GRAD FILM: WEEK 1

Some very early animatics.

This one happens very early on and is a dream sequence underwater. It's so short I didn't feel the need to make it into a video file so I just made it a gif.

This one I made in the summer very very quickly. I didn't have time to record with my good microphone so the sound is pretty bad. A few of my ideas have changed and I don't feel like this represents what I'm going for in this scene anymore.

This is the most important part (I think), of my film. I wanted to jump in and start planning it right away so I have lots of time to experiment and change things if I get new and better ideas. The song, Orlok by Anna Meredith is just a placeholder, but is an inspiration for how I animated this scene and how I might compose any music that might be in this part.

In terms of your current situation, what do you feel good about?

I know that the subject of my film is important to me and that I am driven to do a good job at it.

What do you need the most help with, to get your grad project finished?

I will most likely need some extra people to help colour. I don't think I will need help animating; I did all of it myself last year.

What are you most worried about, in terms of your grad project?

That I will create something that people won't get; that I won't properly articulate my experience with my disability the way I was hoping.

What are you most excited about, in terms of your grad project?

The experimentation. I'm really excited to build stuff and bring it into the puppet room. I also like to see stuff start to fall into place so I can see a big picture. It's really hard for me to do that in the beginning, so usually 80% of all my work happens in the last few weeks of making something. I don't want that to happen this time.

What is one question you want to ask the class and myself, given the work you’ve shown, that might help you right now?

Do you think my film can be funny as well as unsettling? I want to do both well, but I'm not sure if I can.

BIG NEWS

It has been a while. I have some exciting news concerning my 3rd year film, Super Stop. It has been accepted into the Canadian Student Competition at the Ottawa International Animation Festival! This news really blew me away, the OIAF is the biggest animation festival in North America! I can't believe my tiny first attempt at making an animated short is being screened there! Also, I am super lucky to be able to attend this year! It should definitely be a wild one.

Here's a poster I whipped up with official laurels and everything.

3RD YEAR FILM WEEK TWELVE: WIP REEL V5

It's been two weeks since I last posted, my progress last week was too unfinished to put into my WIP reel, so I decided to wait until this week to compile everything. I'm starting to work on colouring, but I'm still not done all the animation (as you can see in the WIP reel)!!!! There's actually supposed to be 2-3 more shots in the part where the clerk gets his face melted off. I realized that the new screaming I recorded (I recorded 6 different people, including myself) only fits the length that I currently have. So if I were to lengthen this sequence I'd have to rerecord the screaming (and also that's more work for me to animate). At this point I'm not sure what reads and what doesn't, if this is shocking in any way, if it's effective or visceral. All I can see are parts that are and aren't animated well, and parts that are finished and unfinished. I'm not sure if I will finish in time for the end of the semester. We'll just have to see.

3RD YEAR FILM WEEK NINE: WIP REEL V3

I'm starting to think I am not going to fully finish this film like I planned. There is barely a month of school left, and I'm starting a new job next week where I will be working three days a week instead of two. I am planning to do all the lines over in Photoshop once I finish the rough animation, but now I'm not sure if that will happen. 

Plus, I have to do all the backgrounds. I've barely even started.

3RD YEAR FILM WEEK EIGHT: WIP REEL V2

I'm trying to barrel through as much rough animation as possible, even if it's bad. I just need to get it done and in a state where I can actually work with improving the tie-downs and starting the colour/cleanup process. At the moment I'm having a hard time starting to animate because I can't see the film as a whole unit. it's really hard to work towards a goal if I can't envision the final big picture.

 I've also thought that maybe my film should end right when Dill drops her cup. My one worry with this is maybe it doesn't leave the audience with enough time to process what happened, it also isn't very funny. I'm not exactly sure what impression I want to leave on the audience at the end.

3RD YEAR FILM WEEK SEVEN

Quick update before I slumber. Here's a rough anim of the shot right after when Dill first sees the nacho cheese machine. I've been in an animation slump recently with my film, and I haven't been happy with the expressiveness of my animation. I've been feeling like I've been drawing too many frames and ending up with something lifeless and mechanical.

