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.
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.
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.
I felt like the drawings in my sketchbook went well, as I had plenty of ideas about what I wanted each team and logo to look like. I went through a few ideas for each before I had a type of logo that I wanted, but I think I made some good choices as to what logos fitted best with the game’s genre and setting and the team’s names. I tried making them similar to car company logos such as Volkswagon by making them abstract, but recognisable.
I also think I made a good colour selection for each of my teams, basing them on the animal or place in London that each team was based on. For example, turquoise-blue and dark blue for the Thames Tiger sharks.
Using Photoshop, I created some good logos for my teams, again making them look like they belong to a car company, while using my selection of colours to make each logo look interesting and give each some personality. I used a variety of tools such as, the lasso tool, the pen tool and character tool for text.
What could have gone better?
If I had more time for the assignment, I could’ve made more decisions regarding an appropriate type and font for each team. I managed to find a good font for the Buckingham Lions ( Black Chancery) but I could’ve spent some more time on the fonts for the other teams
What went right?
Using Microsoft Excel, I created an organised timetable for each part of the assignment which was easy to read and to follow, giving each part a set number of days to complete them in.
What could have gone better?
If I had made the timetable earlier in the assignment, it would have allowed me to complete the first tasks in a more organised way and given me an indication of the time it would take to complete those tasks in.
Research and analysis 1: Project cars
What went right?
I feel as though I gave a good and in-depth analysis of Project cars’ HUD, explaining what the game does right in regards to it’s HUD, for, example, it’s default HUD, which was more streamlined and realistic car dashboard elements in first-person driving mode. I also tried to give my thoughts on what the game does wrong with it’s HUD, like it’s telemetry HUD, which was too crowded with unnecessary interface elements, like the gear you’re car is driving in.
Taking inspiration from this HUD was a good idea as I felt it influenced my own HUD design and gave me an indication of what type of interface works best when playing a racing game.
What could have gone better?
What could also have been beneficial to my HUD is having a comparison between Project Cars and another racing game like Forza Motorsport. This would have given influence to my design and would have helped me come up with my own ideas about what elements I could have in my interface.
Research and analysis 2: Dashboard research and Legal, moral and ethical considerations
What went right?
I think I created a good selection of mood-boards in Photoshop about different car dashboards, giving me some ideas as to what type of dashboard my futuristic car could have. I also feel as though I gave a good definition of legal, moral and ethical and gave relevant examples for each consideration using my assignment.
What could have gone better?
I think I could have taken more time to describe a car’s dashboard in a more in-depth manner, which would’ve given me a better indication of what advanced car dashboards look like, which would result in more inspiration for my own car’s dashboard, and making comparisons with two cars instead of using one car as an example would also have given me more ideas.
HUD elements and final piece
What went right?
Using Illustrator and Photoshop, I created a good variety of different interface elements, like the HUD’s map I created with Google Maps, taking a snapshot of the route I wanted and then turning it into a HUD element in Illustrator by adding a route line telling players which part of the race they are on. With Photoshop, I created a race items menu, indicating what in-game power-ups the player has picked up during the race. I then created a professionally made set of thumbnails with the HUD elements using Photoshop.
Creating the final piece in Photoshop I also felt went very well, superimposing each HUD element over a Google maps snapshot of a driver’s view of Tower bridge. I think I placed each element in a professional way and in a way that would give a player a good indication of what could be happening during each race. I also think I made a creative choice in making the map in 3D and utilised the 3D filter tool well.
What could have gone better?
In regards to the MPH indicator on the bottom left-hand corner, I think I could’ve made the design more creative and futuristic, like modelling the design after a trail of fire for example.
I also think I could’ve embedded the map more in the image by cutting out the parts of the map that were unnecessary and showing only the main route line that I had drawn.
During a lesson for illustrator, we were taught the tools and techniques for editing text.
To practice this, we experimented with different letters, fonts, and colours to make the text look good using. We also used the pen tool to create a curved line and shape tool to create a shape for our text to appear over.
For a last test in the lesson to test how much we learned, our tutor (Mark) had us use what we had learned to recreate our faces out of edited text
Here’s my work-in-progress image
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