Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Prima Maestra"

During Animation Preproduction, we have two projects. That way, at the end of the semester, the students and the faculty have a choice on what should be done for the senior thesis. The process starts all over again with story pitches.

Two of my ideas are featured in previous posts, "Bastet's Gift" and "The Revolutionary Snowman". The alotted time to come up with our new pitches was very short, so I could not make new artwork for these older stories. I did, however, come up with seven new ideas, five of which I was able to make quick paintings for.

Idea one is another love story. A lonely mime falls in love with a blind girl after thinking she was a mime, too, and tries to get her attention any way he can. Of course, it's difficult considering mimes are silent and only communicate visually.

Lucie the Troll Girl and the Candyman make a comeback as costars together. Their story is altered to Candyman being a recovering sugar addict and Lucie is a pest in his shop.

This idea started off simply as a question I asked myself: "why do music conductors look like they're dancing?" It turned into a story about a ballerina quitting her job to become a conductor, but her old ways come back to haunt her with beneficial results.

This idea spawned from all those insane photographs of construction workers building 1930's skyscrapers. The story was about an unemployed fellow in the Great Depression jumping on the first job he could get his hands on before the rest of the jobless public. What he didn't know was that he would have to risk his zero-experience life and limb as a construction worker.

This was just a silly idea of a hat wearing horse trying to get his tophat back. Nothing too terribly special about it other than some visual gags I would have liked to do just for laughs.

The story about the ballerina turned conductor won by just a hair. Her closest competition was the Mime Boy and the Blind Girl. Those two, however, moved on to be a children's book idea and are now happily named Felix and Cecily respectively. As for the Ballerina Conductor, her story was changed for the better. Now, the conductor for her recital is missing and she is trying to fulfill both roles. This idea passed and is now going to be my senior thesis here at Ringling. As such, I think I am going to hold back on showing the animatic until the short is done. Instead, I am happy to show you my visual development work. I really look forward to working on this project. I have never tried this 1950's UPA style before, but I love it and am excited at the challenge of trying to make it work in a computer animated short.

Lip Sync

Well, I certainly have made enough posts leading up to it. The entire spring semester in Computer Animation was dedicated to the Lip Sync project. After modeling and rigging my self caricature, we took them on a test run with the emotion test.

After fixing the problems and/or figuring out to work around them, we moved on to the lip sync, itself.

Just when you think we would be done after this, we get another chance to animate ourselves. In take two, we exchange caricature models with one another and animate them with our own models. The shadows are a little jumpy due to last minute lighting changes.

"Belles and Dandies"

So the big ol' projects of Animation Preproduction class came and went. We had to pitch five ideas in front of the faculty and they helped us choose which one we would spend most of the semester working on. Here are the rough paintings I presented for my ideas.

Prince made a comeback with his original story. You can see the progress that lead to that some posts back. I went with the first animatic's approach for this pitch.

The little troll (who is now named Lucie) from my Drawing for Animators painting branched off to her own story for Preproduction pitches. The idea with her was that she was trying to find a scary place to inhabit, like other trolls, but is afraid of the dark. She sucks it up and goes spelunking down into a cave to find valuable gems as her reward for overcoming her fear.

Another returning idea with the distant design relatives of Zemti and Kale, Set and Cain. It was pitched as the original chase scene extended to include more of Set's turn around as a thief, even though Cain doesn't end up forgiving him.

Like Lucie the Troll Girl, Candyman also got his own story for Preproduction pitches. His is a relatively simple cautionary tale about taking everything, including sugar, in moderation.

Finally, Vin and Bonnie's story from the One Minute project was pitched without any changes made to it. They seemed to have won the pitch by a landslide.

Over the half of the semester that I worked on this, Vin and Bonnie went through the trials and tribulations that stories go through during Preproduction. What started off as just wanting to spice up the ending turned into a completely different story that was even more complicated than the first. I cannot say that I am exactly happy with the end product and it certainly showed when the idea did not pass, but I will not get into that. I am happy, though, to have had the chance to develop Vin and Bonnie May more than I ever have before. I think my favorite part of this project was the visual development work that I did for it.

Push Pull Exaggerated

As promised, I have the second half of my Push Pull project. Push Pull Exaggerated is pretty self explanatory. I think I liked it more than natural since I could get away with more and already had experience animating Chonglin.

Drama Painting

For our final project in my first Drawing for Animators class, it was kind of a free-for-all. It was simply called Drama and we had to essentially tell a story through our painting. I had many ideas that I could not settle on. One was a teenaged, not so stereotypically hideous troll and another was about a sugar addicted candyman.

After collaborating with my awesome professor, I decided to combine both characters into one story. The idea became that the troll is a customer in this odd little world and the candyman is introducing her to the wonderful world of candy... until he literally gets a sugar crash. The idea was difficult to portray in the usual shot-like composition we normally use for storytelling images, so I ended up making the painting more like a movie poster.

It's a first attempt at a new painting style for me, but this project helped me create two new characters that I love and are fun to draw. I ended up pitching them a couple of times for my thesis, so you will see more of them both.