Fate Saga is a fantastical, action/drama animated series about fate and free will, and follows Cain, a knight who can see the future. With only glimpses of prophecies to guide him, Cain interferes in natural disasters and war in hopes of stopping his tragic visions from happening.

However, in a world on the brink of an apocalypse, is knowing the final outcome enough to change it?

Fate Saga is an original animated action/drama series taking place in a fantastical world based on Medieval Europe.

27 December 2010

Shot 47 Clean Up

Animation and Clean Up by Dana Corrigan

Now that I'm jumping back on clean up, I wanted to start off with this shot because it's one of the shorter animations that haven't been cleaned yet, that would still be challenging because it has a lot of subtle motion and hair flapping.

17 December 2010

Shot 61 Roughs

Animation by Amanda Christensen

In this shot, Cyrus throws down Cain's cape and tells him off. The fun part of this sequence is that, for anyone who doesn't know the character, what Cyrus is saying makes no sense. This is especially true for Cain, who has only just run into him.

This shot relies entirely on acting, and it was important to show how irate/unreasonable Cyrus is, as well as display how his actions would make him look crazy to Cain (or more crazy than usual) but, hopefully, it makes more sense to the audience because by now it should be established that he is an empath.

I thought Amanda was a brave soul for wanting to try this shot, because this was a hard one. But I love the acting in it! I love the broad gestures he uses for emphasis, and the more subtle gestures he uses when he says "every pore."

Issues with the model I think I'll be able to handle once I get to inking. I always ink the shots that anyone else animated because, especially with how quickly these shots need to get done, I can't expect everyone to be able to rough animate completely on model - and I don't want to give other clean up artists roughs that are off model. So currently I clean the shots roughed by other people (or my own shots if I feel they are very complicated/too rough to pass on easily), and pass off my rough animations to the others for clean up. So far it seems to work well. As long as the rough's volumes and proportions are close enough, I can fix the issues in the cleaning process.

Also, this is one of the shots where it's amusing to press the pause button and look at the in-betweens.

14 December 2010

Shot 63-65 Roughs (Updated 12/20/10)

Rough animation by Dana Corrigan

Update (12/20/10): I detailed Cyrus' head a little bit more during the new animation, and added his mouthshapes. His model isn't perfect, but I think I'd be better off focusing on making sure his overall motion is good and fix the issues with his proportions/volumes/etc. when I get to the clean up stage (or, to be more precise, when I can work on it with a Cintiq). I think it's ready for me to move on to the next shot, until I come back for the inking.

Update (12/18/10): I lengthened shot 65 so it encompasses more of the dialogue, and extended the part where Cyrus is crouched down to add animation to his head/shoulders to connect his motions to the dialogue. Tracy made a great suggestion about adding a moving hold and using his head to accent the dialogue, and I think it works pretty well! I'm holding off on adding the details and mouth shapes until I have fresher eyes than mine look at it and make sure it actually does look like Cyrus is talking.

Update (12/16/10): Detailed Cyrus' roughs, except for his mouth because I've realized that the voice acting doesn't match the motion. The voice doesn't sound strained enough for Cyrus' physical exertion, and I can't re-record it with the same person. So there are a couple of ways to resolve it: 1) Remove the line and just have him attack. 2) Have him say the entire line while Cain's on screen. 3) Change the placement of the line so it's mostly when Cain's there, but you see the beginning of Cyrus' crouching before the line ends. The voice acting might work a little better before he lunges. 4) Have Cyrus pause in mid-crouch and finish the line, then lunge.

#1 might work but I think Cyrus would say something right before he attacks. When he's angry, he rants so it's more in character for him to speak right before he attacks. #2 Timing felt slow. #4 Didn't feel right or in character for Cyrus to sit still and wait to finish the line. The attack is spontaneous (or, more accurately, Cyrus can't control his temper so well), so for him to stop to finish talking would make the attack feel more deliberate/pre-planned.

Right now I'm going the route of #3 so the timing is a bit different now. I think it's working the best though I'm still shuffling the frames with the audio back and forth.

Also I think Cyrus' head gets too big when he's leaning forward but I'll fix that the next time I work on it.

(Original Post) The only shot I'm really animating for this right now is shot 65 because it's in the trailer. Shot 63 has been started but it's very bare right now. Shot 66 is going to be animated separately but the storyboards are placed here as a reference.

13 December 2010

SC062 Roughs

Rough animation by YoonJeong Jo

This is the current roughs in progress for Cain, for Shot 62. Cyrus is going to be mostly (if not entirely) still. Acting emphasis is on Cain being both polite but in a rush - so it's important that Cain seems urgent.

10 December 2010

Shot 109 Composite Test version 2

Animation by Tracy MacLauchlan. Clean up by Dana Corrigan. Fire roughs and clean up by Zelda Vinciguerra. Background models by Alyssa Seidl, William Blake Harris and Susan "Uzi" Souza. Textures by Susan "Uzi" Souza. Composite by Dana Corrigan with help from Ryan Gatts

Based off of a rendered version of 108 that Ryan sent me, I made some alterations to shot 109's colors and set up. It's not exactly the same, and I couldn't add embers because I am using a trial version of After Effects and don't have access to some of the particle effects, but I like how it's coming out. I am concerned that the fire might be too bright, and might tweak some of the settings to bring some of the brightness down. Any suggestions, ideas or if you prefer the set up of one shot over the others, please let me know! Their settings are similar, but there are some differences (the biggest being the fire itself, and some of the contrast in the colors of the scene.

Shot 113-114 Composite Fire Test Version 2

Animation by Dana Corrigan, Clean up and color by Chrystal Giambastiani. Background models by Alyssa Seidl, William Blake Harris and Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Fire animation and clean up by Zelda Vinciguerra. Composite by Dana Corrigan, with help from Ryan Gatts

Looking at the version of the composite fire that Ryan did, I tried emulating some of the effects on here. I'm using a trial version of After Effects, so I can't add the ember particles that he had. I'll have to wait until I can use the school's computers again before I can try that. But otherwise, I also toned down some of the effects because the fire is so close to the viewer, I wanted the viewer to be able to see through the flames due to the close proximity.

Shot 108 Fire Alt - Ryan's Version

Character animation by Tracy MacLauchlan, clean up by Dana Corrigan, colors by Megan Miller, Fire animation and clean up by Zelda Vinciguerra, background models by Alyssa Seidl, William Blake Harris and Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Background textures by Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Composite by Dana Corrigan and Ryan Gatts

Ryan gave me some great suggestions for some alterations to make for the compositing to give a better sense of heat from the fire and give a nicer aesthetic. This was the version he sent me after he had played around with some of the effects and particles. I really like what he did with it. I like the little embers and the brightness of the fire which makes it look very hot, and magical. I'm playing around with some of the other shots to get a look similar to this, and will post those next. If there are some shots you like more than others or any suggestions, let me know as I'm still in the process of experimentation.

