Week 4: Challenging!

This week has been fairly challenging. I finished off the storyboard for Monday and worked with my crew to develop another draft of the script. We then got some feedback on it and made some changes in response to that. From there I have been working on the animatic which I hope to have ready to show to visiting lecturer Luis Cook (a director at Aardman) next week.
Since I'm still busily working now, this blog post will be quite brief.

Here's one of the very rough storyboard pages and below are the rough animatic images. At this stage I am not being to fussy with details but instead trying to create a good flow for the piece and good compositions that work. This part is taking a lot longer than a thought, but my brilliant editor Sophie is working very hard putting them together and adding sounds. The animatic is looking to be quite long currently - around 6 + minutes with a lot off dialogue, so a bit daunting.

The other big task this week has been character turnarounds. I've been struggling a bit with the pipeline for CelAction - I originally intended to create the characters in Photoshop and rig them in CelAction. However, since I am trying to be a bit more fancy with my character rigs than I was last year (i.e. more complex and smoother movement) I decided I needed more precise drawing tools than Photoshop could offer. I thought that CorelDraw would be perfect but my copy is very old and I could not find out whether it was compatible with CelAction. Thus I settled on Illustrator, unfortunately I haven't used this much before so I need to learn it quickly!

My current plan is to do rough turnarounds in Photoshop to work out the general shapes and joints, then to trace these designs in Illustrator. By using vectors I can get smoother and more precise shapes. Next, I will either texture in Illustrator or import the vector shapes back in Photoshop and texture them there. Finally, I can import the characters into CelAction and rig them. There are a number of tests I will perform on each character to check the rig designs are good enough and I anticipate that there will be a lot of corrections and changes to be made.

These are the Photoshop turnarounds. They do not have their full textures, and I still need to do some replacement hands and mouths etc. At this stage I am working out how the characters look from different directions. These designs will be traced in Illustrator and neatened up to have joints that work smoothly. I hope to do a lot of experimentation with Illustrator, Photoshop and CelAction this week, as well as finishing off the animatic to show Luis Cook.

I'm struggling a bit as it is very hard to find in-depth tutorials for CelAction on the internet, and the university version is missing the help file. I have been making do with trial and error (although this is very time-consuming and sometimes frustrating), I have also found two great sources for CelAction tutorials:

If I ever work out how my pipeline works I promise to make some detailed tutorials on how I achieved it for the next lot of struggling students!