Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Life Drawingss!

I'm fairly pleased with my life drawings, although I could practise more. Funny enough I was in a drawing mood just a moment ago, I don't know if drawing Goku counts. When looking through, it kind of made me realise I NEED to get back into shading again. I've just rarely drawn anything traditionally for a while. I've had to force myself to draw via graphics tablet that I've neglected my love for simply pencil and paper. I particularly wished with the watercolour one I had more time because I needed the watercolour paint to dry so I could've drawn over in a dark pencil but never mind. I think I have learnt quite a bit from this term, although some things I already knew since I attended a manga workshop years ago and in order to emphasise a drawing, you obviously need to learn the basics first. There were some drawings I couldn't include since the scanner couldn't pick up the lightness of the lines unfortunately. Anyway, here's my life drawings:

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Partial Planning

Today, I just focused on sketching the basic key poses for my character by focusing on the emphasised words. I want emotion, but I don't want it to be overly aggressive in a scary way; after all, he is still talking to his father. There are several poses where he's pointing because in the dialogue he is casting some blame on the father and I want this to flow through his arm in particular. I didn't make his arm straight as of yet because he's not at the peak of his anger as the climax is much later on.

I broke down the dialogue, focusing on each sentence and what the most important words were. I've only worked on a small section of the beginning since I know I'm already behind in work since I only just chose my dialogue yesterday so I have a lot to catch up to. It doesn't help that my formative is on Thursday so I want to show a variation of things with the small amount of dialogue I've analysed. This is what I've done so far:
You can't tell me WHEN or WHERE I'm out of line

or try to get me to live my life according to YOUR rules
[PAUSE] [HUFFS] You don't even know what I am dad; you don't know WHO I am, you don't know how I FEEL or what I think.

I felt, I had planned the beginning poses as much as I could, so I decided to put this into a storyboard to explain my reasons for the poses as well as the reason for my intentions. I managed to get storyboard templates from the book I borrowed from the library which is wonderful for me since it saves so much time as well as allowing me the space to write what I want concerning poses as well as what dialogue goes with it.

This is all I've done for now, but I'm pleased with my progress.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Doubts About Donnie Darko Dialogue

I spoke to other students about my dialogue and some expressed doubts. This really worried me because both had the same views of it not having enough impact. I emailed tutor Dan about this, and he agreed that Jim Cunnigham's dialogue overshadowed Donnie's and therefore lost impact. He recommended that I would find a monologue. I sat down and thought, but quickly I went back to an original idea I had which was to use a clip from the film 'Guess Who's Coming To Dinner'. I wasn't sure exactly what part, but there is such dramatic dialogue within the film from respectable actors that I felt I was spoilt for choice. The initial reason for why I chose it is due to Mike earlier recommending to use an older film, rather than the latest or well known since most recent films tend to rely on special effects instead of pure acting.

'Guess Who's Coming To Dinner' is about a young couple who declare to their own families that they are getting married. Both sides hadn't fully accepted mixed marriages being incorporated into their own families and this creates a racial tension. The young couple must overcome the battle of changing social prejudices.

I have always found Sidney Poitier a poised and respectable actor and within his films he has always held such dignity in his roles which was why I chose his dialogue in particular.

This is the scene I have chosen from where John Prentice (Sidney Poitier) stands up to his father.

I will use the dialogue from 1:50 to 2:24.

I wish I could've been able to include the line, "But you think of yourself as a coloured man. I think of myself, as a man."

Here is the basic dialogue that I will be using:

John Prentice: You can’t tell me when or where I’m out of line, or try to get me to live my life according to your rules. You don’t even know what I am, dad; you don’t know who I am, you don’t know how I feel or what I think. And if I try to explain it the rest of your life you would never understand. You are thirty years older than I am. You and your whole lousy generation believes the way it was for you is the way it’s got to be. And not until your whole generation has lain down and died will the dead weight of you be off our backs!

Here is my analysed version:

BOLD = Strong emphasis on words.

Italic = words become soft.

[PAUSE] – Where he pauses to breathe or about to put emphasis on a word.

[Elongated] – When they lengthen out a word.

Red – Very important.

[Stating start, peak and end of emotions]

John Prentice: You can’t tell me when [elongated] [PAUSE] or where [elongated] I’m out of line [elongated], [PAUSE] or try to get me to live my life according to your [elongated] rules. [PAUSE] [Huffs] [Upset]You don’t even know what I am [elongated], dad [elongated]; you don’t know who [elongated] I am, [PAUSE] you don’t know how I feel [elongated] or what I think. [PAUSE]And if I try to explain it the rest of your life you would never understand. [End of upset] [PAUSE] [Start of anger builds up] You are thirty years [elongated] older than I am. [PAUSE] You and your whole [elongated] lousy [elongated] generation believes the way it was for you is the way it’s [start of climax] got to be. [Short pause] And not until your whole [elongated] generation has lain down and died [elongated] will the dead [climax] weight of you [elongated] be off our backs! [End of climax]

I've noticed that the character's emotions are building up through out this dialogue. He is upset that his father disagrees with him but he won't back down from how he feels. The constant emphasis and elongation of words work towards the climax at the end. His words are very much aggressive, as it regularly emphasises on 'you' or emphasises when it comes to explaining himself. There is particularly a strong emphasis at the end on 'died' and 'dead' which shows his anger at its peak.

