Friday, 29 January 2010

Experi Mental

So It was apparently time for some good old "outside the box thinking", you know just like the endless stream of adverts around at the mo that use some "amazing!!!" stop frame techniques that they saw some dude in China do on you tube and have totally ripped off. The one that i can most recently remember was for Orange or some shit where loads of young hip, groovy people eventually turn from a skinny white moron into a fat black idiot.
This uses the technique of 'pixilation' which is the use of humans within a stop-motion animation, this is what my group decided to do but in the form of a video game. And yes before you mention it i do realize that our video mainly consists of young, hip, groovy idiots turning into each other.
This is the first test making sure the menu and basic movement look okay,

We decided that the people need to move slightly quicker and the menu arrow needs to move slower, from then on we would move the characters every frame but move the arrow every four frames. We thought both moving at the same time would be quite distracting but decided that it looks more natural and with the sound effects it should be fine.
This was a quick test of a rotation, an essential part of any character creation menu,

Pretty tasty huh, we now had the timing sorted for all the movements, all we had to do then was work out which order they appear in, what they are wearing and what should happen at the start and the end. This was a special kind of planning that included us all getting random clothes from home and deciding which would be the most bloody hilarious. After that we went home to shoot the rest and pretty much made it up on the spot. That's the magic of the movies kids.

Well a huge thanks to Chrissy who edited the crap outta this and put these awesome sound effects in (the game boy noise for the Xbox is inaccurate yet inspired). We all pulled together really well for this project i think, everyone was willing to put forward ideas but were also willing to let some go, everyone put the hours in, this made for a good time and what i think is a pretty great final film.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Yella' Belly!

As usual once we did what was asked of us we decided to ditch replacement animation and get our straight forward stop-frame on. This is when I quickly discovered the most difficult part of working in a group is that everyone else is lame, ha jus' playin'. Easily the hardest part of group work was deciding on something that we all thought would look good, push our abilities and not take 16 years to complete, between 5 people it gets a little difficult to agree. It's kinda like all of us going to blockbuster and trying to pick something several completely different people would wanna watch. Anyway In the end we decided to go for the Animation Vs Animator theme but make it so you didn't know what was going on until half way through.
Av' a butchers.

We were extremely happy with this, i mean it pretty damn awesome right? It required me to spend a lot of time crawling on the floor for reference, especially when he rolls over onto his front. Also waiting for silver pen to show up for the claw marks and a special shout to Paul who had to hold his hand there for an uncomfortable amount of time.
The main thing i took away from this project was the importance of the point of contact, what sells this video to me is how he doesn't just float along the floor, his hands and feet stay where they should be and he actually pushes himself along.

They call him Mellow Yellow

As the age of stop-frame begins the first thing we have to master is replacement animation, this is where you don't actually move the model but you have a different one for each movement the character makes and you just swop them out. This technique was used to create our frosty friend 'Pingu', one of the biggest pimps of our time.
Firstly we were working in groups and had to create a walk cycle out of five different models, one of the biggest challenges of this project was to actually do it and not just keep putting them in various sexual positions however around 5 hours later, once that novelty had worn off, we got to work.
Heres the first attempt

We weren't too pleased with the legs and his head moves like something out of 'Jacob's Ladder'. We kept focused on keeping the head straight but also using the rules we had learnt by looking at all out walks such as one leg is always straight and obviously the arms must do the opposite action to the legs.
Checks the nexts

We all agreed that this was an improvement but it looked like he was limping quite a lot, we came to the conclusion that because we were using five frames to do two steps one was always gunna hang for longer than the other, we went back and tweaked the feet a little and only used four models

This was definitely the second best we came up with, i say second best coz after this one we made a few more adjustments, filmed it again and it looked slightly better however once we had packed up left the room and decided to reflect on our work we found out the last video had corrupted. I just wanna be honest with ya.
I really enjoyed this exercise because of the nature of the beast i guess, the fact that we could keep going back and changing little things to try and improve it, something that would be a pain in the arse for drawn animation and probably impossible for normal stop-frame. G-night everybody!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

A jolly look back at our first term of animation theory. Part 1.

Mr. George Melier (sorry George and France I don't know how to do accents on here yet)
As we can see in this lovely piece of Futurama fan art Bender is plunging a bottle into a seemingly random theme park mascot. Of course all of us find this freakin hilarious but not many can put there finger on exactly why, this image has been used countless times in comedies and has been referenced over and over again, but why? I hear you cry.
Everyone is familiar with the still of the rocket lodged in the moons face but it's not until they see "Le Voyage Dans La Lune" (voyage to the moon) a short film by George Melier that they go "Ohhh i knew i recognized that shit!".

'Voyage to the moon' was filmed over 100 years ago in 1902 and was just one of many films Melier can be credited for, all of which were so important to modern film especially in current times where the vast majority of hollywood blockbuster films rely so heavily on the use of special effects. The art of tricking the audience using film was practically invented by Melier, so much so that he was usually known as a magician in his time not a film maker. Probably a good thing for him, magicians got all the babes back then.
A big part of special effects these days and a century ago is down to animation. The technique of stopping the camera, moving an object then starting the camera again was also discovered by Melier, probably why so many people in the film and animation industry enjoy parodying his work. Also it probably makes you feel pretty smug doesn't it.