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Category Archives: general

I haven’t updated my blog for a long time. Here are my many excuses as to why.

I didn’t really know what I was going to do when I left university. I wanted to get work in the industry but, I didn’t know how to do that and also I didn’t think that I was good enough. This is a massive problem for anyone who is finishing or on an animation course. You have to have confidence, otherwise no one will remember you or take you seriously enough to give you a job.

Here was my dilema when I left, companies that I looked at applying to wanted people with industry experience. I would love to get more industry experience as work experience, one company that I asked said that I could no longer get work experience with them because I was no longer a student (this was news to me as I wasn’t going to graduate untill September)

I also had the problem that I had to move back in with my parents (away from all animation companies) because I had spent all of my money and didn’t have a job. So I have now got a full time job as an Deputy Manager at a petrol station. This I have to stress is only temporary, as I just want to pay off my overdraft save up and make the move to Bristol/Manchester, where ever I can get work in the industry.

I am now thinking that I will be where I want to be eventually and I am going to have an adventure trying to get there. I think when I start sending my stuff out again I will be applying to anything that I feel comfortable doing. I may have to start off at the bottom making the teas, but if that what it takes its a lot less stressfull than most jobs.

For Daniel Brains film The Good the Bad and the Bogey I created some colour concepts.

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These were the first two concepts that I came up with. I then was given the following bedroom scene to match the colour scheme to:

untitled-11 Image by Daniel Brain

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So to try and make the colours match this scene better I created these. The second of the two I think is a better match.

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kitchen

I drew parts of the animation. Mainly a walk cycle of the main character walking from the front door to the stairs.

Animated titles that I made for the Good the Bad and the Bogey,titleslongWhy does this gif not move?

Toys (working title)

Synopsis

This one minute short questions whether the “grass is greener on the other side” It’s an emotional tale of a sack trying to be accepted and included.

Influences

Michael Dudok de Wit – The monk and the fish             Michael Dudok de Wit – Father     and daughter

Sylvain Chomet – Belleville Rendezvous                     Sylvain Chomet – Advert     for insurance

Calon TV – Igam Ogam Tv Series                        Steffen Schäffler

Initial Ideas

In the corner of a childs bedroom.  A been bag falls in love with a spinning top the spinning top dances around she falls off  a stack of  books and is saved because the bean bag goes to get a slinky to help. Ends with the bean bag and the spinning top  together as if they are dancing.

Childrens toy box has shapes bouncing in and out giggling. A near by bean bag sees them and wants to join in. Eventually he gets in a nd they are all happy.

Initial thumbnails

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Feasability study

I have realised in previous projects that my biggest flaw is sound, this is why I have decided to get help with that from a proffesional studio in North Wales. Also I am getting help with the armatures and lighting because I have benifitted in the past from outsider input in these areas.

I have decided that this piece would be best made in 3D Stop motion this is going to make the project more expensive however it is feasible because having done my budget I have worked out that the production should cost me £405.

Due to the simplicity of this project I will be able to create a film of high quality in the time given it will also give me time to work on other projects.

Initial Storyboards

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The story has changed from the happy ending. I a m thinking now that he wouldn’t be happy when he has gotten into the box as he still really does not fit into their “world”.

Roles and Responsibilities

There will be four people working on this film; Lorna Bailey, John-lynton Bryan, Emissary and Emily Ivens.

Lorna Bailey            John-Lynton Bryan            Emmisary        Emily Ivens

Director                    Armature creation                Music               Lighting Assistant

Producer

Animator

Set Creation

Additional sound

Editing

2D Block Tests

This test was created to work out the exagurated movement of the blocks in a 3D space.

Working out the setting

concept-colours

For the setting, where this will take place, I would like somewhere forgotten or ruined. I am thinking about a tip this would mean that the toys would have been thown away. In a blown down house like in a hurrican or after a war or in an attic.

This weeks targets

Thursday

Go help John-lynton on “The Collector”

Friday

Work out a budget.

Go into university to talk to Ade at 12noon

Work on animatic

Saturday

Work on the sound for the animatic

Sunday

Put the animatic and sound together

Monday

Send the finished animatic with sound off to Emissary studio to get the first dreaft music created

Budget

Price            Discount        Total

Pre production

Paper                                           5                              5

Set Creation                          200                          200

Armature Creation                65                             65

Space Rental                        225                           225

Equipment Rental

Canon Digital camera          384                       384

Tripod                                       204                       204

Lighting                                   432                       432

Sound                                        150                       150

Computer                               1000                    1000

Adobe CS4                             1665                     1665

Travel                                     200                        200

Total                                      4330                      4125            405

Ethics

I have decided that I want my project to have as little of an impact on the environment as possible so my prosal is to create a film that a the paperwork uses resycled paper, all of the wood to create the set will be recycled.

This weeks Targets

Get the colour book from the library

Create some colour swatches and concept art

Think about what fabric I can use for the bean bag.

Get a schedule sorted

Do some masks for “the Collector”

Fix the animatic

send animatic off

Think of ways to create the models and sets

Schedule

schedule

I have worked out a schedule that gives me time to work on John-lynton Bryan’s film “the Collector” every Monday and Tuesday.