06 December 2010

Wagon and Lighting Fixture Concept Art

Concept art by Kate Kirby-O'Connell

Kiosk Concept Art for Duero

Concept art by Kate Kirby-O'Connell

Test Composites added shots, updated textures for some and final fire for others

This is a video of all of the footage I have composited thus far, in chronological order although any shot that's not yet composited is missing, so there are definitely gaps. This is just a way to see all of the footage together and make sure details, like the look of the fire, remain consistent.

05 December 2010

Shot 109 Composite Test with Final Fire

Animation by Tracy MacLauchlan. Clean up by Dana Corrigan. Background models by Alyssa Seidl, William Blake Harris and Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Textures by Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Fire animation and clean up by Zelda Vinciguerra

The colors aren't yet finished, so you may not be able to see Cyrus at all. But once his colors are finished, this animation will be updated. Since Zelda had the fire finished for this shot, I wanted to try compositing it as well.

Shot 135-140 Composite Test With Final Fire

Animation by Dana Corrigan. Clean up by Dana Corrigan. Colors by Ashley Woodard. Background models by Alyssa Seidl, William Blake Harris and Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Textures by Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Fire animation and clean up by Zelda Vinciguerra.

Shot 113-114 Composite Test with Motion Blur and Final Fire (Updated)

Background Model by Alyssa Seidl, William Blake Harris and Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Textures by Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Animation by Dana Corrigan. Clean Up and Color by Chrystal Giambastiani. Fire animation and clean up by Zelda Vinciguerra. Composite by Dana Corrigan

This is a test for the fire compositing into the scene. I've run the same effects on this fire as I did for the fire for Shot 108. I really like how those transparencies work in this shot because, with the fire segments on top of each other, you can only really see through the fire along the edges the most, while the area in the center is more opaque.

Any suggestions on the fire effects would be great! It's still an experiment with me so I'm willing to try any ideas!

Updates: Added motion blur to the scythe.

Shot 108 Composite Test with Updated Background and Final Fire

Background models by Alyssa Seidl, William Blake Harris and Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Textures by Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Cyrus animation by Tracy MacLauchlan. Clean up by Dana Corrigan. Cyrus colors by Megan Miller. Fire animation and clean up by Zelda Vinciguerra. Composite by Dana Corrigan. Composite/After Effects advice by Ryan Gatts

With the textures in progress and the final fire coming together, compositing has never been so exciting! Admittedly I've never composited anything this complicated, but this is really interesting experience and I'm enjoying the process. This version of the composite is testing both the fire effects and the textures-in-progress.

Regarding the textures - I really like where it's going, especially on the right side of the pillar, where the texture is more smudged and doesn't have the lines. I'm really glad that we didn't end up having to color the backgrounds, at least for the Crystalin. Everything remains in greyscale, and is colored with the fire gradients I made in Photoshop and overlayed in After Effects.

This version of the textures has less contrast and is removing the straight lines. The section on the right is perfect, I think. Enough contrast so that the viewer can see that the wall has a wood texture, but not so much to draw attention to itself. And that little smudge adds a really nice touch and keeps the wood from looking too uniform. Uzi's doing a fantastic job, and I can't wait to export the final composite for this shot when the textures are finished!

Regarding the fire - For the fire itself, Zelda had it set up in three sections. When I imported the fire sections into After Effects, I duplicated the fire so that each section had two layers with the same animation. This would allow me to play with the Hue/Saturation on one layer, and be able to vary the opacity so that the colors would change just a little.

The top fire layers are a solid orangish/red color, are set to Overlay and have a low opacity to give the fire a varying redder tinge while (hopefully) maintaining its brightness. Ryan Gatts gave me a great suggestion to add a wiggle expression to some of the functions and effects, to make it less uniform. So the transparency of the top fire layers have it.

Also, the main fire layers (which are, for the most part, unchanged from Zelda's set up), have a slight opacity wiggle so you can see Cyrus' hand through the fire. But I have the opacity increase when he sets the scythe on fire so that the variance is smaller. You'll still see the scythe through the fire, but just a little bit.

Finally, all of the fire layers have blur effects, starting at 1 with the top/effect layers and 2 with the main fire layers. The wiggle is set to .5 and 1

Final Notes - I think all that is left to do for this shot as to add the highlights. Should there be shadows? Does anyone know of an easy way to add highlights or shadows, that would still look good? I have a couple of ideas/tests in mind, but my main concern is how long it might take and how much time can be spent on all the fire scenes by the time the trailer's completion in March. I do feel highlights or shadows are absolutely necessary, but I may try to do just one and hold off on the other until after March. But any suggestions would be great! And if there is anything about the fire compositing that looks off or any suggestions as to what I could do to make it look even better, please let me know!

26 November 2010

Shot 108 Final Fire - PreComposite

Fire animation by Zelda Vinciguerra

This is the first shot with cleaned up and colored fire! This is from the Flash file. Due to technical difficulties with Shot 108 (that shot seems to be cursed with an unusually large file size and occasionally corrupting itself), none of our computers can handle combining the finished fire with the colored animation within the Flash document.

Luckily, we don't need them all to be in the same file in order to composite it.

Shortly, I will be exporting the fire separately and adding it into Shot 108's composite, where I'm going to run some layer effect and transparency tests.

Shot 47 Roughs

Animation by Dana Corrigan

Shot 47 is a run cycle, this video is just the cycle repeated a few times. It's weird getting used to the tablet again. I already miss the Cintiqs.

This is a short sequence, and what I wanted to focus on was the motion of the arms and the hair, as well as the rise and fall of Cain's body. That was the best way I could think of that would imply that he's running despite the fact that the viewer can't see his legs. This cycle is one of the few animations in the film done entirely on ones, because I didn't feel like you'd be able to see the motion well enough on twos and it's a cycle. Since the animation will play over and over again, I feel that the animation needs to feel believable or it'll really stand out.

I think the hair and some of the volumes need some work, but I like how the motion of the arms is coming out so far.

21 November 2010

Film version 19

This version has: A few new roughs during the first half of the film, cleaner roughs during the fight in the Crystalin and with other shots in various degrees of cleaned, inked, colored and composited. This newest version has all of the work that has been done on it these past 10 weeks.

09 November 2010

After Effects Color Tests

These are just the shots I have in varying stages of compositing. Some are nearly done, some are early on (and some don't even have the clean up or colors yet). But I wanted to take this opportunity to start taking more screenshots within the Crystalin Maya file and see if I can get the shots to match up color-wise in After Effects. Although they are in chronological order, there are only several shots that have been composited so far, so there are some gaps in between.

Shots shown here are 104, 105, 106, 108, 109, 111, 113, 114, 116, 117, 118, 119, 132 and 145

04 November 2010

Crystalin Textures in Progress

Textures by Susan "Uzi" Souza

We're running a texture test on the Crystalin now, to see if we can make it look less like a 3D image in Maya and more like a painted illustration. We wanted to avoid Toon Shaders because they would look too cartoony. Instead, we wanted to try removing as much of the 3D shadows as possible, and use speed painting for the textures.

