Promotional Concept Development

I’d like to think that within a lot of my work I like to have some form of fable, a message which connects to a wide audience, yet voices my own opinions. Lately I have been dwelling on an idea which to be put into a sentance could be worded as “While we are young all we ever seem to want to do is grow up, but it also seems the older we grow, the more appealing being young again becomes.” In a way similar to the anticipation of christmas time or birthdays, once they arrive a sudden realisation sets in that we no longer have something left to look forward too. In light of this I’d like to make a product that inspires viewers to strive for the present, to cast aside any doubts they have about what they are still capable of doing and what they have missed out on and do what they want as if every day is their last, to be grateful for what they have and not constantly long for what they have yet to have or have had and lost.

I found a few videos that picture old people in the shoes of younger generations, this one in particular tugged on my heartstrings, influencing me to incorporate not only a childlike nature to my character, but also a touch of teen angst and anarchy.

Anyway, I figured this outlook would be best portrayed through a combination of old and young, which has been used countless times in countless films. One such film is “Up.” a Disney Pixar movie in which the lost dreams of an elderly man are revisited once his life is enriched by that of an adventurous youth. I personally think this is fantastic, however I’d like to capture this youthful and adventurous side of my character, who in light of this will be an old man, without the need for a catalyst, such as the young boy.

I began to look at other ways to do this and realised Pixar seems to love the same concept and had another of the best examples. A short they produced in 1997 in which they had one old man, by the name of Geri, playing a game of chess against himself, portraying him with two completely different personalities, both of which had a childish nature, it links to the way children seem to find it so easy to use their imagination to entertain themselves without company. This is another massive message Pixar love to express, particularly in films such as Toy Story, which I have grown up with and loved all the way. Even when the plot swapped between this message which is almost completely positive to the soul crushing idea of growing up in Toy Story 3. Geri also appears in Toy Story 2 as a man who fixes damaged toys.

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This prompted me to begin thinking about creating a character that I could use in a series of ways and after consideration I had the idea for a fighting game using purely old people, doing thing with their false teeth and walking sticks that you’d never expect to see. I thought this was quite original, though in an effort to link my character with uni briefs and as the message I’d like the old man to portray is quite personal, I figured he would be the ideal character to use in a small ident for my film production. I decided that as Pixar and the whole 3d animation scene seems to have come to this amazingly high level during my lifetime and the influence it seems to have on my life, I should keep these characters as my main inspiration, I began to watch the clips linked in a new light and took a more intricate look at how old people were portrayed. I found another short film that I hadn’t seen before, which was fantastic for analysing the way an old man moves. It’s called “The Old Man and the Fish.”

I also began to compare the realistic movements of Geri in Geri’s game with a live action version, shot using an old man, amazingly, using the twelve principles of animation to their full effect, Pixar have somehow managed to reproduce the actions and emotions of an old man even better than a live action actor.

I also remembered about another animated old man who has influenced me growing up, It’s Arnolds grandpa from hey Arnold. Using massive exaggeration the animators made it clear he was an old man without even making him look particularly human shaped. I’d really love to make a character which can go to these insane lengths and still retain his old man qualities enough to be instantly recognisable for what he is.

I then decided I had watched enough animated old man to become a little creepy without beginning to look at how their essence is captured and what features remain constant throughout their portrayals. I figured the first steps to doing this would be to look at some concept art for old characters. First and formost, the rough sketches that will have been used to pitch the character.

