April 28, 2011

The title pretty much says it all. I just finished drawing the LAST frame of cleanup animation. The colorists are hard at work. Time for me to roll down the windows, peel out, pop a mean wheelie and haul ass down the street while blasting “Sunshine and Happiness” on these backgrounds. Err, right after I finish my last homework assignment for another class.


Weekly Update: 4/7

April 7, 2011

There has been a lot of sound stuff going down! Scoring, voiceover, sound effects, OH MY!! There has also been a lot of cleaning up animation. I’m so glad that cleanup is going so much more quickly than animation did. I’ve recruited a few colorists, and I’m just working on setting up a folder/spreadsheet/rate so that I can pay folks for their work. Also, I’ve been working on backgrounds… whoa.  Just realized I’ve been working on a ton of different stuff this past week. Well, it all needs to get done, so it works for me!

Gotta keep going!

Weekly Update: 3/31

March 31, 2011

It’s 2 in the morning and I count myself lucky that I’m exporting my Picture Lock cut… It’s funny how I feel the need to capitalize “picture lock”, heheh. I’m ready to fall into bed right about now so I’ll be brief, before I ramble on in loopy circumlocution like I’m doing right now.

Picture lock is DONE! Still a ton to do, but it’s a nice milestone, and it’s probably for the best that I won’t be allowed to go back and tweak animation any more. Time for cleanup, coloring, and backgrounds. I’m going to use my budget to hire colorists and a sound designer– I figure I might as well shop out the stuff I can have other people do, and I’m sure a sound designer who actually knows what they’re doing will be able to get more mileage out of the sound effects than I could.


Finishing all this animation @_@


Finishing all this animation 😀

Weekly Update: 3/25

March 25, 2011

Apologies, this update is a little late. Also there was no update for the week of spring break,  so it’s been quite a while.

I recently cut together all the shots I’ve finished animating, which is nearly the entire film. I realized I’d been face-down in the work for so long that it was time to make sure they actually played right. For the most part, they do. There are some edits I’ll have to make to a few shots, and some additional shots are needed. Nothing gigantic, but still more work. In all honesty it’s a little disheartening to see even just that little bit heaped on top of everything I’ve already finished. Bah! It’s not that much. Just a drop in the bucket.

Spring break was actually very productive even though I went home to visit my folks. I got several shots done, one of which was one of the most challenging in the film.

The past few days have seen great strides in the long-dormant sound department. I held auditions for Boy’s voice-over stuff and think I’ve found just the person for the part. My folie session went well, I managed to get some nice crunchy footsteps using gravel.

I also met with my composer, the talented Derek Zhao, with a close-to-picture-locked cut the other evening to do some spotting and brainstorming.

The Difficult Stuff:

Like I said, seeing those extra few shots make them selves necessary was cringeworthy. I was also pretty nervous about auditioning people for a role consisting only of efforts, but it turned out all right.

The Fun/Interesting Stuff:

The resurgence of sound, while sapping time from animation work, reminded me that there is a whole part of this film aside from the visuals. This perspective was much-needed, and came at just the right time. I felt like an ostrich pulling its head out of the sand for the first time in quite a while.

Weekly Update: 3/10

March 10, 2011

So I’m still in-betweening, but I’m sure you’re sick and tired of reading blog posts about that. I’m almost done! Only 7 or 8 shots remain. A few of them are pretty involved, but I”m getting there! I’m thinking I should start putting together some backgrounds so I know what I’m up against for that phase. I’m looking to keep the backgrounds simplistic but interesting and satisfying.


The Hard Stuff:

As I grow closer to finishing in-betweens, I just hope I can finish all the backgrounds and make them look good. Luckily I should have plenty of time over break to work on them. I know I have after picture lock as well to finish them, but I do have a lot of shots that require backgrounds.

The Interesting Stuff:

I took a break from in-betweening the other day to design the Boy’s parents. They only appear asleep in 2 or 3 shots, but I’m looking forward to drawing some other characters than the Boy and Critter as a change of pace.


Weekly Update: 3/3

March 3, 2011

I’m still working on In-Betweens…

… Yep. Still in-betweening…

Here are a few shots I’ve been working on, with some white betwixt them rather than the shot that is supposed to be there. I don’t have the file for that one at the moment.

I’ve been striving to keep up the thesis work this week while assembling portfolio stuff for POV day. I worked all day on the first shot in that video yesterday, felt pretty burned out by the end. I went ahead and boarded my revisions to the pool scene today to change it up a bit so I can hit the animation again after a brief change of pace.

The Difficult Stuff:
At this point I’m combating the burn-out. Maybe I’ll clean up some shots just to keep getting stuff done while giving myself a little break from in-betweening.

