New Narratives: proposals and time management

Today we presented our ideas for the 30 second animation and it went down well. They said that they liked our idea and that we are on a good path. Especially by keeping our characters simple, as well as having a cute story.

From the beginning we knew that time management would be key to completing this animation and being able to balance everything on top of that, while also taking into consideration the fact that there may be times where there are trails and errors that will hold us back or even life events so we will need to make a schedule to suit this.

Our choice of time management service was Asana, its worked in some groups and failed in others, but its really up to the team all contributing and sticking to it, if we plan it well and work together, it will definitely work in our favour.

I believe that our team will be able to do this as we are all conscientious workers, so I immediately set up the Asana group and put in the tasks with the help of my team and we all discussed when we were wanting to get these tasks done by while also taking into consideration our other projects that we needed to get done also.

Having the Asana set up will also help when it comes to when we are off for Easter as we will see where everyone is at with their set tasks, they will also see what they need to do and get reminders when its closer to the date and most importantly we’ll see if they need any help.

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New Narratives: Film Genre

Yuan Yuan Chen started off the lecture talking about film genres, which will help us with our 30 second animation.

How do you group films:

  • Genre

What type or kind of film that it is. It can indicate whether it alls under sci-fi, comedy, romance, rom-com, action, horror etc. Sometimes film can have a mix of genres for example Scream with its horror comedy and Lord of the Rings with its multitude of genres and sub genres, it has a bit of everything.

  • Rating

What rating it got at the box office, it shows how wanted the movie is to be seen and how well it has done overall, this can make it memorable.

  • Director

Grouped by the director, meaning all the movies that that director has made.

  • Actor

Films can be grouped by the actor and what they have been in.

  • Length

They may be grouped by the length that they are, since there are short story’s, animated shorts, as well as long feature films.

  • Year they were brought out

They could be grouped by the year that they were brought out. Like on IMDB where you can see what movies were brought out in that particular year.

  • Plot

Similar to genre they could be grouped by their plot, they may have a similar story. Romance films usually have a similar plot line, especially if they are set in high school.

  • Budget

They may be grouped by their budget, high and low budget films.

  • Location

Films can be grouped by where they are made, this can be applied to comedies as there are British comedy and american comedy.

The usefulness of genre category

  • Marketing
  • Audience
  • Advertising
  • Can be damaging if the film is put in the wrong category
  • Popular genres can help the producer decide what film to make

Genre Conventions and iconography

You can define a movie from the get go. Factors that can tell you the movies genre are;

  • Setting – Its important to show the genre through the location, you need to set the scene and make it familiar to the audience.
  • Plot – The plot is also important, you need a good story to show the genre clearly and have a good narrative that makes sense.
  • Character types – Characters are also very important because they also show the genre of the movie. The Hero’s Journey explains this well.
  • Theme – The theme of the film will also show the genre of the movie.
  • Presentation – The presentation of the film is also very important as it includes important elements like the lighting and the music, which can contribute on how you want the audience to feel.

Iconography is the symbolic images that carry meaning from film to film.This will be different for each genre, for example in an action movie they would have guns, bullets,, weapons, near death, car chase, rage, gangs, explosions, fighting, tattoos, police, army, destruction etc.

While in a horror film the iconography would be; blood, gore, jump scares, demons, monsters, ghosts, murder, creaking doors, glass breaking, cats, owls, wolves, crows, crickets, eerie wind sound, footsteps screaming, heavy breathing, flickering lights, stormy weather, psychopaths etc.

What genre is our animation and what iconography is our animation:

Our animation is romance with a sub genre of comedy and the iconography that we are going to include is romantic/happy music and to have a happy ending, which is a very strong aspect in romantic comedies. We also want to look at the lighting as we know that is most romantic films the lighting tend to consist of warm colours, such as oranges, reds, pinks, and dark yellows. This will give the audience a sense of warmth within the scene, without noticing it specifically.

Our team also discussed the location of our 30 second film and we decided that we should go with the French Alps, as France is known for being the country of love, as well as it being a snowy area which makes sense for our ice skating love story.

 

Animated Short: Falling for you

After showing the second years our story they told us to avoid water so we needed to re-evaluate how we wanted our story to go. After a lot of decision making we decided on Waddles admires Flutter skating on the ice. Flutter calls for Waddles to join her. Waddles confidently jumps onto the ice, only to slip and almost fall. Flutter joins him and they skate together until after sunset.

We also drew up a rough draft;

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and a second draft to work out timing, camera and movement;

After finalising our drafts I decided to quickly draw up our first animatic for Falling for You;

We also worked on claymation for the animation so that we could get a better idea of how the scene will look, how the setting will be and to also take on Conánn Fitzpatrick’s advice when he said that when animators create their character they would model it in real life first. So I helped model the character using Plasticine that Michelle, Kristina and I went out to get and Robert made up a set for it. Then Michelle and Kristina worked on the animation of it.

