Friday, May 29, 2009

Where do we go from here?

"Alright," you ask heavily, sighing, "so I've gone through all this trouble to keep up with your blog... what the heck is happening to it now that the class is over?"

the simple answer? LOTS. this project is in fact NOT over. it has just begun.

This entire process was so inspiring and fulfilling (despite my personal teeth-gnashings with the quality of my animation) that I have taken the next step; my 4 minute Flash piece is going to become my Junior Film.

You heard right. It is my intention to lengthen this piece to a 5 minute short (not including credits) and entirely self-produce it as a 3D piece in addition to my full-time classes. My goal is to complete the project by January '10, however I am flexible and would prefer a later polished finished product to an on-time shoddy one. I am communicating with various professors to try and make this work. I fully intend to graduate from SCAD with 3 short films to show for my time. So this summer I begin work on Different Perspectives.

I will continue to update the blog as I progress with the piece. I'll try and put up just as much as I did for this project; backgrounds, process pieces, camera movements, character models and rigs, motion tests... anything relevant. I like to keep you all in the know because i think its incredibly important and educational to see how a person works. it often helps you improve your own process and if nothing else is also really, really cool to look at!

throughout this process i would really appreciate any/all input you could offer. because i am producing this outside of class it is one of the only ways I will be able to improve my work with external input.

I'm also going to be putting up a website this summer. i've never done any web design past the CMPA flash site project, so... if anybody has tips or tricks with that either I'd be SUPER interested in hearing from you! im actually kind of intimidated by it, to be honest. i've never been a webmaster before, lol!

so there's the skinny. this blog will be updated periodically (probably not as much as during the class because progress will be much slower what with working 'against' 3 classes). You're all awesome, thanks for sticking with me! :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thanks, guys! (et al)

Just wanted to say to everybody in my ANIM342 class:


I've had lots of fun reading your blogs (those of you that updated, at least) and having a glimpse at your process. I wish we had more opportunities to interact in the class so I could have gotten to know you all better.
Special thanks to any/everybody that commented on my posts at some point. Your input was always helpful and/or supportive. I hope I was able to offer you some helpful or supportive tips along the way as well.


EDIT: oops, I did my 'final post' too early, lol. here's the rest for you:

Yes, if I had the option to re-do this project I would have approached it very differently. I would slide my entire schedule up about a week (so start right at the start of the quarter), rely more on puppetry, and probably have had a different story altogether. I did not realize during conception the type of animation best suited for Flash. Now I know better and would never attempt frame-by-frame again on this software. that isn't to say it can't be done and done well, it just isn't an easy fit. I was thinking Flash could be used like ToonBoom or Flipbook... I was very much incorrect about that.
I also wish I'd had the opportunity to interact more with my peers, digitally or otherwise. I felt pretty much alone throughout the creative process, which is such a shame since we're all creative people and could probably have helped each other out during the planning stages.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Youtube Uploaded!

Completed Film

Its done. The sound design was SO CLOSE! like, completely by coincidence it was almost perfect. the last clip was ever so slightly short, but i actually kind of like it. i apparently dont know how to edit audio files in after effects and premiere has such a grainy export it wasn't worth dropping in there. so i may fine-tune the sound design later and re-import it as a single audio file, but for now this'll do just fine by me. :)

Once youtube has it processed expect to see it here! YAY!

Just needs some sound...

ITS DONE. MY LORD. I did proxies at home for what I had and switched computers, the teacher's Cintiq machine doesn't have gunky ram and is able to process/proxy the full composition.

EDIT: HAHA, wow! that was great timing! right as I typed "is able to process/proxy" i got a ram overflow error.

methinks murphy has a good sense of humor. i'll get right back to you.

EDIT AGAIN: OK, I'm tackling it the hard way. one way or another, this WILL be done tonight (lol). hopefully its smooth sailing!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Progress A La Mode

Woo! we has progress! I've finished all the scenes but one. after effects is buggy (as usual) and is easily the worst part of the process at this point, but whatever.

I used caffeine tonight, which has turned into quite an adventure. i dont drink soda or coffee or anything with caffeine in it, so just a third of a mountain dew has me totally bonked out of my brain. its pretty crazy. couple that with having House playing in the background on Hulu and its been a nicely paranoid evening, lol.

one more scene... one more scene... ONE MORE SCENE! there is a light at the end of the tunnel! once I'm done with this last scene I'll attempt to render it out and keep this copy, but so long as i am still in full possession of all my faculties I'm going to try and re-do the two closeup scenes that bug me so dang much. we'll have to see, though. i do think they absolutely ruin the film in terms of 'hey look, this is the quality of my work that I'd like to show potential future employers' but i'm not willing to jeopardize my personal health just for them. i slept for 5 hours during the day after I got home from class, at least until my roommate came home and was fussing about. oy. so I'm running pretty much entirely on slim jims, mountain dew, and adrenaline.

on the upside, though, i haven't worn my retainer this much since I first got it! pretty kickin!

