I’m still learning from Sesame Street! Bert would love Fruut XD
Philip Hunt from Studio AKA came in today to look at our projects. He told me to check out Tyrannosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson because it also had an ‘ugly duckling’ type story, about a herbivore dinosaur egg that gets mixed up in the next of the carnivorous Tyrannosaurus Rex family. this is one of the book’s illustrations by David Roberts, I really like his style!
I liked the idea he had to have a narrator telling the story like reading from a children’s book, but I’m not much of an author, there’s a certain style to this kind of writing you need to get right to make it charming, so for now I think it’s best to stick to pantomime acting with a score.
He also came up with really good ideas for the story but the changes are so drastic it would mean starting from scratch and totally reworking the storyboard, unfortunately that’s not something I can afford to do this late on. But maybe an idea for a sequel!
Good news is I’ve finally started the animation! Happy Fruut! 😀
Over the weekend took a couple of field trips to do some research on the animals that make up the creatures in my animation. The London Wetlands Centre had an event on with birds of prey. There were no eagles but they had peregrine falcons, buzzards and kestrels which are pretty closely related. I sketched, took photos and videos and listened to the demonstrator talk about their behaviour. One of them was preening, which was great to see because that is what Kristi is doing when Fruut first sees her, I was amazed at how flexible he was. Here is a collection of reference I gathered that day.
I also went to my local park to see the pigeons. They are so funny to watch and some things they did have inspired me for movements for Fruut. When the big crows were barging in and stealing their food they would jump and spread their wings quickly when they got a fright, I could use this when Fruut first sees Hans. I also noticed that they never stop moving! Their heads are constantly twitching and bobbing even when they stand still. This will be a good way to capture his pigeon-ness at the very start of the animation. But I have a lot of work ahead of me to pull it off. Here is what I got from that day.
I also rediscovered these two videos I took last year for the creature design assignment that will be useful.
These are the final model sheets for each of the characters.
I took more time to develop Harley (who was my least favourite during storyboarding because I couldn’t seem to draw him the way I wanted) I think he looks much more like a biker now with his facial hair, ponytail, piercings and studded handcuff, which was what I was going for at the start, hence the name. He looks like a total tough guy now, he’s definitely the leader of the trio of bullies.
Les is a short, stubby, muscle bound pea brain.
Percy is a lanky upper class character who likes to write poems and overreacts to everything.
Hans is the ‘knight in shining armour’ type character who is a real charmer with the ladies and will threaten any male that competes with him for their attention. His chest, wings, jaw and feet are huge.
When it came to the females I found that the best way to make them appear more feminine was to bring in the waist and exaggerate the hips.
Kristi is an airhead and a bit shallow.
Geffy has had a name change, she is now called Fumaa. She is sweet but has a fiery side if you cross her.
And the star of the show, Fruut the clumsy but lovable pigegriff. His features are rounder than the others including his beak and claws to make him appear as cute and unthreatening as possible.
This week we had Philip Vallentin from Espresso Animation come in to show us his work critique our projects. I adore these frames from a Coco Pops advert he brought in. I find smear drawings completely fascinating, I could look at them for ages!
He also gave some great feedback on my drawing, telling me to avoid parallel legs (some of my characters when standing side on the leg in the foreground was completely covering the other leg and it’s not nice on the eyes) and also to remember the cheeks beneath the beak and the eye and treat them as volumes between them.
Also after IMDB research I found out that he was an animation supervisor for the Pound Puppies movie from my childhood, that is awesome! XD
To help with the problem I’ve been having with the positioning of the characters and the 180 degree rule I drew out the landscape and used that to map out exactly where I want the characters to be throughout the animatic. This helped a lot and I think I’ve finally overcome it.
