen I am on just doing design work - I'm much more interested in storyboarding. I am also thinking that I need to define my work and myself as more individual and to follow more of my own projects in order to achieve this development.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

'Caught' - Animatic and storyboard

Here's the animatic I made for about 1 minute of a short animated film concept I have. It is called 'Caught' and tells the story of a freedom-loving fisherwoman who falls in love with a crane that lives on an isolated island. It's quite an abstract story and is an artistic expression of a relationship that begins and ends. If it is made, I feel it could work well in stop-motion. 

I feel uncomfortable working out the timing in animatics, whilst I am happy making storyboards. This is quite a big issue to have as an animator so I will need to overcome it by practicing more!
Below is the storyboard I made for this project.

I like the above panel in particular as I feel it is quite dynamic with the bird swimming towards the camera and diving under the water.

Designs for 'Funny in 15'

I have just started a group project to create a funny animation in 15 seconds - we have 5 weeks to complete this project.
I'm filling the roles of producer, designer, animator and clean-up artist on this project. The producing seems to be going well so far - I'll be able to judge my performance on that properly when we get to the deadline. Below is some of the work I have done as designer.
Our idea is very simple and involves a dumb seagull.

Character progression for the seagull.

Designs for the boat - this may be modeled and animated in 3D for the final animation so I made several views of the boat to allow easy modelling. 

Three different options for the buoy. 

And the Titanic :) I really like this style - now that I have practiced it I can work much faster than usual.

This project has been good for trying out some more photoshop techniques - I'm fast becoming very comfortable using this program now.

Life Drawing

These are some of my drawings from our first life-drawing session of the new semester. Above are some quick poses - about 30 seconds. I think I am getting better at this exercise as I am focusing more on capturing the weight of the pose as opposed to trying to draw the whole figure in detail.

Next are some slightly longer poses. The obvious problem I have here is drawing the heads, I have real difficulty connecting the head to the body. In the left drawing the head is much too small, so in future sessions I should look more at how to draw necks and heads,

This is a measured drawing but with not a lot of time. Again, I had difficulty with the head and I am not too sure about the proportions in this one either.

And finally, a pose of only about 1 minute or less. This term I need to learn how to work faster, not just in life drawing but in all of my drawing. I aim to do a number of drawing exercises everyday with a set time limit to improve this.