Started doing some stuff with Aaron Blaise
Working on this project was surprisingly really time consuming. I gained a lot of information and I had troubles deciding what is really important and how to put it all together in a desired way. But I did it.
I think that I have achieved what I wanted – it isn’t a script for an obvious learning film but a fun short film with a subtle way of selling the information, I think this way it works better. We plant the information in the audience’s heads and let them figure it out on their own (this should probably also make them feel better about them selves – they will think that they are sooo clever).
I made only 2 pages of storyboard in which among explaining what is happening I’ve placed types of the shots I am would expect while making the film. I didn’t translate the whole script in to a storyboard, because it was surprisingly time consuming and I decided that 2 pages are enough to prove my understanding of the matter.
Overall – I feel more knowledgeable now (understanding these little things can really help someone who is aiming to have a future in the film industry whether it is an animation or a regular film)
GIPHY. (2017). Hey Violet GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY. [online] Available at: https://media.giphy.com/media/3owyp4lrgQjqeLe0hy/giphy.gif %5BAccessed 12 May 2017].
GIPHY. (2017). Reaction GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY. [online] Available at: https://media.giphy.com/media/26tPplGWjN0xLybiU/giphy.gif %5BAccessed 12 May 2017].
Normal version – it might be easier to read here, since the pictures are not very big
Toon vs. actor – Clash of the universes
Dark evening. Regular looking front room. A regular looking guy (Mike) sitting on the sofa, eating popcorn and watching cartoons (TURBO CAT). TV screen is the only source of light.
Guy speaks with his mouth full of popcorn staring at the screen. Turbo Cat is fighting someone, he just used a pawzooka (bazooka-pawzooka).
MIKE – Oh man, Turbo Cat is so cool. I wish toons were alive.
Cartoon action stops. Turbo cat breaks the third wall and looks at our guy.
TURBO CAT– What are you on about mate? We are alive!
Mike chokes on the popcorn.
MIKE – Woah?! The hell?!
TURBO CAT – Chill man, you’re acting like you’ve had too much catnip.
Turbo Cat comes out of the TV (‘The Ring’ style). Mike is hiding behind the sofa. Turbo Cat walks towards him. Tv becomes blank.
TURBO CAT – Okay, you are starting to annoy me now. You’ve been watching every single episode of Turbo Cat through the last 3 seasons. Don’t you get it yet? I AM THE GOOD GUY. Now stop hiding behind the sofa.
Mike sits back on the sofa, he is staring at Turbo Cat with his mouth wide opened. Turbo Cat positions himself on the other end of the sofa, looks at Mike and reaches with one hand towards him while saying.
TURBO CAT – Okay, I may have done it wrong. I’m Turbo Cat, nice to meet you.
Guy is still staring.
TURBO CAT – Mike, shake my hand and tell me your name.
Mike shakes Turbo Cat’s hand.
MIKE – Mike.
Short moment of silence. Then Mike shouts.
MIKE – Wait. If you already know my name, why did you ask? And how the hell do you know my name?!
TURBO CAT – Look, I was just trying to be polite, okay? You already know my name, too. And just how do you think I know you’ve never missed an episode?
MIKE – You’ve been watching me.
Turbo Cat, shakes his head with an approval and starts eating popcorn. Mike becomes ‘stiff’.
MIKE – NO NO NO When you say you’ve been watching me, you mean like, you’ve seen everything?!
Turbo cat continuously eats popcorn
TURBO CAT – Yeah, pretty much.
MIKE – So you’ve seen me doing…
TURBO CAT – Yup. But I’d rather forget that image. So please don’t bring it up again, okay?
MIKE – OH MY GOD, You’re a stalker!
Mike leans toward Turbo Cat who seems to completely ignore him and whispers
MIKE – I’m gonna kill you.
TURBO CAT – Mike, I’m a cartoon. You can’t kill me and don’t forget that I am the super hero in here, so there is no way you’d win. Now, calm down and enjoy this holy moment, will ya.
Mike goes back on to his spot.
A longer moment of silence. Turbo Cat is eating popcorn while Mike is heavily thinking (you can see it on his face [poor thing]). Finally he speaks
MIKE – Soo… are you like, real?
TURBO CAT – I’m as real as long as you think of me, mate. It all depends on you. As long as you enjoy my story, I’m a star.
MIKE – But you know, you look much more high quality than in the tv. All the shadows and stuff
TURBO CAT – Oh you don’t like it? I can go back to the original. I just thought it would make you feel more comfortable if I had some realistic shadows and lights on me you know, to fit in properly…
Mike is trying to speak
MIKE – No, it’s okay I was just asking
TURBO CAT – … or maybe you’re a fan of more modern techniques? I can do that too.
