Thursday, April 2, 2009

Success and Relief

Through a little experimentation, some advice from the vast and friendly internet, and a genius suggestion from Bryan Young I have been able to automate the conversion from the flash outlined characters to a pencil-like look. I was previously planning to perform this process manually by tracing everything, though I soon realized such an attempt would render me a weeping shell of a human discovered by some lonesome vagrant rifling through a local dumpster. So instead I have saved myself from such a fate by using After Effects to complete the task for me. The results are not perfect, but are pretty close to what I was looking for. Here are a few examples.

Final Look - Paper Characters from Michael Spilsbury on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Animation: Close to Finished?

Here is the latest rough animation. It's pretty much all done. I hope.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Scene 14 - That took how long?

It's amazing, and quite frustrating at the same time, the length of time it can take to produce a few seconds of simple animation. This scene where he falls off of the cliff was a successfully animated clip, though upon finishing it my feeling of pride was somewhat eclipsed by the realization of how little I had actually created. It comes with the territory, however, and animators aren't allowed to complain about this.

Scene 14 - Rough Animation from Michael Spilsbury on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Character Renderings

Thanks to Jake Albers' help I have been able to streamline a digital method for creating a paper-like look for the main character. Here are two tests using different paper textures - one much more subtle than the other. (A description of the process is below)

Character Texture Test 1 from Michael Spilsbury on Vimeo.

Character Texture Test 2 from Michael Spilsbury on Vimeo.

The Process:
Create the pencil outlines:
-Export the Flash animated character outlines as a PNG sequence with alpha
-Import to Photoshop and trace the outlines with a pencil-like brush using a tablet (admittedly, a pain in the ass)
-Export a new PNG sequence (with alpha) of the newly traced character outlines

Create the paper texture:
-Export from Flash a PNG sequence (with alpha) of the character's solid shape - the cutout shape of his entire body without any outlines or details
-Import the sequence to After Effects and place the paper texture on the layer below
-Choose the 'Stencil Alpha' blending option for the PNG sequence
-Use 'The Wiggler' effect on the paper texture to make it randomly jitter

Composite the two:
-In After Effects composite the PNG sequence of the outlines with the character's moving paper-texture

Scene 17 - Stretching The Limits

Here is the first rough animation of when the main character decides to jump on another man out of frustration in order to scale the cliff. In an attempt to push the animation further I tried to stretch the characters more than was comfortable, though I feel the results work well. Similarly, I focused heavily on strong anticipation in order to ensure easily understood movements.

Rough Animation - Scene 17 from Michael Spilsbury on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

First Rough Animation

Here is Scene 1 of rough animation. It is as much a test in the pipeline as the beginning of production.

Scene 01 - Rough Animation from Michael Spilsbury on Vimeo.

The issue I face right now is whether to continue this process by drawing on paper. I have found paper animation to be more time consuming and more frustrating than digital means, but I aim for the hand drawn look to be present in the final film. And there is a natural attraction to the simplicity of the paper and pencil duo.

I have been told that ToonBoom could lend itself to a pencil on paper look while maintaining the advantages of digital production. I have yet to experiment with the program, though I am interested to see what could be produced. I only know that it must be resolved quickly.

Fall 2008 Timeline - Rough Animation

The best way to keep yourself on track is to surround yourself with others who are able to keep you honest and accountable. For that reason, and perhaps because it might pique your curiosity, I have attached my Fall Timeline for the project. I invite you all to bother me to no end in order to keep this project on its due course.

Scene Name Scn # Points TOTAL
Week 1 Sept 9 - Sept 15


Man runs: surprise 1 24
Week 2 Sept 16 - Sept 22


Sees them floating 2 17

Surprise and excitement 3 14

Runs off 4 17

Success! 22 13
Week 3 Sept 23 - Sept 29


Left behind 5 27

Tries to follow 6 22

The ascent 8 18
Week 4 Sept 30 - Oct 6


Decides to climb 7 26

A ledge! 9 10

On the ledge 10 18

A long way down 11 7

Ahh! 12 8
Week 5 Oct 7 - Oct 13


Attack! 17 29
Week 6 Oct 14 - Oct 20


Testing the waters 13 57

A long way up 19 9

Another cliff 25 5
Week 7 Oct 21 - Oct 27


A hard fall - back on his feet 14 44

The developing scheme 16 23
Week 8 Oct 28 - Nov 3


Frustration 20 30
Week 9 Nov 4 - Nov 10


Another fall 18 44

A lazy traveller 15 21
Week 10 Nov 11 - Nov 17


Celebration 24 34
Week 11 Nov 18 - Nov 24


Travelling up 23 21

A new friend? (20%) 21 25
Week 12 Nov 25 - Dec 1


A realization 26 24
Week 13 Dec 2 - Dec 8


A new friend? (40%) 21 50
Week 14 Dec 9 - Dec 15


A new friend? (40%) 21 50