Sunday, 22 May 2011

Deadline tomorrow!

The deadline is tomorrow, and things have not been going very smoothly! I will not be able to finish my film in time. I have RSI in my hand, and it makes drawing very painful. Despite this I am doing my best, but I don't think i'll have a lot to show for my hard work for the deadline. If I had just a week more I woul dbe confident of being finishing, but as it is i'll take that week anyway and continue to finish the film despite what I improve not being marked.... I'm going to paste my critical evalutation up here to better deetail my recent troubles so I do not repeat myself too much!

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At the beginning of this year I was given the freedom to create my own short film, a project that would last throughout the year. Working on this film for the past year has had both positive and negative moments, but I have learnt a lot. I think that in the long run, I have had a rather positive year, but a disappointing finish.

When I began the project I already had a rough idea of what I wanted to do. I wanted to explore a very specific part of Welsh mythology, the Cwn Annwn. I was inspired heavily by books I had read as a child, and I was excited to begin. The first half of the year was spent around pre production, and I quickly found that I had trouble conveying my ideas to others in a coherent way. Various ideas bounced back and forth between the lecturers and I, but I knew that I wanted to focus on a little girl and her relationship with these dogs. It was also going to be an oppourtunity for me to challenge myself with character animation. My ideas were not strong in the beginning, which resulted in a less than positive critique in November, but I left with new ideas with which to take my project. These ideas improved over the christmas break, and I returned with final character designs and new storyboard drafts. Because pre production is one of my favourite parts of the project, I probably spent too much time on this section, giving me less time for the actual production stages. I had a little trouble with how people read my film, which is something I defintiely want to work on for the future, but my storyboards were finally approved late February/ early March, at which point I could begin animating.

Because I wanted to challenge myself I did give myself a lot of difficult shots, types of movement that I have never tried before, and animating dogs, something else that is new to me. Trying to get the movements right did become frustrating at times, even when I had a lot of reference footage, but overall I was very proud of some of my more difficult scenes. I decided to take a different route to my animating because I wanted to get it as good as I possibly could, and so I began by blocking out everything and getting that right before aniamting any details, such as eyes and clothes, onto the girl. This proved to be both an effective and uneffective way of working. On one hand, I was able to get the movement right, but on the other hand it was time consuming and ate up much more of my time than I had planned. Because of this, everything ended up finishing much later than I had planned, and I made the decision to take a more digital route and animate directly into the computer, not only allowing me fast linetests, but also allowing me to copy and paste items such as eyes and heads so no only did they stay the right shape, but it made the process of detailing much faster. Because of this, I finished detialing my animation within a few weeks, which was fortunate because I had severly overrun my time with the blocking section, preventing me from sticking to my schedule.

In the weeks leading up to the final deadline, I began lineart and realised that the process that I had chosen was a lot more time consuming than expected, espeically for the girl whose lineart included a large variety of colours. I had decided on using coloured lineart to create a lineless style early on, because I was pleased with the way the concepts came out, and tests showed me that it could look very nice. Unfortunately, it was time consuming, and while I managed to finish most of the lineart, there were still around 8 scenes of rough animation at the time of the deadline. Another problem which displayed itself at the deadline was saving each image. I had been trying to work pretty fast to keep up with the work load, but because of this I didn't take the time to save each image correctly, so when I time came to edit everything together, I had to do this first, wasting a lot of time and ultimately preventing me from putting all of the lineart in the film for the deadline. I am very disappointed in myself because of this, because I have been working extremely hard to get this film finished, and at the time of the deadline I am handing in an unfinished piece. The cut I am handing in for my deadline makes it look like I have not done a lot of work, especially since the last crit. Another thing I did not take into account was backgrounds, and my film currently lacks most of them. I found that I put them off because I was focused on finishing quicker tasks, and because I do not enjoy drawing backgrounds. This is defintiely a weakness of mine, one that has ultimately let me down, and one which I am eager to fix for future projects. A series of unfortunate events have also conspired against me this time round, as I contracted Repetitive Strain Injury in both wrists and my drawing hand, making it painful to grip a pen, even when wearing supports. Desapite this I have worked as hard as I possibly could, and actually got a large amount of the film done within the space of the last week, which unfortunately cannot be seen in this hand in. I have also been suffering with laptop problems, making some processes much longer than they should have been. My last problem has been with music. I have a wonderfully talented person composing the music for me, and the first draft he sent fit the animation beautifully. However, he has been unable to fix the timing on the music in time for my deadline, because he has his own exams to focus on, and the timing of my film has changed drastically, so that the point in music do not suit what is happening on screen at all in some parts, except for parts of the ending which are only slightly off. The final music will be finished sometime next week after his exams, so it will be ready in time for the grady show, which is lucky!

