Monthly Archives: September 2015

Fridge Model

Up until now I haven’t given the set to my first animated shot much love, so I decided to spend a few hours trying to do just that. I knew that I wanted to have a retro feel to my fridge so I did some research and found a handful of photos of retro refrigerators and used them as reference when modeling in Maya. Overall I’m very happy with how my fridge model turned out but please keep in mind that I’m not a modeler so my work here is very basic and elementary. Nevertheless, here it is and I’m pleased with it!

Fridge

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Story Ideas

Over the last week, my group and I have been throwing around ideas and trying to hammer down a solid story for our short film. Just when we think we’re finished, we continue to push ourselves to try to make it leaner and simpler and easier to understand. Here are some sample story notes we typed up on Wednesday:

Failed to Deliver v1

>We see a girl texting her boyfriend on her phone. A bubble of her text appears over her head. “I’ll be back n town this weekend! I luv u.”

>The screen follows the text message into the digital space and becomes a physical letter.

>The letter pops out of a toaster and is grabbed by a large character, who tosses it into the pipe labeled ‘Boyfriend’ as the manager oversees from the computer in back. “SENT”

>It reaches the boyfriend and as he’s about to the reply he gets another message. “Dude u still owe me 5$, when r u paying me?. He replies and we see the bubble above his head. “Stop bothering me…it’s over. i moved on, why can’t you?”

>The text becomes a letter and goes digital back to the post office…

>The manager sees a red message “FAILED TO DELIVER”.

>He looks around and sees the letter from the boyfriend on the ground. *sigh of relief*

>He goes over and picks it up, remembers the boyfriends name on it and just puts it in the “Girlfriend” tube.

>Immediately the computer lights up and the manager runs back.

>We see a red letter going through the tubes and it becomes obvious what happened.

>Manager begins typing furiously to close the gates and stop the letter.

>Letter gets stuck in the last gate as the manager closes it.

>Manager runs and dives into the “Girlfriend” tube opening

>Big character walks over, looks down at the manager’s flailing legs, looks up at the letter, then slams his fist down onto the small character

>Big character watching manager (as a blue blur) flying through the tubes

>Shot of manager in transit

>Letter slowly slipping away (time clock)

>Manager notices closed gate

>Crashes into gate, explosion causes glass & debris to rain down

>Manager laying unconscious after smoke clears

>Letter falling onto his face

>Big character picks up manager & letter

>Big character putting the “girlfriend” letter in the correct tube

>Big character puts manager in his chair

>Big character uses manager’s hand to hit a button on the keyboard

>Computer changes from “Failed to Deliver” to “Sent”

Fade to Black

Failed To Deliver v2

>Girl enters her room, and jumps on her bed gleefully. *Flash hearts appearing*

>She begins texting, a bubble appears “That was a great night, I’d love to see u again”

>The message enters the digital space and becomes a actual letter.

>The lumbering guy begins slowly taking it to the tube to send it.

>The manager becomes impatient at his speed and grabs the envelope and stuffs it in the tube.

>Guy receives text message and replies to it with something as well. Cutesy stuff.

[never completed because we came up with the latest story idea]

FAILURE TO SEND v1 [title change]

>We see a girl texting her boyfriend on her phone. A bubble of her text appears over her head. “I’ll be back n town this weekend! I luv u.”

>Establish shot of digital world/office (include “Empolyees of the month)

>The message enters the digital space and becomes a actual letter.

>The lumbering guy begins slowly taking it to the tube to send it.

>The manager becomes impatient at his speed and grabs the envelope and stuffs it in the tube.

>Sends it to Boy

>Boy receives text

>Boy starts typing up text (Cutesy stuff back to Girl)

>The message enters the digital space and becomes a actual letter.

>The lumbering guy begins slowly taking it to the tube to send it.

>The manager becomes impatient at his speed and grabs the envelope and stuffs it in the tube.

>Supposedly sends to Girl

>Alarms blare

>The manager sees a red message “FAILED TO DELIVER”.

>We see a red letter going through the tubes and it becomes obvious what happened.

>Manager begins typing furiously to close the gates and stop the letter.

>Letter gets stuck in the last gate as the manager closes it.

>Manager runs and dives into the “Girlfriend” tube opening

>Big character walks over, looks down at the manager’s flailing legs, looks up at the letter, thenslams his fist down onto the small character

>Big character watching manager (as a blue blur) flying through the tubes

>Shot of manager in transit

>Letter slowly slipping away (time clock)

>Manager notices closed gate

>Crashes into gate, explosion causes glass & debris to rain down

>Manager laying unconscious after smoke clears

>Manager wakes up, excited so picks up letter and runs to office

>Manager makes decision to give the letter to the bigger guy

>Transition to real world, phone vibrates, Girl goes to it but then hears door knock

>Girl opens door Boy is there, hugs are given

>Cut back to office, Big guy and little guy smile and high five

>Cut to Black

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Shot 01 Blocking_Updated

After addressing a few notes, I have a newer version of my blocking. I’ve sent a copy of it to my mentor Marty Cooper (Hombre McSteez) to look at and critique. Expect another version of blocking after he gets back to me! For now, enjoy the process =P

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Shot 01 Blocking

Here is the latest blocking for my first animated shot. There are plenty of things to work on still, but for progress’ sake I wanted to capture a glimpse of it in its earlier stages. This is probably my 5th pass so far and I still have a few more to go after I receive some critiques on it. I get more and more happy and excited with each blocking pass! Can’t wait to see how it turns out in the end.

