Thursday, December 10, 2009

Working on backgrounds. Again

Trying to decide what looks best. I know I need to go back in and fix the ground issue. I feel like there's way too much brown and not enough green. The grass pieces will look extremely weird just sticking out of dirt...I think anyways. I'm not sure how I want the plants in the foreground to look just yet. I think the semi-silhouette with a little light shining on it is nice. You can see the grass and flowers yet they dont completely distract from the cliffs in the background where I want to the viewers' eyes to go. Once I fix the grass issue and put the rest of my trees in here all I have left to do is add the skeletons here and there and on the right cliff. Then this background can be used for multiple scenes(most of the scenes actually). Started making puppets, so I feel ok about where I am right now.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

More progress!

So, there's a lot missing in the foreground and yeah I don't know about that tree being so close the screne. I'll have to to work on that. At any rate, here's my background progress so far. It may not seem like a whole lot but those trees take a while a to make. I made about 11 and I'm wondering if I should make they repeat to much?! Does it bother anyone that there cliff on the right have a very visible line down the middle? I'm thinking about touching it up in Photoshop? Please let me know what you think. I know its not finished but talk about what's there and not what isn't there.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Testing out background

This is not a complete background its just a test of the sky I made in Maya. Not much of an atmosphere YET, but its well on its way.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dinosaur cut outs I found.

What a marvel concept we have here. Dinosaurs in cut out form. I love it.

So there's no mistake about designs.

And for whatever reason blogger wants them sideways.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Finished animatic.

Well here's my animatic. I plan on redoing it or at least certain parts. It's extremely rough at this point but hopefully the overall story comes through. I realize that the first part is difficult to see, but until I fix that image that's the best quality I have at this point.

The overall story is about the dragon origin and how dinosaurs played a role in creating these mythology creatures. It starts off on a Medieval tapestry telling the story of a terrible dragon that destroys the village, and then it pans over to a skeleton of the dinosaur(the main character). I have so recent changes in whats going to happen next, but a bird flies by and as it flies over the ocean it turns into a pteranodo. She flies to her nest and the babies hatch. I think most of the story is pretty clear from there. The Compsognathus tries to get to them by trying to fly using leaves as wings and dies. After the credits a Medieval farmer digs up the skeleton which ties it back to the beginning with the tapestry and the skeleton there. I think....

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Just a little more progress.

Here's a few more examples of process.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Backgrounds in progess.

Well here are my sketches for nearly all(three missing) backgrounds I need to make. Still not sure if I want to do the painted backgrounds or do a fabric background. I might just do a little of both.

Little bit on process

So a little bit about process. Scrolling down I posted a video of a short hand drawn sequence of animation. Well I took that and turned it into stop motion. I used tracing paper to trace over the different frames and then redraw those images on canvas paper. Canvas paper makes some really nice puppets. It's strong enough to hold any sort of hinging technique you'd want to use. Then I cut out each piece and animated it under the camera. Pretty simple stuff. I think I like this technique so much because when I paint each image on the canvas paper the textures(however subtle) move really well. It can be awkward at times though when some textures are moving and other are not but its still an over all nice movement.

Render Test

Well here's my render test for now. I've worked all weekend on it whether it shows or not. I have a few more items to add to it but that will have to wait until on Wednesday.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Testing out the baby pteranodons.

So the video on the top is a really rough hand drawn sequence that I plan to make into puppets and smooth out. I find it easy to make all the necessary parts for the puppets and get an understanding of how they will move if I rough out a sequence first. The video on the bottom is a test puppet I made last night and as you can tell he's pretty rough and stiff. I think when I go the make my final puppets for the pteranodons I will make their wings out of felt and wire to give it a more three dimensional feel. (And I have no clue why that video is red...).

Monday, September 21, 2009

Finished animatic! It's only missing one thing...the opening.