I really liked this picture as it shows the progression of the same character from youth to pensioner, while this would be completely unneccessary for this module, it inspires me to maybe come up with a back story and design younger versions of the old man I make too. I also love the drawing style and the way some of his features are static throughout to really capture his essence

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Whilst on my concept art search for the old man from Up, I spotted this little beauty, a little figure of the character, I’d like to make my own one of these once I have made the initial designs for my character as I feel it would massively improve my final concept package. I didn’t want to spend too much time on what I personally feel is irrelevant material, so I quickly made some photoshop sketches of what I’d like my old man to seem like. This is not too detailed, and comes accompanied by a few sketches I have attempted in my sketchbook. However even without the need for animation, my tool of choice for drawing is Sculptris, even though I’ve been advised against it. Using programs like Paint and Photoshop may seem logical to some, but Sculptris is the exact same program except with an extra axis to work with, genuinely creating better concept art and only disliked by those who can’t use it. If you’ve got it – flaunt it.

Next came the time to look at faces, which without a doubt is the primary tool all of these examples have used to capture the emotion and age of the characters.

I really liked the way this initial concept art was set out, showing the stages of creation for the old man, especially when they started to add texture to his appearance. I think I’d like to make my initial drawings in the same way, paying particular attention to the progression of the face with a few full body sketches alongside.

I could also capture a lot of emotion and the way my character looks by making another mochette of just my characters head, I’ll invest in some plastercine to do this and a full body miniature once my initial ideas are down on paper. Next I began to look at other examples of old man faces which had been created in 3d and began taking note of the global features used, such as the loose skin, large nose and ears and massive bags under the eyes, accentuating cheek bones.

Being realistic, at this stage in my career, I don’t feel I am personally capable of creating a character of such calibur in 3d, not to mention the fact my computer at home would probably spontaneously combust if I ever tried creating something with such a high polygon count. However, as I intended to create a character which was more Pixar style I feel I can capture the same kind of emotion using a much lower polygon count through massive exaggeration of features. I then began to look at real old men faces, with features I’d like to mimic and combine.

This old man is quite obviously painted up and has a fair few unrealistic features which accentuate his appearance and age. He also has a kind of creepy Tim Burtonesque feel about him, which I’d love to incorporate into my character. Particularly the massive nose and strange shaped head, much like the grandpa from Hey Arnold.

The feature about this old man that I noticed really brought out his age is the lack of teeth shown, whether they are just covered up of have all fallen out, this is something I’d like to incorporate into my own character.

This is a picture showing some hideous deformity on the mans head, though that wasn’t what captured my attention, I was looking more at the priminent ears, nose and chin, again accentuated with the cheek bones and lack of teeth, this man is almost a culmination of everything I’d like my old man to look like. I’d also like him to be bald, as at a young age it is one of my more distinguishable features and will trigger more of a personal feel about my character. I decided to make a rough collage of what I’d like my characters face to resemble, taking attributes which are distinguishable as stereotypical old people and seeing how they look, the result was…terrifying. But the point remains, all the features I’d like to exaggerate and combine seem to work well. I decided it was time to sketch my character.

It’s a strange combination, having old people items as well as things you’d see on a much younger person. But as my character is animated, I figure I can go crazy in terms of props, he could use literally anything he wants. How can he carry it all? In his underwear of course. The freedom of animation means I could have him pull literally any sized of shaped object straight from his crotch.

This approach to the brief could take all year, so instead I decided to come up with just a few of his signature props, all with his own form of branding of course.

Working on this, along with my actual animation concept, I created a development sheet for a select few of his main props. I created these in flash, as I’ve always liked the idea of combining both 2d and 3d animation. Though I’m aware how often this ruins films.

As I’ve always seemed to prefer drawing my characters in 3d, as kind of a pre-requisite for the pre-requisite sketches.  I began to design his head using Sculptris, I made sure to keep the poly count low to avoid waiting hours for renders while still managing to capture the deep set eyes, big ears, massive nose, prominent chin and lack of teeth. As I said before too, I also made him bald. I think the inspiration gained from Hey Arnold’s grandpa can easily be seen too.

Next I had to begin looking at the torso and how I wanted it to look, as I wanted my old man to be weedy with saggy skin, as any stereotypical old man should be, I realised that to be realistic he would have gained a beer gut and will no longer have taut breasts. I also realise I want my old man to clearly seem healthy enough to be flexible strong and dynamic in his motions, to show his youthful side though usually unseen acrobatics from an old person. Not only would this bring across the message I had intended but would also show the lack of limitation brought about through the use of animation.

