Sunday, 3 September 2017
Here it is! My thesis film! The film that consumed my entire life for 8 months and I enjoyed every minute of it. I put a lot of work into the film and I I hope you enjoy it and take something away from it.
I had the concept for the film at the end of first year/early second year. Just the look of it popped into my head: A round cartoon character juxtaposed with straight and edgy abstract shapes. That's what I wanted my film to look like. The image was there but the full idea wasn't.
At the beginning of the second half of second year I quickly drew a concept drawing out since I didn't want the image I had in my head to go away. So here's that drawing from 2ish years ago!
Even that early on I already knew what I wanted in my thesis film. 5 things:
1 - Cartoon animationBecause I love it and have fun doing it.
2 - Motion graphics and moving shapes
Because I love graphic design.
3 - Music based (specifically big band)
Because I like old music and big band fits with cartoon animation acting as sound effects.
4 - No layout
Because I'm not good at it.
That's it! I wanted my film to be about everything I enjoy and I wanted it to play to my strengths. I didn't want to spend time on things I didn't like and things I wasn't particularly good at. My thought was that if I spent time on something I'm not good at, that is time away from improving on something that I want to be better at. I also wanted it to be 1 minute since during industry day they only show 1 minute of our films during the screening. I wanted a whole product on the screen and I also didn't want to overwork myself. 1 minute was already a ton of work for this film and I would have ripped my hair out if I did it any longer.
I also wanted to incorporate a bit of fine art into it because in the end I have a huge passion for art. When I saw Michel Gagne's Sensology had imagery that resembled Wassily Kandinsky's work, I had a direction I wanted to take it to. Other works I referenced were iPod silhouette commercials, Day & Night by Pixar, Carnival of Animals from Fantasia 2000, The Dot and Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics by Chuck Jones, UPA, Fleischer Bros., Piet Mondrian, Picasso, Saul Bass, and more that I probably missed.
Here are some stuff I made in 3rd year. Quick doodles that I made in order to get the idea across.
Although Kandinsky was my first idea, I experimented with boards and sketches with much more basic shapes. A lot of people suggested I simplify things and choose the basic shapes to make the workload a little easier for myself since I was already planning to fully animate characters for the total 1 minute. Which was a smart suggestion since in the end the workload I had was already enough and challenging for me. But I still think about how my film would have turned out with more elaborate Kandinsky style effects.
Here is the first image I made that incorporated the idea I had of using flat shapes to suggest perspective and only when placing the character in it would it give context. I created a rough storyboard sequence in 3rd year using this concept and my instructor suggested I take that idea further.
Here's my progress reel! I locked down my storyboards by end of September and started animating in October. Other classes got in the way so full on animating didn't start until January to very early March. Clean up took the whole month of March and colouring was a breeze on Toonboom which took 3 days. My original plan was to finish in March but I took into account delays and revisions. I still managed to finish several weeks early! I also never pulled any all nighters and only worked at school from 9am - 9pm and took weekends off! I had to come in on weekends a few times during clean up, but apart from that I had a very healthy lifestyle in fourth year compared to my other three years. I felt great!
A few of my friends kept asking about how I time manage well. Here's the secret: JUST WORK ON YOUR FILM. Don't get side tracked. Fourth year was deceiving with all the "free time" you have with less classes, I just spent most of that working but still took time to have fun. So to any upcoming fourth years working on their thesis films and are reading this: work on your film as much as you can. Lock down your boards as soon as possible. Aim for something manageable and to your strengths. And most importantly sleep. Don't work tired, it will just make the work you output worse. Good luck!
Some art I made during the process of making the film! I'm just going to dump them all here:
Original Dilemma title design by my good friend Juan Munoz! Really great but I felt it was too serious and didn't convey the fun and energy of my film. I really liked the colour choices and the placement of shapes a lot though and wanted to keep that. The final title design is by me taking inspiration from old UPA cartoons whenever they used type in their films as well as old cartoon episode title cards.
Some colour schemes and images that I referenced for them. I referenced a lot of Rothko's paintings for colour schemes.
Some super early thumbnails playing around with colour and composition. The large orange and yellow one was an attempt to see the least number of colours to create a space, in this case a down shot of a room.
Making the colour script was difficult! Certain colours needed to seep into the next sequence but each sequence needed to have a different mood. There are 1 or 2 moments in the music and timing that allowed me to cheat and change the colours in an instant. I wanted primary colours at the end due to their abundant use in minimalist paintings but I didn't want one of the three colours to just appear out of nowhere in the end. So I decided to make the first four sequences focus on one primary colour and transition into the next.
Here are some old in progress colour scripts:
Here's the only layout that I had to do and I needed to get it right. I looked into that Gobelin film, Stewpot Rhapsody as inspiration. I needed Art to fit into the world and also be a contrast to the clean flat painting in order for it to stand out. I ended up picking a the one with the least noise since I wanted to audience to focus more on Art and Dilemma. I was close to choosing the second but the frame took attention away from the characters.
I have posted a lot about the character design process of Art, but here's one of the (spoiler) second character that appears at the end. His name is Intrigue and rather than base it off a question mark ?, I wanted this character to be based off an exclamation point ! Even though he's there for a very short time I imagined his personality is that of genuine interest in contrast to Art who was curious.
Here are some animation tests I did very early on while I was still storyboarding. I wanted to make sure I was able to manipulate the characters and shapes in a way I imagined. I also made it as a means to test character timing and emoting basic shapes.
I needed a character that fit in with Art's design but still be different in order to contrast him. All Intrigue's shapes and gestures, from his arms to his feet, are based off thin triangles and circles to mimic the exclamation point.
Wednesday, 30 August 2017
Forgot to post this here! But here's some sweet new gameplay footage of Cuphead from Gamescom with an interview with Maja Moldenhauer! Some clean up work I did can be seen during the mermaid level, specifically the water fx around her waist and the coloured fish she holds to shoot projectiles! Super cool to see it put together!
Cuphead comes out September 29!
Sunday, 25 June 2017
This will be more personal than usual but this is important to me. I'll make it brief.
Yesterday I had to say goodbye to my sister, my best friend, my role model, and my inspiration. My older sister Marie had passed away unexpectedly while on vacation in Cuba late May. She was finally laid to rest yesterday.
My sister (who I called Ate [ah-teh]) was the one that inspired me to do art. When I was younger I was extremely jealous of her ability to draw and be creative. I wanted to be like her. She made interested in art and without her I wouldn't be the creative person I am today. I will always remember the times when we were younger and we would draw short comic strips together.
I was lucky enough to watch the Family Day screenings of my year's thesis films with just her. I won't ever forget how happy, excited, and proud she was of me achieving my dream of becoming an animator after seeing my film. Her tears of joy meant a lot to me. I feel content knowing she had the opportunity to see what I've accomplished so far and be proud of me.
I'll be doing big things very soon and experiencing it without her will not be the same.
I'll make you even more proud Ate, you just wait.
Rest in peace and say hi to Mama for me.
Thanks for the wonderful memories, love, support, and overall being a great sister.
I will always love you.