The next step will be to retake the screen shots and re-enter them into the composites.

Duero Concepts

Duero town concepts by Sam Keiser

Sam made two versions of the town concepts - one focusing on the colors and the other focusing on the lines to help the modelers with the buildings' shapes. He used the color keys as a reference and I love how it came out. Has a great mood and I love the set up of the buildings!

24 October 2010

After Effects Composite Tests

Colors by Amelia Colvig and Dean Julien. Fire roughs by Zelda Vinciguerra. Composite in After Effect by Dana Corrigan.

UPDATED: 105-106 Added. I wanted to test the fire gradients and experiment with the lighting change for when Cyrus ignites the fire. I am pretty happy with how it turned out. The only thing off hand I want to go back and change is Cyrus' lines. The black lines so close to the bright light don't make it seem like Cyrus' arm is as effected by the lighting change as the rest of the sequence. However, I'm going to wait for Zelda's fire to be colored before I make any changes to this.
- Also, I learned of an interesting feature in After Effects while working on this. The ability to program a "wiggle" in a chosen timed property. For the Opacity and the Hue and Saturation Effect color channels, I alt+click on the stop watch and a line of code appears underneath. I changed the code to wiggle(.5, 20) which means that every 1/2 second, that property's value changes to somewhere within a -20 to +20 range from your property's original value. This is going to work really well when we get to the highlights, since now instead of animating the flicker, maybe we can just program it instead.
This whole project is becoming a really good way of learning the programs on a more intermediate/expert level. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all. No better way to see what a program can really do than when you need it for the sake of your project.

Shot 104 Composite in After Effects, with color correction. No sound yet. That will be added in the Editing phase. I wanted to see how hard it would be to alter the colors to account for the changes in lighting. Simply darkening Cyrus and the background was easy enough. The real test will come with shot 105, 106 and 108, which will be the first fire shots I'm going to test in After Effects.

Colors by Sara Crawley.

Shot 145 test. Used gradients from Photoshop into After Effects with overlay, and some color correction on Cain and the background to account for the fire. I definitely feel it needs some kind of shadows over Cain. For highlights I'm not sure if he's close enough to the fire in this shot, but he definitely needs something. Will continue to experiment with this shot.

Character Animation by Tracy MacLauchlan. Clean up by Dana Corrigan. Colors by Megan Miller. Fire Roughs by Zelda Vinciguerra.

UPDATE (10/27/10): Fixed the motion of the gradient, so now it follows Cyrus' scythe in the end when he swings it down. The gradient also darkens and desaturates a little as it's pulled away from Cyrus' face.

This was a fun test to do. I made the fire gradient in Photoshop and did color corrections in After Effects. Cyrus has two copies on top of each other, one with a saturated fire color effect in After Effects, and the other with his original color scheme underneath. The fire color scheme Cyrus is at a low opacity, and I animated the opacity for when the scythe ignites. The saturation and brightness of the gradient also changes when the fire takes over the scythe, and I animated the gradient so that it followed the flame and grew as the fire grew. There are still more tests I need to do, and Cyrus will definitely need highlights because he is still too dark. But with that said, it's so exciting to see a shot this far along!

19 October 2010

Shot 108 Clean Up (Updated 10/22/10)

Clean up Keyframes and Breakdowns

Clean up with InBetweens

EDIT 10/22/10: Finished! Finally! Wow, clean up takes a long time even when the roughs are already clean and well done to start with

Original Post: Currently I am working on several shots at once, including the clean up on Tracy's roughs for shot 108.

I've noticed recently that clean up isn't something that is taught at length at SCAD. I learned most of my clean up practices from Humoring the Fates Animation Studio, and it surprised me that it wasn't something touched upon too much at the school. I guess it makes sense, when the primarily objective is to teach the principles. This is the reason I think helping others with their films is a good idea, not just because of networking but because it brings about scenarios similar to what you'll encounter in the business world, that you really can't prepare for until the time comes.

My clean up practices is basically to draw over the roughs for all of the keyframes and breakdowns, taking into account the position of the previous and later line art. What I'm going to do next is go back and fill in the in-betweens, but using the onion skin feature in Flash much more strongly to try and avoid the line shakiness and popping that sometimes comes with bad clean up jobs.

11 October 2010

Test 2D/3D Conversion Color Concept - Crystalin Interior

Colors by Tracy MacLauchlan

Edit: Two more of the different color alternatives for environment pre-and-post fire. The top image is the one we're going with. We like that the firelight guides the eye to the fire, while Cyrus is neither too dark nor is he burned out by the bright firelight.

Original Post: Here is one version of a test color for the interior of the Crystalin. Even with just the character colored and an overlay of a single color over the background, the 2D/3D differences aren't as prominent. Since the Crystalin is cast in darkness most of the time, it would probably be best for the textures to be simple. The hardest part might when the fire light is close to the table and when Cain first gets thrown into the Crystalin, because the lighting from the outside will come in for that brief period.

04 October 2010

Shot 91 Cleaned Up and Colored

Here is the very first completed character animation! Fully cleaned up and colored, thanks to Ashley Woodard! Seeing the characters moving in color for the first time is really getting me psyched! I'm so excited!

28 September 2010

Shot 104 Clean Up

I have some recruits who are interested in coloring and some of the shots are just starting clean up, so I decided to go back and clean up/add in-betweens to Shot 104 since it was partially complete already. I really liked the shot originally and I'd like to put it on my demo reel, so I figured I'd do the clean up and in-betweens myself.

22 September 2010

Cain Poster Illustration

This is an illustration of Cain done as part of a poster calling for 2D Animators. Jess helped with the text (including text that's in the actual poster) and the background. This will later be turned into one of possible two posters advertising the film itself.

20 September 2010

Pilot Trailer (Updated 9/21/10)

So, in keeping aware of the March deadline for my Thesis, I decided to make a cushion by creating a trailer for the pilot as my actual Thesis project so I could have more time to work on the film when I graduate (instead of having to rush everything and risk not graduating in time). The film will still be continued after my graduation, but using a trailer to fulfill the requirements of my Thesis will let me spend the time I need on the film without having to rush it as much as I may have had to otherwise.

Consequently, the animations for the shots used in this trailer will be finished, colored and rendered first. Strategically, many of the shots in the trailer are already ones completed for the film, and this will give me directions for which animations to work on next. It'll be interesting to work on shots outside of the Crystalin since all of my efforts had been concentrated in there all summer.

Music is a piece of the film's soundtrack, by Ryan McCullough.