After some time browsing the internet for something I’d never ever have expected myself to type into the search bar I came across… oh my god I’m about to say it – The perfect old mans torso. I used this image as reference as I created a torso to go with the head I had made on sculptris.

I wass quite content with this, I made sure it would join quite nicely with the head I had made, though this will be my first multi segment 3d character design so I’m sure it won’t look perfect. Either way I feel I managed to capture the past it’s peak figure well, paying attention to let the breasts sag a little and to extrude the stomage by quite a lot, this will also add to the appearance of his arms being scrawny in comparison, while still allowing them to be realistically muscly when it comes to holding his weight. Naturally, the creation of my character’s arms were up next. I used the same image to model these as the torso, as I felt this would help me proportion them well. I kept the arm weedy as intended, though it clearly shows at least a small and still fairly well toned amount of muscle around the bicep and tricep.

Next limb on the list was the leg, again it was awkward to capture the stereotypical knobbly kneed look of an old mans leg, while seemingly realistic in terms of the movements I’d want them to produce and the weight they’d have to hold. I made sure the theigh was quite a lot fatter than the shin and rounded them off to create a more toned look.

When it came to the hand, I cheated, I also have hands, which remain in plain view throughout the majority of what I do.

Next I had a look at feet, something I didn’t particularly enjoy doing, since searching this generally brings up images of feet with something grotesquely wrong with them. One of the better reference images I found happened to have gangrene and was being used in an article about a dog who eats it off them. Not nice. Anyway, they served as a reasonable reference while I created my own feet.

The next step in my process for creating a 3d old man was to bring all these body parts together. I did this using 3ds Max, most of the body parts needed scaling and adjusting but with a skin coloured texture map it turned out alright looking, now I can add a smooth modifier  to make it look a bit more Pixar.

Though it can’t be seen from this I also rigged the character, a little more work to add in the envelopes on the rig and I should be able to present the character in a few better poses and could even run some test animations for the final concept package.

Here is a quick screenprint showing the biped within my character, it is also now enveloped, though I am having some trouble with overlapping on some of the limbs. Still, it’s a learning curve and it’s being tackled.

It’s said that the eye is the window to the soul, so I wanted to make this as realistic as possible as I felt it would add a lot of depth and emotion to the character. The eyes were created using a few simple manipulations of a sphere and only took a few minutes, but I feel the desired effect was matched and raised when I actually added them to my character. I also decided that since I had rigged the character’s limbs and he was, by this point almost a fully operational 3d  character, that I should rig the eye’s to move, this is done by adding a simple “look to” constraint from the eyes to a helper object placed directly in front of each of them. Again, this was a very fast and very helpful learning curve for any future production.

Here is a panorama of my 3D character so far, he still needs some 3D underpants but he is getting there.

PANORAMA

As my work so far had very little 2d incorporated so far, I decided to use a pose from my 3d character to create a 2d replica. Both to experiment with what looks better and just to prove I can actually use 2d software, though at the moment I find learning 3d is a much more intricate and therefore interesting process.

I made a character development sheet to fulfil the brief requirements. It shows the initial sketch, to the usual next step 2D, to the final 3D stages. Though as I’ve explained, I did these in a different order, purely due to where I feel my skills lie.

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The actual concept for my character to be used in is a short ident before my real productions, or even as the mascot for a website containing other animation and special effects work.  I’d like this to show the character slowly walking onto the screen with a walking stick, then giving the camera a cheeky grin, casting his walking stick aside and somehow performing acrobatics such as cartwheels , walking on his hands and skateboarding with apparent ease. I did some tests of this using another character with a similar build using MotionBuilder.