This shot, while still rough and a bit unfinished, I think I've finally found the kind of limited animation style I'm looking for; and can actually sustain and complete my film with. I'm satisfied with Dill's big snappy antics here. I want to go forward pushing this style even further.

3RD YEAR FILM WEEK SIX: WIP REEL

Late post this week. It's reading week and I've basically only done work on my 3rd year film. It feels like I've gotten next to nothing done...

I've done rough animations of 4 shots so far, as you can tell, I've spent the most time on the last one, which is animated straight ahead on 2s. That one still isn't done yet. If I'm going to be animating that whole sequence straight ahead, I'll need to think about how I can recycle frames for boils or something because animating every frame is too time consuming.

The only other thing I've done is the background for the title card, might do some very minimal animation in this one (perhaps some clouds floating across the sky or some breeze moving through the trees).

3RD YEAR FILM WEEK FIVE: 1ST WIP ANIMATION, BACKGROUND, & TURNAROUND

Started animating my first shot of my film. I'm starting off simple with the short where Gart and Dill first walk past the clerk. I need to work out some timing issues and add some more character to their walks.

I've decided I'm going to do all my animating in TVpaint, and then do all my cleanup line work and colouring in Photoshop, since TVpaint doesn't offer very much versatility with brushes, and the offset colour style I've used in my character turnarounds and concept art will be easier to achieve.

And here is the current version of the "finished" background. I wont change this unless I have any kind of stylistic change (although I might add some shapes in the tabacco cabinet). I might make the silhouettes in the foreground a little less dense looking.

And my turnaround for Gart. I will get Knife the clerk done next.

3RD YEAR FILM WEEK FOUR: ANIMATIC DRAFT TWO & TURNAROUND

Here's the part in the preproduction where I've gone too far with my idea to start over, but I haven't actually started animating yet, and I feel like nothing I am doing is good enough or the standard I should be aiming for. It's one of those weeks where I keep seeing 18 year olds with a better understanding of character design and animation than I do. I added to my animatic a bit and did a character turnaround for Dill. All in all I don't think I utilized my time with this project this week very well despite having an abundance of manic energy that wasted all on worrying about death/interacting with people I don't know.

3RD YEAR FILM WEEK THREE: ANIMATIC

I had originally planned to finish the animatic and do some turnarounds for my characters but I didn't realize I had to draw over 40 shots for my animatic! I will definitely need to cut this down a bit if I'm ever going to finish this.

This version of the animatic has scratch sound, it gets a bit rough in patches.

This current version of the animatic doesn't really have an ending because I haven't figured out yet how I want it to end. In the script, Dill snaps out of her hallucination and runs out of the store with Gart in tow. Outside, beside a dumpster around the back of the building, Gart reaches in to the neck of their turtleneck and produces a bag of chips, which Dill looks at and starts to cry as she tears open the bag and starts eating them in handfuls.

Another ending was to simply end it when the clerk shouts "Hey!" and Dill snaps out of her vision. Both of these communicate different things about my story, and I'm not sure if I like either of them.

Next week I definitely will have more character concept artwork and background art.

3RD YEAR FILM WEEK TWO: STORYBOARD

I feel like I haven't given myself enough time to delve further in to feeling out the look of my 3rd year film. I think I have a good idea of what my characters will look like, but I haven't given enough thought to how they will animate. My biggest worry is to not push the elasticity of my character enough, and after boarding thumbnails of the whole film, I feel like I need to work harder to achieve this.

I love this student film by Stevie Borbolla, "space jerks". I'm obsessed with the way they use a limited animation style. Every movement a character makes is hysterical to me. I'm not sure if that's exactly the look I wan't to emulate, but I want to push my own animation to this kind of visual extreme.

Another inspiration is Sally Cruikshank, her short film "Face Like A Frog" is my favourite animated short ever. Like "space jerks" there's this great relationship between the characters and this sort of constant manic movement

 

 

As I write this, I realize that the short animatic of the opening sequence of my film doesn't communicate the qualities I admire in these films at all. Granted, it's not animated. But the pacing is much too slow. I think I'd like to keep this emphasis on the buzzing ambiance of a convenience store; focusing in on different types of hums (the fridge, the fluorescent light, etc). But when Gart and Dill step through the sliding doors, I want it to be more jarring. I've always visualized this extreme, almost fisheye lens style low-wide angle from their feet looking up as they step into the store, but I need to get better technically to pull this off. Maybe having the angle from more of a 3/4 angle would work better/be easier to animate.