Weekly Update: 2/23

February 23, 2011

I find it interesting how every once and a while I’ll draw a frame and think “Damn! That’s a nice frame. If only they could all look that good…” I think that’s one reason I’ve gravitated toward visual development in terms of career path– you can spend a while getting a drawing to work and there aren’t 5,000 more demanding your attention. Well, maybe there are, but you don’t have to make them all jive together so that the move convincingly.

As you can tell, I’ve experienced some difficulties while in-betweening. Fortunately I’ve also enjoyed a number of successes and pleasant surprises.


The Difficult Stuff:

I’m probably starting to repeat myself, but the biggest difficulty in the in-betweening phase is still lengthy shots with only a few key poses timed out. I find these more frequently in the first few scenes than in the latter ones– I must have caught on and started drawing more poses as I got more comfortable with the layout process. There are still a few of those scary shots left, namely the ones where the boy slowly steps toward the critter when they first meet (aaaarrrgh slow movements!!), and the one where the boy initially chases the critter into the woods (rear 3/4 run cycles, anyone? one quadruped?)

Also I need to punch up the Lost and Pool scenes. I’ve held off on in-betweening shots from those bits in case some are dropped or changed. Ack. Boarding. Layout. Again.

I’ll keep in mind with these revisions that I don’t have a lot of time to spend on big changes. I’ll be specifically looking for economical but effective solutions.

The Fun/Interesting Stuff:

I did some background assets this week; they made for a nice change of pace. Check it out!


Weekly Update: 2/17

February 17, 2011

Hey there everyone, still in the thick of in-betweening as I was last week. It’ll be that way for the next few weeks yet, although I might change it up with some backgrounds to keep it varied and be able to complete a couple shots in full before the end of the semester.


The Difficult Stuff:

Scheduling. I swear, every time I make a schedule for myself I have some kind of time-traveling masochistic streak. It never fails that I load myself up with more work than I can reasonably finish in that time. I’m sure by now you can see where this tune is going: I don’t have as many in-betweens done as I wanted to by now. The good news is that I did get a heap of work done on it, and the pace is consistently speedy, considering how I thought it might go. How I managed both to overestimate the amount of work involved in in-betweening a given shot and underestimate how long getting roughly 2/3 of the film done is beyond me, but it’s been a good learning experience.

Also, the shots where the boy climbs up the ledge and where the critter climbs the tree, diminishing with perspective while the camera pans up after it. Those were damn difficult 😛

The Easy Stuff:

There have been a few shots here and there that required few additional in-betweens, usually ones I went ahead and animated more or less in full during the layout phase. I would do this out of sheer enthusiasm, usually, or sometimes so that I wouldn’t forget an idea for anticipation/follow-through/etc. While my past self in a scheduling role is a masochist, my past self in the layout/early roughs phase has been leaving the occasional gift basket.


Here are a few of the shots I’ve been working on!

Weekly Update: 2/9

February 9, 2011

Hello there! At this point I’ve gotten well into the in-betweens.

The Difficult Stuff:

I’ve found maintaining volumes to be a bit of a challenge, especially with some more subtle movements. A good many of the shots I’ve worked on in the past few days feature Boy without his hood. I suppose I never quite worked out his head shape for this iteration of the design, so it’s a good thing there are but a few of these hoodless shots. There’s also a walk cycle I in-betweened today whose timing is not quite where I’d like it to be yet. I will show it tomorrow in class to get some feedback and advice.

The Fun/Interesting Stuff:

My rough animation from the layout phase has been treating me pretty well; there seem to be a number of shots that require few in-betweens, if any. Of course there’s also the occasional shot where I think “WHY did I draw so few poses for this?!”, but thus far I’ve encountered more gifts from my past self than pitfalls.

Once again I find it hard to justify posting the rough animation to YouTube in order to include it here. I’ll be working on some background elements soon, so this blog will have some new pictures soon. Cheers!


Weekly Update: 2/3

February 3, 2011

Things are coming along. There were matters I had to attend to unexpectedly this week, so I’m a little behind my production schedule. Luckily, I scheduled extra time for the in-betweens for each scene. I’ll do some over-time in the coming week and should be able to reel in the slack. I also really need to get on casting calls for the voice acting. I’m glad my score is such that a recording stage won’t be necessary (it will feature a small number of specialized instruments rather than a big battery of strings).

The Difficult Stuff:

The basic poses for the rough animation, combined with the background mockups to give them context until real backgrounds are done, have been taking far longer than I anticipated. I am almost done with them, however. I should be finishing the last few shots today, in fact.

The Easy/Fun Stuff:

Time consuming as the background mockups are, I think they’ll help a lot down the road as I assemble the final assets for each shot. Right now I’m moving a little more slowly than I’d like, but the extra work now should pay off later. I suppose this neither “easy” nor “fun”, but it is a positive at least.

I will forgo the usual visual element of the update as most of the shots I’ve been working on recently fit between the more spectacular ones. There will be more eye-candy once I start getting some polish on the animation.