This is a simple run-cycle on a gremlin model that I felt was similar to Abe.

This is the Gremlin moving as Abe would with a walking stick, when pretending to be old and feeble. The walking stick isn’t incorporate though, it just acts as if it were.

This is the Gremlin model pushing a skateboard in the way Abe would in the sequence. Again the skateboard was not incorporated into the tests.

This is the Gremlin doing a cartwheel as Abe does when he falls off of the skateboard. In my sequence this will end in him catching a spray can, but as this wasn’t a proper already on the program, I replaced it with a hat as I wanted him to catch something.

Finally I had the Gremlin act out spraying his tag on the wall.

He then elevates this sense of youthful ability by combining my love for animation with my passion for graffiti, by spray painting the Azz Brown logo on a wall. The logo isn’t something I had to make up right now, though I had never thought to use it for such purposes. I decided to call my character Ancient Abe, as the logo I’d like to use is basically a multi-layered letter containing my initials which is then circled, giving the look of an additional E to the the initial A & B. I also realised that as his name is alliterated, the logo could be used at the beginning of each word in his name. I’ll experiment with this when I have come up with a final image for my logo. Here is a series of images depicting how the logo will be spray painted onto the wall by the old man.

After realising a logo this simple would be ridiculous in any production, not to mention how hard it would be to see, I developed it into a much broader and more stylized version, which could be recognized anywhere.

Here is an attempt at using the alliteration in the way I described earlier.

The most seen still images of Abe are when he is sat down riding his skateboard. This can usually be seen (Bottom of skateboard deck/initial poster concept) happening on a rainbow. I figured any pill popping, skate boarding, yo-yo flinging old man is bound to have ridden a fair few rainbows in his time, even if no-one else could see them.

I created the rainbow I wanted to use on Photoshop. Here is a closer look at it.

Next I had to storyboard my production and show what exactly I wanted my character to do. Again, sticking in my comfort zone for practicality, I decided to do these digitally. First I took still screen shots of my 3d character in the poses I wished to portray and also created a simple 3d environment for the scene to occur. Here is a sort of collage of the poses onto the static environment.

Here are the storyboards in order. There is no text on these, as the actual storyboards have the text written on so notes can easily be added as any extra ideas spring to mind.

I then developed these storyboards into a short animatic of my production.

I then began to experiment with different effects on Photoshop to create a character bio sheet. Here is a basic example, though it still needs improvement, I did this before I had developed my final logo, using the alliteration and the logo, so I will have to change that for sure, I am also not happy with how cluttered it is, pretty rushed work that I’d never class as high quality.

I changed the writing on the wall to use the actual Ancient Abe logo and font.

I then began working on my promotional material.

As I liked the contrast between the red and green on my character sheet I stuck to it as a primary theme around my work.

As my character is a realistic person, he doesn’t really have many props within’ the idea that couldn’t be sold as merchandise, as anyone who actually likes the show would appreciate owning the actual merchandise he has, I figured it would be smart to create distributable ways of selling his props.

I then looked at creating a web banner, using the dimensions of a regular web banner and noticing that most web banners were quite simple and not too much to look at I designed my own.

I then made a launch party ticket, with the end being a tear away once the ticket is used, I used the same colour scheme and again kept it simple, any terms and conditions would of course be printed on the back, it seemed mental to try and squeeze a load of ugly text onto the front of it. Once the ticket is ripped it relies heavily on the character image and the logo to show what it’s for as this would get the viewers to appreciate them more than just the title once they had seen the launch.

I then had to create a magazine cover, while this was very limited as to what I could do to it, I wanted to make it as hectic as possible and quite over the top, to get across the personality of the character and have people thinking they’d want to know just how an old man could possibly end up in such a situation.

Naturally riding a giraffe was the first thing that came to my head. No-one ever get’s to ride a giraffe. Except Abe.

My final animation test, I started to implement some 2d props as I mentioned before, but felt this was not necessary for this brief.

