Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Backgrounds for 'The Turtle and the Monkey'

My student film, 'The Turtle and the Monkey' is 'finished' and in the process of being entered into film festivals. There are still a few things that can use improvement, or that make me cringe while watching it with company. But at some point, you've just got to let your baby go, let it fly off into the sky and proudly see it soar or watch in horror as it crashes to the ground and gets eaten by a cat.

The production process was interesting in that it was backwards when compared to how an animated production would typically be handled. I went into animation without much of an idea about how the environments were going to look, because I couldn't paint or draw environments. I worked on the animation with a general idea of where the character would fit into a shot, but I had to take several basic painting classes to be able to actually do the backgrounds themselves. I feel that I still have a long way to go as a painter, but I don't think these turned out too badly.


Scene 2

Scrolling background for a long right-to-left walking shot.

Not as long right-to-left walking shot

Scene 3

Scene 4
In the film, there is a cross-dissolve from the shot shown in the top pic to the one at the bottom
Scene 5

Distorted BG to accommodate for a pan from right-to-left.


Corel Painter X was used for both layout and background painting. Because I learned to paint with actual paint, Painter's mixer felt way more natural to me than picking colors out of a swatch in Photoshop.

I started off by exporting a snapshot from Toon Boom Studio that I felt best represented the shot.

I then brought the image into Painter, reduced the characters' layer opacity, and drew the environment, as well as notes and framing information.

Then I painted the backgrounds, giving attention to layer hierarchy for when the artwork was imported into Toon Boom Studio. This was especially important for the shots that involved camera movement. Toon Boom Studio was used for all of the compositing because (1) I didn't know how to use After Effects at this point and (2) the ability to position and move elements in 3D space within Toon Boom is awesome.

Not that I recommend going about a project this way, but if you can't draw/paint environments worth a lick and you're willing to learn, at least you aren't completely dead in the water.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Didn't the first person to run a marathon die afterwards?

Here's a short cycle that I made to test a potential workflow using Flash for an upcoming project. All of the animation was done (slowly) on paper, then scanned and imported into Flash. Cleanup, ink & paint were all handled in Flash.

It's been a while since I last animated with the old paper and lightbox method, and the going was pretty rough. I kept looking around for some magic 'cmd+z' keys to whisk my mistakes away. And you never have to deal with greasy erasers on a wacom. I guess I'm just not old-school in this regard.

Based on the way that the video breaks up when exporting from Flash, I don't think it's the way to go. I've exported this video a number of times and the glitches always appear at some point.

*Update - the blank background of the original video bothered me enough to make me revisit this video and give it some groovy speedlines.