Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Live Brief: Restorative Justice

Our live brief on the course for this semester involves working with RJ Working to create a short animated clip that clearly explains the concept of Restorative Justice and how it can benefit both the victim and offender.
To begin the project I attended a workshop which helped to explain to me what Restorative Justice actually was, our class also attended a theatrical production which helped our understanding even more.
In a nutshell Restorative Justice is when an offender and a victim (or victim's family) meet after the incident has taken place, in a secure and safe manner, to talk and express themselves to one another. It can help provide each party with a chance to say how they feel about the incident, to get answers or to understand each other as humans. It's an emotional process and has varying results for each individual case  - although has been proven to lower re-offending rates and provide satisfactory results for the majority of victims involved.

Our brief to explain this all in a clear, engaging and concise way. We've had a week so far on this project to start developing our ideas and put them down on paper. Currently I am working as an individual but I would like to start getting a team of people together to help me take the idea further - I had a positive response from presenting my concepts below to the class which is encouraging.

Central to my idea is these characters filled with 'liquid emotions'. I've had this concept for a while, inspired by feeling sad and close to tears - as if the tears fill me up and need to spill out. The emotions of the characters can be shown by: 
1) the colour of the water 
2) the height of the water - how strong and overwhelming the feelings are
3) the turbulence of the water

Here's an example of how the liquid emotions work. The victim tries to calm their fraught feelings by having a cup of tea, although it works to some extent it is only temporary as an everyday occurrence such as the phone ringing disrupts them again. 

These are my initial notes on how the story of the clip might go. I highlight 5 main 'chapters' and think about how the visuals change in each chapter to reflect what is emotionally happening. The incident causes the background to go black and hence make the coloured emotions more vivid, here the emotions are also more disrupted and don't settle to calm very easily. The meeting sees both the victim and offender experience huge turbulence and colour changes, which spill over from their bodies and are projected all around them as they finally get the chance to express how they are feeling. After the meeting, emotions are more calm but also the world is slightly coloured to show they understand that life is not black and white.

Here is an example of how the victim's liquid emotions react and settle BEFORE the incident by and everyday occurrence such as catching the bus.

Then there is the incident. The victim and offender's emotions are permanently disrupted at this point and new colours (emotions) are introduced. The background becomes black which makes the emotions more vivid and consuming.

Here is the victim catching the bus AFTER the incident. Their reactions do no settle - they are on edge and easily upset or reminded of the incident.

During the period after the incident, I can show how others' emotions are affected by the victim's presence - there is a ripple effect. When close to the victim they are disrupted, but by staying away they can keep their liquid calm. You can see the victim is agitated and worried by the turbulence, height and colour of their liquid emotions.

This concept is unfinished. I want to introduce a lot more colour into it to show how emotional and mixed-up the MEETING will be. This will be a very colurful scene where each character expresses their emotions with big liquid storms and projections - very messy but ultimately it allows them to say everything they need say (the good and the bad, negative and positive).

The last piece of concept I did is of AFTER THE MEETING. It needs some more work as I haven't had time to think much about the resolution. The victim's emotions are once again able to react and then settle, and also they are much calmer. The world is not black anymore, but has subtle colour to show they are understand life is not black and white. I think it is useful to have the victim take the bus pre-incident, post-incident and post-meeting to show how living has changed for them - the world is the same but they perceive it and react to it differently each time.

I'm pleased with my initial idea and am keen to develop it further, the next step is to get a team to help and perhaps start looking at story / plot (maybe change the order so that incident occurs first).

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Happy Valentines Day!

The Valentines Day card I made for my boyfriend Jack! Next up it's pancakes :)

Alphabet Patch Animation Tester

In January we were given 3 weeks to produce an animated 'tester' piece using our pitch bibles. I decided that my characters would work well in CelAction which is an animation program best suited for cut-out animation. One of our lecturers, Nick Harrop, gave me a super fast introduction to the program and helped tremendously throughout the 3 weeks.

To animate the characters in CelAction, they needed to split up into components in Photoshop and to have extra parts made such as mouth shapes, side and back, blinks, and hand gestures.

Paddy cut-up for animation
You can see that each eyebrow was separate, and that the pupils are separate from the eyes too. Limbs such as arms and legs could be manipulated in CelAction using 'limber' to make them bend so I only needed straight versions of them. The cheeks are separate too as they could have their colour changed in CelAction.
Some characters were quite easy to do - such as the chicks as they are just round balls basically - this also meant they were easy to animate turning 360 degrees.

I based my animation test from a concept piece I had done for the pitchbible - where the characters learn to iceskate as I thought there was a lot to play with in this scene and funny material.

Due to the short time allowed for this animation test, I spent the first week cutting up the characters, designing backgrounds and making a storyboard. I also had to learn the software which was very tricky at first as it is very different from other programs I usually use (TV Paint and Flash) but I got more efficient and comfortable as time went on. I had used the program previously last year and hadn't liked it at all, but this time around I really started to enjoy using it. 

Below are my efforts in CelAction last year, I can see that I have really improved since then.

For the storyboard I was ambitious, although I knew I would probably not have time to do it all. And in some shots I had to change the dynamic as I struggled animating some things in the cut out style, If I had had more time I would have like to work out some more complex animation in CelAction - such as sliding textures to create revolving characters.

Another issue with the short amount of time was that I had to start animating before I had the voiceovers. My friend Jamila kindly volunteered her young cousins to do the voices and I think they make the whole tester very sweet. But because I animated first, the sounds do not entirely match the visuals which is a shame.
I'm happy with how it turned out though, I really like working with this art style and CelAction has definitely grown on me - big thanks to Nick Harrop for helping me so much with the program and Jaguar, Jonas and Jamila for the voices and sound recording!

Alphabet Patch Pitch Bible

I have a complete pitch bible for Alphabet Patch! At least for hand in... I am now going to continue refining and developing Alphabet Patch with the aim of pitching it professionally in the not-too distant future. This will involve doing full character turnarounds, re-writing episode summaries, perhaps some scripts, more backgrounds and animation tests etc.

Since I plan to pitch Alphabet Patch professionally I won't upload the whole pitch bible on my blog, but here are some selections from it - and click here to see the animated tester piece.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Re-development of 'CAUGHT' animatic

Back in October 2014 I did a storyboard and animatic for an animated short concept I had called 'Caught'. After receiving feedback from my tutors on this work I decided to create an improved version. One of the main feedback points was to have a more consistent colour scheme in the animatic in order to help the continuity. There is a dream sequence within the animation that requires a very different colour scheme to make it recognisable as a dream sequence.

I started the redevelopment process by creating some more concept art for the animatic that would allow me to be more consistent.

Above is a concept design for the main character - an unnamed female sailor. I wanted her to convey a sense of independence and not to be too feminine. The above drawings show the layers of her outfit.

These are some initial sketches I did of the characters. The bird uses a mix of references - cranes, storks and herons. It wears a mask similar to the Plague Doctor Venetian design. 

In order to help create a more consistent colour scheme throughout I made the above palettes based from Aleksandr Petrov's 'Old Man and the Sea' oil on glass animation.

All of this concept work provided useful reference for me as I recoloured and redrew the animatic.

The redone animatic came out with a much stronger dark overtone which I think captures the mood of the piece better. Having done character designs it was much easier to draw the different frames as I knew what the characters were supposed to look like. I feel that maybe I made the new frames a bit too complicated and that the original animatic was clearer, whilst the redone version was more atmospheric.