18 September 2010

Test Comp (updated 9/21/10)

Update (9/21/10) : Shots 086-088 have new rough animation

Original post: Although I have another post for the updated comps, I figured it'd be good to put up a new post. It's fun to compare new and old versions. Anyway, here are the changes between this version and the previous composite:

All fire shots in the Crystalin have fire.
Shot 91, 92, 94, 95, 149, 153 and 155 have new rough animation
Shot 101 has darker roughs for Cyrus, so he'll be easier to see.
Shot 130-132 and 141-144 have some adjustments in timing to make the shots move quicker.
Added Ryan's beautiful music-in-progress

14 September 2010

Music Score Test

This is a music test done by Ryan McCullough. Personally I think it's brilliant so far. I love how the mood is so well synchronized with the action going on screen, it adds so much tension! Even without the dialogue and the animation not yet fully rendered, the music brings so much mood and intensity.

The footage on here is a little older because this is the most current version I had at the time he was working on it. I am currently in the process of placing the sound from this video into the comp, but I need to make some adjustments to the animation to sync it better to the sound. Some of the newer animation sequences are a little longer than the storyboards he had to work with and honestly it might work better to shorten some of the animation (there's a sequence I think might be a little too long anyway). So I want to do that and also have my professors look at the animation before having Ryan make any timing changes with the music.

It makes me so excited to see everything starting to come together!

04 September 2010

Shots 130-132 In Progress (updated 9/6/10)

Updates (9/6/10): Filled in the rest of the frames for shot 131. Reorganized some of the frames to tweak the easing.

Update (9/5/10): Added shot 132, and added more frames to shot 131. Shot 131 still needs more frames in the end (about 3, I think, for the easing) and then the roughs for this sequence will be finished!

Original Post: Right now, only shots 130 and 131 have anything to show. But shot 132 will also be in this file. There really isn't that much to these shots. What's been taking this shot awhile is not that it's complicated, but because there's not that much movement and even in roughs I have to be careful to make sure the subtleness in between each keyframe is enough to see the movement without it being too jumpy/jarring. I also have to be careful about it being too swimmy, which shot 131 might be. I may go back and make some adjustments, such as making Cyrus' facial expression more snappy (instead of gradually changing expression like the rest of his motion) before I continue onto shot 132.

31 August 2010

Shot 152 Updated (Edited 9/6/10)

Updates 9/6/10: I had some critiques that Cyrus was changing hand position on the scythe too much in the end before he strikes Cain, which implies that the scythe is much longer in the end than it is in the beginning. After carefully looking it over and comparing it to the first time he adjusts his hand position earlier in the animation, I think they were right and the scythe did seem too long. So I went back and kept the same time length, but slowed the animation down so he shifts the scythe in his hands less than before. I think it does look better now! Thanks everyone for your help!

Updates 9/4/10: To resolve the problem with anticipation and impact of when Cyrus knocks Cain out of his path, I added more frames in between when Cyrus pushes off of the table and when he hits Cain. This gives Cyrus a pause, where he's shifting hand position on the scythe while watching Cain. This pause gives Cyrus thinking time, and the viewer a moment to make sure the action doesn't get ahead of them.

I'm still tweaking the impact, particularly on Cain's part. I want to show a bit of whip action in Cain's neck as his head drops down and his body flies back. However, it's been challenging to do so while keeping the action quick enough. With school coming quickly in the horizon, I think I'm going to set this animation to the side and continue working on others, until I can get the critiques of my professors.

I anticipate that I'll be going back to many of these animations and tweak them before they go into inking/clean up. The best I can think of to do right now is to have as many animations ready to show (both individually and together for shot-by-shot flow) by the time school starts.

Original Post: I've started adding the rest of the animation when Cyrus slams the butt of his scythe into Cain and knocks him off screen. I'm still making adjustments to the impact and the anticipation on Cyrus' part. Because Cyrus shifts the scythe from holding it right at the end, to holding it right at the base of the blades, I needed Cyrus to shift his hand position back towards the middle/lower part of the scythe. So during his anticipation, he's supposed to throw the scythe back and catch it in a quick motion.

I don't think the change in hand position on the scythe reads that clearly, but adding more frames makes the motion too slow and the most important aspect of that motion is to show the impact. I think it works to a degree, but I will probably switch to a different sequence and go back and mess around with this shot again in the future.

05 August 2010

Test Comp v7 Updated 9/07/10

Here's a quick compilation of the animations that have been done thus far put together in sequence. The gaps are filled with the storyboards and there's one blank gap. The timing of the storyboard's isn't perfect and there's no sound yet other than Cain's scream of righteous fury. This is just a test to see how the clips are meshing together in sequence.

9/9/10: Added more dialogue to the composite. Added extra frames at the end of shot 152 because I felt it cut too abruptly. Began animation for shots 153 and 155.

9/7/10: Added Zelda's fire to shots 107, 111, 112, 113, 118, 126, 127, 144. Fixed Cain's eyes in shot 143 so now he looks more like he's looking down at the fire instead of looking over it. Adjusted his animation a little in shot 144. Added shots 130-132, and added the ending animation to shot 152.

8/7/10: Added Cyrus' maniacal laugh, Zelda's fire on shots 133, 134, 137, 140 and 151, rough animation sequences for shots 115, 116, 119 and 122.

I really wanted to do the shots before and after the sequences Tracy handled (117-118). I loved her impact so I really wanted to make Shot 116 have the same amount of force that is implied in her animations. I like how the shots are flowing.

I think tomorrow I'm going to play around with shots 120 and 121. I would really like to try and complete those and as many other connecting sequences as I can before I visit family in NY on Monday. I'll be there for 10 days and, from then on, redirect some of my focus on the Thesis paper and preparing for a class I'm teaching next quarter. This blog will continue to be updated, just possibly not as frequently.

I wonder if I should make a new blog chronicling my research with the paper? I didn't intend to originally, but it may be an interesting way of keeping track and give others the opportunity to give their input.

8/7/10: Added shots 111 and 120. Fixed shot 144 (143 and 144 both had Cain look over, so that it appeared that he looks in the same direction twice.). I want to work on 121 and fix 143 next. (143 has Cain's eyes looking up above the fire instead of down at it. It'll be a quick fix once I get to it)

8/8/10: Added shots 121, 123 and 124.

8/26/10: Added Zelda's gorgeous fire to several of the shots! Sorry for the temporary lull in updates. As I had warned previously, I had to redirect my focus to the Thesis paper and the class I'm teaching next quarter, but I will soon be working on a little bit more animation to get as far as I can before the quarter starts. Once it starts, I will probably be updating the blog more frequently again since working on the Thesis film will be a very high priority.

04 August 2010

Shot 110, 117-118, 145 and 147 Roughs

Shot 110 Roughs

This was a tough shot to do just because I didn't have much time to plan it. Originally I figured it would look better to make it look fast, so my first draft included speed lines and blurred motion. But it ended up looking more like a helicopter blade spinning over Cyrus' head and it didn't look like Cyrus was the one making it spin. So I went to my references with Tyler (A friend of mine who knows martial arts and was kind enough to re-enact some of Cain and Cyrus' moves on camera!), and focused on Cyrus' hand and arm motions to try and keep it true-er to real life - while of course pushing it a little.

