Friday, March 30

GIF me, baby

Is this a SPUD? I'll call it SPUD #2.5, and leave it at that.
Here's a little animated GIF that I thought you'd like to have a look at.
As you can see, I've used that picture of the Roman helmet as reference. It's always worth doing a little bit of research, especially for aesthetics, because a little visual element (or a lack of a visual element) can determine whether or not the audience 'gets' what they're supposed to be looking at. For example, the flappy side bits to the helmet - I don't know their names - look very Roman now, because I wasn't just drawing from memory. It helps to say 'look, this is a Roman helmet' in the space of about a second.

And in a twenty second animation (let alone a twenty second Tex Avery-influenced animation), such speed is essential.

Wednesday, March 28


Here we are again, another SPUD (Sting Production UpDate). We'll see how long it takes for that particular acronym to lose its novelty.

So! I've finalised my designs for the Roman. Here he is.
The original Roman 

Compared to the version in the animatic, he is considerably more cartoony - his jaw's much squarer, and the top of his head is tiny compared with the rest of his body.
To aid the narrative (the wolf mistakes the fluffy bit on the Roman's helmet for the squirrel's tail), the Roman's armour has a colour scheme that matches the squirrel's.

The image on the left is what I'm going to use as reference when drawing the Roman's helmet. It took a while to find a helmet on Google Images that could, in a specific scenario, feasibly pass for the tail of a squirrel (quite an important factor in the overall narrative, worryingly), as the plumage is usually more rigid and linear, so it was a relief when this picture popped up.

Oh! And I also cranked up the vibrance a bit on the background. It was a little pointer from Sean that made a surprisingly big difference to the overall look and feel of the animation. In a good way, I hasten to add. So yes. That's good.

I'm filling this post with lots of images because I've just had a big mug of coffee.

Sam and Jake are working well. Sam's having some slight difficulties with inbetweening - some of his movements are a bit jerky and lack easing in/out and movement arcs - but I think it's probably my own obsessive perfectionism that's getting in the way. I'm occasionally torn between creating as perfect a homage to Tex Avery as I can and forgiving the artistic quirks and imperfections of my colleagues to give the cartoon a bit of character. It's all good, though. I'm constantly tweaking the workload.

Sam's going to be doing a little less inbetweening and a little more... other stuff. As well as stitching together a new soundtrack (or simply polishing up the existing one), he will be adding the colour to the final animated characters. I've coloured in a few small areas, so there's an established colour scheme.

We see you, mister cameraman!
Jake will finish off any animation that I can't complete myself, and will add some subtle scratches to the final film in After Effects. He's made countless valuable contributions regarding the narrative and the layout, so special credit where it's due; among other things, he suggested that there be film cameras and scaffolding on-screen to help convey the idea that the characters are leaving the set.

Er, yes. And so endeth the SPUD for today. Leave in an orderly manner via the fire exit.

Monday, March 19

Sting Production Update #1

Hello. This is a sting production update. Or SPUD for short.

My animatic was selected to be made into a fully animated sting, and so now I have two team-mates: Mr Jake Longworth and Mr Sam Sanalitro.

The workload has been divided as follows: I provide most of the main keyframes to outline the movement, and then Jake and Sam do the in-betweens. The more complex the action, the more input I'll have. Sam is going to be creating the final soundtrack, and Jake is going to be assisting with colouring-in and general editing.

To get the ball rolling, I animated the beginning bit. Here it is, albeit in a slightly lo-res .gif format:
Sam and Jake are really very good at in-betweening now. After a couple of brief sessions in which I explained the characters and my drawing methods, they latched onto my style of working quickly, and are producing some really good work.

Speaking of which, other segments of the animation are nearing completion, but they're not in chronological order. I'll pop them into the sting soon, the unfinished areas filled with the animatic, to show you how well everyone's doing.

Here ends today's SPUD.