Maya Animation Tasks

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For this task, we had to create a key-frame animation in Maya using three different 3D primitives.

To begin, we set the animation settings to ‘Realtime’ and ’24’ fps, via Windows-> Settings/Preferences -> Preferences. Ensuring that ‘weighted tangents’ was selected, as well as the default set to linear, we were then able to begin the task.

Creating 3 different polygons, cube, sphere and cone, I spaced them relatively evenly apart. Ensuring that the attribute editor is open, I selected the cube and first frame on the time slider. I then navigated to the channel box and right-clicked on the ‘translate X’ option, of which allowed me to click on ‘Key selected’. You are notified of a created key-frame once the box has gone red.

I then moved the time-slider to frame 24, and moved the cube across to the opposite side of the grid plane. I then repeated the earlier process of creating a key-frame, selecting ‘Key selected’ for translate X.

Dragging the range slider to frame 48, as well as repeating the key-frame process for the sphere, allows me to move this object at half the speed of the cube. The same process is repeated for the cone, but this time its end point is reached at the 72nd frame.

Moving the cube back to the start of the grid, a key-frame is created at 48 frames. Moving it to the end again and creating another key-frame, this time at 72 frames, concludes, for now, the animation regarding the cube.

The sphere, at frame 72, is moved to the middle of the grid via the changing of its X translation to 0. Once positioned correctly, a key-frame is created.

Going back to the cube, a key-frame is created at frame 1 regarding Rotate X set at 0. At frame 72, another key-frame is created for Rotate X, however, this one is set to 1080. This configuration causes the cube to spin while moving across the grid.

For the Sphere, a similar process is used. However, Rotate Y is used instead, with the settings at frame 72 being 360 instead of 1080.

For the cone, Rotate Z is used. With the end number for Rotate Z on the 72nd frame being -90. This causes the cone to tip forward as it along the grid.

Navigating to Windows -> Rendering Editors -> Render View will allow you to apply shaders and textures to your objects, of which is the next stage of this task. Selecting Lambert from the Surface shaders is the next step, of which then has a colour applied to it via the menu on the right hand side of the screen. The material is then assigned to the cube via right clicking the material on the top right of the screen and selecting ‘Assign Material To Selection’.

This process is then repeated with various different shaders, materials and colours for the other objects.

We were then tasked with creating three separate animations, tied together via intertwined animation principles and processes.

The three tasks were thus; animate a heavy ball being dropped/bounced, animate a football rebounding off of a wall, and animate a ball bouncing down stairs.

In order to animate the heavy ball falling and bouncing, I had to consider the physics of such an occasion, as well as the possible materials that the ball would be made of. The conclusion was thus; the ball would drop and barely bounce, rebounding shallowly several times in quick succession before settling down.

The process I used comprised of creating a sphere, selecting the first frame, editing the Translate Y and Translate X co-ordinates, and right clicking them to select ‘Key Selected’ in order to create a key-frame. This process was repeated multiple times for all three animations, rather similar as to how the animation earlier in this post was created.

Utilising various animation principles, I planned out and executed the theory or ‘Squash and Stretch’, manipulating the size and rotation of the sphere as it moved through the air and made contact with other surfaces.

The graph editor was used to smooth out the animation, utilising the ‘Break Tangents’ option for finer control.

Heavy Ball Animation:

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Rebounding Animation:

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Stairs Animation:

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Maya Column Tutorial

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For this task, we had to create a pillar in Maya while following a specific tutorial. In order to create said pillar, we had to utilize various primitive 3D shapes, manipulate them, and position them in the correct area in order to create the pillar.

The three main primitives used and manipulated were; the cube, cylinder, and torus.

In order to create the stepped base of the column, we had to edit the mesh via its edge loops, made possible via Edit Mesh -> Insert Edge Loop Tool (-> Options Box). I ensured that two edge loops are created when inserted, pressing the R key and dragging the edge loops, once in place, demarcates space for the steps. Before doing so, however, a cube was created and edited. The properties it received were thus; Scale Y 0.15, (insert other properties).

Once edge loops had been inserted along each edge of the column base, they were edited to ensure accuracy during the Extruding phase. Clicking the middle mouse button over the object allows you to select the central face, of which is then edited via Edit Mesh -> Extrude. Resetting the Extrude options may be helpful, as it might behave in a different way than you desire. The settings to input were; Thickness 0.2, Offset 0, Divisions 1. The process is then repeated multiple times until you are happy with the result, preferably twice more.