Shot 117-118 Roughs by Tracy MacLauchlan

Once again Tracy did an excellent job with shots 117-118! I love the impact, how much Cyrus gets knocked back and how he sways like a stunned fighting game character. I really felt the intensity of the impact.

Shot 145 Roughs

Not much to this shot. It's the moment Cain realizes what he's doing. I wanted the eyes to show the expression first (mainly the pupil/iris) and the rest follow suit. I also felt the sweat would be a nice touch.

Shot 147

This is a fairly simple shot as well. I wanted to get some of the easier shots out of the way while I'm confined to the tablet, now that the fire scenes are done! It's simply Cyrus reacting with confusion to Cain's sudden lack of bloodlust.

01 August 2010

Shot 141-143 Fire Test

Fire effects by Zelda Vinciguerra

Here are some gorgeous fire roughs done by the amazing Zelda! I think the fire adds so much more to the scene, and it's the center of both Cain's focus and the viewer's.

Shot 112 Roughs

These are the roughs for shot 112 in progress. This...is a pretty hard shot, to be honest. Cyrus was a little challenging but Cain is especially hard. Probably went through a good several false starts, especially since I wanted to synchronize it to the intensity of the yell.

The way I handled the camera move was by making the stage the width of the camera move (which is double the width of the stage - 1440 x 540px). Then I made a box in the Flash file that was the size of the camera view - 720x540px) and used a classic tween to move it from one side of the stage to the other, with some ease. That's how I calculated when to draw Cyrus since there wasn't any point in animating Cyrus when he's not visible on stage.

I used reference for both Cyrus and Cain, but much more loosely than what I originally intended. I had even considered rotoscoping Cain, but one of my earlier attempts with that just didn't work. It didn't feel like the animation mixed with the rest of my pilot, and rotoscope can be limiting. So there's no rotoscoping in this sequence. So in the end, I used the references only for a few of the poses so I'd have a loose guess for the foot placement and posture. I still need to work a bit on Cain, but here's the progress so far.

Updates: 8/1/2010 - Tweens and background have been added. Cain definitely will need some fixing once I get to clean up (he looks more like he's power walking than running, really). However I think it's more of an issue with some of Cain's poses. I'm overall very happy with the timing and Cyrus' roughs, and the movement of the camera. So for what I need for Zelda's fire, it's ready enough. And with the deadline fast approaching, I'll come back to this after I've hit the other fire scenes.

30 July 2010

Thesis Animatic - Version 23

Cain and Cyrus' final voices were recorded these past few days and the new dialogue's been included in this new version of the animatic. None of the visuals were changed.

From this point on, I'm going to make a new file and start incorporating the animation. There was a mistake in the process when I made the animatic (Accidentally had it set to 30fps instead of 24fps...oops). So incorporating animation doesn't turn out as well as I had hoped. So I'm going to make that my next priority after I finish more of the animations that require fire.

22 July 2010

Shot 147 Roughs

First draft (7/22/10): This is just the key frames, testing out the timing. I want Cain to have enough time to show that the realization is sinking in, and he's backing off from the fight. Cyrus also has a little bit of movement, glancing over to see what Cain's looking at, then looking up at Cain incredulously. I'm hoping to show Cain's surprise and the deflation of his anger, as well as Cyrus' confusion.

Update (7/22/10): Added in-betweens for Cain and Cyrus. Cyrus has more limited animation because the viewer's attention is meant to be on Cain primarily. The main purpose of this shot is to show Cain slowly sinking in the realization that he's nearly caused his own vision to happen. Cyrus is meant to look confused, unsure of what stopped Cain and what he's supposed to do.

Shot 144 Rough

Shot 144 will have more than limited animation, but more subtle than some of the greater action sequences. This is the shot where Cain slowly turns to look at the scythe and begins to realize that he's the one driving the fire into the table.

21 July 2010

Crystalin Signs

Crystalin sign designed by Yesenia Carrero

I've been really lucky to have a great graphic designer in the team. She's designing the signs for the town and for the Crystalin. I love the celtic look, I think it will fit very nicely in the medieval style of the tavern and world. The red I think both makes the sign pop, as well as unites the sign with Cain's visions.

More details on the design's progress can be found on her blog.

20 July 2010

Shot 133-140 Roughs with Background

This sequence mostly consists of limited animation. Most of the movement will be the characters shaking a little, and the fire.

19 July 2010

Shot 107 Roughs

Shot 107 Roughs.

I animated the camera in the 3D model first, then batch-rendered from that camera's POV and animated the characters on top of that.

18 July 2010

Shot 108-109 Roughs

Shot 108 and 109 roughed out by the amazing Tracy MacLauchlan!

I really like the anticipation and how different parts of his body move at different speeds, it keeps the motion feeling natural. Also, the movement of his left hand right after he sets the scythe on fire is very intricate and has really nice arcs. Finally, Cyrus' whole body has that nice noodle/whip motion that gives him a kind of creepy look. I love how it's coming out!

16 July 2010

Crystalin Camera Tests

Here are some tests I did with placing cameras in the Crystalin, taking screen shots and inserting them into the animations. The 2D/3D conversion looks atrocious right now because neither the characters nor backgrounds are rendered. This test is just to determine that the layout of the tables and accessories inside of the Crystalin leave enough space for the action to take place, while also positioned believably and allow for the camera angles to be interesting.

Shot 101-106

Shot 125-129

Shot 135-140

Shot 141-143

Shot 152

14 July 2010

Crystalin 3D Background In Progress Screenshots

Crystalin 3D model by Alyssa Seidl, Blake Harris, Britain Cramer and William Fagan

Here are some screen shots of the Crystalin in progress. I'm loving how it looks so far! I'm going to set up some of the scenes that are already animated and see if I have to rearrange some of the tables to add more space between them to make sure the characters can line up with them, and run some color tests. But so far I'm loving it!

Mega Upload

The projects space at SCAD is down at the moment, which lead me to look for other alternatives in case something like this were to happen. So I signed up for a free account at Mega Upload to provide another alternative. The first choice of course would be the project space, but if it's ever down, here's another place to upload work:

13 July 2010

Shot 135-140

Here is a sequence of shots that use more limited animation. Because the animation is so limited and I was satisfied with the storyboard's rendering, I went ahead and inked it based off of the storyboards.

06 July 2010

Shot 106-107 Fire

Here are some fire effects roughed out from the great and talented Zelda! I'm really liking it so far! I like how it starts off as a tiny flame then, when it flashes, fire bits fly everywhere and it's a larger, more impressive fireball.

04 July 2010

Shot 125-128 Roughs

Although shot 125 doesn't have any fire, it's necessary so I know Cyrus' position in shot 126, so they're being done together. Only 125 has the roughs done right now. Want to get the motion right so it can continue in shot 126.

