Monday, September 22, 2008

BG with Letter Pixelation

This post is a little late coming but I would like to still get it up even if I have edited my BG. I presented this scene in class and got some very helpful feedback about how I might improve it. Basically the concerns were that it took away from the movement of the letter and was a little too plain. Still there are some nice things about it and I think it would be nice to keep a progression of where I am going with my work. So without further ado...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Motion test set against animated bg

Here is the video I mentioned in my post below. This is a test to see if I could have my characters all set in an animated world throughout the film and not deal with real backgrounds. Let me know if this is effective at all. This would not be the final look of the bg's but I was curious what people thought of kind of plane drawn backgrounds with limited color vs full color.

Execution of Film

Ok so I am having some difficulty in figuring out what exact road I should go to execute my film. Each time I come up with an idea or think I have things figured out a new problem seems to rear its head and sends me back to square one. It certainly is not helping any that my dc camcorder broke but I will be getting new equipment anyways. It has however limited my ability to do any more tests so I am going to present the ideas I have and hopefully get some feedback as to which one might work out the best.

At this point I do not think I have really outlined the plan for my film so I thought I would give a brief description of each method I have contemplated and tried and go from there.

Idea #1:
This first method is my original idea that I have really sort of veered off from over the summer. It was to have the main character at the beginning be pixelated by taking still photos with movement in between to create a kind of jerky animated motion. The backgrounds would be left as is or possibly changed in photoshop. This would mean that the character in the photos would have to be selected out so the changes to the bg wouldn't apply to the character. The other characters that enter the letter would be dealt with in the same way. Once inside the letter the characters would become more fanciful animated personages and at the end when the main character enters the letter he too would become an animated character and be in that world.

Problems: It is difficult to have to select out the characters in order to deal with the backgrounds alone. Also finding appropriate locations and getting all the proper clearances could take up too much time especially with me not having easy transportation.

Idea #2:
In the vein of the original idea just reversed so that the beginning world is all animated. Characters and animated in an animated environment until then enter the letter at which time they become real life people in some sort of still photo pixelation or manipulated photo characters like in the film Dear Fatty where I would take different poses of the characters and cut them out to use. This idea has been brought up recently but I think it could work.

Problems: Changes the meaning of the film somewhat going from animation to real life rather than the original idea of going real life to animation.

Idea #3:
I have a test video for this method that I will post after I get this outline of my strategy up but basically it is the same idea as number one with the pixelated character being selected out from the background. However the live person pixelation will be set in a animated world rather than set in the background from the photo. I am still uncertain about this but I will see what people think of the rough video I put up. Everything else will continue the same with all the other characters being dealt with the same way and being set in an animated world. Once the characters are inside the letter they will become animated themselves to fit in the world that they are living. Would eliminate having to find real backgrounds to photograph or record.

Problems: More drawn animation to do as every background will be animated. The still photo pixelation could be too harsh set against animated backgrounds and seem too out of place possibly.

So there are 3 ideas that I have kind of put together. There are tests for each that I have put up on here even if they are pretty rough they give an idea of each case I think. Basically there is a lot of different combinations that come up using these different methods. I think the main issues are taking still photos and using that as jerky pixelation or taking set poses of different characters and cutting those out to animate as separate body parts. The other is how to deal with backgrounds whether to have animated ones or keep the real life ones and change them. Let me know your feedback on these ideas or maybe even ones I have not thought of. I am just trying to find something I feel most comfortable with that people feel will work in this story as well.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Letter Movement Test

This is another test of setting the animated letter to a live action background. As before I do not think I will use this style of colored pencil on the background but I still am not sure what I will use. I just wanted to test how the animated letter would look set against live action footage. The letter will have more full animation in the film I just wanted to get an idea what it would look like and whether it would stand out. I am pretty happy with the way it works.

Test Style of Movie

This is a very rough outline that I worked on over the past week to get an idea of how I am going to create this film. This is by no means the final look but it was more for me to see how I would go about treating some of the footage I will be shooting. The background style will not be the sketchy style that I used now I don't think but I just wanted something to create a contrast to the live action look of the character.

The process I used when creating this was to shoot the footage on my DV Recorder. I then brought the footage into Adobe Premiere Pro and exported the footage as a targa image sequence which I then brought into Photoshop. From there I worked on the footage in Animation mode and created a duplicate layer to select the character out from the background. This is where I am unsure about the process as it was quite tedious to select myself from the background and I am wondering if there might be an easier way. After messing with filters on the background I exported the new image sequence to After Effects and exported the quicktime from there. I took out frames from the Animation to create a somewhat pixelated effect but it is not as dynamic as I would like.

Let me know what you think about this loop and whether or not it works. Any suggestions would be great on things I could do to improve this process and whatever else I can change.

Pixelation example from eric mciver on Vimeo.

Temp Music Files

Here are a few temporary music files that I have for my film courtesy of my brother who is working on creating a musical composition that will fit my film. None of these files is the exact file that I will be using but more of an initial template for music style. I am leaning toward the third file as the one I like most but it still has some issues. I am looking for a mellow alternative style of music and I like the direction so far that we are going with music.

There will be more musical queues in the later drafts that will go with the animatic/final animation as we keep working. Also for the music I am looking to have a much bigger finale to go with the films ending. Feel free to post comments on what you think of the different styles.

Music Example 1 for Thesis from eric mciver on Vimeo.

Music Example 2 for Thesis from eric mciver on Vimeo.

Music Example 3 for Thesis from eric mciver on Vimeo.

Thesis Animatic

Ok I finally have been able to get my videos uploaded. Here is my updated animatic. It was created mostly in flash and is still very rough but I think that most of the pacing is pretty accurate and the scenes are set. I took out the sound as I have some working temp music that I will put up to get an idea of the music style. Let me know what you think of this animatic and I will try to work out those issues that come up.

Updated Thesis Animatic from eric mciver on Vimeo.