I particularly love this scene for the strong tension it gives, since it is so expressive without being vulgar and yet still very dignified and sensible. There is so much emotion being shown in this short time period.

I still have a lot to catch up to, since I have decided to change my dialogue only three days before my formative assessment but I think this will be worth it.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Thinking about my animation

I've been thinking, that since Donnie seems to be stuttering a lot within his dialogue, my character's movement will be quite fidgety to mimic this physically. He doesn't feel comfortable, but that is apart of Donnie's personality. He is generally an outcast within this film.

In complete irrelevance to above, I went to the library tday and took out a book I had previously taken out for my first term of the course. It's called "Producing Independent 2d Character Animation: Making and Selling a Short Film" by Mark Simon. This doesn't really relate much to my animation since I will be doing it in 3D, but there was a page (Fig.1) that I remembered that was quite helpful. It showed the different general phonemes. I figured, it would help me to do the lip syncing but knowing roughly how to shape the mouths.


Fig 2

Unfortunately, the text is a bit difficult to read, but I feel Fig.1 pretty much explains all anyway.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Lip Syncing Animation - Performance Piece. The start anyway lol

Well, I had difficulty thinking what dialogue to choose because there are SO many films to choose from. Originally I thought of 'Fight Club' when the main character realises he IS Tyler (sorry for spoiling everyone), then I thought of Seven, another Brad Pitt film. I loved the ending since it really surprised me and left me thinking even after watching the film. It was so emotional and the acting between the three actors were amazing. If you don't mind the ending being spoilt, click here for the link:

I was originally planning to do this, but I realised, I didn't want to animate three characters, it would cause too much stress for me and it wasn't a scene where I could only focus on one. I think also, the length of this scene would be too long for me to animate by myself so I decided against this.

Afterwards, I thought about Jack Sparrow from the first 'Pirates of the Carribean' where he was stranded on the island since that was personally my favourite scene, but then I heard Gerome was doing Jack Sparrow also and decided against it. I wanted to be different.

Then it came to me. Donnie Darko. This was at one point my favourite film because on the surface, it seems like a typical teenage film that's confusing, but when you look beneath the surface, it is quite complex. I've watched the film many times and thought about it and that's what I like about this film. I love the fact that Donnie Darko himself, is very complex, rebellious yet at the same time intellectual. When everyone thinks of Donnie Darko, the Smurf scene comes to mind because of his intelligent interpretation that over rules his friends' stupid bantering which suddenly turns them quiet. Here's the scene:

The reason why I decided against this, is because, it's such a well known scene which wasn't my personal favourite. In addition, the scene would be too long to animate for me since I can't cut Donnie's dialogue since there are no breaks. The reason for that is because he finds the stupid subject so frustrating that he speaks very quickly and aggressively.

The clip I decided to choose from Donnie Darko was when Donnie Darko speaks against Jim Cunningham's methods. He strongly disagrees with his approach to life (where he states there are only two emotions, fear and love) as well as his advice to the students confessing their problems. This is the point where he stands up for the students as well as the audience and rebels. This is personally my favourite scene because of how daring Donnie is.

I would like to animate from 4:47 to somewhat near the end. I want to include Jim Cunningham's dialogue but not animate him since it would be too much for me to do. I feel, it's important to include it since it will give context to Donnie's dialogue so you can see what he's responding and reacting towards.

The dialogue

Jim Cunningham: You see the fear people? This boy is scared to death of the truth. Son, it breaks my heart to say this, but I believe you’re a very troubled and confused young man. I believe you are searching for the answers in all the wrong places.

Donnie Darko: You’re right actually I am pretty, I’m-I’m pretty troubled and I’m-and I’m pretty confused, but I… and I’m afraid, really, really afraid. Really afraid, But I…I…I think you’re a fucking antichrist.

After listening to the section I want to use, I have broken it down into detail and took into great consideration of how they say their dialogue as well as why Donnie may use certain tones when speaking:

Jim Cunningham: You see [elongated] the fear people? [Pause] This boy is scared [scared is elongated to emphasise this word] to death of the truth. Son, [Pause] it breaks my heart to say this, [Pause] but I believe you’re a very troubled and confused young man. I believe you are searching for the answers in all [turns soft, to show as if he cares] the wrong places.

Donnie Darko: You’re right actually [Laughing, patronising] I am pretty, I’m, I’m pretty troubled and I’m-and I’m pretty confused, but I… and I’m afraid, really, really afraid. [could be referring to the problems he’s been experiencing through out the film such as meeting Frank, and being told the world will end after a certain period of time. He’s made it clear, he’s afraid of what’s going on and this may have affected the tone here when he says it. At this point, even though he’s attacking Jim Cunningham’s methods, he’s being honest here.] [Pause] Really afraid, But I…I…I think you’re a fucking antichrist. [When he says “I think you’re a fucking antichrist, his face turns serious, he’s putting all his negativity in those words. He’s not talked seriously up until this moment, but he puts emphasis on the expletive to show how frustrating Jim Cunningham’s views have been. Donnie is being confident and rebellious but this is how he truly feels. It feels like a relief for the students as well as the audience for Donnie to be the one to express what everyone is thinking].