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Video Post Production – Weekly Journal

Week One

On the first day of term we were split into groups of three and were tasked to choose from a selection of scenes, the one we would like to replicate using techniques we have learned and some that we haven’t. We were given the choice of:-

Minority Report – Futuristic screens.

X-Men 2 – Nightcrawler in the White House scene.

Superman – Bullet in the eye scene.

District 9 – Space ship arrive.

Terminator 2 – Mimicking of security guard.

Jason and the Argonauts – Skeleton fight scene.

My group chose to think about replicating a scene from Minority Report, in which they interact with glass screens with images projected onto them. We explained to the group how we would replicate this scene using a transparent plane on 3ds Max and compositing translucent footage over the planes. We then watched as each group explained how they would replicate the scenes they had chosen. It was after this that I found out we would be actually replicating these scenes independantly. While I may be pushing my abilities, I decided I would probably learn the most through investing my time into replicating the X-men scene of Nightcrawler teleporting and fighting in the white house. However, I understand that this is probably the most time consuming and possibly the most difficult of the sequence choices, so, as it uses both camera tracking and 3d modelling I will also look into recreating the District 9 scene in-case it becomes a bit too much to bare.

Initially I had intended on using a completely computer generated character in place of Nightcrawler, however after speaking to my tutor, I was advised to research further into other methods of going about this. While still I won’t be using the exact techniques that were used in the original scene, I feel it would be best to use a completely live action Nightcrawler, with some CGI implemented to include the tail movements. I figure this would be a good opportunity as I have never attempted to composite any virtual limbs onto live action characters previously.

Week Two

The Nightcrawler, Whitehouse infiltration scene is the opening sequence in the movie X2, or X-men 2. The scene was designed by the director with Fink, Smrz and Suwanath, Suwanath being the one saddled with creating the animatics for the fast cut and stunt heavy sequence, before they were given over to Cinesite to perfect.

Nightcrawler is played by Alan Cumming, the main antagonist in the original Spy Kids movie, though most of the flips and kicks are done by a stuntman. This means I will need an agile actor who can actually replicate these stunts, preferably with a suitable appearance to do the close up shots too. The special effects make-up artist for Nightcrawler was a man named Gordon Smith.

The effect of Nightcrawler teleporting from one place to another is referred to in the comic book as Bamf-ing.

“Even with a $110 million dollar budget it was a mad rush to reach the deadline on time. ” – A quote from Fink, oh dear.

This week I learned there is not much valuable information on the scene I wish to replicate, other than one horrific quote that makes it seem like a lot of effort for a one man job.

Week Three

This week I decided I should look further into the techniques used in the scene and how I should go about recreating them. Luckily most of them are things I have tried before.

The Bamf effect is something that could easily be replicated by a semi -retarded goldfish using after effects for the first time. For the sake of education though, here is a short tutorial on how I will be doing it.

I also had to look into camera tracking. Though the videos posted here are not the ones I learnt the technique from as we were supplied much more useful ones in class. These videos are pure space fillers for points.

One other thing I had to look into was a very small part of the scene in which a security guard is thrown through a pane of glass. While normally used for creating Cityscapes I realised the 3DS Max add-on “Greeble” was an efficient way of recreating this. I used this tutorial to learn how to use it in such a way.

