In Depth post # 6: Last In-Depth post? I think not. New animation! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Oh my it’s been so long. Yes, yes I’m back with more in-depth updates! Where shall I begin?
Let’s talk about my spring break first. So for spring break I went to California and visited the California Institute of Arts (Calarts), which was just a fabulous experience. Since the institute specializes at character animation and many alumni work in the film/animation industry. Like Tim Burton, Dustin Hoffman, and Michael Richards, etc. The crew of “Moana” actually just came to the school a week before my visit. Anyways, they had a whole hallway dedicated to character animation students’ work displays and a screen that replays every single animation made by past students. However, I won’t be posting pictures here because I don’t have permission from each individual student. All rights reserved for their own creative work. But to make for it here’s a extremely thoughtful animation done by a Calarts student that I found on Youtube. It’s really deep and reflects on a very ugly truth about our society. I know the title sounds scary, but it’s way more than you think.
Apparently this video was also made in Flash and Photoshop. Which made my life really depressing… But if I nailed my animation on the first try, well…. There wouldn’t be anything for me to learn from my mentor anymore. It’s a gradual process.
Other than that and Bamfield, my spring break was just me working. On what? You guessed it! Another animation! And this time it is going to be fully coloured.
Over the spring break I was focusing on the character model sheets and storyboards. This time I did the model sheet on paper. I saw many animations at Calarts that were in fact, drawn on paper. I was thinking of doing the same thing for this animation, however, after thinking rationally I realized that it is not a realistic idea. Thus I just did the model sheets on paper. This method is a bit more flexible than a computer, although it is slightly primitive if you’ve been using computers to draw for a long time. (I’ve been subconsciously trying to click crtl z on paper)
Next up, I took pictures of the character’s full body view and inserted that into Photoshop to get down basic colour options like shown:
And then, I did the typical storyboarding. Which included a surprisingly large amount of acting out the scenes and forcing my sister to time how long each action takes. Since I do not want to spoil the animation for you, I’ll just put one random page here:
This part is done on paper like last time. Since Mr. Udell has a lot of spare templates that his animation students use, it would be easier to complete this step with the resources that is around, other than making it myself.
And then comes the part where I made another animatic so I can animate on top of the storyboard. Which makes the process a lot easier. It’s a bit confusing. I showed it to my mentor and he said I should stage the beginning and the end better.
Speaking of my mentor, let’s get into the how to have a beautiful mind analysis before the post turns into 2000 words thesis or something.
How to have a Beautiful Mind:
There were many conversations that regarded concept in our meeting today. First of all, I showed him the story and he asked me, “is the title going to be called ‘Next Time?’ ” since I put that as the title for my storyboard. I honestly wasn’t sure about this, seeing that I’m generally horrible at coming with titles for everything. But the theme of the animation is to convey that everyone deserves a second chance and that we can’t judge the people by their worst actions. This animation was slightly inspired by both “To kill a mockingbird” by Harper Lee and “There’s a man in the woods” animation that I just showed above. The concept here is to find a short phrase that conveys the theme. I know it’s really broad, but concepts are supposed to be quite open-ended. I also asked my mentor whether I should work the heck out of myself to finish the second animation as well or to just make it an animatic or something because aprilmayjune. He said that since I already have a finished animation it might be even better to just leave it as a progress animation for In-Depth, because the idea is all about the process, not the product! (kind fo cliche but true). Another example of when he was confused about the beginning of the animation. Which I agree since it’s quite unclear. He said maybe do a shot a the main character walking into the store first before the conflict takes place. The whole idea of character animation is to tell the story from the perspective of the main character. Lastly, is when he said that the staging of my ending was a bit t00 open-ended— and this sort of applies to alternatives too— so I claimed that my concept was to reflect on real life situations where not everything is concluded. He told me that the concept of good character animations is to make the audience feel empathy towards the main character, and it would be very strange if I made the audience feel bad for the character but have him make the same mistake after. Then we started brainstorming alternatives about the ending.
The combination of alternatives and concept actually work together very nicely because limits of alternatives guided by the concept of the original. For example, there was a scene where the female character drops her wallet, but Mr. Udell said it happens too coincidentally. So I asked him if there were any alternatives and he offered the idea of the lady giving the main character money and juggling her purse around thus causing her to drop the wallet. Which I thought was a fantastic idea, although this would mean more work for me too.
Another example of alternatives is when I asked for how I should end my animation because I’ve received the same feedbacks from both my sister and Mr. Udell: the ending is too unclear. Me and my mentor sat there and brainstormed with different tones for the ending. I actually thoroughly enjoyed this process, it was a delightful and special experience. We could end it with a dark and realistic ending where he makes the same mistake again; with an ending where he learns from his last mistakes and tries to fix it this time; or with an ending where it’s not exactly communicated whether he learned or not, but rather the screen turns black and a male voice calls out “hey!” without showing which character said the dialogue.
Mr. Udell also offered me a lot of perspective on some things that I can discuss on In-Depth night. I told him that I didn’t quite like the first animation, but he said I can talk about the areas that I can improve on. I can even put things like this on my evaluation. So instead of just not liking my own creation, I can look to improve and discuss the flaws with others.
Oh my goodness this post is longer than I expected. I really enjoyed this mentor meeting and honestly it’s kind of hard to think that this is the last post. But don’t worry it is definitely not. I’ll at least blog another post on In-Depth. Now, if you can excuse me, I will be leaving now. Thank you!
also I found out that my last animation was nominated for the best junior animation in the BC student film festival. oops