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For the bulk of the column, a cylinder is created and named columnCylinder. This primitive is then given the following settings; Radius 0.4, Height 8, Subdivision axis 32, Subdivision height 1, Subdivision caps 1. Some additional manipulation is required, positioning the cylinder in the correct orientation. Turning on point snapping and holding down the D key allows you to move the pivot point to the base of the column, releasing the D key and then moving the column again allows for finer control.

Afterwards, a torus polygon is created; this primitive is used for near the top of the column, of which will be topped by a modified duplicate of the base. The settings for the torus polygon is thus; Radius 0.4, Section radius 0.1, Twist 0, Subdivision axis 12, Subdivision height 12.

The torus is then placed at the top of the pillar using the move tool, its position edited and finessed in order to eliminate any gaps.

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Then, ‘columnBase’ is selected, followed by pressing CMD+D in order to duplicate it. The duplicate is then renamed ‘topColumn’, and is moved to the top of the column. Pressing spacebar will allow you to view the scene in four different perspective views and angles. Utilizing these views, carefully place the ‘topColumn’ on top of the torus.

Scaling of ‘topColumn’ may be required, and once everything is in place, you may select all of the objects in the scene. To do so, use the select tool (“Q”) and drag over all of the objects. Pressing CMD+G will group the objects together. Naming the group is helpful, and may be done so via the channel panel.

Once grouped, the column may be moved as a whole, allowing you to duplicate it and create a larger scene.

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3D Topology, Maya and Careers

Topology:

Topology refers to the surface of a 3D object, usually displayed and manipulated via a 3D mesh made up of quads. Triangular faces are usually undesirable, with 4-sided quads being easier to manipulate. Sub-divisions allow greater detail density and finer manipulations of the topology, however, the higher the sub-divisions, the more memory is required to render the model efficiently.

Topology is usually manipulated using Hulls and Control Vertices, with the two main types of modeling being Polygonal (vertices, edges and faces) and NURBS. Ngons are usually avoided, as they are regarded as bad topology due to the complications that arise from faces with 5 or more edges and vertices. The same goes for triangles; any face with 3 edges or vertices are problematic when it comes to rendering, rigging and animating. Ngons and triangles both have the habit of causing artifacting to occur, complicating the modeling, animating and rendering processes. Quads, as they are easier to manipulate and are less prone to strange artifacting, are more desirable when it comes to clean topology.

 

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 Maya Work-space:

Asset management is an incredibly important part of Maya, as well as most other software applications, and allows you to maintain an orderly and efficient work-space. The correct labelling of file structures (Underscores are preferred over spaces) and placement of files will help ensure a smooth workflow.

The process for setting up a project in Maya is thus; File -> Set Project -> Select file structure that you desire to use -> Click Set. This ties your scene, and everything related to it, to that project and file structure.

Workspace Screenshot.jpg

The work-space consists of the main View-port, with the Shelf above it. To the left would be the Tool Box and View-port Layout section, to the right are the Channel and Layer Boxes. Below all of this, at the bottom, are the Animation Timeline and Playback Controls.

A few of the main hotkeys and navigational shortcuts would be:

Q: Select Tool   W: Move Tool   E: Rotate Tool   R: Scale Tool

View-port Navigation: Space-bar, or Alt/Option plus the Middle Mouse Button.

3D Careers:

Two examples of careers relating to 3D modelling and animation would be;

Animator (3D Computer Animation):

For this job, one would be required to use 3D packages and software to create three-dimensional images, of which when put in a sequence, produce the illusion of motion/movement.

Important skills and relevant traits would include good observational skills, feeling for timing and movement, passion for the industry and field of work, as well as various teamwork and organisational skills.

For animation, the principles are the same regardless of whether or not 3D or 2D is being used. The only different would be the tools and processes used to obtain the end results.

For the most part, the animators will be working closely with the individuals and teams that make up both pre-production and production, referring to various sources and material that has both been provided to and researched by them in order to produce an accurate illusion of movement in a three-dimensional state.

CG Modeller:

The job of a CG Modeller relates to the creation of three-dimensional models for a variety of media, with the software used depending upon various factors and limitations. The individuals working in this field will need to be able to think and visualise in 3D, work in a range of styles, possess the necessary creative and technical modelling skills, as well as various teamwork and organisational skills.

3D/CG Modellers usually work closely with the pre-production team, referring to references and turn-around sheets in order to accurately create their models. Later on in the process riggers, animators and texture artists will attend to the model, providing motion, shaders, materials and textures.

References

Pinterest. (2017). Tutorials | 3D Topology. [online] Available at: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/characterdesigh/tutorials-3d-topology/ [Accessed 23 Sep. 2017].

Pluralsight.com. (2014). Why Are Ngons and Triangles so Bad?. [online] Available at: https://www.pluralsight.com/blog/film-games/ngons-triangles-bad [Accessed 23 Sep. 2017].