http://folk.ntnu.no/havardsc/site/wordpress/?page_id=222

Week Four

This week my first presentation is due in, a big part of the grading criteria for it was a complete set of clear storyboards. I decided to do the imagery on Flash while waiting to print them to add notes, I think this was the best option as I knew I’d have to add a fair few extra bits as I went along, showing the camera movements and such.  They are obviously meant to be on paper to help with shooting, but here they are in order. Week Five As I have only really dabbled in creating 3d characters and props I thought it would be nice to try creating a virtual environment for my scene recreation. While this wasn’t how it was done in the actual scene, it seems a logical alternative to a multi million dollar studio set and I think it would be a pretty good learning curve, whatever the outcome. After a few rough sketches I had established what corridors I would need and what angles I would need to view them at to recreate the scene as Nightcrawler is running riot past the security guards in the corridors. I realised I needed only a few corridors of different sizes. Initially I planned out where the walls would have to be and built up on 3ds Max from those foundations. After creating the walls I added skirting boards, carpet and pillars holding arches. This gave me the chance to play around with a fair few modifiers just to see the effects they had. I also needed props to keep the walls from seeming bare. In the actual scene the walls are filled with large artwork in pictureframes. I decided I should make a decent frame without an image in it and resize it appropriately depending on it’s location within the Whitehouse.

I then took the bases of the pillars I had already created and tweeked them a bit to make a stand for busts I wanted to have scattered around the Whitehouse corridors. The busts will be of bodyparts from the character I created for another module I am doing at the same time.

I made a quick video render of the Whitehouse before I added actual pictures to the frames on the walls. It looks like this.

Unfortunately, as this was my first time creating a proper virtual set, I accidentally created  a few of the initial objects with a higher poly count than needed, which meant that once they had been repeated a fair few times it was quite a large file, once lighting and cameras came into it, the computers I had access to struggled to even open the file, let animate with it. I tried to counter this by using the OptimizerPro modifier, but this didn’t do much.

Week Six

I wanted to create a virtual tail to composite between the Nightcrawler character and the virtual environment. I created the initial shape for this on Sculptris.

I then found a scaley texture I could apply to the tail and turned it blue.

When the texture was applied it looked like this.

While at first the tail was straight, once I had applied bones to the tail I was able to move it in the way it moves in the actual scene.

Week Seven

This week I focussed on getting together any props I might need for filming. There is a shot right near the end of the scene in which Nightcrawler comes very close to the screen and snarls. This exposes his teeth a lot so I decided to invest in some false teeth that look similar. These came with Stay-Put putty which keeps the teeth in place and looking realistic.

There is not too many shots through the scene in which you can actually make out Nightcrawler’s skin tone. However for the close up shots that clearly show it, he is a shiny, almost metallic blue colour. I think I managed to find the right colour in Snazaroo make up.

Since most of the shots will be filmed in the blue screen room, I realised that the make-up would make the character completely disappear when I key the blue-screen out, so I’d have to shoot the close up shots with a green screen. I also thought about the amount of flips and ragdoll flying that happens throughout the scene. I figured since all filming will be done in a blue screen room I could use a blue Morph-suit to throw my actors about and slow the motions down. This will stop the second person from being seen in the footage.

Week Eight

This week I actually realised how much work I was actually preparing to do in conjunction to my other modules and it dawned on me how much time I would actually have to invest to accurately replicate the Nightcrawler scene to even a fraction of the extent at which I’d be happy.

Luckily I noticed that the Nightcrawler scene, with the addition of the BAMF teleport effect and the glass smashing effect, relies on pretty much the same techniques as District 9 though on a much bigger scale.

Just the first 27 seconds of this scene would have to be replicated, which I feel is easily doable.

If I swap to the District 9 scene at this point in the project, I still feel I could recreate the scene to a high standard. First though I thought it would be best if I researched into how it was created.

I decided to look at a few examples of other people trying to replicate the scene and how they have gone about it.

I then watched a tutorial on how to go about creating the effect, this helped a bit though through what I’ve noticed about the actual footage I wont be following the tutorial exactly.

District 9 is produced by Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, which means that of course the virtual special effects are done by Weta Digital. Renown for their world class ability to create amazing scenes in films such as Lord of the Rings and King Kong. However, as none of the clip relies on particularly hard techniques I don’t feel that bit of the film required even a small fraction of the movie’s $30 million budget.

The first thing I noticed is that 2 fairly long shots within it are very simple static interviews that really need no skill to replicate. The rest however is either also deceptively easy or hard to produce, depending on where your talents lie.

