Here’s the new animatic for my graduation project. I made some changes in terms of colour palette, camera movements, designs and poses of the character.
The contrast between the city and the music world is now clearer thanks to the different colour scheme: cold versus warm colours. On one hand I’ve chosen blue and grey, in all their shades, to give the city a distant and miserable feeling; on the other hand, the yellows, reds and oranges will brighten up the imaginary world.
I tried to avoid the monotony of the camera, which simply follows the character in one direction, by adding two zooms in and more transitions. I wanted to focus the attention in two scenes, when the character approaches sound in a pleasant way. The close ups are intended to give an intimate look at his feelings.
After some research in abstract animation, which I will examine in another post, I designed some more shapes and geometrical figures that will appear mainly in the background.
As for the animation itself, I drew a lot more key frames in the last scenes and changed some poses throughout the video.
The final version of the video I worked on last term, called “Open City”, for Shenzhen Urbanism and Architecture Biennale is online! I’m so glad of the final result, I think we did a very good job as a team and I learnt lots of different things I’m sure they’re going to be helpful in future projects
After receiving some feedbacks on my initial idea and story from tutor and classmates, I wasn’t sure I was going to the right direction. I wanted to stress more the importance of the sounds and noises in the story, and I felt with the delivery guy it wasn’t really working.
I reviewed some initial sketches I did in December thinking about the character and I remembered I had the idea of a clumsy boy with big ears.
I resumed the idea and developed more with Julie, and we came up with a completely different story that makes more sense and that I like!
The main character is a young man with big ears that make him oversensitive to sound and noise. He has this passion for music but doesn’t really know how to deal with it or to convey it. Living in a big city, he has lots of misadventures related to the noise and the chaos. When he comes back home and everything is quiet, he understands his own talent, being able to create melodies and music out of the sounds he hears in the house. He is finally ready to face the big city again, but this time he conducts the noises in the city, instead of being overpowered by them.
Compared to the previous idea, I like the fact that it’s much more related to music and that the character can overcome the things that scared him before, thanks to the realization of his own strengths.
Here’s a little character design I did for this new story, inspired by the previous one but made simpler.
And here’s the animatic (without audio):
I also tried to put some music and sound effects in the very beginning, playing around with royalty free music. Here’s the test:
I’m in contact with Royal College of Music student Barbara De Biasi, who’s having wonderful ideas for the music in my video. I’m sure this is going to be a very productive and amazing collaboration as well
I’ve been developing my graduation project a lot since I last updated the blog, in terms of both story and visuals.
As I said in a previous post, I’ve been thinking a lot about making a video related to the sounds and the noise in a big city, but it was a bit hard to come up with an idea of a story.
I started collaborating with MA Dramatic Writing student Julie Zheng for the development of my ideas and she’s been very helpful. I was able to finally find a structure to the story and she made me think in depth about the character and the theme.
The character design and story telling workshops we had helped me figuring out both the style I want to develop for this project and the features of the main character.
At first we came up with this idea of a clumsy young man moving to a big city and working as a food delivery guy. He desperately wants to fit in this new and chaotic reality, but he impacts with a lot of difficulties and misadventures. At the end he realizes he needs to be himself and finally refuses the big city model he was idealizing and leaves on a trip in nature.
Here are the character design and some concept art I did for this first idea:
I’m not going for this style and story anymore, but I thought I’d share it anyway as part of the process I’m going through in the development of the project.
We finished our “Open City” video I’m really satisfied with the final result! The last days were very stressful because of some troubles we had with the music in the video, but finally everything worked out fine.
I forgot to upload one shot I did, which took me a lot of time, because of its length and all the things happening at the same time. It was quite tricky to combine the character animation with all the different elements, and as it had to be a long shot, I had to think about what could happen without being boring.
Anyway, it’s done! I’ll share it when it’ll be uploaded!
Starting to think about the final project, here are my very first thoughts..
The general idea is to show a visual representation of London’s noise and sounds in different situations. Basically, I want to start recording around the sounds of the town, changing location and time, and create a sort of rhythm with them. Some examples would be: the tube during rush hour, a crowded pub on a Friday night, a park on a Sunday morning, a coffee shop, an art gallery, on the bus etc.
I want to stress some aspect of London: its chaos, stress, excitement, speed… But also its diversity in terms of cultures, languages, ethnicities etc. I had the original idea of this video after some observation sketches I did during the summer. Looking at them, I could see the variety of people in their faces, clothing etc. and I decided to portray it.
This will be the basis on which I’ll start thinking visually about the shapes and situation happening on the screen. In my mind, It won’t be an actual representation of London, this world is rather abstract and graphic, and it changes constantly.
Here is a reference video I found that inspired me a lot:
Other classical references would be Disney’s Silly Simphonies or movies as Fantasia or Fantasia 2000, where the music is essential and lead the animation. In particular, because it talks about a town, Rhapsody in Blue.
The thing missing in all this, is a story! It would be nice to have a character wandering about the screen, finding himself in all these different sounds and changing situations in the background, but I don’t really have thought about it deeply..
In terms of the character animation, we are doing everything in After Effects, which is a bit of a challenge for me. I’ve never actually animated a proper character directly in AE before this project. But as all the layered characters are already drawn in Photoshop by Yukai, I only have to deal with the movement, which is a lot less work.
I dealt with some of the shots in the video:
- I did a running cycle, in one of the first shots, when the character is looking for a solution for his idea.
- A little bit of facial expression, when he’s looking around in front of the big wall full of obstacle signs, feeling very confused.
- Next to the previous one, a medium shot where he’s standing sadly in front of the wall, not finding a solution.
- The shot where he opens the CC door (CC stands for “Creative Commons“), and goes into a new world through a tunnel. *I animated the spiral shape in this shot and the next one with TVPaint.*
- The next one, where he goes out of the tunnel and looks around in the New World, amazed.
- Another facial expression close up shot, when he builds up his own business, feeling happy.
- And the last shot where we see him, opening the door of his business to the rest of the world.