The Completed Video:

The Presentation Slides:

I think struggling to learn a new piece of software at the same time as trying to produce a new type of animation (commercial) could have been a great challenge, however with very few actual tutorials on how to use the software correctly, it was hard to efficiently learn and apply principles at the same time. Not knowing the limitations and use of the software (Flash CS4/5) beforehand, and how we would be able to use it thoroughly held back a lot of design and style decisions as well as the actual story of the animation. The software training course we went on helped with the very basics, and was the only real teaching we received for this course, whereas those who chose to work with Maya had several tutorials set up for modelling and rigging etc. 
Anyway, the actual group animation came together just in time, and I'm pretty pleased with the little story we managed to tell. Execution could have been better with a little more knowledge and training, but I did the best I could with what  had. The limitations in place for character design etc made it hard to put any real personal touches or style onto the piece so I feel design wise it's a little dull. In an ideal world this could have been done with the movement and animation, but with such limited knowledge was very hard to achieve.

Points of Learning:
  • Design restrictions of certain software applications.
  • Importance of using folders and naming conventions within a program.
  • Communication and organisation within a group based project.
  • Problem solving to accommodate software and knowledge limitations.
  • Producing a piece with a view to a target audience.

Producing the screenplay(s) and storyboards/animatics for this module has taught me a lot about the production methods used for getting an animation off the ground and onto the screen. Form working with different sounds and sources, and working towards a desired effect, to adapting and working around obstacles in screenplay writing and story-boarding said stories into a finished plot. All the while allowing for artistic license for producing the animation and remaining flexible throughout.

I'm glad I decided to change the original script, and resolve the ending, rather than leaving it 'more mysterious' and open, as I had originally intended. The new 'gag' ending may not have been what I was originally going for with following the Grickle style of storytelling, but has ended up more much complete and is quite a nice gag to boot, I think.

I've enjoyed creating this story so much, I'm hoping to produce a short stop motion along my ideas for it as I feel it'd be something fun to work on and now that I have gotten so involved in the story it'd be a shame not to do something further with it while it's all still fresh in my head!

As this module draws to a close, I feel I can take away a couple of new badges on my belt: learning about screenplay writing and the format for it and a little more about film theory and shots etc. I'm hoping to put this into practice one my zombie stop-motion that I'm still working on the story to, which I may get around to animating one day!

And here it is with most of the frames improved a little, this could be the final one depending on time, I'm pretty happy with it, even if some parts are a little hodge podge, but that's what animatics are all about isn't it? There are several other things I'd like to add if I get time such as some more sounds etc, but this will do for now :)

A few added sounds and some improved frames hopefully make it all a bit clearer!
I have done all my previous animatics and such in iMovie, which was pretty easy to use and did the job nicely, but I felt I should move onto something a bit more professional so I set about  making this one in Adobe Premiere, and it's not going too bad. Little bit of trouble when exporting it and keeping the file size down but I'm getting there I think. anyway, an improved animatic will be up in a bit.
Just a few progress shots of how the Student Financial services animation is coming along. Getting the hang of Flash slowly, working out the motion editor and its graphs etc, and making sure to keep everything labelled and organised, not only in the layers but in the library also. Some sort of naming convention must be used especially when you've got a lot of assets about the place, many similar.

Here is a very rough animatic of the sound project, still with a fair few sounds missing, but you can get the general idea of the story and how it's going to go.
Just thought I'd start sharing some of this year's life drawing work on here. There are currently 2 ongoing major parts to this module, the first being the studies during Uni time, and  weekly tasks. The latest one of these was to study a cube shaped piece of furniture, and this was my piece:

The other ongoing Project is of our choosing, and I have decided to concentrate on two areas of study that interest me, the first being figures and forms and general creature and human shapes and structure.
The second being faces and character, and looking at exaggerating that character and getting emotion and expression from a drawing. A small example:
Just looking at colours and textures and getting some feelings from media while thinking about my sound project, wondering how to incorporate these feelings and atmosphere into it.

Using shared documents on GoogleDocs, we decided to set up a timetable for the group project so we can keep each other informed of progress etc

Little bit late but here is the feedback from our presentation of the animatic etc:

"Good idea to have text at the bottom to help explain your narrative – correct the typos.
Type out any written text in your animatic and make those frames slightly slower so the viewer can
read them.
Make the shopping section clearer; perhaps make the blue pig ‘blue’?
If it has potential to be a game – show a visual of what the game would look like"
Pick a film of your choice. 
- 'Varmints'
Write a list and identify-
1. the archetypes in the characters
- Main protagonist is the focus of the story and is played by a good-hearted, well-meaning, anti-hero insofar as the fact that all odds seem stacked against him, and he has little or no power over his situation.
-Minor other characters include the love interest, which you find very little out about.
-Almost all other characters are part of the 'masses' i.e. uniform groups of characters who convey the image of conformity.
2. the character’s personality traits, life and motivation
- The main character's early motivation is to try and protect his environment from the encroaching masses. This is eventually eroded and almost completely lost but he manages to keep a small piece of its former beauty alive in the form of a small potted plant. This turns his motivation into the protection of said plant, as it obviously reminds him of earlier happier times. When the love interest is introduced a new motivation arrives along with it. Compassion to reach out to a fellow creature soon blossoms, until another plot twist as the world appears to be destroying itself, which ups the pace and introduces an element of danger.
3. how does the film keeps the audience engaged? What do you think the key factors are? 
- The underdog story, especially mixed with an environmental message is an appealing one to most people. The later parts of added danger and uncertainty keep the audience engaged, and the strong emotional attachment you form with the protagonist keep you wanting to know if he is going to prevail, survive or lose. People can relate to feeling at the mercy of the world around them.
4. what are the elements or patterns repeated throughout the film? At what points? And what do you think is the purpose or intention? 
-The use of colour for each section amplifies the emotions, and highlighting key parts of the film, ie the plant and the rare rainwater. This is used throughout the entire film, from the colourful happy beginning, to the muted depressing tones of the middle, and then  to the more uplifting glowing finale.
-No dialogue means a lot of the acting is done through body language and the movement of the eyes, which I feel helps with the immersion overall.
5. Throughout the form of the film, try to establish the plot and sub-plot. How does the revelation compare from the beginning to the end?
-There seem to be many changes to the plot of the film with a few sub plots happening throughout. It seems to be mostly about surviving in an unwelcome world, but then also not letting go of a piece of paradise lost. Adapting to this new world is a small sub-plot and I see it as the love-interest sequence, as this new face that the protagonist can relate to opens up new ideas to the viewer, of what his future many hold. It seems a little less bleak. All these small parts of the story bind together well throughout, but really work well in the culmination of them at the end of the tale.

Looking for some inspiration for the Student Financial Services animation, I remembered some older music videos I had seen that had a quirky style and I feel would be ideal for the style of animation for this project, so hopefully I'll put these ideas forward to the group and see what they think!

Keeping with the watercolour style and colours I got some rough ideas down for one of the characters.

Pre-lines is quite nice also. Could use this throughout?

Having a go with creating a still looking at what colours to use to create the atmosphere I want within this animatic and storyboard. Watercolours are a really nice, if quite slow medium to work with for this, covering a lot of area quickly but taking a while to wait for parts to dry. give a nice textured result though and lovely muted colours, which are exactly what I was looking for for this project.

Enhancing the older storyboard, trying to keep to Tom's style to keep it consistent.

First draft of the storyboard of the new script we were given, couple of scenes missing off the end, and its all in pretty basic form but it should hopefully all be clear what each scene conveys.

Points Raised:

  • Get some colour in there
  • Make day/night atmosphere clearer
  • Make important plot points clear (ie bear)
  • Remove cross from house - be careful of making things look like something they are not.
  • More reaction shots and dialogue shots etc
We've split the storyboard up between 3 of us in the group to re-do it and add in some scenes after some confusion on reading the script, but hopefully we're all clear now!
Early Storyboard ideas for the edited together sound files so far (see previous post on this project for that)

Here is the finished new animatic for the Student Financial Services Pig Project, awaiting feedback as we speak.

Ignore the strange looking player, it should play the clips though. This is a rough guide as to how I'd like to use the given clips. I've managed to use nearly all of them, and have a good story and narrative as to how it's going to look when it's done. For now I've only got the audio available though, but will begin working on the storyboards and more soon.

Basic gist of the story is, a remote mining/archeology station in a snow field discovers a ice-man frozen, who wakes up and escapes while the scientists flee. I have a lot more detail in my head but I'll make it a bit more visible soon.
Just a quick look at progress on the re-doing of the animatic, here it is so far:

Any feedback welcome as always!
I was rummaging thought some of my favourite short animations and came across these, thought they seemed very applicable for the study of dialogue-free but sound based animations. This top one, 'Moon Boy' is my favourite I think and holds so much character and emotion with very little sound.

Here are some other nice ones:

No, not a form of water torture for pigs, but storyboarding this piggy animation. Here are a few still from the various parts, before being put into an animatic:

As we're working in a group for this project we needed a way to coordinate our work and make sure we were all aware of what each other are doing. We have a couple of systems set up to manage this, the first being the information sponge that is Facebook. A simple group on there enables to to share images and opinions between the group without the need for a meeting.

The other method works better for larger files and more specific assets. Dropbox is a perfect program allowing the sharing of any kinds of file, and I see it getting a lot of use when we start work on the flash animation and need to share assets and files.