Editing was more of a challenge as it was difficult to find the write kind of letter K and to successfully create a convincing fire-breathing effect for the Dragon.
In after-effects, I begin making the fireball by first making an orange solid composition to create an orange template for the fireball.
Then in “effects and presets” I input “CC particle world” and dropped it into the composition to create an orange particle effect. Then, in “effect controls” I changed the particle type to “bubble” to change the shape of the particles, then changed “animation” to “directional axis” to have the particles shooting right. I turned down “inherent velocity” and “resistance” to condense the particles into a more flame-like formation.
In “comp 1” I added a motion blur effect to make the fire seem more believable, then in “effects and presets” I searched for “gaussian blur” and added that into the composition, going into “effect controls” and turning up “blurriness” to add realism to the fireball.
Back in the effect controls for particle world, I made the “birth colour” a light yellow and made the “death colour” a dark red, to add a colour gradient to the fire, after which I then played around with the different effects and composition settings until I had the “fire-breath” effect I wanted.
2: putting it all together
In After-effects, I imported all of the frames of my animation that I had received from the camera I used, put them all in a composition and imported my fire-breath effect.
During an after-effects lesson, we installed a plugin called Duik which allows people to create animations easier by having control over one joint of a limb for example, and having the other joints follow automatically. To practice this, we were asked to animate a basic arm.
Before starting, you must name each piece/joint of the arm otherwise there will be spaces in the animation, for example, L_arm = left arm.
Then, we create a controller to control the different functions of the arm. e.g. one for rotation, X-axis and Y-axis. Be sure to change the size and colour of the controller. In this case, we put the controller in the place of the hand, as then the other joints will follow what the hand does. (Note: you will only need to see the controller’s layer and not the other joint’s layers, so click on the “shy-guy” on the layers tab to hide the separate layers
When making the animation, make sure you work reverse from the controller, so from the controller an arm would be 4=controller, 1=forearm, 2= elbow and 3= arm.
For each frame, simply move the parent part of the limb you are moving, and the rest of the limb will simply follow the controller. This creates more natural looking movement in the animation and is far easier than having to move each part of the arm frame-by-frame on it’s own.
Doing the research for my animation I also feel went well as choosing the Lion King and Treasure planet made for effective research as I know those films well. Also, using different sources such as behind-the-scenes videos on YouTube, gave me some good ideas for my animation such as how I drew my storyboards.
It also gave me a better idea of how professional animations are made, and inspiration for my own animation, specifically how I went about doing the art and design aspect of the assignment.
Animation history timeline
Creating the animation method timeline was fairly simple as I had to find out about a type of animation from a significant period in history, and along with an image of the new development, include some writing about it.
This gave me a good indication as to how animation techniques have evolved and changed ever since Walt Disney created the first full-length animated feature film, Snow-white.
Task 2: Ideas generation: What went right and wrong?
Brainstorming: With some friends of mine, I went over my and their ideas in video form, like a meeting session. This went well because we were able to bounce ideas off each-other and give our opinions on each-other’s ideas. However some of our initial ideas are very different from the ones we ended up using.
Storyboards: The storyboards went well as I was able to flesh out my idea well, using a storyboard template from google and a drawing pencil. This gave my animation visuals along with the written idea. However, due to time constraints, I could not do my storyboards much justice in my final animation.
Written treatment: I felt like I managed to produce an effective written treatment outline each act of the animation, for example, Act 1: Dove flies in tree and finds the nest. This gave me a better understanding of what I was planning to do as it gave a more summarised version of my animation.
Animation assets: Using the programme Photoshop, I created varied background art for each animation scene, using a variety of Photoshop brushes and tools to create a stylised version of the interior of a tree. For example, a Hard round brush for each tree branch to create a wooden effect, and a radial blur effect mask for the dappled effect of the leaves.
For the character of the Doves, I used tools such as the blending tool to achieve the different shades of colour on their feathers. and for the shaded effect on their beaks.
The soundtrack development I feel did not as well as the artwork, as I found out that Garageband was not easily compatible with after-effects. So I had to spend a-lot of time using sound-cloud, trying to change my music into a format that After-effects could read and allow me to edit the music into my animation.
For props I drew the character’s wings separately in Photoshop once again, so I could animate them properly in after-effects. And for the scene where the female Dove is walking on the tree, sad, I created a separate head, so I could animate it to convey the Dove’s emotions.
Task 3: Production: Using in class animation tutorials, I managed to create several compositions in after-effects importing my different character and background art. I then added a key-frame to each Dove so I could animate them movement by movement.
Scene 1: For scene 1, I imported my first background, which included a tree standing in a field, and then put in my Dove in front of the image on a different layer and positioned it as if it were flying. Then I imported each wing into a separate layer and as the Dove moved across the screen, I animated the wings alongside that by using the scale and position key-frames to make it look as though the character was flying.
Scene 2: When animating scene 2, I used the scale key-frame option on the wings for each frame in order to make them look as though they where closing as the Dove landed. When the Dove is hopping along the branch, I utilised the walk cycle principal of animation to make the movement look more convincing and life-like.
