Character Design

I admit I committed the cardinal sin of design and bypassed the sketching stage when I was working on how this would look. After my initial research I knew I would be using a style of animation that involves very little traditional animation techniques, like rotoscoping or tweening. Instead, I would use illustrations that are layered so that parts of them could be moved or rotated or shaken or whatever the script called for them to do. I made this choice because firstly I really want to learn more about After Effects and secondly I don’t really want to learn traditional animation.

With this method, I had several choices to make – paper cut out, sketched cut out, photo collage or computer illustrated graphics. I immediately ruled out paper cut out because I’m using it for another college project and didnt want to over do it. The same went for photo collage, I would have to ask people to be part of my project and I’m already using people for another project. While they have been really accommodating, they’re busy too and it would be unfair to ask twice! So that left sketch cut outs and computer illustrated graphics. CIG won for two reasons. My draughtsmanship isn’t very strong – I know illustrations dont have to be highly polished but I felt I’m not practised enough to be satisfied with my scratchings and I’d waste too much time on that part. Also, when I researched this project initially, I found that most info-graphics are presented in a kind of ‘icon’ style. I think this is for good reason too. Infographics main function is to relay information and I think there is a certain expectation when ‘learning’ new things. Although I do feel they can be highly decorated, I’m new at this particular field and I’d like to learn to do it really well before I start experimenting.

So I began messing around in Adobe Illustrator with basic shapes and some reference images. It took a few goes but I eventually stumbled upon ‘Guy’ and he has been the basis for all the other elements. Below are some of the early drafts.

I would like to experiment more with illustration styles for this basic type of animation in the future but even this far into the project, I’m glad I stuck with this option because I have learned loads about info-graphics and preparing work for After Effects.

Print  guy2

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First Illustrations – Second Draft

Video and Film

 

This is much better, much more in line with what I had in mind and it seems far more professional than the last draft. The more work I do as a graphic designer, the more I’m sure attention to detail is the most important factor – I’m still deciding how good my own attention to detail is but at least I have a goal!

I’m happy enough with how this stage has gone to go ahead and finish the rest of the elements I need. I think all of them will have to be tweaked when I get them in to After Effects, just as part of the editing process but I think if I keep making quick versions in Photoshop then I can reduce the amount of time wasted in After Effects. I have a little check list now, each time I complete a scene I will go through it; Balance, Colour, Text Position and Movement. There are only really two more scenes but I think it’s more important to be vigilant because the viewer has more time to be distracted by crap!

First Illustration Review

Video and Film

I have to admit, I’m delighted with myself!! I’m pretty excited about getting this animated – even the hard bits! I do need to look at a few things, for instance the balance in this scene is off so I will add another bed side table. I’m not mad about the colours, I chose these so I could make the text (the most important part) stand out but they’ve ended up too bland. Also, I realised that not every object needs to be separate from the background, like the bedside table. Although, since I’ve made the objects and backgrounds in Adobe Illustrator, I can easily separate them later if necessary. I composed all the elements in Photoshop for the moment – mostly because my access to After Effects is limited due to a busted computer – but I think for an early prototype it works fine. Below is the same sample with text added. I’ve used Helvetica as it was first used for the London Underground and I love the way ‘Not There Yet’ (in an earlier post) uses the existing design for public transport for their piece. Although I’m happy with that choice now, chances are I’ll want to change it before the end of the project – hopefully the changing styles that I’ve planned will distract me from over thinking it too much. BTW I plan to drop them by letter rather than by word – that’s just laziness 😀

Video and Film

Review

So far, I think I’m on track. I’m trying to consider every visual and audio element in the video. I reckon it will take about 30 – 40 seconds, depending on how well my Adobe After Effects skills brush up – I might try shove in some new cool feature I’ve just discovered! I think the next stage needs to be working on the illustrations, first the backgrounds then the objects. The sound and music will be fairly easy to find. Also, it’s dependent on what is going on visually so just in case I change anything and a sound becomes redundant, I’ll wait.

It seems the preset ‘HDV 1080 25’ is the best for high quality videos that aren’t destined to be 3D or have any live action footage in it. It definitely suits Youtube, where I’d imagine my video to be uploaded to, then posted or embedded where necessary. I’ll make a comp and after I make a couple of backgrounds and objects, I’ll test them out in it to make sure everything is fitting in ok.

Type List

Zzzzzz

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Illustration List

Characters

Guy – Sleepy

Guy – Upset

Guy – Blank

Guy – Disgruntled

Guy – Happy

Girl – Top of Head

 

Objects

Bed

Alarm Clock

Lamp

Bedside Table

Kitchen Table

Clock

Cereal Bowl with Spoon

Cereal Packet

Reg Plate

Car

Bus

Cyclist on Bicycle

Lightbulb

Road Sign

Footbridge

Banner

 

Backgrounds

Interior: Bedroom

Interior: Kitchen

Exterior: Car

Exterior: Road

Exterior: Road with Traffic

Sound List

I’m glad I did this list – it forced me to review pockets of silences I had left in the storyboard. Although I don’t music through the whole video, I don’t want stretches of silence either as I think people are too used to hearing noise and it could be too boing without it. It also gave me a set list of items I need to find from sound banks.

 

#1

Snoring

 

#2

Snoring Cont.

 

#3

Alarm

Bump

 

#4

Zoom

Crawl

 

#5

Electronic Buzz

 

#6

Chewing

Clock Ticking

 

#7

Clock Ticking

 

#8

Traffic

The Beatles – Drive My Car

#9

The Beatles – Drive My Car cont.

Zoom

#10

The Beatles – Drive My Car cont.

Radio Feedback

Muttering

 

#11

The Beatles – Drive My Car cont.

Bicycle

Bell

 

#12

The Beatles – Drive My Car cont.

Ping

Pop

 

#13

The Beatles – Drive My Car cont.

Swoosh

 

#14

The Beatles – Drive My Car cont.

Swoosh

 

#15

The Beatles – Drive My Car cont.

 

#16

The Beatles – Drive My Car cont.

 

#17

The Beatles – Drive My Car cont.

 

#18

The Beatles – Drive My Car cont.

Traffic

Exaggerated Honking