Site.rukout.com. (2014). 3d-facial-modeling – Rukout. [online] Available at: http://site.rukout.com/resources/3d-facial-modeling [Accessed 23 Sep. 2017].

Thunder Cloud Studio. (2016). Modeling guide: realistic human head. [online] Available at: http://www.thundercloud-studio.com/tc-tutorial/modeling-guide-realistic-human-head/ [Accessed 23 Sep. 2017].

Creativeskillset.org. (2017). Animator (3D computer animation) – Animation – Creative Skillset. [online] Available at: http://creativeskillset.org/job_roles/370_animator_3d_computer_animation [Accessed 14 Oct. 2017].

Creativeskillset.org. (2017). CG Modeller – Animation Job Roles – Creative Skillset. [online] Available at: http://creativeskillset.org/job_roles/366_cg_modeller [Accessed 14 Oct. 2017].

Hope Animation Assignment – Development and Evaluation

Initially, when I started this assignment, I created a series of goals in Asana. I organised these by task and date, assigning them certain days and general time-frames to achieve in order to accomplish the assignment in an efficient and timely manner. Once this was in place, I began researching and ideating.

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 When it came to research, I investigated several topics;Hope (meaning, in historical and philosophical context, references that are both visual and non-visual, and how hope is used in an example of art, design,literature and or film), 2D animation (methods, techniques, story and content etc.),storyboards, animatics and software.
Once all that research had been compiled and written about,with references and images gathered, I moved onto ideation and sketchbook work.I started with an idea of a triangle, rising and projecting light in a dark world. This light would fall upon a figure, whom is in despair upon the ground,while several more triangles appear in the distance as the sky lightens. A series of notes regarding the storyline, key points and visual elements were created,supplemented with several sketches and thumbnails. My sketchbook, as it progresses, includes more notes and drawings, as well as storyboards and character exploration.

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The direction I took, stylised and semi-abstract, was heavily influenced by research into colour and shape language, especially in relation to the concept of hope and the emotional connotations of those elements. This is evident in the shapes I chose, with an upside-down triangle for the representation of future hope and a better future, flipping the usual connotation of the violent and aggressive shape language that is normally interpreted through triangles. For hope, I used a circle as a representational tool; combined with white and its fleeting appearances in the story, it puts forth a narrative on the elusive nature of the concept.
With several different shapes and value combination present,I needed to find a way to separate them, as well as introduce texture. To do so, I created several sketches, assigning value groups to certain shapes and foreground, middle ground and background sections. To add further character to the story, the character was developed further, seeking out a consistent style to use in the animation. After much exploration, both into simplified/stylised,realistic/semi-realistic, angular and soft, line and broad/charcoal strokes, I settled on a combination of line and charcoal strokes, with the character moving between both the ‘medium’ and visual style as well. Fluctuations between construction-esque manikins, simplified skeletons, fleshed-out bodies and charcoal strokes were made, each representing a certain emotional state, as well as the position of the character in the story.
The bare, simplified and skeletal styles, as well as the constructionist ones, symbolise the emptiness of the character, with some order being restored to their being when the orb/sphere appears and returns throughout the animation. The charcoal strokes, with the character being ‘filled in’, represents the character before the turmoil and distress, as well as afterwards. This shows the character as ‘whole’, his being undisturbed by chaos and discord. Colour experimentation, as well as storyboard development,was explored as well. The colour-work in my sketchbook was done using colour pencils, with a fine-liner being another medium/tool that I used.
The final storyboard, of which I created digitally in Photoshop, does not deviate too heavily from the one in my sketchbook. It was also used to construct my animatic, making the process much more efficient.
For the storyboard, made in Photoshop, I attempted to create a good indication of the story, visuals, content and camera  angles/shots/movements. I used a template found online, creating groups for each storyboard and its respective panels to ensure better structuring and layering. The first panel, depicting the character while still in a happy state, has bright blue and cyan colours in evidence. The character stands tall and proud, confident and happy. This panel makes use of arrows and a rectangular inner frame to illustrate zooming in, where a transition occurs towards panel two. There, a vignette effect is displayed, showing chaos or struggle that is occurring in the character’s life. The third panel shows the character in a dark, textural void with tendrils of black and red swirling towards him, contrasting the ones found in panel 1. This reflection and juxtaposition of the first panel reinforces the idea that the character is going through a difficult time, with elements of his life that were previously positive now affecting him negatively. Afterwards, a transitional sequence is depicted through several panels, with textural effects, custom brushes,masking, layering and grouping being used to create these visuals. Those abstract and textural images, which will flash upon the screen briefly, are representations of the inner turmoil faced by the character. After a series of those images, a panel depicting the character falling is shown. Here, a dark background with a static texture is evident, showing the confusion and negativity imbued in the perceived chaotic void of life.
However, in the panel after this, a white sphere appears before the character, whom raises their head to view it. The camera angle here is slightly above over-the-shoulder, showing the top of the back of the character’s head with the sphere above and before him. The camera will then cut to a view of the character’s face from the front, lifting his head up to face the orb/sphere in the foreground. The camera, in the next panel, is then further back. Here, the character turns to track the sphere as it moves across the screen. It will then fly up and away from the character as he stretches out towards it. Clearly distraught in the next panel, as he has effectively lost his fleeting glance at hope, he walks in a slumped manner before lifting his head once again to view the orb return. In this next panel, the sphere/orb travels towards and around him as he tracks it, turning side to side as it orbits him before flying off into the distance.
Once again, the character has ‘lost hope’ and struggles togo on, stumbling in the dark void he inhabits. Shortly after stumbling to the ground, another transitional sequence of abstract shapes and textures appears.Following that, a scene where an abstract representation of the character’s ‘soul’ is depicted, showing how he experiences great emotional and spiritual pain from the complete absence of hope. He falls into despair, as shown in the next few panels. Here, several camera angles show him on all-fours, within the dark void he still inhabits. After a while, a light begins to shine upon him.This heralds the return of the orb, of which orbits him once again. He then lifts his head, the next panel showing a much more colourful scene; the sun is rising, with both warm and cool colours bleeding into/washing over the background. Here, the character is still on all-fours, however, strong directional light begins to wash over him. The next panel displays the presence of a large upside-down triangle, the sphere residing next to it as it casts its light upon the now kneeling character. The next panel depicts the character standing up, with the camera showing only his shoulders and up as he stands up.Afterwards, a scene with the character standing is shown, several more characters appearing in the background as the light from the main one is cast onto the character.
During the development of this storyboard, I had to ensure a coherent story that related to the concept of hope, making sure that the theme was communicated not only through shape language and story, but also colour and posing.

