Wednesday, 10 December 2014
This is my first commission for roleplaying game company 'Monte Cook Games'. I've loved the work of 'Numenera' since I first saw it almost two years ago, the colours are amazing, the world seems fantastic, and a few months ago when I was contacted by them to produce some work for their 'Numenera' and 'The Strange' I jumped at the chance! This is my first piece of work produced for them, and I'll post up a few WIP shots so you can understand how I arrived at my final piece. The brief was as follows: This image is of a male human wearing a science-fiction (with a little superhero) inspired body suit. The figure is outlined in a nimbus of glowing orange light. He’s projecting a stronger pulse of this same light from his hands, which “Green Lantern-style” has formed into a protective shield between him and the attacks of an advancing troop of 3-4 venom troopers. I was provided with the following image for reference when dealing with the Venom Troopers:
It's hard to believe only two weeks have gone by. Since the pitch and having everyone join the group so much work has been completed. After some revisions we've created roughly 6 variations of the initial storyboard. We noticed that in the first test, the character her monster are hardly the best of friends, which isn't exactly what we were looking for. Our character is an adventurer, she's already caught monsters herself and so she's pretty sure of herself when it comes to tracking down monsters, however she's also quite clumsy and so despite her ability she's not the greatest tracker out there. Her monster on the other hand is very simple, it's her stalwart protector and will stand up to anything she requires, they've been friends for a long time. It is also quite young though, and so is quite curios and can be prone to being started as you can see in the animatic. There were also some issues to do with pacing and understanding the narrative of the story. This was likely the hardest part of the last two weeks to fix. It required me to draw several variations on the storyboards, adding new scenes, placing them and trying to work out an order for us to explain what happens within the short cohesively. What made this especially difficult however was the the strict time constraints that the animators had now put onto the scenes. Because we had a set amount of animators, each with a set time limit of animation they would produce for our short, severely altering or add/subtracting scenes would cause logistical problems that couldn't be easily remedied. And with pre-production time running out I crammed as much work into the last week as I possibly could so we could nail down our idea. Charlotte our animation director was eager to have this finished up and I pushed beyond the time limit she wanted to impose. We both do feel that our new storyboard is a lot stronger for it and now every animator has been given a chunk of animation and has begun their own pre-production for the project. So here is our final animatic (some sounds included):
Thursday, 27 November 2014
This week has all been about preparation. With my few sketches I needed to prepare a presentation for the rest of my class in an attempt to try and gather some other artists, animators and TD's to make what was only an idea in my head into a fully functional short film. What made this more terrifying was knowing that there were other projects out there that I knew were great animation fodder. One project was purely about different dancing styles, and I knew this work would be amazing on an animators portfolio. I began to worry that I wouldn't receive either the number of animators I wanted or have the level of talent I knew the year was capable of. I quickly made a presentation in order to try and give everybody what they wanted. I wanted a short film and opportunities to make stylized assets, and I knew others wanted good work for their portfolio. And so this is what I pitched: I was surprised by the amount of positive feedback I received. almost instantly I had animators asking for work, sadly no TD's have come forward at this point, and I'm still currently the only artist. But what I knew I needed was an animation director as the technicalities of animation escape me and I've learnt to be aware of what you don't know. Luckily an animator called Charlotte Mosey stepped forward and was interested in leading the animation of the project. Both Charlotte and Kathryn Chandler are people I have been friends with since the course started and I knew well of what they were capable of, and to have them both join the project has helped qualm my doubts significantly. Since then we've trimmed down the story, changed some storyboards, removed some assets due to the lack of artists but we're up and running. We're setting animation times aside and making sure animators get the work they need, and I've spent my time perfecting the storyboards and animatics. With our animator to artist ration so unbalanced I've decided to write a scene or two, as well as some other elements that can be added to the final production should more artists step forward in time. But for now I laid down a set of ground rules for what I wanted the story to be: 1. There has to be a main character with her own monsters 2. There has to be an 'Alpha' creature somewhere at the end of the short. 3. It should be kept to roughly 1-1:30 minutes. I'm saddened that I can't add a battle scene, or just a way of showing our main creature fighting or breathing for or something! But we've written down our constraints, made sure we can create a project with the assets we have, and that everything runs smoothly. We can always add later, but we think it's best not to overshoot our goals and fail to deliver. For now I'll simply describe what happens as the roughness of my sketches as well as a lack of sound may leave them illegible. We see our character and monster running through a forest, they come to a clearing and the woman begins tracking some footsteps as our monster goes to investigate a strange rock formation in the ground. The woman notices the tracks stop abruptly, but as she does the monster touches the rocks out of curiosity and they rumble and burst out the ground slightly, and in its fear it runs into the woman. She begins having a tiff at the monster for running her over, and they start to argue, both growling at one another, getting louder and louder, until a mighty roar can be heard. They are both scared and checking the clearing before being engulfed by the shadow of a gigantic monster. So here's our animatic:
Wednesday, 19 November 2014
After suffering some illness there was a bit of a drawback on some of my work. I quickly recovered however, and now with the Computer Animation course's final project pitching session coming up soon I decided it was time to really begin fleshing out the production itself. I'd sketched a male character for the series, but I'd hoped to create a female character for the short film. With my production partner Hollie we set out to create a series of references in the real world which we could draw from: So please feel free to check it out!
Thursday, 6 November 2014
This week was the end of my contribution to the Android commercial project, the model has been fully designed and textured, and now the animator begins their work. This however leaves me with 2 weeks spare from this 7 week project. I have nothing left to contribute towards my original group, and so I was assigned to a different group in a different class. In the University of South Wales collaboration between the computer animators and VFX artists is encouraged, but it's not something that happens too often. If our courses deadlines were more coherent with one another it may help, but sadly this is not the case. Regardless, I have 2 weeks spare and someone in VFX needs the quick attention of an artist. Specifically to texture a dragon model they have from a previous project of theirs.
Tuesday, 28 October 2014
This week was primarily spent doing small tweaks to existing work, or practicing new styles or techniques on existing designs. First off is the Android, it has been fully textured and all the areas are colour coded. however, once the texture maps were applied I found the design to be vastly too 'cartoon-like'. And so I experimented with the texture maps. As you can see below are what the original map looks like. I decided to try adding some metallic detail. I wanted it to be incredibly subtle however, and so using a very low opacity and having the texture on 'overlay' allowed me to pull this texture map away from the cartoon world and add some realism to it, without detracting from it's very simple design.