Updates (7/6/10): Roughed out Cyrus' animation to Shot 126. Made small adjustments to shot 125, to better show the arc of motion in Cyrus' head. Going to work on Cain's animation, next.

Updates (7/7/10): Switched the foot Cyrus uses to catch himself. Consequently, now he moves more forward when he catches himself which makes the motion a little more dramatic. Still need to clean it up a bit and possibly add more tweens.

Updates (7/8/10): Began to add Cain. He's not done yet, and I think both may have to be moved over or shrunk down a bit. Mostly focused on animating Cain getting knocked back and showing him stumble. There's still a bit more to do with both Cain and Cyrus.

Updates (7/9/10): Finished up Cain's staggering animation so now both he and Cyrus ends in a fighting posture. I shrank both Cyrus and Cain because Cain started moving off screen, and it seemed better to shrink them both down and keep the distance between them. I still need to add the beginning of their next attacks and make some adjustments.

Updates (7/10/10): Added Cain and Cyrus' next attack. Cain now jumps into the air and Cyrus starts his lunge, then reacts to seeing Cain jump. Now it's ready to move into Shot 127.

Updates (7/10/10): Altered Cyrus' frames so that he and Cain are synchronized when they get into their fight stances.

Updates (7/11/10): Began Shot 127. Cyrus doesn't move right now. I wanted to make sure that the perspective works for him first before I add any frames. Cain's is a bit of a test

Updates (7/11/10): Finished Shot 127-ish, though there might be more to do with Cyrus. I started into Shot 128 to see how well 127 transitions into 128, and to see if I need to change Cyrus' ending posture in shot 127.

Updates (7/12/10): I changed the camera angle of Shot 128 because I realized the original shot 128 is nearly the same as shot 125 and it really didn't work for what I wanted it to do. So I changed it to a profile view. This way you could see the impact when Cain slams into Cyrus and they both move off screen. I'm hoping this will help to better lead it into Shot 129, when Cyrus gets pushed down onto the table.

Updates (7/13/10): Added in-betweens for Shot 127, for anticipation for when Cyrus is raising his scythe to block Cain. Also removed the last frame for Shot 128 so Cain and Cyrus no longer go entirely off screen.

03 July 2010

Shot 141-143 Roughs

This one has more limited animation. The first shot will probably have a boil (have the lines waiver/shake slightly to make Cain look like he's shaking) once it goes into lines/clean up. Boil doesn't work so well in roughs, I've noticed when I was trying to give him the boil now. I guess it makes more sense to do it once I have his final lines.

30 June 2010

Cyrus Point of View Color Roughs

by Tracy MacLauchlan

Tracy was playing around with the color scheme when the camera goes into Cyrus' POV and she came up with an interesting idea of making his viewpoint greyscale monochromatic for the most part (similar to his pale eye color). The auras as of right now will be faintly noticeable on the bystanders, really only flaring up when there's a strong emotion.

I like the idea. It kind of makes Cyrus mildly color blind except for the auras, and it also helps to make the auras stand out. Also it'll be easier to tell that you're looking through Cyrus' eyes in animation, because the camera is going to jitter (like a hand-held camera) and also glance around. Tracy also had a good suggestion of adding the sound of Cyrus breathing. I think that combination should make it clear enough.

SC152 Roughs In Progress

(6/30/10) Just started this about 3 and a half hours ago and will be continuing to update this animation each time I work on it. =) It's very, very rough right now. The part I am going to flesh out the most is when Cyrus moves his scythe and turns off the fire, since that's what I need to have done for Zelda. But this beginning part is necessary because it leads right into that motion.

Update (7/1/10): Added the animation of Cyrus turning off the fire and a little bit more after that. It still needs more easing when Cyrus turns off the fire (the part where his hand is closing into a fist and he's starting to bring the scythe down) because it moves a little too quickly. I'm also going to go back and fix the hand motion in the beginning for the next update as well. And, of course, the rest of the animation. I will probably stop it right when Cyrus is just about to get off the table, since I don't need that last part for the special effects. I just wanted to make sure I have enough animation before and after to make sure that there aren't any problems. Last thing I want to do is to pass off my animation for special effects then realize that there's a problem with the character animation that would change the fire animation if fixed. That would not be savory.

Update (7/2/10): Added more frames to Cyrus' hand gesture in the beginning, and more frames to slow down and smooth out some of the animation throughout. Although the end isn't finished (the part where Cyrus jumps off the table, looks and Cain and hits him), this piece may be done enough for now. I need to jump to the next fire sequence. But before I send the flash file off for special effects, I'm waiting one day just to get some critiques and make sure there's nothing off that I'm missing - especially for the part where Cyrus is turning off the fire. Thank you!

Update (7/2/10): Removed the blur when Cyrus is spinning his scythe around. The motion is too slow to need it anymore. The roughs will now be put on hold and sent off for fire effects. The rest of the shot will be continued later, once the other fire scenes are ready.

28 June 2010

Series Synopsis, Story Synopsis, Shot-by-Shot Breakdown and Detailed Explanations for the Film

It is understandable that some of the film may be confusing, especially since it is still in development and relies so heavily on audio/visual cues that may not be fully prevalent yet in the animatic. To answer some of the questions I've received, here is a detailed explanation for the film, from the basics (What is it about?) to the more detailed shot-by-shot breakdown, reasons behind each decision, alterations that have been made to prior versions and why the story is where it's at now. As always, I am open to suggestions and ideas.

Series Story Synopsis

The pilot is for an Action/Adventure tv series that is about Fate vs. Free Will. The show itself has a larger cast, but the pilot focuses on the main hero and the anti-hero. The show itself would be about Cain trying to stop his visions from happening, and in doing so he gets caught up in a conspiracy and a war he doesn't know anything about. The pilot condenses the point of the first season, which is Cain realizing that, in trying to stop his visions, Cain causes them.

In-Depth Pilot Story Breakdown

The pilot's story is about Cain getting a vision of the town burning down. The fire starts at the Crystalin, and the weapon left inside of the Crystalin is the only clue as to what could have caused it. The sequences are played backwards (You see the town burn first, then the exterior of the Crystalin, then the interior and focusing on the weapon at the end, in hopes that the viewer will remember the Crystalin and the weapon most of all.)

I've been debating on whether to have Cain clarify right away that it's a vision (such as have him say "Another vision..." when he wakes up). But many people I have asked have said it was unnecessary, and that usually by the end of the film they understand, and I'm hoping to rely on more on visual cues (such as the color schemes) than simply telling people. Show don't tell, right?

The shot when Cain's asking where the Crystalin is, is to establish that he doesn't know where it is, and that he's in a hurry to find it. The scene can be shortened, but because the film is already so fast-paced, he asks several people to give the viewer time to absorb what they’re seeing.