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Moving forwards, I started to work on my animatic. To do this, I used Photoshop’s Timeline with the workspace set to Motion. I then created several groups, referencing the ones created for the storyboard, as well as copying over the folder structures from the document for the storyboard. Having the storyboard done beforehand made the process of creating the animatic much more efficient, cutting down on the time required to make it.In this phase of the assignment, I worked mainly upon getting the timing of the scenes right, acting out several actions and timing them to ensure accuracy.Some changes were made during the animatic phase, however the visuals remained mostly the same to the ones for the storyboards.

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Once I had created the animatic, we went into a feedback phase. Here, we created Google Forms where we created a series of questions that we then had out peers respond to, essentially gathering feedback and critique.

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The feedback was rather helpful, highlighting the areas thatI needed to work on and re-visit. Afterwards, I moved onto the actual animation for the assignment. Before I begun animating, I took reference videos me performing certain actions. This is to ensure accuracy regarding the motion and timing, creating believability. Not only did I take videos, but pictures as well. Those images helped with specific poses, added to the ability to useAdobe Premiere to dissect the video reference, I had a decent amount of reference to use when animating.
Animation Tests and In-Class Exercises/Tutorials:

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When it came to animating in Photoshop, I had to do quite a bit of research, as well as trial and error. To help with organisation, I organised the animation into several scenes, each with their own folder structures inside. To animate, I had to create video layers using Layer ->Video Layers -> New Blank Video Layer. Within this, I could animate frame by frame, navigating with the arrow keys and seeing the next and/or previous frames using Onion Skinning, of which is accompanied by several options in an expandable menu/drop down menu attached to the animation panel/timeline.
When I needed still images that were to persist over certain periods of time, as well as have certain transformations applied to them, I created a normal layer and converted the contents within to smart objects,allowing me to manipulate, edit and transform them more freely when it came to the Timeline Panel.  Some of the scenes required careful planning and layer structuring due to the overlapping nature of some elements, this was aided by the ability to group layers, as well as structure them in the Timeline Panel, moving them around, layering and lining them up with each other.