I had a meeting with Ioli to look over the animatic. She gave me lots of really useful tips to improve on the performance side of it. This is what we agreed on I need to look over. This is the most recent version of the animatic that I showed her. (There’s a problem when I upload this one to youtube and vimeo some parts are cut out, dunno whats up with that, cant fix it :S)
1. Fruut should be seen reacting throughout the scene with the first female (Kristi) and rival male (Hans). He disappears for their entire scene together and it’s like the story is theirs now and not about him. I had the idea to have Fruut look sadly down at his broken flowers on the floor after Hans gives Kristi the beautiful rose, as if he is thinking “why didn’t she like my flowers?”
2. When pigeons walk the leg steps first and then the head bobs, the head is reacting to the movement of the legs, the walk cycle I did last year for the creature was too robotic and flat. I found this video on youtube that will be really useful when studying how pigeons walk.
3. It’s not really clear on how Kristi feels about Fruut’s advances. It might be better to make her more posh and snooty, (like the tall male Percy). This would make the audience more sympathetic for Fruut if she is mean to him. I trying to make her look uncomfortable at the moment she looks scared of him, but he is not meant to be scary, just clumsy and quirky.
4. When puffs his feathers at the nape of the neck he should look ecstatic rather than neutral expression, he is trying his best to impress Kristi and this will be a better expression to change from to shocked when he sees Hans, making the performance stronger.
5. The reflection scene is confusing, it looks like he goes from sad to angry to angry to sad again. The way I seen the scene playing out was that he was sad for being rejected and kicked into the water, then he sees his reflection and realises how different he looks and is disgusted with himself (but he looks more angry so fix this at least), then this makes him realise that that’s why females are not attracted to him which makes him sad again and give up, taking off his bow tie. Ioli thinks that it would make more sense for him to go through two expressions rather than three, to be disappointed at first which makes him frustrated and take off the bow tie angrily.
6. It looks like the second female (Geffy) is laughing at him nastily rather than giggling thinking he is cute. Maybe use the her wing to giggle into, looks more cute. I liked this idea because I really want to use their wings more to express what they are feeling, Just now I think the animatic is lacking that greatly.
7. Maybe have the three bullies continue to try and charm Geffy after she catches them teasing Fruut, then she glares are each of them then looks to Fruut and chooses him and they are shocked.
8. Use colour to have Fruut blushing when his feathers puff up at the neck infront of Geffy to show that he is embarrassed, to show that he is doing this involuntarily.
The last week at work I’ve been compositing the finished coloured animation in After Effects. I feel much more comfortable using the programme now with a little practice, which is great considering I’ll probably be using it to composit my uni project.
I feel that the last four weeks working at the NFTS has really benefited me, the only disadvantage being the full time hours made it harder for me to keep up with the project. But the advantages out way this I think since it was just temporary. As well as gaining some industry experience I have learned so much during my time there that I can take away and apply to my own animation such as more subtle animation, boiling, colouring in Photoshop using blending modes and compositing in After Effects. Looking back on it this job has influenced the way I will be colouring and compositing my project so much I think I would have been completely lost without the experience. The director at NFTS was also really supportive of my project, taking an interest in it and giving me tips.
I also got a shot at animating on a desk that used to belong to Richard Williams, that was cool!
Ok, from this moment on its griffis, griffins and more griffins! 😀
This week we were given a brief to work to for us to practice punctuating action in animation properly. The workshop was run by Joanna Quinn and I have learned so much over the past two days. When working on close up shots showing just the head and shoulders I tend to just move the head on the first attempt and the shoulders are really stiff making the head pinned down to a point. This happened when I first attempted animating the facial expression exercise last year with Jetpack Tiffany, then noticing this I went back over the animation and moved the body more. I found it harder to do this with the griffin character because of his animal shoulders, but Joanna helped me a lot by drawing the wing moving almost like a hand over one of my frames. Going over my animation using the wings to express more really improved the movement. I also tried to spend more time on the key drawings and drew the inbetweens more quickly and freely. After this exercise I will take the time to really think about how my character will react after each action. It was nice to see everyone’s animations altogether at the end of the day. 🙂