Turbo Cat changes in to a hyper-realistic version of himself (perfect CGI).
MIKE – OH WOW. You look great!…
TURBO CAT – Yeah thank you. It’s pretty amazing right? Do believe that I truly am real now?
MIKE – …I would even say you look too great.
TURBO CAT – Wait what? How can I look too great? Man, you make no sense. I’ve been trying hard to impress you and you…
MIKE – No, no wait, don’t get me wrong, you look awesome it’s just… You look too good for the place you are in. Look around.
Turbo Cat looks around
MIKE – See, everything in here is really boring and low detail, and you are a very high quality piece. And in this environment, the realism makes you look even more unreal.
TURBO CAT – I see what you mean now. It’s not a very good mise-en-scene. I’ll go back to my old self now.
Turbo Cat, kind of upset, changes back in to his original shadowless TV version self.
MIKE – You know, I actually believe that some things should never have a ‘makeover’. And not because they are not good enough but because it takes their charm away… But… do you mind bringing the shadows back though, they kind of suit you in this dimension.
TURBO CAT – Sure
Turbo Cat brings the shadows back, still a little bit down.
TURBO CAT – I’ve heard that it’s hard work being a toon in the real world. All the shadows, interactions and all the REAL stuff. But I didn’t realise it is so hard with CGI. You do like your things believable huh?
MIKE – Don’t get me wrong. I know you’re alive cause I’m talking to you, (unless I am crazy…) but it just feels weird if you are breaking all the rules of the real world. Then, you don’t fit in, you know? It makes you look fake. You need a golden mean.
TURBO CAT – You mean something like this?
While saying it Turbo Cat stretches his arm across the sofa and to the other side of Mike’s body, then he taps Mike on a shoulder. When Mike looks in this direction Turbo Cat’s hand slaps him repeatedly in the face. By the time when Mike goes to grab the hand it is already back in it’s place at the other side of the sofa, where Turbo Cat is heavily laughing.
Turbo Cat talks while laughing.
TURBO CAT – This was fun. I might actually stay in this world. You were so busy talking about being realistic, you’ve forgotten that I’m a cartoon. Mike, don’t you ever forget there is nothing that I can’t do that you can.
Mike, angry, is about to jump on Turbo Cat to bit him up. When the image fades and he wakes up. In the dark front room, on the sofa, in front of the TV – Turbo Cat rerun is on. Mike looks at the screen with a shine in his eyes, he is still overwhelmed with a dream. Turbo Cat just used a pawzooka.
MIKE – Well actually I think there is. Someone has to animate you! You might have managed to fool me for a second but it is you who is stuck in the TV, not me! You are just a caricature of life!
He gets up off the sofa and stops for a moment. The Turbo Cat cartoon continues normally. Mike finally manages to free himself from the dreamy delusions and while heading towards the kitchen door (to the right from the sofa) he says
MIKE – Oh man, I was just shouting at a cartoon character, I really gotta stop working so hard.
When Mike crosses the kitchen-front room barrier we hear Turbo Cat’s voice say
TURBO CAT – Next time, I am taking you in to my world, Mike. And then, we will see who is unreal.
GIPHY. (2017). Homer Simpson GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY. [online] Available at: https://media.giphy.com/media/xT5LMQ8rHYTDGFG07e/giphy.gif [Accessed 12 May 2017].
Next to the toon character I decided to draw my idea of the life action character (I thought it would be good if I draw him and the environment, just so you know how I imagine it).
Age: in his 20s
Clothes: Dark jeans, grey t-shirt with green sleeves, red and yellow stripey socks
Additional Information: Loves Turbo Cat cartoon series
Name: Turbo Cat
Clothes: Red shorts, Dark grey vest, black tie, white short sleeved shirt
Additional Information: Has a bazooka fist, stalker
Turbo Cat – action pose
I can’t believe I am finally done with this.
This project was definitely the hardest out of all and now I feel that I am ready for the next one and I will nail it. It was a long time of real hard work but the outcome is satisfying (although I am unhappy as always…)
I am pretty happy with my time management for this project. I spent about 3 weeks on building and rigging while creating animatic and then the rest of the time I spent on actual animating. It turned out that I went a little bit of the top with the story and it took me a really long time to animate it because it’s long… Plus I had quite a long break in the middle of the project due to the health problems.
Although I am not 100% happy with it I think it’s my best work yet. Of course I am not going to stop trying to get better now, I am not even close to what I am expecting of myself.
I believe my animation for this project is convincing enough and it fulfils the brief. One character makes the other do something in order to overcome an obstacle, so there is an interaction and a little bit of action and even some dialogue (lip syncing is annoying). It shows that I worked very hard and that I understand what I am doing as well as what is expected from me. Of course If I had more time I could make it perfect but right now this is all I got. I wanted my story to be more complex than the others and prove myself that I’ve gotten better with story telling. It’s not perfect but its definitely better. I have raised the crossbar and achieved all that I could at the moment, now it’s time to raise it even higher. I really am glad that it turned out to be such a complicated piece, because I managed to handle it and I didn’t get lost in it. I have also learned many new things not only in just animating but also at using software which I believe will save me a lot of time in the future.
My goal for the next project is to make it shorter so I could put more work in to making the animation better.
Things I’d like to change
I’d love it if this animation was less static. For example in the first scene when Pearl says “NO” she is not moving at all. I am going to try to make the next animation more alive.
In my opinion everything is not smooth enough. I know it would require twice as much work as this but I will try to achieve next time.
I am not happy with the way cat is walking. I did it due to the lack of time but lets face it – SAUSAGE LEGS.
I am not pleased that while the “glimpses” of the freezing heart you can’t notice that it’s freezing, even thought that was the point of it being there… Maybe if the colour had more contrast in them it would be more visible. Unfortunately I had no time to fix it.
I really don’t like the voices. In my head I sound like the best voice actor ever but it’s worse in real life… I need some good voice person for the next project.
Maybe there could be more acting on the characters faces in 2D. I mean, there definitely could have been more acting in there, but please ignore it, the whole thing is pretty complex.
I think that some scenes are to short, ex.
And I’d like to ad some more scenes, for example the one when the monster kicks the Kat (scene just before the picture above) and the scene when he hits the ground, just before this one….
… as well as the scene when Pearl is turning around on the bed and goes back to sleep. All those cuts happened due to the lack of time.
I also believe that there should be a bigger contrast between Kat’s colour and the environment in 3D.
As the last thing I’d like to notice that I still don’t know why some things have sharp glimpses of light appearing on them out of nowhere.
After publishing the animation online it met with a real worm reactions. What surprised me is that everyone got the story and there was no major misunderstandings although there was a few people saying that the “heart creaks” were confusing them but then others said that they don’t agree with that (so I don’t know where to stand with it, I personally think they should be in there). I was worrying understanding the story would be difficult since it’s like one episode out of the bigger picture, but it really worked. The designs were particularly appreciated both in 2D and 3D. People said that Pearl and Kat are very likeable and they would like me to make more episodes of it. Someone even suggested that I should pitch it for FREDERATOR STUDIOS….. maybe one day
Here are a few of the comments
“I think sound quality meaning your voice and the cats voice isn’t very good, I was struggling to understand some parts.”
I do agree with all the critic I received. The sound could have been better as well as the editing and it would be, If there only was more time. But that’s like with everything.
Thank you for your time, I hope you enjoyed the animation.
GIPHY. (2017). Excited GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY. [online] Available at: https://media.giphy.com/media/lHYzVpeRKul5C/giphy.gif [Accessed 07 Apr. 2017].
GIPHY. (2017). Cute GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY. [online] Available at: https://media.giphy.com/media/HT27emhJlQ6aI/giphy.gif [Accessed 07 Apr. 2017].
RENDERING & POST-PRODUCTION
I tried to simplify my scene by putting in it only necessary low mesh things, and using simple textures my render time was pretty horrifying. Because the whole scene is pretty dark I had to adjust the Arnold render settings in order to get rid of the grains and so rendering out one frame took from 25 minutes up… Fortunately my 3D part isn’t very long and I had a possibility of farm rendering, otherwise I would be still waiting for it to finish.
Even thought my first render happened about 3 weeks ago I just managed to get it all done on monday. I had to re-render the scenes multiple times for various reasons ex. some things were unnoticeable in the playblast, nCloth refused to do what it supposed to or I accidentally moved the camera in the middle of the shot… Al this was very annoying and easy to fix but took soo much time…
Editing this video took me 3 days in total, 2 days to actually edit it and a day to render it out because I had tons of problems with it (again).
While editing in Adobe Premiere it was easy to put everything in the right order but it was quite a hustle to synchronise audio with the video. While doing it I discovered that there is an option to export your Adobe Premiere scene to Adobe Audition in order to adjust the sounds and then export it back to Adobe Premiere. Which I find one of my favourite discoveries while this project. HERE is the tutorial on how to do it.
Now lets get to the part why exporting took me a whole day. After I finished putting the stuff together in Adobe Premiere I exported the video with the sound and imported it in to After Effects because I wanted to add the mask like this
When I made it and tried to export the video it would be corrupt, so I tried exporting png’s and importing them to the original scene in Adobe Premiere and replacing old png’s with the new ones. When I tried to export it like this Adobe Premiere came up with an error (I didn’t take a screen shoot and I don’t remember what it said) I had the same thing happening with one of the previous projects so I knew that its because Adobe Premiere doesn’t like the After Effects png’s. I had to use automate>batch in Adobe Photoshop to re-save the 4000 files. And this took a real long time (no idea why really). After all this I exported the video and the sound was corrupt but the 2nd attempt was perfectly fine.
I have also decided not to use ambient occlusion png’s I’ve rendered out since they made the scene look really dark and I found them not necessary.
This title is just logical. It’s a story about a cat who has nine of his lives drawn on his back and we see him loosing a couple of them.
I always leave the start title to do after the animation is finished. It just feels natural because at the point you just know what will be the best to introduce the animation because you can already see the whole picture.
The title is 9 LIVES and it felt pretty obvious that the best thing to do is to have them hearts right next to the title and have one of them vanish or so. In my opinion this also helps to tell the story.
I chose to make a simple ending in the same colours as the start.
Both voices in the video are mine and I used
I didn’t get a proper microphone with it this time and I am not going to do that again. The sound which I recorded has a lot of noise in it and I had troubles getting rid of it, I did what I could…
The rest of the sounds I got from https://www.freesound.org/
MORE 2D – WITHOUT COLOURS
shot 1, 2 & 3
shot 4, 5 & 6
shot 9 & 10
nCLOTH STRUGGLE, THE MOON & DISCOVERING LIGHT LINKING
nCloth is not as scary as they make it.
In this project I found myself in need of using nCloth simulation. I only used nCloth once before and it was just one still shape which I chose from the nCloth simulation and then froze the transformation. This time, I needed the whole simulation and I needed it to go exactly how I wanted.
Setting up nCloth to do what I wanted wasn’t difficult at all. (all thought I had a problem with my cloth not working after I brought it from home to uni, IF YOUR NCLOTH IS ”HALF” INTERACTING WITH THE PASSIVE COLLIDER RIGHT CLICK ON THE TIMELINE AND CHANGE PLAYBACK SPEED TO ”PLAY EVERY FRAME”)
The problems started when the time has come to key the whole thing. I asked internet how to do it and everyone said ”you gotta bake it”, and so I did. And it didn’t work. And so I did again, and I tried deleting the history, freezing, deleting ncloth, everything. It just didn’t work. After hours of digging I came across ”ncaches” and it turned out this was the thing! And just when I thought I’m all done with the nCloth and I decided to farm render the shot, it turned out that this awesome nCloth I made works only on the computer I made it on.Because of this I decided to render it all on this one pc. Unfortunately after 12h I had only 21 frames rendered out and 129 to go… I had to do the whole nCloth thing all over again (what took a surprising short amount of time – about 30 minutes). The advise for the future nCloth explorers DON’T MESS AROUND WITH CACHES.
In one of my 3D shots we have a pleasure seeing what’s behind the bedroom window, where we can see a night sky with a silver moon, which is supposed to be the only source of light in the whole scene (except the pig lamp but this one is there just to show of really). To create the outside window background I used a piece of the pipe and the night sky with moon texture which I found online. Getting closer to the end of my 3D animating it occurred to me that even thought I placed the area light right in front of the moon it doesn’t really looks like the moon is the source.
I decided to create a sphere, apply aiStandard to it and increase emission (the same thing I did with the pig lamp) unfortunately I couldn’t find a way to make it transparent (so i just had white glowing sphere in the place of the moon ).
After that I thought about making a mesh light but for some reason I couldn’t make it to work and Andy said that I should try something else because my scene already takes a lot of time to render and mesh light will add much more to it. I ended up creating a sphere, applying moon texture on to it, placing it in front of the moon background and setting a spot light shining on to the new moon sphere. It might not look perfect, but I had no time to play with it any more (I might tweak it in the post production).
While making test renders I’ve noticed that my characters faces are not lighted up enough. I thought that the environment is set up correctly so I started wondering if there is a way of setting up the light to interact only with the chosen objects. AND THERE IS!
Light linking made my day. Its easy and worth playing with it.
As an example please look at the difference in the colour under the desk, and Kat’s colour in general.
Last problem> I really don’t know where did these two white and blue dots came from. I don’t have time to try to fix it so ill see if I can do anything about it in post production.