Initial concept  ideas

Weekly overview of schedule

10-14 November

Colour concepts and making ideas

17-21 November

Props and models

24-28 November

Armatures for the blocks and the sack

1-5 November

Paint set

8-12 November

Tests armature and lighting test

Hand in on the 17th

Colour Concepts

top

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Box Design

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Block test

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Attic reference

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Armature Design for the sack

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armature

Puppet Creation 

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New Concept art

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Storyboard progression

Set mock up

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More thumbnails

I feel that the blocks need to interact with the bean bag and “warn” him off trying to get into the box.

Also I needed to work out how the bean bag would stand up from being seated against a box.

Set Creation

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Prop Creation

toy

golf-club

boxes

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The boxes were made out of envelopes. I have always wondered why boxes on Bob the Builder etc. are always made out of something hard. Now I know that if you accidentally touch cardboard boxes, they move quite a lot even if they are stuck to the floor but if you accidentally touch a solid one it will not move as long as it is glued down.

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New schedule

 

Shot list

Filming

 

I needed to make a note of how the blocks move so that it was easyer for me to remember which block to use next.

Problems found when filming

I have had many problems in filming my film with the camera moving having moved the camera on two separate shots and having to re shoot them I had to hot glue all of the tripod legs and the lighting rigs. The computers crashing  this was a common problem that could not be fixed I only hope that this will not be a problem with new computers for the years after me. The camera having a dead pixel, this is something that I only noticed near the end of my shoot and so I would have changed to a different camera if I had spotted it sooner.  I wasn’t able to get the shot that I wanted for the beginning scene, as I was using a small digital camera for most of the shoot, when I wanted to do the pull focus on the sack in the beginning scene I found it too difficult to get the set to look the same as the rest of the footage. So I had to shoot it how it was and leave out the pull focus.  The feet falling off the armature  was a big problem as I had to stop a lot find them and screw them back in place.  The preview being very low quality image this made it difficult for me to see if I had replaced the replica squash and stretched shapes in the same place as the original. The miniature set was very small and fiddly and so on reflection if I were to do that scene again I would have built the set bigger.

Sound

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4

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The sound has taken longer than expected. In the sound studio I found that I was very much in control of the kind of sounds that I wanted. We recorded the sounds of all the objects fist. I took time to match the sound to what was happening in the action. I used a xylophone to create the sound of the different blocks a bag filled with polystyrene beads for the bean bag and a canister for the ball noises.  Then using Ableton Live suite 8 I moved all of the sounds around in layers made the ones further away from the camera quiet and the moves where the sound was coming from with the left and right levels. When I was finished, William stepped in to adjust things more and create the ambient score.

Here is a few words from the Musician of Toys, William Evers-Swindell.

Scoring Toys

As a composer I approached “toys” from various angles. The original score was based on a motif of freres jacques and whilst it fitted the animatic well, when we transposed it over to the completed animation it lacked feeling. Having both been adamant from the start that we didn’t want to go down the clichéd route of scoring the action and movement with definite and obvious musical techniques (see tom and jerry cartoons) we decided that a score exploring the emotional content of the animation was far more befitting.

The difficulty was in trying to gauge the correct levels of musical input to achieve the desired result without drowning the work in too much faux emotion. A score that had followed each emotional decision and action that the beanbag took was unneeded. Instead a broad paint brush of rich evolving sounds was used to give the animation its soul. On first viewing I believe the work can seem perhaps without direction due to the use of this broad paint brush, but this is the essence of the piece. In my opinion It is in fact a short allegory of life itself (in which many of us lack direction). The sack comes to life and is presented immediately with vibrancy and excitement and longs to be a part of it. The blocks initially seem to be unhelpful as they push the sack away, but this is actually due to a yet unknown reason. Seeing the sack giving up hope the ball appears to help. What is in fact happening is the ball is feeding on the lost hope and lack of confidence of the sack. It fails to let the sack think about the possible reasons the blocks do not wish the sack to join in with their apparent fun. Once the Sack is trapped within the box we see the blocks ascend to the skys and leave the sack alone in the dark.

From my point of view the animation covers the pitfalls of life perfectly. The blocks are warning us that to truly enjoy life you must view the circus of their actions from the outside, with the freedom to experience other things as well (the detail in the rest of the attic alludes to this idea). The ball could be construed as the villain of the piece. It preys on the weakness of the sack to force it to conform to what it sees as exciting. The ball knows that the more objects it can get to join the circus the better its own entertainment will be. Once inside, the sack is trapped within an ever lasting darkness of which their is no escape, it can do nothing but wait for its own death. The moral of the story as far as i am concerned is to find your own path to happiness through exploration of yourself and the world around you.

From a technical point of view the sounds were captured with a Rode NT1A microphone. The block sounds were created using an old xylophone and the sack noises were created with a sack filled with polystyrene beans. All the layers were mixed with the ambience and music using Ableton Live suite 8 and then mastered in Wavelab.

Removing the wires in post production