It’s the last few days of the project eek! After barreling through the stop motion animation (still a few nitty gritty bits to do) we’ve all started working on some of the minor details of the film. Sacha has been doing a lot of editing, and Chen has been compositing the bead scans. I spent today hand stitching the opening title sequence. So much still to do, but I feel like we’re all working super well together and feel on top of things. Excited to see the final film now!
Hand stitching the backdrop character’s expressions. Sacha’s designs are so ridiculously fun.
I’ve been trying to play with the idea of hand stitching different frames of Blue Giant’s facial expressions! These will go from grumpy to extremely angry, and I’m excited to see how they work out when we shoot them. Hopefully it works!
For the past few days I have been working on remaking Blue Giant, our main puppet within the film. Sacha’s design is beautiful, but the puppet made for the style frames have needed some editing to make them more functional for animation. I’ve had a lot of fun stitching him up and making him a bit more sturdy! He started off without hands or feet so I started there.
initial hand structure
process and attachment
For the feet I had to wrap large amounts of thick wire to support the puppet’s height, and so they would properly clamp to the magnets while animating. The wire within his legs was also too malleable to properly support the body, so I had to open up the legs and reenforce them with much heavier pieces of wire.
We had our animatic pitch this week to The Children’s Society. It went well, both Lucy & David were really encouraging. David noted that the letter blocks made him think of toddlers and it would probably be more effective if the letters were simply letters. So I’ve made that change, even though of course I had spent the past two days stitching letter blocks together. Oops! It’s definitely my own fault for jumping ahead of the client like that, lesson learnt!
I started trying to make the letters 3D through scouring and folding but I think the result was too messy & unpolished. Back to the drawing board on this one, I’m going to whip up some samples tomorrow, trying both layering 2D cuts to make 3D, and just seeing how the shots could work if the letters were 2D.
they’re definitely too glue-y and uneven and meh
I spent today building little wonky paper cities for the shot were the boy is lifted between cities. I’m embracing all the little wobbly bits my hands create rather than trying to get all the lines perfect, I think hand cut paper is more interesting than something that could have been laser cut. So expect lots of wonky windows!
I want to get all my paper things built and cut by Thursday so I can start shooting them this weekend and hopefully move on to TVpaint and drawing in my character. Lots to do but I’m chuffed to get to play with my scalpel for a while, I’ve missed making.
Christmas time kind of swept me up and I seemed to fall off the blog wagon completely. So a quick catch up.
Here is my mood change walk from pre-Christmas.
Over the holidays I ate my body weight in food and then kept eating and was sadly not as productive as I’d hoped. But here is a teeny tiny paper family portrait (they were each about 3cm big) I then turned into a bauble for part of my Mum’s Christmas present (with me ruining that brown and red aesthetic with my ridiculous hair).
I also worked on updating/redecorating my website over here and I’m excited to add an animation section to that front page soon.
Our 60’s counter culture march sequence was due the first day we got back and I realise on this blog this project hasn’t even been mentioned. I genuinely struggled with this project a lot more than I thought I would.
While I hesitated on what part of the history I wanted to focus on (I mean can you really choose between bagism and defying gender and protests and generally just some people being radical and great) I ultimately came back to what I was first drawn to; the Miss World Protests. Portraying this was something I was hesitant about; having a lot of respect for second-wave feminism and all it achieved (but obviously remaining critical of it’s failings to take into account race and gender identity issues) made me second guess my style of character design. My characters are always quite cutesy and disproportionate and I didn’t want this to read as any form of dismissal or belittling of the people involved in the protests. It was a strange ongoing discussion in my head.
Heck maybe I was over thinking it. But I’d rather overthink my work and at the very least be critically aware of what I’m putting out there and what it’s implying.
So my character design ended up being quite simple. Long stereotypical 60’s hair covering the body to try and dismiss notions of physical characteristics defining someones gender (heya bagism) and some little legs and 60’s style long scarf. That was quite simply it. The varying shades of orange reflect quite possibly every 60’s colour palette ever (seriously so many orange tones) and the hair is purple because it is between blue and pink (always coming back to notions of gender).
It was a lot of fretting for a very simple result. But I’m happy and it was fun.
She was originally drawn in Animate CC in our Tuesday classes with Shaun, then animated in After Effects using the puppet tool. I then brought her into TV Paint so I could play with her frame by frame. Her scarf pattern I threw together on illustrator so she’s a super mixed media tiny thing.
I know the Royal Albert Hall didn’t want anything on the signs for our march which I was a bit disappointed about so within her strands of hair are the words of one of the main chants from the Miss World Protests:
Before I came to CSM, I had never done gesture drawings of the figure. I’m struggling with it a bit in Vanessa’s class. My drawing teacher (who I started learning from at the age of 13) always drilled it into me that people aren’t made from unseen shapes or sausages, but by drawing the internal lines and details and letting them form the figure. It’s a very fine art approach to capturing the body, and it’s what I’m used to. The whole idea of forgoing detail and breaking down the body into a series of shapes to portray the action is completely new to me, but I’m so determined to get better at it! I’m really enjoying the challenge of learning a new skill, and the short length of the poses literally has me breaking a sweat to get it down on the page.
It’s already becoming blatant to me how useful gesture drawings are for animation; I’m noticing different things about the people I pass. On the tube as well as looking at the way clothes drape and fold on those around me (thank you textiles) I find myself looking at the slump of shoulders, the overall silhouette of the person and the way people hold their hands. I’ve started doing this thing were I blur the my eyes while looking at someone and seeing if I can tell their personality just from their coloured blob of a silhouette. I’ve missed the past few classes of Vanessa’s, but I can’t wait to get back and furiously try to capture the feel of the person in front of me.
Maryclare’s classes have been more in a similar vein to what I am used to. Some longer poses, focusing on certain details, and measuring the body parts in relation to each other. I’m still learning loads though, we’ve been concentrating on how the body unfolds and the various stages encompassed in movements; facial or body. It’s been fascinating getting a glimpse at all the inbetween parts of an expression or action, the process the body goes through to get from one state to the next.
This week our model also came out in different costumes, and we had to insert little doodles to interact with them. Fabric is by far my favourite thing to draw; while studying textiles whenever we did life drawing we let the body form by drawing the way the clothes hugged and draped around it. People are so much more interesting when they’re being followed around by waves of cloth.
Today we had class with Rory on character design. One of the exercises he gave us was to create a circle, square and triangle character that would exist within the same world. It was really fun working so loose and quickly; working completely from shapes and form is something alien to me. I’m usually a big planner in terms of having a concept and context to a character before I start drawing, but I found this new way of working really fluid and fun.
Last week’s dive exercise. Definitely the most intensive line test we’ve done to date! I had to keep going back and correcting the teddy bear’s movement, first he was too stiff and then he was moving way too much under the weight of a tiny mouse. I think in this one he is just right.