My thumbnails are pretty difficult to parse, and I originally was going to do a full "good" storyboard. But I think it makes more sense to go straight into an animatic, since I feel like movement of the characters and camera movement will help me better get a feel for how my film will look.

I also did some designs for the clerk in the convenience store who gets his face melted off. I drew a man in my notebook who I can only describe as looking "french Canadian" to myself. I doodled the word "Knife" in block letters also, and after looking at it for a while, I decided that would be his name.

I ran a bit short on time this week, I really wanted to practice more background drawings. I think my first concept artwork is ok, but maybe too detailed? I want it to be more expressive, but I think my hand is too stiff when I draw backgrounds because I'm not comfortable drawing them yet. Here are some inspiration and reference images I used for the convenience store. Included are some images from google, some background concept artwork from Steven Sugar (BG art for Steven Universe) and Kevin Dart (who I think did BG art for Powerpuff Girls), and some stills from Cowboy Bebop.

3RD YEAR FILM WEEK ONE: PROPOSAL

“SUPER STOP” (working title)
 

OVERVIEW:

I originally had the story for my 3rd year film at the start of my 2nd year. In one of my classes I developed some beat boards for this idea. Then it percolated in my brain for about a year. Parts of it sloughed off and took different shapes, other parts grew into bigger parts. My intention with this animation is to communicate a short and simple narrative with surreal elements.

Two friends, Dill and Gart, enter a 24 hour convenience store. Dill notices a liquid cheese dispenser at one end of the convenience store. After checking to make sure the clerk isn’t looking, she tries to fill up an enormous cup with the nasty fluid. The clerk startles Dill as she’s filling up the cup and she jumps, throwing a cup of hot cheese in the clerk’s face. He screams and the skin on his face starts to burn and disfigure horribly under the boiling cheese. Dill suddenly hears the clerk shout, “Hey!” from behind her. She looks behind her and sees the clerk, unscathed, glaring at her from across the store. She realizes she has been hallucinating.

This is a very brief description of the events within the animation. The “narrative” isn’t so much of a story as it is just another facet of the world the animation exists within. I want to establish that the world Gart and Dill live in is Earth, but an Earth from a dimension with laws and accepted behaviors different enough from ours for it to be uncomfortable. When Dill hallucinates, I want to communicate an awful feeling of dread that you feel when something you thought was easy very quickly snowballs out of your control. Sterile environments like convenience stores and other places commonly lit with florescent lighting often feel exempt from the passage of time, or that time passes differently in there. Sometimes it feels like the space itself is moving, but you are not.

Here is a link to my first draft of the script.

FORMAT AND RUNNING TIME:

This will be a 2D film animated digitally in TVpaint. The running time will be somewhere between one minute thirty to two minutes.

SOUND:

I will be recording any sound design needed myself, and composing any music if I think it is necessary.

CONCEPT ARTWORK:

I’ve developed a feel for both of these characters slowly over the last two years, they’ve changed shape a few times, but in the last 6 months I’ve locked down a proper shape for both of them.

Dill, in particular, has changed shape the most dramatically. I think she looks better as a rounder character. Before, it seemed like in my head I thought of her as being round, but on paper she wasn’t as stylized as I intended. I also (for some reason), really wanted her to be the colour of a pickle. Eventually I gave up this dream.

Here are my most current designs for Dill and Gart:

BACKGROUNDS:

Backgrounds will be probably the most challenging aspect of this animation, since I’m the least experienced with creating them. I’m hoping to stick to a sparse palette which compliments the characters (without taking the spotlight away from them) and minimal line to keep the backgrounds from feeling busy. However, I want them to be detailed enough to retain a feeling of depth and recessional space.

BACKGROUND_concept1.jpg