Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Concern yourself with Frames

*Scroll down to skip to the introduction

I was a little reluctant to start a blog about animation; couldn't find the appeal in posts written by a twenty year old holding no professional experience. However I've found a few people asking in the comments section to my videos about learning animation. Now by no means am I knowledgeable enough to instruct. Besides, there are hundreds of tutorials and books on animation already. One thing I can do though, as someone self taught, is offer a little direction to those of you starting out struggling to find direction.

I'll be making this a series dealing with subject that should allow you to come to your own ideas on what to take from them. So without further delay...

Concern yourself with Frames

Animation is a series of still frames, a fact I find animators forgetting early on when taxed with manipulating the character to perform an action. It's an error I made myself, and one I see made most frequently (admittedly in 3d animation more than 2d).

When drawing a picture, we're concerned with elements such as perspective and composition to create an image that's appealing. When drawing characters we look for line of action, mass, gesture, age, height, mood, and so forth to express the performance of the character to an audience.

If animation is a series of frames/pictures, then surely we should be concern ourselves with elements listed above on every frame/picture we create?

Watch the following animation, and keep pausing the video every so often.

Each still within the animation could be framed and hung on the wall. The characters are posed appealingly, their gesture is clear, the layout is readable. In each achieving this, the intentions of the animator are visible to the audience.

For even greater emphasis on this, check out this article on 11secondclub.com . It's where I learned this valuable lesson from! Also be sure to check out the site beyond this article.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

'Home Runner' round up!

Start date - Some time early February
Completion - 17th May

Ironically the video that took me the longest to build was originally titled 'one week', a challenge I put upon myself to complete a video in less than seven days.

I had drafted a small gag in which the scout, after an impressive performance for his team, reaches the final capture point only to be taken out by a lazy sniper camping. It was lame, which is probably why my focus drifted towards how the scout reached the capture point.

A problem from the beginning was obviously how the section before the gag was unplanned. I hadn't written much about that part, just a line in italics at the top of my page. I knew the map I wanted to use, the character, and I knew roughly the course the scout would take through the map to reach the capture point. That was all. So for an action segment of roughly 45 seconds, I had aimed my stream directly into the cold hard wind the moment I left pre production, having not planned the video further.

Production was as follows: Wake up Monday, thumbnail the next few seconds of the video, animate over the course of the week, repeat the following Monday. As the animation progressed I became more and more attached to the idea of having the action take place in one long take, rather than cutting between shots. This only made it harder for me being that the shot was planned no further than a few seconds at a time. I started to toy with the idea of the scout surviving the video about half way through the long take.

My biggest error though was how by being so fixated on creating the scouts actions, I lost track of the substance outside of that. Even though my original gag was lame, there were characters, and there was empathy and spite towards them. When I was thumb-nailing each weeks section I wasn't thinking about it as a performance. I never considered the struggle or challenge that the scout was up against, or his motivation and how it fuelled his kill spree.

I quite enjoyed the unplanned open ended method of production. It made the video become a journey. What I missed out on was the opportunity to take a character on that journey with me. Make the video more than a kill spree.

When I took note of this flaw it was late into the production. I thought sod it. If it's become a one note action video, make it proud to be a one note action video! Give it a balls out soundtrack, make the gunfire loud and constant, make the lighting obnoxious, and have the scouts actions appear remarkable.

I'm quite happy with how the video turned out. While it lacks performance, it's a reminder of that, and doesn't shy away from doing so.


This blog will act as a companion to the youtube channel 'Murraythis'. 

Without further delay...