After several weeks I finally finished constructing and texturing the main characters for Alphabet Patch! This includes creating lots of different mouth, eye and hand shapes for each of the characters for all five angles - front, 3/4 front, side, 3/4 back and back.
We also had the voice actor for Paddy come into university this week to record his lines, and we're very happy with how he sounds! I was very keen to do some lip sync tests so I used Paddy's voice just to test the lip syncing on all the characters.
I'm hoping to have another recording session this week with the voice actors for Mrs Beanie and Dotty, and a final session the week after for Tony and Cecil.
Above is the lip sync test just using Paddy's voice, but testing all of the speaking characters. Below are the complete turnarounds of the main characters with most of their replacement shapes (more shapes will need to be done for particular shots). I haven't had time to export images for Paddy and Mrs Beanie but they are done!
Lead animator for Dotty, Sophie Rippington has also done a great animation test in CelAction using Dotty's completed rig:
They do look quite terrifying with all of their shapes - Tony in particular! He has a special 'ZZZ' shape as he spends so much time asleep during the episode. Dotty also has replacement wings, and Cecil has replacement 'slimes' which cycle as he moves (see the lip sync test video). Cecil has upright eye stalks as this makes it easier to add a limber to them in CelAction - they can then be rotated.
The original turnarounds where done in Photoshop, neatened up in Illustrator to make sure all the joints were smooth and then textured in Photoshop.
This week I also ran a CelAction training session for my animation crew and created a booklet for them detailing how to working within AP's pipeline and how to animate in CelAction. When I have time, I am hoping to make instructions for the whole pipeline from Photoshop to Illustrator to CelAction as it has taken a long time to figure out and could be useful for others.
For the session I created a test layout for the crew to experiment with and for me to test the pipeline. I will be setting up all the layouts for the animators. Each layout includes; the background or background placeholder; the actors loaded to the correct scale (and with any replacement shapes required for the scene added to their rig); the correct number of frames; any dialogue; and any props.
Above are two example layouts ready for the animators to start work, the props here were designed by Jack.
Once a week I am meeting with my 'story group' to discuss episode ideas for the series production bible, so I will need to start producing lots of concept art and character designs to illustrate these.
This weekend I am mostly working on producing - so working out which shots are highest priority and a Plan B, and finalizing the pipeline. I'll be printing out big tracking forms for both of the films I am producing - Alphabet Patch and Falling in Love which can be stuck up in the studio for all of the crews to use. AP and FIL have very different pipelines as AP is being done in CelAction and is dialogue-heavy, whilst FIL is a TV Paint animation with no dialogue. I'm finishing off costings for each of the films too, which means looking at the amount of hours work needed vs the amount of crew we have. It'll be nice to have everything organised and ready to go into full-speed production.