 

Animated Short: Characters Concepts

As Angry Birds Hatchings were a big influence for me in the begging of creating the story I looked more into Angry Birds concept art and found their character sheets which was great to see as it showed me how character sheets are done and gave me a good idea on how I was going to do mine for our characters.

Scamper the Penguin was a childhood animated movie that I used to watch on repeat. I like the roundness of the characters and how the animators used squash and stretch on them, as well as how cute they are;

Happy Feet is another inspiration and one that Michelle really loves. The penguin designs for this film have been kept realistic which is visually great but not the style that we want to go for. I was inspired by the movements of these characters and how they were animated.

Willy the Sparrow was another childhood favourite of mine. I like how each bird has something unique about them, its something that I want to apply to our characters, whether its changing their features slightly or adding accessories.

The Dam Keeper, what is there not to love about this animation, it sticks close to my heart. I love the style that they use within their animation as well as how they have done their faces, as its so simple yet still shows a lot of emotion.

The Powerpuff Girls is another good animation from my childhood that I loved, the characters were simple yet cute. Robert loves this cartoon as well and insisted that we should use their type of eyes for the characters.

We then decided on a name for our characters, the boy being Waddles because hes clumsy and the girl being Flutter because she is graceful on the ice.

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Roberts representation of the charactersIMG_3051

My Character Concepts for Flutter and waddlesdoot

Roberts concepts;

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My character sheets

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My how to draw sheet;

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Animated Short: Choices

When we had our team meeting I caught up on everyone’s ideas and discussed any new ones that our team members came up with. Robert has a very interesting idea using different materials to create a bird character flying through the air and creating a love heart in a symbolic way, it would look really pretty and would require a lot of particle work, which would be a pretty risky and adventurous thing to go for.

Michelle also had some great ideas including; A tortoise finds a bird fallen out of the nest. The tortoise helps the bird back into the nest, when doing so an apple will fall from the tree. The implicit meaning would be “A good deed will be rewarded.”

Michelle and Robert also had a good idea of using simplistic shapes with different characteristics to determine each one, like a bean. Michelle came up with a story for them about the baby bean getting lost and the rest of the bean family help rescue the bean baby. The implicit meaning is that “Family sticks together”. Kristina talked about her idea about a rat after cheese and showed us her animation that she had done back in college for one of her projects which was very cute.

I think we were all leaning toward a happy or cute story, one which would lift the viewers spirits. I feel like going for a cute story would allow us to tell a good story within our 30 second time frame and make it read well and loveable.

I then showed my team after getting caught up with everyone ideas and they all seemed to like my idea. The audience could relate to the characters interactions in the story as it could be the start of a love story. It also follows the writers journey you have the start of a normal say, the call to adventure, a moment of panic and wonder as to what will happen next, with a nice happy ending, return with the elixir.

We then all took a vote on what we wanted to story to be and the team decided to go for my story of the ice skating birds. I’m glad we could get the story agreed on sooner rather than later because that means we saved a lot of time for any problems that we may come across, as well as time for other projects as well. This also meant we can stay looking at the story and making changes to it so it can be more desired by the rest of the team

Speaking of time, we all knew that time management was key and that we NEEDED to make sure that we grasped time management from the beginning because we had all been in teams where time management hasn’t been so good and we wanted to make sure that it would not happen with this project. That being said I immediately created an Asana for our team, we all sat together and listed all of the areas that we would need to cover and then decided on appropriate dates for those things that needed to be done. We also knew that this would be perfect for Easter break because then we wouldn’t have to worry that no one is working as everyone would see if everyone was doing their tasks through the use of Asana and if anyone needed an extra hand.

Time management will also be perfect as a less stressed team gets more work done and gets along as we will just see whats next to do and get stuck in. We wanted our Asana to be very realistic with our time management as we gave ourselves room for failure, other projects and time for tweaking when planning out our timetable. Every team needs to do this and stick to it, I learned from the Floating City project that if all your team isn’t taking time to look at Asana or time management tool then this can be a weakness in your team and could end up in everyone not following it because plans were not met. Even if the deadlines that you have set your team changes due to problems you will still have time to get back on track. It’s good have an approximate length of time for each task with your limited budget.

asana

According to what our team had decided on Asana next on our agenda was to get character concepts and scenery concepts down. Time to research! My guilty pleasure is to watch Bob Ross every Monday on Twitch, he really is an amazing painter and I have actually improved in my background art due to watching him so much. So when I was thinking about background and scenery I immediately thought about one of his snowy frozen lake paintings that you can see below;

We also talked about how we wanted the setting to take place at sun set, this meant we would need to look at how that would effect the colours of our scene. We all agreed that this would also give some really nice reflection in our ice as well as a lovely colour scheme to work with, also adding to the romantic setting we wanted to implement.