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New Kid on the Block

At first it was hard to let the Fift rig go because I thought he looked so cool and would be fun to animate with. I found that I was trying to convince myself that I would be able to animate him regardless of the issues and problems I was facing. The saying, “never fall in love with your work” is totally applicable in this circumstance because, since I was so in love with the Fift rig, I was too stubborn and too attached to him to let him go. It wasn’t until my good animation friend Jessica Tong told me “You gotta roll with the punches kid” that I was able to accept the loss and look for another rig to use instead.I learned a lot from this situation: I need to be flexible not only with story ideas, but characters and rigs also. After about an hour of searching and weighing out my options, I finally came across a great little cartoony looking character that just so happens to be from Boutique23 as well. So without further ado, the new rig I will be using for my first animated shot of the semester is TRE3.

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Characters

When it comes to our character designs, let’s try to keep them simple since they’re going to have to be modeled & rigged in Maya. Mainly they just need a body, arms, legs, eyes, brows and a mouth (for expressions). Can we play with the 3 shapes of sphere, cube, and cylinder??

from Disney/Pixar’s “Ratatouille”

I absolutely love this character lineup! 10 characters of different shapes & sizes that help to distinguish each one of them as well as their personality and even body mechanics. Keep this in mind when designing our 3 FTD characters!

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Shape & Size – Character Design

I think we should keep the character designs limited to simple geometrical shapes. This picture is a terrific example because they play with size and shape (and color) to help differentiate the three characters. I’m thinking for our shot film we should have a small roundish character, a skinny tall cylindrical character, and a bulky squarish medium sized character.

from Nickelodeon’s “Purple and Brown” stop-motion animated short television series

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Fallen Soldier

Sadly, after I began blocking my first animated shot for the semester, I noticed that the Fift rig could not perform certain moves that I needed him to do for this body mechanics shot. It seems that his design is hindering him from being able to reach both of his arms directly in front of himself. His shoulders are located somewhat on the back of his torso–as opposed to the outer edges–so when he reaches both arms forward, they intersect the geometry of his chest. In order to try to work around this, I rotated his shoulders forward & outward, curved his spine forward, and adjusted his root. But nothing seemed to fix the awkward breaking of the rig that I was getting. If that wasn’t enough, in one part of my shot when he leans forward to brace his feet against the fridge door, his arm jolts wildly upward for no reason. Before I decided to completely throw in the towel on Fift, I spent quite a bit of time playing with his other controls to see if I was missing anything. In the end, no amount of translating and rotating of his spine, root, hip, shoulder, neck, head, arm, and leg controls corrected the problem. So although I love the look and appeal of the Fift rig, because he can’t give me what I need, I regretfully have to stop using him and find another rig to animate my shot with. I feel that I’m making the right decision because 1) even if I did manage to fix this, I don’t want to risk it occurring again throughout the rest of my shot, and 2) I don’t want to have to fight a rig throughout a scene; it’s difficult enough animating a rig that works properly, I can’t even imagine having to suffer the agony of animating a shot with a rig that isn’t working.

In the following video you can see that when he reaches up to the fridge door handle (00:02), some funky stuff happens on his back that I wasn’t able to rectify. Also, when he leans forward and lifts his leg up to the fridge, his arm flings about spastically (00:03).

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Making an Animated Movie – Steps to Creating an Animated Short Film

  1. Story
    .work within limitations
  2. Script
  3. Character Designs
  4. Storyboards
  5. Animatic
  6. Modeling
  7. Rigging
  8. Layout (pre viz)
  9. Animation
  10. Lighting & Rendering
  11. Editing & Coloring
  12. Sound Design

All information received from bloopanimation.com

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Story Structure in 7 Steps

Based on the information in the book Invisible Ink: A Practical Guide to Building Stories That Resonate by Brian McDonald.

1. Once upon a time…

  • Act I
  • Set-Up
  • The reality in which your story takes place and the introduction of the major characters
  • Tells the audience everything they need to know to understand the story that is to follow
  • Our first responsibility as storytellers is to introduce our characters and setting
    • Who is the story about? Where are they? When is all this taking place?
  • You don’t have to provide every detail, but you must supply enough information

2. And every day…

  • With characters and setting established, you can begin to tell the audience what everyday life is like in this world.
  • The world in “balance”
    • “Balance” does not imply that all is well, only that this is how things are normally/regularly

3. Until one day…

  • An inciting incident occurs
  • The pivotal event that launches the story
    • true beginning of your story
  • Something happens that throws the main character’s world out of balance
    • forcing them to do something, change something, attain something that will either restore the old balance or establish a new equilibrium
  • The end of Act I
    • ends on the highest point
      • when the stakes are at their most desperate

4. And because of this…

  • The beginning of Act II
    • main body of the story
  • Now it is time to explore what happens as a result of Act I
  • Everything should be cause & effect
  • Whatever the character does, it must be in reaction to the incident at the end of Act I
  • Your main character (or “protagonist”) begins the pursuit of his or her goal
  • Along the way the protagonist will encounter obstacles (conflicts)

5. And because of this…

  • Everything in a story has a cause & effect relationship; nothing happens accidentally or “just because”
    • when one thing happens, it causes something else to happen, and that causes something else to happen, etc.
  • Your protagonist should get closer and closer to his/her goal, but have minor setbacks along the way
    • think one step closer, two steps back, etc.

6. Until finally…

  • Act III
  • The beginning of the end of the story
  • This event starts the chain of events that lead to the climax
  • What does the protagonist (along with supporting characters) do to solve the major conflict of the story?

7. And ever since that day…

  • Follows the climax/resolution
    • a short scene or two called the denouement
  • You shouldn’t have too much following your climax
    • just something that lets the audience know what the life of your protagonist is like after this adventure
  • Once we know what happened, the closing scenes tell us what the story means for the protagonist, for others in the narrative, and (not least of all) for those of us in the audience.
    • the lesson/moral, etc.
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