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When it comes to animating, I am still quite inexperienced.I faced many challenges, of which having reference helped solve. I used AdobePremiere to navigate my reference videos, pausing it at strategic points to view the ‘key frames’. One area of particular difficulty was the scene where the character is seen from the side view and moves from left to right, stopping and then breathing rapidly. While I was animating, the depiction of breath was initially quite unrealistic, however, as I was drawing I got into a rhythm,realising how to animate the movement better by acting it out myself,exaggerating the movements. In order to depict rapid breathing through the chest, I raised the rib cage and flattened the stomach for the inhalation, and vice versa for when the character exhaled.
To animate the ‘growth’ of the triangles, I created them as smart objects, used the transform option and created keyframes, starting them out small and ending them at a larger size a short period of time. To ensure accuracy, I created a separate layer for guides, placing dots at the original points of the ‘original’ triangles before transformations. To show a gentler fade, I used the gradient tool to fill in a selection when creating the triangles, of which was enhanced by the use of a soft eraser.
In comparison, animating with lines was faster than using the broad charcoal strokes. When using the broad strokes, achieving proper proportions and body shape was difficult, especially when using only a few limited values. The lines allowed me to create more gestural shapes and forms,allowing me to create flowing frame by frame animation. The broader strokes were more suited to the still images and shorter scenes, especially ones affected by lighting and the heavy use of colour.
The use of lines also helped with accuracy, allowing me to break down the movement and scenes more-so than if I had predominately used the charcoal strokes. Ease-in and out, as well as timing and the position of the body and its individual parts during movement are important factors to pay attention to, as these help add realism and appeal to the animation.

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The audio, created by my friend Tristan, is used to emphasise the chaotic and discordant nature of the character’s journey, as well as the fickle nature of hope. The electronic and unsettling notes sound out during key moments, signalling shifts in tone and visuals, persisting even through the times of supposed hope and happiness. The gong that sounds out during the transitions of despair hints at the finality of death, something linked to the feelings of hope and despair, a driving factor for humanity.
Compared to most professionally produced animations, mine appears un-finished, with line work and animation errors throughout. Colour-wise, the use of flats combined with clean line-work would of been beneficial, providing a cleaner look to the overall animation. An example of this would be Snow White, where the use of clean lines, flats and painted backgrounds create visually interesting scenes, as well as fluid animation. Instead of using charcoal strokes, I could of filled in the lines of the characters, applying lighting using the lasso selection and gradient tools. The  backgrounds in my animation are rather simple and abstract, with only a few values used to separate the ground from the sky, and in some scenes only two values are used to divide the ground and the sky, with textures applied to add visual interest. Further along, the background become slightly more complex, with coloured gradients, a sun and several triangles being introduced. However, compared the Snow White, these backgrounds are simple and abstract, lacking the traditional painterly quality evident in the animations of old.

Stop Motion Animation Assignment – Development and Evaluation

For the Letter/Alphabet Stop Motion part of the AnimationAssignment, I started in my sketchbook with the ideation of stop motion avenues and possibilities. I wrote down, supplemented by previous and current research,several types of stop motion techniques, processes and mediums. My initial direction was related to the use of a chalkboard/blackboard and some chalk,leaning it against a surface such as a chair or wall, using chalk to create the required letter.
The way I was going to achieve the stop motion effect with the letter and chalkboard combo was thus; I would measure out segments, each insets of 12 ‘frames’. I would then advance the lines to another segment, talking a picture, and then progressing on. Once I had advanced the lines a decent amount, I would erase by rubbing and/or using a wet cloth to wipe off the undesired marks/chalk.
The letter I was given, ‘Z’, was created using this method.I measured out several sections, broke them up into segments and then advanced the lines across the board, erasing and taking pictures as needed. To ensure stability, I mounted the camera on a tripod and placed the chalkboard on an easel/drawing board. I used some paper and a pencil to record the frame rate and images taken, using tallies and totals to ensure consistency.
After review from teachers, I gathered information on how to improve my stop motion animation. Several of the suggestions were related to font, character/s, lighting, colour and sound, as well as frame rate. Regarding lighting, the images were taken in daylight, light fluctuating through blinds.This created visual disturbances and stuttering, lowering the quality of the animation.
I then went back to ideation, informed by these suggestions and various new directions. The inclusion of a character, such as a zebra,and/or other elements relating to the letter ‘Z’ were suggested. In order to include elements that related more to the letter in question, I created several sketches and did some exploration in terms of font and shapes. I came up with amore organic font, more efficient when it comes to managing the frame rate/number of pictures required in relation to the timing. To relate the letter to an example of a word starting with Z, such as zebra, I included sketches of black and white stripes. I experimented with this in several ways,of which can be seen in the images below.
After creating more sketches in my sketchbook, I went back to taking images to create the stop motion animation. Feedback also included the mentioning of the background in the images I had taken, and that it was too distracting; the suggestion, therefore, was to zoom in on the chalkboard. Due to the orientation of the chalkboard and distances between the table it was on,and the counter the camera was on, required me to pursue other options. I tried out using a sketchbook, however the bright paper made it difficult for the camera to adjust and focus.
To solve these problems, I pursued another medium. I extracted zig-zags from the letter Z, relating to that were twisting pieces of pasta. To make this new medium work, I used a cutting board placed upon a counter. Atop that board, I placed pieces of pasta, arranging them into a Z with extra lines coming off it to form a zig-zag. To add visual interest and some more motion, I created a zig-zag, on the left hand-side of the shot, that would move from top to bottom and vice versa. To boost the frame rate and smoothness of those frames, double pictures for each ‘frame was taken’, thus doubling the frame rate.