Aside from the spaceship, which I will look into afterwards, the shots used seem to be intercut, possibly with just cityscape images. While I’m not overly sure it is actually what they are doing I feel this would be a simple yet effective technique to experiment, as it is an effective way to add depth to a shot. When a spaceship is added between the two image layers it makes it seem much bigger.

Here are a few images of Leeds cityscapes that could be intercut with foreground footage.

Here is a quick attempt at a still version of what I mean.

The next thing I noticed was the quality of the footage, as most of the shooting is in a verité/handheld style, the footage is actually pretty poor quality to add the hand held authenticity. I did notice that the foreground of the shot is much clearer than the cityscape in the distance.

The filming was primarily done using digital Red One cameras to keep the hand held feel about it. Any CCTV or documentary style footage however was shot on Sony EX1/EX3 XDCAM-HD.

It would be easy to twist and tilt this footage all together while enlarging the layers at different rates, this combined with a lot of blurring where the footage overlaps should create a very realistic and distant feel.

The last thing I looked at is probably the first thing looked at by anyone else doing this sequence. The spaceship.

I personally don’t feel this deserves much of my attention as I am not too shabby at box modelling on 3ds Max, which I will use to create it.

However I did notice that it seems the footage of the ship, especially on one of the shots is also layered, in much the same way as the environment. I might give this a go as well, if not just blurring part of the layer that the ship is on.

To make my sequence a bit more original I will be creating a spaceship on 3DS Max, Though it seems I only really need an image of a spaceship to replicate the scenes. I figure research into loads of different spaceships and UFOs would be pointless as the one from District 9 is quite distinct and I would like to base my ship on the appearance of that one.

I also learnt about a 3DS Max plugin called Greeble, this not only allows for simple creation of city scapes, but would also be good for adding a nice texture to the surface of my spaceship.

Here is a short video explaining the basics of what Greeble does and how it does it.

I also found another add-on called Suicidator for Blender 3d, this is something else I’d like to look into as I am very interested in improving my skill using Blender as I think freeware will be of massive use while I try to pick up freelance work through university.

I will experiment with this and the difference between using a virtual and real life set over the Christmas holidays.

Week Nine

As I have changed what I am doing, I decided to start over, the first step was storyboarding. I decided to do my storyboards through the use of screenshots as it was fairly hard to convey small things occurring in low detail drawings.

I also had to think about how I can achieve these effects Also, since I now have to film on location and not just use a virtual environment I had a look for the location I felt would best represent the location in the scene. I found a place I felt would be fairly easy to access when filming. Luckily I managed to find a view suitable within Leeds. Here is a shot of the location in relation to the university.

Here is a look from the view up there.

I also found a good shot of a busy city road on the Headrow in Leeds City Center.

Week Ten

This week I decided I should film, I was planning to film Nightcrawler over the Christmas Holidays as this usually means a completely free blue screen room for a fortnight and as I don’t think I could shoot that whole lot in even around 5 2 hour sessions. Anyway to recreate District 9 I need to shoot off of Headingley Campus I had to fill out another risk assessment form for high risk filming.

I had used animation techniques in a lesson last year which allowed me to create perspective  and add depth to two dimensional imagery. Here are a few examples of what I mean.

An effect used in films such as Jaws.

Zoom

Vertical

Diagonal

Horizontal

I decided it would be a cool thing to try and do for this project to add a little bit of quirky to it and to gain a better grasp on how to add the depth with video footage, while still using all the same post production techniques.

All special effects shots in the sequence are created completely with still imagery and animated objects.

It’s under the 45 second recommended runtime but all the effects are present and the initial clip was only 33 seconds long.

 

While I know this wouldn’t be the conventional way of going about creating the special effect, the pass based rendering is still clear, I used a combination of both Flash and After Effects to create animation within the scenes.