The cat is used as a transition to take the camera from Cain to Cyrus, to introduce Cyrus as a separate character in a separate part of town. It also serves as foreshadowing because the antagonist is looking for the cat all along.

Cyrus' intro is long, to establish his motivation (he's looking for the cat), his empathy (he can hear voices and feel people's emotions), and why he's angry enough to fight with Cain when they collide. An earlier version of the story had a shorter introduction, but I had a lot of arguments that Cyrus' motivation wasn't clear and that he seemed too angry from the get-go. So I extended his introduction to give the audience more time.

Cain's short sequences cut within Cyrus' are meant to remind the audience that he's still there, hint to the passage of time, and show the parallel that both of the main characters are looking for something, and they're both getting more agitated (Cain's getting more worried, Cyrus is getting more angry)

When they collide, Cain starts off not wanting anything to do with Cyrus and just wants to get to the Crystalin. The audio effects are not finished yet (I don't have access to Soundbooth over summer), so the 'thoughts' are hard to distinguish from the dialogue right now. The only thing Cain actually says to Cyrus right after they collide is "Sorry." But Cyrus also hears Cain's panicked thoughts ("I need to get to the Crystalin!" "This is taking too long!" etc.)

When Cyrus starts arguing with Cain, Cyrus is taking out his frustration with everyone on Cain, and Cain still just wants to leave. But when Cyrus attacks him and Cain deflects it, Cain looks at the scythe he's deflecting and recognizes it from the vision (I have had arguments for and against showing a short flash of the vision. Another possibility is to have the scythe flash red, since we're using red to connect all parts of Cain's vision. But that might be too subtle)

Cain then thinks that Cyrus is the one who will cause the fire. Originally, their argument was longer, with Cain asking him what is he doing there, Cyrus giving him an ambiguous answer and Cain warning Cyrus to stop whatever villainous thing he plans to do. It was cut short because viewers felt that there was too much standing around talking.

When the fight moves into the Crystalin and Cyrus casts the fire, it confirms to Cain that Cyrus is indeed the one who'll cause fire to the tavern (and consequently, the town). So Cain becomes especially frustrated and attacks Cyrus more ferociously. When he pins Cyrus down to the table and tries cutting through the scythe, Cain is losing control and he's the one pushing the fire down towards the table.

Cain stops when he realizes that he is the one about to cause the fire, and realizes that it was their fighting from the get go which caused all of this. The quick sequence of flashbacks he receives at that moment are meant to show that he's realizing how everything he's done up to this point has led to this moment. So Cain's causing his own vision to happen.

Cain backs off, horrified for what he almost did. Cyrus is surprised and confused that Cain stopped, but before he can figure out what to do from there, the cat enters the Crystalin and Cyrus is reminded of the reason he was there to begin with.

Cyrus turns off the fire, gets his cat and leaves. Cain just watches him go because he's no longer a threat, and he realizes - with surprise - that Cyrus' motive for being there was never villainous at all.

The final shot is still being adjusted a bit, as I’m trying to figure out the best spot and camera angle to end the film.

The Reason Why Each Character, Setting and Props Were Used:

Cain is the main character, and the theme of the series (Fate vs. Free Will) is directly connected to him. The pilot can’t be done without him.

Cyrus is Cain's antagonist, because Cyrus' missions tend to conflict with Cain's visions. But in the grand scheme of the story, Cyrus is an anti-hero. That is why so much of the film is dedicated to his motivations and empathy, because I wanted him to be established as a major character, as well, instead of a thug or villain-of-the-day. Their relationship is meant to represent the shades-of-grey that’s prevalent in the series (they’re on opposing sides, and they each see the other as an enemy, but neither are evil).

Bystanders are random, and their designs are left open for the animators. Some of the other characters from the series may make cameo appearances. The only bystander whose design is set is the singer at the Crystalin, because she’s the main girl of the series and this was the best way to show her without making her an intruder to the pilot.

Mittens is both a character and a plot device. In the series, he is Cyrus’ cat and his purpose is to show Cyrus’ love of cute, small things. He is used in the pilot as a non-villainous motivation for Cyrus to go through the town and parallel Cyrus’ motivation with Cain’s (that they’re both searching for something).

Their world is a mixture of medieval and steampunk, the amount of each depending on the location. (Some places in this world are more medieval-based, while others embrace technology).
The town is the location where much of the series takes place. Its level of technology makes its set up similar to that of a modern suburb. The Crystalin is where the main cast often congregates. Although the pilot could technically have taken place anywhere in that world, I wanted to use this opportunity to develop the town and tavern because that's where the main series begins.

Elements Missing From Animatic

Some aspects that will help make things clearer that aren’t yet in the animatic are the sounds and new color scheme. Right now everything is temp sounds, and most of the dialogue in the town are thoughts that will be represented with reverb. Because much of the sounds don’t yet have the reverb, it probably all sounds like dialogue.

The color red will be used as a visual cue to represent the vision. So the scythe may glint red when Cain first looks at it. Cain’s eyes will glow red when he wakes up from the vision. The Crystalin sign will glow red. We’re also playing around with visually showing Cyrus’ empathy when you see people through his point of view.

Finally, it will be more clear that Cyrus is hearing thoughts in animation, when you see the bystanders, hear their voices in reverb and their lips will clearly not be moving.

Possible Alternatives to the Story That Have Been Suggested/Considered, and Why They’re Not Currently Being Used:

1) Remove Cyrus’ entrance and tell the story only from Cain’s POV
Benefit: Would shorten and simplify the film. Not showing Cyrus’ empathy or making his motivation clear from the start allows the audience to focus only on Cain’s story.
Problem: Without showing Cyrus’ perspective, Cyrus’ personality flattens and he comes across as a bully and villain-of-the-day. The series has a larger cast, but the pilot only has enough time for one or two characters. If Cyrus’ point of view is removed, then Cain will be the only fleshed out character to represent the series. If the audience is unable to bond with him, then they may not be able to connect with the story at all. With Cyrus’ perspective there, the audience has the ability to bond with either character.

2) Cain accidentally causes the fire at the Crystalin, instead of stopping himself in time.
Benefit: More climatic. Directly shows how Cain causes his own vision to happen.
Problem: There would be two most likely endings if this scenario were taken: Cain puts out the fire before it spreads, or the fire spreads. Cyrus would leave with the cat, either way. This ending is rather dark, and would imply that the series itself is darker than it actually is. Also, it would likely extend the movie to give time for Cain to react to the fire (especially with him trying to put it out) and the film is too long as it is.

3) Cain and Cyrus’ Argument and Fight is Directly Over the Cat.
Benefit: Could remove Cyrus’ empathy while still keeping a less villain-like approach to him. Simplifies the argument and could shorten the film.
Problem: It’s rather silly, melodramatic and out of character for both of them.

4) Remove Cyrus’ empathy, make his motivation only the cat, and he fights Cain because Cain ran into him.
Benefit: Simplifies and shortens the story.
Problem: Makes Cyrus too melodramatic and makes the fight seem random.

