Saturday, 27 November 2010

A Forest Bird Never Wants a Cage

After working on the block through for most of the week I decided to spend part of Friday and Saturday on a little break furthering my skills in digital painting. After some prying around on the internet deciding what to do on whether or not to take the plunge into Corel Painter, I decided to give it a shot. And quite honestly it is an amazing bit of software. The layout is very similar to Photoshop, so getting used to the interface was quite easy.

Granted Photoshop may win hands down on being a powerful photo editing suite, it does kinda lack in the whole running properly area, as there does tend to be an awful lot of lag for the bigger file and its new brushes in CS5. And this is where Corel comes in, because from what little usage I have given to it, it has a lot of brush settings and types with no (encountered as of yet) lag. Anyway I'm not going to pretend I know anything at all about Painter 11, and what's there and what's new because I'll figure it out as go (and it would seem rather daft to talk about something I hardly know), so check these guys on the Corel website, they'll probably be able to say a lot more: Painter 11 is half price too, so may be an excellent Christmas present.

But I must admit you need a bigger screen to get the best from it without messing around and shoving your boxes out of the way, because unlike Photoshop you can't minimize all the boxes to little icons and shove them in a corner (or maybe you can, and I've just lost the plot). In any case I would recommend using CP 11 on a nice big monitor, that way you can see your layers and an awesome interactive colour palette. Yes you can mix paints, as if they were real!

Below is the image I have produced, I have stuck to something simple and a style I know for this image in order to get to grips with how well the software works and how quick and easy it is to produce results. Had I done this kind of image in Photoshop I'd have given up because of hard it is to mix and get the right colours.

I have enjoyed working in Painter far more than I would if I was producing something like this in Photoshop, I don't know if that's because the novelty has yet to wear off, but it just has such a lovely colour and brush interaction. I can only vouch for the Painter's Oils at this point, but the way the colours are able to mix on the page just seems to give my work a little something more. I am quite pleased with how this image has turned out, yet I do think a little bit more could have been done to the trees. Having said this though, it may distract from the detail of the flowers and distant creature, so I think I've achieved the right kind of balance.

However I do still have such a long way to go in order to fully understand Painter, but after first usage I don't think I've done too badly. I will definitely put in lots of time into using this software over the next month or so in order to get the most out of it, and hopefully I'll be able to produce some pretty good work.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010


Just a mid-week post much ado about not much. A little quick exercise I did just now, to try and loosen up my hand at drawing in 'straight-to-photoshop', I'm rather happy with how they have turned out considering they are just speed sketches (if they can be called that). I tend to worry too much at how one brush stroke turns out, thinking too much as to how to produce this line, the next line, and how it will all look good or right at the end. But in doing these two pictures I've proved to myself that I can progress through an image with little or no idea as to what to draw, without worrying if it looks good or right; I've simply just gone with the flow and let the image come to me as I paint away ...

Rabbits Eye Up Cabbages


Hopefully, in continuing exercises like this over time I will develop a much looser way to working, not thinking about how it will look and just jump in and paint. Also I will be able to create these sketches like this much quicker, producing more, and hopefully, it may become easier for me to get my visual ideas and inspirations down on paper more efficiently and quickly as I do find drawing what I imagine can be quite challenging at many times ... or maaaaybe I just think too big ...

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Week Commencing: 15-11 File Name: Scene Tree

During the past week I have been working on a scene for the block through, and doing this we can all get a feel for the timing of the animation

I have animated the scene where the Hunter and the Apprentice are in the treetops searching for the creature, which has somehow yet again escaped the Hunter's clutches. Small summary of the scene:

It starts with a pan-up shot to the Hunter overlooking the area, and then peering over to the Apprentice, cutting to a short clip of the the Apprentice looking rather cheerful. There is then a cut back to the Hunter and then to where he is looking, immediately spotting the creature on a far away branch peering back with it's own binoculars. The Hunter is surprised by the creature's salute and then becomes angry. A cut back to the creature shows us he's just fooling around, jeering at the Hunter. A cut to the Hunter now reveals his deep loathing for the creature immediately withdraws his sword. The Apprentice is shocked and is now in disbelief as to what to do, when he suddenly realises he is holding onto the vine that is keeping the Hunter up, he lets go. A cut to the Hunter now shows he is falling and a massive plant (like a Venus fly trap) eats him.