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Report on the Animation Industry

Despite common misconception, the animation industry is in no way confined to being of purely entertainment-based purposes. In actuality it’s quite the opposite, there are numerous uses of animation, which would not fall under the entertainment category. Animation’s uses actually stretch across a number of careers, from the expected roles of animated feature films, cartoons and film special effects, to much less cliché areas of work, such as that of simulations for training anyone from surgeons to astronauts, for people learning to drive a car, to those learning to drive a plane, animation experts can create realistic environments in which things can be learnt without the risk of harm to anyone or anything. Animation can also be used and is a large part of the architectural industry, whether just for landscaping or even taking original two-dimensional blueprints and creating three-dimensional realistic representations of how a building would look once built. These animations can also be used to produce accurate predictions of how a building will balance out and be effected by many factors such as battling the elements.

Throughout this report however I will look into career paths that are appealing to me personally, at the moment these are mainly tuned towards the three-dimensional side of animation, using programs such as Maya, Z-Brush and 3DS Max to design, rig and animate entire characters and environments. However, this doesn’t just mean I am set on a career in fully animated feature films. As live action filming is another massive passion of mine, I’d love to work on adding special effects to live action footage. Also in this career spectrum I’d like to master less seen techniques such as roto-scoping to the level of complexity shown in films such as A Scanner Darkly and perhaps look into combining both 2d and 3d animation to create much more personalised and instantly recognisable style of animation. This has been done before of course, in films such as Dragonlance – Dragons of Autumn Twilight, though the techniques used in this film particularly did not appeal to viewers anywhere near as much as I’d like to.

Not only are these areas of animation that I’m particularly passionate about but also research over the past few years shows feature film animators and special effects experts tend to be the highest earners within the animation industry. Not only this, but feature film animators and special effect experts were also found to be the happiest roles in an industry already considered to be one of the happiest career paths available.
As story telling is above all my primary passion, my end goal would be to be producing my own feature films, whether they are completely animated or live action with special effects. I’d like to work on my own story, with my own characters and a team of skilled animators helping to create a world of my imagination. As ambitious as this is however, it is not what I consider to be my Everest.

My foremost desire within the animation industry is to begin and head my own animation company. I realise I could not just start this company and expect to be creating feature length films. I intend to start small, with a few associates within the industry, working on revolutionary animated advertisement campaigns and music videos, much like that of an early Shynola, though more based on three dimensional and computer animation. However, to have anywhere near enough of a reputation to begin my own company, throughout university and for a few years after, my primary concern will be to create a portfolio of animation work to the highest possible standard, showing an in depth understanding of a wide number of animation techniques and programs. Not only this, but I’d like have my work on as many websites and to enter my work in as many competitions and shows as possible just to get my name out in the industry and for my current superiors to see my potential and realise I am an animator worth knowing.

I will also have to get to know the industry, so work experience within animation is a must. I intend on returning to Copenhagen during my study time holidays and improving what little work experience I have in the creative field, this will be for a business-to-business communication agency named BovilDDB. I am also doing a sandwich course and taking a year out of my studies to get a firm grip on what is needed for a career in feature film animation. I intend on beginning to research smaller scale animation studios around Britain and maybe even Europe throughout my first year and begin to apply for a work experience year at my desired places as soon as I begin my second year. This way even if I don’t get a work experience placement at my preferred company, they have at least heard from me, and seen some of my early university animation work. This could be a foot in the door for future job prospects.

In all, I am shooting for the moon, intending for my stories to be as widely loved as those of Pixar or Disney. My commitment to story telling and particularly computer animation, cannot be expressed purely through a first grade in my university course, but rather relies heavily on my portfolio of animation work and my industry connections. This will be my priority throughout the next few years and then still for the rest of my life. I will attempt to gain insight not only into the technical side of animation, but also the history and business ethics of well-known animation companies.

Biblio:-
Research Information taken from – http://www.animationmentor.com

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