After I had got to grasp with that, I started quickly sketching poses in according to sections of dialogue Donnie says.

"You're right actually [Laughing]

"I am pretty, I'm, I'm pretty troubled and I'm-and I'm pretty confused"

"But I...and I'm afraid, really, really afraid. Really afraid.

Well, that's all I've done for now. I shall post as I progress.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

More Life Drawings Whoo!

I've only picked out a few of each to show variety, rather than to show everything that looks alike. The first one, we were basically taught to use lines to measure how accurately we drew the figure as this helped us with angles as well as length of body parts.

I personally thought this was quite helpful because I saw mistakes I may not have seen at first glance of my drawings. I think the use of lines also helps me to put more weight on the feet.

This next one, was from one of our last life drawing classes (We didn't have as many sessions this term). Along with learning to use geometric shapes, we also learn to draw a person using only circles. At first this was difficult to ONLY visualise with circles, but it quickly became easier due to the fact that the human body is made out of many curves and quickly I grew quite into it.

Another from our last actual life drawings was the one where we had to draw with our opposite hands. Most people found this difficult and I guess a lot of people are very attached to their drawings so they become more stressed rather than finding it fun. Mine was still messy, but I never realised how similar it is to my usual drawing hand considering I never use my left. I guess I was generally relaxed and as Ollie had said, I guess if you have the knowledge, you just transfer the same techniques to your other hand. Surprising at how little I use my left hand (Apart from typing) I wasn't aching after that activity.

These drawings are from the week after our last session where Dan told us to go and do drawings ourselves. I decided to go to the Croydon Shopping Centre because there are always a variation of people. Some of the drawings were done on the tram on my way, and the rest were from observing in the actual place. I've drawn people passing by before, but I forgot just how difficult it was! I didn't really even get 10 seconds to draw most people so it became to look abstract. I tried my best to capture gestures but they were pretty much gone by the time my pencil would touch the paper.

The next drawings are from our last Life Drawing class this term. We went to the National Portrait Gallery to do some drawing exercises. I think I enjoyed this day the least, I definitely prefer drawing people but I do admit, I did learn a bit about composition.

Here's even more ;o I think I like the one on black paper best, because it's just a complete contrast to drawing on white paper. I think it also helps that the painting we drew from is one of my favourites within the gallery.

Friday, 5 March 2010

3D Walk Cycle

Even though I had grasped the basic process of how the 3d walk cycle goes, unfortunately, things have been far from straight forward when it came to actually doing it. Initially, my work came along fine, but then I began to experience problems with the autokey and character set. Instead of it predicting what the inbetween frames would be like, it would jump straight to the next key frame without making any inbetween frames at all. I wanted the animation to flow, but this caused a lot of problems for me.

See the highlighted frame just before the keyframe, it has not changed position since the last keyframe.

Here are video footages to illustrate the technical problems I've had.

I even tried to do it frame by frame since autokey doesn't work for me, but this made my animation look very rigid and was very difficult. It made me realise how handy the autokey is, when it can be used however.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Research Into Walk Cycles

Dan had showed us the 101 Dalmation opening which is one of my favourite parts within the whole film. I loved watching the comparison between characters and their walks as well as how the animators managed to make the dogs mimic this too. It clearly showed variations of personality, age as well as shapes and sizes.

Here's the link:

Initially for the side profile walk, I would constantly walk, start moving in slow motion then pause to think about my positioning. This was what influenced my first and second tests.

I did the second test mid way because I felt I needed to start a fresh to think properly about movements, but many people seemed to prefer the first one by far.

The third test I did was based on the sheet that Mike had sent via email. With its help, I was able to create a quite cheerful character that I was pleased with.

This was the final one I decided on.

For the perspective walk, I took some footage of my friends.

I found that heels really affects the way you walk and is very distinctive which is why I decided to base my character on her. I felt her love for high heels showed confidence in her walk and wanted this to be portrayed in my animation.

When I was filming this, I asked her to exaggerate her walk more for me because everything has to be described through the walk alone.

After looking at the footage of Priscilla walking, I tried to think how I would characterize her and did a few experimentations.

My designs were influenced by our Life Drawing lessons. Using geometric shapes have helped very much with my animation due to the fact that I am able to think of my character 3 dimensionally and can give my characters more realistic movements. Here are examples from Life Drawing:

Afterwards I tried thinking about twists, but I felt I would manipulate the torso so much that the frames would look out of place. This was one of the reasons why I chose not to include it as well as the fact it was difficult to do twists with cylinders. Regardless, here is some sketches of when I was thinking about incorporating twists.