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Creative Decision Making: Final Overall Review

A great deal of my decision making is associated with my new learning post as most of the work that I have done is a new experience. Thus, through learning from a multitude of sources have been an impacting factor to my creative decision making.

From the beginning, I presented the text that my animation would be based on from the Gospel of Luke chapter 15 verses 11 to 32 from the Bible. Adapting the existing parable would mean requiring creative decision making in the script. How much of what happens is similar, what themes should be the most prominent and dealing with dialogue. I also had researched previous film adaptations of the story, drawing inspiration for narrative and possible aesthetic. Through researching other sources and viewing videos, I made some early tests of aesthetics that included rotoscoping and practice sketches. There were a few factors that led me to working with frame by frame 2D animation is that I had experience in a previous project, that I felt doing something else like rotoscoping would make challenges that are not manageable within the given time, and that I appreciate the aesthetics of films such as Prince of Egypt.

Using live action tests and the animatic helped project the duration. However it was really the constant interrogation from a number of tutors that helped make more concise and clear up any misunderstandings in the animation. Through the work of others online, has helped inspire my working methods and character designs.

Whilst working on character designs, I was also brainstorming for the environmental aesthetics. I knew that I wanted the 2D characters to be within a 3D world to make lighting and texturing more atmospheric. Initially, I constructed the 3D world in Modo902. However, since I did not have Cinema4D, I could not explore the potential it had. Therefore I moved on to creating assets in Photoshop and transferring it to the 3D world of After Effects.

Voice acting was also another aspect that determined some creative decision making. Whilst working with voice actors, we had to get a few different takes to see what matched and what was the most suited to carry the emotions I wanted across. The perspective and length of shots was then adapted to emphasize certain sentences. I found the animation community on online forums helpful in encouragement and critique. It was a place that allowed for consideration and for fresh perspectives to make creative decisions.

In conclusion, creative decision making for me has been majorly influenced in my learning of techniques and inspirations of others. Part of it has also do with test and experiments of my own.

New Learning: Final Overall Review

During the course of the final major project, it has been another challenge level higher than before. I have grown from practicing basic characters and transitions at the beginning of the year, to working with animal movements for the client PROMISE to the end of the year with animating human characters with lip sync. With each transition I have used different methods of working and learned to use alternative software.

For this final project titled ‘Love Returned‘, I began to learn how to use Animate CC, when previously I had been using Photoshop for frame-by-frame animation. This meant that I would have to explore a new aesthetic and what the program can offer. Watching Toniko Pantoja’s tutorials helped my understanding of how to explore Animate CC and what were the possibilities when compositing it in After Effects.

There were many new tasks I needed to experience, such was planning in detail through gantt charts, doing live action tests, working with voice actors, animating people in more detail, perspective and speech. The structure and methodology I set out I have described in my final weekly review. These stages have been malleable and change according to how much I have completed against how much projected time there is left. One method I found to have motivated me to push through with my work is using Rescue Time. By comparing how many hours I put in each day drives me to do better in the following week. Overall I have been able to produce an animation at an acceptable level. The quality meaning the inbetweens, smoothness and body proportions are lacking, however at least not majorly distracting to the viewer.

In terms of the narrative, it has come a long way since the initial script, which was projected to be 10 minutes long. Through a lot of break downs, questioning the relevance of scenes and the guide of tutors, I had been able to shorten the duration to 4 minutes and 30 seconds. The narrative has also developed to be more centered on the older brother Michael, when originally it was clearly focused on the younger brother Ryan.

Looking back over the course of this project, there are a number of aspects and methodologies I would do differently if I had the chance to do this again. Firstly, to be a lot more thorough with the narrative and script writing. I was still making changes in the last quarter of the time given and if I had made the changes earlier, perhaps some aspects to the animation would be much clearer and compelling. Secondly, it would be animating the characters. During the key animating and in-betweening process, that was my practice, exercise and learning period. That is why some shots and scenes look far smoother and consistent than others. These are the aspects that I want to continue developing and to apply these acquired skills for future similar projects.

Forefront of my current work

So where is my work in relation to the forefront of animation? I would categorize my project Love Returned as a 2D based animation, placed in a 3D world. 2D animation currently is not seen to be at the forefront, instead VR is the next steps in the development. 3D animation and 2D/3D hybrid follow behind. Nowadays, instead of massive transitions in the visual quality of 2D animation, it is the technique, method, software and style that allows for efficiency and diversity.

It is clear that Disney has made the transition from 2D to 3D film production. Many question if there will be a return of 2D from Disney. However, in other parts of the world, 2D still plays a significant role in the animation industry. Makato Shinkai has been made known to be the ‘new’ or ‘second’ Hayao Miyazaki. Within the world he creates, there are elements of 3D and CGI that are seamlessly used. I would regard him and his work at the forefront of 2D animation.