Scene 3: During the scene where the Dove is lost in the tree, I created a separate head so I could convey the Dove’s emotion more by having the head bent down, showing the character’s sadness.
I also used each key-frame to make the characters walk in time with each-other, then when they were in front of each-other, I used rotation key-frames to rotate the male Dove and the female Dove’s head, so as to make it look as though the characters were noticing each-other.
Peer reviews & feedback:
After development and after my animation had been uploaded, I created a survey on Google Forms so my class-mates could share their thoughts and give feedback.
A general consensus was that the animation wasn’t long enough, and that more animation techniques could have been used. I feel like if I had more time I could have corrected these mistakes, and improved on my animation’s story.
(If you want to see the full survey, click on the link below)
The 2nd part of our animation assignment was to create a stop-motion animation using whatever medium we chose based around a randomly assigned letter of the alphabet. I was set with the letter K
Here is the final film:
Task 1: planning
The planning phase was fairly easy as I came up with a good idea with the first word beginning with K I thought of, which was the word knight. I played around with some ideas in a medieval setting, for example having a Lego knight cut the letter K out of Lego bricks with his sword.
But I decided to get more creative with it by introducing a Lego dragon and having the knight have a brief fight with it, with the dragon’s fire burning the letter K into the grass.
Task 2: animating
Using a tripod and a Sony camera in a darkened green-screen room, I animated both of my characters frame-by-frame, taking 2 images for each frame for easier editing and, using a green-screen placed flat on the table I used some images for editing in the K.
Logline: A Knight arrives at a castle and battles a dragon. The Dragon breathes fire on the ground during the fight, creating a letter K in the grass.
The Knight arrives at the castle on horse-back and begins walking across the drawbridge.
A Dragon arrives and startles the knight, beginning a fight, breathing fire. The Knight wins.
The Knight steps across the burned patch of grass, and observes the K created in the grass, as the camera pans up, facing down, revealing the letter K.
How I am going to film it:
I will use a tripod mounted camera facing a castle background placed on a green base with my homemade character, and eventually the dragon at the forefront. Then in a stop-motion fashion with Lego, I will take a picture each time I move my character.
I will then take my footage and import it into Adobe Premiere Pro, and edit the JPEG images together to create a coherent short film, while making possible colour-correction and saturation edits, to make the footage look as good as it can.
Firstly, I imported my digital art that I created in Photoshop, then saved all these assets into a single file so none of my images would get corrupted. Then, dragging and dropping the image I wanted to animate into the keyframe tab, I added a keyframe to each image so it could animate in the viewing window.
With each frame I moved the position and scale key frames for both the dove and her wings to create a convincing flying effect for the first scene as it flies towards and then into the tree.
For the second scene, in order to create the image of the dove’s wings closing, I added a rotation and scale key frame so I could shrink and turn the wings with each frame as the dove was landing on the branch, so it looked as though the wings were closing.
Making the dove’s head was a bit more complicated as I had to animate a second image of the dove’s head alongside the dove’s body, to bring across the impression of the dove’s sad mood. For this, I keyframed both the head and the body and made sure that the head lined up with the body’s animation as it rotated.
To create the backgrounds for my animation, I used Photoshop to draw what it looks like up in a tree, and for the Dove’s home.
In order to add an interesting look to the Dove, I added shades of pink to it’s colour scheme and used shades of yellow to colour the beak.
To create the background art, I used different Photoshop brushes such as a downloaded sun-8 brush to achieve an internal moonlight effect to convey the impression of a night-time scene.
I also used a brush called “scattered maple leaves” to achieve a leafy effect for the foreground of the scene, and for the nest, I used a “hard round” brush to convey an image of wood and twigs. I also used the same brush for the large tree branch in the centre of the image.
To achieve the vibrant and dappled look of the background leaves on the tree, I used a “chalk 44” brush for the look of the background leaves, then for sunlight, I applied “cloud effect” from the filter bar on that layer using a mask, then used the “scattered maple leaves” brush with a subtle colour change to further connote the inside of a tree. I then erased a few patches of leaves for sunlight to appear through.
For my moonlit scene, I downloaded a custom made Photoshop brush and used it on the tree interior layer, placing each brush-stroke so it looked like the moonlight was shining through the gaps in the leaves. The end result was, in my opinion, a well drawn background.
Logline: A short romance animation based on the theme of hope, where a Dove tries to find a mate in her home in a tree, while confronting loneliness, hoping that her future will improve.
Story synopsis: Act 1: The Dove arrives on her tree and begins looking for a nest to settle in. She then finds a nest, and starts settling in to her new home.
Act 2: Night falls as the Dove begins getting lonely being by herself in a nest. She starts on her adventure through her tree, looking for a mate. She comes across different types of birds during her search that she considers making friends with, with her hopes rising for the situation.
Act 3: After being bullied off by a Crow, she begins giving up in her loneliness, walking slowly and sadly away back to her nest. She then comes across a fellow male Dove, and they observe each-other for a while before beginning to play around the tree, and fall in love. They then go back to her nest and begin their happy new life together.
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