After 14 hours I guess something had to go

Yeah, so this whole "14-15 hours at monty" thing was going really well until after effects decided to be a complete buttsink and give me all sorts of RAM errors. My files are fine, the computers at monty just suck serious nut. I mean c'mon. They know that students will be using programs like Zbrush or Mudbox on the cintiq machines... at least give us more than the requisite 2 gigs of ram. What are we paying for? mopped floors? seriously now. beef this crap up. I want to be able to render out a freakin' 2D file without errors, people.

I'm cranky but got so much done, I'm glad I stuck it out. After class I shall take a well-deserved nap. If I could, y'know, NOT have a failure for a computer I would post the closing credits but... obviously thats too much to ask from a SCAD computer.

oh, and I added a scene. lol. i love making myself miserable.

EDIT: really? am I really going to have to take this whole shebang to my friends house? Because apparently these pieces of crap they call computers can't even handle a single composition. My images are not huge. They're .swfs, for goodness sake. wow. talk about crap.
ironically, my dell laptop (which I would never recommend to anybody, FYI) can process and proxy a composition.

wow, HP. just wow. way to fail.

Oh, and more stills...

Almost 3 minutes of footage...

OK, so for my trillionth update tonight I'm just letting everybody know that i finished the matte painting for the closing credits, 3 scenes, an additional background I realized would be useful, and the global 1 and 2 compositions in after effects (scene comps). So at this point I have a total of 2 minutes 40 seconds of animation... and considering that I've spent only 8-10 late nights this quarter on this project this project that's pretty ace. I should have been counting, obviously, but my estimate is that this project comes in under 125 hours. maybe. it may squeak over, but not by much. Which is totally cool and makes me feel good about myself.

In the end there are things I really, REALLY want to change. both the daddy closeups make me cringe because they're so horrible. but at this point I dont have that luxury. I may be slowly conquering my fear of flash tonight, but dash it all I still don't enjoy its company much. at least i've been able to force my frame-by-frame on it fairly well. ah, compromise.

but i digress, as i often tend to do at 5 am. I think I'm gonna go for an all-nighter 'till class and see if I can take a nap in the stop motion room betwixt scenes. I aim to finish all the animation/scene work tonight and just work on sound tuesday night, which will be easy. i can even do the credits tonight, which is pretty cool. i wont post it here since blogger eats framerates like nobody's business.

my biggest regret right now is that i didn't bring my toothbrush. urgh. whoever sits next to me this morning may not enjoy my morning breath.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

More backgrounds

More backgrounds. Since I omitted the fly-thru I felt that continuity was impacted a bit. Although everybody I've shown the semi-final to has had no problem following the story, I'd like to keep it fool-proof. I added these two scenes (out and in, day/night) just to keep that continuity going. after I do these added scenes (super easy... one cloth and one I could technically use symbols for) I'll only have 5 left. one is symbol and only about 50 frames (if that), one is a fall-to-hit which is mostly flashing colors and blurs, one is a closeup character animation, one is a character overview action, and one is the completion of the scene I'm currently trucking on. So for all intents and purposes, ladies and gentlemen of the internets... I AM ALMOST DONE!

Stills: Completed Scenes

Here are stills from SOME of my completed scenes. Other scenes are closeups (animatics at this point, although they'll go in my final to save time I'll redo them later for reel purposes) and others are so similar that they dont merit their own stills. either way, enjoy.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Backgrounds, passage of time, and a most excellent full moon

Here are some of the 'time passed' backgrounds. They're the night answer to the pre-existing scenes. A few color filters and a bit of hue/saturation tweaking and we're ready to go!

i've finished 2 scenes today, starting on the third. I plan on knocking that out pretty quickly. I'm gonna go back into maya and re-layout the fall scene, since i can't very well get that working without some visualization help. nothing like digital 3d storyboards to make things work, eh?
I plan on tackling the 'up to the shelf' scene yet this evening before I head home, and possibly redoing the hideous animatic-esque closeup scenes because they are an embarrassment to my skills as an animator OR character sketcher. *shudder*

but I digress. as usual, enjoy.

I wont lie...

my head is not in the game. My frustrations with Flash not being ToonBoom or FlipBook are currently winning the battle with my enthusiasm for this project. I'm also warring time with my 3D short, which is much more rewarding because it ends up looking how I want it, not like some jumpy jumble of lines that was supposed to be frame-by-frame.

I learned my lesson. Flash and I were never close and have a strained and tense relationship. The first few dates were fine, but now that the honeymoon is over we're most definitely facing a rather rapid and messy divorce. Expect to read about it in the papers.

Lordy, for the first time ever at SCAD I just wish a project would finish itself.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


*vid should be here, but apparently 1.5 hours isn't long enough for it to bloody well work*

here is the basic opening title sequence for my short. so far the first 8 scenes (all finished) encompass exactly 1:30, and considering that's only 1/3 of the way through the story you can start to see why I'm getting antsy about getting this all done. luckily most of the latter scenes are all repeated backgrounds, just the character animation changes. i've been trying to work more with symbols, but because i still dont understand them its extremely difficult.

