Saturday, 31 March 2012

Development on Detailed Exposure Sheet

This is the progress on my more specific exposure sheet, detailing every aspect of the animation. When viewed together, the separate sheets line up so that each action overlaps in time with each other. I intend to have this finished when I get home from work tomorrow evening, so that I can get animating on monday mornin', 8:00am sharp!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Basic Exposure Sheet

This is a basic exposure sheet just to give me an idea of how long each block of animation will be on screen. I will split these blocks up again into specific actions, i.e. how long a head movement will be etc. before I properly jump into animating, so that hopefully it will be a simple case of placing keyframes and simply adding in-betweens later on. I've also left it a couple of seconds short, just in case there are moments that I wish to extend in the animation for any particular reason, as a few frames here or there can make all the difference.

Rigging One: Tail

Rigging One: Eyes

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Animation Online Greenlight Review: Part One

I've uploaded this a bit early, but I was going to upload an updated script etc. anyway, so I figured it'd be a good idea to upload it as the first half of my OGR.
The Conceited Fountain Pen OGR Part One

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Time Machine: Refining My Topic

After my conversation with Phil yesterday, I had a clearer idea of the potential approaches to the assignment. Initially, the theme of Transhumanism was deemed fairly ambiguous, so I've decided to narrow it down specifically to Robotics. Here is a rough summary of how I aim to approach the assignment.

This assignment will be investigating themes of Robotics in cinema, specifically, the ways in which ideas surrounding Robotics are used in a metaphorical and allegorical sense in 20th Century fiction. 
The assignment will begin by investigating the origin of the term, Robot, using Karel Capek’s play Rossum’s Universal Robots as a primary point of reference.
Once the term’s origins have been determined, the assignment will continue by analyzing the ways in which the principles surrounding the term have been applied to works of fiction during the 20th Century, both in a literal and allegorical sense, referring to specific examples.

I've used a mind-map in order to organise my thoughts surrounding both Transhumanism and Robotics, which features a series of potential angles of Robotics in fiction that I could investigate.

Gesture Drawings

Morphing Our Objects

This is part of our group object morph.
Meg Leslie- Gramaphone, Freddie Rolph- The Lascivious Pepper Mill, Steven Payne- The Concieted Fountain Pen, Urvashi Lele- The Exstatic Spinning Top, Nat Urwin-  The Ebullient Toadstool

The Conceited Fountain Pen Version Two: Step Outline

The basic story has changed considerably since I had a conversation with Phil yesterday. Its changed to something radically different from what I first had in mind, but that makes it all the more exciting! The story feels a lot more quirky and charming than it previously did, and these qualities should hopefully make the final animation that little bit more appealing.

Act One
Scene One
A Fountain Pen is seen standing in shot, looking off into the distance. A small, stubby Crayon hops into shot and looks up at the Fountain Pen.

Scene Two
Shot from above, displaying the two writing instruments as simple dots, defined primarily by the trails they leave. The Crayon introduces itself, through way of a poorly scrawled smiley face. The Fountain Pen is unimpressed by this introduction, and proceeds to move away from the Crayon, leaving a calligraphic trail behind it.

Act Two
Scene Three
The Crayon pursues the Fountain Pen, leaving a broken, messy trail behind it, directly contrasting the highly refined and calligraphic trail of the Fountain Pen. The pursuit intensifies, with the Fountain Pen’s strokes becoming more flourished and elaborate, both as an attempt to out-write the Crayon and as a way of displaying its superiority. The Crayon follows closely behind, persevering, completely oblivious to the Fountain Pen’s conceited distaste for the Crayon.

Scene Four
The Crayon, still desperately trying to keep up, eventually wears its tip down to a stub, causing it to stumble and fall. The Fountain Pen turns around, noticing the fallen Crayon, and walks towards it. Leaning over as if to help the Crayon up, the Fountain Pen bursts out laughing, gloating and prancing around.

Act Three
Scene Five
The Fountain Pen, still gloating, turns suddenly in reaction to a hefty clicking noise behind it. Looking upwards, it reels back in horror and faints at the sight of something out of shot.

Scene Six
The horrifying sight is revealed to be a word processor, technology that has superseded the Fountain Pen considerably. The words “The End” are typed across the screen as the scene closes.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Animation: Hand Drawn Bowling Ball

This is my first attempt at animating a bowling ball falling to the floor. I chose to animate this on two's, as it slowed the pace down and still kept the animation at a second long. The animation isn't brilliant (for example, I feel the ball should hang a little more before it falls and on the slight bounce when it hits the ground) but its a step in the right direction.

Animation: Hand Drawn Bouncing Ball

This is my first attempt at animating the bouncing ball by hand. It works in theory, but there is a lot to be changed in order for it to really flow. Notably, the ball needs to hang and stretch more when leading into bounces and on the third bounce there are too few frames, making the animation very abrupt. Still, for a first attempt, its not too shabby.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

The Conceited Fountain Pen Screenplay: Version One

This is my first screenplay for The Conceited Fountain Pen. Although it initially appears that there are many characters, the different items of stationary are mainly there to establish the setting. The story focuses mainly on the Fountain Pen and Biro characters, and the other characters are very, very minor.
The Conceited Fountain Pen Screenplay Version One

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Expression Silhouettes

In response to Kadeem and Phil's comments on my previous silhouettes, I decided to flip the fountain pen around and focus on using the nib as the head.
I've been treating the nib in this experiments as the centre of expression, attempting to squeeze as much personality out of it as possible.
Although we're meant to be avoiding adding facial features in order to push the expressive nature of our characters, elements of the nib lend themselves nicely to these features. Notably, the breather hole in the centre acting as somewhat of an eye.
With this in mind, I developed a series of expressive silhouettes, initially sketching them out by hand and then filling them in using Photoshop. Only now have I realised the true power of using a silhouette to convey a specific tone or personality. They've amplified the expressive nature of my initial sketches significantly and allowed me to see what aspects are more effective at conveying a certain expression than others.

