Friday, December 19, 2008

Quick break from the animation, I've found some old pen drawing's I did.... This one was a cariacature of some guy. Thought I'd slap some colours on and make a series of these.
On another note, I was thinking about something yesterday.... In animation we tend to get bogged down in doing exercises, I don't know if this applies to other artform's but when your learning you do the bouncing balls, flour sacks, walk cycles, dialogue shots etc to learn and improve. I think a lot of people in animation are forgetting to break out of this routine though. People spend years animating to dialogue from films and tv shows, but that doesn't show anything outside the skill of animation. I have done the very same thing but at the end of the day I feel the need to create something original that will stand on it's own.... It's a matter of working within your own limitations. You have to accept the level you are at and create something using the skills you already have. And ultimately by doing this (in my case a film) you will learn and improve in the process and when you are done you will have something that can both showcase your skills and hopefully entertain.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This is a pencil test for a run cycle in my new film K9-Lives. It's based on my webcomic of the same name. You-tube doesn't seem to run it very smoothly but you get the idea. I will post some other tests and frame-grabs as I go along. I have almost completed the animation of the short....I am editing together the animatic so I can decide on any changes before I start colouring. I am going for a very limited style of animation because I feel that I can create some nice films in a short amount of time and really develop my film-making skills. I have been working in animation for almost 2 years and I'm finding more and more that the endless refining and tweaking to get full animation is a rather dull business. I prefer dealing with the broader strokes of storytelling, cinematography and gag writing, letting the animation be rough and less developed. At the end of the day the only way to become a good film-maker and to learn the elements of good film is to MAKE films..... make mistakes and move on to make another film where you will make one or two less mistakes. So this is the first film since my graduation film and I plan to make many more.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

K-9Lives - Animation production
I've been working for a few days on stage 2 of my independant animation career, making an animated short from my comic K-9Lives. I always planned to make this as an animation and saw the comic as a good way to storyboard it. There are a few ideas that I couldn't put into the comics as I set myself a strict structure of telling a story over one week (5 panels). Above is a background for one of the new elements in the story.... An exterior shot of the Animal Shelter. This gives you an idea of the style of the short.

This is a frame from the animation, as you can see I'm not using the same inking style as the comic... that's because I'm not inking it at all. I'm animating the whole thing in pencil on my lightbox.... and in scene's like this where there is action and fast pace I am using a very sketchy fast paced drawing style. I absolutely love seeing construction lines and the hand of the artist in animation so all those bits will be left in too. I came across a problem when I animated reservoir reindeers, when importing into toon boom (my animation software) I lost the aesthetic quality of the pencil line. Fortunately I've caught that problem and changed my process a bit. The plus side of this approach is that I can animate at a very fast pace. After about 5 days of production I have just over 1 minute done. The short is probably going to be about 2-3minutes in total length so I should be able to get it done and send it off to festivals in January.

Friday, December 05, 2008

I thought I'd share some of my influences and go through my most "Influential Moments" in film.

Fritz the Cat: This crow character is introduced to us in a seedy bar room. He's a pool shark (actually he's rubbish at pool) but the way you introduce a character is very important in films.... and this pays off big time later on.

About 20 minutes later Fritz is leading a revolt in the streets and gets the pair into a riot with the police. Shots are fired and our crow friend is hit in the chest. The gun shot is replaced with a shot of the break on a pool table. We see him bleeding and kneeling on the car, then cut back to the pool table and the pool balls bouncing represent the beating of his heart slowing down until the black 8ball which cracks and we zoom out from his black pupil.
This moment had a profound effect on me and I have been constantly thinking of ways to bring this approach to film-making into my own projects.
Reservoir Reindeers is my first step towards independant animated film-making, a christmas card for an alternative audience. I got the idea for the card when I was in the second year of university and actually animated it back then... I didn't finish it in time and I don't think anyone ever saw it. 3 years on and I've worked a couple of animation jobs in Scotland and France, looking back it was quite poorly executed but I still really found the idea of it funny. I decided to use the project as a testing ground for some films I've got in the works and it turned out to be a good idea because I've refined my process a bit, got an interesting christmas card that can act as a sort of calling card for future projects, and I'm now starting production on phase 2 of my independant animation career.