I am in the process of completely finishing up what I do have. All my scenes are being comped and proxied in After Effects so that I don't have to worry about doing them all right at the end and not giving the sound design enough time to mature. i've set up my files so that i can basically drag and drop the final flash comps into the global file and have a cohesive scene flow. so its just animating (plus 4 backgrounds) to go from here! Other then the fly-thru that I dropped due to complexity (not regretting that choice at all, lemmie tell you) this is true to my original vision. i can literally just animate and drop in AE from here on out. after that its all sound design and final edits, which shouldn't take long as I have no dialogue and already selected the soundtrack. the biggest challenge will be doing all the non-track effects (like thumps, scritches, wind, environmental echoes) and compiling the appropriate credit list. since I called upon my fellow rat owners to send me pictures of their fattest rats in return for his/her name in credits (and got a great response!) I have a lot of credit to place where it's due. :)

Hokay! So if Blogger ever loads this darn title sequence I'll post it for ya!

Yet another background for your consideration

More backgrounds, woo.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Updates from the Nocturnal Realm

Ah yes, the morning. Its around that time that I usually journey to Montgomery to begin my glorious work time. fortunately today i came around 7 and am considering calling it an early night (around 3) because my eyeballs hurt from looking at computer screens all day.
I moved to the cintiq lab after I finished painting weights on my character, touching up the rig on a wheelie chair and finishing my animation as such, and modeling an iPod and headphones for a wind-down from maya. my character rig is practically complete save for the right hip painting and some weirdness with the drivers in the right hand (probably happened when i mirrored the weights, oops).

so now I'm back in FlashLand.

I'll be completely honest with you all... i totally slept through 2 alarms this morning. i had my phone set to go off and i actually do think i consciously turned it off, but obviously that didn't work too well. i slept thru my other alarm. when i finally woke up around noon it was counting up... 5 hours since it should have been turned off. XD
the weird part was that i didn't stay too terribly late at monty. i left around 4, so for all intents and purposes it was a normal sunday. i guess rigging is more intensive than flash? eh, who knows.

I am so ready to be done with anything not maya. not because i dont love 2D, but because Flash and i still haven't learned much about each other, so every step is arduous and more learning than fun. with maya i know enough of the program to make problem solving fun and interesting. i hope one day to feel the same way about flash, but until then... *slog slog slog*

my goal is to finish 3 more scenes tonight. or finish animating 1 scene and complete 2 backgrounds, whichever ends up happening. the best laid plans of mice and men...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Oh look, a clip!

Ohmygosh! Wow, it's progress! *lol*

mmkay, so I'm not really happy with it but lets face it, at this point we'll have to take what we can and just keep slugging along. so have fun with this one. :)

EDIT: for some reason playback is pretty jagged, I assure you that the .swf does NOT do that jerky thing. quicktime fail!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Too Close for Comfort

I'm in that in-between stage of work where I'm not quite comfortable with how much time I have left but I know its still totally possible to finish on time. Its not how much work I have, but rather how painful the work is. Inbetweening is classic hell for a character animator, at least in my experience.

That isn't to say that I'm not having fun. The scenes I have left are pretty limited or simple when it comes to animation, and most of the blanket scene(s) can be done with symbols instead of fbf, which will be a nice change. its also a lot slower moving, which means i can do more animating on twos if i want and save a chunk of time.

and now, ladies and gents... i return to my chill music and my re-do of the long pan. I think this'll be the teaser I post, since its the longest consecutive scene so far.

peace, y'all!!

EDIT: haha, just kidding... I completely forgot that i had to do 2 tone shadows for the long pan, which basically doubles my finishing time. and since I would enjoy at least a few hours sleep between work time and class this morning I think i'll punch out and call it an evening. So until later, I'm afraid you'll just have to sit tight until I complete the scene. :)
(slightly unrelated, I had an amazing work day today... my first caffeinated experience at Monty this year by choice, and boy i can see why it could be addictive!)

Monday, May 4, 2009

More Backgrounds

Not quite finished, but finished enough for me to animate on. i'll go back and pad out the remaining 'blank' spots in the room later when I have time (and if I dont get to it thats OK too, since it looks more empty than bad).

speaking of animation, at some point I have to suck it up and go back to do the whole long pan scene. I may tackle that today/tomorrow and just knock it out since I have some pretty big irks about it since the file crash. I think I will take the opportunity to revise the intended path, though. and change some of the timing. *nod*

Its all good!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Backgrounds Ahoy

Been workin' the backgrounds recently, as well as animating scene by scene. its frustrating to work with a program that makes it extremely hard to animate frame-by-frame with much continuity. ah, well.

have fun with these teasers. :)

Well, I zonked out at 2:38am on backgrounds. I did too much running today to justify an all-nighter, I just realized. Plus I have to do so much tomorrow I think putting in 4 hours of sleep is a good idea. Ergo, I shall be unable to post the epic under-table shot I'm currently in the midst of conquering. *sadface*

Still, it can't be said that I didn't try!