Below are a few shots from this scene:

While doing this scene I found that a quite a few shots cannot be taken literally from the storyboard and animatic. There are a few that need more time to show that character, for example on the first and second shot there needs to be a short hold on the end to establish what the characters have just done and give the audience time to catch up with the images being shown to them. Some shots however need to last considerably longer to get in more emotion and/or actions to tell the story better. The shot where the Apprentice realises he can just let go of the vine needs considerably more time.

I feel there should also be a couple of added shots in order to fully explain the story to an audience because I did feel when I watched all the shots together, that it was too snappy in places and the story of what was happening just wasn't flowing as good as it could. I think while the Apprentice lets go of the vine, I feel there could be another shot or two after that shows the Hunter coming extremely close to his prize, arms outstretched with an expression of manic glee on his face. Then he suddenly falls only just inches away from the creature. (In the background the Apprentice could wave to the creature as we see the Hunter fall /or(or while) the creature is completely oblivious to this then turning around spots and waves back to the apprentice) If this was added I think the story would flow a bit better to the audience and adding a few more comical shots.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Clips of Bobbin and Squidge

After a small rest from the major project work on Monday and Tuesday, I decided to allocate some much needed time for some major development for my dissertation work which involved gathering more information and essays going back to the complete basis for my dissertation: feminism. I have done this along with gathered books on cultural studies in order to gain a much greater understanding in why women are represented as they are in film. And hopefully, by accumulating many different theories in this way, I can then use a selection of these theories that will make my argument stronger and actually help to reinforce it. Throughout the week I have managed to spend time throughout the day on dissertation work that is much needed considering the weighting of the major project and dissertation are equal.

On Wednesday it was back to the studio again and for the next couple of days I decided to go back to practising some more animation, as I really enjoyed the bouncy mushrooms sequence. I started by making Bobbin, bob up and down, well bob meaning animated standing movements.


I then progressed to blocking out some rough shapes and placed them around Bobbin in the scene, then putting some more animation in using these blocks. Thinking back to the mushroom scene, I decided I could then have the Squirrel bouncing around from tree to tree. So after adding in the squirrel, I should have some animated standing and looking around from Bobbin, and some nice flowing movement from the squirrel focussing on the tail movement and getting it to look right.

As it is this test, is rather basic and simplistic, but its purpose was to get me into producing some flowing animation after a little while away from it, and in doing this test I have done it quite well. I do think there could have been more refined movement from the legs and arms of the squirrel with some secondary, ear and possible finger animation. My next test may be do look at this, possibly doing a jumping run cycle for the squirrel, getting it as smooth and right as possible with some nice secondary animation in there too. For Bobbin I would probably continue his movements throughout the jumping squirrel sequence and also get some more secondary motions into his fingers maybe, and for definite his eyes. As another possible test route I could look at a rig like Blake and do some simple arm to finger movements creating some nice arcs, and also some subtle facial expressions and changes in emotion.

If I were to come back to this practise animation, which I may do in order to progress this idea a bit further, I would continue working into the Bobbin, and do more of a sequence of shots along with some character interaction getting in plenty of emotion.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Preparations Go!

So this week it was a 'prepare-for-the-pitch' week, which all seemed to go down well with the industry professionals, and they all seemed pretty happy with the projects put forward with our producer making a good job of our project.

That said, I shall start by posting some images of further jungle development that didn't want, for some strange reason, to be uploaded a few weeks ago:

This past week though, I have been working on pre-production, going back to the drawing board and producing some colour work which was to also be used for the pitch as well as our own reference. I have drawn many more forest ideas, now incorporating my little inklings of ruin and destruction of old by-gone era ships and stone ruins. Here are some of my quick sketches:

After doing lots of quick sketches, getting me back into the flow of drawing after animating the week before, I then imported the best sketches into Photoshop and started to apply colour to them. After talking to Kathy, our pre-production area tutor, it was decided that I should apply more of a colour variation into the tree tops scene, so what is shown below is what has been quickly applied and looks much better than how it was before. So I will come back to a few of these environment concepts in a week or so and throw in a lot of colour, which should hopefully result in some good work, leading to a better understanding of the 'look' of the environments.

Having now done some colour work, I have realised how little has been done in the colour area in order to gain the soundest understanding of the environment, so I think it is now a definite area to focus on this closely in the coming weeks when the blockthrough stage is complete. When I do come back to this, I hope to produce a lot of sketch/scenes/colour work so our team can have the greatest understanding of the jungle when modelling, animating, texturing and lighting. Hopefully the environments, through plenty of development, will then have a refined and stylized look of its own.