My Initial Sketches

The shapes created were influenced both by the stereotypical, medieval court jester appearance and the simple, yet expressive movements of the character Earthworm Jim, as well as referencing Preston Blair's Cartoon Animation book.
I'm very happy with how these turned out (although 'frightened' and 'unhappy' definitely could do with a fair amount of refinement) and it has provided me with a fresh set of thoughts and ideas around how I can bring this fountain pen to life.
Before I came across Kadeem and Phil's suggestion, I had developed a few expressive sketches using the lid as somewhat of a mouth.

Early Expression Concepts

This idea only works in conjunction with expression that comes from the clip (acting as an arm) and the bend and stretch of the rest of the fountain pen (i.e. it's stance). This came from my early commitment to the idea of using the nib as feet, which, whilst its still an idea I'm fond of, is not necessarily the right choice in regards to establishing the character of the fountain pen.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

A Few Fountain Pen Silhouettes

Just some quick silhouettes to help myself emphasise the Fountain Pen's existing shape and provide it with a personality.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Influence: Day of the Tentacle

Whilst sketching out some basic ideas of how the Fountain Pen could effectively convey movement and emotion, I constantly kept thinking of how they managed to tackle a similar task in the 1993 LucasArts adventure game, Day of the Tentacle

Day of the Tentacle features, well, a tentacle that turns evil once it has consumed some contaminated water. Whilst the Purple Tentacle isn't an anthropomorphised object, it does have a physical construction that does lead it to move in a way similar to that of a person competing in a sack race, hopping along as opposed to walking or rolling along. This movement is a potential option of how the Fountain Pen in my animation can move around, being a basic, cylindrical shape. I even managed to find a walk cycle of the Purple Tentacle!

The Purple Tentacle also manages to convey a variety of emotions, through the manipulation of the three circles upon it. Whilst it could be argued that, yes, it clearly has a mouth etc, whilst the Fountain Pen does not, the facial features are not noticeably apparent and they do come from the manipulation of a generic shape. The circles aren't recognisable as facial features immediately, only when they shift shape does the character come to life. This isn't a new technique, we've all seen it in classic Disney movies, but as a child raised on old point-and-click adventure games, this is certainly the example that first springs to my mind.
In regards to my Fountain Pen, I've began to manipulate certain aspects of its construction in order to provide it with some character, for example, using the lip of the lid as somewhat of a mouth, the ring connecting the clip to the lid as an eyebrow (much like that of the Purple Tentacle and Grommit from Wallace and Grommit) and the clip as a single arm, as well as splitting the nib and treating each half as an individual foot. This is shaping up to be an interesting unit and I look forward to making this Fountain Pen come to life!

Some Slightly More Detailed Story Thoughts

I want to get the story down as soon as possible so that I can move on to the design side of things, so here are a few story ideas that I've come up with.
They all appear to follow ideas of 'getting they're just deserts', with the Fountain Pen ultimately meeting its maker as a result of its conceited personality.

-The Fountain Pen is the latest addition to an author's stationary collection. The current inhabitants of the desk pop up out of a drawer to welcome their new neighbour. The Fountain Pen swaggers around the desk, showing off its extravagant, gilded construction and looking down on the other items of stationary. Deeply engrossed in its condescending introduction to its neighbours, it fails to notice the large pool of ink forming beneath it. Shocked and embarrassed by this unsightly scene, the Fountain Pen faints and rolls off of the desk, to the bemusement of the other stationary.

-The Fountain Pen is seen to be working out, using crayons as dumbbells and flexing its muscles to the other stationary. Whilst showing off to the other stationary, a shadow forms above the desk. The other items of stationary scatter and hide, the Fountain Pen still posing away, totally oblivious. A hand reaches down and picks up the Fountain Pen, proceeding to take the pen apart and replace the cartridge. The Fountain Pen is placed back on the desk, shaking in fear and rocking from side to side.

-The Fountain Pen is introduced to his new neighbours. It lords over the other stationary, making statements on its own quality in comparison to that of the others. Specifically, the Fountain Pen ridicules the ragged appearance of the other stationary, all of which have been used, abused and chewed to pieces in the long time they've been in this desk. A person sits at the desk, as the other stationary scatters back inside the drawer. The Fountain Pen makes a point to be lying directly in view of the person, knowing it'll be the writing implement of choice. This pride is soon shattered though, as the person proceeds to chew, throw, drop, tap, drum and otherwise abuse the Fountain Pen, much to its horror. The Fountain Pen is thrown in the drawer, joining the other, long forgotten and seriously abused items of stationary.

Mind Map of Initial Thoughts

Monday, 5 March 2012

Unit 5: Animation- Initial Thoughts

During today's brief, I randomly selected the title The Conceited Fountain Pen.
I spent my bus journey home thinking up some ideas around the title, notably, how a fountain pen could appear to be conceited.
I've drawn some initial sketches of my immediate thoughts, although these will most likely change during the week.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Intro to Animation: Down Pose

I animated this using the image alone instead of the video, just to see if I could manage it without painstakingly emulating everything in the tutorial. Everything looks fine in the 25 frames I animated myself, but as soon as the cycle takes over, the left leg begins to straighten, starting on the 38th frame and constantly repeating. I spent ages trying to figure out why, but I'm still not 100% sure what could be wrong.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Gathering Inspiration from Vimeo

In preparation for the upcoming Animation unit, I spent some time browsing Vimeo just to get an idea of whats going on in the big 'ol world of animation out there. I stumbled upon some brilliant little videos, and I thought I'd post a selection on here for future reference.