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Monday, 7 May 2012

Sting Production - The Final Sting

Here is the final sting which was edited in After Effects and exported to then have the sound put together in Final Cut Pro.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Sting Production - Group Reflection

When we were introduced to this brief I was looking forward to the prospect of working in a team on a chosen sting as I liked the look of a lot of the animatics that were created by the class. The production took off to a good start as we exchanged contact information and initial design ideas for a background which was our starting point. I realised early on that my team mate was very talented in the designing process and I therefore felt a little nervous that my work and contributions would not be up to his standard. However, this appeared to be overlooked as he kept copies of my work and gave me tasks to do.

We agreed near the start of the project that he would deal with animating the main character in the sting and I would create the minor characters as I felt the animating process wasn't particularly my strongest area and I obviously didn't want that to affect the final outcome. I found animating the birds quite a challenge as wing cycles can be quite complex but my team mate seemed happy with the work. I enjoyed designing and animating the squirrel which I chose to do on my own as the original inspirational video featured a simple grey squirrel which really added to the 'calm' effect that my team mate wanted at the start of his sting. He was also happy with the squirrel so things seemed to be going well. I was then asked to colour and export the Photoshop files in preparation for importation into After Effects. From this point I felt like communication broke down a little as he was not clear in the stage he was up to and didn't seem to assign me anything else to do.

My team mate kept asking me over a couple of weeks to keep adding to the short animations I created to develop them which I did and then sent to him. It seemed in my eyes he had become very protective over his work as he wasn't showing me the stage he was up to and I was a little confused as to what he wanted me to do next. I kept consistent email communication with my team mate asking for some clarity in what I should be doing but he seemed to want to do it all himself. I really just wanted him to keep me in the loop and assign me tasks even if he wasn't going to use them in the final sting.

I was eventually asked to collect sound which I was happy with doing as I quite enjoyed collecting sound for my own sting idea. The following week after been set this individual job I asked him what else he wanted me to do and he just said keep collecting more sound which I didn't object to and therefore overlayed some new sounds over the original animatic. This is when I glanced at his screen and saw that the composition had changed quite a lot from the original animatic and that my work didn't appear to be in the After Effects project. I spoke to my tutor about this as I felt that communication had deteriorated and that it had become a project he was just doing alone. He then informed me that he had changed some of my work and didn't tell me because he didn't want to offend me. As a director I want him to tell me what to do and I will not be offended by changes or constructive criticism.

I found out in this last week that he has been telling people in the class that I have not been doing much work for this project and I could not help but get upset by this as that kind of judgement should be discussed with me and not told to peers outside of the group as it has nothing to do with them at all. I have not felt that I have done as much work as I wanted to but this is down to the fact my team mate did not take on the role of director effectively and consequently left me with little to no work to be done. However, I put my full commitment into the work I have done and feel I have made progress.

I learnt from this project that I like assisting in the production of other people's work, communication is vital in a production team and that in future I would prefer to work on my own.

Sting Production - Completion

Today I spent the day with my team mate putting the last bits of the sting together in preparation for final exportation. My team mate checked over the sounds I had collected previously from various online libraries and appropriate YouTube videos and wrote a list of other sounds needed to help me find more specific sounds. I managed to find a lot of suitable sounds and organised them in a file structure for easy access for my team mate.

Using organised file structures eased the workflow in this project.
We then sat together and edited the sounds in Soundtrack Pro to fit them to the timing and composition. I helped my team mate with this and after a couple of hours work we managed to fit some great cartoon sounds to our final animation.

I recorded the soundtracks in Audacity and sent my team mate the MP3 forma
We then assisted each other with a tutor's support in exporting the final sting with the correct render settings and file extension.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Sting Production - Sound Development

After creating the short animations, I sent them to my team mate who has begun placing the files together in the final After Effects file. Our next stage was to then concentrate on the sound for the animation and to fit it appropriately to the visual frames.

I had to use the original animatic in order to test out some sound as my team mate is still working into the sting and by importing the animatic into After Effects I was able to mute the audio used in it originally and overlay it with new sounds. This is how it turned out:


The speed of the animatic towards the end is a bit fast and we agreed at the beginning of the project that it should be slowed down slightly in the final outcome so that it reads better for the audience.

I collected the various sound bites in this video from some original Tex Avery and Warner Brothers cartoons and on the Internet in various sound librarys. I'm hoping some of the sound files will be used in the final animation.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Sting Production - Final Animations

I have been working into the animations I have created in order to clean them up and make sure they're ready for importation into the final After Effects file.

I was asked by my team member to create a short animation of some leaves which are thrown out of the tree as the ducks fly out, I created a number of versions of this animation before I was happy with it and my team mate liked the final outcome.

I tried creating realistic leaves which shoot out of the tree and then fall due to gravity but my team mate wanted a more comical effect on the leaves.

I then changed the animation by giving them more of an arc and by importing them into Flipbook with the ducks animation on another layer I was able to adjust the timing appropriately.
The final animation coloured and layered.
The other animations were then cleaned up to finalise them. I was going to change the blue birds and small birds wings to give them a more realistic 'U' shape but as they only appear quickly at the beginning of the animation I was hoping to get away with that small inaccuracy.

Small birds animation.
Bluebirds animation.
The final squirrel animation which I'm very happy with.
I have sent the final files to my team mate and the next stage will be sorting the sound out on After Effects which I have been collecting and checking over the animations when they have been imported to check for errors and inaccuracies.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Sting Production - Colouring & Cleaning Up

After working into the rough animations I then coloured each frame in Photoshop in preparation for the frames to be imported into After Effects which will be used for the final sting.

By importing each individual frame into Photoshop I was able to go over the line-work and ensure the drawing style was consistent. I coloured the creatures as based on the Tex Avery source material.

Examples of the coloured birds which fly at the beginning of the animation.
Examples of the blue birds which fly in the opposite direction at the start of the sting.
Examples of the squirrel's coloured frames as he runs down the tree at the start of the animation.

 I imported the coloured frames of the squirrel into Flipbook and this shows the final outcome which I'm really happy with. The birds sadly came out in grayscale as they did not support the alpha channel setting.

I decided to change the ducks animation as the right duck flying was proving difficult to animate. I have made both ducks fly in synchronisation with the further duck been smaller in proportion so they are not completely identical.

To contrast nicely against the vibrant background I made the ducks a plain white colour.
My team mate seemed happy with the progress and asked me to save each frame as a Photoshop file with a transparent background so that when they are imported into After Effects it is just the creature that is visible.

 Once all the backgrounds were made transparent I sent them to my team mate who began to import them into the final After Effects file.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Sting Production - Rough Animations

I have been working into animating the minor characters featured in the sting and their progress is as follows:

My animation of the smaller birds flying at the beginning of the sting. My team mate liked this and wants to mimic the same birds flying across the screen but going in the opposite direction.

I found it more difficult animating the ducks flying out of the trees as I really had to concentrate on the wing cycle. I feel I have made progress with the animation so far though. The ducks are escaping from a gun shot in the sting and I therefore had to adjust the timing accordingly, therefore making it a quick animation.

I created these quick sketches of the squirrel which I have proposed to my team mate to have run down the tree at the beginning of the sting. At the moment I am waiting for feedback to see if he likes the idea and I will then hopefully go on to animate it.

I gained inspiration for this character from the original Tex Avery video which features the same character:

I decided to have a go at trying to animate the basic shape and form of the squirrel myself and I am happy with the progress so far: