the style issue

One of the things I struggled the most on this last project for The Children’s Society was style.

In fact, I think I’ve been troubled with style decisions ever since I began this master: finding a drawing style, a colouring style… It’s been a struggle and this project was no different.

Here’s a visual sum up of how I got to the final result:

and here’s the final result:

rough cut presentations

I have been neglecting this blog for a while now.. Mainly because we’re at this point where I feel I just need to keep my head down and work. This is quickly turning into a masters in patience and perseverance, more than an animation course – but then again this is probably what it’s going to be like working in animation..

Anyway, today we’re showing what we’ve been doing for the last 3 weeks. It’s quite comforting to see no one is anywhere near finished – so we’re all in this together. Nevertheless, I am starting to stress out about this whole situation. In my schedule, I should’ve had finished animating today but I am still missing 10+ seconds to finish it. And then I need to go back, clean up and colour. I’m dreading the time it’ll take me to clean up, but kind of (not so) secretly hoping for a miraculous recovery on that stage.

I’ve had a hard time last week – I think we get to a point in the middle of production when, maybe because we’ve seen our animation so many times and know all the mistakes and stupid details that aren’t as good as we wished they’d be, that we start to doubt the work we’re doing.

In my case, I got so tired of doing slow moves on my film that I started to doubt the whole drawing style and everything I was doing. It sometimes doesn’t help to look at my amazing colleagues’ work and their great drawing styles.. Definitely, makes me doubt about my own style – if I have one and all that.. But I’m also really lucky that everyone here is as supportive as they are talented, and talking to each other I realised we have the same existential crisis and doubts about our work.

In the end what really matters is having a finished project, so the quality, although we’re aware of it, might not be as good as we wished, but we’re studying so mistakes should be allowed!

Here’s what I presented today
ask me for the password to see it 🙂

Things I’ve learnt/realised so far:

  • Slow moves are one of the most painful things to animate. In the future, I’ll be very weary of them!
  • It might have been a lucky coincidence but I feel like I am animating quicker and more confidently as time goes by.
  • I loved animating the underwater bit, would love to explore more of that in the future!

That’s it for now.

See you soon!

deoxyribonucleic acid

On the last 2 weeks of the term, we were assigned to a second year to work for. We had 4 days to help them kick off their final project.

I got to work with Joshua. He was really nice and the whole experience was pretty chilled. I got given a blood sequence to work on. The aim was to pass the idea the DNA was mutating/being destroyed by a toxic substance. Joshua was looking for a realistic feel, so I thought this would be the ideal time to start learning cinema 4 d!

After an initial stage of research (I mean, I had no clue how to get from the blood vein to the chromosome so watching some educational videos online really helped) I’ve first done a quick draft of how the animation would look for the sequence.
Password: dna

The rest of the time was spent watching tutorials and adapting the models to my taste. I am not yet proficient with C4D, but I am definitely excited with the amount of possibilities it seems to provide and especially with how easy and intuitive it seems to be compared to Maya!

YouTube Preview Image

This was my result:

YouTube Preview Image
YouTube Preview Image

and here’s my result: password: dna

this particular one took me a while and I don’t think it’s anywhere near perfect. I was having trouble with the animation when I ran out of time to work for Joshua. I think it was a good start on learning the software but I need to watch more tutorials. I’ve watched half of this course from Lynda and will hopefully finish it during the break.. 🙂

Time, the running cheetah

Poetic name, that’s how fast time is going by!

Ok, so I’ve finished my gallop (at last!). I picked a cheetah because felines are the best and also cheetahs are the fastest running animals and they stretch and shrink their body so much – I just wanted to study how they move!

Here’s an amazing video reference that was really useful for keyframing
YouTube Preview Image

and here’s what it took to get Time done:
several drafts
(this is draft 2 of 3)
colouring with water colour

adding the details and spots

cutting out the background


next project (has to be) coming soon!

works in progress

Usually, I write when I have finished projects to show. But lately, we’ve been working on a couple of projects that won’t get done in a week.. So I thought I might as well start documenting progress, hoping that sitting down on a Sunday night to think about what I’ve been doing will help out organising/planning the week ahead. Here we go!

Right now I have 4 pending projects in hands: the animal gallop, the body acting project, the green screen exercise and a creature’s character sheet.