However, while I have not fininshed my film in time for the deadline, I definitely want to continue working on it, and to make it as good as I possibly can. I have enjoyed working on this film a lot, and I hope that when it is finished that people will enjoy watching it! Working on this film has also helped with my time maangment skills, though it may not seem like it. Working on this film made me put in so many more hours than usual, and much harder than usual, helping me to become a more dedicated person and making it easier to stop procrastinating. As these are topics that I often want to improve upon in most projects, I think it was a positive point that I have been correcting them in this project! Another positive point is that I have worked in the studios much more, and been able to interact with the other students, offering and recieving advice, which I hadn't done often before this year. The long hours in the studio got a lot of work done, but in some ways it made work more enjoyable for me!

Overall I think that my successes and failures on this project have been mixed. I do not think that the project itself has gone particularly well because of the version I am handing in, despite the amount of work I have done, it is extremely frustrating to see the copy that I will be marked on. I am pleased with most of my animation, and I believe that I have progressed greatly since first year, and hopefully I shall continue to do so. However, I do believe that I was slightly ambitious in the time frame given, and while I did try and get help from other students, very few people responded and most of those that did dropped out on me due to other commitments. Despite the rough journey that this film has been through, I do think that I have improved as an animator and a worker greatly, and while this project did not go as well as I wanted to, hopefully the next one will go better!
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Hopefully I will beable to finish my film soon1 I will still continue to post to this blog, hopefully with some finished videos soon!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Late update

This update has been extremely late1 I have been very busy in the studios all day animating from about 8am-9pm, and I have been too exhausted to do anything else at home other than eat and sleep. I have finished all of the blocking and detailing at this point, and am moving onto lineart. The lineart goes pretty quick for the dog, but slowly for the girl because of all of the colours. It's going slower than I would like, but I am still hoping to get everything done in time! On Monday we had our rough cut deadline, and I got feedback from Caroline. She told me that the animation was good, but that the story was still a little confusing at some points. We then met up on Wednesday to chat about any changes that could be made, and they were mainly making scenes shorter. Overall this crit was pretty positive, and I am pretty happy with my film1 Other than that, I have my musician for my film, and he sent me a first draft timed to an old animatic. The timing no longer fits, but I really like the music and I think it flows very nicely with the film! Unfortunately, the copy was on a private youtube video, and I cannot get it to work on here.

I am not going to upload any more tests at this point, because I want to get on with the film and try and finish it! The next few weeks will probably be very busy and I won't be updating much!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Scene 10: Dog animation

I finished animating the dog into scene 10! I am pretty happy with how it turned out in the end, even though it's not amazing!

Scene 16: Final test

The final blocking for scene 16

Scene 16 tests

The tests for scene 16, getting the head movements right! This ended up working ok in the end, so all that needs to be done is the resizing

Girl riding on the dog 3

These are the last 3 clips of tests for this section. It's not perfect, but I think that it will work ok for what I want it for! Now that I have this I can continue to animate the next scene!

Girl riding on the dog 2

More animation tests for the girl riding the dog. I ended up focusing on getting each aspect right, so I took away the arms to focus on the legs first, and then I moved to trying to get the arms right!