Stop Motion Animation:

Hope and Stop Motion Animation Treatments

Hope Animation Treatment:

Working Title: Hope Animation – Ryan N
Genre: 2D Digital Animation (using Photoshop)
Duration: 90 seconds or less.
TargetAudience: 16-25 year olds (male and female)
Outline – This animation features a nameless main character, a blank template that anyone can project themselves onto. Initially, this character is in a state of peace, represented by the saturated blues surrounding him.However, a vignette effect rushes towards the character, aided by zooming, to transition into the next scene. Here, the character is ‘attacked’ by tendrils of ‘negative energy’, abstractly represented by black and red brush strokes.Afterwards, a series of images flash across the screen, of which represent the struggles and negative emotions experienced by the character after this time of pain. Once that sequence is complete, the character will sit up from an all-fours position, surrounded by static as the camera zooms out.
The next scene will introduce the sphere,an orb of white that flies towards the character, whom raises their head to observe its appearance. It will then zoom past the character, with a scene showing him turning to watch it fly past. Disappointed by this fleeting moment of light, he becomes clearly upset by dropping his shoulders and head in exasperation. Moving forwards, the character finds the sphere again, causing his breathing to quicken in anticipation. From another camera angle, in front of the character, the orb travels towards and around the character before speeding off into the distance. The character turns, tracking and reaching out to the sphere before it leaves.
Another sequence, representing the negative emotions of the character, occurs. This transitions to a scene of the character’s ‘soul’ falling and fading, representing the last bit of hope left disappearing from his life. The next two shots display the character on all-fours once again, in despair while surrounded by darkness, the sky textured with static. A close-up shot of the character is then shown before pulling out,displaying the sphere/orb flying around the character once again before leaving.
The next scene displays a sun rise, the character raising his head while on all-fours as light reaches towards him. The orb flies off the side of the screen, in the direction of the light stretching across the ground. The camera cuts to a long-shot, displaying the character,still on all-fours, as a triangle of light rises up before him with its light stretching towards him. A close-up shot then occurs, with the character’s head and shoulders shown rising up, a background depicting the sun’s light spilling across the sky, changing the colours in a gradient. A long-shot, similar to the one previously, is then shown. Here, the character stands as several more triangles rise in the distance. The screen then fades to white, displaying the credits and end plate.
CharacterBreakdown: The two characters will be a male figure and a bright sphere. The figure is the human in turmoil, while the sphere is an abstract concept or being that provides hope for this person, guiding them along the way to recovery.
VisualElements / Mise en Scene: The visual elements were drawn and ideated within a sketchbook,then re-created in Photoshop. Storyboards were created first, then an animatic(embellish upon?). The lighting, characters and settings within the storyboards and the animatic were created using Photoshop, a Wacom tablet, and a series of tools and custom brushes.
Audio– The audio will be discordant, eerier and unsettling. There will be electronic and nearly sci-fi elements, hinting at the uncertainty and strange, unsettling nature of the subject matter and the journey that the character goes through. Certain sound effects will play to announce the beginning, ends and transitions of certain scenes, with the mood of the audio continuing even into the scenes of positivity; thus showing that even though you believe hope has returned, danger and despair may loom just around the corner, ready to hold you in its clutches once again, highlighting the fickle nature of life and the concept of hope.
Rationale: I have chosen this idea due to the sensitive, yet abstract,subject matter that is prevalent in today’s society. Not only is self-harm on the ever-increasing rise, but hope seems like a foreign concept due to the nature of news journalism and social media. The sensitive aspect of the subject matter, portrayed in an abstracted manner, combined with a message of hope may elicit emotional responses from many. Therefore, it will grab the attention of the viewers, the cause for that may be for good or bad reasons, however that is up to personal interpretation of the subject matter presented.
I have skill and experience in both traditional and digital art (Photoshop and Graphics Tablets), of which will help when storyboarding, conceptualising and creating assets for the animation.However, the actual skill of animation is rather new to me, therefore I will need to learn how to not only use Photoshop as an animation tool, but also the principle and foundations of animation.
Primary and Secondary Research: I have done extensive research into the concept of hope, looking at multiple sources online. Using those sources, I have created notes with references, as well as mood boards, to help aid me when ideating the story for the animation. I have also done research into both storyboarding and animation/film-making, as well as how they relate to one another. Similarly, notes and mood boards were created help with the ideation and development of the animation.
Requirements and resources: The equipment required for this animation would sketchbooks, pencils, colour pencils, computer and peripherals,a graphics tablet and Photoshop. I have access to these and do no require outsourcing for them.
Constraints and Contingency: Problems will most likely been countered regarding the transfer between storyboard, animatic and animation.Not only that, but the actual animating itself. To overcome these challenges,research and experimentation is required, with each situation requiring its own specific approach.
Legal and ethical considerations – I need to ensure that my work is entirely my own, with the audio being either my own or open-source/public domain.
Budget – Potential costs would involve that of a sketchbook, stationary,computer, graphics tablet and a copy of Photoshop, as well as audio software capable of creating music.
Schedule – It will most likely take one to two months to complete the assignment, from research to final animation.