Well it's finished enough. I should have the opening done no later then Friday...since I have to present it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Well I've been trying to figure out how I want to render out my backgrounds....more my atheistic. I've just been messing around in photoshop. Not to happy with the results. I want to add in textures (Thinking about Kung Fu Panda and Secret of Kells.) Either way, it's a start.

Monday, August 31, 2009


So here's a little tease of my animatic so far. Its the beginning of my story thus far. However, my teacher and I were discussing my storyboard and he said that it may be more interesting and twice as funny to tell the story in reverse. Now, I hadn't thought of that...obviously. I thought it was hilarious! Once I'm finished with the first pass of the story board and scan it all in I will post two animatics. One the original story concept and then my teacher's suggestion(which I love!) But I want everyone to compare and contrast the two ideas.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Kihachiro Kawamoto.

So this is why I love the internet...I can find amazing information about people from all over the world. Take these two links for example. Both about the same person and their work. BOTH REALLY AMAZING AND SO IS THE ANIMATOR! I must admit I've never heard of him before, but Kihachiro Kawamoto is someone I plan on spending tons of time exploring! From what I can tell Kawamoto went from using 3-D puppets in his stop motion work to using cut outs. He explains that 3-D puppets are a story or have a story, but cut outs are a little more free. The animator creates their story through movement. ( I'm paraphrasing FYI). If you love cut out animation this is your man! Please take the time to read both links and explore more!

Here are some links to his animation on youtube. I'm assuming he wouldn't mind giving the home page claims to only bring his works ( and that of others) to the web so we can view it. And thankful so!

This is rather surreal and I can't get enough of it....I really can't.

Here's some of his 3-D work as well.

Paper Puppet Palooza

Well there's the link anyway...this book claims to share 'great' techniques of the paper puppet craft. It's fairly inexpensive and seems interesting enough, and since I plan to use cut outs as my craft for my animation it seems well worth it. It promises puppet design tips and construction tips and tricks. However, I'm not sure about it. The book also highlights how to make novelty items such as pop-up gift cards and what not.

I want to buy this book in hopes that I will learn something new about puppet making, and at the same time I feel I still have a lot of research to do before I indulge in a 12.39 plus shipping and handling mistake(or prize).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sketches! Compsognathus a.k.a. Compy

So the above photo is my study of the Compy.
I'm trying to figure out the right features for the little bugger but I haven't reached the right combination. Studying the various mouth 'beak' shapes, the eyes, the arms, and the head in general. A lot of studies are still to come.

The one on the right here is the latest one I've come up with. Yes, I know its only a side view but why bother trying to draw from some crazy perspective when I'm in the middle of experimenting with body parts. There are parts I like and parts I hate in this image. The idea of the feet is exciting...chicken feet, but logically I don't know if that will support the weight of the entire body. Not everyone will know that the Compy has a hollow bone structure. I do like the face. I love the bird like features, not to sure about the eye yet. The arm is working in a way. Its like a chicken wing but still needs some thought. The tail is okay for now. The overall shape of the body is confusing. Should he be fat or skinny since he's starving...? I dont know yet. I want to show that he is in a desperate situation and really wants to eat the babies on the cliff but at the same time I don't want to over exaggerate the figure. So I'm divided, which is a sad place to be. I have all intentions of reworking this little guy over and over until it fully represents a desperately hungry chicken looking dino. He's getting there but needs a makeover.

This was my first attempt at really digging into the character design. I don't like it much at all, BUT it did inspire me to think more about the personality of the character and tie that into the features. So its not a failure either I suppose.

This was my first concept EVER for the Compy, which wasn't a Compy but a close cousin of his. He's kind of hard to look at....

Dali gone Disney!!!!!!

So I recently watched this on youtube thanks to stumble and was blown away...I get chills and break out in cold sweats when I watch this, BUT its amazing! The animation is mind blowing, in my opinion. I've always loved Dali's work, but seeing it move across the screen leaves me speechless. Its a shame that Disney had to put this animation on hold due to finiancial restraints. But I'm glad to see that they've finished it.