I’ve drawn these octopus-y looking teeth, but the exercise was to show our understanding about animal joints+movement so..cheetah
I’ve made a cheetah, shown it to Steve and got feedback that it’s looking way too stretchy. That was kind of my point but in the end, I don’t really want it to look awkward so went home and amended it. Unfortunately, I never saw Steve again so I’m waiting for tomorrow to get more feedback and hopefully finish it off with colour!cheetah2
Can you spot the differences? ;p

BODY ACTINGbackground2
This Monday we started a project on (human) body movement. The brief is to make a character react to different stimulus – ideally coming from a screen.

I spent the day trying to figure out a plot for my exercise.. Then I went home and spent the whole night drawing this background. I wasn’t too sure I wanted to use it, it was more to try out some stuff we’d learnt the previous week on photoshop. And when I spent Tuesday night finishing it, it just felt like a waste not to use it!

Regarding a plot, I went full narcissistic and decided to make a character inspired in me. She comes into the living room all happy, turns on the tv, reacts to news on tv, gets really depressed and throws herself on the floor. I’m not sure this is enough of a mood change, but will most certainly know tomorrow after showing the keys to Steve.

animaticI made a quick animatic of how I’m imagining my creature to be/react.

monstahI also have made a mask for the footage we filmed and am now working on the background (watercolour!). Hopefully will be able to get all the background bits done by tomorrow night so I can start compositing them in class Tuesday.

And the 4th thing I should be doing and haven’t even touched is a creature character sheet. I don’t know what to do about that yet. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to use the greyhound, but am still trying to decide between the cheetah or that blobby creature for the green screen project (which I am not too sure would be complex enough to work..). And now that I’m thinking about it, there’s this little square dog that I’ve drawn on the character development workshop with Rory that I’d love to draw more of.. Not sure I can do that so I’ll ask around tomorrow.

Monday tomorrow. uff

Joni’s FINAL steps

She’s all done! yay!
Quick recap, here’s how Joni was looking the last time I posted:draftjonigif

I’ve fiddled with the arm and sent it to Margaux (my mentor) for feedback and she suggested I should make her head bounce a bit. Which I did! I didn’t want to make it feel too bouncy though.. So after watching some reference videos, I’ve slightly tweaked Joni’s head just enough that it wouldn’t look stiff but also didn’t feel like a jumping ball 🙂

And then to the fun bit!

I bought myself a cheap scanner/printer to play around and used it to scan Joni’s everchanging mad dress. I don’t usually say this but I am happy with the result! I think it totally fits within the whole 60’s counter-culture vibe, and according to one of my flatmates it reminded him of an LSD trip. I took that as a big compliment! hah!dress-draft

Joni’s cleaned up line versionline

And the final result! 🙂walk-with-background

Back to school tomorrow! Can’t wait! 🙂

walk the walk

Holidays are almost over and I’m getting anxious about the amount of stuff I still need to do to have a calm uni reentré.

I’ve painstakingly slowly worked on two walk cycles during the last couple of weeks. Working from Lisbon is seriously hard, everyone here thinks I’m on holidays and peer pressures me into stuff I shouldn’t be doing (mum included! help!).

Like this new year, both walk cycles are still in their early days of development. But unlike the new year, they’ll need to get sorted in (way way way) less than 355 days!

So here’s my Joni marching for peace:
I still need to do a lot here.
Movement wise, the arm needs a bit of adjustment and she could do with a flowier hair. Then I need to print, draw it by hand, add patterns to the dress and finally scan it and post produce the drawings.

And here’s my doggy walk cycle. His head and neck need to move/bounce, and I need to sort the tail as well. I know there are some thickness issues on his legs but then again I want to draw it by hand after I get the movement right so I’m not too worried.

I’m a bit annoyed on how slow I’m working at the moment. Thinking of how much I want to get done until Monday is already starting to stress me out. Nevertheless, I can’t help but ‘complicate’ my projects more than they’d need to. I’m back in uni to experiment and develop and if I don’t do that now it’s definitely not happening when I start working (been there done that!). So I’m starting 2017 stressed but also aware that I did need holidays, and now I just need to stop moaning and procrastinating and get things done!

Let’s do this, 2017!

check your sources

Here’s a mood exchange walk exercise we had to do. Compared to the lifting exercise this one felt like a walk in the park. I tried to make things easier for me this time.. So I’ve simplified the character and tried not to divert myself from the main task: show two different ways of walking.

