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.
During a Friday lesson, we learned the basics of Adobe Animate and got to practice rigging and animating pieces of the drawing.
When you’re character is drawn in separate pieces, double-click on each piece to select it, then right-click each piece and select “Convert to Symbol” in the drop-down menu.
Then, when all pieces are converted to Symbols, select the bone tool in the tools menu on the right-hand side of the screen, then drag from a character part to where you want that character to be animated from, for example, dragging the indicator from the right leg to the bottom-right hand corner of the torso so it automatically animates like a real right leg when you begin adding key-frames. You can do this with each body-part. Then right-click again and select “Create Motion Tween” to enable the program to animate the body part in a key-frame.
When all body parts have been rigged, you can then create a key-frame in the timeline window at the bottom of the screen, at the length of time you want the animation to occur.
Afterwards, move the character part you want to animate, the amount you want it move it. For example, move the right arm a small amount to create movement in the new key-frame. Repeat this key-frame process each time you move a part of your character.
In order to get a better idea of how Cel animations are created, we were asked to analyse 2 existing 2D animations and how they were made for inspiration and for information on methods of 2D animation. For my examples, I have chosen the 1994 Disney film, the Lion King, and comparing it with their 2002 animated release, Treasure planet.
Storyboards: The directors ( Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff) began by planning their film out using storyboards describing each scene or significant frame of animation using rough sketches of the scene and the dialogue used in the scene written beneath the picture. They then displayed the storyboards to a meeting of artists and animators acting out each storyboarded scene to convey the sequence.
Voice-acting: Different actors were then brought into the Disney studio to record the dialogue for their respective characters. Each actor had to fit the voice the directors wanted for each character, and after being shown the storyboards for the film, they would record their voices for their character using a microphone and a script in front of them. Often, the artist for a particular character would use the actor’s facial expressions as inspiration for the character’s design. For example, actor Jeremy Iron’s face was the implemented in the design of the face of his character, Scar.
Art and design: In order to get inspiration for their drawings and paintings and to ensure that the background and natural elements were as faithful to the setting as possible, each artist working on the film travelled to the African Savannah and observed the wildlife and scenery, drawing elements like a sunset, different trees and the rocky terrain. They would then take these paintings and drawings and show them to the directors so they could get an idea of what was perfect for what the film needed and what aspects needed to be re-drawn.
Sound and music: Composer Hans Zimmer created the music for the film by combining western instruments, such as trumpets and violins, with instruments found in Africa, such as Marimbas and African drums, in order to make the music fit well with the film and it’s setting.
Animation: For each character, a separate animator observed the way the animal that their respective character was based on moved and emulated it in their drawings and computer animation. For example, for the lion characters a real-life lion was brought into the art studio so the animator for Mufasa, for instance, could gain an understanding of how his character moved and what a lion’s mannerisms are like.
Storyboards similarly to the Lion King, creating this animation began with pitching previously established and drawn storyboards outlining each significant scene and the dialogue that accompanied the scene. Since the film was revolutionising Disney studios by combining 2D and 3D animation, each storyboard also included details of what each shot of the film would look like, describing the cinematography of each scene described in the storyboard panels
Art and design: In order to combine 2D and 3D animation, art director Andy Gaskill invented the 70/30 rule for the film’s design, which means that each aspect of the aesthetics of the film would be 70% traditionally designed and 30% sci-fi influenced design. In order to achieve traditional design elements, artists would draw inspiration from the classic book Treasure Island’s illustrator, N.C.Wyeth, specifically, a painting titled “one more step, Mr. Hands”, used because of the painting’s warm colour palate and classic “storybook” feel to it. When creating the 3D sets and characters for the film, the animators used a piece of technology they called “deep canvas” initially used for a previous film Tarzan, which allowed them to create sets in a 360 digital space. They then animated these against characters drawn in a traditional 2D style to create a depth of field effect.
Sound design: The 70/30 rule was also used for the audio of the film, with sound designers using old wind-up mechanisms to avoid making the sounds of the film too “slick or sci-fi”. For the film’s music, composer James Newton Howard utilised both orchestral, modern music and Celtic music provided by Scottish musician Alasdair Fraser.
Hope is a term that is subjective to different people and one that changes with religion, background and lifestyle.
For example, hope can be expecting life to improve and change for the better e.g. achieving what you want you have been aspiring to be in life like a dream job or lifestyle
Or, hope can be a feeling of nostalgia or treasured memory that makes you feel more positive e.g. seeing the family home after a long time living in your own house or doing an activity that you haven’t done in a long time.
But generally, hope is expecting something to happen, mostly in a positive way or hoping for something that’s about to happen or a statement to be true.
Hope in films
The aptly named Star Wars: A new hope, features a farm boy on a quest to rescue a princess, under a request from an old Jedi, from an evil Empire and become the “new hope” for a galaxy under oppression. During which, each character goes through an arch that changes them for the better.
As you may have guessed the prime theme for Star Wars is, of course, having it’s main characters find hope again and achieve a better life for themselves.
For the character of Luke Skywalker, finding hope is about finding his way in life after tragedy hits his family and becoming the Jedi he is destined to be, under the guidance of the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Han Solo’s character was just a cocky smuggler trying to pay off his debts before meeting the two main characters, and reluctantly travelling with them. During the quest the characters go on, he learns to value other people and not just himself.
In Kung-Fu Panda, the main character Po is trying to achieve his dreams of becoming a Kung-Fu master along with his childhood heroes. The story tells about how Po is trying to prove himself to his teacher and new friends after accidently being selected as a chosen one, while an enemy of his Sensei, master Shifu escapes from prison during which time Po has to learn to become a Kung-Fu master before the enemy arrives.
The theme of hope runs through the fact that Po is trying to achieve his dreams and expectations despite all of the problems the situation causes for him, while trying to prove himself to his new friends and the people of the city he lives in. The side-characters must also, reluctantly, put their hope in Po after he is announced as a chosen one and help him defeat the enemy arriving in their city.
Hope is also used in a way that makes the hero more relatable, as throughout the film he is trying to achieve what he has wanted his whole life, which makes the audience connect with him. The different side characters are also relatable in the fact that they feel like they have been cheated out of what they were expecting to gain, which gives us something to connect with.
For our new assignment for the next couple of weeks, we have been asked to create a 90 minute animation based on the feeling of Hope. I have started by brainstorming a few ideas of my own as well as bouncing off ideas with classmates.
Animation plot ideas
My first idea was having a character go through life and achieving his dreams as his/her life improves e.g. they start the animation as poor and leading a homeless lifestyle, but as the animation continues, and he/she begins to achieve their hopes and dreams, the animation and backgrounds begin to brighten and get more colourful as their life improves.
For my second idea, I decided to use an animal allegory and utilise the Dove, the universal symbol of hope, and have it go through the ups and downs of a birds life, for example, discovering a good nesting place for the first time or come close to losing one of her eggs. The animation will take place mainly on a tree and have
My initial idea as to how I can present my animation was to have a 2D stop motion with a Lego or clay person walking through his life as his surroundings move and change behind and around him. For this, I can create a stop-motion animation at home, using my camera and tripod, a built Lego set and the character created as a Lego figure.
However, stop-motion animation takes up a lot of time and this assignment’s deadline may not allow me to spend as time on the animation as I would like, so I may have to use another animation method.
So another method I thought of was using Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop to draw my character and background, and then transferring them to Character animator using Adobe Bridge. I can then use Character animator to create the character and background’s animation, while using After-effects to improve and edit any effects I might want to include in the animation. It may be more technical and complicated, but using this method will take less time than a stop-motion.
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