My only question is "Who is this for?" Who is the audience? Disney is so famous for animating feature lenght films and short films for children...this clearly is not what they had in mind. It almost has a Fantasia feel to it.

How does this relate to my senior thesis? Well, I really love the use of color in the movie to set moods! Sure that can be said for any film, and it is Dali who is a professional painter...BUT I've been looking for films that have these atributes and really well. This film in particular really shows it.

(I dont know if I can legally show this is on Youtube, but if not someone please tell me and I will remove it.)

Film: Destino
Animation Studio: Disney
Inspired by: Dali

Monday, August 10, 2009

Disney's Merlin Jones.

I figured if anyone really had awesome paper puppets out there, it had to be Disney. The craftsmanship is amazing. I'm doing a bit of research into there methods but I have a good idea of how they accomplished this feat. I just want to make sure and possibly learn something new before I sit down and make a giant paper mess when school starts. Never-the-less this is amazing.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Still Brendan.

Just take a few minutes to take it all's really gorgeous. I love the approach of their simple color washes and splashes of texture. They melt into one another creating something entirely different.

 Here's the official site. There are a lot of clips on Youtube, well worth the watch. It's coming to American! BUT nowhere near Kansas City. We're just not big enough, but I have high hopes that someone will snatch it so I can watch it. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Brendan and the Secret of Kells

This has to be the most amazing animated film that I've never seen. Well, not yet anyways. I've watched the trailer and clips over a dozen times now and it still gives me goosebumps. I love the look of it so much I can feel it. I know that doesn't make much sense but the backgrounds are everything I've ever wanted to see in an animated film.

Breath taking. Oh the textures in the background!! I just love it. This makes animation art, it really does.

Well blogger wont let me add any images right now for some reason but I will add them on this post later. Just a couple of still images so you can fully grasp the beauty of this film. This has been a huge influence on me and has made me rethink and rethink my backgrounds. I can see what they've been lacking and then some.

Sense out of nonsense.

Now that my rough board has been reviewed I had some pretty good questions about my story and its content. There are some concerns that it might not be...well let's politically correct. There are a few areas that tend to be fuzzy and that I hope to clear up quickly.

First of all, let me introduce the dinosaur I picked. The Compsognathus is a small chicken sized meat eater discovered in Germany and France. The fact that it was discovered in Europe is an added bonus to my take on how people reacted to the skeleton, since I'm going with the whole Medieval time period. BUT the most important fact (and no I don't expect most people if anyone to know this) is that the Compsognathus is a relative to the Archaeopteryx which is considered the first bird. The physical appearance of the dinosaur will leave subtle hints to this fact, or at least thats the plan.

Second question that came up. "Why would they consider the skeleton/fossil to be a dragon?" Upon researching the myth behind the dragon the origin stories are vague. Dragons are a myth after all. But several sources lean towards dinosaur fossils being the catalyst for these myths.

Tying up a few other loose ends...the lava. I understand the according to the laws of physics in no way could those leaves or vines (which the dinosaur used as wings) would survive the intense heat and would probably burn up leaving only the skeleton. There's no doubting this fact! However, I could say for the sake of entertainment that they survive just because I wanted them too...but that's kind of lame. So, I was thinking instead of using ash from the volcano instead, which would cover the creature and preserve it. I am of course thinking of Pompeii. Pompeii was completely covered in volcanic ash preserving people and their surroundings. But I'm not too entirely sure whether this aids or hinders story. The only other question is, is what were the humans doing. There were no backgrounds so I could see how this would be a problem to understand what was going on. The man that found the skeleton was digging in a field. I do plan on having the ordinary Medieval background with a castle somewhere in the distance and tons of peasants digging on the dirt. I hope that would clear things up a bit.

At the moment I am recreating my storyboard and hope do have that done before school starts, and have some character design out of the way also.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rough story board

This is my completed rough story board. Please let me know if this is to difficult see I will try to upload the images a different way. Read from bottom to top please!