Here’s the complete video. I ended up putting it through After Effects and sprucing it up a little. I exported PNG sequences of each layer and recreated the TVPaint project in After Effects.
Once in, I altered the lighting, added some glow to the spotlight and the characters in it. Hopefully these adjustments haven’t diminished the lighting effect I had created in the vanilla design. However, I do like that I’ve now drawn attention to the main characters in Shot 1 and Shot 2 by making a sort of vignette around them.
The render isn’t perfect as it looks a little faded but I’m actually quite pleased with it. It reflects my initial vision of having an old timey, smokey theater vibe.
Here’s my project at week 4 of the pipeline. I’m glad I got it this far for presenting today.
The curtains at the back need a little love, but other than that, I’m very happy with what I have. My chosen colours and lighting seem to work at a very minimal level. The animated audience is pretty funny, especially the little prop hat. I just need to plough through the rest of the film now and tie the rest down.
Previously looking at ‘The Illusionist’ for inspiration on how to style my animation, I realised that the quality of work I was looking at is reserved for projects that span far longer than my meagre 4 weeks and for people far more talented than me.
So taking what I could from the stunning background art and rich, sepia pallet, I continued my search for something that better suited my time limit and type of story. I began looking at short films that had been created in TV Paint, but nothing particularly grabbed me, as most kept to a fairly standard style. One thing I did notice as being quite popular was changing the line art to different colours.
But extending my research to 2D shorts outside of TV Paint, I rediscovered the monk and the fish. I really admire the wonderful simplicity of both the animation and the art in this film. The contrast of the very bold, black lines against the watercolour is very effective and the quick, sharp, bouncing animation of the characters is enchanting.
Although it’s far to late to consider incorporating that style of animation in my film, I’m beginning to think that the art style would be somewhat ideal for this project. Lighting would be far easier to achieve as pretty well everything that isn’t in the spotlight would only have to be implied with dashes of colour. This kills my fear of having to draw all the seating!
Here’s my initial attempt at drawing the wand and the hat in this style. I really like how the hat has come out but the wand is so simple, it’s hard to really transform. I’ll have to play with this a lot more to really find the look.
Here’s roughly how I want the set to look in the end. Very simple with most of the set only implied.
Today I put on paper the rough plan for sound in my inanimate objects project. I used timecode from my animatic, but it’s likely to change.
I’ve put in dialogue as a guide for the mumbling that I’m planning on putting in, Vic Reeves club singer style.
I was doing a little research around TVPaint and came across the ‘Gigglebug Behind The Scenes’ TVPaint series on YouTube. It gives you a good look at the studio in the videos and one thing I found interesting is that the animators kept a keyboard mounted on their Cintiqs. I’ve just started using a knock-off Cintiq myself at home and thought it was quite an interesting idea.
Throughout the video, they explain their work flow doing the rough animation. There are a whole load of useful tools in the software I wasn’t aware of like the notes bar, the sketch panel and project view. I was surprised how much all of the animators used the rotate function while drawing frames. It’s not something I’ve ever done or even considered necessary when digital drawing but it make a lot of sense to me now. One of the animators also shared a shortcut to collapse the timeline bar to give you more drawing space which is very handy.
Jon gave me some good feedback on my animatic today, praising my composition in the first two shots but also pointing out where my continuity had gone wrong in the third shot.
I had mistakenly drawn the feather on the wrong side of the hat when he sat down on the chair again in the third shot. This changed the composition of it quite dramatically, making the feather and wand appear very close together.
Jon suggested that it makes a stronger connection between the feather and wand so helped explain my ending so it’s improved the idea in more way than one.
I also adjusted the height of the stage in the composition as it looked a bit naff cutting right across the middle of the screen and the wand was far too high up.
We also talked about the issue of a style for the project. I had begun to look at the theatre scenes from ‘The Illusionist’ to look at the backgrounds and lighting. I hadn’t really considered whether I was going to use black outlines and what kind of pallet I would use so I have a lot to think about there.
Thinking about the style for my inanimate film, I could help keep thinking back to The Illusionist. I’ll definitely be taking the classical theatre style from this and I can probably learn a lot about lighting from many of the scenes in this too. I quite like the gloomy, smoky almost stale atmosphere you get from this particular picture.
Here’s a quick mockup I’ve made based on the animatic.
I’d like to make it a bit more elaborate, but it’s a little unnecessary although it would help the grand showmanship of the wand.
Here’s a slightly different version of my animatic with enhanced performances. I think the hat could still be stroppier but it’s a bit better.
Next up is completing it with a bit of lighting I believe. I’d quite like to get stuck into some sound before too long as well.
This is my initial animatic from today’s session. At the time I was quite happy with it but I can now see it’s very flawed. Although I had managed to get all the shots outlined in the brief, shots 1 and 2 are more or less the same and very flat.
Not only are my compositions here boring but they don’t aid what I’m trying to say about the characters. Initially I thought that shot 2 worked because it made the wand look menacing, cornering the hat in the bottom left of the screen, giving him reason to not want to participate in the wand’s trick.
At this point I was also trying to stick to the breif as best I could and not go a frame over the 10 second limit but those restraints have been loosened, I can fit in a little more exposition that was missing from this attempt
This second version, I adjusted the composition in shot one to reduce negative space but clearly not enough. I also changed shot 3 to be ‘More interesting’ by panning to show the hat leaving the stage, but it didn’t really help the gag. I missed the idea of watching him from the seats behind in silhouette.
In this version, things make a bit more sense. It’s obvious that the hat is a volunteer from the audience in the wand’s show. You get a sense of enthusiasm from the hat and a bit of showmanship from the wand. Their characteristics are readable. I also added the audience in so it doesn’t look like the wand is watching like a
I changed shot 2 to be a little more intimate with the hat. I realised that the hat is the character we actually relate to the most so it’s more appropriate to share the experience from his angle. It’s still not entirely clear that the hat is upset about the wand taking the feather so I may have to work out a way to make him a little more stroppy. Hopefully the audio will make that clearer, cutting the magical music when the hat jumps up.
The final shot is just as I wanted it, with the wand in shot ready to bow as the trick is finally completed after the rude interruption. The bow certainly needs some work as it just looks like he’s hanging his head.
My premise for the inanimate objects brief is to use the hat and the wand with the added object of the feather using 2D. I originally wanted to add the feather to the hat as a device that let the viewer know where the hat was looking. Now I’m thinking of the phrase ‘A feather in his cap’ and thinking maybe it’d be good to use the feather as the third object. Perhaps it could mean something about the hat being full of himself?
My idea now is to have the hat be an audience participant in the wand’s magic show. The wand will call him up on stage and try to use the feather in his ribbon as a part of a trick. The hat wont like this and will snap it out of the air before promptly returning to his seat where the trick finally complete. The feather turns from a dull grey one to a beautiful peacock’s feather. The wand will take a bow.