 

Stop Motion Animation Treatment:

Working Title: Alphabet (Letter Z) Stop Motion Animation –Ryan N
Genre: Stop Motion Animation – Pixilation/Object/Pasta
Duration: 5 seconds
Target Audience: Young teenagers.
Outline – Pasta creates the shape of a Z, with a zig-zag of pasta moving along the left-hand side of the screen.
Character Breakdown – Your main characters: Names, age race gender etc. Include any necessary back-story.
Visual Elements / Mise en Scene: The stop motion animation will be done using pasta lain and manipulated upon a cutting board.
Audio– The sound of pasta being shaken is present,relating to the subject matter.
Rationale – The twisted forms of the pasta relate to zig-zags, of which relates to the letter Z.
Primary and Secondary Research – I have conducted research into Stop Motion and the various forms it takes, as well as the techniques and processes pertaining to those forms and mediums.
Requirements and resources – Pasta, camera, tripod, cutting board, object use to elevate camera, Adobe Premiere, PC, phone to record audio with.
Constraints and Contingency – The lighting will be controlled by taking the images in the evening, with the blinds closed and lights on. The orientation of the camera to the cutting board and pasta will be achieved through the use of an object to elevate the camera. To aid this, a tripod will be used to angle the camera towards the board.
Legal and ethical considerations – N/A
Budget – The costs would include that of the camera, tripod, cutting board,pasta, editing software, PC and peripherals, phone to record audio with.
Schedule – Organising, story boarding, taking the pictures, recording the audio and compiling them in Adobe Premiere will take several hours.

Storyboard and Animatic Research

Storyboard Research:

Storyboards are used to illustrate the shots and scenes that make up the final animation and/or film, allowing you to plan out what it will look like and how to create it. A storyboard is usually comprised of a rectangular frame called a panel, this shows the content of what the camera sees. Using storyboards, you can establish the camera angles and perspectives you will use early on, as well as the locations, props and effects needed for the different parts of the animation and/or film.
To show movement, the use of arrows is generally employed. These show the direction something is moving in, be it a character, door or camera. Arrows within the panel indicate movement within a scene, arrows outside of the panel are used to show camera movement.
It is better to over explain than to leave information in ambiguity. Notes are extremely useful, helping to create clarity and communicate the information more effectively. These notes can be outside the panel, usually below, or inside arrows.

Types of Shots:

Camera Angles:
Extreme Long Shot:
-Camera is positioned far away from the subject, good for establishing the environment and the character’s position within it, especially useful for new environments, areas and locations.
Long/Full Body Shot:
-Closer than the Extreme Long Shot, showing the entire character.
Medium Shot:
-Closer than the Long Shot, usually showing a character from the waist up or down. Medium Long Shots can be used to show the character from the knees up.
Close Up:
-Close-up shot of the subject that usually shows, although it is not limited to, the character’s head.
Extreme Close Up:
-An ever closer viewpoint, usually used to highlight a specific element. Often used to show the eye’s of a character.
Up Shot:
-Camera is tilted up, viewing the subject matter from below. (Can be combined with the previous shots)
Down Shot:
-Camera is tilted down, viewing the subject matter from above. (Can be combined with the previous shots)
Low Angle:
-Camera is positioned lower in relation to the subject, however it is still pointed towards the horizon line. (Can be combined with the previous shots)
Tilt (Dutch):
-The camera is tiled and held in an angle, usually used to create an unsettling and unstable feeling.
Pan Shots:
-Pans are when the camera moves within an environment, physically changing position. Usually used to show the movement of the subject matter or the changing of the audience’s point of view.
Horizontal Pan:
-Camera moves in a horizontal direction, parallel to the horizon line.
Vertical Pan:
-Camera moves vertically, usually tracking a character’s movements and adjusting accordingly.
Diagonal Pan:
-Camera moves diagonally, using both horizontal and vertical movement.
Non-Linear Pan:
-Camera follows the subject.
Camera Angles, Movements and Arrows:
-The manipulation of the camera, its viewpoint, and its direction.
Track/Dolly Shot:
-One arrow that narrows to suggest movement in or out of 3D space.
-Arrows in all four corners of the panel, going in or out, showing narrowing or widening of perspective. Drawing a panel within the panel shows how far the dolly goes.
-Often used to track/follow a character through a scene, usually keeping pace and creating a background that ‘pans’ behind them.
Zoom In/Out:
-Arrows in all four corners of the panel, going in or out, showing narrowing or widening of perspective. Drawing a panel within the panel shows how far the zoom goes.
Rotations:
-Similar to a tilt, the camera moves from one angle to another in a rocking or spinning movement. The angle could range from several degrees to a complete 360 degrees rotation.
Rack Focus:
-This is where one element is in focus with everything else being out of focus, then the focus changes to a different subject within the scene. Usually this in-camera movement is paired with others, such as a zoom.
Pan Right/Left:
-Pans to either the left or right are shown with arrows on the sides of the panel.
Tilt Up/Down:
-Tilts have arrows on the top or bottom of the panel.

Miscellaneous:

 Character Shots:
One Shot:
-One character
Two Shot:
-Two characters
Three Shot:
-Three characters
Crowd Shot:
-More than three characters
Over-the-Shoulder:
-Foreground character and background character. Camera looks over/past shoulder of foreground character. Foreground character = framing element.
Establishing Shot:
-Establishes scene and location.
Point of View (Subjective):
-Camera = character’s eyes
Objective:
-Characters are seemingly unaware of the camera, as though it is hidden in the environment. Most movies are filmed this way.
Voyeristic:
-Similar to the Object Shot, however it usually involves a more ‘hidden camera’ kind of feeling, with the content being something you normally would not be able to see.
Split Screen:
-Screen is divided into segments, showing the audience multiple scenes at once.

Types of Scenes:

 Active:
-Physical movement is occurring.
Passive:
-No intense physical movement.
Dialogue:
-Character/s are talking.
Montage:
-A series/sequence of events/scenes that are related, highlighting important shots.
Silhouettes:
-Silhouetted scenes, usually used to invoke a creepy and/or unsettling mood/atmosphere.

Cuts and Transitions:

 Cuts:
Cut:
-Changing from one scene to another in order to advance the story and establish a different perspective.
Cutting in Action:
-Moving from shot to shot as the subject is in motion.
Cut Away:
-Cut to an insert shot of something, and then back again.
Cross Cut:
-Cutting back and forth between locations and scenes.
Jump Cut:
-Cuts between and inside the same shot, used to show the passing of time, especially in montages. They can be used to add urgency to a scene, adding a frantic nature and/or…
-Cuts from one shot, to a similar shot, by either matching the action and/or composition. These are usually used as scene transition, as they are often ‘jumpy’. They can also be verbal/auditory, with the continuation of sentences/music/sounds being part of the transition.
Transitions:
Fade In/Fade Out:
-Dissolving to or from black.
Dissolve:
-Blending one shot into another, usually used in montages and the communication of the passage of time.
Smash Cut:
-Abrupt transitions, making use of contrast in mood, tone and visuals etc.
Iris:
-Dark circle closing in or expanding from an area in a shot/scene.
Wipe:
-One scene ‘wipes’ off across the scene, revealing another one ‘below’ it. This can also happen with the second screen going over the first, ‘wiping’ across it and ‘hiding’ the previous scene.
Invisible Cut:
-Cuts that are hidden in blackness/darkness, the movement of an object within/crossing/leaving the scene/frame or camera motion/movement (whitpans).
L-Cut:
-Audio based transition, with the audio from the current shot carrying over to the next shot.
J-Cut:
-This is when the audio from the next scene starts before it visually appears, this technique is good for revealing a new element within the scene.
Cross Dissolve:
-One image/scene is gradually replaced by another, with the fading taking place over a number of frames with a percentage tied to each increment/frame.
Ripple Dissolve:
-Same as Cross Dissolve, however there is an effect/filter applied to make the image look distorted.
Fade-to-Black:
-Screen fades to or from black.

Animatic Research:

Animatics are essentially animated storyboards, matching your storyboard with the timing, basic audio and pacing of the animation. Animatics are effective for pre-visualisation, taking storyboards a step further. They allow you to bridge the gap between storyboards and the final animation, letting you plan out the final animation more effectively.

References

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