I found this really useful video online and used it as a reference for the first part of the walk. The second part I had a bit more trouble with (as you can see in the video above) but in the end, it was just a matter of being more stubborn than the animation (redraw redraw redraw!).

I also thought about doing it in after effects, but the walk was not going as fluid as I would like it to and the character was walking on the ice like Michael Jackson would moonwalk. So for speed/quality reasons I decided to do it hand drawn.

Et voilá!

late for the party, but i brought a killer rainbow


Oh hi! It’s been a while I know! So long I didn’t get to round up week #6 nor #7 so here’s an update of what’s been happening for the last couple of weeks in my life, aka uni work I’ve been doing.

Apparently deciding to take a week ‘off’ for my birthday was not a good idea. By the Tuesday of week #6 it suddenly dawned on me that we only had 4 weeks until assessment time and that gave me cold cold sweats.

I had done the weight lift exercise using a puppet, but we are being marked on that specific exercise and I felt I should do it in 2D as well. Mainly because although I am satisfied with my puppet animation, I thought I could do better than that, and also I should practice as much as I could because how am I going to get better otherwise?!

Oh and practice I did…
ok, maybe not as aggressively but I swear it was hard times

Anyway, I went ambitious level +100 with it and have been closed at home for the last two weeks working on my lift. Good news is that it’s done, the bad news is that I am still a week’s worth of work behind.. oh well, let’s focus on the positives for now shall we?

I don’t really know how I got the idea for my lift, I started by drawing a cutesy little fat unicorn, which was followed by a girl.. And then I got bored of all the cuteness and decided there had to be a twist to the plot. Unicorns don’t exist, the girl and the unicorn could never have lived happily ever after! Anyway you’ll see what I mean when we get there (if you haven’t already skipped this whole blabber and just watch the videos already).

I’m finding that for animations to work smoothly you need a lot of movement references. I am not going to share footage of my ridiculous acting, but it exists and it sure helped a LOT. The unicorn doesn’t really move that much but he jumps so I got lost in youtube watching videos of horses jumping in slow motion. Thank you youtube. And then I used One punch man for an impact reference/more of an anxiety relief (although I kind of ended up doing my own version of an impact).

Ok let’s just get to it! Here’s my FINAL draft:

and by final draft I mean I have done versions and versions of this animation, I don’t really want to deal with a unicorn anytime soon. It was hard work to get the movement flowing to an acceptable standard.

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-00-08-03 as you can see, it was a process..

Mid way this draft mess, I showed the work in progress to Steve, he wisely told me to simplify it. Which I kind of did.. But I was already in too deep to go back/let it go. Oh so stubborn.

Anyway you can’t really (I think!) present a draft-y looking animation on your assessment, so I then went to clean it up.

Honestly, I’m with Helena when she says she feels her animation lacks character. I feel the same about mine, I think cleaning it up made it lose a lot of the personality so (in the future) I might need to rethink either my way of drafting or cleaning up.

I had done the clean version yesterday (pyjama Sunday), and showed it to Steve today. I managed to make him laugh but he then said the sizes were not consistent, and that in the end she was too big. He told me not to worry about it and just move on. But inside I was like
and then got home to finish it (I needed to add the rainbow smears at least!) and got like
so I quickly tried to amend it, and here’s the final result. That I-won’t-touch-anymore-because-I-have-other-stuff-to-do-and-nothing-is-ever-perfect-and-I’ve-tried-my-best (this on repeat until I’m convinced).

To sum it all up once and for all (I really need to move on to other assignments!). Although a hard test to my patience and perseverance, I have tried to apply everything we’ve learned so far in this exercise. Follow through, smears, squashes, anticipation – you name it! It was great practice, and although I might have gotten lost oh so many times(!), my stubbornness to keep on doing it paid off (I think!). At least it’s done and I can move on. I’ve learnt a lot about the process of animating and how it works best for me. I’m probably going to start listening more to Steve, but then again if you don’t do it you’ll never learn. 🙂
It’s not like I think it’s a perfect piece of animation, I’d love to have the time to properly colour it and beautify it but I think it’s ok, and I’m pretty happy with it. It was just a very slow and enduring process and that makes it harder for me to be all hyped about it. Right now I just want to sleep!

Which is what I am going to do!

I’ll come back soon, I promise 🙂
(“please don’t!” – you beg)