Weekly Review

This week unfortunately I do not have a tutorial as my tutor was ill.

Currently work has been progressing well. No set backs so far. It is fairly similar to the previous week. Animating body language, head movement and emotional expression has improved the more I draw.

I am at the final stages of key animating. I aim to complete it by this week and to send it to my sound designer as a more accurate reference for sound tracks and sound effects.

From the following month will be completing the full animation from adding the in betweens to colouring to light and shadow. There will be some compositing tests and ensuring I have enough environmental assets.

Items I need to ensure for progress:

  • Animating body language, head movement, emotional expression
  • Researching the forefront, expanding knowledge and understanding where my work is in relation to it
  • Environment set up ready to go

Weekly Review

Yesterday I had no tutorial and will resume next week.

The past week seems to be good progress. The weekly planner has worked smoothly and I am on task. So far I have completed the main key frames of the wandering of Amsterdam streets, the bird chase and the dinner scene. I have the remaining week to complete the law office scene and refine the rest.

Evaluation

To summarize…

The positives are:

  • Schedule is working well

Areas to improve:

  • Quality of the drawings
    • body proportions
    • body language – although it is getting there
    • human emotional expression

Tips for Progression

Thankfully, the weekly ‘Draw with Me’ series keeps the momentum of making time to practice drawing skills. However, to continue improving the flow of the animations it is best to practice and be aware of the 12 principles of animation.

Improvements

Body language and human emotional expression is on it’s way.

 

Reflection: Little Adjustments in the Details

For today’s tutorial, I had shown Kate my tutor the latest of what I have been up to. This past week I have done a number of key animating. I have revised my plan of achieving shots that will be discussed in further detail later.

140617 A

I have also been refining my first opening shot by adding highlights and shadows. I have done this in Animate CC and then compositing it in After Effects.

140617 B

My tutor advised me to add textures to the characters or character’s attire, which I thought would improve the aesthetic by making it more unique. I shall attempt to experiment with this.

As I have mentioned earlier, I have been revising the way I organize my work and thereby being more thorough of what my schedule will be like. Initially, I tended to work on a day-by-day basis where I would write on post it notes lists of things I would like to complete on the day. After a few days to a week I will cross check this with my Gantt chat.

Currently I am in a good position with my progress, however I have changed a few things to allow for a better projection of the work I can get done and hopefully it will be more accurate.

Below is my usual set up:

Below here is the new method I have been attempting to organize what I need to get done. Instead of the daily post it notes, I have found this long lost weekly planner and decided to make use of it. Every day I count the number of hours I have depending on the activities I may plan every week. In the notes area, I write the number of shots I need to work on for the week.

Below here is my Gantt chart. As you can observe, I have indeed completed the voice acting aspect, the environment remains 85% complete as I have a tendency to not work in completion, but make room for adjustments and improvements. As long as I have the foundation/basics, I can always make edits. Now that we are in June, I have planned to focus on this month the main animating. The month of July will be colouring and dealing with highlights and shadows.

140617 C

Now focusing on this month June, originally I planned to complete the key animation within a week, but now I realize it was too naive of me. So I have planned to complete the key animation within this June, then using the next half of July to fill in the gaps.

I had decided it was easier to split the animated short into 6 sections and that I would have the option of completing two parts per week that alternated rather than it being chronological. This would provide me with variation and an escape from boredom.

Weekly Reflection

After presenting an update for my tutor, it seems that I’m on track with the schedule. I showed the 80% completed 3D environments set up in After Effects, the latest rough animation for the initial shots and the voice recording of the actors.

The only key element that needed change was the father character’s voice was too high in pitch. This will be something that I need to discuss with my sound designer if it is possible to lower the pitch without losing too much quality.

For the most part, I am glad to see the work is progressing, however I do feel that I need to pick up the pace.

Prior to my tutorial, we had a symposium on the topic ‘Strategies of Documentation’, which each student had to make a 5 minute presentation on. It was interesting to see how each person thinks and makes judgements. Although a number of things mentioned I was already aware of, it was helpful to know others thought the same as well and this was encouraging. Such things included being active on social media and forums.

Another important thing to keep in mind is trying to understand what makes working methods and strategies effective. If there is any patterns and what works best for me and perhaps for a wider group of people.

Normally I tend to write down a few bullet points on post it notes to try to achieve at the end of the day. Normally this has been effective as I first need to sort out in my mind what exactly needs to be done and consider the realistic outcome of it. It has been helpful that Kate my tutor has suggested in cutting some of the scenes from my animation, or else it would be harder to handle the animation within the given time.

Tutorial Review: Rendering

Today’s tutorial we shared the progress so far. The main comment about my work was to shorten some scenes and sections by cutting out some shots.

My tutor has suggested not to change anything drastically, but where there seems to be repeated or redundant shots that do not add any more meaning, it is best to remove it. Thus I shall take my storyboard and have two highlighters: one that ticks which shot is redundant and the other highlights key shots that must not be removed. Everything else that is not highlighted will either remain as it is or adapted to reduce the amount of frames to draw.

This past week has been working on the environmental set up in After Effects and doing some test shots. This caused me to consider methods of rendering faster.

My tutor mentioned that the university has a render farm, which would help a tonne! However, just for extra knowledge of making it easier on my computer in general, I decided to research some tips in order to improve the situation.

 

The links in the references below provides good tips to improve rendering times.

As the assets are getting closer to completion, I have been researching on drawing tips on perspective and foreshortening before the frame-by-frame animating period begins.

References:

Adobe Community, 2017. FAQ: How do I speed up rendering, exporting, or encoding?. [Online]
Available at: https://forums.adobe.com/thread/2122549
[Accessed 31 May 2017].

Korcheg, E., 2010. After Effects – 8 Ways to Increase Productivity and Render Speed. [Online]
Available at: https://www.templatemonster.com/blog/after-effects-8-ways-increase-productivity-render-speed/
[Accessed 31 May 2017].

Ward, C., 2015. 14 Tips for Faster Rendering in After Effects. [Online]
Available at: https://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/14-tips-faster-rendering-effects/
[Accessed 31 May 2017].

 

New Time Schedule!

I have revised my gantt chart as I have changed the method of achieving the aesthetic that is the most appropriate for the animation. Yesterday, I had begun voice recording for the older brother and during the process of making several takes, I realized how small changes and details can really affect the way in which ideas, conceptions are conveyed.

The voice may also dictate the way in which the animation would come to being as both should compliment each other and work together to make emotions and the characters themselves convincing. It is important to complete recording the voices early on, before animating the characters.

The environmental assets is the crucial aspect, a priority before others can be properly set into motion as the rendering of these backgrounds would allow for the animations to be drawn. That would take up about 2 months of intensive animating from key animation to the refined.

Compositing will come in the final month of combining the characters with environment and playing with lighting to adapt the moods.

Sound design and soundtracks will be continuously experimented and explored during the project, but the highlighted blue points will be periods where engagement and communication will be the most necessary.

IMG_1161Gantt Chart 01