Robert also mentioned about the northern lights and what if we were to incorporate this as it would create some beautiful lighting for our scene and would also add to the romantic cute feel we wanted to go for. This made me think about where would this place actually be? so I looked up the main places that you can see the northern lights in winter and found this website. One of the areas that we liked was Northern Canada which you can see below;

Robert then suggested that the location should be in the french alps which I completely agree with as it would would well with the romance iconography that we want to go for as France is known to be one of the most romantic countries in the world. This also meant that we would also go for the sun set backdrop instead of having the northern lights, which was probably good as having the northern lights may have taken away from the character focus. This was also a good idea as in one of the lectures we had our tutors stressed that it is important that you know where your animation is taking place.

When looking into what our scene should have and look like a great artist that I looked at was Lisa Keene who did very beautiful concept art for the animation Frozen, as well as different trees that they looked into using, including how they wanted the ice to look which you can see some were stylized while some was semi realistic. She is also really talented at showing how light would effect it as well which I hope to learn from;

We also remembered the snow scene from Bambi and Michelle told us some really interesting information on the backgrounds in Bambi and how it was inspired by the Eastern American woodlands. A Disney studio, Maurice “Jake” Day, spent several weeks in the Vermont and Maine forests, sketching and photographing deer, fawns, and the surrounding wilderness areas. However his first sketches were too “busy” as the eye did not know where to focus. Tyrus Wong, a Chinese animator, showed Day some of his impressionistic paintings of a forest. Day liked the paintings and appointed him art director of the film. Wong’s backgrounds were revolutionary since they had more detail around the center and less around the edges, thus leading a viewer’s eye to the characters.

I felt that this scene related massively to our ice skating scene within our story as it shows Bambi struggling on the ice and Thumper being able to ice skate easily over the ice and tries to help Bambi ice skate. It was create to see the animation and how they made the characters move.

I also looked into Sukhbir Purewals concept art for Angry Birds Go as I absolutely love the style and colour palate that he has used for these. Kristina also said about making our scenery low poly when it came to modelling them and i felt that Sukhbir’s art style was a great representation of this and inspired me greatly.

Taking my research into consideration I did some quick concepts of scenery that we could use;

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Animated Short: Ideation

Team:

Our next task given as part of the New Narrative Module is to make an animated short using Autodesk Maya. This animation can be between 15-30 seconds, including 5 second intro and 5 second credits. I’m very excited to see what our team comes up with and how we do throughout our time working together to make our very first proper 3D animated short.

When it came to our team meeting up for the first time I ended up having the flu that week so I made sure to keep in touch with them and keep on working at home and brainstorm some ideas to show them in the next meeting that we have. To get the cogs turning in my brain I decided to look at different animated shorts and trailers.

Nebula by Gobelins is a beautiful short that I absolutely love, its a mix of 2D and 3D art with beautiful visuals. This brought me to Camille André who did concepts, designs, texturing, background and parts of the animation.

I also looked at the Angry Birds Hatchling’s animated short which I though was completely adorable and loved the idea of animating kids voices, as well as the characters being a simple shape.

As well as the classic For The Birds by Pixar:

I also loved the animated short Taking the Plunge created by the talented Thaddaeus Andreades (lighting and animation), Marie Raoult (modeller and rigger), Nicholas Manfredi (layout, animation and camera), & Elizabeth Ku-Herrero (character design, CG visuals). It has a great story, great sound effects and beautiful lighting, plus the octopus was incredibly cute.

Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou by Michael Bidinger and Michelle Kwon is another animated short that I loved. The story, character design, scene design, camera and sound effects were all something that I would like to learn from.

Since I thought we had a theme 0f hard and soft I looked into how we can make a story out of this but later we found out that we could basically do anything and to have fun with it. Although thinking of that theme it made me immediately have the idea of ice and water to indicate hard and soft. Its about a curious bird who discovers a frozen lake, and then notices a girl bird watching him from a tree, so he gets the idea to impress her by skating along the ice, but this does not go well as he ends up slipping and falling making his beak crack the ice and him to fall in. The girl bird quickly flies down from the tree to help him out of the icy water.

I sketched the storyboard out digitally so that I could get the story across to my team easier once I recovered from the flu and meet up with them again. However before I drew out the storyboard I needed to do my research for style and how I was thinking I wanted the characters and the scene to look. One artist that stuck out for me the most was Claire Keane who does absolutely beautifully styled art works for the visual development for Frozen. I loved the stylised look that she gave it and how she did the icy particles that I wanted to try and apply to my idea.

 ANNA ENTERING ELSA'S ICE CASTLE - CAVE // VISUAL DEVELOPMENT FOR FROZEN

When I was creating the story and laid out the storyboard I needed to take into consideration these key points;

  • A narrative – Start middle and end, taking what I had learned from the writer journey
  • An implicit and explicit meaning – This could be ‘Always help those in need’ as the girl bird didn’t laugh and leave him, she helped him.
  • Characters – Two simplistic characters that resemble more of a rounder flour sack.
  • Character and audience connection
  • Controlling audience emotion – Good story with good acting
  • A strong storyline – A clear readable story
  • Scenery and locations
  • Music – Music is a very important factor as you should always do it before the animation.

Here is the story board;

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