There are other places we can find to be the forefront of 2D animation and those out there testing and sharing their knowledge of its application. Such is Klei Entertainment from a GDC session. Such conferences and talks can help us understand the industry and the directions people are exploring.

Festivals are also good places to keep up and involved in the forefront of animations that associate with the 2D style and technique.

Future direction of 2D hand drawn animation?

In Ireland, director Tomm Moore argues that 2D animation can still evolve and survive, just like how stop-motion has been revived through unique perspectives through studios such as Laika and Aardman. 2D animation is similar to stop-motion in the sense that the techniques have been adapted and mixed with CGI and other media. In this modern age, it is clear that most, if not all animated films are mixed media. However there will always be a main medium that is clear to the viewer of where it is stemmed from.

References

Fenlon, W., 2012. 2D Animation in the Digital Era: Interview with Japanese Director Makoto Shinkai – Tested. [Online]
Available at: http://www.tested.com/art/movies/442545-2d-animation-digital-era-interview-japanese-director-makoto-shinkai/
[Accessed 17 August 2017].

Game Anim, 2017. 2D Animation Klei Entertainment – GAME ANIM. [Online]
Available at: http://www.gameanim.com/2017/06/06/2d-animation-klei-entertainment/
[Accessed 17 August 2017].

Lamble, R., 2016. Studio Ghibli: Marnie, its final films, the future of 2D animation | Den of Geek. [Online]
Available at: http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/studio-ghibli/37209/studio-ghibli-its-final-films-the-future-of-2d-animation
[Accessed 17 August 2017].

Little White Lies, 2016. Makoto Shinkai: ‘You can’t be Miyazaki, you can only be the second Miyazaki’. [Online]
Available at: http://lwlies.com/interviews/makoto-shinkai-your-name/
[Accessed 17 August 2017].

Slurpy Studios, 2009. 2D Animation vs 3D Animation Argument, Debate. [Online]
Available at: http://www.slurpystudios.com/2d-animation-vs-3d-animation/
[Accessed 17 August 2017].

Stein, M., 2016. Will Disney Ever Return to Making Hand-Drawn Animated Films? – The Mickey Mindset. [Online]
Available at: http://www.mickeymindset.com/will-disney-make-hand-drawn-films/
[Accessed 17 August 2017].

 

August Checked List

Mon 070817 update:

  • Drawing building asset 01,02
  • Compositing shots 35-48

Tues 080817 update:

  • Drawing building asset 03
  • Composited (rendered complete) 35,36,37,38

Wed 090817 update:

  • FINISHED animation at acceptable and submit-able standard
  • Blog post on final weekly review

Thurs 100817 update:

  • Editing animation cuts
  • Re-drawing opening scene

Fri 110817 update:

  • Blog post on forefront: VR Animation
  • Promo video
  • Re-drawing opening scene

Sat 120817 update:

  • Re-drawing opening scene
  • Presentation Prep

Sun 130817 update:

  • Re-drawing opening scene
  • Collecting sound design from Freesound.org
  • Discussing with sound designer music arrangements and sound design

VR Animation

VR has been the latest and most exciting technology for the past few decades since the late 50s that has stirred up many forums, discussions and generated ideas. Especially with the multiple possibilities such as games, art and film.

history_of_vr_by_worldviz

What interests me about the latest development is the story building by Quill from Oculus Rift Story Studio. One of the short VR film narratives is titled Dear Angelica about a daughter recalling memories of her and her mother.

This technology is being trialed by many around the world and shared through the internet. Youtubers such as Draw with Jazza has been able to experiment using one of the first developed animation programmes for VR.

 

References

Bye, K., 2017. #477: Top 50 VR Storytelling Interviews + Oculus Story Studio Roundtable Discussion | Voices of VR Podcast. [Online]
Available at: http://voicesofvr.com/477-top-50-vr-storytelling-interviews-oculus-story-studio-roundtable-discussion/
[Accessed 11 August 2017].

Draw with Jazza, 2017. My First VR ANIMATION – StickDeath in Virtual Reality! (AnimVR). [Online]
Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-o1sV4xlqJQ
[Accessed 11 August 2017].

Freefly VR, 2017. The History of Virtual Reality – Timetravelling. [Online]
Available at: https://freeflyvr.com/time-travel-through-virtual-reality/
[Accessed 11 August 2017].

Freefly VR, 2017. The History of Virtual Reality | Freefly VR. [Online]
Available at: https://freeflyvr.com/history-of-virtual-reality/
[Accessed 11 August 2017].

VRgamer.no, 2017. Dear Angelica | Virtual Reality | Youtube. [Online]
Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wepdt31Fk0M
[Accessed 11 August 2017].