Thursday, 21 January 2010

New Year... New Module - Character Performance and Believability. Stop Motion

So its a New year and a new term which means that its also a new module. This terms module will be mainly focusing on 3d Stop frame animation.... What exactly is stop motion animation??? Stop motion is a form of animation in which physical objects are manipulated frame by frame creating the illusion of movement when each frame is played continuosly. Stop motion is done in a 3 dimensional form although it is virtually limitless in terms of the materials and objects you can use ranging from plasticine to actual people.

The term started off with a visit to the Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry where there was a Wallace & Gromit exhibition. The exhibition displayed original sets, characters, storyboards, scripts and even Wallace's different mouth shapes. UNFORTUNATELY there was a no photography policy held in the actual exhibition BUT there was no sign saying that ipods with video camera were not allowed and FORTUNATELY my ipod just happened to record some of the exhibition...

This first video shows many of the sets used in the movie such as Wallaces Basement, the fruit and veg shop and even the church with the smashed stain glass window. It also shows copies of original drawings, storyboards and scripts.

The second video shows an Aardman artist drawing Gromit.

The third video shows Victor Quartermaine and Reverend Clement Hedges in a set that can be manipulated to change the weather conditions.

The trip was a very rare opportunity to see in person the amazing sets behind the Curse of the Were Rabbit. The thing that really intruiged me the most however which unfortunately I couldnt manage to record was the actual mouth shapes for Wallace in which replacement animation is used to change the mouth shapes to give the illusion of speech.

Overall the trip was a great experience and very insightful to me as an animator.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Storyboards, Dope sheets and other technicalities

After 3 weeks of having no internet I can honestly say its good to be back in this new year.... Happy new year to all and I can carry on with where I left off. Not much was done during the holidays unfortunately but I can update the 11 second animation and anything else that was left over from last module...

Behind every animation is a very elaborate and technical planning stage in which the foundation of the outcome is built upon. Without this stage an animation cannot have structure or any sort of narrative so it is extremely important and absolutely crucial to get things as accurate as possible in this stage; Of course improvisation is also vital and finding a good balance between improvisation and planning is always a good factor to have on your side.

I find a storyboard a great way to really help me visualize and put the ideas in my head onto paper in a way which depicts the film medium. All animation is backed by some sort of storyboard whether it be as elaborate as the storyboards Aardman or Pixar would use or simple thumbnail drawings for a 10 second animation. So a few things that are helpful and useful to remember when creating storyboards:

A storyboard is a STORYBOARD.... Not a comic and this should ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED when storyboarding.

Blank Storyboard templates are the most quickest and efficient way of creating a storyboard and that ensures that every storyboard frame is the exact same size.

A storyboard is not constricted to the rules of a static camera, movement, zooming, panning etc should be shown where it is possible.

A good storyboard gives a great sense of composition.

Using the appropriate type of shot is important when creating the storyboard e.g A close up of the main antagonist would not be appropriate if you were trying to establish a location.

These are just a few things I personally try to remember an work by after seeing and hearing advice from professionals all over the industry. Here I have my storyboard for the 11 second audio animation, the drawings are quite basic and its a fairly simple storyboard however the amount it contributes to a finished piece is massive.

I think that my storyboards achieve their purpose by creating a visualisation of the clip. There is also a good sense of movement in terms of both the characters within the frame and the actual camera.