5) Make the film only the fight sequence.
Benefit: Dramatically simplifies and shortens the story. Removes the town and keeps everything in the Crystalin. Can focus on making the animation excellent.
Problem: Story? What story? Something that simple might not be a good representation of the series, or a Thesis. And the two characters wouldn’t have much if any personality at all.

6) Remove some of the explanation and let the film feel more random.
Benefit: Shortens the film and keeps the pacing quick.
Problem: Audience would have a harder time connecting with the story or characters if they can’t understand them. Feels like a cop out.

26 June 2010

Cain's Animation Model Sheets

Deadline for Animation For Fire Scenes

Hey guys! I received word from Zelda (our fire animator) for what she needs in the animations for the fire shots. We need to have all animation that has fire roughed out by August 4 if we want to give Zelda enough time to add the fire. This includes all keys, breakdowns and in-betweens but does not have to be cleaned up.

I've re-uploaded the Shot Breakdown with a yellow highlight over every shot that abides by the deadline. The notes on the right list what needs to be done for each of those shots.

Not every part of the animation needs to be done for each shot in order to add the fire, only the parts that have direct fire interaction (for example, Cain doesn't need to be finished in most of these shots because he's not manipulating the fire, but he is needed for the shots where he and Cyrus are scythe/sword locked.)

Also, some of the shots cannot be started until the backgrounds are finished. Those shots are also marked in the Shot Breakdown.

Anyone who is interested in any of the fire shots, please let me know what you can have done by August 4 and I will mark you for those shots. We can do it!

And it will be glorious!

23 June 2010

Cain/Cyrus Comparison Sheets

These sheets are to compare and contrast Cain and Cyrus' designs, to make it easier for the animators.

22 June 2010

Thesis Animatic - Version 21

I've been playing around with the overall pace of the story, extending some of the shots in order to give the viewer more time to absorb what is happening.

I've come to the acceptance that, as my story stands, it is simply one which requires more than one viewing to absorb everything in its entirety. It is not a new discovery, of course, but something I have been trying to rectify by allocating more time for the viewer to understand the events of the film. But despite my efforts, unless I remove something dramatic to simplify the story - such as Cyrus' empathy - it might be impossible for viewers to understand everything in its entirety the first time they watch it.

However, I'm not so sure that this is a bad thing.

The important thing for me is for viewers to be able to enjoy the film on the surface, whether or not they understand the complexities of it the first time. And for those who do figure out the more complex undertones of the film or are willing to watch it a second time, they will be able to enjoy it to its fullest extent. I have to keep in mind that this is, ultimately, a television pilot and this film is meant to just be a taste/preview of the whole story - where such complexities can be fed to the audience in tinier, bite-sized chunks.

So for this version of the animatic, I've replaced my voice acting for Cain with a temp track of his real voice actor, extended some of the shots and, as an experiment, added one of the animations I'm currently working on to see how it worked as part of the film. Seeing it meshed with the storyboards before and after makes me re-think Cyrus' walk animation. It might be too fast and a little bit too much of a swagger. He should probably have more of a stalker-ish glide, walk more slowly and take fewer steps before getting overwhelmed by the bystanders' thoughts.

It's also made me realize that, once the storyboard stills are replaced with animation, this film may end up even longer than I thought. For a film this long and complex, it'll be important for the animation to have the right speed and pacing. Consequently, it's caused me to rethink how I'm going to handle the animation style of the film. I was going to try and ink the line art as the roughs are finished, but to make sure that the animation style of the film remains consistent, and the pacing isn't too quick or too slow, I believe it will be best to finish the roughs overall, first, and start the clean up and inking process once we can see how enough of the scenes flow together in sequence. Also, there will be a balance between using limited animation for shots that can afford to have it, to allocate extra time to dedicate to the shots that would best benefit from full animation. Because more in-betweens can always be added to shots if there ends up being enough time for it.

The important thing is budgeting the time as best as possible to graduate on time while giving this pilot the best chance in every way that I can - both in terms of aesthetics and storytelling.

It will be a fight that will last until the moment I hand in my Thesis and receive my diploma, and quite possibly after. But this was a fight I've worked all my life to have, and I will do my best to make this film the best it can be. Thank you to all who are helping me.

21 June 2010

Character Color Sheet

Here is a set up for the character color possibilities for the film. Cain has a warm, red-based color scheme while Cyrus has a cooler, blue/violet based color scheme. On the bottom is a comparison of the characters together. The favorite at the moment is #2, which will likely be the final character colors.

Character colors by Tracy MacLauchlan

Shot Breakdown (Updated 12/15/10)

Updated: 12/15/2010

http://www.sapphiredragonstudios.com/images/ShotBreakdown.jpg - Click on this link to see the Shot Breakdown larger.

This is the breakdown of all of the shots. Currently, the animations in progress are marked, as well as which characters are in which scenes, what backgrounds are in which scenes, which shots are background-reliant (animation can't start until the backgrounds are complete) and which scenes contain fire effects. Later, the key at the bottom of the graph will be adjusted to account for roughs, lines, colors, shadows (if needed, most scenes will not), special lighting effects and compositing. Also, there will be a column dedicated to the level of anticipated difficulty for each of the shots, to help determine which animators would best fit the scenes. There may also be a column or mark for camera moves, eventually.

20 June 2010

Color Roughs

These are the colors we're looking at for the film so far. These are rough color thumbnails of the storyboards throughout the film. We're trying to use color to both show the otherworldly feel of Cain's visions, establish the time of day and setting (earthy tones give it a more medieval look) and a give a contrast pre and post fire (the Crystalin is dark when they first enter, and the lighting changes when Cyrus casts the fire.)

Overall I'm really pleased with the direction of the colors. It's going to take some experimentation to see how to get these colors in the actual film without having to paint frame-by-frame, but I think it can be done with a combination of the 3D background's textures, the character's flat colors and paint layers added throughout in After Effects.

Colors by Tracy MacLauchlan

Layout Concept Art (Updated 7/24/10)

The Crystalin - Exterior - on the Street
Crystalin Street Exterior Front View by Adrian Gonzalez Roque

Crystalin Street Exterior 3qtr View by Adrian Gonzalez Roque

Crystalin - Exterior Close up
Crystalin Exterior Front View by Adrian Gonzalez Roque

Crystalin Exterior 3qtr View by Adrian Gonzalez Roque

Cystalin - Interior

Crystalin Layout Schematic by Samantha de Graffenreid

Crystalin Layout Work In Progress by Samantha de Graffenreid

Entrance view, by Adrian Gonzalez Roque

Interior Side View, by Adrian Gonzalez Roque

Interior Perspective Shot by Adrian Gonzalez Roque

The Crystalin - Props

Chair concepts by Adrian Gonzalez Roque

Pillar concepts by Adrian Gonzalez Roque

Town Layout
Town Layout by Robyn Haley